Category Archives: alex

A Day at Dock

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Today was the end of cruise #1 and the start of cruise #2 which meant we spent a day at the Civitavecchia, Italy pier.  We had grand plans of joining a tour and heading back into Rome to see more of the sites but when we went to book we realized it wasn’t worth the nearly $200/per person 9.5 hour tour.  Half of the tour was back to the Vatican which we had already seen, the other 1/4 of it would be spent on the bus going to and from the ship to Rome (it’s an 1.5 hour trip both ways) and the other 1/4 would be viewing the Trevi Fountain which was currently under restoration and cleaning.  Needless to say we decided against the tour!

Brandi, Sue and Aaron went in to town, but my family decided to stay on the ship and have an “at dock day”.  We watched the old passengers disembark and the new ones embark.  Today was beautiful so we spent most of the day laying by the pool and upper deck reading, playing cards and resting. 

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After going out for a walk we reentered (or tried to) our floor but even with our special key the door wouldn’t budge.  Sadly my dad came right behind us and it worked for him…apparently Alex just isn’t that strong!

 

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The big change today is new neighbors.  Last week we had great neighbors.  In our private area there are eight suites (we take up three of them) and we got along really well with everyone.  The neighbors to the left of my room were from Germany had two kids, 8 and 12, who spent a lot of time in the pool but were really quiet.  The people across the hall have three girls, ages 3, 12 and 14 and we never see the older to girls but their little Emma entertains everyone in the Haven – they also are staying on for this second cruise) and the third set have a son and are also traveling on with us.  It was a quiet group of people.  Our four families got along well and pretty much took over the Haven.  Today however, is a whole new group of people. 

The neighbors next to me left and have been replaced with three loud obnoxious kids who have taken over the pool with constant screaming, yelling and running.  The kids have no respect for anyone, they are continually shouting for the butler to come and bring them items.  It’s just plain rude.  I’m hoping they quickly discover the kids drop-off day care and we see less of them because I can already see they’re going to be a problem.  They’ve now moved into the exercise room and are playing on the treadmill, it’s only a matter of time before one of them gets hurt…..

Tomorrow is another at sea day, so I’m looking forward to another day lounging by the pool, this vacation life is really taxing on a girl!!

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Pompeii

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This morning we got up early and boarded our tour bus for the ancient ruins of Pompeii.  1700 years ago (on my birthday, August 24th to be exact!) Mount Vesuvius erupted sending ash and pumice stones onto the city of Pompeii.  For three days homes were hit and people eventually suffocated to death.  Today, they have excavated a lot of the town and it was amazing to be walking through these ruins.

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A couple of nights ago I put $10 into a slot machine in the casino and with one pull and .30c I won $45!  Once I had won I played two more rounds before I cashed out and was super excited to receive the $43.75 in cash!

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Today is also the last night of the first cruise and there are a bunch of sad passengers.  I’m pretty ecstatic to be getting ready to start all over and begin a 10 day Eastern Mediterranean cruise!  Bring on 10 more days of five-star fun!

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Palermo Rain

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It rained all day long today, icky drizzly Seattle rain.  We headed out with raincoats, hats and umbrellas as we ventured through the throngs of taxi driving, umbrella sellers.  Up and down the streets we walked only to find out that the majority of Palermo is closed on Mondays.  That didn’t slow us down to much, we still saw a lot of pretty buildings and even a haunted mansion before finding a quaint café where we ordered bruschetta, a cutting board of Italian cheese and meats, and then a big plate of French fries!  My dad wanted Pellegrino, but the look on the waiter’s face made it clear he didn’t know what he was asking for.  Kelly apparently knew that by asking for “aqua with gas” meant carbonated water!  (Oh and no Brandi didn’t lose a leg on the trip, even though the picture below makes it look that way!!)

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When we got back to the ship Alex and I quickly got signed back in, but Brandi ran into some problems.  When they scanned her card nothing happened, they tried it twice before sending her over to a different security guard to solve the problem.  The guy who was helping her was super confused, he couldn’t figure out if Brandi was trying to get back on board or get off.  Apparently, when they signed her out it never registered so the entire time she was off the ship it still showed her as on.  It’s a good thing she didn’t get lost because the ship wouldn’t go looking for her for a very long time!!  The security guard kept asking her, “so you want to get off the ship?” Brandi finally convinced him she’d been off all morning and now wanted to go home!

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Once we all finally got back on board we met up with Grandma for lunch by the pool.  At the time we had all just eaten, so we decided not to order, she ordered Mexican tortilla soup.  Once it came we all ooh’d and ahh’d over how good it looked and I ended up ordering one with a lemonade.  Kelly piped up and said she wanted a lemonade too, but when Benny brought the drinks, he brought me my lemonade and Kelly a bowl of soup!  We all laughed and laughed and Kelly modeled “drinking her lemonade”.

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For dinner tonight we ate at the Italian restaurant, La Cachina.  All week I’ve been looking forward to this meal because I love Italian food, however my excitement was quickly squashed because it was the slowest.service.ever!  Alex got so bored that she cut up the plate of cheese Kelly had as an appetizer and created cheese flowers!

