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Legend of the Seas?!?


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Too bad you didn't get to see the ships this summer :( I hope you can catch the Celebrity in Nanaimo. You can always go down to the Ferry dock and try to pretend! I know, that was a stretch! Actually, when we were on the ferry out of Nanaimo last we saw a pod of Orcas. It was my first time seeing any whales so I was silly excited.


I would highly recommend Reggie (the above link) for cave tubing in belize. its a great deal. He picks you up at the tender and gives you an extended (longer than the cruise groups) version of the tour. He only takes 14 people at a time.


You can't go wrong with a beach day in GC, I loved that beach!


Charlos and Charlies is a tradition for me in Cozumel :)


Let me ask my Sister (who lives in Tampa) if she has any pointers on a hotel.

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Good morning Carol, it is almost midnight here, 8am? 'cross 'the pond'.


I think you would enjoy Vancouver, if you ever make it out this way. They have lots of mini-cruises on the B.C. Ferry system around all of the little islands that make up the coastline here. Marjorie might know more about them than me, (considering she lives on the big coastal island ;) ). Those tours are something I always think about doing.


I bet you don't miss S. Florida at this moment, I saw they are having horrible rain and thunderstorms right now they are even talking about flooding in Miami. This is one hurricane season everyone is going to be happy when it comes to an end.


No worries about your reviews, I can see that it is a ship that you love and you want everyone else to know that. The pictures you gave me really were impressive, I know I'll be happy with this choice :)


I am just a little concerned with Royal Romance (wedding people), most people on these boards dislike them, some love them. I am not sure what to think at the moment. When I spoke to their call center on the phone the lady was so rude. Not a quality I want in someone planning my wedding!!

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Good Morning Ladies


Jamie , I have to say Vancouver is beautiful , our cruise to Alaska Embarked form that port . Our limo drive drove so fast thou that the city looked like a blur , but pretty . I'm sure we will be taking another Alaskian cruise for one of our Anniversarys so you may have to come along !!!!


Carol , you must go to bed earlier 3 AM ? Are you on another cruise site , I saw a Carol on the I think it was cruisefool or cruisechat ? Did you do a 14 days cruise ? If not then there is another Carol that went on the same ship LOL .

i did alot of searches last night on which cruise we want to book next and I am lost . Jamie did you like Bermuda ? I saw your take II , was it bad ? Which ship did you go on ? We are able to drive down to that one so we would be able to save a fortune . I'm thinking about that one for late October 2006 .I really really really want to go to St Kitts & Anitgua but the only ship I know of leaving the states and not San Juan is the 11 day Disney cruise and OH MY I don't think we would be able to afford another Disney for a few years from now , they are very expensive ! I love the Freedom of the Seas but not the itenerary .


Well I think I'm heading off for a Siesta , I want to kick this darn cold .

This is where I'll be sleeping .I got this photo off yahoo , thought it looked like a nice place for a nap . This guy will have to go thou :)


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madge62 -

I've been doing a lot of hotel research in Tampa because we are staying for 2 nights prior to our cruise in January. The best deal I found at a hotel close to the cruise terminal was the Courtyard Marriott. They are about a mile from the pier and offer free shuttle service and I believe continental breakfast, but can't remember exactly on that one. The regular rate we were quoted for one night was $140 double occupancy and this was the cheapest for the hotels located in that area. My DH is fulltime military, so we actually booked with the military rate, which for once was cheaper than AAA. You can search rates for them at http://marriott.com/property/propertypage.mi?marshaCode=TPADT.

One of the easiest ways I searched for hotels near the cruise terminal is under www.hotels.com. After you select your dates and it searches, you can change the location to show hotels near the cruise terminal. This will give you an idea of what's close.

There are lots of cheaper hotels, but they are mostly located a few miles north closer to Busch Gardens. When I called our hotel, they said cab fare to Busch Gardens would cost about $15-20. So would probably be about the same from that area to the pier.

