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Old 07-18-2013, 02:51 PM   #136
dolphingirl47
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By the time we had finished our second drink, it was nearly time for the first round of character photos. I left Graham to his own devices and quickly went to the cabin to get changed into my evening gown and put my hair up. I then headed down to the atrium for the photos. I managed to see Minnie, Daisy and Chip and Dale in their formal wear in relatively quick succession. The character lines moved a lot quicker that day. Once I was finished, I went upstairs to join Graham in the Rainforest Room. The original plan had been to swing by the cabin to get my swimsuit, but I had only about an hour and could not be bothered with keep getting changed. I already had my iPad with me as I had figured this would come handy if the lines were as slow as molasses again. The gown that I was wearing that evening is lightweight and pretty forgiving. I figured with the extremely low light in the Rainforest Room, nobody would even realise that I was chilling out on my tile lounger in my evening gown. In the end it was only Graham and I in there anyway.













About an hour later, I went back to the atrium. This time round I managed to get photos with Minnie and Mickey; Donald and Daisy and Goofy. I was really excited to see Goofy in his formals. For some reason I thought that this was a first. I mentioned to one of the character escorts that I was really excited about finally meeting Goofy in his formals. She then proceeded to tell Goofy about this, who in turn got all excited. It was all rather sweet. Of course, when I was looking for something in my Photobucket the other day, I found a formal night photo of Goofy and me that must have been taken in 2009 or 2010. After I was done with all the photos, I went back to the cabin to drop my iPad off and put on some lip gloss and my jewellery. Graham had also arrived back in the cabin and we headed down to dinner.















Dinner that night was in Triton's. I had a lovely surprise. Traditionally, the menu on semi formal night has been the Captain's Gala Menu. This menu has changed a lot over the years and from my perspective not for the better. With every change, they had removed something else that I liked and replaced it with something I won't eat like seafood or game. So I have started to dread this menu. Imagine my delight when I was handed a copy of the Master Chef Menu. I had never spotted this on the Navigator. I really like this menu. Graham had Citrico's Shrimp, which consisted of marinated shrimp with feta cheese, cilantro and tomato in a light chardonnay butter sauce followed by .Chicken consomme garnished with truffle and julienne of chives pancake. For his main course, he had the Yachtsman Steakhouse Center Cut Beef Tenderloin and Lobster Medallions with caramelized carrots and snow peas on a potato cake and sauce béarnaise. For dessert he had Pear and Blackberry Crumble served warm with sugar-free ice cream. Unfortunately he was not able to have the ice cream as it was some kind of chocolate swirl ice cream. I went with the Double Baked Gruyere Cheese Souffle with maytag blue cheese, spinach and mascarpone cheese followed by Succotash Soup, which was a Lima bean and corn soup with black pepper crouton. For my main course, i also had the Yachtsman Steakhouse Center Cut Beef Tenderloin, but passed my Lobster Medallions to Graham. For dessert I had the Caramelized Apple Cheesecake on an Oreo Cookie Crust with cointreau, creme fraiche and cranberry coulis.
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Old 07-18-2013, 02:51 PM   #137
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During dinner a photographer came round to take some photos. At the end of dinner, we had to give out our tip envelopes. Our serving team was quite surprised by this. We explained that we would be dining at Palo the next evening and were hoping to get off the ship nice and early in Vancouver to have more time to explore so would not be at breakfast that morning. When we had got the tip receipts the previous day, I had been relieved. On the receipt for the head server it did not state the name of the person I feared would be on there, but Josip's. He had looked after us well all week and we enjoyed talking to him every evening so I was glad that he was getting a tip from us. Before we left, Josip confirmed the arrangements for the second week with us. He had asked us about halfway through the week if we would like to keep our serving team and we said we would. He confirmed that our rotation would start in Triton's. We thanked him, said goodnight to everybody and went to have some more photos done.





The photo opportunities that evening were a backdrop with the moon and the staircase pictures. On the Magic they always offer photos with the Helmsman Mickey statue at either formal night or semi formal night. On the Wonder, they have never officially offered photos with Ariel. I asked the photographer doing the staircase shots and he was happy to oblige. I really like how they came out. Stitch was also due out a bit later, but when I saw his line, which snaked all the way to Wavebands, I decided that I did not want to see him that badly.





















