Something Old, Something New, Nothing Borrowed, Something Blue

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
I had thought that walking through the Siq would be an irritation, but I actually rather enjoyed it. The canyon is stunningly beautiful and although there is a bit of an incline, it is just gently sloping rather than the steep canyon I had expected based to what I had read beforehand. We got to end of the Siq much quicker than I had expected. What we found as the canyon started to open up took my breath away. The treasury is pretty much right across from the exit of the Siq and your first view of this is peaking through the opening of the Siq. This has to be seen to be believed. When we got to the square by the treasury, our guide gave us a bit of an introduction and then we were free to walk around for a bit to take photos. The treasury is actually a misnomer. When the site was first discovered, archaeologists believed that this must have been the treasury because it is the biggest and sturdiest building on the site. It is completely carved out of rock. It is now known that what is still referred to as the treasury is actually a tomb for the kings. There is a large central room that was used for ceremonies and the tombs are arranged around this. I was surprised when I realised that this is actually only partially excavated. So far, only the first floor and up has been fully excavated. You can see the ground floor level through a metal grid.







































































 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
We lost the first members of our tour at the treasury. They wanted to go back to the bus. The rest of us pushed on. We came past various caves and the theatre. There was also an outlook point that we climbed up that gave a good overview of the site. As we headed deeper into the site, more and more people split off. Once we got to the south end of the site, there were only about half a dozen of us left. We came past a number of tombs carved into the mountain side that were nearly as elaborate and beautiful as the treasury.



















































































 

dolphingirl47

In Search of the Tag Fairy
Joined
Dec 25, 2007
The last area that we came from was the site of various temples and ceremonial sites. We then headed down a small hill to a cave that has been converted to a restaurant. They had a small buffet set up. The price for this was very fair. From memory it was €15 per person for food and a drink. This is when I had occasion to be ashamed of my second nationality. As soon as we sat down, a couple from the UK proclaimed that they would not be eating as they had brought sandwiches from the ship. Now I think they would have been more likely to get food poisoning from carrying the sandwiches around with them all day than from the food being served at the restaurant. It may not have been as hot as it normally is at Petra at this time of year, but it was still plenty warm enough. I was still inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt at that stage. However, when they asked our server if they could just have some hot water and milk as they brought their own tea bags, I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. I was very happy with the selection of food and drink. I was so happy to get some mint tea. The food consisted of salads, olives, a chicken stew, a lamb stew, rice, hummus and Arabic bread. I passed on the lamb, but try everything else and it was delicious. There had been some mix up and the couple with the tea bags had been brought some mint tea as well, which they offered to the table. Graham had this and now he knows why I am so obsessed with mint tea in the Middle East.
































After lunch, everybody went their own way. Our guide reminded us of the time when we had to be back at the bus by. Graham and I retraced our steps stopping off every now and again to take some photos. Every few yards we were offered a ride on a camel or a donkey. We always politely declined. I had one attempt at riding a camel in Dubai and was absolutely terrified. I rather rely on my own two feet. By that time it was a bit warmer. It was still bearable though. I took a bunch of photos of the treasury. The sun had moved around and this really brought out the beautiful colouring. Then it was time to head up the Siq. Again, we were mainly in the shade. About halfway up, we stopped and shared the water I had left.

































































 
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    The toughest part was the walk from the top of the Siq to the visitors centre. This felt steeper than the Siq itself, the ground was uneven and the area was completely exposed. Graham had gone on ahead as he needed the bathroom. He had bought some more water and this was very welcome when I got up to the visitor centre. I had some water and then we headed back to the bus. Everybody arrived back on time and we were soon off again.


    On the way back, we stopped at a viewing point. The view was absolutely stunning. However, I got a little freaked out as there was quite a steep drop with nothing between me and it. Graham was absolutely fine with this, which did surprise me a little. We then headed back to the coach for a short time and stopped at another rest stop. The German couple was complaining very vocally again both about the choice of viewing spot and that we stopped at the rest stop. This shop was completely different and a little classier than the one in the morning. I got some foot mud and foot scrub with Dead Sea salt. I have eczema on one foot and this is meant to be very good. I still have not tried it as things have been so hectic ever since I got back. I also found a beautiful silver necklace, which was more expensive than what I hoped to spend. However, as I never did find any jewellery in Athens, I decided to treat myself. The person who was helping me realised that I was a little reluctant and told me he would give me the foot stuff for free if I bought the necklace. As this is not cheap, I was sold. I am glad I did as I love this necklace, too and get quite a bit of wear out of this.


























    I was hoping to get some more water, but I could not find any in the shop. I asked and was directed to the cafeteria one level down. We got two bottles of water, which was €3. I just had a €5 note and he offered us two cups of Arabic coffee in lieu of change. We took him up on this offer. I was in heaven getting proper mint tea and Arabic coffee in one day. We then headed back outside to drink our coffee until everybody else got back.











    Once everybody was back, we got back on the bus for the trip back to Aqaba. Initially everything went smooth but suddenly there was a huge traffic jam. Once we reached the end of this, there was no movement at all. Our driver and our guide made a few calls and then suddenly our driver crossed the central reservation and started to drive on the other side of the highway against the flow of traffic. Fortunately there was not a great deal of traffic there. A short while later, we were pulled over by the police and directed to a holding area. There were already a whole load of coaches there and nobody seemed to be going anywhere. I have to admit that I was a little nervous. The good thing was that as we came up the Siq, two groups from a Royal Caribbean excursion came down. There was no way that they could have been so close behind us that they could have overtaken us.


    A short while after we stopped at the holding area, two members from the cruise director's staff came on our coach. They put our mind at ease telling us that the ship was aware of the issue and that three crew busses were right next to us. I did appreciate this and made a point of seeking out our cruise director the next day to compliment him on those two members of his team. They did not have to do this, but this made all the difference.


    Shortly after they said goodbye, our driver got another phone call. Our guide then shared with us that there had been an accident a little way ahead a couple of hours before. There was a lot of fuel on the road, which they were dealing with at the moment and we would be allowed to move shortly. About 10 minutes later, we were on our way. We got a police escort while we were driving on the wrong side of the road for a short distance before being able to cross back over to the right side. Shortly afterwards we passed a very mangled lorry. I hope that the driver walked away from this, but I have my doubts.


    Once we were under way again, we had a smooth run back to the port. We were treated to more spectacular scenery and as the sun started to go down, it really picked out the colours of the mountains. As we approached Aqaba, we were treated to a nice sunset. In this part of the world, the sun does not hang about and by the time we got back to the port, it was completely dark.






































    We were the first coach back. Despite the hold up, it was just before 20:00. We were offered some water and cold towels, which we happily accepted. We then were back on the ship very quickly. We were able to take some quick photos of the I95, the crew corridor than runs all the full length of the ship. We headed back up to our cabin to get showered and changed. We had both worn our Keen sandals and they were covered in sand. We have them a quick rinse and they were as good as new.