Hope this helps:)

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Hey Settingsail,

Vancouver is very pretty, but since I can see the same 2 mountains from my window and the same portion of the bay, every now and then you have to go look at something different to remember how pretty it all is.


We should look into look into an Alaskian cruise sometime, we watch the Alaska cruises leave from our patio it is so sad not to be on them :( Hopefully by then we'll have a larger apartment so you can stay and see the city! Property is silly expensive here, we're on par with Manhattan.


I LOVED Bermuda, that is why we took II. The first time we went we had to leave the island a day early because of Hurricane Fabian but they gave us an extra day at sea. We loved the island so much we had to go back.


We went on the Celebrity Zenith, small ship with a big heart. Celebrity sold its sister ship the Horizon and I think fans of the Zenith flipped out on them not to sell. That is the ship I met my honey on, we wanted to get married on it. But it is only doing 10 and 11 days the winter we want to go.


Late Oct would be good, considering Hurricane season. I love the itinerary on the Bermuda cruise, you really feel relaxed and not rushed to fit as many thing in as possible since there are only 2 ports and you stay in each for 2 days. A little tip though when booking Bermuda, I would highly recommend a smaller ship for the cruise. The small ships dock right against the main street in town, the big ships dock in the dock yard and you have to cab or bus EVERYWHERE. Plus on the smaller ships you get to go through a little pass in St George where a town Cryer comes out with a bell and welcomes the ship to town, its pretty sinkin' cool.


One more thing, they used to run buses (from all over the North East) to the dock at $60pp. This was a nice option, the bus driver took your luggage and you didn't see it until it arrived in your stateroom :)

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I just had a bride from a recent Royal Romance wedding tell me the most horrible story about how badly they screwed up their wedding on an RCI ship. They reserved a lounge for 5 hours and they kicked them out after 3 and made them pay for the 5 hour including the D.J. Yikes!! They said the cake tasted like saw dust and the flowers were late.


My honey and I are thinking about going to the Justice of the Peace up here before we leave for the cruise and only having a renewal on the ship for the family. It sounds like the option with the least headaches!

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Thanks for the hotel information phantom, we do like Marriotts and especially if they include breakfast!


Believe it or not Jamey, I've lived on the west coast my entire life, and on the Island for 23 years but really have not explored the rest of the Gulf Islands. I travel to Vancouver at least every 6 to 8 weeks and even though I'm out on the water, the ferry is definitely not a "cruise ship" by any means! Oh and I did manage to see a few of the ships up close and personal on the Labour Day weekend when we were in Vancouver for 3 nights. I dragged my DH down to walk around Canada Place and peer into the portholes. Even had a good look at the Veendam which was pretty but also saw Vision which is a sister ship of LOTS and had fun trying to pick out the equivalent of our RFS and tried to size up the balcony space.


I definitely live in a beautiful part of the world but I crave palm trees! Driving through Vancouver last Friday (our office schlepped over for a golf tourney for the day) down Denman and along Beach I noticed that there are palm trees everywhere. I could almost believe I was in Mexico, Florida or the Caribbean!


Hope you're all having a good afternoon, or whatever it might be on the other side of the world!



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I can see some of those palm trees from my balcony, they are surreal! Since beyond them on clear days I can see some of the semi-snow capped mountains on the Island! I live about a half block from the Denman/Davie area.


I am glad you got to see some ships this summer :) The Veendam is actually our back up ship at this point ;) The Ferries aren't that impressive, you have to imagine REALLY hard especially since they don't use their biggest Ferries on that run. It seems like those go to Victoria.


I'll probably talk to my sister soon. I'll see if I can find out another hotel option for you, if only as a back up.





I can hear the shipboard announcements on the Volendam right now that is in port!! HA HA HA. Only on really clear days I can hear the P.A. systems from the ships in port. That is too funny!

