Saturday, 28 September 2013

Cruise-Sat., Sept 28th

Today we were up bright and early (5:30 a.m., and yes, we saw the sun rise) to watch our ship come into the San Bernadino shipping channel and up to our berth. It was very interesting seeing us glide in, under the cover of a rising sun, to our spot for the day. It amazes me how they can just swing this ship in, like it is a car in a parking spot!
 
 
Doug, myself, Julie, Martin, Carmen & Mark went “ashore” for our own excursion at 9:30 a.m. We hired a cab, with Assan at the wheel, and he skillfully spent the next 5 hours with us, taking us all over greater Los Angeles. Super fun!!
We started off with a stop at the Staples Centre in downtown L.A., home of the Los Angeles Kings (Martin’s favourite hockey team). From there it was onto Hollywood Lake Drive and up to the famous HOLLYWOOD sign, up on the hill. Assan got us up as high as he could and we all climbed out for photos. After this, it was back down, down and into the Hollywood “Walk of Fame” area. So, so many tourists (just like us, I guess). Next  on the list was a drive up and down Rodeo Drive. Good thing my background wasn’t a “shopping” background.  We were happy to look from the windows of the cab and take a few pictures. Last stop was at Venice Beach. Such a famous area too!! We got out for 45 minutes and ordered food truck grub and wandered around the beach.


 
 
The famous Grauman's Chinese Theatre
 
Capt. Jack Sparrow......
 
You gotta love it when the Munchkins from Wizard of Oz get their own star!!



 
 
Rodeo Drive.....
 
 Venice Beach Food trucks!!

Carmen & Mark.....


 
 


 Martin & Julie

Street art

I know - backwards sign!!

Martin & Lacey....
 
 
The ship has now departed the Los Angeles port. What a massive port it is too! Very interesting watching it back up and head on out, the same way we came in!

Until tomorrow - Cheers friends!!

Cruise-Friday Sept 27th

I think a person can get used to this life, quite easily!! Such great staff, great food, great company. We seem to easily be able to while away the day from sunup (ours maybe not quite so early as others…) to sundown (ours maybe a bit later than others…) We spent time exploring the boat again. Kevin, you asked if there were many people on the boat as my pictures did not show too many. There are 1,970 people on board and a crew of 900. Lots here, I just try and avoid getting too many of them in my pictures!

Friday started off with an announcement from the captain at 7:30 a.m. that a passenger was very ill and would have to be air-lifted off the ship. So sad. We hope all will turn out well for him or her. Everyone was asked to stay in their rooms. The staff cleared an area up on top for the stretcher but the helicopter did not land, they rappelled a man down to the boat, which we could not see and then lifted the stretcher up to the helicopter. It was amazing how that helicopter pilot skillfully held that chopper right at the topside of the boat. Hands up
for the U.S. Coast Guard!!

 

We hung with family and watched most of Top Gun on the gigantic screen by the pool. Somehow that movie just never gets old! We played around of mini-golf up on the top deck. We can’t figure out why everyone else vacated the area once we got started. During this day, we were intermittently entertained by my brother Mark, dropping his I-pod in the water, spilling an entire ice cream on himself (while walking around with his I-pod in a bowl of dried rice) and last but not least, spilling a glass of wine on our niece Lacey. God, how I love my brother! He makes me feel not quite so clumsy!!! Always good to have back-up in the family– thanks bro!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Look at the above shot. You can just see a whale spout on the right!!
 



 
Gerardo, from Mexico City is our Purser who takes care of our room, doing a brilliant job in the morning and turning down everything in the evening (…thanks for the chocolates!!). He has been gone from home for 7 months and is looking forward to getting back to his wife and 3 year old daughter, Fernanda, around the middle of November for a nice long 3 months away from the cruise ship. After that, he will be joining the Ruby Princess for the Baltic Sea run. We have commandeered a lovely dining table in the Provence Dining Room,  #104, with Ratchanov (Ratcha) as our server. She is an extremely competent and, merciously, patient lady from the Phillipines who provides us with amazing service and dinner each and every evening. No doubt, after dealing with us for 18 days, she will retire after this cruise is over!!  Friday’s special dessert was Baked Alaska. I guess it is a special thing to be served on the last day of a cruise (some of the passengers are disembarking on Saturday). Oh my gosh – it was huge and Martin, after getting his slice declared  “I don’t know whether to eat it or to set it up as a base camp!”

