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Topic: Cruise Travel

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Alaska Bound
Posted by Tina on Sunday, July 07, 2013 - 10:27 PM
(805 Reads)
Cruise Travel Tina writes " I have been guilty of modifying Gene's vacation plans over the last decade but this was the first time I advanced a planned vacation! The plan was to do an Alaskan cruise for our 40th anniversary in 2014. Well, we just returned from Alaska 2 weeks ago leaving my dear husband to plan another 40th wedding anniversary...
We sailed on the NCL Jewel visiting Ketchikan, Juneau, Skagway , Alaska with a final stop at Victoria, Vancouver Island. Packing a combination of short and long sleeve shirts as well as rain ponchos I figured we were ready for chilly Alaska! To our amazement the sun was out for much of our visit and we had low 80's in Skagway! The rain gear stayed in the luggage....
Excursions can be quite expensive but we struck a balance that was not too expensive. We visited Totem Bight State Park in Ketchikan and enjoyed a great guided tour of the Native Americans life in Alaska. In Juneau we went on a whale watch with Allen Marine Tours and viewed a group of 14 humpback whales taking turns in a cooperative fishing maneuver called bubble netting . Later that day the cruise ship sailing through the Tracey Arm Fijord was absolutely stunning. On our balcony with sunny skies Gene was videotaping off and on for 4 hours! Seeing the ice field was amazing and I never dreamed we would see mother seals with their pup floating by on ice rafts! We ended up booking on the cruise ship the Liarsville excursion which included some sightseeing from the bus, a short hike to a lovely waterfall, and a delicious salmon bake. We ate at a gold mining camp that was recreated at the same site where in the late 1890's fortune seekers began their dangerous trek to the Yukon. We enjoyed the show provided and even got the opportunity to go panning for gold! Together Gene and I found 13 flakes valued at about $10.00!
Our final stop was at Victoria, Vancouver Island where we visited the Butchart Gardens. These spectacular gardens were a feast for the eyes and once again we enjoyed them on a sunny day! We arrived the next day back in Seattle and my cousin Stella and her husband Doug picked us up at the cruise dock and throughout the day we did some sightseeing, dined out and visited their lovely home. It has been 6 years since we last got together and it was wonderful seeing them again!
We almost ended up staying overnight in Seattle with them when we found out our red eye that night was cancelled. We ended up getting placed on an Alaskan Airlines plane which was quite nice and had a great crew. Alaska for sure was a great adventure and Gene will probably need many weeks to work on all the video and photos he took throughout our trip. But then it was Alaska.......


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Cruising through Spring Break 2011
Posted by Tina on Saturday, May 14, 2011 - 04:34 PM
(475 Reads)
Cruise Travel Tina writes " Easter was April 24 - the latest I ever remember, ever! Needless to say,teachers and students were ready for spring break... We arrived in Miami late afternoon Saturday- Paul was still not feeling 100% - he caught whatever Alexa had the week before. On Monday we sailed on the NCL Sky. This was our second cruise on the Sky so we made our way around the ship easily. We ate seafood every night and enjoyed the company of Laura and Carmon Huckabee from northern Virginia.They also vacation near the Outer Banks of North Carolina and shared many of their experiences as we did over our evening meals.
Weather was great during the entire cruise but rough seas in Freeport cancelled our snorkeling trip.We had snorkeled in Freeport in the 1980's and I was hoping to get a chance to check out the coral 20 years later... We did connect with a fellow coworker of mine and her husband at Paradise Island. We met at the Atlantis Resort and shared cruising experiences on their ship Majesty of the Seas with ours.
As always, the azure blue seas of the Caribbean were a feast for the eyes...."