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Good Morning Everyone, it is 8.30 am here..sunny and bright for 2 days now.. and the computer mouse isn't working..so I will just quickly say how amazing the above conversations are regarding Vancouver and the Islands...Jamiski and Madge,I would love to be able live on an island, travel by ferry, to see tips of snow capped peaks..hear the ships tannoy..get even a tiny glimpse of a bay and be able to meet up for lunch where all the ships come in..and palm trees to boot. I live in a large (one of the largest in Europe) housing estate,with the main road thru it running past my door. Not continuous city traffic I might add, but a busy private type road. Very Nice houses..some very expensive, and our family home I am proud of for all the work my husband has done for us..but still a housing estate with trees and a small park area that the kids vandalize all the time.. but otherwise just rows and streets of houses. We have A city, called so only because it has a cathedral which is very pretty and a few picturesque Charles Dickens type narrow cobbled streets. But it is otherwise only the size of a small town .. I seldom go in despite a bus passing the door, unless I have money to shop and that isn't often..a small bit of river runs thru Derby..our closet to any sort of water. But we do have lovely countryside and they go into the peak district as it's called( great hiking area) not long after you leave Derby..but we seldom get out as I don't drive and DH as a teacher has paperwork non stop at weekends and that's when I grocery shop. We lived an hour from London...off the Thames Estuary..and freighters and The Ferry to Holland you could just see standing on a bed from our upstairs window. That was my husbands home for 40 years..but we moved quite rightly ( it was dowdy and industrial and old) after I'd live there 5 years..when prices went thru the roof and we needed more space with the kids and had nowhere to go. The midlands (central England) was just establishing itself with new business and homes and we bought a brand new 4 bedroom corner house for the price of our duplex in the south. Which we have extended since then.And it is a very nice neighborhood with shops on our doorstep and a doctors and eyecare and video shop..plus other essentials..all within the community. That was 18 years ago and now prices are outragious here as well. But I miss the sight of the sea so much..We never have drives out as it is 3 hours each way to get to the sea and DH hates driving ..so won't do it all in one day and overnight stops are so expensive here for bed and breakfast or travelodge. So I can go 2 years without even a glimpse of water..very depressing to me as the years fly by..But the cruise on the Legend was Magic..at sea every single night ..all 14...and 5 full days at sea. I had to be dragged away from the deck and never slept watching the view every second from my window not wanting to miss anything. that' the only question I have for the 2006 cruise...if we make it, we have chosen a variation of our last route to include Palma Majorica instead of a Praia de Rocha in Portugal which is fine..but Rome is dropped (2hrs from the port) which is sad and Barcelona and Palma now become overnight ports and Malaga is added in place of Rome. It means there will be a little less sea time..but we will see the ship and some cities lit up and Palma and Malaga are supposed to be very nice..so I think it will still be wonderful..Just the other question of getting all the money..My husband had an extra part time job last year..but it's not fair on him at 61 when I have NO job. I had been seriously ill for a number of years and housebound but now I am 85% well again..and feel very guilty.The trouble is I still have Arthritis all thru my neck, spine and legs.. also a condition that attacks the tissue.so I suffer a lot of pain at times and I can't do a job either standing or sitting too long.. I need to find something I could do at home. Another setback we've just had, My one daughter is under threat of losing her job..she was hired on a temp contract due to budgets. We had hoped to pay most of her and her sisters fare as their 21st birthday present..assuming my husband kept the 2nd job..They are wonderful girls and do so much for us and have never had a proper fun vacation. I had then hoped between the girls and fellas (only 1 fella has a job..the other is at Uni) they could pool together and come up with the guys fares. we have paidout a large deposit..so if it goes wrong we will lose a lot of money..a Big Worry. Enough blues..I had a great day with my little grandaughter..she is getting bigger and smarter and stronger everyday..btw it appears grandma had Bob the builder mixed up with Noddy ( I think Noddy is on over the pond as well) Noddy has all the toys as friends and animal.s.Bob has a girl that helps him build and stuff. silly grandma! think she'd know the difference.But What do you expect, I was raised on captain kangaroo and Mr greenjeans..how sad is that? and the lone ranger..So that really shows how old I am.. Hope All of you on this thread have a great day and All are happy and well.. Regards to all..Carol in england

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I must say that I have really enjoyed keeping up with this thread. The Legend is a wonderful ship and there are wonderful people here that have been corresponding. She is the first RCCL ship that we sailed on, and there is something about her that continues to attract us. A warm and fuzzy feeling.


