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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             SEPTEMBER 2018                                                                                                                         

This September we went to ALASKA for the 7the time. Never before did we have such good weather.
In all the trips to ALASKA there has been at least one bad day weather wise.
As usual the RED DOG SALOON was a blast.












5678We tried to make friends with these ladies but they were incognito. They were having a great time.


st-thomView from our balcony, arriving into St Thomas.  We have been here many times. as we have friends who live there.  More views of entering the harbor below.



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The beautiful Regal atrium.












This is Tanya, one of the great flight attendants on Southwest Airlines.  She made our flight more fun.

Beach signs on Labadee, Royal Caribbean’s private Island.  They direct you to all the fun places.  They served a great barbecue, and we spent the afternoon relaxing in the shade with our cruise buddies.

Wading is so refreshing, but she kept sinking.  The salt water and sand give you a mini-pedicure.

This is Cornie’s bar and grill right on the beach in St Kitts.  Cornie and his wife have been at this location for decades.  He is a great guy with fun stories.  He was not happy to raise his beer price from $1.50 to $2 recently, but sort of forced to by his competition.  What a deal! We had a nice shady spot viewing the beach.

It is wonderful to leave the snow and cold at home and cruise to the Caribbean in the winter.  Eighty degrees in the shade with an ocean breeze beats shoveling snow in 30 degrees every time.

This trip there were 3 birthdays celebrated and we all had a great time.


ed-base                                                                                                                           bass3

What can you do in Ensenada, Mexico ? The winery tour is fun.  You can take the shuttle out to the blowhole and have a good time walking around all the booths in the swap meet.  You can sample churros, buy all kinds of food,  and try one of the restaurants.

Our favorite place downtown is El Corralito restaurant.  Eduardo and his staff are excellent and he makes a perfect margarita. The pork carnitas are so delicious. Musicians come by and I was able to play the bass for a few minutes.  I gestured to the bass player and he let me take his place.  I hadn’t played bass in many years and it was great fun.  El Corralito is a fsmily business which has been around for 50 years.  Eduardo runs this one downtown and his dad runs the one on the                                                   other side of town.  It is well worth a visit


Eddy playing bass                                                                                                                                                                                                       Great trio


January is a good time to reflect on the past year and make plans for this year.  Are you planning a cruise this year or even for next year?  After booking, the anticipation is part of the fun.  Researching the ports you will visit, reserving shore excursions, talking about it with friends and shopping for new outfits makes the time pass faster when you book months or even a year away.  We have cruises booked as far out as Feb of ’17, which isn’t that far away now, but it was when we booked it.

Your first cruise is one you always remember.  Our first was in 1991 on Premier Cruise Line, The Big Red Boat.  It was actually the Oceania, but its 3 ships were affectionately know as The Big Red Boats because of their red hulls.  Now it would be a small ship, compared to all the giant ships today.  We had no balcony, no window, not even a porthole.  There were 2 bunks waist high on the walls and we had to step over a ledge about 6 inches high to go into the bathroom. There was no tv, radio or telephone. We were with a Shriner’s group, and Eddie was an officer, so a few of  us got to have dinner with the captain and his wife.  It was a short 3 day cruise with a beach day the only port, but it was a lot of fun and kept us dreaming of the day we could do it again.  Our next cruise wasn’t until 2003, a 7-day to Alaska, and there was a noticeable difference in the size of the ship and the cabins and public areas were so much nicer. Premier later became Disney Cruise Line.



The Red Frog Pub is relatively new on Carnival ships.  We recently sailed Miracle to Mexico again and played RFB progressive trivia.  It was different from any other trivia we have played because the questions were all related to the Caribbean or the pub.  Examples:  What is a group of frogs called?  What was the original name of the Bloody Mary?You get one point for each correct answer on the the first five, then on the second 5 you get two points each.  However, if you don’t know the answer and write a funny one, you get one point. The host checked the papers and read the funny answers.  Normally Carnival allows you to check your own, leading to the same people winning a lot with no one checking their answers.  For extra points, we had to appear one night with our shirts on inside out and backwards.  Every team participated.  The second night we got extra points if we brought a new team with us, but none of us were able to find one. We had two groups of people say they would show up, but neither did.


Here is Terrance, our fun host for trivia.  He was the ultimate cruise staff member and we had many good times with him. Our team is wearing bathrobes over our elegant night clothes for extra points.  Once again, every team showed up in bathrobes.


Our team won!  We received a medal, a deck of cards, a 14-carat gold (plastic) ship on a stick and that huge Beachcomber drink, which the four of us shared after dinner.  It was delicious and a great ending to the evening.