     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Once we were ready, we headed downstairs. We did the round of the photo opportunities and then headed for dinner. Dinner was at the Grande again that evening. Our table mates did not come for dinner that evening. The restaurant was pretty empty as a lot of people had still not got back from their excursions. This actually turned out to be a rather nice meal. We were the only people in our server’s section that had turned up and we were able to have a chat with him and get to know him a little. We had the first menu again that evening and we both had the French onion soup. Graham then went with the escargot and I had the wild mushroom risotto. For his main course, Graham went with the Pie of the Day, which was a steak pie with broccoli and mashed potatoes. I had the Penne Alfredo, which to my delight came with a poached egg on top. Unfortunately we both run out of steam very quickly and neither of us finished the main course. I think we were just too tired to eat after too long days. We passed on dessert and went back to our room.



































    We still had not left the port when we finished dinner. When we got back to our cabin, we got ready for bed and called it a night.


     

    tiggrbaby

    <font color=deeppink><marquee>We must work harder
    Joined
    Jun 26, 2004
    I was amazed by the rock formations, then saw the carvings - wow, wow, wow!!!

    Love your blue gown; it is a wonderful color for you!
     

    kittymamma

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2012
    Love revisiting Petra through your photos. I was there in April of 1997 and rode horseback from the Visitors Center to the Siq and you are right , the first glimpse of the Treasury is breathtaking. That visit is on my list of " favorite places " I have seen. As always , really enjoying your report....they are always fascinating.
     
  • Paula Sedley-Burke

    Proud to believe in Rainbows and Unicorns...
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2008
    Brilliant day 20. So much jammed in. Starting with those strawberry pancakes! I am beyond jealous.

    How funny about the mini bar. Don't feel bad we were upgraded once at AK to a 2 bed suite and were in the room 24 hours before we discovered the second room....

    Petra is amazing I really enjoyed the photos. How interesting about the old and modern town. Imagine living in a cave! What an interesting guide.

    That was good that you did not experience high temperatures. I see a few people brought umbrellas.

    You have to be strong I think not to give to the local kids. Your heart melts. The photos of the canyon are breathe taking indeed. I love the red hues.

    You will be pleased with the dead sea salt product I think I use it a lot. Works wonders.

    Don't you two shine up like new penny's! Lovely blue dress and Graham looks handsome.

    I just adore when they place poached egg on top of pasta dishes. Once I had it in raviloi and you cut into it and the egg just run out. A very fine chef skill like souffle.

    On all excursions I pretend to be Australian... Thus avoiding shame lol.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I was amazed by the rock formations, then saw the carvings - wow, wow, wow!!!
    Petra is absolutely stunning. They still only have excavated a fraction what is there. Shortly after we got back from this cruise they found something else using ground penetrating radar, which they believe is the biggest ceremonial area to be found at Petra. They had no idea that this was there.

    Love your blue gown; it is a wonderful color for you!
    Thanks. I love blue and I really like the style of that gown.

    Love revisiting Petra through your photos.
    I am glad that I could be of service.

    That visit is on my list of " favorite places " I have seen.
    I agree with you on that assessment.

    Don't feel bad we were upgraded once at AK to a 2 bed suite and were in the room 24 hours before we discovered the second room
    That made me smile. This is precisely the kind of thing that may happen to us.

    Petra is amazing
    It truly is.

    I really enjoyed the photos.
    I am glad you liked them.

    Imagine living in a cave!
    I know. I was really surprised that people still lived in those caves until relatively recently.

    What an interesting guide.
    He definitely was.

    I see a few people brought umbrellas.
    I think this was more culturally motivated rather than a necessity.

    You have to be strong I think not to give to the local kids. Your heart melts.
    I found that, too, but I respected the wishes of the local people.

    You will be pleased with the dead sea salt product I think I use it a lot. Works wonders.
    I am glad to hear it.

    Lovely blue dress and Graham looks handsome.
    Thanks.

    I just adore when they place poached egg on top of pasta dishes.
    I had never had this before, but I love poached eggs and this combination really worked.

    On all excursions I pretend to be Australian... Thus avoiding shame lol.
    I may have to try this. I could not get away with pretending to be Australian because of my accent, but people often ask me if I am South African so that may work.

    Corinna
     

    dgbg100106

    Missing the Tag Fiary
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2008
    Day 19

    We got up just before 5:00 AM, got ready and then headed up to deck 14. I was surprised how few people were around. I was expecting that a lot of people would have had the same idea, but the ship was positively deserted. There was nobody in the corridors or elevators, we did not bump into anybody as we walked along deck 14 and there was hardly anybody in the solarium either. I stopped to take a photo of an empty deck 14 all lit up before we headed to the solarium. Once we go there, we found a round lounger right by the windows on the starboard side. This would become our base for most of the day. We settled in and Graham had a walk around. They had set up a station with hot drinks and pastries near the bar. He came back with some coffees and some pastries. I gratefully accepted the coffee, but it was too early for me to eat something. I have to admit that this was a big question mark for me before the cruise. I really like that DCL adds little touches like this on days like the Panama Canal crossing or the Tracey Arm day on Alaskan cruises and I was glad that Royal Caribbean took the same approach.
    I love it when the ship is deserted like that, it is amazing with that many people on a small floating island that you could actually go somewhere and no one else be there.

    At some stage Graham had to go back to the cabin to get something. I asked him to bring my fleece blanket, as it was pretty chilly. Once he was back, I wrapped myself in my fleece blanket and promptly well asleep. I did not miss anything. Even though we were supposed to start our crossing at 5:00 AM, we did not actually get moving until gone 7:00 AM and by then I was awake again. This had its advantages. Not only did I get some extra sleep, but also the sun was up by then so we got the full effect of the crossing. Initially there was not a great deal to see other than desert, a road and a train track. There were a bunch of smaller boats around us. Graham pointed out a couple of black cars on the nearby road that were travelling at the same pace we were. They were obviously there for our security. At some stage I headed to the Solarium Bistro to get us some breakfast. I made bacon sandwiches with toasted English muffins. I also brought back some hash browns and fruit cups. This was easy to eat without having to move from our lounger and filled a hole.
    Glad you got a little cat nap in, I am sure it helped, it always does for me.

    We had a real treat coming up. Graham had his telescope set up and he spotted flamingoes a little distance away. As we got closer, we got a better look. There must have been hundreds of them. So I finally got the see flamingoes on this trip after all. For the most part early in the crossing, we just saw desert. At one stage, we saw the skyline of a town in the distance and occasionally there were small settlements right by the canal. Late morning, we passed a sizeable city with some interesting architecture. Then it was back to predominantly desert also some of the area was surprisingly green. When we had passed under the bridge, Graham went to get something to eat from the Solarium Bistro. When he came back with his plate, I went. Graham had gone with nachos and some salad. I had barbecue pork loin, some taco meat and roast potatoes. Once we had our lunch, I headed to the bar to get some Coke for me and some water for Graham.
    Flamingos, beautiful birds, I think it so amazing that they are pink from the food they eat. So glad you got to see them.