We headed back to the cabin. I checked out the Navigator, took some photos of our towel animal and then it was bedtime. The next day we would be back on land for a few hours and therefore had to get up a bit earlier. I set our wake up call and then we went to sleep.



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Old 07-18-2013, 03:24 PM   #138
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Nice pics! The gifts you left for everyone were very unique; I am sure they loved them.
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Old 07-18-2013, 05:01 PM   #139
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Nice pics! The gifts you left for everyone were very unique; I am sure they loved them.
I had great fun making them.

Corinna
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Old 07-18-2013, 06:09 PM   #140
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Great update I'm waiting to go out to dinner and seeing brunch is making me even hungrier! curious that they can't seem to make humus very well.

Your drinks sound quite delicious at Cove Cafe. Love that you lounged in the Rainforest room in your evening dress

Cute FE gifts
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Old 07-18-2013, 07:38 PM   #141
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I am so far behind!!!!!

I just finished your second day in San Francisco. Boy you packed a lot into that day! I'm so glad pictures are allowed at the museum now. I've been twice and still have yet to do justice to the rooms starting where the train is located. Good thing I can always go back!

You'll definitely have to go back to SF and stay for a little while, there is so much to do there. I used to love going up for the day when I was a kid and especially a teenager with friends with cars and then my own car. So many great places to hang out and check out! I sense another trip to the USA coming soon!

Great deal on the photo CD, that makes it so much better when you can save some money and get what you want! I'm hoping to have some time this weekend to read a few more of your updates. I haven't had much time on my computer to DIS, just the phone and it's so hard reading TRs with pictures on my phone! But I will get caught up!
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Old 07-19-2013, 07:13 AM   #142
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As always great FE gifts. Wish I was at Palo brunch now.
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Old 07-20-2013, 06:24 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Pinkocto View Post
Great update I'm waiting to go out to dinner and seeing brunch is making me even hungrier! curious that they can't seem to make humus very well.

Your drinks sound quite delicious at Cove Cafe. Love that you lounged in the Rainforest room in your evening dress

Cute FE gifts
Part of the problem with the hummus may well be that I am totally spoiled as I have had it so often freshly made in the Middle East. There is nothing better than some freshly made hummus with the traditional Arabic bread.

The drinks were definitely delicious.

Quote:
Originally Posted by franandaj View Post
I am so far behind!!!!!

I just finished your second day in San Francisco. Boy you packed a lot into that day! I'm so glad pictures are allowed at the museum now. I've been twice and still have yet to do justice to the rooms starting where the train is located. Good thing I can always go back!

You'll definitely have to go back to SF and stay for a little while, there is so much to do there. I used to love going up for the day when I was a kid and especially a teenager with friends with cars and then my own car. So many great places to hang out and check out! I sense another trip to the USA coming soon!

Great deal on the photo CD, that makes it so much better when you can save some money and get what you want! I'm hoping to have some time this weekend to read a few more of your updates. I haven't had much time on my computer to DIS, just the phone and it's so hard reading TRs with pictures on my phone! But I will get caught up!
I was so glad that they allowed photos at the Disney Family Museum as well. I really want to go back and spend more time there.

I think we may be heading back to San Francisco and Seattle in 2015. Next year I am hoping to do a cruise in spring and then Disneyland, Aulani and a cruise on the Pride of America for my 40th birthday in November.

I was so glad about the deal on the CDs. I could not have justified paying full price for both, but they are my favourite souvenir.

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As always great FE gifts. Wish I was at Palo brunch now.
Yes, I could just eat a Palo Brunch now.

Corinna
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Old 07-21-2013, 12:56 PM   #144
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Day 11

After a couple of lazy days, we were back on a timetable that day. I had set the wake up call for 7:00 AM and we got up and got ready. We went down to Triton's for some breakfast as soon as it opened. They did not seem to be in any hurry that day. Still, we had plenty of time, too, so it was all good. Graham had Coffee, Orange Juice and the Express, which consisted of Scrambled Eggs, Sausage, Bacon, Grilled Ham, Tomato and Hash Brown. He had also asked for some white toast. I had Coffee and Apple Juice. I could not make up my mind what I fancied, but decided to raid the kid's menu in the end. I had Dale's Omelet, which was filled with Sweetcorn and Turkey Sausage with a side of bacon and Hash Brown. I also finally gave in and tried the Peanut Butter and Jelly Typhoon, which is a Pancake with Peanut Butter and Jelly Drizzle and fresh Melon and Pineapple. This was probably one of the best breakfasts I ever had. It was also my first time for getting some Mickey head ketchup.