The Pub has games like chess, Jenga, electronic darts, Foosball and table shuffleboard.  It was challenging figuring out where to aim the puck, allowing for the ship movement.  At night they had a band playing and most of the time the pub was packed.  The bartenders are top notch and fun.  They take pictures of the customers and they pop up on tvs all around the room.  Do check out the pub when you cruise on Carnival.

After 35 cruises, I have to say we have never noticed the cruise director much.  Except for introducing the shows and the Captain at parties, they seem to be behind the scenes most of the time.  They do have a lot of work to do behind the scenes.

But, our last cruise on Carnival Miracle was a brand new experience.  Enter Cory Rogers!  He is fabulous. We first met him at the sailaway party, where he not only appeared, but got right in with the dancing.  He is so much fun to be around.  He taught a dance class one day and hosted Harry Potter trivia, to the delight of the younger cruisers.   He seemed to be out and about from early morning to late night.

On the last night, he and most of his staff were hanging out in the Red Frog, talking to guests, having a drink and dancing to some great music.  Oh, and we played shuffleboard with some of his staff.  The Red Frog is a great new addition to Miracle, with board games, darts, foosball and shuffleboard.   A shout out to Abbey, Hailey, Jonathan and Gary,, who kept us entertained with trivia, Karaoke, dance classes and more.  There was so much to do, sometimes we had to choose one activity over the other.

sandbarSomehow, in all our trips to CA, we had never been here. It is a fun town, easy to walk around and the weather was beautiful.  We needed to buy a watch battery, which turned out to be an adventure.  In our younger days, we always went to a department store for this, but we walked to the mall and neither big store had them.  We checked out camera stores, Radio Shack and anything else we went by that might have one.  Finally, a sales clerk sent us to a jewelry store, which was over a mile away.  They promptly installed a new battery, and we were on our way again.  We were surprised by the gated door that required them to buzz us in.  I guess no matter the area, jewelry stores are prime targets for thieves.

This was a great 7-day cruise, and it’s nice to be able to drive to the port.  In the past, we have always done longer cruises on Princess, so we discovered something new.  On shorter cruises, each time you make a purchase at a bar, they punch a card and when it is full, they all go into a big tub and one is chosen on the last night.  We tried to find out where they would do this, but no one seemed to know.  After dinner, we went to the Wheelhouse Bar, which was our hangout.  Imagine our amazement when Roli told us our card was chosen at the drawing.  We didn’t even believe it at first!  Having our card drawn  zeroed out our bar bill for the entire trip!  And we didn’t pay for any drinks that night after it was drawn. We had been teasing all week that if we had a chance to win, maybe we should buy extra bottles of wine, but we did not. This was a fabulous way to end the cruise!



This is the Grand Princess sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge.  We were on the Crown Princess, which is her sister ship.  We sailed out of San Francisco at night, and went up to one of the high decks as we sailed under the bridge. So glad we stayed up to see it, as we missed the arrival at 5 AM.   It was amazing, but our phone would not take good pictures.  It really looked close, but a crew member told us that there was between 8 and 12 feet of clearance, depending where you measured it.

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We have been to SF several times, so this time we explored Pier 39. It was walking distance from the ship, but it was a long walk.  In the past we have ridden the cable cars, visited Ghiradelli Square and sampled wonderful chocolate, and driven down the crookedest road in the US.   Pier 39 has lots of interesting shops, and we definitely walked off that night’s dessert.  The carousel is also at Pier 39.  It wasn’t running that day, so not sure if it usually does.    It was a bit chilly and windy, but that was expected.  We decided not to take the Alcatraz tour, as it involves a half hour boat ride, and we preferred not to do it that day.  It’s always good to leave something to do the next time.


This is Travis, on his first day working as a bartender at the Edgewater Grill in San Diego.  See how happy he is!

The last post showed how tired he was after waiting on us, as he doubled as a waiter. He was so personable and fun to talk to.  We had a fabulous pizza and enjoyed the ocean view.  It was a hot day, and we had walked all around the Seaport Village shops, so we sat inside, and enjoyed the cool while most people wanted to sit outside.  This is a lovely place.

Seaport Village is a great place to walk around and see all the different shops.  There is something for everyone there.  We took a bicycle taxi from the ship as we knew we would get our walk in once we got there.  Gary entertained us as he pedaled.

We have been to San Diego numerous times, so we bypassed the regular tourist stops like the zoo and the theme parks.  It was a beautiful day and much warmer than the days in San Francisco and Santa Barbara.

In the past. we have boarded a cruise ship her, so it was different to get off the ship here.

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