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Old 06-28-2012, 10:30 AM   #151
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Love the rainbow pics. You are so lucky to have met Ducky and have him sign your prints. He looks like such a nice man. I have 2 of his lithographs and would have loved to have them signed. Looking forward to more.
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:03 PM   #152
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Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
Pam I think you know this but David and I cruise every February to the Caribbean 12 days, this last time I only got off the ship in one port, we cruise to get out of the cold here and head to the warm, not so much for the ports.

In the fall we cruise for ports, last year was Baltic 16 days, and I really enjoy those.

I agree, with previous posters that we do not run into kids during longer cruises and during the school year, but I was just unsure of a Disney cruise.

Thanks for all the replies.
I was just going to ask when your next cruise is and I saw your ticker, very exciting
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Old 06-28-2012, 02:09 PM   #153
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Originally Posted by dolphingirl47 View Post
Actually I am quite relieved about this. We already have two cruises booked for next year. Having another big fabulous cruise in the same year would have thrown a serious spanner in the works. I am actually quite excited about the Miami cruises for the Magic. Even though the Wonder has a firm place in my heart by now, I do still miss the Magic. Like many others, I think that the Miami cruises will not sell particularly well. Graham really would like to see the Everglades at some points, which would not be wise for me to do because I am very allergic to mosquito bites and I tend to still get bitten even if I cover up and use bug spray. So I am hoping that I may be able to get a good deal on a cruise on the Magic in fall 2013 and Graham can go and see the Everglades and spend some time in Miami.

Corinna
While I have not been to the Everglades I went to some swamps in upper Florida and they are unlike anything else I've ever seen, truly amazing. I love seeing the alligators swimming in the water. If I cover myself in deet or something of similar strength I'm usually ok, but they flock to me also. I'm really eyeing the October, 20 2013 cruise which has two stops in CC. I'm about 95% decided I'll do it.
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Old 06-28-2012, 05:08 PM   #154
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How luxurious to have so many days at sea, but the prospect of landing in Hawaii sounds fantastic. You had a very relaxing day. I can't wait to have the Grand Mariner Soufflé!
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Old 06-29-2012, 07:51 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by dolphingirl47 View Post
............
At some stage during dinner, Ariel appeared. She made the round of the tables and then the serving teams gave out some streamers and some silly streamer waving commenced. I have to say I have never understood the need to have a "show" at dinner and find them largely irritating.
.............
I find these events to be interesting or neutral. We got one of our best photos of the cruise with Ariel at this dinner. It intregued me that she welcomed us to her father's restaurant. Since she only posed for pictures at the tables, the children had to stay in their seats to see her but afterwards she invited them to bring their streamers for a parade. We were to unfurl our streamer stick and wave to this Royal Procession. This is a bit too much of an extrovert behavior for me so my streamer remained furled, but Tom unfurled his and waved it about. I did think it was a clever way to encourage the children to wait patently for the character appearance and then to get some large muscle activity to balance all the sitting. Since there were not many children in our late dining rotation the parade was short-lived.

Jan
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:42 AM   #156
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pinkocto View Post
While I have not been to the Everglades I went to some swamps in upper Florida and they are unlike anything else I've ever seen, truly amazing. I love seeing the alligators swimming in the water. If I cover myself in deet or something of similar strength I'm usually ok, but they flock to me also. I'm really eyeing the October, 20 2013 cruise which has two stops in CC. I'm about 95% decided I'll do it.
last time I was in the Everglades, I got out of the boat and into the water, with the alligators.... David flipped out and could not wait for me to get back in...
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:43 AM   #157
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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
How luxurious to have so many days at sea, but the prospect of landing in Hawaii sounds fantastic. You had a very relaxing day. I can't wait to have the Grand Mariner Soufflé!
I have had it on Celebrity and it is truly amazing! You will love it
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:44 AM   #158
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Beautiful update my dear, really loving your TR and all the beautiful Photos...
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Old 06-29-2012, 08:57 AM   #159
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last time I was in the Everglades, I got out of the boat and into the water, with the alligators.... David flipped out and could not wait for me to get back in...
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Old 06-29-2012, 01:23 PM   #160
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Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
last time I was in the Everglades, I got out of the boat and into the water, with the alligators.... David flipped out and could not wait for me to get back in...
Why did you get out of the boat??

