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  1. But For The Kindness of Strangers and Special Friends One of the most common things you will hear on a cruise is how you will never see these people again. Not true! People you meet on this site, through the roll calls, on the ship, can become some of your dearest friends in your time of greatest need. Mark and Marie, Craig and Trish, all cruise critic members, who, along with Paul and Elizabeth, made sure I was never alone during the two long sea days after her death to Auckland. Barbara and Peter, also cruise critic members whom we sailed with in 2018, who called me from England on the ship to my cabin after they heard the news. To the crew of the Pacific Princess that that helped expedite my departure from the ship, arranged to take care of her clothing and our belongings that we no longer needed, made sure I had everything I needed and even shipped the excess luggage back to our home. To the many fellow cruise critic members that sought me out on the ship to express their condolences, to cry with me over my loss, to attend the service on the ship. As I said during my eulogy to Judy on the ship, I don’t know how I could have survived on a ship full of strangers. And even total strangers, who don’t know you at all, respond to tragedy with kindness and heartfelt gestures that touch your very soul. From the funeral director in Auckland that expedited her release from the coroner and shepherded me through the process of cremation, to the personnel at the Auckland US Consulate’s office who expedited the paperwork and notified United of my flight plans. To the United personnel at the Auckland airport who blinked back tears of their own as they guided us through security and made sure I was comfortable in the lounges awaiting our final flight home together. To the crew of the flight from Auckland to San Francisco. Their handmade and personally signed sympathy card. To the purser of that flight who constantly checked on me and escorted us through passport control to the arrivals lounge. To the arrivals lounge personnel, alerted via United of my plight, made sure I was comfortable, and after a hot shower and breakfast, escorted us through domestic security to the United Club. To the many cards, letters, emails and phone calls, and posts on this particular thread, some of whom I’ve never met, I’ve read them all, heard the anguish in the voices, felt the sincerity in the words, and appreciated each of every one of them. And to the cruise critic friends, who flew in to attend her celebration of life, CL and Meei, Ken and Susie, in Colorado Springs, and to those who wanted to, but couldn’t. To those friends that have talked me into cruising again, or at least booking another cruise in the future, it has been, for me, the best of times and the worst of times. But, the gift of your friendship to us and your remembrance of Judy and her life will keep her alive in our hearts for eternity. For that I am forever grateful.
  2. The Rest of the Story Next week will be the 6 month anniversary of her death. 6 of the longest most anguishing months of my life. I have wanted to post an update for quite a while, but couldn’t bring myself to. Those of you whom have been in contact with me know most of the rest of the story, but just to fill everyone in, the final coroner’s report from Auckland was that she died of Salmonellosis, specifically, Salmonella Weltevreden, a variant tropical strain of Salmonella found in the tropics of the Pacific and Asia. What I thought was Noro turned out to be something far more deadly. We held her Celebration of Life ceremony in Colorado Springs on April 6, which would have been her 64th birthday. It was well attended by friends and family. As is my hobby, I created a video of her life to show at the Celebration. As part of this final tribute, I’d like to share it with all of you: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AnklLO6ZVH8F62Y5YgXk221LZDHY?e=k198Uy One of the most incredible things I experienced when creating this video is the lack of regret in how we enjoyed our lives together. No shoulda, coulda, woulda. We cherished our time together and made the most of it. I couldn’t have wished for a better partner, a better companion, a better wife. Remember that the next time you look at your significant other. Revel in that sense of completeness with them. Time is short on this planet and you owe it to each other to make the most of it.
