Saturday, December 29, 2018

Communication with the Outside World When Cruising


It's Cruise Ship Saturday and today we're talking about communication with the outside world while cruising.

Nowadays communicating with the outside world while you're on a cruise ship is more efficient than ever before. Efficient but not necessarily inexpensive.

•Cell phones can often be used on the ship while at sea but high roaming charges may be incurred in international waters. Even if you have an international roaming plan, proceed with caution. Roaming rates at sea are a lot higher than regular international roaming rates. For example, I pay 20 cents a minute for calls all around the world. But once at sea the cruise ship rate kicks in and charges me $5.99 a minute. That cost is set by the cruise line, not by my carrier.

Rather have this?


Or this?

And we're not even talking data! (That's $15 for 1MB - which amounts to browsing one webpage or reading one email. Yikes!)  Many a passenger has come home to an outrageous cell phone bill. Don't be one of them. My daughter who worked for a mobile company tells me she once had a customer call with a bill over $2,000 (double yikes!) because they didn't understand how it worked on a cruise ship. 

Contact your cell carrier before leaving home as they can advise you on the best plans for voice and data while in port or at sea. Otherwise keep your phone in airplane mode, particularly at sea. The alarm, clock, camera, and any stored or downloaded music, movies, games, and books will still be available.

•The internet is a great way to communicate but not necessarily when cruising. Internet is not free and may be slow. (Now if you're sailing on the Caribbean Princess or Regal Princess it's a different story. MedallionNet is super fast and super reliable. Check it out!) Your ship may offer internet packages for a flat fee. Internet services can be accessed either on your own electronic device or at the ship’s internet café. To conserve internet minutes compose those emails offline first before logging on.

•Some ships have an app for texting other passengers on the ship. Sure makes it easier to track down the rest of your group.

•The ship has a satellite phone if there is a need to make a call from the ship to back home. This can be an expensive way to communicate and is used primarily for emergencies.

Check into all options before heading out on your cruise. Once on the ship it will be too late. Don't be one of the $2,000 bill people!

If you're ready to try out a Princess cruise yourself, contact me. I'm a Princess Commodore, the highest level of Princess Cruises expert there is in the travel agent world. Let me help you put together a cruise suited just for you!

Friday, December 28, 2018

The Friday 15 Year End Wrap-Up

It has been a while since I've posted The Friday 15. It's hard to downsize when you aren't home! But now I'm back and today is a wrap up of the year. Here is everything I discarded or donated or sold off in 2018. Yay for downsizing!

January

eBay sales
emptied my computer trash







February


March


April


May


June


July
0

August



September


October


November
No photos, but to my daughter went two pair of pants, one sweatshirt, two Christmas ornaments from upcoming tutorials, four stuffed fabric pumpkins and one candy corn trick or treat bag from the tutorials earlier in October, and one rope toy for her dog. And a fidget quilt went to our neighbor.

December
Just this wrap up.

Between the things I have photos of and the things I wrote down but didn't take pictures of, over 400 things left my home this year.

Now that rocks!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

2018 Year of Travel Wrap-Up


While we’re not quite done with our last cruise of the year, we have our last port today (Cabo San Lucas) so I’m calling it close enough to do a wrap-up of our travel year.  It was a biggie and boy, it was a whirlwind! We spent close to 120 nights away from home. We traveled during the months of February, May, June, August, September, October, November, and December.

Here are the numbers:
  • 11 cruises
  • 7 different ships
  • 90 nights at sea
  • 12 flights
  • 19 hotels 
  • 7 National Parks
  • 2 NASCAR races
  • 2 Major League Baseball games
  • 3 road trips
This year, just by cruise ship, we visited:
  • Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Belize twice
  • Cabo San Lucas, Mexico twice
  • Costa Maya, Mexico
  • Cozumel twice
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida seven times
  • Grand Cayman three times
  • Grand Turk
  • Icy Strait Point, Alaska
  • Juneau, Alaska twice
  • Ketchikan, Alaska
  • Livorno/Pisa, Italy
  • Los Angeles twice
  • Manzanillo, Mexico twice
  • Mazatlán, Mexico twice
  • Nassau, Bahamas
  • Ponta Delgada, Portugal in the Azores
  • Princess Cays in the Bahamas twice
  • Puerto Vallarta, Mexico twice
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • Rome/Civitavecchia, Italy
  • San Francisco three times
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Seattle, Washington twice
  • Skagway, Alaska twice
  • St. Maarten twice
  • St. Thomas three times
  • Vancouver, Canada three times
  • Victoria, Canada,
  • Whittier, Alaska
I can’t believe I’m typing these words, but it was too much travel too spread out. 120 days over eight months again? No thank you. Squeeze those 120 days into four solid months of travel? Heck, yeah!