    We then settled in for a relaxing afternoon. The scenery stayed much the same consisting of desert, small settlements with beautiful mosques and areas of greenery. For the most part, the road was out of sight so our escort switched from black vans to a helicopter. At some stage we came past an ancient looking structure. I got quite excited about this. Once I got home, I found out that it was actually fairly modern. It was completed in early 1929 and commemorates the defense of the Suez Canal during World War I. So even it is nowhere near as old as I had thought, it is still a fascinating part of history.
    I have been thru panama canal, and you had a lot more to see than we did, we had dense forest and lakes... Still a beautiful site, thanks for sharing with the pictures.

    During the early afternoon, we cruised past quite a large city for a while. People thought that this was Suez. Just as we passed the city, there was a beautiful bay with plenty of beaches and nice resorts, which seemed to support the theory that we had exited the Suez Canal. It turned out that the city was actually Ismailia and the bay was Lake Timsah. Lake Timsah is fed by water from the Red Sea and is therefore a saltwater lake, but it is still a fair way from the exit of the Suez Canal. Anyway, people started to drift away and the solarium started to empty out. It was getting really rather hot near the windows so we gave up our round lounger and moved to two loungers at the back wall of the area where we had been sitting. We still had a decent view and the temperature was more pleasant.
    Interesting about the salt water lake.

    Around 17:30, I developed a graving for fries. I took the stuff that we no longer needed back to the cabin, as I wanted to pick up my cup before heading to the Windjammer. The message light on our phone was blinking. So I figured that I might as well deal with this while I was there. It was the organizer for our private excursion the next day. He confirmed the new meeting time and asked me to acknowledge that I had received the message. So I quickly called back to confirm and left a message. I then grabbed my cup and headed back upstairs.
    that is good news that the private excursion was able to make arrangements with the time difference.

    It was still nowhere near 18:00 when I got back upstairs and I was surprised that the Windjammer was already open for business. I washed my hands and filled up my cup with some grape Fanta and then headed towards the area where the fries were normally found. They were still setting up this area so I had a look around at the various offerings. I was very impressed. They had a similar selection to what they had at lunch, but apart from the made to order pasta station, they also had a made to order stir-fry station and a section with various kinds of meat and fish that a chef would cook to order for you. I thought that we would have to try this before the cruise was over. By the time I had done the rounds, the fries had come out and I get a plate of fries with mayonnaise and ketchup, which I took back to the solarium to share with Graham.

    Graham had gone back to closer to the windows as it was now a bit cooler. I joined him and we shared the fries. We then settled back down to enjoy the last part of the crossing. By around 19:00 we had cleared the Suez Canal and our captain checked how quick his ship would go. From this point forward for the rest of the cruise, we pretty much travelled at top speed to make up for lost time. The ship was still silent and there was very little in terms of movement.
    Fries are always a good option and when you get them right from the fryer they are even better. Top Speed is fun!

    I had assumed that we would hang around at the solarium to watch the sunset. However, once we had exited the Suez Canal, Graham suggested that we should get dinner. Two of our tablemates had a reservation for one of the specialty restaurants that evening and the other two were planning to just get a bite to eat at the Windjammer so we decided to pass on the dining room, too. We decided on the Kung Fu Panda Noodle Bar. This is on the pool deck just outside of the aft elevator lobby. Items there are priced a la carte, but at $2 for a couple of pieces of dim sum and $5 for a noodle bowl. I thought this was very fair. We both had the beef noodle bowl and shared some steamed pork buns. The food was nice and we had a view so we got to see the sunset after all.
    Oh now that sounds really good, I could go for some right now.


    Once we had finished our dinner and the sun had set, we headed downstairs to get some photos. Graham was in a mischievous mood and then one of our buddies decided to get into a photo with us, too.
    Love all the photos, and funny that your photographer got in on the photo.


    When we had done the rounds, we headed to the Bionic Bar. I had wanted to try this as long as we had been on the ship. I had read reports from the other Quantum class ships that this was always busy with long waits. That was not our experience on Ovation. It never looked particularly busy whenever I went past and when we got there, we were directed straight to an iPad. There is a reader underneath that you have to touch your Sea Pass card against and then you have to confirm that you are 21 or over. You then can access the menu pages. They have a large selection of pre-set cocktails or you can select your own. I was a little disappointed that they had neither a Margarita nor a Mojito on the menu. As I know what belongs into the drinks, I thought I could build my own, but they had neither sour mix nor Club Soda. In the end I went with one of the pre-set options, the Apple Blast. This consisted of vodka, Apple Pucker and Sprite. Graham had some concoction with cranberry juice and Bourbon from the pre-set menu. It was fun watching the robots make our drinks. While they were working on this, we could see on a screen what they were currently adding. It is a bit of a gimmick, but the cost of the drink was the same as anywhere else so it was worth doing it once for the experience. One thing that I did notice is that the robots were very generous with their measures. This was the most potent cocktail I ever tasted.

    Once we had finished our cocktails, we headed back to our cabin to chill out. Graham put some DreamWorks film on, but I wanted to finish my book. I had originally booked to see one of the shows that night, but after an early morning and a long day, I really did not fancy it. I tried to change the day for the show, but even though the show was not until 22:15, I could not cancel it. It turned out that it was listed for all day. So I decided to head down to Guest Services to get this fixed. There were a lot of unhappy people there, as the Internet did not work particularly well. My problem fortunately was easily fixed. They managed to cancel it their end and then I was able to rebook for another day on the app. I then went to the shop that sold all kinds of odds and ends in the hope that they sold water for the next day, but I was out of luck. I picked up some cookies for both of us, some coffee for Graham and some Dasani Sparkling Lime water for me at Cafe Promenade on the way back to the cabin. We enjoyed our drinks and snacks before setting the alarm for the next morning and retiring to bed.
    I have always wanted to try the drinks from the bionic bar ever since I saw them being advertised. It is also nice to know that they may be a bit heavy handed.
     

    kittymamma

    Mouseketeer
    Joined
    Sep 18, 2012
    I love , love , love the silver and sapphire necklace you are wearing with the royal blue gown and would like to see a picture of it enlarged. From what I can see, the detail work is quite lovely and goes beautifully with the gown .
     
  • dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    I love it when the ship is deserted like that, it is amazing with that many people on a small floating island that you could actually go somewhere and no one else be there.
    We usually get lucky on a cruise at some point, but I was really surprised how empty it was this morning.

    Glad you got a little cat nap in, I am sure it helped, it always does for me.
    I definitely felt better for it.

    Flamingos, beautiful birds, I think it so amazing that they are pink from the food they eat.
    They did not look particularly pink, but they were still amazing to see.

    I have been thru panama canal, and you had a lot more to see than we did, we had dense forest and lakes... Still a beautiful site, thanks for sharing with the pictures.
    We have been to the Panama Canal twice and loved our crossings, but this was definitely more diverse and interesting.

