French Martini & Cocktail Video (Inspired by Disney, Cruising, Las Vegas, California, Florida)

With the release of French Martini on Kindle, I was inspired to create a video looking back at our life through cocktails – lol! This was so much fun to put together (PS – a link to a recipe for a French Martini is in the video description). Enjoy! Also, please subscribe, like, and/or comment on the video. Thank you!

Birthday Cruise to the Bahamas

We’re counting down to Rich’s birthday cruise to the Bahamas. After the month we’ve have, we really need to get away – we’re so glad we made the decision to book another cruise when we got back from my birthday trip to L.A./cruise to Ensenada.

I’m looking forward to my first Margarita and Rich can taste those Guy’s Burgers. Sipping, relaxing, noshing… ah, life at sea!

Shadow, Daisy, and I are up again during the night. I’m hoping they’ll keep quiet and let Rich sleep before getting up for work in a couple of hours. They’re now asleep at my feet as I write this. In this moment, we’re all okay so it’s hard to get up from the computer and go back to bed.

Shadow is getting better about howling his grief – I suppose we all are. It still takes Rich and I by surprise, though, like all the places we still see him or the little things we did with Skipper in mind and now we either don’t need to or don’t especially want to. His presence is all over this house – I suspect we built it for him. After all, he was king! 🙂

Looking back at a few photos from the Vegas years, I’m posting a few of Skipper that especially stood out this morning. And as much as I was desperate to leave Las Vegas, I do miss it sometimes. Certainly, the memories. I definitely needed a break from it, though.

Late Sunday afternoon reminded me of how good we have it here. We just hopped in the car and drove to the beach and there I was dipping my feet in the water. Heaven! You can’t do that in the desert.

A friend and I were talking about meeting my father 16 years ago and how it was too short and I realized I knew Skipper longer than I knew my father.

That reminds me of a story about a woman I worked with in San Francisco when we were in ours 20s. Her dog died and then her father died and I said to another co-worker, “She seemed more upset about her dog dying than her father.” And Stefany said, “I suspect she got a lot more love from her dog than she ever did from her father.”

Anyway, here’s to Skipper. Look at those eyes – he would give me that look and he seemed so human. I will miss him forever! Love you, sweet boy!

 

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Four

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

Today was Ensenada day. We’d been to Ensenada several times so we weren’t sure what we wanted to do but found a tour called “VIP Wine and Lunch Tour” and thought that sounded fun. We’d done a couple of winery tours but this “VIP” with lunch sounded even better.

We were to meet the group on the pier at 11:10 for 11:30 tour. We were there a little early after a room service breakfast at about 8:00 a.m. Eventually, it was time for the tour so our guide led us to a small, cramped mini-bus. We were stuffed in there like sardines. Knowing how long the drive would be to the winery, having been there before, I started to panic, especially when a very large woman sat in the solo seat next to the door because she couldn’t fit on the side with the people in her row. Hey, she said it–not me.

If there was an emergency, none of us would be getting out of that van easily. I remembered the regular buses we’d had on our other tours and we hadn’t filled them. I never expected this type of vehicle. Nothing about this tour seemed “VIP.”

Rich told the guide we wanted to get out. This was just past security. I said I was having a panic attack. The woman next to the door said, “She’s having a panic attack.” I think she was afraid what I’d do next – lol!

So the driver stopped and let us out. We filled out a form. Another driver heading in stopped to see what was wrong and when told, he offered to drive us back to the ship. We’d thought about walking into town but by this time, it was hot outside and, frankly, I was really quite tired from the night before.

So we took him up on his offer. He was very nice, and Rich tipped him when he dropped us off. We stopped in at a gift shop and bought a magnet. Then we ran into our friend April and her friend from the Chef’s dinner from the night before. We chatted a bit. In fact, we kept running into them and chatted each time. They were very nice. So good to be with my people again. People really aren’t that friendly in Florida, especially if you’re not from where they’re from. This has always been the strange part about Florida. This is outside of Disney – on Disney property, we’ve had some really great interactions with other guests – one of my favorite parts about Disney World.

