Friday, February 26, 2010

One of my favorite rides. We did get to ride it and it even had a 30 minute wait time, though it was more like 15. Love this classic!

Day two of our excellent adventure (trip report)

So, have you given up reading this yet? Is anyone reading this at all? Doesn't matter I am enjoying reliving it all over again. :) As insane as it sounds we were up bright and early today at about 6 am. We showered changed and all of us were out the door by 7:30 am. We get every second out of our vacation and then some. We started out on the Florida turnpike and hit only a little traffic. Not to many "are we there yet?" from the peanut gallery. No road rage from the hubby. We arrived without any fanfare at about 12. The children, luggage and I were dropped off at the pier and Phil went to park the car in the garage. We had gotten a porter, who took our bags and then put his hand out. I looked at it in shock. How rude! He said," you want me to take care of your bags right?" I looked at him and handed him a $5 bill for three bags. Geez, he could have waited the 30 seconds while I took the money out of my pocket. Now our bags are BIG duffel's, so we can store all kinds of things in there, including a maybe a chopped up porter. He didn't know who he was dealing with. I won't tell him he was going to get a $10 before his comment. Hope you are reading this Mr. porter man!

We stand in line and wait for Phil to get there (seems like an eternity) and then proceed to get on the ship. I got to say the Navigator of the Seas is an impressive ship. It isn't one of the biggest but it is a very nicely put together ship. We had carry on luggage, as we were hoping to get in some pool time, but that did not happen for the adults, way to cold. That didn't stop the girls for about 20 minutes before they were done!

The promenade...impressive

So we went to eat at the Windjammer buffet for lunch. It was early so we snagged a seat quickly (which did not happen again this trip) and had lunch. The honey stung chicken they only do on embarkation day was yummy as always. I am addicted to the burgers on that ship. We had lunch everyday in the Windjammer.

By 1pm we were standing outside the corridor to our stateroom(yes, we were eager). They close the corridors off now, and you wait by the elevators for one of the stateroom attendants to open the doors. As soon as they did it we walked to our room. We had stateroom 1388. Yes, the coveted corner aft balcony room. If you can get one of these rooms get it! The room was plenty big for the 4 of us. The girls had a large pull out sofa to sleep on and our two beds. I will post pictures of the room soon. The balcony is huge! We had two lounge chairs, two regular chairs and one small round table and there was still room to walk around in the balcony! It was not dark or did we have any soot at all on the balcony. I was in heaven!

We put away our clothes, met our stateroom attendant and then noticed a very unpleasant smell coming from the bathroom. It was a very strong sewer smell. We called right away and someone was sent right up. We got ready for dinner and went down to the 4th floor where our dining room was. What a beautiful dining room. It is like something out of a movie. I can picture long ball gowns and tuxes walking down the main staircase like in the Titanic movie...ok, maybe that isn't the best reference to use while talking about a cruise. Anyway, we got a great table by the windows. Then we met or dinner mates.

At first we were a little taken back. They looked very much like they were from the country, and for good reason. Our table mates were re-en-actors from the pioneer age. They were great people and very funny. We enjoyed their company and loved hearing about what they did. We gave them our contact and hope they use it. Dinner is so much fun when you meet all kinds of people on cruises. We have never had anyone we did not like. James was our waiter and he was from India and I can't remember the asst. waiters will come to me. Thank you Angela, she remembered our asst. waiters name Mohammed!

For the most part it was chilly and cloudy today. No outside activities to speak of other than attempting ping pong!

Did have fun exploring the ship. Angela, is not feeling all the great, and has quite a cold brewing. My watch battery died and no place on the ship sells a watch battery.I will have to wait til Jamaica to get one. We all went to bed at a decent time to get ready for tomorrow. Hopefully the sun will come out??? Any takers?

The rock climbing wall.

because today's vacations are tomorrow's memories!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

We decided last minute to leave early because of the bad weather that had hit the Washington D.C. and Virginia area. The drive down went well, though many of the roads in Virginia were not completely plowed! Can you believe it 4 days after a snowstorm, and snow is still on a highway!!! It took us 21 hours from Franklin to Orlando with only gas, bathroom and fast food breaks. We packed juices, sodas, breakfast bars, and pop-tarts (no car trip is complete without pop-tarts and Nutri-grain bars at our house). The girls packed I-PODS, two laptops with wireless cards, a pack of cards, books (homework which for some strange reason was never conveyed to us that they had any) and pillows and blankets. By 10pm the two girls had passed out and it was calm and quiet other than my DH's book on tape " ". Yes, believe it or not I let him listen to the tapes the entire time, they are like a sedative to him. No road rage when he is listening to them ;)