  3. Thank you all for your kind words and condolences. I have read them all and I, and Judy I'm sure, appreciate each and every one of them. I am glad that we touched so many lives over the years. And I hope we inspire more to enjoy this special world of cruising, and each other, together. Thank you for the cards. I'm sorry I can only read one or two a day... I am home now trying to pick up the pieces of a shattered life. There is no way to sugar coat it. She's gone and so is a big part of me as well. The only thing keeping me sane is all the paperwork and planning and scheduling. I didn't want to post ever again, just forget about it and walk away. But all of your kind words brought me back. I thought it would be rude not to at least post a final farewell and thank you to all of you whom have made cruising so fun for the both of us. I don't know what the future holds for me now. At this point in time, I really don't care. I have responsibilities to my kids, my grandkids, my brothers and my parents, but beyond that...? I leave you all with three videos made over the years. The first is a Y2K video I put together for Judy on Valentines Day 2000. Before we started cruising. It is here: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AnklLO6ZVH8F5mo9EFB9hjqUUpHa The second is a video she surprised me with on our 30th wedding anniversary in 2011. It was our first med cruise on the Grand where we got upgraded from a mini to the Owner's Suite and did a renewal of vows ceremony. Its the same cruise that our avatar picture comes from. Not a backdrop, but a picture off the balcony of the aft suite. It is here: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AnklLO6ZVH8F5mlL56WeEdrUrxCb The third video is her memorial service on the Pacific Princess 2/10/2019. A fellow passenger was kind enough to tape the service and I have boosted the volume and cleaned up the noise a bit, but you probably will have to turn up the volume a little as well. It is here: https://1drv.ms/v/s!AnklLO6ZVH8F5mjvhMBF6XRN-xmZ This will, most likely, be my last post on cruise critic. Who knows what the future brings, but right now I doubt I will ever cruise again, ever dance again, ever love again. Thank you again for all of your kind words. May you all be blessed with safe travels, fair winds, following seas and many, many special moments with your soul mate... Farewell my friends...
  4. 02-11-2019 Off Auckland – Tragic End To A Cruise The light, the love of my life, my soulmate, my wife has passed away. Judy is gone. She passed on 8 Feb 2019 while at sea after she contracted Noro and suffered successive complications. I am at a loss for words, for feeling, for anything right now. Taking it one step at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time. Yesterday we had the most beautiful memorial service for her at sea during the Sunday Church services. It was a fitting memorial to one that loved cruising so. It was a packed house. I am leaving the ship in Auckland, taking her home one last time. I’m not sure if I can ever read a post on CC again, or post anything ever again – my heart is broken, my soul torn apart. I leave you with the words I spoke at the memorial. Words she would have wanted me to speak. Words I had to speak. Take them to heart. Farewell to you all… Thank you all for coming. I will try to make this short and to the point, but you might want to get tissues ready, as I have already. This set of circumstances rarely happens on a ship, but when it does, it reminds us of how precious time is. And it gives us a moment to reflect on just how important we are to each other. I felt a need, on behalf of Judy and I, to help focus us this morning. In this time of grief to a larger purpose, a celebration of love and of life. I also want to thank all of you for your heartfelt condolences, your hugs, your cards, your music and most importantly a shoulder to cry on, a friend to be with. I don’t know how I could have survived this on a ship full of strangers. My grandfather retired at 62 and passed 6 months later leaving my grandmother alone and with unfilled promises of traveling the world together. That taught me the importance and shortness of time in this life. I swore to myself and to Judy that that would not happen to us. We vowed that if we died tomorrow, we would not regret. And we followed that vision as much as humanly possible. We worked, we scrimped, we saved and we started cruising in 2001 on the Ocean Princess, Sun Class, to Alaska. I was a ‘can you fish off the back of the boat guy’ and she got carsick going to the mall. Strange duo for cruising. But we and our four suitcases of stuff made the 7 day cruise and loved it. By our third cruise on the Island to Panama, 10 days but far less stuff, we were hooked on cruising. But we also made the most of our time together not cruising. When cooking, cleaning house, making the bed, unmaking the bed, watching TV, going out to eat and dancing, especially dancing together. Each and every day possible we looked at each other, thanking whatever lucky stars brought us together almost 41 years ago. We valued, treasured, cherished the time we spent together. Those of you familiar with my threads from cruises know how much our lives were intertwined. How much we meant to each other. And now, time has caught up with us. But I, and I hope she, has no regrets. It hurts. God it hurts more than anything in the world. But it’s a lesson in pain all of you can learn something from. Today, tonight, right now – turn to the one you love. Look into their eyes, listen to their voice, touch their hand. Revel in that feeling of completeness, of oneness in that precious moment of time. Tomorrow may bring emptiness, but right now, at this time, in this place you have each other. And nothing, nothing can take that moment away. Make that moment count. May god bless your onward journey with much love and many, many such moments. Thank you again for coming.
