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KCSungirl

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About KCSungirl

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    Cool Cruiser

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    Leawood, KS
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  1. Hi Geoherb! Glad I found your “live”. Have a great trip. Remember the golden rule - FIGHT FOR YOUR ANSWER! ❤️P
  2. If you are cruising Iceland and Norwegian Fjords, I posted my live blog that might contain helpful port info for you..
  3. Thanks for coming along. Sorry for delayed posts. I posted my souvenir show on Sept 14. You can check out my FB page for the post. I have mixed feelings about the Pacific Princess. I am ready for a big boat experience next time. Princess cruise number 27 is in the planning stage! Wishing you safe travels and smooth seas. KCSungirl
  4. Cruise Debarkation. Day 20 - Monday 09 September 2019 Location - Dover - Heathrow- Chicago - Home I purchased the cruiseline transfers to the airport. ($59/pp). I highly recommend this. It is very efficient. The ride was a little over 2 hours. I did the same thing last year from Southampton to Heathrow. Heathrow is a fantastic airport for a travel junkie. Super busy and lots of jumbo jets. Good shopping/food. British Airways had a pilot strike today and all flights were canceled. This strike was a long time in the making. I understand where the pilots are coming from. They gave up a lot when BA was doing poorly. Now BA Is doing well, but haven’t shared the wealth. This made it quite busy for all the other airlines as they absorbed the passengers. We flew Princess Class on United in the upgraded Polaris product. Love it. B-Class also gets Fast Track thru security at a Heathrow. I got the dreadful SSSS boarding pass. I was randomly selected for additional screening. It’s such a hassle. I am already busting out of my luggage and can’t get everything put back together. We had a great flight over the pond on a 767-300. We had to go through Terminal 5 at O’Hare, which means taking the bus to Terminal 1 for our connection. The train is not operating now. Takes a lot of time. We did hop on an earlier connection. So great to get home a little earlier. We went to the Polaris lounge on the C concourse while we waited for our connection. Grandma told Duke, Dolly, Neo, and Phoebe we were coming home. They all miss me a lot. One more flight and I am home sweet home.
  5. Cruise Day 15 Day 19 Sunday 08 September 2019 Location - At Sea, The North Sea I started packing two days ago because it takes me three days to figure out how to get my stuff back in the luggage. It’s an art, let me tell you. Our best lunches on the ship were from the grille - cheeseburgers, hot dogs, fries. Can we be any more American? The Cruisetones had a concert in the showroom lounge at 2pm. They featured songs from the 60’s/70’s songwriters. Carole King, Van Morrison, Neil Diamond, etc. They ended with the best song - Chuck Berry “You Can Never Tell”. I love that song. Pulp Fiction made it a bigger hit. We have DRAMA today. Someone accidently stole my Levi jeans from the dryer in the laundry room. PC is asking everyone on the ship. OMG. He thought for sure this women who was a character from Strictly Ballroom or Muriel’s Wedding had them. I found a pence in the washing machine. I figured it would bring me some luck in finding my jeans. Diane Cousins had another show. She is delightful. I love of her choice of songs - I Know Him So Well, Somewhere, You’ll Never Walk Alone and a few more. She is very funny. After the show PC made his 100th trip to the laundry looking for my jeans. It’s 7pm someone decided to return the jeans. Yay! That was stressful because we had been looking since noon. We met J&L in the dining room for our farewell dinner. I only liked a few things on the menu on the whole. Tonight they had my favorite thing - chicken pot pie. That was my third for the cruise. I have a game for us to play at dinner to reminisce and remember the cruise. Everyone goes around the table answering 8 questions. I gave the first five questions, then each person asks their question. Only about the cruise experience. Favorite port, favorite excursion, favorite food off ship, favorite food on ship, favorite overall day, what would you change, which port could you live for a year, etc. It’s a great game for everyone to share memories. It’s easy to forget things when you do so much. Leonard said his favorite thing about the cruise was sharing it with PC and I. That was very sweet. He’s trying to butter me up to get more Laura Little Fudge. 😁 J&L are going to Canterbury tomorrow for a couple of days before returning home to Ottawa. We will see them again at Mexican Melrose Place. The Magician, Kristian Grey, had a late show. He is really good. We only stayed a short time because the men’s US Open final was on. PC had to say goodbye to Helen and Noreen, his 80 something Aussie girlfriends. They were characters. We are packed and ready to get home so I can plan the next adventure. A wonderful cruise itinerary. I will post a ship/cruise summary. Goodnight! Souvenir show coming soon. RENUZIT! DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT IT.