.
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Old 06-29-2012, 03:29 PM   #161
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Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
last time I was in the Everglades, I got out of the boat and into the water, with the alligators.... David flipped out and could not wait for me to get back in...
I would have flipped out too!
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Old 06-29-2012, 04:52 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by RachelTori View Post
Corinna,

Loving your report and the pictures! You and Graham are such an adorable couple!

I LOVE the picture of you 2 with Ducky! He is such a cherished icon.

We have never "won" one of his drawings at any of his events we have attended, but one of our daughters has a Pooh he created just for her back in 2006.
Thanks. I have never won one of Ducky's drawings either, but I just love listening to him. Having this opportunity is a gift in its own right.

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Fab update! Love the jewelry you designed and your pics are so cute!
Thanks. Making jewellery is my big passion.

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Can't wait to hear about the "land" part of the trip.

You've given out some wonderful FE gifts.
I have the first port day ready and will post it on Sunday.

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Originally Posted by Shell54 View Post
Love the rainbow pics. You are so lucky to have met Ducky and have him sign your prints. He looks like such a nice man. I have 2 of his lithographs and would have loved to have them signed. Looking forward to more.
I know. I have met him three times now and he is so down to earth.

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Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
How luxurious to have so many days at sea, but the prospect of landing in Hawaii sounds fantastic. You had a very relaxing day. I can't wait to have the Grand Mariner Soufflé!
The Grand Marnier Soufflé is amazing. I love this, but don't like the famous Palo Chocolate Soufflé at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dgbg100106 View Post
last time I was in the Everglades, I got out of the boat and into the water, with the alligators.... David flipped out and could not wait for me to get back in...
I can absolutely understand that he freaked out.

Corinna
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Old 07-01-2012, 03:09 PM   #163
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Day 10

I had set the alarm for 7:00 again and this time Mickey had not got confused. Graham got up for his exercise class and I felt strangely bereft as I had nothing to do. I could have gone to the Cove Cafe, but we were planning to have breakfast that day so this did not seem like a wise idea. I read until Graham came back from his stretching class. He quickly got changed and we headed up to Triton's.

Breakfast was nice. We both had coffee and orange juice. Graham had Fresh Fruit with Yoghurt and Granola followed by the Express breakfast, which consisted of Scrambled Eggs, Grilled Ham, Sausage, Bacon and Hash Browns. This used to be called Scuttle on the Run and I was quite sad that they have done away with the Little Mermaid inspired names for the breakfast dishes. I am not really into breakfast, but I could not resist the Eggs Benedict with a side order of Hash Brown.

When we left Triton's, we saw that land was getting quite close. Graham decided to go upstairs to watch our approach and I said that I would join him in due course, but wanted to get my camera first. When I came up to deck 9, there was an absolute downpour going on. This was not what I expected. I always thought that Hawaii is a dry and sunny place. Actually, Hilo is the third wettest city in the USA. Only Ketchikan and Yakutat, which are both in Alaska, are wetter. Hilo gets some rain on about 275 days a year and has an average annual rain fall of around 200 inches. Compare this with Manchester, which gets on average 32 inches per year, and you realize you are in trouble. Hilo is on the windward side of the island of Hawaii, which is the biggest in the Hawaiian island chain. The island of Hawaii is usually referred to as Big Island to set it apart from the state of Hawaii. This is also the only island with active volcanoes. The Big Island consists of 5 volcanoes: Kohala (extinct), Mauna Kea (dormant), which is also the tallest mountain in the world although much of it is below sea level, Hualālai (active, but not currently erupting), Mauna Loa (active) and Kīlauea (active). Mauna Loa and Kīlauea are both in the Volcanoes National Park, which is where we were headed that day.