  5. 02-05-2019 At Sea To Auckland (Not Tonga) Shades of the 60 day Coral. Another storm in the Southern Pacific has forced an itinerary change to skip Tonga and go direct to New Zealand via a more circuitous route, only gaining a few hours for arrival. So we are presently planned to hit Auckland at around 2030 the previous night and overnighting. Not a lot of additional time. Bummer. The last couple of days has been pretty awesome. Papeete was hot. Just plain hot. We didn’t plan anything special except for a little pearl shopping, market hopping and walking through the various parks near the ship. The pearls were very expensive, with strands that interested me in the 3 to $5k USD range. No thanks. But it did give me a benchmark for the pearl farm visits to come on Huahine and Raiatea. From the dock in Papeete we went to the visitor’s center to use the WiFi, which went south in a hurry when another 4 or 5 people showed up. Apparently they have a pretty narrow bandwidth. The visitors center was in a tent up the dock from the Pacific nearer to the ferry terminal. (McDonalds has free wifi as well, nearer to the Market area.) There is also an internet vendor in the shopping mall across the main street from the dock, on the 3rd floor, that sells high speed access for $4USD for hour. I did not try that, but was tempted. (BTW – TEPPY DID NOT WORK IN PAPEETE.) But T-Mobile One+ did, at 2G speeds. I did purchase a high speed data pass, which did not give me LTE speeds, but apparently did increase speeds to the 3G limit of the cell connection. We were able to update everything via the cell phones using a combination of 2G and 3G connections. Especially since we were docked until later at night. I had thought about riding the ferry to Moorea and back just as an alternative cheap excursion. But one look at the Tevaru high speed ferry bucking waves across the lagoon nixed that idea in a hurry. Better to walk. So we walked around to Parc Bouganville and Paofai Gardens. Lots of construction going on in the area. Lots of people camping in the area or living out of their cars as well. The ‘beach’ area in the gardens was off limits to swimming, but the gardens are nice, clean and, if it wasn’t for the heat, a nice jaunt around the area. Since we were there on a Saturday, almost everything closed at 1200. Not much was left in the market to oogle at, and as I previously said, the pearl shopping was to rich for my blood. But we had arranged to have dinner at Sabatini’s with Paul, Elizabeth, Daniella and Costello from Domino Duo. We had a great meal without having to worry about sea state, since we were docked. And the wine recommended by the Head Waiter, a Pinot Grigio and a Pinot Noir was fantastic with dinner. Domino had the night off, but were on IPM (In Port Manning), so they couldn’t leave the ship. We all had a great time just talking the night away. BTW – I had requested Nights in White Satin (Moody Blues) from Domino a few days ago and they did not have it in their repertoire. Now they do and they did an excellent job. How cool is that for them to take the time to put together a song on the fly like that! After dinner, we went to the late show of the Tahitian Forkloric show. Very good Tahitian style dancing. Very different from Hawaiian hula, but very enjoyable to watch. Basically as you travel north from New Zealand you go from the Haka, a very intense mano-a-mano type dance routine, through Tahiti and their blend of less intense but still very energetic dance styles to the laid back, graceful Hula. Very interesting cultural distinctions and differences via dance styles. We knew we were going to pay for a late night as the next day was Huahine and the first snorkeling tour of the cruise. I had found Huahine Natique via TripAdvisor and had booked with them several months ago. Several other people on the roll call had booked with them as well. They had two different tours. One a combo land and snorkel, ours a two snorkel and Motu picnic. Tendering was a piece of cake – there was no lines and we were on the first tender ashore. And Huahine is now absolutely my favorite south sea Island. With only a little over 6000 people, it is very undeveloped and extremely beautifully natural. Large tracks of beach and shoreline with no habitation. Raw cliffs, large umbrella trees, coconut palms and very few people. A postcard in every shot. We were picked up at the dock via one of their large boats. 16 of us had plenty of room on the boat. We went under the bridge connecting Huahine-iti with Huahine-nui, and snorkeled in a sheltered little lagoon with scattered tufts of coral and sand. Lots of little colorful fish, very clear water and nicely warm, not bathtub, but just right for some snorkeling. Traveling back past the ship, we visited a 40 year old pearl farm and actually talked with the owner, born in the US, speaks almost with a southern access. The pearls were almost a quarter to a third the price of pearls in Papeete. Instead of 3-5K, they were 1-2k. Still a bit too rich for me for what I was looking for. Although nothing jumped out at me and said ‘take me home’! From the pearl farm we went south along the largest Motu on the island. 