Once we had finished our breakfast, we went back to our cabin to get the things that we needed for the day. By then, the ship had been cleared by the authorities and we headed for the gangway. There had been an announcement that complimentary shuttle buses would go regularly from the port to the Empress Hotel. Graham had a look at the instructions that we had received for the meeting point for our excursion and spotted that the Empress Hotel was one of the landmarks on the instructions. So we decided to get on the bus. This turned out to be a wise decision. From the instructions, it looked like the offices of the company running the excursion was virtually around the corner from the port, but in reality the Empress Hotel was not even halfway and it took a 10 minute bus ride to get there. While we were on the bus, we passed a 0 mile marker of some major road, a beautiful park and some totem poles. When we approached the Empress Hotel, this looked strangely familiar. It took me a little while until I realised that this looked very similar to the Hotel du Canada at the Canadian pavilion at Epcot.



Once we got off the bus, we started walking. I took a photo of the Legislative Building, which was just across the marina. This is a beautiful building. Throughout the walk, we stayed on the seafront, initially next to a road and then through a park. I think under different circumstances, the walk would have been very enjoyable, but it was drizzly and quite cool so I was just glad to finally get to my destination. One thing did wow us though. Unfortunately I did not take any photos as I did not want to get my new camera wet. A lot of the apartment buildings have very elaborate water features, often taking up the whole area in front of the building. I was glad when we arrived at the office of Orca Spirit. We had booked a whale watching tour on a Zodiac. A Zodiac is a rigid-hulled inflatable boat that is a light-weight, but high-performance boat that is often used by the coast guard, but also as dive boat or for excursions. We did an excursion with this kind of vessel on our Hawaii cruise last year and even though I can be nervous around smaller boats, I thoroughly enjoyed this. When we got to the Orca Spirit office, we were checked in and were told where the bathrooms were. We were also advised that the captain should be arriving soon and then we would be suited up. I did not like the sound of this at all. We both used the bathroom and had a look around the gift shop. Shortly afterwards another member of staff arrived and directed us to the education room and put on a film about killer whales. They keep the suits that we were supposed to wear in that room and after I had seen them, I was even less keen. Still, if this was what it took to get on the excursion than that was fine by me. There was suddenly frantic activity in the office and shortly afterwards the member of staff who had checked us in came to the room where we were sitting and asked if we would be willing to go on a covered vessel instead of the Zodiac if this should become necessary. We were not really bothered either way, but the other couple that were waiting with us were not happy. There was some more activity out front and then the member of staff who had put on the film for us came back and apologised profusely. Apparently there had been some kind of mix up with the roster for the person driving the Zodiac and he had not been told that he needed to come in that day. They offered that we could either go out on a covered vessel or they would rebook us for another day. Well, for us rebooking was not an option so we said we would be fine on the covered vessel. The other couple where severely unhappy, but in the end they decided to run with it as well. Some phone calls were made and arrangements were made for us to join another company who was just about to start a whale watching tour. Initially they were going to take us over to the dock of the other company in a mini bus, but then it was decided as the Orca Spirit dock was on the way anyway, the boat would come over to pick us up. They had to wait for a couple of people who were running late, but we were told that they would be there within the next 10 to 15 minutes. When the boat arrived there was a bit of a to do with a water taxi that was moored where it should not have been and was refusing to move. In the end they brought the tour boat around to the opposite end of the dock and we could get on.



When we got on the boat, we were welcomed and they explained where everything was. Apart from the Captain, they had two naturalists on board. There were two outside viewing areas plus big picture windows inside. There were also various hot drinks available that were included in the excursion price. One of the naturalists explained what kind of wildlife we could possibly see, which included orcas, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions, seals and bald eagles. The orcas were really what we came for as it had been my dream for a long time to see orcas in the wild. There are three resident pods of orcas around Victoria. We saw some stunning scenery pretty much as soon as we were clear of the marina. Graham had gone outside on the back deck as soon as we had cast off. I decided to stay in the warm for now. Soon we saw some seabirds and our first seals. I periodically joined Graham on the outside deck. At one point we saw something that looked very much like puffins. We asked one of the naturalists and he told us that they are auklets that are indeed related to puffins, but are a different subfamily.



