    Fries are always a good option and when you get them right from the fryer they are even better.
    I often find that I don't like fries on ships, but those were amazing and the ones I got this evening definitely came fresh out of the fryer.

    Top Speed is fun!
    It is and especially on the Ovation, but more about this a couple of weeks down the line.

    and funny that your photographer got in on the photo.
    We got quite friendly with her over the course of the cruise and I am glad that we have a photo with her.

    I have always wanted to try the drinks from the bionic bar ever since I saw them being advertised. It is also nice to know that they may be a bit heavy handed.
    I can recommend it. It was fun and the drinks were very nice.

    I love , love , love the silver and sapphire necklace you are wearing with the royal blue gown and would like to see a picture of it enlarged. From what I can see, the detail work is quite lovely and goes beautifully with the gown .
    Here you go. This is the necklace I bought at the rest stop on the way back from Petra. I wore this to work today.





    Corinna
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    Day 21

    This day we were in no hurry. We did have some plans, but they were all from lunchtime onwards. So I did not bother setting an alarm. We woke up just before 10:00. We must have needed our beauty sleep. We got up and ready and then headed out on the balcony. We were due to have our safe haven drill that morning at 10:30 so there was no point to move until then. I had read about this drill on a trip report from when the Quantum of the Seas did the same cruise so I knew what to expect. We also received a letter about this when we checked in. For a good chunk of the next few days we would be in Gulf of Aden and not too far off the coast of Somalia. There were issues with piracy in those waters in the past. A cruise ship is not really the target they are looking for and there has not been too much trouble there recently, however it is a good idea to be prepared.



    At some stage when I came inside to get something, I could hear an announcement in the corridor, but this was not piped into the staterooms. That was kind of a useless exercise. I did step out into the corridor and although I had missed most of the announcement in English, I caught it in German not long afterwards. The drill was relatively straightforward. If you had a cabin with an ocean view or balcony, you had to line up in the corridor outside your cabin. If you had an inside cabin, you stayed put. Our stateroom host went around his section and if he saw people out in the corridor, he put an "evacuated" sign on the door. There were not that many people on our corridor. So at some stage he made the round of the cabins. Some were obviously empty as he put an "evacuated" sign on them. However, he flushed out a good many people that seemed to be blissfully oblivious to what was going on. I think it must have been the same story all over the ship as this went on for a good half hour and much longer than it should have done.

    After we were finally dismissed, we headed back to the cabin to get some stuff and then we headed out. We headed up to the solarium for a bit. Graham headed back to the outside deck and I found myself a lounger to read. We did not spend much time there as we had somewhere to be, which was just as well as it was pretty warm even away from the windows.

    Just before noon, we headed down to the Via. The Ovation has 4 different speciality restaurants. Two of them were very tempting, but as I was very excited about the complimentary restaurants, I did not make any reservations. Some of them were open for lunch and I had planned early on to visit Jamie's Italian for lunch. Originally I thought we might end there on embarkation day, but it took a little longer. Jamie's Italian is a restaurant chain owned by the UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Like its owner, Jamie's Italian is a very casual affair. You essentially sit on patio furniture and instead of napkins you get tea towels. The emphasis is on simple fresh food. Even on the ship they make their own pasta daily. Their signature dishes are the antipasto planks, but I had other plans. We were the only people there for most of the meal. Towards the end a group of cruise director's staff arrived for some lunch. This is a real shame as the food was really fantastic.





    Shortly after we were seated, our server introduced himself and brought some bread and the menus. He took our drink order. I had some Coke and Graham just had water. We got garlic ciabatta, breadsticks and another kind of bread with a mix of extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. I could have made a meal of this alone. For our starters, Graham went with the baked chestnut mushrooms with smoked mozzarella, thyme and crispy music bread. I had the pea and mint Arancini with herby cheese fonduta, which was delicious. For his main course, Graham tried the pasta and went with the Penne Carbonara. I stuck with the risotto theme and had the Risotto Caprese which was a tomato risotto with cherry tomatoes, baby mozzarella, basic and extra virgin olive oil. I also had a side of polenta chips with rosemary salt and Parmesan cheese. Neither of us really needed dessert after this, but our server was very convincing. Graham had the Amalfi Lemon Meringue Cheesecake, which he said was nothing special. So it looks like the curse of the cruise line dessert was alive and well in the speciality restaurants as well. I played it safe and had chocolate and vanilla gelato, which was divine.

















    Once we had finished our dessert and paid, we headed up to deck 15. We had something else planned for this day that was a long time in the making. We had another reservation for the escape room. This time we were in luck. When we got to the room, there were plenty of people there. We were still waiting for one other person and then we got going. There are now three escape rooms on Royal Caribbean ships. They are operated in partnership with Puzzle Break, which is a Seattle-based company. The Anthem of the Seas and the Ovation of the Seas have the same escape room. It is called Escape from the Future and is space-themed. The Harmony of the Seas also has an escape room called Escape the Rubicon. This is completely different from the one that we did and from reviews that I have seen, it has a lot of special effects. I am not sure that this is actually a good thing. Anyway, once everybody had arrived, the crew member running this laid down some ground rules and then we watched a short introductory video to set the scene. Then it was time to enter the escape room.

    The room was not particularly big, but it was brightly lit and there were all kinds of objects around the room. We were encouraged to explore and that everything in the room could be part of the solution. So explore we did. Without giving away too much, we found puzzles as well as clues, which tended to lead to more puzzles and clues. There were word puzzles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc. The group quickly split into smaller groups to solve the puzzles. About halfway though, the crew member advised us that we had found all the clues. Now we just had to figure out how everything fitted together. There were a couple of very tricky parts, but in the end we managed to solve it all with just 8.5 minutes to spare and escaped. Graham had been quite reluctant about doing this, but he actually really ended up enjoying it. I had a lot of fun, too. Before we all headed out again, we took a quick group photo.



    We went briefly into the SeaPlex to check out if there was something interesting happening there. They had put the netting up and split the area into two different sports courts. In one half some people played volleyball and in the other half, people played indiaca. Graham was looking rather bemused. He had never seen this before. I suppose if you have never seen it before, it does look strange. It is played with something that consists of 4 feathers attached to a flat round base. When I still lived in Germany, I worked at a summer camp for 4 summers and indiaca was one of the camp sports. Even though I was utterly useless at it, seeing it played on the ship brought back very happy memories.



    As there was not a great deal going on, we decided to get the iPad and telescope respectively and find a nice spot to hang out and relax. We knew that it would be too hot in the solarium and headed to Two70 instead. We managed to get some seats near the windows right at the back of the venue and enjoyed the view. I settled in with my book. We spent quite a while just relaxing and then crew arrived and essentially started to rearrange the venue. They started to set up for Spectra’s Cabaret. It was at that stage that I realised that a lot of what you can see at Two70 is not really what it appears to be.



