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bluenoser2

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About bluenoser2

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Brunswick, Canada
  • Interests
    quilting, crocheting, walking and cruising, not necessarily in that order.
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Princess, Carnival....
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Mediterranean

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  1. Vitamin SEA! I love it. So does Florence. She's getting a little antsy in her vacay drawer (can a Zebra get ANTSy?). And we STILL have yet to plan the next cruise. There will be a next cruise, just don't know when or where yet. The Mr. is casting furtive glances at RCL's Symphony of the Seas.....and then settles in with a Princess Cruise Atlas to comfort himself......I leave it to him. I'll just report about it when it's final. Happy day everyone!
  2. Wow! We were in A611 so we probably said hi in the hallway at some point. Next cruise I may have to put an 8x10 glossy of Flo on our door so people know where she is! The Mr. might not agree with that idea. But thanks for everyone's kind words. I just enjoy reliving the cruise through my strange review!
  3. And we were on the cruise that would have been this week, a few years ago, and the weather was lovely (except really cold in Halifax!). I have a friend on the cruise this week, and she just texted me this morning that they had to cancel Saint John, much to her disappointment. Tricky working with high tide and winds. Just became a day at sea for them. The weather this week wasn't great, but they've had a great time anyway. If you're wanting to see the fall colours, it's kind of a gamble I suppose, but September 29 would probably be too early most years, but you never know! (Bar Harbor, October 21, 2015)
  4. Thanks all! And Diane, we were in Kelowna too but we forgot to get Flo out for any photo ops! The Okanagan is my home area - born in Summerland (home of the sheep we visited which I forgot to mention!)
  5. September 29, Saturday :DISEMBARKATION Seattle So there it was. Our little Ruby cruise. The final morning – I actually had a good sleep during that incredibly long voyage from Victoria to Seattle. We ate, we strolled the part of the Promenade deck not being used for disembarking, and we got out of our room before 8:00 like the good travelers we are. We got ourselves to the Platinum disembarkation lounge – The Crown Grille – and stood for a bit as all the seats were taken upon our arrival. We soon were able to sit, so I did take the opportunity to have one last spot of tea as we waited. Everything was done properly and in good time, and we were leaving the ship right on schedule. Leaving the terminal, it was interesting to see the lineup of men going up the escalator getting ready to board the Ruby for her drydock time. I think it was 1700 workers that were going aboard. It just didn’t look like the usual group of cruise goers! Not that I’m stereotyping. I wouldn’t do that. It was just INTERESTING. We took Seattle Express to the airport. Again, their service was excellent, and I highly recommend them. The trip to the airport was much quicker than our ride to the port, since there were no stops along the way. There’s lots more I could regale you with, but that would be our land portion of our vacation, which really doesn’t qualify for this board. Maybe just a few more pics of Florence, because she’d like that. All in all, it was a good cruise. Not our most favourite cruise, but when you’re the west coast of North America in late September, it’s hard to compete with the Mediterranean in April for favourite voyage. The Ruby was lovely, and we had no complaints about the service, or the ship itself. Everything worked. Everyone was courteous, friendly, and made our trip a great one. The entertainment was not stellar, but that is always a very subjective topic. I think this cruise was the first time The Mr. and I decided we are ready to try Traditional dining rather than Anytime which we’ve always chosen up to this point. We realize we do tend to eat at the same (early) time every night, so if it were possible to snag a table for two in Traditional dining, we might just do it next trip. But we’ll have to wait and see how we feel about it then. Who knows where the next voyage will take us? We sure don’t. The Mr. is actually looking at non-Princess cruise lines just to try something different. But there’s that British Isles cruise taunting us as well, and that would have to be Princess….but it’s the Crown and we’ve already been on the Crown, and The Mr. doesn’t like to repeat ships. Sigh. I leave it all to his wisdom. I just dress Florence. And myself. And that’s all I have to say about that. Florence visiting the site of the Hope B.C. landslide of 1965. She's a bit of a history buff. Florence visits my friend's sheep farm. She was a bit alarmed. I reminded her they were sheep. She liked them when they kept their distance. (Definitely not time to go swimming now that it was October....Salmon Arm, B.C. ) And she couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about when we visited Adam's River.... The whole idea of the Salmon Run was lost on her, but we found it fascinating. We all agreed the visit to the Shuswap Pie Company was well worth it, all warm and comforting after our chilly day at the river. She did enjoy our visit to Grouse Mountain when we returned to Vancouver. The snow encountered on the Coquihalla Pass was completely unnecessary however. Congratulations to those of you who made it to the end. If I ever get to meet you on a future cruise, I’ll be sure to treat you to something in celebration of your patience! Until then, Florence is waving to you from her drawer, and I bid you farewell for now! The Mr. is off fixing something, but I’m sure he’d like to greet you warmly as well. (The reason you don't see many selfies....we just aren't good at taking them. Ask our kids.)
