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About califsealion

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Bay Area, CA

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  1. Glad others are chiming in! Yesterday was Halifax. My mom opted to stay onboard as it was cold and there was rain off and on. I wandered down the boardwalk to the Maritime Museum and then up to the gardens and back. It never did rain hard, just that misty/rainy combination. We are at sea today and tomorrow. The captain assured us we are going at full speed to keep ahead of the storm. We are enjoying the lectures while we are underway. I have also enjoyed the two dance classes they have had so far, the swing and the waltz. We were required to do social dance in school as part of PE, but that was many many years ago. It was a good refresher. I was surprised that I have enjoyed both the magician and comedian that are onboard. I geeked out that the magician used the theme to "Police Squad" as his opening and closing song. He was geeked out that I was geeked out about it. It was pretty funny. For those who are not doofuses like us, "Police Squad" was a TV series made by the people who did "Airplane" and "Naked Gun". I believe it lasted a whopping 6 episodes. If you enjoyed "Airplane" and "Naked Gun", I recommend hunting down those few episodes. Oooo, also last night, I had just turned the lights off and realized the ship was slowing down. I realized it was probably the pilot leaving, so I rushed out on my balcony to watch. We are mid ship, so he debarks just under our room. I caught it just in time! Quite an impressive feat. Last night we enjoyed dinner at Setti Mari with a couple two doors down that we met during the block party. So if anyone has any hesitation, go to the block party and meet people! I'm an introvert, but still enjoyed it. Another sea day of relaxation tomorrow!
  2. Greetings from beautiful Portland, Maine! This was not in our original plan. Due to stormy weather, we had to drop Boston and Bar Harbor. We spent yesterday "at sea" which was really a "shelter in place" day, as we holed up in a bay north of Boston with the Norwegian Dawn. The night before, we had some exciting rocking and rolling with surges up to 15 feet. The captain called it the "mystery cruise" because we would wake up and not know where we were and neither would they! Anyways, they told us the first night of the cruise of the change of plans, it really wasn't much of a mystery. Our first stop was in Newport where we did a lovely scenic drive of the town and past the mansions. My mom is not very fast and I was grateful that the handicap seats on the bus were unclaimed! I'd heard sometimes those get snapped up. Not only does my mom not move fast, but she also gets motion sick, so these were helpful. Last night my mom and I enjoyed the orchestra before dinner. We have enjoyed both production shows so far. We always find the shows good fun, just a little cheesy. We've really enjoyed the lecturer so far as well, with his talks about the local areas we are visiting. We even enjoyed his lecture on Boston, even though we missed that port. Today in Portland we just did a little wandering on our own. They did organize a bunch of tours, so we weren't left high and dry. I found a cute donut shop that makes donuts with a mashed potato base. That could have probably been my lunch, not just the dessert! Anyways, I had vowed to myself that I was going to try and post live. My mom has taken a bit more of my brain space than I expected, so I've not managed to far. So these will be sporadically live posts. 😀
  3. Thinking about it, Memphis to New Orleans you may get more time in port because the boat is going to travel faster going downstream. Means you'd get from point A to point B faster. We did the New Orleans pre-cruise excursion and enjoyed it. We went an extra day early and spent a little time in the French Quarter and got beignets at Cafe du Monde(?). Also that night went to a jazz show at Preservation Hall. That was quite fun. We didn't do the post-excursion of Memphis, but really just because I was meeting a friend in town. Otherwise we would have considered. The visit to the Angola Penitentiary in St. Francisville is supposed to excellent, but we didn't do that one. We did do the Civil War battlefield excursion in Vicksburg, which was good. If you want to see the battlefield, I think it was too far from the boat to do on your own. I did enjoy the hop on hop off buses and just poking around the little towns. Some had more to do in town than others, like the Columbia River. The river is definitely doesn't have the amazing scenery of the Columbia River. The river is brown and the land around the river is very flat. But the riverbanks are green and pretty. I went one day and picked up a banana in the snackie room and literally sat at the front of the boat, banana peel in hand, for an hour just watching the river go by. My uncle (mid-70's) was bored. He said it all looked the same. I think he's more the type that needs something to do. I enjoyed the relaxation of it all.
  4. We did New Orleans to Memphis, but purely based on the dates, not because we were trying for that direction. Did they say why they thought one direction was better than the other? We also took the Duchess. I chose that boat purely on the small size. My mom has mobility issues, so I figured the smaller size would be easier for her. I haven't been on the Queen so I can't offer a comparison of the two. Fun for us, it worked out in our favor because two of the bus driver we had on the Columbia River trip were on our Mississippi River trip also! They had migrated over when the Duchess launched. I'm sure the Queen would be fun, too.
  5. Congrats on the upgrade and hope you will come back and report on the trip!
  6. My question is, have you started planning a cruise on the Mississippi? 😀
  7. It sounds like you enjoyed Corner Brook. I did an expedition cruise around Newfoundland a couple years ago and loved the landscape and loved the people. Glad you got to experience the friendliness that Newfoundland is known for!
  8. Glad the trip went well! I'd have to agree on the shopping offered in the various ports. On our cruise, we couldn't stop at The Dalles because the Native Americans would be using the dock for fishing that week, so that was a little disappointing. On the plus side, we had a stop in Vancouver, WA which I actually really enjoyed. They did have a little more shopping there, but still not all that impressive. But the historical sites were nice.
  9. Looking forward to hearing about your trip! My mom and I will be boarding in NYC on the 15th, so this will be exciting for me. 😃
  10. I have been on a ship before that had that - I believe they even had a laminated sheet in each of the cabins. Also was on a Holland America ship that had an audio tour you could download prior to the trip that talked about the art. It is a fun thing to do during time at sea!
  11. I have been to Panama City and didn't find it all that exciting. However, our trip included a visit to the Miraflores Locks, and I literally could have spent the afternoon just watching the ships go through. I thought it was fascinating. If there is an excursion to visit one of the locks, I'd consider that. But everyone has different preferences! Just because I loved it doesn't mean everyone would be as enthralled.
  12. Near Haifa, there are some cool ruins at Caesarea. There is also Tiberius and the Sea of Galilee. If you have Christian leanings, there are religious sites around the Sea of Galilee like at Capernaum and the church where Jesus reportedly did the Sermom on the Mount. If this doesn't interest you, it's still nice to take a cruise out on the lake. I went to both these places as part of a larger tour, so can't give specifics about day trips, but just to give you a couple places to think about.
  13. I think my main concern would be the pace of the tours. My mom does not move very fast. Did they allow the slower people to keep up? Or do slow paced tours? I really appreciated your review - thanks! It was very helpful.
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