Category Archives: Cruises

Florida and the Crown Princess Cruise

We were in Florida 4 days before the cruise and spent 2 of them with Aunt Amy and Cousin Jim.  She is 81 years old and has had major health problems, but is still a lot of fun.  Uncle Jim passed away less than a year ago, so we all talked about him and how much he is missed.


Cheryl with Amy and Jim (cousin) by their pool in Tampa

Our cruise started on the 3rd of April, out of Fort Lauderdale, FL.  We had 7 days at sea, crossing the Atlantic Ocean.  Both of us really enjoy those sea days.  Also, we both were in the Pop Choir which rehearsed every day and performed on the 10th.  There were 20 men and 25 women, so a very nice size group.  We sounded good!


Our first port was Funchal, Madeira, Portugal.  We took a Princess tour (1st time ever!!) to see some of the countryside and scenery outside of town.  We stopped here once before and had walked the town.  Very lush, green and beautiful.


Our next port was Gibraltar, as in “Rock of G….”  It was cold, windy and raining, so we stayed on the ship.  We were there in 1989.   Had planned to walk off, but everyone was getting very wet when they left.

The next day, we docked at our third port, Cartagena, Spain.  We went on our second tour to Elche, the Palm Tree capital.  We had a very good guide, Pedro and learned a lot plus enjoyed seeing all the different palms and very old buildings in this UNESCO city.

Our last port before Barcelona was Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  We had been here 2 times before and taken the train and bus to Soller on the other side of the island.  This time, we took the city bus to Plaza de Espana and walked around.  We also had Paella for lunch.  We love that dish.

Our cruise ended in Barcelona.  We actually had one day there, prior to disembarking on the 17th.  We stepped off the ship briefly, but decided not to head into the city.  We had been there a few times before. It was a very enjoyable cruise, and we were glad we met Janet and Tom and hope to see them again.

Saying goodbye

Tom and Janet with us on deck


Back from our 5.5 week trip

We’ve been home a little over a week from our March 30 to May 7 trip.  We enjoyed almost all of our time in Florida, on the Trans-Atlantic Cruise and stay in Spain and Germany.  We have so many photos, that it will take me a little more time to select the best to include here.  In Florida, we were able to see Cheryl’s aunt and 1 cousin in Tampa.  The ones near Orlando did not find the time to get together with us.  Oh well.

The Cruise on the Crown Princess was very enjoyable and we met a lot of fun people.  We got to know one couple, from Palm Beach, FL area very well.  Janet and Tom had just retired at age 55 and were celebrating.  We ate dinner with them almost every night and shared many common interests.  Hopefully we’ll see them again when they take their 5 month RV trip around USA.

We got off the cruise in Barcelona and took a train to Valencia, that morning, April 17.  That’s where we had a glitch in our well made plans.  I, Cheryl, had been having pain in my abdomen for a couple of days.  On our one full day in Valencia, I went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with Diverticulitis, which I hadn’t had before.  I was given RXs and put on a VERY restricted diet, liquid at first.  So, I wasn’t able to partake of the wonderful and drink of Spain!  Boo Hoo!

The next day, we took 2 trains to Malaga (liquid diet on the train was a challenge!).  After one night in a hotel, we checked into our 2 BR, 2BA Apartment with Jim’s sister JoAnn and husband John.  It was overlooking the Mediterranean Sea in the beach area, Carihuela, of Torremolinos.  Very nice apartment with all the amenities.  During our 2 weeks there we took day trips (by bus, cab and train) to Mijas, Malaga Centro, Benalmadena, Ronda, and Nerja.  We went to all these places on our visit 3 years ago, but enjoyed them again.  John was not with us then, so some of these places were new to him.

After those 2 weeks, Jim and I flew to Munich, Germany and spent 3 days before flying home on May 7.  We used the S and U-Bahn system of light rail to tour the city.  It really is a beautiful city.

Our April & May Itinerary

Keys’ Itinerary – Crown Princess TA & Spain Apt:  3/30 – 5/7/18

March 30 –  Delta flight from LAX to Orlando (MCO)-  DL1061

Rental car, Alamo; Comfort Suites Orlando Airport, 1936 McCoy Rd.

March 31 – April 2 – 2 nights in Tampa (visiting Aunt Amy)

Suburban Extended Stay Hotel Airport, 6902 W. Hillsborough Ave.