Anyway, I had no intention to get drenched so I headed forward on deck 9 to the area above the flying bridge as this area has a glass roof. An increasing number of people had the same idea, but I got there early enough to get a nice spot. I saw something that looked incredibly like members of the dolphin family in the breakwater just outside the port. I never got a clear enough look to see what they were, but because of the colouring and the size, they may well have been Pilot Whales. It was interesting to watch the docking process. The port at Hilo is an industrial port and the airport is right next to the port. I could see the runway from where I was standing, but there was no activity at all. Graham joined me a little while later after he had got changed into dry clothes. At one point we got a waterfall on deck 9 as all the water from deck 10 came tumbling town. This was an amazing sight and fortunately we were far enough away not to get wet.



Once we had enough of the view, we headed back to the cabin to get ready for our excursion. We did not have to meet until 11:45 and our meeting point was Wavebands. Our excursion was and Adult Only Departure, which I had never encountered on a Disney Cruise before, but this was right up our street. It was a huge excursion that took up 6 buses and then there were more buses for the family version of the excursion, but they met somewhere else. The whole process was very well organized. They asked one person from each group to come forward with everybody's excursion ticket, Key to the World card and photo ID and in turn you received a numbered sticker for everybody in your group. Those stickers corresponded to the bus number. We were number 5. The cruise staff organizing this were in radio contact with people down on deck 1 and sent groups down according on how busy it was down there. Soon it was our turn. I had said to Graham earlier on that instead of selling water in the elevator lobby on deck 1 as they normally do for excursions, they should sell rain Ponchos. I had to smile when we got down there and there was a huge table set up with the kind of ponchos the sell in the park. However, they were not for sale, but were given as a gift to everybody leaving the ship. I thought this was a really nice touch.

Once we got off the ship, we got another present. All the ladies got an Orchid lei and the men got a Kukui Nut lei. As we were leaving the port, some of the ship's photographers were out and about taking photos. We had a quick photo before heading to the area where the buses were parked. They did a great job separating people by buses and when we got to our bus, our excursion tickets were collected. Again, everything worked like clockwork. Once we were all on the bus, our driver introduced herself as Cousin Val and she then told us a bit more about Hilo and and the Big Island. She actually came from Kona on the other side of the island and voiced some regret that we would not have a chance to visit Kona, too. She did however comment that they had a bit of an issue with high sulfur levels in Kona at that time so I was not too sorry that we would not get to see this part of the island.





Our first stop was the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut factory. Macadamia nuts are one of my favourite treats so I was all over this. On the way to the visitor centre, we passed very extensive orchards with Macadamia nut trees. When we got there, we had a look at the factory tour first. The factory tour consisted of a raised walkway and some big picture windows looking into the factory. There were also some screens with a commentary, but not all of them were working. It was a wise decision to head there first because when we came back down the stairs at the other end, some of the other buses had arrived and it got really busy. Once we had finished the tour, I headed towards the visitor centre while Graham had a walked around the grounds. I had to smile that they had their own character, a big walking Macadamia nut. I had a quick peak in the visitor centre and then I headed out to the snack bar area. I had heard that they do Macadamia nut ice cream there. They had various flavour combinations and I went with the Macadamia Nut and Coconut, which was delicious. I bumped into Graham on the way out and let him try some of my ice cream. This then resulted in him getting some of his own. Once I had finished my ice cream, I headed back to the visitor centre. They had an area set up where you could try the different flavours that they had on offer. I tried some of the more unusual offerings like Kona Coffee Glazed Macadamia Nuts. My favourite flavour was actually the Wasabi and Teriyaki Macadamia Nuts. Unfortunately they did not have them in individual tins, but just as part of gift packs with multiple tins of different flavours. So I settled for a tin of Kona Coffee Glazed Macadamia Nuts and a couple of snack bags with Honey Roasted Macadamia Nuts and Milk Chocolate Covered Macadamia nuts. I also got to taste a Macadamia Nut Hershey's Kiss. The Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Company was bought out by Hershey's a few years ago.







