Sunday, October 23, 2011


We're thinking about Hawaii this (next) year.  February/March maybe.  Details as we develop them.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Cruise movie is done -- finally!

I've finally completed the movie of our February cruise and have posted it here.  If you're running Internet Explorer, the page will open with a Media Player plug-in so you can watch on-screen, but if you're running any other browser, you'll need to download the movie from one of the links I've included and watch off line.  This is not my intention, but I can't figure out the code to make it run in anything else yet (I'm going to head across the street to my friendly web-guru Steve for help).  For right now, open the page in IE if you can.  The movie is 45 minutes long but I've tried to make it interesting enough so that it's not (too much) like watching someone's home movies of their vacation.  I also included links so you can download and view the movie in smaller bites if you prefer.  So make some popcorn and have a look.  Would love to hear comments -- but only good ones!

Added: It should work in IE, FF, and Chrome now if you have a current ActiveX plug-in.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Sneak-peek of cruise movie

I've been working on our cruise movie and have completed the first section.  Got a lot to do yet, so let me know what you think.  Won't load the YT video on Blogger so I included the video link.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Movie coming along

I've been working on the movie from our cruise when I get time and it's coming along;  it's at 9 minutes and we're just sailing out of San Juan, so I'll probably need to make some strategic edits prior to publishing.  Still need to get the actual cruise in with beaches, parties, catamarans and such.  This cruise was our time to reconnect and since we listened to Sinatra music on our balcony, I'm including some in the movie -- wonder if YouTube will let me post it without paying licensing fees? Sue mailed me a card this week, and ended it by saying that we need to start thinking about where we'll go next -- that gives me something to hope for.

I figure the movie should be done in another week or so, and then I'll get back to one I started, focusing specifically on Caribbean Princess.  Maybe Princess Cruises will like that one?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cruise Report

I've posted a report of our cruise to Cruise Line Fans Forum here. It includes a few of the many pix we took.  I'm working on our cruise video which I hope to post in the next week or so.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Chicago at night

As I write this entry, I see from the webcam that Caribbean Princess is currently back in port at St. Thomas -- as the song goes, "The Love Boat, soon will be making another run", and so she has while we traveled home to Chicago.    From the Captain's log, I see that we traveled 1,405 miles at an average speed of about 13.5 knots.  We left San Juan in shorts, but changed into long pants and light sweaters for the flight home.  While I was on my ship's tour on Saturday, I was given several gifts including a Caribbean Princess chef's coat and one of those heavy bathrobes they normally try to sell you for $95 -- Sue used them both at various times on the trip home to stay warm.  It was very cold here in Chicago while we were gone, which makes the cruise that much more enjoyable, and it promises to be a bit warmer here this week -- low 40sF (~5C).  I'll attempt to collect some of my thoughts over the next few days and jot them down while I work on the final cruise page for the website which will include our cruise movie (current working title "Emotional Replenishment").  It will be located on our cruise page HERE.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Back in Miami

This morning we disembarked the Caribbean Princess for the last time on this cruise.  Since we had booked a post-cruise excursion, and we'd be leaving the ship early, we went up to the Horizon Court on the Lido Deck for breakfast -- Jac finally found his chorizo and eggs.  We said good-bye to our Stateroom steward, Runiel and headed to the Casino where our excursion group was to meet.  The difficulty of finding our bags was compounded by the fact that we were the first group to leave the ship, hence all 5000+ bags were in the staging area.  But we found them, got through Customs and headed out to our bus which would take us to the El Yunque Rain Forest.  Sue and I visited there once on a previous cruise and we were glad that Princess offered this post-cruise excursion again.  Sue got several nice flower pictures on her phone, and Jac got some good shots for the cruise movie he'll work on over the next couple of weeks.  One thing that changed from our last time on this trip is that the driver told us that Princess no longer allows the driver to stop for a quick Puerto Rican lunch on the trip back to the airport -- very disappointing. 

Right now we're sitting in the Miami airport for the last leg of our trip home to Chicago.  I checked email, and saw that Heidi asked me to send a hello to her and Makayla last Wednesday, but Sue beat me to it by talking with them on the phone while I typed this blog. 

One tidbit regarding the coffee on Princess I was able to confirm during my ship tour yesterday:  someone I met on-board said he thought that the coffee was made from some kind of concentrate.  Not true.  The coffee is fresh-ground -- in fact everything from the galley is made fresh daily by Executive Chef Antonio and his team.  Even after seeing how the galley works, I still don't know how they do it.  Also, Sue and I both were extremely impressed by the work-ethic in all the Princess crew.  They work long hours (11 hour days are typical) are away from their families for months at a time and still always have a smile and a please-and-thank-you for the passengers.  Imagine if all service workers were like those guys.