40 families own the Motu and its is about 1km wide at its widest point. This is where the truck gardens provide most of the fresh vegetables for the island. With this soil you can probably grow just about anything. We did a 500 yard drift snorkel across some very shallow coral tufts with lots of different typical coral fishes, and a couple of larger fish. Water again was extremely clear and the perfect temperature. After two snorkels, we were all hungry and it was time for the Motu picnic and OMG this was some good stuff. A fresh tuna salad, made with fresh strips of tuna, lime juice and coconut milk, mixed with fresh veggies – right in front of us, grilled fresh tuna, grilled chicken, saffron rice and fresh fruit for dessert, accompanied by cold beer or homemade rum punch – with a kick! Music, local dancing by the Captain’s niece, Armando BTW who claimed he was Italian! On the beach, in the water, under shade, it was idyllic and a perfect topper to a great excursion. And at $110 each, it was worth every penny. It was around a 7 hour excursion as well. We got back in plenty of time to get back to the ship, shower and collapse. Huahine Natique is highly recommended, and this excursion is fantastic. We docked in Raiatea around 2030, but we weren’t awake for the docking that’s for sure. Someone said they closed the gangway at 0000, but not much was going on anyway. Our excursion was with L’Excurs’on Bleue – a 3 snorkel trip, vanilla farm, pearl farm, picnic and tour around Taha, Raiatea’s less developed neighbor to the north. There were 12 of us on this trip at 22500 XPF’s per couple total. (A 1500 XPF deposit held our place.) First of all, the snorkeling was incredible. First stop was sharks and rays and they did not disappoint. Unlike Moorea and Bora Bora in 2015, the sharks were not that shy and there was a bunch of them. At one time I looked over my shoulder and saw 12-15 sharks in formation coming under the boat toward me. Pretty darn cool. While not as many rays as Moorea, there were enough to keep the cameras clicking. The vanilla farm was fascinating and where we spent all of our leftover XPFs on vanilla powder, paste, extract and rum. The breadfruit chips they served there were also fantastic. Could have sold several dozen bags to the various groups coming through the demonstration. After the vanilla farm, we did a drift snorkel between two Motus. The current was far more intense than prior snorkels and you just had to drift along while the boat circled the tufts and picked us up about 500 yards away. Not nearly as many fish, but lots and lots of sea slugs on the bottom, and sand sculptures behind the coral tufts from the ‘blowing’ sand in the current. Traveling counterclockwise around Taha, we could see the peaks of Bora Bora in the distance – about a 2 hour ferry ride from Raiatea. There is at least one over the water hotel on one of the northernmost Motus of Taha – that was the only one we saw as Taha is just a little more developed than Huahine, but not as much as Raiatea. We stopped for lunch on the Island and had pasta, rice, fish (with a fantastic sauce), pounded poi – a much better Tahitian version of Hawaiian poi with Tapioca and banana, and cake. After lunch was a stop at the biggest pearl farm on the island and they had even better prices than Huahine. In fact a few people bought little bracelets with 3-5 pearls for under $10. Watching the implantation, the cleaning, drilling, placing, all a very labor intensive operation. Very interesting. The last snorkel stop was arguably the best for seeing fish, but the hardest to execute. This was another drift snorkel between two Motus in a far more intense current than the last. We had to anchor the boat on the lagoon side of the inlet and walk around the beach to the narrow part of the inlet itself. The current was so intense guide instructed us which coral to grab and where to grab to control yourself in the current. I wish we’d have brought gloves and you could see from the coral that we weren’t the first to grab it. But the intensity of the current attracted such a variety of small and large fish – and one rather large Moray Eel – that it was worth it. Fish I’ve never seen before and up to 3-4# in size. Huge parrot fish in fact. At least several dozen different species of fish in that current, all awaiting a meal to be pushed by. It was a challenge. You could not swim against the current, only angle to another holding spot or grab one of our snorkel mates. Needless to say, we ended up on very friendly terms with each other! On this type of snorkel, fins just got in the way. Reef shoes to shop yourself were the ticket. And I’m glad I did not take my camera. It would have just been another distraction from concentrating on the next stop or handhold. An underwater video camera, like a go-pro would have been perfect with continuous video of the entire snorkel. We hand fed a lot of the fish fresh banana. That was a strange feeling, having a swarm of fish take little nibbles out of the banana in your hand. We got back to the ship around 1645, a little sun burned in strange spots, tired and needing showers for sure. For the most part, this excursion was very good. Better snorkeling than Huahine, but less personable a crew, they spoke just enough English, and the boat was not as comfortable for the 12 of us – at least for that long a ride around Taha. Poor communication with the crew led to much confusion on the last snorkel. A better description of the process and the current would have helped. The lunch at Huahine was also better, primarily because of the fresh tuna salad, gilled fresh tuna and fresh grilled chicken over a wood fire. The entertainment during the lunch was also better on Huahine. But all in all, a good excursion and recommended. If you had to choose one or the other, I would choose Huahine Natique, but if we ever did this again, I would do both again as well. After we got back to the Pacific, the Captain explained our plan to skip Tonga. As I understood it, the World Cruise has skipped Tonga several times in the past. So now it is on to Auckland, arriving the night before. Later all!