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Old 07-01-2012, 03:14 PM   #164
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Soon it was time to head back to the bus to move on to our next stop. We headed to the Volcanoes National Park. Volcanoes National Park was established in 1916 and consists of the world's biggest volcano (Mauna Loa) and the world's most active volcano (Kīlauea). At one time the Crater Rim Road went all around the crater of Kīlauea, but debris from an explosion in the Halemaʻumaʻu crater covered some of the road and also destroyed an overlook. When we were there, further parts of the Crater Rim Road where also closed due to dangerous levels of sulfur emissions in that area. Graham and I joked that the National Park Service obviously uses the same architect for all its properties. The entrance plaza to Volcanoes National Park looked exactly the same as the entrance plaza to the South Rim at the Grand Canyon. Our next stop was the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum. Just outside the museum there was a nice overlook, which gave a good view of the enormous crater of Kīlauea. There is currently no lava flow, but the steam vents were pretty impressive. We kept sawing white birds flitting in and out of the crater. They are Koa‘e kea or White-tailed Tropicbirds, which actually nest on the cliffs in the crater. They seem to be totally immune to the sulfur, which makes this a very safe nesting site as no predator can come close to them. There is some extensive research going on at the moment to try to find out why they are immune to the sulfur. We had a quick look at the Thomas A. Jaggar Museum. The Thomas A. Jaggar Museum is a museum on volcanology with displays of equipment used by scientists in the past to study the volcano, working seismographs, and an exhibit of clothing and gear from scientists who got a bit too close to lava. The part that I have found the most interesting is the different types of volcanic stones and what they can tell scientist about the lava flow that created them. There are amble warnings in this area to watch out for Nene Geese, but unfortunately we did not see any.





















When everybody was back on the bus, we headed to the next landmark, the Thurston Lava Tube. When we started to drive off, it started to rain again. Fortunately it was not as heavy in the morning, but I felt for the people that were doing an excursion cycling down the volcano. Graham had wanted to do this, but by the time we were able to reserve our excursions, this was fully booked. I think he had a lucky escape! When we arrived at the car park for the lava tube, the rain had all but stopped.The Lava Tube was not far from the drop off point, but the path down to it was rather steep. With my dodgy balance, this worried me a bit, but it was well worth it. This lava tube was discovered in 1913 by Lorrin Thurston, a local newspaper publisher. At that time the roof of the tube was covered with lava stalactites, but those soon disappeared due to souvenir collectors. Apparently you can also see some marks that show the level of the lava going through the tube, but I did not notice this. It was still very impressive. Because of all the rain, there was a bit of mud and some puddles in the lava tube, but I managed to avoid both. When we came out of the lava tube, the rain had started again, but fortunately it was warm rain and we did not have far to walk to the bus.















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Old 07-01-2012, 03:20 PM   #165
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We had one more stop before we returned to the port. We stopped at the Akatsuka Orchid Gardens. The name is slightly misleading as this is essentially a nursery selling orchids. Their claim to fame is that they have an orchid there called the Volcano Queen that is valued at $20,000. It originally comes from Thailand and blooms between April and June. Unfortunately I did not find out about this until we were back on the bus to the port or else I would have looked out for it. Orchids are some of my favourite flowers, but I much prefer them in the wild. When we arrived, every woman was given an orchid to put in the hair. I had a look around and admired the various different kinds of orchids. I then had a quick look at the gift shop. I spotted a lovely purple tube dress with a Hawaiian design. Unfortunately I had left my backpack on the bus and did not have any money on me. We did not have a lot of time there, but when I got back on the bus, there were still a lot of people missing. I left Graham on the bus, grabbed my backpack and legged it back to the gift shop. There was no line at one of the tills so I quickly grabbed the dress I wanted and paid for it. At $20, it was a bit of a bargain. When I got back to the bus with my purchase, there were still quite a few people missing so did not have to worry.





Once everybody was back on the bus, we headed back to the port. It was only a short drive. When we arrived, we said goodbye to our driver and headed back on the ship. We ended up having to clear security twice. The port authority screened our bags and then they did the same again on the ship. Once we had cleared all the formalities, we headed straight up to deck 9. We had not really eaten anything since breakfast unless you count the nut samples and the ice cream. So we decided that it was time for a snack. Graham had a Roast Beef Sandwich on Sourdough Bread and I fancied a burger. The burger came with chips, which I had not really wanted, but Graham helped me with those. I decided to check out the ice cream machines. They have always had two machines and traditionally both have always contained vanilla and chocolate with an option of a vanilla and chocolate swirl. I had heard before the cruise that they had started to offer some other flavours as well. One of the machines still have the chocolate and vanilla, but the other one had pineapple and blueberry in it. I could not resist the pineapple, which was delicious.