We left at 4pm Franklin, MA time and arrived at the Walt Disney World Swan at 12:30 or so in the middle of what can only be described as a torrential downpour of epic proportions. It was cold and windy and looked like monsoon season had arrived. We braved the elements after check in and took the water taxi from the Swan to the International Gateway in EPCOT. The poor water taxi driver had the shipmate constantly wiping the windows down from the condensation, and wringing out the cloth, only to do it over and over again. We arrived at the ticket booth only soaken wet, and got my annual pass. I was so excited to have it in hand! We won't tell Phil I am planning on using this baby well ;)

Tickets finally in hand we backstroked back to our room.

We also visited Team Disney as I am a new cast member and could go to the Team Disney store. I ran in and ran out and will go back in Aug. We ate dinner at the Garden Grove Restaurant at the Swan. It was a fisherman's buffet where they had clams, and crab legs, fish, a roasts, a huge salad, lots of veggies. The best part was the risotto station where you picked the ingredients and they made the risotto for you. It was yummy and warranted to trips up for more from me! Then of course there was the yummy desserts. They had Rafiki, and Timon as the characters and the girls both took a pictures with them. I won't go into my shpiel about rude parents who can't wait with their precious darling for their turn. I want to drop kick junior and his mother, but instead of saying or doing these evil things I just think them.

After dinner we all went back up to the room and passed out before 10pm. Tomorrow goodbye Disney and hello warm and sunny Miami?????? Oh and is that the sniffles I hear Angela?

Monday, February 22, 2010

What can I say. We had a wonderful trip and as always I say I am going to blog live, but it never happens. So the next few days I am going to gather all my notes and pictures and put the chronicles of my crazy sun starved Massachusetts family's trip on here. The journey in our 2003 Toyota mini-van. No deaths or strandings at the side of the road. The questions are we still sun starved? How did we fare the 3273.8 miles from Franklin, MA to Orlando Fl, to Miami...back to Orlando and back to Ma? Did everyone survive? Just to wet your appetite we had two colds, one very bad bathroom smell, an awesome view, a meeting with a Princess and a grumpy old man, bob sledding in the rain forest, Bingo and Pandora Bracelets!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Oh boy, doesn't it figure. I jinxed it. So the entire East coast but New England got hit with a mega storm this weekend. Washington DC has yet to open schools again and they are closed tomorrow. They are going to get hit again tomorrow and we are getting hit on Wednesday. Yes, this Wednesday with us leaving on Thursday. Can you believe it? They are now saying 10-15 inches. Are they kidding me? I am not sure what we are going to do about routes cuz we are driving come hell or high water! If there is no school on Thursday because of clearing out Wednesdays snow then we are out of here earlier than expected. Heck, we live only 5 minutes from a major highway.

I am sweating it out though. Do we go the mountain route and ignore 95S? Or do we live with all the crazy drivers heading down like us and go 95S? Anyone know how to read tea leaves? I'll take any good guess? Right now I am a crazy lady about this and might just drive my DH to the nut house over it before we leave. Guess he would get a quiet vacation that way ;) :)

Oh yeah, and could you please visit my website? You know you want to....its been eating at you...So click the pretty picture below and come visit.

Ok, that didn't work the way I wanted just click here

Thursday, February 4, 2010

and so the planning begins.....

We are driving to Orlando in one fells swoop from Massachusetts in just over a week. Yes, we are insane...yes we have a mini van, and finally yes we have lots of things to entertain us :)

First I researched the best way from our house in Southeastern MA. to Orlando FL. (our first stop). We are avoiding the ever dreadful 95S route and going 90, 81 to 80 something to 77 to something else to 95 in Georgia. Yes, I am doing that off the top of my head and hell, I am getting old you know. I was smart and printed my triptik on AAA so senility will not affect the driving. Then I have taken 4 wonderful fleece blankets and set them aside. I keep the car cool to keep us awake, so blankets are good. Otherwise I hear, why are you freezing us to death? I have stocked up my diet coke stash with diet coke with caffeine (I usually do decaffeinated).

We will start laundry and packing this weekend, so we just have to throw our bags in when we leave. We will take the back seats out of our mini van for extra room. We have had the car checked and everything is in order by our mechanic. Never ever take the trip without making sure the car is in good safe driving condition. Our van had 150K miles on it and running great, so off we will go.