  6. Question on Motion – Yes, the Pacific moves much more than the larger ships in smaller seas. This morning, the pitching motion is noticeable even in very slight seas. Judy is doing better than I would have expected and she is very prone to motion sickness. She just keeps her bands on and Dramamine in her system (the generic version actually). If you have concerns about it, I would definitely recommend booking a shorter cruise later in the year prior to deciding on a World Cruise or not. That should give you a feel for the motion.
  7. In Papeete today, Huahine tomorrow and Raiatea the next day. Will be busy snorkeling, eating and drinking, and such. Will report back on the way to Tonga next week...
  8. 02-01-2019 At Sea To Tahiti – Last of the last 5 day sea days Still some more motion, more overcast this morning. Quite a bit rockin and rolling last night. The Pacific, being a smaller ship, moves a lot more than the larger ships and the ‘safe’ zone, deck 4 midships, is much smaller than the Piazza in the big ships. Something happened to our A/C in the cabin and its getting hotter. No lower than 73 at night, and up to 75 during the day. Airflow has greatly diminished noticeably, which I think is where the problem lies. We are currently on the afternoon shaded side, port, headed south. When we turn to the west, we will be on the southern exposed side and the temperatures will rise. I hope they can fix it as the Diamond was miserable last March in the tropics headed North. Mental note – from now on, pick cabins based on solar heating potential! Yesterdays show was the second production show of the cruise – Bellissima. It was not a production show in the big ship sense, but a series of song and dance routines featuring the dancers and vocalists. The Belinda King dancers and vocalists Charlie Vose and Lisa Wilson. This time her mike worked perfectly. But he is one great singer. The dance routines ranged from irish river dancing to contemporary accompanied by appropriate songs modified to fit the choreography. Several solos and duos were also performed. A very nice show. We have 10 more shows on this cruise with them. Luigi, the Maitre De, had to leave the ship for an emergency. We are getting a new Maitre De, just not sure when. Neil is not leaving in Sydney, he is staying on until FLL. Peter Tredgett (sp?) will take over for the ship until drydock. Rumor is that they will be getting a miniature golf course and a LED screen in the Cabaret lounge during drydock in the Bahamas. No other major features, other than hull touch ups, new carpets, general cleaning are being rumored. I will check on Medallionet installation, as a drydock would be a perfect time to install the new satellite hardware. Domino Duo – I have to talk about them as well. Daniella and Costello are consummate professionals. In the 12 days we’ve been with them and listening to them, they have repeated, maybe, 3 or 4 songs in a couple of dozen music sets. That’s pretty incredible, and although she denies it, she has a beautiful voice. It is a pleasure to listen to them and dance with them, even on the carpet in the Casino bar. They leave in Auckland and will not be back before we disembark in LA. I wish we could keep them the whole cruise. Today is the finale event for our Hawaiian couple. An Aloha Oe show with the hula dancers and ukulele players. I have to put that on the schedule as Judy is performing in that one… So that’s it for the day, today…tomorrow, Papeete! Later!
  9. 01-31-2019 At Sea To Tahiti CRUISE CRITIC LUNCHEON – LA TO SYD SEGMENT – FEBRUARY 5, 2019 – 1145 – DINING ROOM Notices were placed in mail boxes yesterday.. They will have a special area set aside for us. So if you signed up, come on by. Even if you didn’t, come on by anyway and we’ll see if we have room or not! Another crossing the line ceremony. This time both the CD and the Captain ended up in the pool. Funny, the adagio dancer threw Frenchy in the pool last time. This time they carefully escorted the Captain to the pool and he jumped in…it’s good to be the Captain. Rich was the jester/joker and Marie and Mark were the ‘naughty’ couple. Marie and Mark were true pollywogs and had a good time, and were slimed pretty well, but they used much better smelling stuff than on the Diamond. And they let the two crew members wear coveralls! That was cheating! No cadets in whites! Where’s the fun in that? The Captain’s Circle party had no new rumors beyond those we already know. Captain Poggi on the Coral did talk about the new 1800 passenger explorer ship type that everyone else is ordering, but not Princess. This time we only heard about the Sky, Enchanted and the two new LNG ships – although they will be LNG/Marine Fuel, not LNG alone, and they will be the biggest yet. Most travelled had 2015 days at sea and 9 world cruises under his belt. 3rd most traveled was about 1200+ days. There are 320+ elites on board – almost half the ship. Only one or two blue cards and a couple of Ruby. Over a hundred platinums, and the rest were gold. Was able to snag a few real drinks before they shut the bar down. Other than that, a pretty standard Captain’s Circle party. A little bumpy last night, but it has calmed down this morning. Weather has now officially turned hot and humid. Will hit Tahiti on Saturday morning. Not sure what we’re going to do yet. I have a ferry ride to Moorea and back on the list. But the town shuts down around noon, so shopping time is limited. Late departure, not an overnight. That’s the quick and dirty this morning. Later!