  6. Cruise Day 14 Day 18 - Saturday, 07 September 2019 Location - Eidfjord, Norwary Excursion - Private tour to Voringsfossen waterfall/Hotel Fossli We did not make prearrangements for today. We had a few options in mind, but wanted to make sure the weather was cooperating. It is a Hawaiian Tropic day! Eidfjord sits at the end of the Eidfjorden, an inner branch of the large Hardangerfjorden, Norway’s second longest fjord. Eidfjord is a village of 950 people. There are a lot of villages along the fjords, and they all have road access and aren’t far from bigger towns. It’s not as isolated as it seems. We went to the tourist info center off the ship and looked at our tour options. We hired a private taxi for a 90 minute tour to the Voringfossen Waterfall. It was $60/pp compared to the $120/pp the cruise excursion charged. Sigmund showed up at 10:30am looking like he just rolled out of bed. He drove a Peugeot. He was a sweetheart of a man and gave us a great tour over 2 hours. He drove us to the amazing voringsfossen waterfall. It’s the country’s most famous waterfall and one of the most visited attractions in Norway. After our visit to the waterfall, Sigmund brought us to a couple of scenic stops and then to his house in a small village. We met his wife and grandson. adorable. The shopping at the port was not good. The good weather made this stop a gem. Gorgeous. We had an early sail a way at 3pm. We grabbed lunch outside and then spent the remainder of the day enjoying the view out of the fjord. It was fantastic. Formal night! The Captain hosted a farewell cocktail party in the atrium at 7pm. Lobster tails for dinner. The production show was Bravo. Have seen it many times. Needed to get back to the cabin to watch the ladies US Open final. congratulations Bianca. 🇨🇦 We are also packing. Have made a very good start. One more day at sea and we will be back in Dover. The seas are really rough again. The North Sea is not cooperating. See you tomorrow
  7. Cruise Day 13 Day 17 - Friday, 06 September 2019 Location - Bergen, Norway Excursion - Fjord Cruise to Mostraumen and Modalen Self Guided City walk The city of Bergen is a Unesco world Heritage site. It’s Norway’s second largest city with a population of approx. 272,000. The city has storybook architecture and a huge Viking legacy. It is surrounded by mountains and a fjord. A beautiful place. We walked into the city around 9:30am to board the Rødne fjord excursion boat. I booked this directly thru Rodne. Thanks to one of my travel buddies, Sherita. She helped me with some ideas because she had been following the same itinerary. The cruise line did not offer a fjord cruise, only fjord sightseeing from coach buses. The fjord was not huge and dramatic like many, but very beautiful. Many waterfalls and a few villages. It was a three hour tour, a three hour tour. After the fjord cruise, we went to lunch at a Norwegian/local fare restaurant - Pingvinen (The Penguin). It was FABULOUS. Norwegian meatballs to die for. I found it on Trip Advisor. The cheese plate and bread were also delicious and the carrot cake! After lunch J&L went to explore old town and PC and I followed the HOHO bus route in the new town. A stop at Starbucks was included in my tour. Our first Starbucks of the trip. We saw the national theater, Central Park area, the fish market and walked on the pedestrian shopping mall. The Fish Market is a must see. Fish brought in first thing in the morning and served for lunch. We crossed over to the old town making our way back to the ship. Sail away was fun. The Disney Magic was following us out of port. We cruised by the Bergen airport and got to see some planes take off and land. A travel addict’s dream. Cruising next to an airport! We skipped Showtime tonight - Kristian Grey, the magician. I have probably seen him before. J&L really enjoyed the show. Dinner in the Dining Room. We have enjoyed the dining room and our waiters. The buffette is pretty weak. One of my grievances in cruising the Pacific Princess. Too small for a grand buffette. One more port tomorrow -Eidfjord and a cruise down the Hardanger Fjord, the third largest fjord in the world and second largest in Norway. Goodnight!