For a number of years I lived on Whidbey Island, in the state of Washington, just south of Vancouver. I would take the ferry into Seattle 5 days a week, and in the '60s there would only be a small line to board. Today, when we visit, we somethimes wait in line (auto line) for hours before being able to drive on. The ride is only 15 minutes, and very beautiful, but we made the right decision in moving to Scottsdale and the Valley of the Sun.



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Well , I have to tell you guys we booked the Royal caribbean Explorer of the Seas to Bermuda for October 2006 . It was an amazing price and we would love to visit the island . The ship is huge and it seems there will be plenty for the kids to do . We are hoping to get at least 4 more couples to go with us .

This will be 3 cruises in 1 year , Yup I have a sickness :)


It's going to be one of the lazy days for us . I am feeling a touch today . Oh silly me I went into work last night and I wasn't even scheduled LOL , the silly who read me my schedule read it wrong , so I work last night and my scheduled night is tonight , oh well I guess its more hours and now that we are booked to the brim I'll need the money .


Have a super day everyone .


My moment of Zen


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I must say that I have really enjoyed keeping up with this thread. The Legend is a wonderful ship and there are wonderful people here that have been corresponding. She is the first RCCL ship that we sailed on, and there is something about her that continues to attract us. A warm and fuzzy feeling.


For a number of years I lived on Whidbey Island, in the state of Washington, just south of Vancouver. I would take the ferry into Seattle 5 days a week, and in the '60s there would only be a small line to board. Today, when we visit, we somethimes wait in line (auto line) for hours before being able to drive on. The ride is only 15 minutes, and very beautiful, but we made the right decision in moving to Scottsdale and the Valley of the Sun.




Hi Rick, Good to see we've run into each other again..do you remember you told me all about the Legend and about your friends George and Sally teaching bridge..how are they? Are you still meeting up with the British couple you met onboard for a holiday together? I am glad you all got on so well and especially that you still found the Legend, despite your many times on her, to be as beautiful as we did.. I think you are the best endorcement for the ladies, and any gents on this thread, of just how great a ship she is. Runi, at the crown and anchor certainly thought the world of you and your wife and I was amazed when the phone rang in my cabin and it was Runi checking on us at your request...Very kind indeed. Please keep in touch..Here's my Email..Dannygodfrey@Hotmail.co.uk..and I agree, everyone on this site are lovely people and I hope all of us can keep in touch and compare travels. Regards, Carol in derby England.....And It Is Sunny!!! for the 3rd day in a Row!!

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settingsail - you will love the Explorer. That was our first cruise ship, which was this past January. It was so lovely and had so many activies. The kids should never say they are bored:D


I wish we could afford to cruise several times a year, but have a few years before that's possible. Next year is 2 vacations however because the cruise on Legend in January and then a large family vacation at WDW in Orlando in December. Then planning for a trip to Denmark the following summer (2007) to visit my DH's family, then hopefully another cruise the following January 2008...Freedom of the Seas we're thinking. So much to do...so little money to do it all with;)


Carol - I know what you mean about the water. I spent many years of my childhood in NJ, 45 minutes from the ocean. Then moved inland to Ohio/Indiana (12-16 hours from ocean) for so many years in each location before moving back to PA, which means we're now 3 hours from the shore. Closer, but I miss being so near to the water and loved being on the cruise ship at sea. I would go up early every morning while my DH slept and just watched the water passing by.


I have to admit that my favorite experience was when I used to travel with my job and I would go to Portland, Maine for a week. I used to stay at this hotel that overlooked the harbor and I would get up early, just to stand and watch the ships. It's such a beautiful area.


Ah, so many good memories. I guess I should get back to work and get busy.