I have a few things worth mentioning about the year. Let’s call this list the best of the best:

*Most heartwarming feeling: Learning what happened after I posted a video to YouTube of our cabin steward on the Caribbean Princess making towel animals. His family back home was so excited to see him making towel animals on the internet. His six year old son couldn't believe his dad knew how to do it and his wife shared it with family and friends and posted it to Facebook. I am happy I was able to be part of him feeling like a movie star.

*Friendliest taxi drivers: Key West, Florida. Hands down.  Nowhere else even came close.

*Best itinerary change due to a hurricane: When Hurricane Isaac caused our ship to be rerouted to San Juan, Puerto Rico.

*Most animal sightings in the same day: The Tundra Wilderness Tour in Denali National Park.

*Most unique lodging: The trailer on the beach in Islamorada, Florida.

*Best food: Breakfast – the Denver Omelet at Pig ‘n Pancake in Seaside, Oregon; Lunch – Patty Melt at the Sweet Tooth Café in Skagway, Alaska; Dinner –  BBQ at The Smoking Rooster in St. Thomas.

*Wildest weather: We thought it would be when we were trapped in Panera Bread in September in Fort Lauderdale. But it actually wound up being a couple months later when we had to walk through the flood in Costa Maya, Mexico.

*Best last-minute change of plans: Instead of grabbing breakfast at Subway we decided to head into Talkeetna, Alaska for breakfast instead. And ran across this beauty called Denali.

*Best back-of-the-car picnic: In a snowy but sunny parking lot in Olympic National Park.

*Most interesting barber shop for two middle-aged white people: The barber shop/salon in Grand Cayman where hubby got a shave.

*Longest lasting sunset: In the Caribbean, of course. Here are just a few minutes of it, but it went on and on and on.

So what’s next? Well, we need to get hubby into physical therapy to gain some strength and mobility. As for me, wrestling with the bathroom door on the transatlantic voyage may be requiring a visit to my orthopedic surgeon. He’s already done seven surgeries on me so might as well make it an even number and go for eight, right? I will also have some exciting news to share about the encouraging words project and a major woman’s magazine. I’ll announce the details soon. Otherwise we'll be back to our regular life. I'll keep making crafting videos, keep writing about cruising and travel, and keep downsizing our life.

Speaking of cruising…we currently have no other cruises booked. Like 0. For the first time ever we will be leaving a ship without any future plans to be on another ship. While I could certainly jump on a ship next week and stay for the next few months, hubby’s ready for the comfort of his rocking chair and TV for an extended period of time. If you have a disability, or care for someone with a disability, you know how tough travel can be on both parties. It can be frustrating, challenging, and downright exhausting. After spending this year getting him out into the world again, I suspect the coming year will be instead be spent at home where he feels most comfortable.

Thanks for following along, and hope to see you from a cruise ship sometime in the future. Hopefully sooner than later.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Tutorial Tuesday - Sew a Fabric Snowman Christmas Tree Ornament

It's Tutorial Tuesday and today we are making another Christmas ornament. This time it's a snowman.

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 
Click here to see all my tutorials!


Along with your regular sewing supplies, for this project you need:
  • 6” x 6” white fabric, cut 2
  • 2 ½” x 2 ½” fabric for ear muffs, cut 4
  • 2 ½” x 2 ½” batting scrap, cut 2
  • 1” x 2” orange fabric for nose
  • 1” x 3” black fabric for mouth
  • Two buttons for eyes
  • 6” of cord or ribbon for top of head
  • 10” length of ribbon for hanging
  • Polyester fiberfill stuffing
  • Hole punch
  • Pinking shears and scissors
  • Marking Pencil
  • Fabric glue
  • Template downloaded from here
You can find the tutorial video here:

While my patterns, templates, and videos are absolutely free, if you feel so inclined please consider a donation for their use. Every little bit helps! Your donation helps support the blog and allows me to continue to provide free content to crafters and cruisers all around the world.  

Rather not donate? No worries - go ahead and use them for free! If you do donate, thank you for your support!

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Princess Cruises New Cocktail Menu


Princess Cruises just launched a new cocktail menu today. Check it out.
 


 
 

Bars on the open decks have their own menu:
 
Want to try out the drink menu on a Princess cruise? Contact me! I'm a Princess Commodore, the highest level of Princess Cruises expert there is in the travel agent world. Let me help you put together a cruise suited just for you!