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Old 07-21-2013, 12:58 PM   #145
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Soon afterwards we approached an island with a lighthouse, apart from the fact that it was really pretty, I also saw my first bald eagle there. The eagle was a juvenile bird, which meant that he did not have his white head yet. He also had found himself a rather strange perch. He was sitting on a disused web cam. It was great to see a bald eagle so relatively close. Shortly afterwards we saw a pod of porpoise so we slowed down. Once we got going again we saw some California sea lions. Apparently don't come that far north normally, but it was a real treat to see them. There was one more area that they wanted to check out. On the way there, one of the naturalists pulled a huge piece of kelp onboard. He explained that this is edible and offered people pieces to try. I don't eat seaweed at the best of times so I declined. Graham tried a bit and said it was truly horrible. Soon we arrived at a whole chain of rocky islands. One of the naturalists told us that the orcas like to hang out there sometimes and we should know soon if there had been orcas in the area recently by the reaction of the seals and sea lions that live there. The sea lions in this area are Steller sea lions and they are actually native to British Columbia and Alaska. Well, the seals and sea lions were totally relaxed and sunning themselves so they would not have spotted an orca for at least a couple of days. Still, it was a real treat to see so many seals and sea lions. After we observed them for a while, we had to turn around and head back to the dock. We had not seen what we had come for, but we had seen such a wealth of fascinating wildlife that I had no regrets whatsoever. I thoroughly enjoyed the excursion. As a bonus, I got some nice photos of the Wonder on the way back.







































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Old 07-21-2013, 12:59 PM   #146
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I will post my goodies once I am back
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The boat dock of the company that we had ended up with is very close to the Empress Hotel. This was fine by me as I really did not fancy the walk back. Near the boat dock there was a beautiful mosaic sculpture of an orca. I also got some nice photos of the Empress Hotel. We went to have a closer look at the Empress Hotel. This looked all very nice. In their convention centre I found some totem poles. This reminded me that I wanted to check out the totem poles in the little park that we had passed earlier. So we walked across to the park and I took a bunch of photos.































Graham suggested that we could have a look at the bigger park that we had passed in the bus. It had stopped raining so I was up for this. This park was so beautiful and there was some kind of festival going on there. I saw Canada Geese in their native habitat for the first time, but they were not very cooperative when it came to me taking photos of them. Those geese definitely knew the eternal rule that most birds seem to understand: if there is a camera pointing at you, wait until the person with the camera has focused on you and then either fly away or turn around.

















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Old 07-21-2013, 01:00 PM   #147
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After we had seen enough of the park, we had a decision to make. We could either walk back to the Empress Hotel and catch the shuttle back to the port or we could push on and walk back to the port. Graham reckoned that we were about halfway between the two so we decided to push on. We came past the Mile 0 marker again, which is the start of Canada's Number 1 Highway, which stretches all across Canada. We also got a nice view of the Wonder as we got closer to the port. When we got back to the port, I had a quick look at the gift shop there and then we got back on the ship.











Once we were back on board, we dropped off our coats and cameras in our cabin and then we went in search of some lunch. It was too late for lunch at one of the restaurants, but the food outlets near the pools provided. Graham got a Roast Beef Sandwich and some Pineapple from Goofy's Galley and then helped himself to some Coleslaw from the fixings bar at Pluto's Dog House while he was waiting for me to be served. I got a Cheeseburger with Fries from Pluto's Dog House. Once we had finished our respective sandwiches, I got some vanilla soft-serve ice cream for Graham and some chocolate and vanilla swirl soft-serve ice cream for me. We stayed outside a bit longer and watched the float planes land and take off for a bit and then we decided to head for the Rainforest Room. I picked up a blanket from the pool area to cover myself up with as it had been a bit chilly in there the last couple of days and then we went back to the cabin to get our stuff. I got changed and then got some cucumber water and settled down on a heated tile lounger with my blanket and read. Of course, I was so cosy that I fell asleep at one point, but I still managed too finish my book.

