Sunday, March 31, 2019

Grand Princess CA Coastal Sea Day

We had quite a smooth ride last night. Sometimes the first day out of San Francisco we encounter some rough seas but not this time. Maybe we’ve been on ships too much to notice movement anymore? Maybe, but waking up in the night felt just like being at home. How much like home? When I turned over in the middle of the night I told hubby I thought the electric blanket had turned off. Oops.

I guess it makes sense to get home and the ship mixed up. At this point I’m not sure our home is our home or a cruise ship is our home. We were on this same ship four months ago and when we stepped on her yesterday it was like we never left. I really did think four long months away from cruising was going to give us enough of a break to make things seem new and different, but instead it was again the feeling of like we were coming home. We know our way around, we know some of the crew, we know what we like and what we want to do. We know where we like to store things in the cabin, which one of us is in charge of what, and who gets the bathroom first. We know to take the elevators up to get down, know when to turn our tunnel vision on, and know where to find the quietest seating at the buffet. (Speaking of the buffet, it was super-quiet last night. Plenty of empty tables, no screaming kids, and people using inside voices. It was so nice and relaxing.) 

I was trying to rack my brain to figure out something new we did in these last two days that we didn’t do before. I could only come up with a couple things 1. We switched out mini bar items for different ones than we usually do. 2. We went to the dining room for lunch two days in a row. If we were being honest I could probably add in a number 3. We had enough drinks to turn both our cheeks all rosy. Otherwise everything is the same. 

As usual, we:
  • got our Most Traveled Guest invitation. (It’ll be a cocktail party.)
  • booked another cruise for May. ($299 per person for a week in Alaska? Oh, yeah.)
  • skipped the $10 sale in the dining room.
  • didn’t go to the art auction.
  • skipped tonight’s formal night and Champagne Waterfall.
  • stayed away from the crazy pub lunch line.
  • dropped off the encouraging words money pockets around the ship and into the Wake Show box. 
  • hung out with our bartender buddy.
  • visited with our assistant waiter “son”.

Dang, we’re boring.  Actually, we feel calm, relaxed, and comfortable. Just the way we like it.

While nothing is new with us, the ship does have some new things. The Grand was in dry dock a couple weeks back and came away with a revamped hamburger/hot dog place. It’s now called The Salty Dog Grill and here’s the new menu:

The pizza place is also revamped and now called Slice. Here’s that new menu:

Mermaid’s Bar is now called The Mix. They don’t have any new signs up yet, but I did grab a picture of the bar menu they now have for all the bars out on deck.

The ship also has some new carpeting, upholstering, and new screens in preparation for the Medallion. The screens aren’t activated and we don’t have Medallions, but all mailboxes are gone.
One more new thing –on embarkation day at check in we were given this paper with all the locations for lunch. 
Usually on embarkation day the dining room is a nice, quieter place to eat. Now that everyone is giving that paper – with the dining room on the top of the list – the dining room was packed that first day. Like, really packed. There were very few empty tables in the whole place. It was loud and hectic and definitely not the relaxing experience it was in the past. Might as well go to the buffet if we want that kind of craziness. 

We’re off to Santa Barbara tomorrow, but we’ll be treating it as a sea day and staying on the ship. Our bartender buddy leaves for the home day after tomorrow so we are squeezing out every last minute with him that we can.

For those interested today's Patter can be found here


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Grand Princess Embarkation Day

You know it's going to be a good day when your favorite bartender makes you a purple concoction without you even asking.
 And a view of San Francisco on a beautiful day like this one?
Yep, it doesn't get better.

Only one bummer item so far today...since we were on this same ship a few short months ago in a cabin two doors down from this cruise's cabin we have the same cabin steward. The same cabin steward who was pretty dang bad last year.  I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt, but by the mess in the cabin we found when we arrived (an empty water bottle in the safe? hairs on the bed? sticky substance on the desk?) I don't know how much benefit of the doubt I should be giving him. 

Otherwise all is good with the world. A sea day is up tomorrow.

Today's Patter can be found here, for those interested. 

Grand Princess California Coastal Cruise

So where are we headed this time? Nothing too exciting, but hey, it's a cruise!
Map showing the port stops for Classic California Coast. For more details, refer to the disclaimer below and the itinerary port table on this page.
We've got a San Diego Padres game thrown in there, plan on getting some fish tacos in Ensenada, and ???

If you're looking for the Patters for the week you can find them here:

Friday, March 29, 2019

Last, Last Minute Plans? Oh, Yeah.

This past week it has been spring break here, and although we had originally planned on going a cruise, it just didn't work out. On the eve of the day I was about to cancel (and incur some cancellation fees) we received word (thanks, V!) that the cruise was oversold and they were looking for volunteers to shift to another cruise. Get a new cruise for free and all receive all our money back from our original cruise? Yes, please.