  8. Cruise Day 12 Day 16- Wednesday 05 September 2019 Location - Flam, Norway Excursion - The Best of Flam - Railway and Voss Welcome to Flam. A fjord deep into the country. We shared space with the Celebrity Solstice and the MS Europa 2. That was a very posh ship. The reviews say it is very nice. This was our earliest morning and longest tour of the cruise. We gathered at 7:45am. UGH! I have been staying up all night to watch the US Open tennis. This was also a very expensive tour - $330/pp. I was extremely torn on whether to take the scenic drive/railway tour or the Nærøyfjord scenic drive/cruise. I decided to go with the train because I love trains and it’s a famous track. We got on a coach bus to take a ride through the tunnels to Gudvangen at the end of the Nærøyfjord. We stopped at the Stalheim Hotel for coffee and apple croissants. The view is amazing of the valley below. We traveled down the steepest road, saw Oppenheim Lake, and the Tvinde Waterfall on route to Voss. Voss is a ski resort/extreme sport town. We had lunch at a hotel. Disappointing. The food was not good. A buffet for hundreds of people on group tours. We boarded a local train at Voss for a ride to Mrydal. Beautiful scenery. At Mrydal we transferred to the historic Flam Railway. A one hour, 12 mile ride back to Flam with spectacular scenery. The train stops at the Kjosfossen waterfall for photos and some weirdo lady dances on rocks at the waterfall. I couldn’t figure all that out. It was so funny. They play music and she does some type of interpretive dance. The Flam train was a little disappointing because it had so many tunnels. The scenery kind of came and went really fast. I am still glad I got to ride the legendary Flam train. Great tour! As we pulled out of harbor, a beautiful rainbow appeared. Back on the ship, we made our usual rounds - sail away upstairs on deck 10 at the Pacific Lounge (elite lounge), Featured entertainer - Rietta Austin in the cabaret lounge, and the Casino Bar with the Cruisetones. Dinner at 7:30pm and we are too tired to do anything else! We skip the game shows and dancing with 2 Cool Duo. Goodnight, see you in Bergen.
  9. Cruise Day 11 Day 15- 04 September 2019 Location- Ålesund, Norway Excursion - HOHO Bus, The Art Nouveau Centre, self guided walking tour No more Hawaiian Tropic weather. Boo hoo. As long as it doesn’t pour rain, we will be fine. Ålesund is a pretty village with valleys, fjords, and islands. A fire destroyed the village in 1904 and was rebuilt within three years in the Art Nouveau architectural style. I wasn’t clear exactly what that meant, so we went to the museum to find out. PC was in charge of explaining that to me. His interpretation was funny. It was great to take a day off from an organized tour. Ålesund is very easy on your own. The town is steps from the port. J&L joined us on the HOHO bus. I am not sure it was worth it, but it took us up the hill to Mt Aksla for a view of the town, harbor, and fjord. We got off at the City Center and didn’t need to get back on because everything was so close to the port. We walked the pedestrian shopping street and wandered in and out of shops. Our first rest stop was at Raccoon Coffee. Cinnamon buns to die for. Second rest stop at the cafe in the Art Nouveau Museum. Third stop was lunch at Lyst, a fantastic cafe. We split fish soup and fish-n-chips. Divine. Back on the ship at 4:30pm for sail away through the fjord. I am sure it would be much more spectacular on a sunny day, but we enjoyed it nevertheless. Really cute/fun show tonight - Diane Cousins, a comedian/singer. She was really refreshing. She was older and had her own style. She told old age jokes and Grandma jokes. I look forward to her second show. We were too tired and full to go to dinner in the dining room. We got a piece of pizza in the buffette and called it a night. I have a few extra minutes of life left tonight, so I will mention some trivial info. Money Matters - I ALWAYS order currency before I leave the states from Bank of America. I do it online, super easy. My formula changes from trip to trip. If I am traveling Europe only, I would normally get a good amount of Euros ($500). In this case, I had three different currencies - British Pound, Icelandic Krona, and Norwegian Krona. I ordered $150 of each currency. I need possible cash for tips, taxi, coffees, sodas, wine, cheap souvenirs, quick lunches, street food, admissions, etc. I don’t like to use my credit card for purchases under $15. I have been hacked twice overseas, so I avoid using credit for little stuff. If I run out of cash, I use the ATM. The ATM comes with a price, so I try to have the exact cash I might need ahead of time. I planned it perfectly for the this trip. We can easily spend $30/day on little stuff. I kind of plan $25-$50/day in cash depending on my plans, and if I have extra, I can use it to pay a hotel tab or shop in the airport. Packing for Iceland and Norway - It’s cold. Leave all the summer clothes at home. Outdoor wear, layers, fleece, light down, and a rain jacket. we didn’t need wind/rain pants, jeans were fine, but I am sure there are days you would need rain/wind pants. Many people wearing them. Hat, gloves, scarf for sure. The guy selling me HOHO tickets today in Norway said he never saw summer this year. That is kind of sad. Leave the sandals at home too. Closed toe shoes, hiking or trail sneakers, keen, Merrell, or any gortex waterproof brand. Goodnight! See you in Flam, Norway. Big day planned.