To make things even better I received my Caesar salad and saw a bug go scurrying across the lettuce.  Blech.  Even after I sent my buggy salad back the service continued to be slow, in an empty restaurant it took us nearly two hours to get our food.  Most of us didn’t even get dessert because we didn’t want to miss the big final production show at 7:30pm.  Kelly, however, managed to do both by bringing her dessert with her to the Stardust Theater!

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Tomorrow we’re in Naples, Italy and will see Pompeii and then back to Rome on Wednesday which will conclude cruise #1 and on to cruise #2!!

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Easter At Sea

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Today was our second sea day and Easter.  The day started like any other day, as people wake up we drag ourselves out to the Haven for breakfast.  Here’s a lovely photo of most of us not long after getting up!

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We attended a Jazz Brunch in Le Bistro where they had a live band playing New Orleans jazz while we enjoyed a delicious smorgasbord…I say smorgasbord because it was an odd paring of food even for brunch – there’s nothing like waffles & eggs with a side of penne pasta!

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After brunch we played what seemed like hours of cards before heading to an extremely overpriced game of BINGO where we were all big losers.  The highlight of my day was putting in $10 into a slot machine and with a .30c pull won $48!!  I can definitely see how gambling is addicting, it was hard to cash out and not just “try one more time!”.

Apparently the distance between Cagliari (where we were yesterday) and Palermo (where we go tomorrow) isn’t very far, so we spent a good portion of the day just bobbing along.  They turned off the motors and we just sat for hours so we didn’t get to far ahead!  Tomorrow morning we dock in Palermo, Italy and then onto Naples on Tuesday to see Pompeii!

Good night!

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Cagliari, Italy

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For the first time on this vacation I finally slept in.  I woke up to use the bathroom and knew it was only about 4am, looked at my phone and to my amazement it was 9:45am.  I woke up enough to roll out of bed and out for breakfast.  I didn’t sleep well last night and that tiredness stayed with me all day.  After wandering around town for a couple of hours I came back to the pool area and fell asleep, I woke up about an hour later and moved to my bed where I slept until 4pm.  Even after waking up from my three hour nap I was still tired.  I’m not sure what was up with the air today, but everyone in my family was equally as tired and napped.

I didn’t spend all day in bed, I did go out to tour Cagliari, Italy.  While the views were pretty, this city is built on a hill so it was a lot of walking up steep inclines to make it to the outlooks and since I was so tired this made it today that much more work!  In addition to lots of hills it was extremely windy and chilly!

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Tonight we saw a Cirque DuSoleil-esque show which was pretty amazing to watch, however it did look horribly painful!  The performers were flipping, folding and flying through the air with ropes, ribbon and rings.  I spent the entire time wincing with fear that they were going to come crashing down to the ground, but luckily they didn’t and were able to finish the amazing show.

Tomorrow is our second At Sea Day and it’s Easter!  I’m not sure what’s on the schedule for tomorrow other than a jazz brunch, but I’m sure the rest of the day will be busy as well!  After tomorrow we have one last stop in Palermo, Italy before returning to Rome where the first cruise is complete and most of the passengers will disembark and new ones will board.  It’s crazy to believe that our trip is nearing the halfway point!  I’m not ready to go home yet!!

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Day At Sea

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Today was a nice laid back day since we were at sea and had no place to go or be.  My big plans included sleeping in and taking a nap, neither of which happened. 

We started the day by participating in morning trivia where my team (Kelly, Alex, mom, dad, Brandi and Grandma) was horrible!  We got 6/20 questions right, but to our defense they were HARD QUESTIONS!  None of us our geniuses but we normally if we add all our brains together we aren’t horrible…today not so much!  To make things even more interesting the host had never hosted trivia before and apologized ahead of time for his accent which made the game even more exciting (and silly!) as we tried to decipher the question.  The entire audience, the host included, spent a majority of the game laughing as together we tried to understand the questions!

I then spent some time reading in the Haven.  My Grandma booked three suites on the 14th floor of the Norwegian Jade in their “Haven”.  In addition to our suites, we have access to a private swimming pool and hot tub, outside deck, food area and 24 hour concierge and butler.  It’s pretty sweet, pun intended!  I may never go back to my normal life!

Anyway, back to reading….I downloaded The Disneyland Story: The Unofficial Guide to the Evolution of Walt Disney’s Dream by Sam Gennawey before leaving and have been enamored by the book ever since.  This book is an actual biography of Disneyland and began with Walt Disney’s earliest ideas of what Disneyland could be until present times.  It’s been really interesting reading about the history, ideas and how some of the most famous rides came to be.  I’m now about 3/4 of the way through the book and am already having withdrawals about finishing it.  I’m such a dork, I’m already considering re-reading it right away.

Brandi and I participated in a scavenger hunt and was able to find 18/20 items on the list.  We couldn’t find two socks with holes in them or a beach ball.  After that we played several games of cards and then got ready for dinner.