April 2 – Ft. Lauderdale Hotel- Rodeway Inn and Suites, 2440 W. State Rd. 84

April 3 – April 17- Crown Princess TA for 14 days to Barcelona Spain

At Sea until April 11 – stop at Funchal, Madeira, Portugal

Next stop, April 13 – Gibraltar, UK Territory

April 14 – Cartagena, Spain

April 15 – Palma de Mallorca, Spain

April 16 and 17 – Barcelona, Spain

April 17 – Train to Valencia, Spain.  Hotel Venecia, Plaza del Ayuntamiento, 3 , Ciutat Vella       46002 (2 nights)

April 19 – Trains to Malaga, Spain.  Holiday Inn Express Malaga Airport, Avenida            Velazquez 290, Churriana. (1 night)

April 20 – May 4 – 2 bedroom apartment with JoAnn and John Engelking,

Calle del Remo 3, Edificio El Remo, apt. 4E, 29620 Torremolinos (Malaga)

In Carihuela area.  Contact through Rincon Rent (0034) 687-541-588 or    info@rinconrent,com (Day trips from here by bus and train)

May 4 – Flight to Munich, Germany; Norwegian Air, flight D85100

May 4 – 7 – Hotel in Munich- Comfort Hotel AM Medienpark, Bahnhofstrasse 15,            Unterfoehring, 85774, DE (3 nights)

May 7 – Flights home:  Munich to Toronto, Canada- Luftanza flight LH4941

Toronto to LAX – Air Canada flight AC7871, arrive 11:10 p.m.

During the whole trip, send emails or call Skype No:  951-268-2393

On cruise ship we can receive texts. (In Florida, of course all of the above.)

Island Princess Cruise

Boy, am I really behind!  It’s been a busy time since last posting.  First we did 23 days of cruising on the Island Princess, then we left on a 5-6 week road trip on October 23.  More on that trip in next post.

We started our cruise in Vancouver, BC, September 20 (flew there on the 19th and visited with good friends, Joe Jankovics), for a 3 day, non-stop trip to San Pedro.  There we stayed on the ship for a 19 day Panama Canal transit cruise.  We got to know a lot of Cruise Critic members, participated in the Princess Pop Choir, and enjoyed several ports.  We first stopped in Puerto Vallarta and were able to make contact with AZ again to be our tour guide.  We shared this day with 17 other Cruise Critic friends.

Other stops included Huatulco, MX, Puerto Quezal, Guatamala, Puntarenas Costa Rica and Manzanillo, MX.  We really enjoyed the Panama Canal (our 3rd time, but 1st time to only go to Gatun lake and turn around).  Princess cruises gave us a free day at the Sanctuary, since our cabin balcony was unusable while in the locks.  That was a nice, luxurious experience.  All was good on the cruise, except this time, Jim was the one to get the “cruise croup.”  Since he was coughing a lot, he had to drop out of the choir, but was able to be in the first performance.  A shame because he really enjoyed being in the group and getting to know the other male singers.  This choir had a larger male group than usual.  We spent many fun times with Cruise Critic friends at ports, Coffee Clatch, Happy Hours and eating meals together.

Alaska and B.C. Canada on the Sojourn

Our first port after crossing the Bering Sea was Kodiak, Alaska; our first time there.  The only Kodiak brown bear that we saw was in the National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center.  We did see many bald eagles, but didn’t see close enough to photograph.  We walked around the town and enjoyed being on terra ferma.

After a day at Sea, we docked in Juneau; our 3rd time to visit this city.  Again, it was cloudy and cold with some rain.  We were 1 of 3 cruise ships in port with Carnival Legend, HOL Vaandam.  We decided to visit the famous Red Dog Saloon; and were pleasantly surprised.  The interior is a throwback to the gold rush days with lots of memorabilia, saw dust on the floor, a piano player doing old songs and ladies in saloon girl costumes.  We tried their clam chowder which has smoked salmon in it and it was some of the best we have had.

Our last land day in Alaska was Skagway.  It was beautiful, sunny, but cold and windy.  Our plan was to take the tram to the top for views, but it was too foggy up there and didn’t like the wind; so just walked around.  I think the wind is what set off my cold, which started that night.  We also heard some sad news from home, one of our best and longest known friends was dying.  We thought about her, family and friends, all day and made many phone calls.  Wish we could have been in 2 places.