  10. 01-29/30-2019 At Sea To Tahiti CRUISE CRITIC LUNCHEON – LA TO SYD SEGMENT – FEBRUARY 5, 2019 – 1145 – DINING ROOM They will have a special area set aside for us. So if you signed up, come on by. Even if you didn’t, come on by anyway and we’ll see if we have room or not! Busy, busy sea day Monday. Morning workout, hot tub and swim, burger and hot dogs for lunch, slot pull in the afternoon, dancing all evening into the night. Still trying to get the image of Rich’s coconut bra and grass skirt costume out of my head at the King Kamehameha party – Goku did not show up. I know Jane – you warned me! This was the kind of scheduling for a party that we like. Rather than after a full day shore, its on the first sea day after Maui. Lots of participation as well. More than on the Coral’s deck party the night of Nawilliwilli. Line dancing, Hula dancing, lots of fun. All three of the cruise staff were on deck as well as several of the dancers to help fill out the staff. From my understanding, this is typical on the Pacific during the World Cruise. CD, deputy CD and one JACD, with help from the dance troupe. Kathy’s slot pull was a great success. About an hour and a half of fun entertainment for $1! (We put in $15 each and got $14 back!). Next slot pull is between Sydney and Singapore on March 1st. We are dancing quite a bit in the Casino Bar on the carpet with Domino. Since we initially learned dancing on a carpet, before we got our dance floor installed, its not too bad. Just can’t do a lot of moves in a tight space or a lot of turns on even a tight knap carpet. Since they are leaving in Auckland, we’re trying to spend as much time with them as possible before they depart the ship. Then we will probably go up to the Pacific Lounge for dancing with the 2 Cool duo. We have dinner with Domino tentatively scheduled for the night of Papeete. There are a couple other couples dancing with them as well. We sort of take turns dancing in the ‘large’ space! And foxtrots take the long way around the entry way, through the photo gallery and back. With a late night on Monday, I didn’t do anything on Tuesday – and the internet connection was very spotty – so I did not want to waste a lot of minutes posting an update. My VPN connection kept going out as well. Very, very slow! I kept checking all day and it was pretty bad until this morning when I was able to log on at 0445… Today is the crossing the line ceremony and it is a bit showery/rainy and windy. I hope the ceremony goes off well, but we do have a couple more crossings on this cruise. And Rich is getting his wish, he is involved in the ceremony in some manner – hopefully with a lot of duct tape! (Just kidding!) Ventured to dinner last night in the MDR – third time on this cruise! They had lamb again. What can I say! I only get to eat Lamb on the ships. Dinner was good. Too good. Ate way too much…The Fettuccine Alfredo was excellent, but the star was the cheesecake for dessert. This was a fantastic cheesecake. Best I’ve had in years on a ship. Good cupcakes, good cheesecake, fantastic ice cream – what more can you ask? We did get moved to a table with Paul and Elizabeth, and 2 other couples, but they, and us, rarely show up. I just can’t eat like this every night – no way… The service is exemplary. In fact, the service is about as good as you can get on any ship. Help is never far away and you still have to guard your dishes on the table if you don’t want them to disappear. Unlike the 60 day cruise on the Coral, there continues to be a constant mix of lectures and presentations during the day to tickle you interest. Frank does a great job with a mix of lectures. WWII, Amelia, air travel and the postal service. Even the understaffed photo staff is doing lectures on Go Pro’s and digital photography classes from basic to moderate. Even Tai Chi at sea is back! (Going to try that this morning.) There is just as much, if not more, activities going on in this ship than on the Coral between Guam and HI last October. In fact, we’ve only watched movies on the Ipad/Iphone/computer in Honolulu and Lahaina. Haven’t started binging any of the series I brought with me. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow. Bottom line is that so far, we are not bored at all – despite the small size of the ship. Tonight is our second formal night of five on this segment. We will be going to the Captain’s Circle party to snag a few free drinks – order the ‘good’ stuff direct – they will do ‘simple’ drinks on order. For some reason, my drink of this cruise is jack and coke. Not sure why. I go through stages I guess. Well, that’s it for now. Time to get my lazy butt up off the chair and earn a nice lunch. Later all!