  10. Cruise Day 10 Day 14 - 03 September 2019 Location - At Sea North Atlantic Ocean Excursion- Most Travelled Passenger Lunch with Captain, Wine Tasting I survived the long night rocking and rolling. It hasn’t improved much, but the more I drink the better I feel. We lost the two hours we gained going to Iceland. I hate losing sleep! I had to drag myself out of bed to get ready for the all important Most Travelled Passenger lunch. (MTP). I came in at number 36 out of 40, I think. Ten tables of 4 with an officer host at each table. We were hosted by the South African Doctor. Darling man. And very important. I told him I hope we didn’t meet again, but if we did I wanted VIP treatment. We sat with Helen and Noreen. Lovely elderly ladies. . Noreen took a terrible fall at Heathrow on the escalator. Escalators are risky. I have been using the elevator a lot. She is lucky to be on the cruise after that. The Dr. has been treating her everyday because of swelling in her leg/bruising/infection. Helen lives on the hill at Manly Beach with a view of the cruise ships. I am thinking that is a high rent district. Lunch was very nice and I appreciate being on “the list”. It’s my third invitation. I also made the cut last year on the Regal in the Baltic with Tracie- Lynn. Did not make the cut last year on the Royal in the British Isles. I went from the MTP lunch to the wine tasting. It’s free for me, and I am never going to pass up free wine. They have cut the tasting from 6 glasses to 5 glasses. They used to serve a dessert wine, but that is no more. After wine, I did 3 more loads of laundry. It’s easy and efficient. No waiting on a small ship. We listened to the Cruisetones in the Casino Bar and went to the elite lounge before meeting J&L at the production show - Motor City. I feel like I have seen this show a hundred times, but it’s really only 25 times. I was not hungry after the big luncheon, so I went lighter at dinner. Entree only instead of all the starters. The motion is still rough, but I am trying not to think about it. Good night!