    It started that they moved furniture away from the carpeted area by the window and onto the stages. This seemed very weird. It then transpired that the middle of each stage is actually a lift and the furniture disappeared down to the next level. At some stage, we were asked to move. The next surprise was the planters. There were huge planters around the venue and they looked pretty permanent. However, it turned out that they actually contained individual potted plants that were removed to reveal more lifts. Those were for the performers. They came out to practise and warm up shortly afterwards. The ceilings were also hiding ropes for the acrobats. I was absolutely spellbound by the whole process. I watched the performers for a bit and then we decided to move on. At this stage, we went our separate ways.



















    I quickly went down to the Royal Esplanade where Puss in Boots was about to appear and this time he had a bit of a following. The line was still very short and soon it was my time to see him. His escort took some photos of us with my phone. After this, I checked out my photos before briefly heading back to the cabin to drop off some stuff before heading up to the spa.



    I got there nice and early. I checked in and was directed to the relaxation room to wait. I was also given the obligatory health certificate to fill out. There was somebody else already in there as well, who got collected shortly afterwards. I had to wait a little longer, but I did not mind. At some point, my therapist arrived and we headed to the treatment room. She asked a few questions about what I was hoping to get out of the treatment and if there are any particular areas of concern and then she got going. She started with the full body massage and used hot stones for the top half of my body. You probably remember that I mentioned that I had a persistent knee injury. Well, it turned out that there was nothing wrong with my knee at all, but I had a very tight thigh muscle, which was pulling on my knee giving me pain. Once she had worked on this, my knee was fine. After the massage, I got a half body exfoliation followed by a facial and scalp massage. The last part was a collagen eye treatment. I felt thoroughly pampered. As the therapist had realised that I am very familiar with Elemis products and I had shared with her that I used them at home, I did not get the hard sell. When she came back to bring me some water, she just handed me a card with a couple of products I may wish to try. I could live with this.

    I headed back to the cabin and got changed. Graham seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth so I decided to head for dinner figuring that he would turn up soon enough if he felt like dinner. He never did. I stopped for some photos outside the restaurant and then I headed in. Dinner was at Silk and this time we had a different menu. I went with choices from their signature section for my soup and starter again and had the Mulligatawny soup and the Vietnamese tacos. For my main course I had the Teriyaki Sirloin steak with Wasabi mashed potatoes and stir-fried vegetables. This was absolutely delicious. For my dessert I had some peach and green tea cake, which was OK, but nothing special.













    When I got back to the cabin, I found Graham fast asleep. I got ready and then I headed to bed, too.
     

    Paula Sedley-Burke

    Proud to believe in Rainbows and Unicorns...
    Joined
    Nov 20, 2008
    Great day 21. Nice and relaxing. How interesting about the additional safe haven drill. I never complain when it comes to belt and braces with safety issues. Those frightful pirates nothing like Jack Sparrow!

    I am guessing they evacuate ocenview and balcony so that pirates can't see the passengers?

    How amazing there is a Jamie's onboard. There is a nice one at Bluewater mall.

    The Escape room sounds interesting. In my youth I use to go to a pub called Escape. They made false doors and windows and wrong signs for bathrooms and exits. The amusement when people had been enjoying their ale..

    I never heard of Indiana either .

    I adore puss in boots.

    How great the spa figured out the issue with that paid full knee!

    Silk dinner sounds good. I love the photos and adore that red dress on you.

    I am testing my new gadget. An Amazon Fire. Impressed so far for the money.
     

    dgbg100106

    Missing the Tag Fiary
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2008
    Day 20
    We had a bonus hour in bed due to our late arrival in Aqaba. We got up at 8:00, got ready and headed up to the Windjammer for some breakfast. Graham had his usual fruit followed by a cooked breakfast. I had a strawberry pancake with whipped cream and strawberry compote followed by fried rice and sausage. We both had coffee and juice. On the way out, I decided to check at the bar if they sold bottled water, which they did. So I got a couple of bottles of water for us. A couple of days later, I had a distinct “doh” moment when I opened our fridge. They have a small mini bar in each cabin containing various cans of soft drink and bottled water. So all this running around was for nothing, I could just have taken it from the fridge. The cost would have been the same than getting it from the bar.
    Extra sleep, sounds like today you will need it! I have never thought of having fried rice for breakfast, but I might have to try it. On the cruise ships, I usually start with beans and tofu, or a salad, which freaks most Americans out. But I love my fresh veggies and I really do like a good salad for breakfast. So this will be on my list to try. I think the rice as a carb would give you lots of energy! I have gone all cruise without opening the mini bar, so I can understand, I started asking the stateroom attendant to empty it for me, so I can put stuff in the fridge myself, then they will fill it back up the last night, I always make sure I am never charged anything, but it seems to work, and I just put my refilled glass of water there every evening so I have cold water.

    After breakfast, we quickly went back to the cabin to grab our stuff and then we went to our meeting point. We were still out at sea at that time. The new arrival time was supposed to be 9:00 and we were supposed to be our meeting point for 8:45. The meeting point was near the midship entrance to the casino. When we got there, most people in our group had arrived. We went to our organisers and checked in. Then we waited. Initially there was only our group there and that was fine. However, there were multiple private tours organised through Cruise Critic and obviously all the organisers had the same idea and the area got pretty congested. Somebody from the cruise director’s staff came down and tried her hand at crowd control. She got us all to line up in two lines by the staircase leading down to deck 2. Initially this worked well enough, but as more and more people arrived, the area got quite congested again. At that stage, the ship was still moving. Some conversations went on via the radio and then we were asked to go downstairs. This solved the problem for a short while, but then we had the added issue that we filled the whole elevator lobby and people who started to arrive in the lifts could not go out. At some stage, Graham and I had got separated at some stage and he was still on the staircase. He took this rather interesting photo of the crowds. This was the only time where I really felt that Royal Caribbean dropped the ball even though this was not entirely their fault.
    I agree, RCCI has always been bad about crowd management, I too have seen where people could not get off the elevators because the lobby area is so full of people. and again b/c most people are just down right rude, we have been pushed before, we even had a guy start in with some rage at one outing. He had to be first off the ship because he was disabled and needed more time, turn out that he walked off by himself, and almost ran down the dock area to a bus that was waiting. I think he was more able bodied than 50% of the people there. Sometimes I just shake my head, I don't understand people.

    Once the ship had been cleared, disembarkation was very quick and smooth. I know that they market the ship sponsored excursions by stating that people booking those would be first off the ship. That day this was not the case. We were off first. We made it off before even the photographers could get there. One of the organisers directed us towards the bus and the other one checked us off his list as we got on. We were on our way very quickly. It is about a two hour trip from the port in Aqaba to Petra. Our guide introduced himself and his driver and then told us a bit about Aqaba and the surrounding area. Aqaba is the only coastal town in Jordan and as such, it has a special status. The area around Aqaba including the city itself is a free trade zone. Before the cruise, I was under the impression that there is nothing of interest in Aqaba. I was wrong. They have some fantastic beaches there, a wealth of history (there has been a settlement there since about 4000 BC), beautiful architecture and world class snorkelling and diving. Had I known this before we went, it would not have changed my plans for that day, but there is a strong possibility that we will return to Aqaba for a holiday at some stage.
    oh how wonderful that you are planning a return visit to Aqaba.