  6. When we arrived back at port, we noted that the Grand Princess, in its embarrassment to have parked nose in instead of backing in to its spot, had left and been replaced by the Norwegian Bliss. This was the only time we were in an actual line-up to get back on the ship, past the checkpoint. But we were sharing with the Star Princess line-up so that explained it. With VERY tired legs and feet, we didn’t even give the elevators a glance, but trudged (slowly, ever so slowly) up the stairs. That long flight from 7 to 8 is a killer, and every time I got to 11, I just wanted to express my desire to The Mr. that he save himself and leave me behind. I should mention that this was the day that I did cast a glance at the International Café and saw the SIGN for Chicken salad, but, no salad was present. It just was never meant to be on this voyage. Back at the dining room shortly after 5:00, we had no trouble getting a “table for 2” and I use that term loosely, since the table next to us wasn’t even 2 inches away from us. American Dinner, and The Mr. was hungry. His last chance for Alfredo as an app and he took it. I took the honey-garlic ribs (AS AN APP!). When it was served, I knew it would have been perfect as a main course, but I ate every last speck of meat (because that’s what my Mama taught me “EAT THE MEAT” when dining out…), and let The Mr. tackle my fries. I had to have the watermelon with feta and mint that I always like. The Mr. had turkey for his main and I had surf and turf. And there it was. Finally. Asparagus. I had waited all week, and this was my only asparagus. Everything was lovely. For dessert we each tackled a slice of cheesecake with a Princess Love Boat Dream in the middle of the table to share. The Cheesecake won. Returning to the room where the four-letter word we didn’t want to utter had to be done. Yup. P.A.C.K. Sigh. Florence was clinging to the bed sheets in horror as she realized the end was near. No more chocolates on the bed after tonight? Could it be? She was a little hysterical, so we paused in our packing and headed to The Voice of the Ocean finale, where I got a voting device, which meant we felt obligated to stay until the end. Struggling to stay awake, we did stay, and I did vote. Apparently so did 80% of the audience. For the guy that won. I could have left. He didn’t need me. Ah well….I missed the election at home while being away – had to vote for SOMEONE! Returning to our room, we finished the P word, and obediently stuck our luggage out in the hall. Fortunately, we did so only after making sure that what we wanted in our checked baggage was where it was supposed to be, because it disappeared so quickly there would have been no time to change our minds. Time for one last night time visit to Horizon Court, where we exhibited control (and preparation for re-entry) by only having cookies and lemonade. Really. Just the cookies. And the lemonade. Nothing else.
  7. Victoria...... Beacon Hill park is just a lovely place to stroll, so we did. We admired ducks (I may not be a birder, but I am fairly confident that they were ducks) in the pond, and peahens on picnic tables (remind me not to lunch thereabouts). They were terrorizing a squirrel who was trying to go about his day, when we asked ourselves, “Selves, where are the peacocks? Where there are peahens shouldn’t there be peacocks?” As we dragged our tired feet from their resting spot and continued on our way, stopping to admire the rosebushes, there they were. Roses. And peacocks. Hiding. In the Roses. Like a Man Cave, except prettier. Which you’d kind of expect. From peacocks. Nothing like a little visual competition. Lots of peacocks, quietly skulking about, hiding from the peahens. Sometimes you just need time away I guess. Now I know, Beacon Hill is NOT Butchart Gardens, but there were some gorgeous rose gardens to gaze at, and so we did, before continuing on our hike. I am going to call it a hike now instead of a walk because by this point, I kept checking my GPS and really just wanting to get CLOSER to the ship and not farther away. Serendipity reared her lovely head, and as we turned a corner, there it was. Not the ship. That would be too easy. The world’s tallest totem pole. Just standing there, minding its own business in the corner of a field. We dutifully admired it and made our way to the walkway that would lead us, yes, closer to the ship. Along the way we took time to see Mile Zero of the Trans Canada Highway, most likely annoying tour bus drivers with our efforts to cross the road in doing so. We crossed ever so apologetically of course. Because that’s who we are. Then we made our way back to the ship. Someday I will clock all the miles we walked on our port days and fully justify all the desserts we ate. “Someday” will be a very busy day.