I forgot one item at home and it’s a big one…my camera charger…when I made this realization I had a panic attack.  I was only a couple of days through the trip and the thought of my camera not working for the remainder of a trip of a lifetime wasn’t fun.  Luckily the photo gallery has a universal battery charges and is able to charge my battery.  Panic attack averted.  However, the downside was I didn’t take any photos today because they had my battery…well that and there was really nothing to photograph.  We did take a couple of photos tonight at dinner, but not many.

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Tomorrow we’re in Cagliari, Italy (???).  We have no tour so we’re on our own, wish us luck!

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Valencia, Spain

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The first thing I saw when I woke up this morning was a huge Ferris Wheel on a beautiful pier and I knew what I wanted to do!  The only problem was initially nobody else wanted to go.  My first thought was the Ferris Wheel would be near the main city and we’d for sure pass by it, but no such luck, we headed into the city on a bus going as far away from the Ferris Wheel as possible.

We didn’t have a tour today, so we all got on the bus that was supposed to take us into to town (again we docked in an industrial area and they had to bus us in).  The bus suddenly stopped, the driver got off and the entire bus (probably 100+ people) just sat waiting for the driver to get back on and take us into town.  A solid 5-minutes went by and we began to wonder, what was going on, it didn’t appear we were anywhere but an small street with a huge brick wall on one side and a small park on the other, definitely not the cityscape we were expecting.  Slowly one couple got up and began grabbing their things and meandered to the front of the bus and slowly the rest of the bus followed suit.  Little did we know that that was indeed our stop.  Never once did the bus driver tell us to get off, we all assumed he either had to make a call or go to the bathroom, not that this was where we got off.

Once we got off the bus we had no idea where we were or what to even look for so we did what any good tourist would do….we followed everyone in front of us!  Half a block down the road I spotted a tour guide store/stop and ran inside to see about getting a map.  The tour guide was selling maps of Valencia for 1euro, by this time my family would have paid him 20euro’s!  Not only did they provide me with a map but nicely highlighted the route into town and pointed me in the right direction.  I then held my head high as I exited the building and directed my family to the historic part of town and what do you know, three blocks down the road (just as I had informed the group) we turned left and suddenly found ourselves in the middle of the most beautiful square ever!

Now, if you know me you know one thing for sure I have ZERO sense of direction and am constantly getting lost in places where I know well…we’ll just say I was pretty darn proud to be able to direct everyone to an awesome location!  Thank-you to my fabulous map skills!

Once at the square we wandered around for a bit and then had a yummy croissant before heading back to the ship for adventure #2 of the day!

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After wandering around for a bit Alex, Brandi and I headed back to the ship with hopes of finding the Ferris Wheel. 

Once back to the dock Alex used her high school Spanish to get us a taxi to the Ferris Wheel and the beach.  We didn’t have much luck communicating with the first taxi driver we spoke with, we thought we’d agreed on a price and destination when suddenly he loaded another family in his taxi and took off.  Luckily taxi driver #2 agreed to take us and even offered to come back in one hour and pick us up! 

Once at the pier we purchased tickets for the Ferris Wheel and immediately got on, we even took out our 12th man flag and took a couple of photos!  After we road the Ferris Wheel we wandered over to the beach.  Neither one of us was dressed for a day at the beach, Alex was the most dressed in shorts and sandals, but Brandi was wearing boots and I was wearing a pair of Tom’s.  We immediately (against Brandi’s wishes!) took off our shoes and headed down to the water.

The sand on this beach was really fine and soft but had lots of seashell particles splattered all around so we had to watch where we walked.  Once at the water we quickly realized it was FREEZING!  Needless to say we snapped a couple of photos and quickly jumped out of the water!

I have to say today was one of my favorite days so far in the trip, I love going to the beach so this was right up my alley!

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Tomorrow is at At Sea day and I’m looking forward to sleeping in and being lazy!!

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Barcelona, Spain

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This morning we woke up to rain and quickly learned that “it never rains in Barcelona” or better yet, “I’ve never seen it rain in Barcelona”.  Great!  Anyway, today we ventured into Barcelona via bus for a scenic city tour.  The first part of our tour was on the bus and it rained, so it was hard to get good pictures however, when we started our walking tour the sun came out and it was beautiful!

The “highlight” was visiting the Holy Family Basilica that has been being built for nearly 100 years with the possibility of being done in 2026.  One word sums it up, UGLY.  If you want to visit Fred Flintstone’s castle than you’d love this place.  The original designer’s name was Gaudi and I’m pretty sure that’s where the word “gaudy” came from.  I wasn’t overly impressed!

We also went by the Olympic Stadium and saw where the flame was for the 1992 Barcelona Summer Games. 

After visiting the Basilica we headed down to the Gothic region and saw buildings and cathedrals built in the first century.  These buildings were amazingly beautiful and not to mention OLD!  It was pretty cool to see, touch and walk on such an old piece of history!!

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They also had a large BARCELONA sign in the middle of the square where Brandi, Alex and I stood by our letter!

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Tonight we played Deal or No Deal in the Stardust Theater, while none of us made it up on stage, Brandi matched enough briefcases to win $50 and have her name appear up on the big screen!  She was bright red, when she was spotlighted Smile 

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Tomorrow we’re off to Valencia, Spain!

Until then!

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