Anyway, not going on the tour allowed us to have lunch at the new Blue Iguana Cantina where we each had 2 or 3 tacos after we’d changed into our swimsuits. Then we found a couple of loungers on the Serenity Deck and Rich got us a couple of drinks, Margarita for me and Rum Jumper (I think) for Rich. That’s what my notes say, although I’m starting to wonder if that’s what he had. I think he had a Mai Tai, actually

We returned to the cabin for a nap and some packing before dinner. Dinner was in the buffet and then we went to the 70s/80s Rock show, which was absolutely amazing!!! We stopped in at the photo gallery and used my birthday discount to get the Ensenada photo and frame.

We stopped in at the buffet for a slice of cheesecake and some milk for a bed time snack. We later discovered that Carnival had refunded our money for the tour. We hadn’t even asked and thought that was a a great move on their part. Say what you will about Carnival, and we’ve probably said it, too, but their customer service is excellent.

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Three, Part Two: Chef’s Table

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

We requested our places at the Chef’s Table before the cruise, but we didn’t hear whether we were included until we got a call in our stateroom on Thursday. Originally, they told us the Chef’s Table would be Saturday night, a disappointment for us since we wanted it to be on Kathy’s birthday.

Thankfully, they called us back that night and informed us we would be seated at the Chef’s Table Friday night. The next morning we received a letter in our cabin inviting us to meet at the Lobby Bar at 6:00 PM Friday night.

We arrived in the Lobby Bar a little early to find a large group of people mingling as if they knew each. One of the group, Steve, was kind enough to let us know that 300 people from their Orange County company were onboard and 10 of them were attending the Chef’s Table. There were 17 of us altogether, and while we anticipated having an awkward night with so many people who knew each other, it turned out to be a very pleasant group.

Just before 6:00 PM, we were each given a glass of champagne, and at 6:00 PM, our Chef’s Table host, Eduardo the ship’s sous chef from the Philippines, welcomed us and led us to the kitchen for a tour. We stopped in the middle of the kitchen to meet the Pastry Chef who demonstrated the preparation of the famous Carnival chocolate melting cake.

We were then led to another section of the kitchen where we were served four enticing appetizer bites:

Mango Sphere, Rosemary Biscuit
Salmon Tartar Cornets, Sesame Seeds
Beef Carpaccio on Air Pillow, Chocolate Bacon, Apple Ribbons
Double Cooked Lamb

The mango sphere exploded flavor in our mouths and was quite surprising. The salmon was delicious and fun in a cone. One of our favorites. The beef carpaccio was served on a parmesan-filled air pillow. This was my favorite appetizer, although the best part was the air pillow. The lamb was served as a small meatball in pastry and was quite good. All the appetizers were delightful, and it was fun having our nibbles in the kitchen.

We were then led through the dining room and into the Library where our long table was set up. First, we posed for a group photo, and then we found our places at the table marked by name cards. We were seated near six people from the company group and Kathy was next to April and her friend from Phoenix.

They gave us a choice of wine, Zonin Pinot Grigio or McGuigan Australian Merlot. We both chose the Merlot. They refilled our wine glasses throughout the meal.

We each had a menu that detailed the seven-course meal to be presented to us, starting with bread service.

Bread Service

Beef Blanket, Spiced Grape Tea
Asparagus Cauliflower, Honey Carrot Tian, Mache, Lemon Streusel
Comments: The grape tea was especially exciting and enjoyable.

Beef Blanket Before Spiced Tea

Beef Blanket After Spiced Tea

 Crab Stack
Corn Custard, Polenta Cracker, Tangerine, Passion Caviar
Comments: I am allergic to crab, so they substituted chicken. Unfortunately, that pretty much made this course disappointing.

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Rich’s “Crab Stack” ala Chicken

Kathy’s Crab Stack (delicious!)

Duck Textures
Creamy Quinoa, Parmesan Churros, Olive Snow, Port Wine Jus
Comments: The duck was very rich, and we didn’t finish this course.

Duck

Bisque Our Way
Two Tomatoes, Three Basil, Crisped Brioche, Garlic Chip
Comments: They served the soups separated in the bowl, and then had us mix them. A fascinating and tasty dish.

Soup “Dry”

Soup “Wet”

Sea Bass
Chorizo Crust, Fried Pop Corn Pudding, Lemon Macaroon, Lobster Foam
Comments: This was one of my favorite dishes. So flavorful. They omitted the lobster foam due to my allergy.

Waygu
Bone Marrow Souffle, Scallion & Garlic Panisse, Gremolata Crisp
Comments: Wonderful Waygu beef. Very rich. Couldn’t eat all this.