    Just past the half-way mark, we stopped at rest area that had bathrooms and a gift shop. Most people used the bathroom, but I had quick look around the shop before getting back on the bus. The day was definitely educational and one unexpected piece of education I got is that if you have dual nationality, it just means that sometimes you are ashamed of people of two countries rather than one. I definitely had ample opportunity to be ashamed of citizens of both countries that I am a citizen of. Just before we approached the rest stop, our guide checked if people needed a bathroom break or wanted to push on. A significant number of people needed a bathroom break, which was not that surprising considering we were waiting for quite some time before we even got off the ship and had been on the bus for just over an hour. So our guide said we would make a 20 minute stop. There was a couple from Germany that was sitting near us that were very vocal about complaining and stating that this was ridiculous as this would mean that this would mean we would lose the advantage we had leaving ahead of the other coaches. I could understand their disappointment, but was also a bit surprised by how forceful they were with their complaint. Anyway, soon everybody was back on the coach and I don’t think we lost much of the advantage. I saw a couple of buses going past while I was waiting for the rest of the group to come back.
    Oh imagine the opportunities that I have!!!! LOL. it is a daily reminder.

    After we set off again, it did not take us long until we reached the modern town of Petra. I had not appreciated that there was a town by this name, too. Our guide pointed out his neighbourhood and also shared that he comes from a Bedouin family and that up to the age of 11, he lived in one of the caves within the historical site. Then his father took a job in the modern town of Petra and the family moved there. Up to the mid-1980s, members of a Bedouin tribe still lived in the caves of the historic site. Once Petra became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, they were forced to move out and a new village was built for them on the opposite side of the historical site from modern Petra. Most people from that village work at the historical site as tour guides, animal handlers or at the shops and restaurants. Our tour guide shared with us that we would likely encounter children from the village that would try to sell us postcards, jewellery and various trinkets. He asked us not to buy from them. The kids skip school to sell their goods to the tourists and the locals are hoping that if they can’t sell their stuff, they will return to school.
    WOW, what a life that man has lived. Imagine living in a cave with your family, then moving once your father went to work in town, then seeing all these tourist coming to your homeland with their lifestyles beyond anything you could have dreamed about while he was a boy in a cave. It is sad to think about these kids and skipping school to make a few bucks. I hope they get their education.

    We arrived at the entrance of the historical site shortly afterwards. The historical city of Petra is completely hidden. Even from the entrance, you cannot see it. We passed the visitor centre and a square with a fountain and various shops. There were bathrooms there and we stopped at those before setting off for the site proper. Near the visitor centre, we saw the first tombs and we stopped while our guide explained what we were looking at. Then we headed towards the Siq. The Siq is a canyon leading down to the historic city itself. We were lucky on the day we visited. A cold front had come through a couple of days earlier keeping the temperatures down. When we arrived, the temperatures were in the mid-twenties. I had heard that the Siq can be like an oven. We found it to be a very pleasant temperature that day. The mountains that form the canyon provide a lot of shade. There are horses and horse-drawn carriages going up and down the Siq and I had read that this can cause problems, but this was not our experience at all. We walked close to the sides and the carriages kept to the middle. We stopped a few times on the way down to take photos and for our guide to point out things of interest including the irrigation system that Petra is famous for. We also encountered the kids that we had been warned about. They were impeccably polite and seemed to be really interested in us. I have to admit that I did wonder if they actually learned more by being at the site than what they would have done in school.
    I am sure the cooler temps helped, but it does look very warm there. Those look like slot canyons and they are beautiful. This place is breathtakingly beautiful.

    I had thought that walking through the Siq would be an irritation, but I actually rather enjoyed it. The canyon is stunningly beautiful and although there is a bit of an incline, it is just gently sloping rather than the steep canyon I had expected based to what I had read beforehand. We got to end of the Siq much quicker than I had expected. What we found as the canyon started to open up took my breath away. The treasury is pretty much right across from the exit of the Siq and your first view of this is peaking through the opening of the Siq. This has to be seen to be believed. When we got to the square by the treasury, our guide gave us a bit of an introduction and then we were free to walk around for a bit to take photos. The treasury is actually a misnomer. When the site was first discovered, archaeologists believed that this must have been the treasury because it is the biggest and sturdiest building on the site. It is completely carved out of rock. It is now known that what is still referred to as the treasury is actually a tomb for the kings. There is a large central room that was used for ceremonies and the tombs are arranged around this. I was surprised when I realised that this is actually only partially excavated. So far, only the first floor and up has been fully excavated. You can see the ground floor level through a metal grid.
    So very beautiful.

    The last area that we came from was the site of various temples and ceremonial sites. We then headed down a small hill to a cave that has been converted to a restaurant. They had a small buffet set up. The price for this was very fair. From memory it was €15 per person for food and a drink. This is when I had occasion to be ashamed of my second nationality. As soon as we sat down, a couple from the UK proclaimed that they would not be eating as they had brought sandwiches from the ship. Now I think they would have been more likely to get food poisoning from carrying the sandwiches around with them all day than from the food being served at the restaurant. It may not have been as hot as it normally is at Petra at this time of year, but it was still plenty warm enough. I was still inclined to give them the benefit of the doubt at that stage. However, when they asked our server if they could just have some hot water and milk as they brought their own tea bags, I just wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole. I was very happy with the selection of food and drink. I was so happy to get some mint tea. The food consisted of salads, olives, a chicken stew, a lamb stew, rice, hummus and Arabic bread. I passed on the lamb, but try everything else and it was delicious. There had been some mix up and the couple with the tea bags had been brought some mint tea as well, which they offered to the table. Graham had this and now he knows why I am so obsessed with mint tea in the Middle East.
    The details and so amazing and thinking of the tools they had at the time to carve such beauty.
    I do not think I could have passed up on the food, I have to try everything at least once, but then again I have not meet much food that I did not like...
    Sometimes I just shake my head at people. To bring your own food into an establishment is a health code violation here, not sure how it is in other parts of the world, but that is just unacceptable, sit outside with your food, don't bring it into a person's livelihood. Then to ask them of water and milk, is just crazy.