When it was nearly time to leave Victoria, we got changed and I took out stuff back to the cabin. We then watched the ship leaving Victoria. It was interesting seeing boats and float planes together. At times it almost looked like water ballet. We had learned early in the day that the float planes link Victoria with both Seattle and Vancouver. I also got to hear the horn. I made the best of this as I had heard that they are not allowed to sound the horn in Alaska. So after this evening, I would only get one more chance to hear it. Once Victoria was well and truly behind us, we went to the cabin to get changed for Palo. Once we were ready, we went up to deck 10 and slowly made our way to Palo enjoying the beautiful scenery around us.

When we arrived at Palo, we were welcomed and seated. This time round, we did not have a table right by the window, but we still had a good view. Mladen was our server again. Once we had settled down, he brought us some water and handed us the wine menu. Graham decided to go with a glass of white wine and I asked if they could do a Melon Mojito. This originally caused a little bit of scratching of heads, but I ended up with the best Melon Mojito I ever had. Next up was the Antipasti. We had Prosciutto, Bresaola, Parmesan Reggiano, Marinated Olives, Marinated Peppers and Sun-Dried Tomatoes with Garlic Pizza Bread and Grissini Sticks. While Mladen prepared our plate, a happy little accident happened. Some of the olive oil and balsamic vinegar that was meant to go on the Parmesan Reggiano ended up on the Prosciutto. This combination was absolutely divine. For our appetizers, Graham had the Tuscan White Bean Soup with Prosciutto and Parmesan Cheese garnished with Shredded Cabbage and Red Radishes and I had my favourite, the Grilled Portobello Mushroom and Polenta with a Roasted Shallot Sauce and a Parmesan Crisp. We both fancied some pasta so Graham had the Lobster and Mascarpone Ravioli with a light Truffle Burro Bianco and I had the Chianti Braised Beef Ravioli tossed in a rich Red Wine Reduction with oven-roasted Carrots and Celery. After we finished our pasta, we were given some lemon sorbet to cleanse the palate. Then it was on to the main courses. Graham had the Oregano and Parmesan Crusted Rack of Lamb with Sangiovese Roasted Shallots, Olive Oil baked Roma Tomatoes, Potato Pave and Herb Jus. I went with the Beef Tenderloin "Palo" Served with Palo Signature Barolo Red Wine Sauce topped with blue cheese and served with a potato and pancetta cake. For dessert, Graham chose the Panna Cotta with Strawberry-Basil Sorbet and Macerated Berries. I decided to be adventurous and went with Palo's Homemade Tiramisu after Mladen had mentioned that they had changed the recipe on this and recommended this. I was still not wowed and was glad that he also brought the Zabaglione with Sangiovese-infused Berries made with Marsala Wine and Biscotti Chips. We were full to the bursting, but we still had one last treat to come, the Scropino Venetiano, which consists of lemon sorbet, vodka, Prosecco and Calvados. We were offered coffee, but we declined. To make this dinner even more magical, we were treated to a gorgeous sunset. Graham actually went outside a couple of times to take photos, but I made do with taking photos through the windows.







Once we had settled our bill and said goodbye to Mladen, we headed back to the cabin. Before the cruise, I had been absolutely determined to finally make it to Till We Meet Again. I figured with us not having to pack or worry about putting our luggage out, this would be my best opportunity. When we got back to the cabin, it was still nearly an hour until this was due to start. Graham got ready for bed. I had kind of counted on him being there to take photos. I did not fancy going by myself. So I sorted out the stuff that we would need the next day, set the wake up call and then got ready for bed, too.

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Old 07-21-2013, 03:56 PM   #148
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Lovely pics! Can't wait to see what you take in Alaska!
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Old 07-21-2013, 03:58 PM   #149
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Lovely pics! Can't wait to see what you take in Alaska!
Not long now. I have our first day in Vancouver to post about, which I will do on Thursday and then I will start on Alaska.

Corinna
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Old 07-21-2013, 07:39 PM   #150
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Sorry you didn't see the orcas, but it still sounded like a great tour.glad you were still able to enjoy it

A lovely day all around topped off with a delicious Palo dinner!
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