Waygu Beef

Pastry Chef
Sea Salt Praline Chocolate, Raspberry Mojito, Key Lime Cake, Apricot Vanilla Gel, Citrus Cream
Comments: We were so full by the end of the meal, but we managed to eat most of the dessert plate.

Dessert Plate

As you can see, we were served a lot of food, all of it well thought out, well prepared, and full of interesting flavors. After the dessert course, Eduardo brought out two birthday cakes with candles for Kathy and another guest who were celebrating birthdays. Everyone sang Happy Birthday. And the birthday cake was fabulous.

Eduardo was a superb host. We gave him the highest ratings on our post-cruise survey. The conversation around the table was enjoyable, although, with the long table, we really only interacted with half of the group. One of the company guys had an allergic reaction in the middle of the meal and had to leave mid-meal with his wife. We later heard he collapsed but was recovering well by the time we finished.

At the end of the meal, we were each given a packet that included a copy of the group photo and the recipe for the chocolate melting cake.

The food and service were amazing. We were quite impressed with the quality of everything. This was very good food served interestingly. Eduardo and his team prepared the dishes in the Library and then served them to us. Very impressive.

There were only two things I would critique. First, in the middle of the meal, we took a break from eating to be “entertained” by a magician. Neither of us cares for magicians, and this one was no exception. Boring. The other critique is that they only offered us one wine from a choice of two for the whole meal. We would have preferred several wines served throughout the meal to pair with the food. However, these critiques are minor. Overall, it was a marvelous and memorable experience. It was a 9 out of 10 for us, and an amazing way to celebrate Kathy’s birthday.

 

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Three, Part One

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

Today was my birthday and lucky for us, it was “Sea Day Brunch” day – one of our favorite things about Carnival. We’ve sailed on all the major cruise lines and we love Carnival service.

Rich started the day with a birthday card for me, and then we were off to the dining room at the opening of Brunch – about 8:30 a.m. I think.

I wasn’t sure about the Bloody Mary but when the couple next to use ordered one, we decided to join in but made mine a Bloody Maria (tequila instead of vodka).

I had my usual Huevos Rancheros with a fruit plate starter and Rich started with a Bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon and then the Blueberry Pancakes with a side of bacon for his entree.

But the highlight for me is this particular muffin – I think it’s a cappuccino muffin. It’s amazing and I have to have it every time. The chocolate muffin isn’t bad either. I really need to get a good photo of the muffins – I only have a pic of a half-eaten muffin take a few years ago – lol!

We ate our brunch and took our drinks to the Xanadu Lounge, then returned to our suite to change into our swim suits and hung out on lounges on the Serenity Deck.

We returned to the room to nap. For lunch, Rich ran up to Guy’s when we got hungry and brought back a couple of burgers – not sharing this time – lol!

Oh my, no wonder I’m still trying to work off this trip. But birthdays only come once a year, thank goodness!

I was worried about being too full since tonight was my birthday dinner at the Chef’s Table so we skipped the fries. 🙂

Rich will write up the Chef’s Table report.

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip/Cruise, Day Two

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to Ensenada cruise, Disneyland Resort, Newport Beach
What: Carnival Imagination, Residence Inn, Hyatt Regency Newport Beach
When: July 11-16, 2018
Why: Kathy’s Birthday Celebration (Catching up with SoCal)

As I mentioned here, we ate the leftover steak from Napa Rose for breakfast this morning along with some eggs from the hotel breakfast buffet. Then we headed for the port of Long Beach via my old stomping grounds – childhood home, high school, and other neighborhoods. I’ve posted enough pics about them so I won’t repeat that – lol!

We were a bit confused by the entry to the port due to some detour. But when we looked confused, a bus driver asked if everything was okay via a thumbs up? And so I rolled down the window and asked how to get to the port and he very nicely gave us directions. We were so impressed!

We parked the car in the garage and headed for the new check-in area at were directed to priority boarding and were onboard in no time at all. Because we were suite passengers, our room was ready so we dropped off our luggage and I noticed there were birthday decorations and a bottle of Prosecco that Rich had ordered. Yay! We met our cabin stewardess who was amazing and kept our ice and water well-stocked and cleaned.

 

We then headed for Guys Burgers for lunch. We shared the Straight Up – amazing!! Maybe even better than In N Out! Ohhhhh!!!