  8. Back on the street, we passed the Legislative Buildings, The Empress Hotel, and made our way to the mall for an A&W root beer while we discussed our plan of attack on Victoria. The miles we had accumulated were starting to take a toll on my tootsies and I was glad for a sit-down break! Not for long though, and we were off to the famous (albeit unknown to us before this jaunt) Munro Bookstore. It was lovely inside, all old and big, and while The Mr. performed his Test of a Bookstore in the Science Fiction category, I enjoyed browsing everywhere else. Apparently it passed the test….marginally. Following that, we inspected the Roger’s Chocolate store, but left empty handed. I am still finding it hard to imagine that The Mr. made it through the entire vacation without purchasing a single ounce of fudge. It’s not like him. A quick stroll through Canada's oldest (and North America's second oldest) Chinatown: We browsed in a few more shops, and then made our way back to the government buildings, before starting our big walk of the day to Beacon Hill. The word “hill” struck a small chord of fear in me after Astoria, but looking around, I remembered Victoria wasn’t too threatening in the alpine category. I’m a native of British Columbia and had only been to Victoria once and that did not include sightseeing to my recollection, so this was a fantastic day to walk and check everything out. Totem poles and all.
  9. Victoria....the walkabout continues heading downtown on the David Foster Harbour Pathway....or as we like to call it....the path) (An even more discrete photo of the float home neighbourhood) Our first stop was the Robert Bateman Centre. For those of you not in the know, Bateman is a famous Canadian artist who is renowned for his nature paintings. This was our one and only “museum/gallery” stop on our whole trip. Why, you ask? Just let me tell you, because The Mr. would want me to, I know. Long ago and far away, in the land of Ontario, Robert Bateman was a high school art teacher. And not just any high school art teacher, but THE MR.’s high school art teacher! There! That’s why we had to go and why The Mr. was photographing parts of the Bateman Timeline on the wall. I just enjoyed the whole visit, and I’m not always the best at browsing through a gallery. After our intake of arts and refined culture, we continued on our way to find more arts, and slightly less refined culture. (This next one is quite possibly my favourite picture of the trip, or at least Victoria.) Get it? Florence got it. Slightly less impressed than I was.
  10. SEPTEMBER 28, Friday: VICTORIA, B.C. The night before, the Captain….er…Commodore came on the public address system as we were dining. When he said a change had to be made for the port of Victoria, a hush fell over the entire dining room. Way to get everyone’s attention! The proverbial pin would have been proverbially heard for sure. He played his part well, hesitating in all the right places to make everyone panic, using words like “As you know….” “Ruby …. going into drydock…...” “loading supplies….”, “change must be made to our port time in Victoria”……….Well, after all that with a dining room full of people with raised steak knives, he said the magic words, “the port time has been changed….” (another dramatic pause). The gist of it all was that instead of 11:00 – 6:00, we had from 11:00 to 8:30 p.m. in Victoria. A cheer arose, once everyone caught up to the information. Knives were lowered, and chatter began once again. So when The Mr. had chosen the location of our cabin, he excitedly told me how close it was to the self-serve laundromat, just a couple of doors away. What? No more dragging our laundry all the way down the hall to find that the machines were already in use? No. Not for us, we had a laundromat close by! (Control your excitement, I know….some of you are SO jealous) So when we went to use it this fine morning (we did have another week of land based travel following the cruise, which necessitated our needing to freshen up again), we discovered that the token machine was out of order. That meant The Mr. had to travel a couple of floors down to find a token machine that worked so we could do our laundry. It wasn’t until he returned that I mentioned, “wasn’t there a laundromat on the other side of this floor?” He was not amused by my helpfulness. Well, at least the machines were free to use! Not free, available. You know what I mean. We breakfasted during the wash cycle and read and relaxed in our room for the dry time. Following all that excitement we stepped it up a notch and moved our books and ourselves to the Library to do our puzzles and for me, to finish my library book before the cruise ended! (I did.) We went up on the forward deck to watch the approach into Victoria (and this is why we get inside rooms – we are always wanting to be in different viewing spots anyway all over the ship and we just “read” in our room) where, we would experience the warmest temperatures of the whole cruise! Yay Canada! As our Commodore (or whoever it is that does such stuff) proved their prowess at backing into their parking spot (The Grand Princess was already there, and she did NOT back in!) we enjoyed the antics of one seagull in particular – as long as he didn’t get too close. Come too close and we are so out of here. We decided on an early 11:00 lunch before leaving the ship and walked off around 11:30, and tried out this city’s pedestrian walkway – another beautifully designed path. Gazing back at the sight of not one, not two, but three Princess ships neatly docked side by side, we tripped, and then opted to watch where we were going and headed for the downtown area. On this voyage I saw many “float homes” which intrigued me, and there were more here at Fisherman’s Wharf. We tried not to gawk, and maintain our cool factor, snapping photos inconspicuously. (Star Princess was not to be outdone and backed in proficiently as well.) (that's a pretty discrete distance for a photo, right? As The Mr. said, "if they didn't like people wandering all about their neighbourhood they wouldn't live here." How do you argue with that?)