One of our favorite parts of our cruise in Alaska, in 2016 was Glacier Bay National park and it did not disappoint us this time.  The weather stayed clear and the Margerie Glacier calved for us.  We love the scenery, but were sad because we heard that JoAnn Brown had died.  Just as we learned that, we arrived at Margerie and champagne was handed out.  We toasted to her and dedicated that beautiful scene to her.

The next day was warm and sunny for our cruise through the Canadian Inside Passage.  In the afternoon, we were able to be on deck without coats and there was a fun Deck Party.  Good timing!  The next day, in Victoria, B.C., the cold and rain came back, but we had a nice visit with our snowbird friends, Don and Wanda.

The next day, the cruise ended in Seattle, Washington.  A fun 21 days!

More Sebourn Cruise across the Bering Sea

From May 15 to May 23 we were at sea, including the International Dateline which meant we repeated Friday, 19th.  We changed our clocks 1 hour forward at 2 p.m. for 7 days.  Again, that messed with our internal clocks, so that we woke at odd hours.  We love the days at sea, so had no problems, but it was mostly cold and cloudy with some rain.  One day the sun peeked out and though still cold, several passengers took advantage  and sat on the open deck.

On Seabourn, you can request special dinners, so one night we requested Paella and invited 6 others.  It was good, but the rice was not crunchy on the bottom.  All enjoyed, but we could not finish it, hated to sent any back!

We did get to see a sunset and Jim photographed a sunrise, but mostly sea!

Seabourn Sojourn Japanese Ports

Our cruise started on May 11; we traveled to the ship by train, ferry and monorail.  The first couple we met, Mike and Angela from UK, continued to be table mates at different times.  A very fun couple.

On leaving Kobe, Japan on the ship, we had a sail away concert by the Kobe Community Fireman’s Band.  They were very good and played “Anchors Away” as we moved away, very appropriate and enjoyable for Navy guy, Jim.  We had 2 days at sea on our way to our first Japanese port of Aomori, where we visited an Onsen or Hot Springs baths.  This was our first time to pay for a cruise ship tour, but it turned out well, with only 20 of us and a good tour guide; also included a huge lunch.

Next was Hakodate, known for squid; it was everywhere in the Marketplace.  Some really cute 15 – 16 year old school girls greeted us in English.  They were out of school in order to practice their English.  We spoke with 3 girls for several minutes.  One plays trombone and another saxophone and all plan to go to college.  Later, as we sailed away, 50 of them entertained us by singing and dancing the “Squid Song.”  It was really comical!  As you may see, many of us have on the same Blue Coats.  They were a gift from Seabourn and very welcome with all of the cold weather; in Hakodate it was also raining.  We spent a little time at the Morning Marketplace and then returned to ship to warm up!!

Last port in Japan was Kushiro and we took another Seabourn excursion.  Our first stop was to see the Red Crown Cranes, which we could see up close.  They are quite large, but not as large as our Whooping Cranes.  After that we went to the wetlands, which were too wet and foggy!!  Lastly we had a nice rice bowl with Sashimi lunch in the marketplace.  Our guide, Tete was very good and spoke clear English.  After this port we headed across the Bering Sea for 7 days (including the International Date line and 2 Fridays).

Eight Days in Japan

We are home after 33 days (including 2 Friday 19ths due to International Dateline), including Japan and Seabourn Cruise.  It was a very full trip with sights, experiences and tons of photos.  As you saw in my last post, of our Itinerary, we were on the move.  In Japan, we learned to use their railway and subway systems.  At first it was confusing because they have several different companies.  But after figuring it out, we saw that their system was very well organized and efficient, but expensive.

Our hotels in Japan were nice, although smaller than in USA, but they both had the Toto toilets, really deluxe (bidet and back shower with heated seat and music!).  We were visiting during their Golden Week, initially, so the tourist areas were more crowded than usual.  Our visits were to Osaka Castle,

Nara Park, Dotonbori District (Carnival atmosphere in shopping/restaurant area), Kobe, and Kyoto.  Even with all of the trains and subways, we still walked about 3 miles a day.  Jim was able to do that, with stops and utilizing his cane, especially on steep roads, such as in Kyoto.  The biggest problem was adjusting to the time change; 16 hours between CA and Japan.  At first we were waking up at odd hours and having to take naps, but we adjusted.  I had ordered a “pocket wifi” prior to our trip and it was delivered to our hotel.  That was a big bonus and able to use with unlimited, secure access.  Google maps has a setting for trains, so we utilized that to get to the correct track, along with asking assistance from agents and fellow travelers.  English was not as common as we expected, but the ticket machines had an English setting.  We did not meet any locals, but spoke with several English speaking tourists during our outings.