  11. Cruise Day 9 Day 13 - Monday 02 September 2019 Location - At Sea. North Atlantic Ocean Excursion - sleep, eat, sleep, eat, drink, eat, showtime I am really loving these sea days. I guess it’s my age showing. I need more rest for the long touring days. It’s another formal night and I have yet to do my nails or shave my legs. I am so busy! I found the 3pm waffle bar in the buffette. Tasty. PC has discovered hot tea. I guess the Brits are rubbing off on him. Tonight’s event - the Captain’s Circle cocktail party. I look forward to these parties to partake in free drinks. Bernadette is the circle host and future cruise consultant. I find her unappealing. She was so rude to Joan. She puts on a fake show in front of the captain. It’s her last cruise on this ship. Maybe she is tired. The Captain, Goran , is adorable. He speaks at the party and they recognize the most travelled passengers and draw names for champagne bottles. A single Dr from the US was the most travelled passenger with 2200 +days at sea and over 220 cruises. Dr. Charles ?? The number two award was 556 days, number three 426 days. 2 and 3 were nearly dead and needed assistance. I can’t imagine cruising with any mobility issues. I admire these people. They have determination. Maybe someday I will make it to that stage. After my free glasses of wine, we met J&L in the casino bar for some pre dinner music with Cruisetones - Dan and Elliott. These guys are so sweet. They only sing 2 sets at 45 minutes. Not very long. The play guy with guitars songs - James Taylor, Bob Dylan, Kenny Loggins, Willie Nelson, Beatles, and other mellow favorites. Dinner was lobster and chateaubriand. We love our table and waiters. Showtime was late tonight - 9:30pm. Rietta Austin, a singer with a huge voice. Rietta was part comedian and part singer. I thought she might have been a drag queen. Her voice was too huge for a small lounge. I thought she was a bit cheesy, but I am not overly critical of the entertainers. It’s a cruise ship, not Broadway. The northern lights were not making an appearance tonight, but the stars were magnificent. The problem was the motion. It wasn’t safe to be out on the balcony due to the severe motion. Thank God the US Open tennis was on TV so I could have some distraction from the nauseating motion. I was texting my mom and she told me to get the life jackets out. HAHAHA. I would die of hypothermia before I ever needed a life jacket. The bar glasses fell of the desk and shattered. Scared me to death. I almost called the Captain to find out how long the motion would last. It is worse in the back where we are located. I don’t think I fell asleep until 5:30am Drama on the sea! Another sea day and a date with the Captain!
  12. Cruise Day 8 Day 12 - Sunday 01 September 2019 Location - Reykjavik, Iceland Excursion - The Golden Circle The Blue Lagoon A Hawaiian tropic day in Reykjavik. WOW! I have to enjoy every minute of the good weather because it can change fast. I am blown away by Iceland geologically. What an amazing science lesson. The 2010 Eyjafjallajökull volcano eruption put Iceland on the map by disrupting air travel in Europe for several days. It is ripe to blow again. Scientists say any moment. Scary! There are three farm animals - horses, cows, and sheep. The sheep wool is coarse and scratchy, not like other sheep. The most warm, however. Iceland is wary of disease and won’t let livestock or horses in and if they leave, they can’t come back. Makes it difficult for people who participate in Icelandic horse riding in other countries. They can’t bring a horse back, so they sell or find a stable. The main crop is hay to feed the livestock in the winter. The farmers try for three rounds in the summer months. Nothing else grow outside except some root vegetables. There are many fun things to do in Reykjavik. It’s hard to choose. I had to go with the Number 1 and Number 2 attractions in Iceland. Booking a private tour is easy, but I decided to go with ship sponsored tours because I was wanting 2 excursions. I couldn’t risk a private tour not getting back in time for my evening tour. The price was negligible. Reykjavík is very expensive, so you don’t save much by booking private. The shuttle bus to downtown was $18/pp. I thought that was expensive for a shuttle. Our tour left at 8:30am. We had a very comfortable coach bus. I think we had between 40-50 people on the bus. Our guide was fantastic. I do notice the guides are really great on the ship sponsored tours. First stop - Nesjavellir Geothermal Power Station, the second largest power plant in Iceland that provides electricity to the area of Reykjavik. Fascinating if you like science. It’s above my head. T-shirts read I’ve Got Power. On to the Geysir Hot Springs area. 90 minutes NE of Reykjavík, this area has hot water blow holes. The main attraction is Strokkur, a spout that errupts every few minutes. It’s fun to watch the pressure build with steam pouring out. You can get very wet when the Geysir errupts depending on the wind. We had an Icelandic lunch at the springs visitor center. Wonderful - sweet potato soup, and salmon with vegetables. I like the tours with the lunch included so we don’t have to make any decisions or waste time. The Gullfoss waterfall. WOW! A two tier water fall set in a deep canyon. There are different viewing areas. You can go below and get soaked by spray. I would also love to