  11. Mandy and Apple have added their other sister to the group and are taking larger groups. Everyone raved about their tours when we re-visited Hong Kong on the Coral in October last year...
  12. They were both thrilled to hear from you and send hugs and kisses back!
  13. 01-28-2019 At Sea to Tahiti The sea is not too bad this morning, but the wind is buffeting the ship a bit. Still overcast, starting to get warmer. I am now sleeping far better on this ship than the entire 60 day cruise on the Coral. Not sure why. Maybe it’s the memory foam pillow or maybe the comfortable soft mattress, but when I woke up at 0430 this morning, listened to the wind howling through the balcony, I just snuggled back down and went back to sleep. Wow. What a day yesterday. The whales did not disappoint. Spectacular. We got spouts in the setting sun, full body breaches, mother and calves surfacing together, water falling off their bodies like diamonds in the sun – there must have been dozens of pods between the ship and Lanai. Spectacular sunset with the mountains just behind Lahaina illuminated with the setting sun and the sun reflecting off all the windows of the houses on the lower slopes of the mountains. Lots of pictures. A fitting conclusion to our two ports in Hawaii and a good start to our 5 sea days to Papeete. The only absolute priority yesterday was shaved ice at Ululani’s. Best shaved ice we’ve ever had – with a scoop of ice cream on the bottom of course. We did have one final piece of ‘stuff’ to purchase. Had to go all the way to Longs/CVS in the Cannery mall to find it, but we did. Nice walk with an overcast, breezy cool day. The channel was white capped with the wind whipping between Maui and Lanai. Tenders headed to shore had to buck the wind and the waves and were a bit rough. Ones headed back to the ship didn’t have any issues until we got back to the ship and had to maneuver in that rough water. Oh, and did I mention how cute the ship looks at anchor from the shore – just like a little cruise ship model – still missing the other 2/3rd’s! A couple of housekeeping items. Emanuela had left the ship and is not back at Effy’s. The Domino Duo will leave the ship in Auckland and the Cruisetones come back in Singapore. Neil did put Domino in the Pacific lounge for several sessions, tonight as well, and it was very popular with the dance crowd. Their song mix is a ballroom/latin/contemporary mix. Good dance tunes. I don’t think it was the 39” tool box. I think it was the 29”. $39.99, not the $49.99 or the $59.99 one. So I did finally hear the ultimate “touristy” answer yesterday. In response to the question, where are you from – the answer was, I swear, ‘from the United States’ – nuff said? We tried the burger grill yesterday. Very nice. Nothing like a fresh burger off the grill. Well seasoned. Fries nicely done. That’s it from the Pacific on the Pacific! Later!
  14. 01-27-2019 Lahaina 0600 and its dark outside. But dawn comes quickly. Noticeable motion last night. Surf must be up on the North Shore. Wind is blowing noticeably. Hopefully we get some whales playing around in the anchorage. The Island Princess got a real show a couple of years ago. No excursions necessary. Judy was able to dance again last night. The brace from Wal Mart helped a lot. She’ll be fine as long she avoids challenging the bed again. The Hula show was great last night. Similar to the one on the Coral in November, but in the much more intimate setting of the Cabaret Lounge. Highlight show of the trip so far. The little ones are so cute! Unlike other shows, the early show was SRO. Not much planned today. Definitely some Hawaiian Ice on shore. See how the tender process works on the Pacific. Wander around the beach, the town. Pick up some last minute ‘stuff’. Maybe some lunch. Just one of those easy days. I think we are set to leave the states for the next couple of months. Everything that we could update is updated. The Kindle is full of new reading material. Managed to pay the property taxes for the year remotely. So we’ll be back in the US in late April. Off to breakfast!