After we had our snacks, I quickly went to our cabin to drop off my backpack and grab the things that I needed up at the spa. I decided that I would wear my new dress that evening so I took this, too. I had seen on the character board that Stitch would be strolling on decks 3, 4 and 5 at that time. As I still had a little time until my appointment, I decided to see if I could find Stitch. I did find him at the art gallery on deck 4, where he was trying to pinch some of the art work and generally tried to reorganize the place. I think his escort was pretty happy that somebody showed up to distract him for a bit. Once I had some Stitch cuddles and a photo with him, I headed up to the spa.



I checked in and was asked to sit down in reception and was assured that the Acupuncturist would be there shortly. This was already a bit strange. Shortly afterwards she arrived in a mad rush apologizing profusely for being late. I looked at my watch and according to this, it was still 10 minutes until my appointment. It was only later that I realised that my watch was actually slow. She took me to the treatment room and told me to get undressed down to the underwear and get underneath the sheet face up. She gave me a few minutes to do this and then she came back to start my treatment. She explained that I may experience some brief discomfort or burning sensation when she places the needles and that this shows that she has inserted them in the right place. I just got a very light fizzing sensation almost like static, but it was in no way uncomfortable or painful. She started inserting needles around the ankles and lower legs, then in the abdominal area, the inside of the wrists and finally the top of the ears. Once all the needles were in place, she switched a heat lamp on and asked me to relax for a while. A very deep feeling of peace washed over me. About half an hour later, she removed the needles and asked me to get dressed while she was getting me some water. When she came back, she applied some seeds to my wrists and to the top of my ears. She advised me to press on those if I started to feel nauseous. She also gave me some spare seeds and taught me where to apply them if they came off. I also had strict instructions to come back if any of them should come off before 22:00 that day so that she could reapply them.

I went to reception to settle the bill and then headed to the Rainforest Room. Pretty much as soon as I sat down on one of the heated tile loungers, I was fast asleep. I woke up a while later as I was too hot. I decided to cool down a bit before heading or the shower and made the mistake to make myself comfortable on one of the nice comfortable loungers. Of course I fell asleep again. Fortunately one of the house keeping staff came in to replenish the towels and made quite a bit of noise doing so. If she had not, I am sure I would have ended up missing dinner. I had a quick shower and got changed. When I got back to the cabin, Graham was already there waiting for me.

Dinner that night was at Animator's Palate and the menu was E Komo Mai, which is Hawaiian for Welcome. One of the missing people on the table that we had joined turned up again that night so we were 5. Graham had a Hawaiian Fruit Cocktail with Mangos, Papayas, Lime and Cilantro, Cream of Corn and Mussel Soup, Grilled Marinated Beef Sirloin Steak with caramelized Tomatoes and Monterey Jack Potato Cakes followed by Frozen Mango and Coconut Souffle with Raspberry and Mango Sauce. I had Ono Crispy Shrimp with Spicy Popcorn (Panko breaded Shrimp with Remoulade and Almond Spiced Popcorn), Pinto Bean Soup with spicy Pork Spare Rib and Grilled Marinated Beef Sirloin Steak with caramelized Tomatoes and Monterey Jack Potato Cakes. I could not make up mind what I wanted for my dessert so I went with the Sweet Temptations (Maunakea Chocolate Cheesecake with Hazelnut Crust, Vanilla Whipped Cream and Guava Sauce; Hawaii Vintange Chocolate Mousse with Cocoa Bean Brittle and Kukui Panna Cotta).

After dinner we went down to the atrium to have some photos taken. They had the backdrop up that they got for the Mexican Riviera Cruises. They also had the white backdrop up again and as I wanted to show off my new dress, I convinced Graham that we should have some more photos taken with that backdrop.

















Once we finished with the photographers, we headed back to the cabin. I took some quick photos of our towel animal and then we got ready for bed as we had a long day and a slightly earlier start ahead of us.



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