So it left us at home doing not much of anything. Actually, that's not exactly true. Between college basketball and Major League Baseball starting their season hubby has been glued to the TV. He's a big sports fan and a huge (like a really, really, huge) baseball fan. And that's what started these new plans in motion. Like, just a few days ago. Talk about last minute!

*It started with trying to get him to a major league baseball game that would fit around the classes I teach with Community Education and at the library. Didn't want to have to reschedule any of his doctor appointments, either.
*Which led to tickets to a San Diego Padres game on an afternoon in April.
*Which led us to finding out the Grand Princess will be in port on the same day we will be at the game.
*With the ship having a long, full day port stop in San Diego.
*With a ship having our favorite bartender and an assistant waiter who calls us his "parents" on it.
*Where the bartender will be on his last cruise before going back home and our assistant waiter "son" heading back home a couple weeks later.

So we were excited we might get to see our guys one last time during their contracts. Which got us to thinking...why not just take that cruise?

But it was sold out. Oh, well.

But then a couple days later that sold-out cruise on the Grand had a few inside cabins left - at nicely discounted prices - with cruise line airfare to San Francisco half the price of what we would pay to get to San Diego.

The stars aligned for us and we headed off to San Francisco today.
A beautiful day to be in the air
We'll stay the night and then our last, last, minute California Coastal cruise will be coming up tomorrow. As usual, I'll be reporting live from the ship. Stayed tuned.

And as usual, I also spent some time printing and cutting and gluing
to get ready for this trip. Yep, I'm still working on the
Encouraging Words Project.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Read Cruising with Confidence for Free!


How can you read CRUISING WITH CONFIDENCE: HOW TO BE A FIRST-TIME CRUISER  for free?

If you want to read on your device, sign up for a free trial of Amazon's Kindle Unlimited here and get the ebook for free:


Or get the audiobook for free when you sign up for a free trial of Audible here:

Happy reading (and listening)!

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Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Sew a Quick & Easy Quilt for Kids - Tutorial Tuesday

Looking for a quick and easy way to sew up a quilt? Today's Tutorial Tuesday has you covered!

Looking for more sewing and crafting projects? 


Along with your regular sewing supplies, for this project you will need:
*4 ½” wide fabric strips for the main part of the quilt. (I’m using the entire width of the fabric so they are about 44” long.) You’ll need eight strips.
*4 ½” wide strips for the borders, again cut the length of the fabric. You’ll need four of those.
*One and one eight of a yard of the 58” wide fleece.

You can find the directions 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!
 

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sewing for Good Sunday

If I keep this pace up I might just have all these quilts done by the end of next month.

Okay, I guess that doesn't sound all that impressive - 12 kids quilts in four months? I should be able to go faster than that!

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Cruise Tips



Coming soon:

5 Things to Pack for a Cruise


There are some obvious items you'd pack for a cruise like clothes, toiletries, and travel documents. But here are five other items to consider adding to your packing list.

1. Magnet. Did you know the walls in your cabin are magnetic? A magnetic clip, like a big chip clip, can be placed on the wall and used as a bulletin board area. The clip can be a good place to put all the papers that will be delivered to the cabin each day. The daily paper, the invitations to the art auction and health seminar, the ads for the boutiques and spa specials can be organized on the wall instead of strewn about the desk.

2. Highlighter. Each day a printed schedule of the activities happening around the ship is delivered to the cabin. A highlighter allows passengers to mark those activities they don’t want to miss. Each member of the family can use a different color on the same schedule. Or ask your steward for extra copies and each person can have their own schedule and mark it up.

3. Reclosable bags in a variety of sizes. These can be used to bring snacks back to the cabin from the buffet. They can also keep valuables dry and sand out of electronics when at the beach. Larger size bags can be used for sandy/muddy sandals and shoes.

4. Packing Cubes. With the number of outfits needed for a cruise – formal wear, resort casual wear, swimwear – not to mention regular day-to-day clothes, suitcases get filled up fast. Rolling clothes and putting them into packing cubes leaves space left over in the suitcase for bringing home souvenirs.  You’d be surprised how much you can fit in those things.

They even make it easy for unpacking. Actually, it's more like not unpacking - we just unzip them, fold back the top, and leave them in the drawers. Super duper easy and convenient. We've used the eBags brand for quite a while and they haven't had as much as a rip or broken zipper. Easy to wash and easy to use!

We use multiple sizes and we each have our own colors (me-pink, hubby-green). They have a ton of colors and sizes to choose from. Take a look:

5. Fabric refresher that can double as an air freshener. You may wind up wearing the same clothes more than once so it comes in handy. And remember - the bathroom is small. A couple sprays can take care of any issues arising from enclosed quarter bathroom situations.

What do you think? Will you be packing any of these things on your next cruise?

Note: Some of my links are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click through and make a purchase. Your purchase helps support the blog and allows me to continue to provide free content. Remember, I only recommend products I use again and again. Thank you for your support!
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