  11. SEPTEMBER 27, Thursday: AT SEA Do you hear it? That melancholy sound? All night? Plaintively calling out? This is the first cruise I remember hearing the fog horn on the ship as we traveled, and I must say I liked it. Even though I heard it during the night several times, I did not begrudge its mournful tones. We had not one but two nights in a row where it was sounding most of the night. Just sayin’. OK, and now, for something completely different, there have been cruises where my souvenirs have been collections of things people said. Or collections of people who photo-bombed perfectly good photos, and thus made those photos way better than before! Well, on this cruise I have only one thing someone said to add to my collection. Here it is. The Mr. was up on Deck 16, when he overheard a passenger ask a couple of people this: “I know the sun sets in the west, and I know we are now heading north. So it’s late afternoon. Why is the sun on the east side of the ship now?” The answer? “Ma’am, you’re facing the back of the ship.” (How The Mr. does selfies.) Anyway…….it was a lazy morning for us but The Mr. still was up early for his walk. In the dark. In the dark fog. In the dark slightly damp fog. Only one side of the Promenade deck was open that morning as the other side was too wet. I remembered to have my omelette this morning finally, and while I did certainly enjoy it, I assured The Mr. that he is the BEST omelette maker I know, and it came nowhere near to his standard. Florence chose to sleep in until Savio booted her out. We dragged Florence out of her cozy spot, and got her to do some touring around the ship with us. (the Library....had a little trouble with the day 7 sudoku, but I helped her.) Most of the morning was a blur of shopping since we still had OBC to use up – we don’t normally have very much, and we hadn’t been aware of this perk in our booking until AFTER we paid in advance for our gratuities. Being the wild and crazy Canucks that we are, with no gambling or imbibing, we still had a lot of non-refundable credit to use up! What a dilemma! That magnet really didn’t eat into the OBC much at all so I purchased another chai to think this all through. If you ever need a coach for spending very little on a cruise, we are your team. We did it though – we spent it all and fit it all back into our luggage later. Score. The wind was too strong to attempt the front end of the Promenade walk (it WAS open, we just didn’t feel like braving it), so we did several laps avoiding it. The first sea day had looked much rougher, but we didn’t feel a thing that day, and this day there was some mild motion, but not enough to affect us adversely. Formal night again, so in our desire to avoid pictures, we ended up at Michelangelo at 4:50 and got a table immediately. By 5:10 the place was pretty full! We both had the shrimp cocktail to say we had, and we both had the Beef Wellington, with the Chocolate Journey dessert to finish off. It was really delicious. Since we had eaten so early, we had time to enjoy 30 minutes of Lou Gazzara’s singing talents (I DID like his singing!) in the Explorer Lounge before joining the rather extensive line-up to go to the Platinum/Elite Captain’s Circle reception. No door prizes were won by us but it’s always fun to see how many days the most traveled have accumulated. We walked for some fresh air and mild (very mild) exercise before going to get seats in the theatre for Colours of the World. NEWS FLASH! We actually stayed for the whole show! And it was very well done. And we didn’t fall asleep! I know, we were becoming regular party animals this many days into the cruise – we managed to totter up to Lido for a light snack before collapsing in our room for the night. No balloon drop for us!