Chat with all later


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Hi Jamiski and Setting Sail..Just picked up on yesterdays messages..thanks for the morning message addressed to me..it is always lovely to hear from everyone. I seem to tell my life.. and everyone elses.. life story. I am so sorry to hear of all the problems with the wedding service..it really is appalling that they could be so unprofessional and inefficient. A wedding is so important and I am sure they are charging a packet..you would think they'd be able to handle it better. The idea of you marrying first and then having a follow up celebration is a good idea. But it is a shame if that is not really your first choice and you have to compensate for their failures. But whatever you decide..I know you will have a beautiful wedding.. a great cruise...and a Fantastic new married life. Your Honey is very lucky!


Setting sail..It could very easily be ME..the Carol.. you noticed..it would be on a site called SHIP HAPPENS..it is the Uk version of this site..but arranged differently. in 3 categories...Pre cruise discussion..(people ask questions about a ship,company, future cruise any recommendations etc.) Cruise Reviews (exactly as it says..gives reviews or again asks and answers questions about a cruise or ship) and ship mates you can look for people or it is really a general question board as well. They also have a less used section discussing prices. ..Who's found a good deal and what does everyone think of this price? etc. I have given a review on Legend.. and also chatted back and forth with people in June and July, when we were all waiting our cruise, and as some people weren't happy with the first couple cruises out of the UK and made it public knowledge on the boards, it really worried the rest of us with their complaints. It was a very big relief to have each one come back in turn and tell us what a wonderful cruise they had had. People even now, (even this site) going on the cruise, are still concerned due to those few bad reviews and I have answered a lot of questions regarding simple problems that were solvable when the complaints were made and are non existant now...like the 3 course dinner vs 5..but you could have as much as you wanted to eat..no matter what number it was grouped into. Just ask. We were 14 days.. Leaving from southampton it takes 2 plus sea days to get to the Mediterrannean....some are 11 or 12 days and on sailings leaving from Majorca,Spain or Italy..they will also have 7,9 or 10 days itinery..as they are already in the Med. We had 8 ports in 5 countries.. Barcelona and Vigo in Spain...Lisbon and Praia de Rocha in Portugal, Villefranche (for Monaco/MonteCarlo/Nice) France...Civitevecchio (for Rome) Italy....Ajaccio,Corsica and Gibralter..It was absolutely fantastic...very beautiful ports of call. A dream cruise Cheers carol

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Hi Phantom


I can't really afford it either , thats the reason why I'm not a stay at home Mommy . I end up paying for most of the cruises myself as DH seemed to seal his back pocket with super glue :)


We are looking into Te Freedom of the Seas , that would be 2008 for us also as I cannot see another one after these for quite sometime .Maybe we will see you then . I just talked to some of our family members and my DH's Mom is in and possibally his sister Bethany . I know we would not go if noone else does . At least I don't think so , well maybe HEHE .


The Explorer looks amazing and huge , I can't believe the size ! When did you go ? Like I said ours is October so I am hoping it is still quite warm there .

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Hi all, I have just kinda been lurking on this post. I am getting so excited about the cruise. I think that we are going to stay the night before the cruise in the Chase Suite Hotel because they have a stay and sail package that you can leave your car at the hotel and they will shuttle you to the ship. We are going to stay in the 2 br. suite. With the parking being free at the hotel it costs about the same or less as parking at the terminal and getting a cheaper room or rooms. Well, I just checked the price again and it will be $112.00 for 1 night. Since the pier parking is around $10.00 per day, I think that it is a great deal after all.


Is anyone else driving to Tampa?

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About 8:20am here and just saw my honey off to work, having my coffee and reading up on the posts. Been addicted to CNN lately, I used to work for the government so I have an unhealthly additction to Policy.