    Once we were ready, we headed downstairs. We did the round of the photo opportunities and then headed for dinner. Dinner was at the Grande again that evening. Our table mates did not come for dinner that evening. The restaurant was pretty empty as a lot of people had still not got back from their excursions. This actually turned out to be a rather nice meal. We were the only people in our server’s section that had turned up and we were able to have a chat with him and get to know him a little. We had the first menu again that evening and we both had the French onion soup. Graham then went with the escargot and I had the wild mushroom risotto. For his main course, Graham went with the Pie of the Day, which was a steak pie with broccoli and mashed potatoes. I had the Penne Alfredo, which to my delight came with a poached egg on top. Unfortunately we both run out of steam very quickly and neither of us finished the main course. I think we were just too tired to eat after too long days. We passed on dessert and went back to our room.
    Oh, dinner sounds good, but I agree you both were just worn out from the day. I am sure I would have been ready to drop also. Especially after eating, I always think I am good until my belly gets full, then I am just so darn tired. That dress is beautiful on you, those deep jewel tones go beautifully with your coloring.


    On all excursions I pretend to be Australian... Thus avoiding shame lol.
    Not sure I could get away with this either. I am in the process of learning french so maybe I can go with French in the future. lol[/QUOTE]
     

    dgbg100106

    Missing the Tag Fiary
    Joined
    Mar 24, 2008
    Day 21

    This day we were in no hurry. We did have some plans, but they were all from lunchtime onwards. So I did not bother setting an alarm. We woke up just before 10:00. We must have needed our beauty sleep. We got up and ready and then headed out on the balcony. We were due to have our safe haven drill that morning at 10:30 so there was no point to move until then. I had read about this drill on a trip report from when the Quantum of the Seas did the same cruise so I knew what to expect. We also received a letter about this when we checked in. For a good chunk of the next few days we would be in Gulf of Aden and not too far off the coast of Somalia. There were issues with piracy in those waters in the past. A cruise ship is not really the target they are looking for and there has not been too much trouble there recently, however it is a good idea to be prepared.
    I agree, always better to be prepared, and understand what is going on than be in the dark. I think David would have a hard time with this, he is a control freak, and being in the Army has made him not appreciate others attempts to keep him or his family safe. He trust no one in that type of situation.

    Just before noon, we headed down to the Via. The Ovation has 4 different speciality restaurants. Two of them were very tempting, but as I was very excited about the complimentary restaurants, I did not make any reservations. Some of them were open for lunch and I had planned early on to visit Jamie's Italian for lunch. Originally I thought we might end there on embarkation day, but it took a little longer. Jamie's Italian is a restaurant chain owned by the UK celebrity chef Jamie Oliver. Like its owner, Jamie's Italian is a very casual affair. You essentially sit on patio furniture and instead of napkins you get tea towels. The emphasis is on simple fresh food. Even on the ship they make their own pasta daily. Their signature dishes are the antipasto planks, but I had other plans. We were the only people there for most of the meal. Towards the end a group of cruise director's staff arrived for some lunch. This is a real shame as the food was really fantastic.
    I really like Jamie Oliver, he is fun and outspoken and a great person overall. i would love to try his food. The food was presented beautifully, too bad that cheesecake did not taste better it looked so good.

    The room was not particularly big, but it was brightly lit and there were all kinds of objects around the room. We were encouraged to explore and that everything in the room could be part of the solution. So explore we did. Without giving away too much, we found puzzles as well as clues, which tended to lead to more puzzles and clues. There were word puzzles, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, etc. The group quickly split into smaller groups to solve the puzzles. About halfway though, the crew member advised us that we had found all the clues. Now we just had to figure out how everything fitted together. There were a couple of very tricky parts, but in the end we managed to solve it all with just 8.5 minutes to spare and escaped. Graham had been quite reluctant about doing this, but he actually really ended up enjoying it. I had a lot of fun, too. Before we all headed out again, we took a quick group photo.
    Oh that sounded like fun! So glad you got to experience it and you escaped just in time. Congratulations. Would you do it again?

    We went briefly into the SeaPlex to check out if there was something interesting happening there. They had put the netting up and split the area into two different sports courts. In one half some people played volleyball and in the other half, people played indiaca. Graham was looking rather bemused. He had never seen this before. I suppose if you have never seen it before, it does look strange. It is played with something that consists of 4 feathers attached to a flat round base. When I still lived in Germany, I worked at a summer camp for 4 summers and indiaca was one of the camp sports. Even though I was utterly useless at it, seeing it played on the ship brought back very happy memories.
    I have never heard of Indiaca before. I am sure I would have had a weird look on my face too.

    As there was not a great deal going on, we decided to get the iPad and telescope respectively and find a nice spot to hang out and relax. We knew that it would be too hot in the solarium and headed to Two70 instead. We managed to get some seats near the windows right at the back of the venue and enjoyed the view. I settled in with my book. We spent quite a while just relaxing and then crew arrived and essentially started to rearrange the venue. They started to set up for Spectra’s Cabaret. It was at that stage that I realised that a lot of what you can see at Two70 is not really what it appears to be.
    now this is really neat. i would think that RCCI would incorporate more items like this into the shipbuilding process, they are so cramped for room to do anything, this is just a very neat idea.

    I got there nice and early. I checked in and was directed to the relaxation room to wait. I was also given the obligatory health certificate to fill out. There was somebody else already in there as well, who got collected shortly afterwards. I had to wait a little longer, but I did not mind. At some point, my therapist arrived and we headed to the treatment room. She asked a few questions about what I was hoping to get out of the treatment and if there are any particular areas of concern and then she got going. She started with the full body massage and used hot stones for the top half of my body. You probably remember that I mentioned that I had a persistent knee injury. Well, it turned out that there was nothing wrong with my knee at all, but I had a very tight thigh muscle, which was pulling on my knee giving me pain. Once she had worked on this, my knee was fine. After the massage, I got a half body exfoliation followed by a facial and scalp massage. The last part was a collagen eye treatment. I felt thoroughly pampered. As the therapist had realised that I am very familiar with Elemis products and I had shared with her that I used them at home, I did not get the hard sell. When she came back to bring me some water, she just handed me a card with a couple of products I may wish to try. I could live with this.
    This sounds like heaven and I with the great deal you got for it, I would have been relaxed for sure. I hate the hard sell also, so I am glad that she did not push it.

    I headed back to the cabin and got changed. Graham seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth so I decided to head for dinner figuring that he would turn up soon enough if he felt like dinner. He never did. I stopped for some photos outside the restaurant and then I headed in. Dinner was at Silk and this time we had a different menu. I went with choices from their signature section for my soup and starter again and had the Mulligatawny soup and the Vietnamese tacos. For my main course I had the Teriyaki Sirloin steak with Wasabi mashed potatoes and stir-fried vegetables. This was absolutely delicious. For my dessert I had some peach and green tea cake, which was OK, but nothing special.
    So glad you had a nice dinner, sorry that Graham was not there to share with you. Hope he was feeling ok.
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    I'm slowly creeping along and reading, but this was a CRAZY week for me! Just got through the day at sea after Athens.

    Breakfast sounded good. So what is a round lounger?