  15. 01-26-2019 Honolulu Judy tried to walk through the corner of the bed yesterday. The bed said no way. So her knee took the brunt of the impasse. (The space between the bed and the wall is very narrow on the Pacific.) I would bet you that there are millions of dollars of pain remedies, braces, wraps, narcotics, OTC devices, pills and medical related ‘stuff’ on this ship. Judy got offered everything from wraps, ice bags, knee braces, Salon Pas heat patches, NSAIDs and lidocaines to ‘the good stuff’! The only thing missing was DIY knee replacement surgery kits. But I carry a first aid kit with an ACE bandage and will pick up a knee brace at Wal Mart this morning. She is staying put. We have plenty of sea days for her to mend before we get into the hot and heavy excursioning. But in the meantime, dancing is now off the table for a while. Food is remarkably good compared to the prior two cruises (Coral and Diamond). Not as much selection as the larger ships in the buffet, but the cupcakes are still to die for. The nigiri for sushi night at the elite lounge was real sashimi grade tuna and salmon. Very nice touch. The ‘lines’ on the Pacific are amusing – as in they are very small if they exist at all. How would you like to walk into a 7:30 show at 7:28 and still get a really good seat? Or show up with everyone else to the buffet at 1145 and have to wait about 30 second to get a plate? Now in all honesty there are lines before each dinner seating. They start around 1715 and they open the dining room about 1720 to 1725. The show last night was Red, Hot and Blue. A song and dance presentation by the new dance company Princess is using for the World Cruise. Up close and personal does not even begin to describe a show in the Cabaret lounge. We were at the second show, 2130, and in row 1. The show was good. Slight technical issues that I heard in the female vocalist’s mike – she was drowned out by the background music at times. The male vocalist’s audio was balanced perfectly. It was a medley of well known songs, slightly modified/modernized with 3 female and 3 male backup dancers. Most of the choreography was modern, but I did miss the Fred Astaire/Gene Kelly American smooth style choreography. The best sequence was the Blues Brothers medley with three of their best known songs and smooth Jazz choreography – the only thing missing were the canes or umbrellas. All in all, a good show to introduce the production cast. Afternoon update… Ah the BOONKER has arrived. Those of you that were on the Coral will appreciate that. It is now tying up alongside to refuel us for the run to Papeete. Busy morning. Shopping at Wal-Mart, salad dressing, knee braces, aloha wear, non-PM Ibuprofen, ginger beer, candy, rat tail yarn, embroidery kits, etc. Still forgot some stuff. Oh well. There are more shops to visit. Facetiming Judy from Wal Mart picking colors of yarn. I almost went with one each…Elizabeth and I UBERed over and back. Quicker that way. There was a shuttle bus running as well. Paul and I then took off to scout out the downtown area. Due north from the ship is a pedestrian street that runs several blocks (Fort Street) from Ala Moana BLVD to South Beretania street. (In the middle is the little Wal Mart.) There is a Ross Dress for Less, very large too, many restaurants, a McDonalds, a couple of banks and a lot of specialty shops along the pedestrian street. A very nice walk up in the mild climate this morning. Good news is that it was downhill back to the ship with a completely loaded backpack! From there it’s a short hop about a block north to a Safeway and Longs Drugs. Safeway just happens to have a very extensive, and cheap, liquor department. Like Barefoot Pinot Grigiot for $6 a bottle. It also has beer and hard liquor (generic and top shelf) as well as mixers, boxed wines and pre-mixed drinks by the liter or liter and a half bottle. While security screening on the ship is typically very tight for liquids, in ports with exterior screeners (such as Honolulu) the ship does not screen carry-ons at all. It is rumored that these are the ports at which to restock the liquor cabinet. Not that Paul and I would have any first hand information about. But I did find some more crystalized ginger and a 12 pack of diet 7-Up for mixed drinks. To save dollars, and Judy’s already sore knee, we did lunch on the back terrace of the Panorama Buffet. Great view of the harbor, Sand Island, the Pride of America NCL ship with the bulldog front of the ship. Gorgeous weather and the food was really good. Plenty of lettuce for salads, not bad ribs and of course fresh Ice Cream (cappuccino and chocolate chip) and to die for cupcakes. Although the ice cream stole the show this time. We also took this time to update all the electronics. Good grief. System updates for the apple equipment, lots of apps to update, email to clean up in the various systems, Symantec updates and screens – good thing our t-mobile phones have the unlimited hotspots. We even caught up on a few shows we recorded when we left home last week. Tonight – the hula show, hopefully some dancing and shrimp at the executive lounge. Have to find Kathy and give her the rat tail yard I bought her as well. So tomorrow. Lahaina! More shopping. Hawaiian ice! Later!
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