Carol - Even though you are so very land-lock it sounds like you live in a cute little city. Our only cobblestone streets are in Gastown, which is cute but WAY overprice and the gateway to the Drug addict alley. My honey and I always watch this one realestate show out of the UK, I can't remember its name. It is the one where they show a couple or a family 3 homes then they pick a home and if the guess within 500 pounds they win the house. I really show how silly the cost of realestate are in a lot of areas over there. The cost of homes is silly here, it is blamed mostly on the foreign investors, mostly from Asia. We have had friends bid on a home only to have a person call from Japan and overbid them by about $500,000 over the asking price. I would miss the water too if I live inland too far especially if I grew up in South Florida like you did. We'll that's it, we're coming to pack you up and move you to Vancouver!! ;) We're seriously considering the just renewal on the ship, the more we think about it the more I like it. Pros are its $1000 cheaper to do it this way, we don't have to get married in port we can marry at sea and I don't have to do the muster drill in my gown!!!

I hope everything works out with your cruise plans for your kids, just don't stress yourself too much.



Rubrrick - My soon to be in-law's winter in AZ, I guess that is the West Coast thing to do. When I lived on the East Coast everyone wintered in Florida.



SettingSail - Good to hear about the Bermuda trip, you're going to love it there. Between my honey (who sailed the Bermuda run from May to October last year) and I we are wealth of Bermuda-Knowledge!! So let me know if you need any tips!

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Hello everyone - I have been lurking and I must say that reading all of your posts and reviews about the Legend has made me even more excited about our cruise in March - I can't believe it is still 6 months away! We have booked a junior suite this time around and will be cruising with our 11 year old son and brand new baby daughter - well, she is new now, only 8 weeks but will be 8 months by then.


Any reviews on the junior suites or tips for cruising with an infant?



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We are going to be staying in a junior suite our our Legedn cruise in 9 weeks . We are traveling with our twin 3 year olds , well they'll be 4 . i am going to to be sending lots of pictures and a review we get home . The junior suite was such a good price that we couldn't pass it up . Well it seems I can't pass eanything up lately :)


Jamie , I will take any suggestion you have for the Explorer :o and Bermuda .

We are probally not planning on anytours booked through the ship due to the fact I'm going to have empty pockets by then LOL So if you know of any good tours we can book off the ship please tell me about them :)

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The beauty of the Bermuda Cruises are you are there the whole week and the island really isn't that big. For this reason I never plan trips. If you are interested there are tourism center's there to help you out. A couple of must do's, my unoffical top 10...


1. Put the kids in daycare for the day and get a scooter, just cruise around the island and explore all of the little unknown beach. Make sure you hit the Swizzle in for lunch and a Rum Swizzle. Beware!! they are tasty but strong so whoever is driving I would not encourage drinking more than one!! Don't forget to get a t-shirt! This would be a good time to go to Elbow beach, the currents are stronger there so it may not be a good kiddo beach but it is gorgous none-the-less!

2. Horseshoe Bay is a great place to take the whole family, I would suggest sharing a cab there (most of the cabs are vans), it is usually about $25 each way. The tide there is pretty calm and there are lots of shallow tidal pools for the twins to splash around in and look at fishies. They have rental chairs and umbrella's and anything you could imagine you would need for a beach day.

3. St. George is a great place to walk around and look at shops, there is a beautiful old church there that is worth checking out as well as a historic home.

4. If you feel like going to a club one night for dancing I would suggest the Eclipse in Hamilton. They have 'Crew' night on Tuesday, which is quite the party.

5. Turtle Bay is another great beach for the kiddo's, little to no wave's and there are beautiful bermuda style homes to look at across the way.

6. If you are an early riser (7am or so) ask some of the locals how to get to the 'cut' in St. George and find out when the smaller ships will be passing through it. It is an amazing site to see how ships pass through it into the bay and as I said the town cryier will be there setting off a canon to welcome the ship into port, it is a riot!!

7. I am not a big fan of St. Catherine's beach (near St. George), but it is a nice place to see. Their is an old ClubMed there that has been abandoned for years, its kind of creepy but worth a look-see.