    I like chili cheese fries so I would have been very happy with your lunch. Nice that you relaxed most of the day. I have only made it to one reception since becoming gold, nice you had a good time. I am very curious, when said there was an orchestra, how many pieces, what was the make up? I'm sure you didn't pay as close attention as I would have, but now it makes me curious about the personnel involved. A number of my friends spent some time on cruise ship gigs and they can be very lucrative and fun for the right kind of person.

    Good thing Graham woke you before dinner. I'm the sort of person who doesn't like to miss a four course dinner if I can help it!

    Can't wait to see the photos in a future update, but I must be off to the grocery store now.
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    I can't believe how much money they wanted for that photo package! That's highway robbery!

    You had me a little confused there since you told us about the Sydney to Seattle cruise straightaway when you got back. It's nice when you can book everything and have it done with and the fact that you saved money is great!

    I'm glad you and Graham gave the little brat a taste of his own medicine. I love those skillet cookie things! They are so good.
     

    dolphingirl47

    In Search of the Tag Fairy
    Joined
    Dec 25, 2007
    How interesting about the additional safe haven drill. I never complain when it comes to belt and braces with safety issues.
    I am with you on that.

    I am guessing they evacuate ocenview and balcony so that pirates can't see the passengers?
    I am pretty sure it is not about pirates nor seeing people, but that the most vulnerable part of any ship are the windows.

    How amazing there is a Jamie's onboard.
    I thought so, too.

    The Escape room sounds interesting.
    It was.

    In my youth I use to go to a pub called Escape. They made false doors and windows and wrong signs for bathrooms and exits. The amusement when people had been enjoying their ale..
    This sounds like a lot of fun.

    I adore puss in boots.
    Me, too. I ended up with a whole inofficial photo shoot with him towards the end of the cruise.

    How great the spa figured out the issue with that paid full knee!
    I was very happy about this

    I am testing my new gadget. An Amazon Fire. Impressed so far for the money.
    I am glad you like it. At some stage I was considering getting one for Graham, but then he started to use my old iPad.

    Extra sleep, sounds like today you will need it!
    I definitely did.

    I have never thought of having fried rice for breakfast, but I might have to try it.
    There was quite a sizeable number of Chinese passengers on board. I think that is why they had fried rice for breakfast.

    On the cruise ships, I usually start with beans and tofu, or a salad, which freaks most Americans out.
    I can understand this. I am not keen on breakfast and Graham sometimes shakes his head on what I choose to have for breakfast. On one trip to Dubai, I had curry and rice every morning.

    I agree, RCCI has always been bad about crowd management
    Fortunately with that one exception, this has not been our experience at all so far.

    Sometimes I just shake my head, I don't understand people.
    I am with you on that.

    oh how wonderful that you are planning a return visit to Aqaba.
    Let's just say I left a small piece of my heart in Jordan.

    WOW, what a life that man has lived. Imagine living in a cave with your family, then moving once your father went to work in town, then seeing all these tourist coming to your homeland with their lifestyles beyond anything you could have dreamed about while he was a boy in a cave.
    It was amazing to listen to him. This is the kind of experience that makes me love travelling so much.

    It is sad to think about these kids and skipping school to make a few bucks. I hope they get their education.
    The thing is, they all seemed to be bright, curious and well educated. That I how I deducted that they may actually learn more hanging around on the site then sitting in school.

    I am sure the cooler temps helped, but it does look very warm there.
    It was plenty warm enough for me, just cooler than it normally would be that time of the year.

    Those look like slot canyons and they are beautiful.
    Somebody else pointed this out as well.

    This place is breathtakingly beautiful.
    It truly is.

    I do not think I could have passed up on the food, I have to try everything at least once, but then again I have not meet much food that I did not like...
    Sampling the local food and drink is a very important part for us when we travel. We never had any issues with food.

    To bring your own food into an establishment is a health code violation here, not sure how it is in other parts of the world, but that is just unacceptable, sit outside with your food, don't bring it into a person's livelihood. Then to ask them of water and milk, is just crazy.
    I was just ashamed that people would behave in such a way.

    That dress is beautiful on you, those deep jewel tones go beautifully with your coloring.
    Thanks. I just invested in a bunch of long-sleeved tops for our November cruise and I have mainly gone for bright jewel colours.

    i would love to try his food.
    This was our first experience and we loved it.

    Oh that sounded like fun! So glad you got to experience it and you escaped just in time. Congratulations. Would you do it again?
    Absolutely. I am actually trying to organize a team building night for my team at a local escape room. This was so much fun.

    now this is really neat. i would think that RCCI would incorporate more items like this into the shipbuilding process, they are so cramped for room to do anything, this is just a very neat idea.
    The Two70 is an amazing venue, both as a cool chill out space during the day and as a performance venue at night.

    This sounds like heaven and I with the great deal you got for it, I would have been relaxed for sure. I hate the hard sell also, so I am glad that she did not push it.
    It was amazing.

    Hope he was feeling ok.
    Yes, he was. He just gets a little overwhelmed at times with all the multi-course meals, especially on the longer cruises.

    I'm slowly creeping along and reading, but this was a CRAZY week for me!
    I am sorry that things have been crazy your end.

    So what is a round lounger?
    They are essentially round wicker sofas that are large enough for two people to hang out on. There is a photo of me taking a nap on one during the Suez Canal day.

    I like chili cheese fries so I would have been very happy with your lunch.
    I love them, too.

    I am very curious, when said there was an orchestra, how many pieces, what was the make up?
    Of the top of my head, I remember a saxophone, clarinet, violin, cello, a couple of trombones and a couple of trumpets.

    I'm sure you didn't pay as close attention as I would have, but now it makes me curious about the personnel involved.
    No and we were quite far up and my eyesight is far from perfect. I will pay more attention to this on the next cruise and will report back.

    I'm the sort of person who doesn't like to miss a four course dinner if I can help it!
    I am with you on this. Graham on the other hand starts to find them hard work after a few days.

    Can't wait to see the photos in a future update, but I must be off to the grocery store now.
    Well, I can see that by now you have read the second part of that story.

    I can't believe how much money they wanted for that photo package! That's highway robbery!
    That was my sentiment exactly.

    You had me a little confused there since you told us about the Sydney to Seattle cruise straightaway when you got back.
    I know. It is still part of the story and not everybody on here follows my pre-trip report.

    I'm glad you and Graham gave the little brat a taste of his own medicine.
    It was very satisfying. What a horrible child!

    I love those skillet cookie things! They are so good.
    This was pretty nice. I have had better ones on land though.

    Corinna
     

    franandaj

    I'm so happy, I could BOUNCE!
    Joined
    Nov 15, 2009
    The crossing sounded interesting. I'm glad you got an extra nap in there. Did they not have locks like the Panama Canal?

    I"m glad that you staked out your claim for a spot and were able to hold it for the day. Funny that no one else was up and beginning of the crossing.

    So the place you had dinner was an upcharge sort of place? I'm going to have to get my head around the RC pricing if we ever want to try one. I might lean towards princess since we have a friend who works there.
     

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