  12. Monterey, California continued........more walking! We arrived at Cannery Row when many places were not open yet, but there was a long line-up at the Aquarium just beginning to go in. Lots of candy stores in the area, and fun to stroll through. The obligatory magnet was secured, and we were on our way. Back past the ship, we continued on our pathway and noted the Dr. Seuss-like vegetation and looked with admiration at the cacti at the State Historic Park. We toured the beach area and made our way through Old Monterey before going back to the ship around 12:30. Once on board, you KNOW what I did. I checked the International Café. For the elusive chicken salad. Not there again. It was the refrain of my voyage. I settled for a cheeseburger after climbing up to Lido, with a side of crab cakes and salad just to redeem myself. In the afternoon we did our respective activities and ended up together at one point by the pool. There was no problem on this cruise getting seats right by the pool! Did we actually use the pool? No, we did not. But we could have. We just didn’t. The afternoon was spent happily listening to the seals in the background and enjoying the views when we chose to walk around. The fog returned as we were preparing to leave Monterey for points north on our journey. We attended the 6:15 comedian show in theatre, but while I know a lot of cruisers love Steve Moris, we find a little of him goes a long way. We do really like it when he plays guitar though! The Mr. wasn’t up to supper tonight, so he accompanied me up to the buffet later where I ate, and he watched. Nothing memorable, except the pecan pie for dessert!
  13. SEPTEMBER 26, Wednesday: MONTEREY, California Deciding that today we did not have to be the first off the ship, we took it easy and weren’t up to breakfast until the decadent hour of 7:00 a.m.! Every morning I forgot about the made-for-you omelettes and today was no exception as I happily ate my oatmeal. Yes. I said it. Happily. It’s who I am. An oatmeal lover. It was another foggy start to the day as we checked the skies on Lido before trooping off to Michelangelo to get our numbers for a tender to get to shore. It must have been just after 8 when we arrived in the dining room, and there were several people there but not crowded. The staff commented that we were the wise ones, as it would get VERY busy in another hour or so. We arrived on shore at 9:00 a.m. after grinning our way through the choruses of all the seals as we entered the harbour. Because you just can’t be sad with seals around. Well, I can’t. Florence either. Another city with a lovely walking path close to the tender dock, after getting through all the shops designed to greet the cruise passenger (I was amazed at how many restaurant type places there were!), we headed to the right, and began our journey to Cannery Row. Along the way, if I were a birder, and I’m not, there were several varieties of interesting birds to view on the rocks in the water below the pathway. I can be appreciative of the species, but I really know nothing about it, as my children will attest to – “Mom what’s that bird over there?” “I don’t know dear, but if I were going to name it, I would call it a chickadee”. More seals, more birds, and visions of our ship in the lessening fog made for a very pleasant walk.
  14. Janet! I kept thinking, wouldn't it be cool, if some day when we pull Florence out for a candid shot somewhere, someone recognized her! We were so close, and yet so far......there's always next cruise! Someday we will meet in person!
  15. SAN FRANCISCO...end of the day We wore our feet out browsing the shops of the piers and made it back to the ship by 5:30. Yes, we had until 10:30 p.m. to spend in the great San Francisco, but I was cold, and we were tuckered out, and felt we had done all we set out to accomplish. After getting ready for dinner, we went to Michelangelo and (silly us) again asked as usual for a table for two. Such a little thing (literally) to ask for but no, there was no table for two to be had. Apparently, we were not the only ones not out to take advantage of the late evening in the big city. We took our little pager, which by now we had affectionately named Paige since we were becoming emotionally attached to her, and not 5 minutes later she began her dance and we were called back and sent up to Da Vinci. Ah, I get it, the traditional diners were the ones making use of the late stay in San Francisco! I had some Alaskan Crab legs for dinner since it seemed the right thing to do…. but only one order, not several as I noticed some of our neighbours doing. Tonight, I had the Princess Love Boat Dream for dessert, because I must have it at least once on every voyage. That done, we looked in on the performer in the theatre, but after hearing him wax eloquent on how he followed the likes of Michael Buble, when he began singing, we didn’t hear any resemblance, and took our leave. This voyage had the least entertaining entertainment of any we’ve been on. Oh no! Are we becoming jaded? Heaven forbid. We may have to take another Carnival voyage to snap ourselves out of it. I’m sure one Hairy Chest contest will have us begging for Princess again. We returned to our little cave to rest and read (I actually DID read for the record, and it was The Mr. who had to drag himself out of a comatose state to return later for a slice of Mexican pizza up on lido and some lovely night cityscapes. We opted out of seeing the ship go under the Golden Gate at 11:00 p.m. as it was still enrobed in fog.
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