 
Cheers friends!!

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Sail Away to End of Day 1

Wow!! We could not have asked for a nicer day to sail away from our beautiful city of Vancouver yesterday. After several days of rain, we were blessed with a gorgeous day!! There was much excitement as we all gathered for that first glass of champagne, for sure!!

...and we are off!!
 

Mom (Nadyne), Carmen, Susann, Nancy & Julie
 
Under the Lions Gate Bridge!!
 
 

We spent lots of time just walking around on the ship, acquainting ourselves with all the services, and there are many!!

 
 
 
 
Our guys, Mark, Martin & Doug!!
Handsome lot, aren't they?
 
Lacey with her favourite uncles!!
 
 
We had a great first dinner and then all collapsed into our suites. It was funny to feel the sea begin to roll throughout the evening. We were awakened about 1 am to a significant amount of rolling action. Nothing that caused any problems or anything, you just noticed it. We found out in this morning that there were 10 foot swells last night and this morning so the captain had put the stabilizers out to stop some of the rollng action. Really not bad in a “maritimer” sense but interesting nonetheless! Oh, it was totally cool to see some dolphins jumping by the side of the ship!! Too cool!!




Tonight, we are currently sailing about 50 land miles off the coast of California, north of Sacramento. The breeze has been surprisingly warm all day and tonight, the stars are shining bright as ever. We can’t thank Mom enough for this opportunity. It is a “once in a lifetime” thing to be here with her and my siblings!

 



 

Relaxing by the window....

 

Well, as the days go by, I will try and be a bit more informative. It’s a bit overwhelming getting used to the ship, the routines, etc.  Til tomorrow…..
Cheers friends!!

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Heading out for a cruise!

So, it's finally here, cruise time is upon us!! We leave the Vancouver port, tomorrow, September 25th at 4:30 p.m. on board the Coral Princess. Our first stop is Los Angeles. Then it's onto Cabo San Lucas, Punteranes, Costa Rica, San Juan del Sur, Nicarauga, through the Panama Canal, Cartagena, Columbia and Aruba. On Sunday the 13th of October we land back in Fort Lauderdale.  We are really excited as it is our first time on a cruise ship. My Mom is treating all of her kids and spouses to this amazing, once in a life-time, event.

We have arranged for internet so we will see how that goes. I will do my best to get some blog posts up. Not sure if it will cooperate every day, but time will tell. If I have problems, I will have to catch up once we get back.

Meanwhile, we spent a bit of time at Josh, Kathy & Gus' place on Sunday and Monday. We went out to Campbell Valley Park in South Surrey. It's one of those jewels of a park and is so nice to have so close at hand...... 

 
 
Dad gets him all suited up.... 

 
Yup, we're ready....let's go!!

  
 They have such great boardwalks...

 

Lots of chickadees. Do you think they are used to being hand fed??

 
 
They have a great old speedway here, right in the heart of the park. Was used many, many years ago for oval races. That was really before the park was so well used for just green space. Doug remembers going out here occasionally when he was in high school to watch the races!!
 


 
 

A million shades of green.....

 
 
Gus gets his first glimpse of some of the horses using the trails too!!
 
 
After this we headed back to their place. Gus is quite happy now standing and hanging onto furniture (.....or pant legs).
 
 Nice little bit of chin drool, little man!!

 
 
Grandma had the GREAT idea that inside the cupboard was an amazing collection of plastic containers.........(sorry to the parental units) 



First, it starts innocently enough with flinging just one little container.....

As I said....sorry to the parental units!!!
 
 
Tonight we are overnight at Bob & Danna's place. They made a beautiful dinner of squash risotto and apple crisp for dessert. There is always lots of wine flowing and as many stories!!! They have also graciously volunteered to take us to the ship tomorrow!! Good friends they are and we are so lucky they are in our lives!!
 
So, hopefully I will be able to post tomorrow or next day from the boat!! If there are problems I may have to combine several days into one bigger posting. We will see!!
 
Cheers friends - Bon Voyage!!