My list of things to bring for the ride. Do not worry, I am slightly obsessive about this and the list will get bigger.

Everyone's I-Pods
puzzle books
drinks and snacks for everyone
a couple of plastic bags (for trash)
cell phones
cell phone chargers
baby wipes(for spills)

Packing list
clothes (summer and a few things for cooler weather)
flip flops
reservation confirmations
gas cards
first aide kit

We will be in Orlando 3 days and on a cruise for 5 days. We will drive non-stop at the beginning and end of our trip. I am excited and nervous. We did this last summer and it was a blast. When I planned this trip I never even factored in weather. Yup, the fact that it is February and it might snow or sleet even in Florida, never crossed my mind! So, wish us luck! Are we there yet?

Visit my travel agency at for travel deals and reservations. Remember today's vacation is tomorrows memories!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Great vacation... Royal Caribbean Rocks...

What else could have gone wrong? Not much, but we still had a blast!!!

First, my daughter went to work with me so we could park my car at my friend Judy's place and take a town-car (Thanks Judy) to the airport. That was the least stressful part of our trip. We get to the airport with an hour and 45 minutes to spare. There is no line at the check in or security to speak of. I take out my million copies of all my confirmations and they go every where. I then find it and we proceed to check in. Well, We pull out everything and Kassie doesn't have her license. She needs her license to get on the ship because she didn't want to pay for a passport (she gets a free one this year at school). So we call RCCL and they said she needed a state issued picture ID. She had left it in her boyfriends wallet to hold and he was in a movie theater and hour away. Luckily he likes her for some reason, left the movie, braved rush hour in Boston to the airport and made it in 50 minutes. I think he broke the sound barrier because he made it. We made it with enough time to actually get a snack and sit a little bit.

The cruise was awesome! We had a junior suite just a little forward of midship. It was incredible. Lots of room, a walk in closet any woman would die for and a bathroom with a soaking deep tub. We even got the bathrobes (we are easily pleased). We went dancing and a nice policeman and his cadets from Philly asked us to hang out with them. We passed , could not see us hanging out with these guys :) though the young ones were cute, even the older guy was cute. Well that was until he mentioned he liked cougars....hhhmmm I won $75 at the slots and Kassie got a new addiction to the quarters game in the casino. We saw QUEST, the Adult comedian, the magician and even the Hannah Montanna movie :) Yes, we sat and watched the entire thing :)

In Mexico we had a blast. We were first off the ship. Waited til Diamond International opened and we went shopping. We did well, then we went shopping for fun stuff and alcohol. Ate in the center of town, and returned to the ship to drop our stash off. We then got in a taxi and drove to Mr Sanchos Beach. We found it online paid $35 each and it was great. It was $16 via taxi to the resort. There was the beach of course better for snorkeling, but still fun. They had tables with umbrellas on the beach, and then beach lounge chairs. The entrance fee included all you can drink ( soda, juices and alcoholic) and all you can eat. Those Dirty Monkey drinks were delicious and to die for. Yummy Mexican food. I had fajitas, and my daughter got quesadillas, oh and lots and lots of french fries for her. The place closes at 5pm their time which is perfect or us to get back to the ship in time. It is less to book online, and more in person so book online! Definitely a must next time...the non motorized stuff was free, and there was a charge for the other things. There was a nice pool area too....

The cruise was to short...4 days is about 3 days to short for me, and Kassie agreed. We hated seeing the days get changed in the elevator :( We did stay one more night in South Beach, Miami after the cruise. Stayed at the Winter Haven. Great hotel in a great area at an awesome price. Would go there again in a heartbeat. Our transportation home with SAS transportation left bad taste in my mouth. They were an hour and a half late for pick up. They kept telling us they were only 15 minutes away. Finally arriving in the drivers personal car because he had been made to pick us up on his day off. There were to many reasons why they were not on time. Leaving us only 30 minutes to get through everything at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Our luggage never made it onto our flight because it was so late checking in. The driver was wonderful and would not even take a tip, and the company said the ride was on them. It was just an awful way to end our trip..
I say we will be back on the Navigator of the Seas in just 10 days and counting? Yes, this time in an aft corner balcony room on the 10th floor. I can't wait! Stay tuned for our insane drive to Miami, 5 days on the Navigator and three days in Walt Disney World at the Swan Hotel!