After these 8 days, we boarded the Seabourn Sojourn for 21 day cruise.

Japan and Seabourn Cruise

We leave tomorrow for our first big trip since Jim’s medical issues.  We fly from LAX via San Francisco to Osaka, Japan.  After 8 days on our own (we have hotel reservations only), we board the Seabourn Sojourn for a 21 day cruise which includes Alaska and ends in Seattle, WA.  Cheryl’s first time in Japan; Jim was there briefly in the Navy; and first for both of us in Kodiak, Alaska.  The following is our itinerary.  Love to all

Here’s our Itinerary for Japan trip
May 1, LAX Hotel, Quality Inn, Century Blvd
May 2, United flight to San Fran
     Flight UA 1294, 7:18 am
May 2, United flight from SF to Osaka, Japan
     Flight UA 35, 11:05 am
May 3, arrival in Osaka, KIX, 3 pm
May 3 to 6, Hotel Brighton, Osaka
May 6 to 11, Comfort Hotel Sakai, 1-5-1 Ryujimbashi-cho, Sakai-ku, Sakai
     +81 (72) 2337111
May 11, Kobe, Japan, board Seabourn Sojourn ship
May 11-13, at Sea
May 14, Aomori, Japan
May 15, Hakodate, Japan
May 16, Kushiro, Japan
May 17 – 18, at Sea
May 19, Cross International Dateline
May 20 – 22, At sea
May 23, Kodiak, Alaska
May 24, At sea
May 25, Junea, AK
May 26, Skagway, AK
May 27, Glacier Bay National Park, AK (cruising)
May 28, Inside Passage, AK (cruising)
May 29, At sea
May 30, Victoria, BC, Canada
May 31, Seattle, WA
May 31 to June 3, Anacortes, WA, with Joe and Sheri
June 3, Southwest flight from Seattle to San Diego
     Flight 5559, 1:35 pm to 4:15 pm

Sorry, we’ve been busy!

Wow, can’t believe it’s been so long.

First of all, we had a great  Star Princess cruise from LA to Hawaii (four islands/ports) and back.  Cheryl kept busy on sea days with a Ukulele class (10 lessons) and Pop Choir.  There were over 50 in Ukulele, some seasoned and others total beginners.  The instructor (also a great performer), Tiki Dave was really good and got us all together with 3 songs for a performance in the big theater.  His wife, Leialoha taught another group to dance the Hula.  It was a lot of fun.  Pop Choir sang 5 songs and we had a group of 33, with 15 males (really unusual).  We sang fun pop songs, such as “Under the Boardwalk” and “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing.”  We also had a performance, in the Piazza with a packed, appreciative crowd.

On this cruise, we to 4 islands.  On the Big Island, we docked at Hilo and rented a car to drive to the Volcanoes National Park, ‘Akaka Falls and Rainbow Falls.

On Oahu, we utilized the city buses and went to Waikiki for a nice walk along Kalakaua Blvd and then bus to The Elks’ Club for lunch.  The bus system is quite good and only $1.00 with transfer for seniors.  The Elks’ Club is one of the nicest in USA with fantastic view.


On Kauai, we rented a car again; docked at Nawiliwili near airport.  Enjoyed drive north to Kapaa, Anahola and Kilauea Lighthouse.  Then back to Poipu Beach.  Beautiful Garden Island.

Then, our final stop was anchoring off Lahaina, Maui.  The tender ride to and from was a little rough, but doable.  Good friends, Dan and Kelley who have a home in Kihei met us there and we all went to lunch to one our favorite local places, Aloha Mixed Plate.  We had good food, service and Mai Tais.  Always fun to spend time with them.

Since getting back home we have had quite a bit of medical stuff, Ukulele and other activities.  Also, we have enjoyed the rain, over the normal, for sure.  But no flooding, leaks or damage near us.  Central and Northern California had much more!  Take care.