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Our 35th Wedding Anniversary Cruise
Posted by Tina on Monday, July 06, 2009 - 07:43 PM
(428 Reads)
Cruise Travel Tina writes " Our anniversary cruise on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas sailed June 21st . Paul took us to the Miami Airport and we fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico where our cruise ship was docked. Upon arriving at the ship I thought about Paul proposing to Gloria just 5 years ago on June 15th,2003 on this very same ship and now here we were embarking on our 35th anniversary celebration. Once on the ship we immediately went to our stateroom- the oceanview was very nice with a very large closet for all those clothes I packed. And yes I did end up wearing almost everything.... After a light lunch in the Windjammer Cafe it was ship exploration time! This was our first ship with a promenade and it apparently was helpful in providing orientation because I became the designated leader!
Our cabin was close to the dining room so we only ate in the Windjammer if we got back late from an excursion. Every evening we enjoyed dinner with two delightful couples. Our conversations covered everything from travel stories, world events, children and grandchildren, and everything in between. Looking forward to keeping in touch with Betsy and Hugh and John and Barbara.
We booked five excursions and our first day at sea we relaxed in the solarium
and I did exercise a wee bit. Our first port was Barbados and as our snorkel boat headed out the rain began . Fortunately, the boat was covered and the rain stopped when we arrived at the turtle feeding site. The hawksbill turtles arrived right on cue along with huge pufferfish when they began releasing squid in the water. It was amazing being so close to the sea turtles but I wonder what they think of all those humans trying to get a look of them as well as touch them! The next port St. Lucia was spectacular with the mountainous terrain, windy roads and the over 2,000ft. Pitons. Our guided walk through the rainforest was challenging with the steep and sometimes slippery terrain but the waterfall and the volcanic ash backrub made it all worthwhile to my dear hubby!
Like last time in Antigua we did a catamaran snorkel trip. The reef is still rather bleak from all the hurricane damage 10 or more years ago but Deepwater Bay where we spent some time relaxing has the most tranquil ,turquoise water. The time we spent there was a part of our cruise we will never forget.
Our day in St. Martin,Maarten was a nice mix of shopping, sightseeing with a visit to Orient Beach and barbeque lunch. Our dinner mates John and Barbara decided to sign up for this excursion so it was nice spending the day with them.
Our last and most expensive excursion was the snorkel trip at Buck Island, St. Croix.The water temperature was around 80 degrees and visibility was excellent. The elkhorn coral was massive but in 1989 Hurricane Hugo devastated the elkhorn coral and it is slowly growing back. Very slowly.The brain coral for the most part was in great shape.And we saw the largest school of blue tangs- more than 200!
We did manage to get some dancing in on this cruise and though we were on the go found time to just relax and have a great time together..... and that's what it is all about. "

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Spring Break Cruise
Posted by Tina on Friday, April 24, 2009 - 02:12 AM
(403 Reads)
Cruise Travel Tina writes " Our Bahama Cruise on the NCL Sky was over my April Spring Break so the strong winds and rough seas of a March sailing was not expected. Actually, the seas were not all that rough but the high winds kept us out of our first port of call- Freeport. The skies were overcast and kept the high for the day at 68 degrees and I guess going in and out on our balcony cooled the cabin down enough we actually ran our heat in the cabin instead of A.C. We headed to the casino to hopefully not lose too much money but when Gene was on a winning streak we had to cash out. Now the ship was heading in to Nassau a day early for a medical emergency! We start to think that maybe the Sail and Beach Excursion might not be that great with the weather being a bit on the cool side so we changed our excursion to an underwater submarine experience! Well the next morning we head out on Nassau's pier and discover the " Explorer Sub" excursion is cancelled. But like they say in Jamaica " no problem!" Maybe, years ago I would have felt like the cruise was a disaster but it was nice just taking it easy, eating great food, and seeing Rich Purpura again( a comedian we saw on the NCL Sun last year). Plus the
last stop at NCL's island Great Stirrup Cay was picture perfect! The sun was out, the air temperature was around 80 degrees and the ocean water was perfect! Gene had the underwater video camera and I had the underwater digital camera which would take up to 280 pics. I stopped at about 180 and to my surprise and delight about 80% of them were quite nice and in focus. Last year at these same coral heads at Great Stirrup Cay I had many out of focus pics.
We did not get to see Paul and Gloria and the grandchildren after the cruise since they were still in Chicago but at least we saw them before the cruise. Paul Andrew was walking quite well holding your hand- it's just a matter of time before he takes off!!"

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NCL Cruise-Spring Break
Posted by Gene on Monday, April 04, 2005 - 02:41 PM
(649 Reads)
Cruise Travel Gene writes "Tina and I just returned from our cruise to Grand Cayman and Roatan on the NCL "Spirit".Very beautiful ship-Roatan was great. BUT car broke down 25 miles from Paul's house-AAA sent towtruck from Naples?? arrived 2 hours late. Major traffic jam in Caymans-heavy waves made getting back on ship difficult-2 hours late. Gale force winds with 13-15 ft. waves followed us to Roatan. Roatan is probably a place to visit again-this time longer than one day.Very laid back with beautiful water. We snorkeled in a lagoon all by our selves..have great underwater video and pictures for Tina's class.

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