8. There is a ferry boat that sails near the dockyards (I think near where you are porting). My mom went on it and said it was a great inexpensive way to see the island by boat.

9. Main street in Hamilton is a great place to window shop, a lot of high-end stores there. I never did a lot of shopping, but people say there are good deals. Don't forgot to check the side streets for the smaller shops.

10. I would look into snorkling either with a group, or rent snorkles at Horseshoe Bay, the reef's and the fish there are so pretty.


I would suggest sharing cabs to most places because they are not cheap! There are public buses that you can buy a weekly pass for, but our experience with the buses was not to good. They are hot and it seems like you ALWAYS have to walk up hill to the bus stops.


Hope my list helps, I'll give you more as I think of them :)

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Jamiski.. The program you are talking about is called HOT PROPERTY..The prices are so high here as there are not enough houses being built..but now they have gone too high and properties are standing and beginners can't get on the ladder.We have a fourth of the population of America..but are only one thirtyeighth the size. as was said on TV..the huge area destroyed by Katrinia..was the same size as all of the UK.. which includes England, Wales,Scotland and N.Ireland. Derby is a lovely place..and I have a nice home and a good life. that life just seems to be speeding up a little too fast, nearly 56 and Dh 61..and I am in a panic to see and do everything. When we sailed this year,I could not believe it had been 27 years since I had been on a ship..I was working,single and living in florida. In betwen I obviously raised a wonderful family and looked after my parents..but suddenly you are approaching being a senior citizen and you wonder WHEN Did This Happen?The cruise was certainly like being young again..would recommend it to anyone.. and made DH the happiest I have ever seen him. His first ever cruise experience and the most determined to get going again next year..Something I never expected. This one was a double celebration..25 years married (in Jan) we never had a honeymoon..he left to return to the navy hours after we married..3 months later to return and then a lot of the first 3 or 4 years away. Mind you, he always says the first years of our marriage were the best..Just remembered WHy ! He Wasn't Here!!! lol Also DH 61 birthday just after our return. I felt bad as he kept saying in the Dining room onboard ".when is there going to be a birthday at our table? "and kept teasing the daughter of our tablemates to say it was her birthday. the table behind us had 8 diners and at least 4 birthdays during the cruise..we kept saying it was a fix..they'd get a cake and everyone singing and toasting. My DH birthday was 12 days later, and I bet with a little tip perhaps the Head waiter could have arranged a cake if I agreed to pay. Just never occured to me at the time. Well we've got next year.It will be even nearer his birthday..we sail on Aug 5 till Aug 19..his birthday is the 26th.So we'll try to arrange something for the last night.we will be at sea. My daughters and boyfriends will get there. Whatever it takes.This summer, I was away, they finished off loads of work in the house to surprise me. We had to change rooms to accommodate my son and his partner and baby.when she was born... daughters had to share a very small room for over 18 months until we converted the garage. now my son has moved..I am in the conversion with DH and everyone else has a room upstairs.In only 14 days one BF fitted laminate wooden flooring with a professional finish to my stairs and landings..(we were told it couldn't be done.) People coming in have wanted to hire him.. but he's into car repairs and does screen printing on shirts etc..makes his own designs. They put up mirrors, blinds,pictures and landscaped part of the garden..doing all the work themselves and paying with their own money.I am very Lucky indeed.btw.another plus for Derby..We have all the US shops.. 5 min from us are.. Costco,a giant Walmart,Pizza hut, burger king, UCI multi cinema, mcdonalds etc. On a different note, I have just heard about hurricane Rita and the mass evacuation for the first time. It is unbelievable the severity and the amount of these awful storms..there has never been anything like this ..it is so scary.I pray it will turn in time and not destroy like Katrina did.. that is just unthinkable. They are saying it is worse.. and of all places to hit..Texas. where the victims went for shelter. some are yet again being evacuated. So many people with no homes and nothing left of their life..How do you start again from scratch with no money.. no job? I cannot imagine how awful it must be to lose everything. We are so very Lucky it makes me feel very spoiled. All the Best, carol

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