I'll have a follow-up post tomorrow, and set up the link for the cruise report and movie.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

A full day at sea

Today is our long day at sea, so we found things to do on-board all day.  Went up to the pool area on the stern around 8:30 where we enjoyed the Caribbean sun for another day.  Around 10 AM the ship got buzzed by a private jet; it came at the ship from the stern and flew by the port side at around 250 knots, I’m guessing, at about the height of the top deck and about 500 feet off the side.  Wish I had my camera ready then!!  The videographer finished the video of our excursion yesterday ,so we got to see ourselves on TV today.
After a proper British Pub lunch of Bangers and Mash (Jac) and Fish and Chips (Sue), Sue went back up to the Sun Deck to “Kindle” and relax and Jac went on The Ultimate Ship Tour:  he got to see several areas of the ship which are normally off-limits to passengers.  Since the tour was limited to just 10 guests, it was very personal.  We even got gifts including a personal Princess Cruise chef’s jacket and personalized notepads.  Jac got pictures taken with, among others, the Chief Engineer and the Ship’s Captain.  For security reasons we were not allowed to bring cameras, but Jac got some great memories.
Tomorrow we disembark (boohoo) but it’s not the end of our vacation:  we’re going back to the El Yunque National Park for the day – the only tropical rain forest in the National Park Service system.  I’ll try to get a post up tomorrow afternoon before we board our plane.
Just a note about the video the past couple of days – as you can imagine, the Internet connection at sea is slow, so I’ve made compressed videos.  Once we get back to civilization and I make the HD video, I’ll post it our website ( and place a link here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday 11 February 2011, Barbados

It seems that the farther south you go in the Caribbean, the better it gets.  We sailed into harbor in Barbados this morning about 8, had breakfast on our balcony as usual, then Jac disembarked to find a Hotspot – with no luck.  I had found one on-line prior to the cruise, but it turns out it is in the Boatyard a couple of miles south of the harbor, and I didn’t feel like making the trip.  We went up to the Sun Deck and hung around at the pool – Jac practiced putting on the putting green for a bit while Sue sun-bathed.  Following lunch back on our balcony, we boarded the Tiami Catamaran and set out for Paradise Beach.  Capt. Derk and his crew (Kim, Sam and the others) were the best we’ve seen.  The boat dropped anchor and we snorkeled in absolutely clear water while Sam fed the sea turtles.  What a sight.  A member of the Princess crew came with us to film a portion of the cruise DVD and she did some underwater filming of the turtles.  After snorkeling, Capt. Derk headed the boat into shore and dropped anchor so we could enjoy the tropical Barbados beach, near multi-multimillion dollar condos and very high-end hotels.  As always, there was plenty of rum and beer on board for the trip back to the Caribbean Princess.  Tonight is a formal night, but Sue and I opted to stay casual and eat outside, poolside, with fare from the buffet.  Need to get my tux on right now, because we’re headed to a piano show. 

Thursday, February 10, 2011

St. Lucia, West Indies

We slipped into the harbor of Casteries this morning around 6:30 AM and watched the sun come up.  We spent most of the morning on the ship, then headed into town to do some shopping around 10.  Sue bought a locally made doll for Maggie and some jewelry.  We had lunch on board then boarded a bus for a trip through the countryside to the beach.  Sue’s working on her tan, and I’m working on my burn.  We’re both having some degree of success.  After coming back to the ship tonight, we grabbed some pizza and beer, and settled in for the Movies Under The Stars showing of “Easy A”.  Dumb movie, but it was fun being together.  Tomorrow we visit Barbados.

Here’s the story

So my computer has an encrypted hard drive, and it requires a log-in after it goes to sleep which it did last night before I could get the daily blog posted.  I had closed the lid – but not all the way – with a pen on the keyboard, so as the ship rocked in the surf, the lid vibrated and the pen on the keyboard probably tried “logging me in” the limit of five times – with random letters.  After five attempts to log in, the computer locks down and requires an administrator key to unlock.  This required several emails back and forth to my IT administrator who did a wonderful job of getting me back up and running.
So here’s the video blog from yesterday.  We were in Antigua West Indies and after breakfast, we sailed out to some of the most beautiful turquoise water for snorkeling, then after 45 minutes, headed to a very private beach.  I probably tried to fit too much fun in, and went rock climbing in bare feet, slipped, and now look like I was in motorcycle accident.  But I’m sure the cuts will heal.  LOL.  The lady in the separate picture her is a Brit named Maggie who does water-colors in every port we visit.

So where is the blog?

Accidentally locked up my computer and just got it unlocked with Patty’s help – thanks Patty.  We’re just leaving port in St. Lucia, so I’ll update the last two days tonight.  Got to get to dinner.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tortola BVI, 8 Feb 2011

Today we stayed on ship for the morning, had a nice breakfast in the warm Caribbean sun on our deck and enjoyed the start of the day.  Jac went topside, took some pictures, and had a Rocky Patel while Sue discovered more about her Kindle.  Room service delivered our lunch around 11:30 (hot dog for Jac and roast beef for Sue) then we headed to shore.  We boarded a catamaran and sailed about 45 minutes to a separate island to visit the beach near Virgin Gorda (the Fat Virgin).  Sue said that she thought it was better than the beach we previously visited on Isla Margarita, which we both agree was fantastic.  I drank a Carib, and Sue had Sex On The Beach!  We swam and laid in the sun, went on a hike through some caves (more like openings in the rocks, actually), then hiked up to a very cool bar for Rum Punch.  Just as we got back to our cruise ship after our excursion the sky opened up just long enough for us to get soaked.  We came back to our room and took showers, and now we’re headed to dinner.

Until tomorrow.