see this waterfall frozen. Thingvellir National Park - you have to be somewhat geology savvy to understand this place. I lack brain power when it comes to science. Here you can see the continental rift known as the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. This area is also home to Iceland’s largest natural lake. There is a larger lake in Iceland, but man-made. They allow snorkeling in the lake with a guide and dry suits. People can fish for Arctic char and trout. The water is crystal clear. The walking paths are great. It really is scary thinking about the geologic forces at work. The rift is dividing Iceland in half. The plates drift apart at 1 inch per year. We had thirty minutes between tours to make a costume change. We got our bathing suits and beach towels to head to The Blue Lagoon - a geothermal spa. There are many in Iceland, but this is the premier pool. It is located 45 minutes outside Reykjavik city. It is sits in a lava field. The water is 99 degrees and the high mineral content of the water is good for the skin, but not for the hair. I still can’t seem to understand how they pump seawater underground which makes steam, then electricity. The steam is cooled and released into the Blue Lagoon. WTH? It was so much fun to experience one of the most famous attractions in the world. Your skin feels kind of chalky afterwards. A shower is a must. Back to the ship around 9:15pm. We went upstairs to the buffet for pizza, salad, and other goodies. We passed on the Reykjavik Folkloric Dance show. I am sure it was good. I will watch the replay on the television. We pulled out of port around 11pm and what to my wondering eyes did appear? The most amazing northern lights show I could have ever dreamed of. Truly indescribable. It was the result of a geomagnetic storm, a new moon, and a clear night. A fluke. Normally, the temperatures need to be cooler. My video and regular camera were not capturing the lights, but my iPhone was able to get a few decent pics. This was the second night in a row. The problem is we are so tired at night we can hardly stay awake. We are hoping for another show tomorrow night. We can stay up later because we will be at sea and can nap. Good news! If you are interested in moving to Reykjavík, they have Costco and IKEA. What more do you need? I hope you enjoyed Iceland with me. Back to Norway for more fjords and waterfalls. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Þingvellir
  13. Cruise Day 7 Day 11 - Saturday 31 August 2019 Location - Grundarfjordur/Snaefellsnes Peninsula Excursion - Best of the Peninsula Helgafell Mountain Snæfellsjökull glacier covered volcano Budier lava fields Arnarstapi volcanic rock formations Djupalonssandur black pebble beach Welcome to the town, more like a teeny village, of Grundarfjordur on the gorgeous western side of Iceland. The small towns do not have private cruise excursions readily available so I booked a cruise ship sponsored excursion. PC and I talked about roadtripping Iceland prior to booking the cruise. There is a main highway - Ring Road - which circles the country. The cruise itinerary stopped on every side of Iceland, so we could accomplish most everything we wanted to do. We are a day short in Reykjavik, but that is very easy to visit another time. The Snaefellsnes Peninsula is a must see scenic drive. Fantastic! Otherworldly with lava fields and no trees or vegetation. Wonderful lava rock formations on the coastline. We started the day with a drive to Stykkisholmur, the largest coastal town on the Peninsula. It is one of the few fishing harbors. Lovely preserved Icelandic homes and a church designed by a dentist. It looks like an upside down tooth with roots. Next to Helgafell. A temple/mountain honoring the Norse God Thor. According to legend if you walk up to the 240 ft summit without talking or looking back, you will be granted 3 wishes. I reluctantly made the climb because I didn’t want to miss out on 3 wishes. I was barely breathing by the time I made it to the top, so I had to use one wish that I wouldn’t stroke on the mountain and another wish that I would bust my knees or ankles on the way down. That only left me with one wish! Next to Arnarstapi. A coastline full of rock formations, blowholes and cliffs that house seabirds. We drove thru massive lava fields throughout the Peninsula. We stopped for lunch at a nice hotel on the water. It was delicious - tomato soup, fresh bread, salad and cod. Our last stop was Djupalonssandur, a beautiful black pebbled beach with cool rock formations and basalt columns. A lovely sunset. It was a long day, but a perfect tour. Back on the ship, we went to the early production show - What the World Needs Now, a Burt Bacharach tribute. We love Burt! It brings back memories of our parents and their Saturday night bridge clubs. Always playing Burt Bacharach music. We like the Cruisetones in the casino bar for mellow pre dinner tunes. It was Italian night in the dining room. Spaghetti and meatballs. Perfect. We happen to run across an online article about a big solar storm this evening. It said the aurora could be seen in the US. We knew we would get to see them. They went on all night. What your eye sees and what the camera sees is different. I am trying to get someone to send me the pics with the good cameras. Wonderful day/night in Iceland.
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