Then we made our way to the Blue Iguana Tequila Bar and Rich ordered a Blue’s Patron Margarita for me then ran over to the Red Frog Rum Bar on the opposite side of the ship and brought back his Rum Jumper (aka Rum Runner).

Rich’s Rum Jumper

Kathy’s Blue’s Patron Margarita

We did a bit of a ship tour, although we have sailed on two sister ships, the Paradise (twice), and the Inspiration. One of our favorite areas is the Adults Only Serenity Deck, especially on this class of ship.

We unpacked our carry-on bags and then it was off for the Muster Drill. Ours was located up on the pool deck. Carnival has improve somewhat with accounting for people by electronically beeping people’s Sail & Sign cards, similar to Princess but Princess is far more efficient. Then it was time for sailaway, although there seemed to be a bit of delay.

Our Prosecco was on ice waiting for us but due to the delay, we headed to the salad bar (Carnival’s is the best!). We made our way back to the cabin where chocolate covered strawberries, cookies, macaroons, and truffles awaited! Eventually, the ship began to move and Rich popped open the Prosecco, poured us each a glass, and we sailed away from our balcony.

I don’t remember doing much more after we sailed away. I think we pretty much just hang out on the balcony, which is our favorite thing to do on a ship. This is why we cruise. We texted with our pet sitter a few times before leaving range. We were pretty tired, as we always are on embarkation day.

“Highlights of SoCal” Birthday Trip (Pre-Trip Report) Updated

So excited, I’m jumping up and down! We’ve been going back and forth with how to celebrate my birthday in SoCal. Longing for home, we’ve booked and unbooked hotels near the beach, near Disneyland, and then finally booked a cruise. But I started to miss Disneyland. So, here are the latest plans:

Wednesday:

MCO to LAX, check into Anaheim Hilton. Dinner at Napa Rose

Thursday:

Drive to Huntington Beach, breakfast at Norm’s, then drive up PCH to Long Beach where we will board Carnival cruise ship at the new terminal – can’t wait to try the new terminal! Cruise from Long Beach to Ensenada, round trip.

Friday:

Day at Sea – Sea Day Brunch, Chef’s Table birthday dinner

Saturday:

Ensenada – booked a wine and lunch excursion in the vineyards. Were so wowed by the vineyards in Ensenada several years ago. Who knew Ensenada had such a wine culture? You usually think of Tequila when you think of Mexico.

Sunday:

Return to Long Beach. Drive to Disneyland – get park hopper – do Disneyland in the morning, check into Anaheim Hilton for afternoon rest, and then back to DCA for the evening – Dinner at Carthay Circle (martinis and amazing biscuits, here we come!)

Monday:

LAX to MCO

I’m so stoked about getting to do Disneyland, the beach, and a cruise for my birthday! In the meantime, we’ve got a little overnight trip planned for Epcot and the MK as a pet sitter test run. She seems really great and was recommended by our visit but it’s always good to do a short trip close to home before flying across the country and going out to sea. Just in case anything needs to be ironed out.

 

Epcot Says “We’re Back!”

My excitement for the opening of Epcot in the fall of 1982 began early as I was privy to the attractions through work when I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area. Having grown up near Disneyland, I was motivated to visit WDW because of Epcot – not the Magic Kingdom. When Epcot first opened, you reserved a dining reservation by speaking to a CM through some kind of futuristic booth, which was such a thrill. My first meal was at San Angel Inn. Therefore, Epcot and San Angel Inn still signal “we’re back” on any trip to WDW.

Back then, living in California, I couldn’t get to WDW very often. I’d only been in 1982 and again in 1987. Rich and I took our first trip to WDW together in May of 1999 when we were determined to one day live in Orlando so we could fully enjoy this amazing World.

So, then, of course, when we first moved to Orlando in 2003, the first place we headed was Epcot. We remember so clearly staring up at Spaceship Earth as we approached the ticket window saying, “This is our local park now!”

Five years have passed since we were last at any of the WDW parks (in November we only stopped in at Disney Springs with dinner at Artist Point at Wilderness Lodge and boated over to Ft. Wilderness and back), and the excitement for Epcot was as high as it had ever been.

We arrived at around 9 a.m., parked in the first section and walked to the front gate, stopping in at bag check (Rich was wearing a small fanny pack – next time we might leave that behind), and entered with our brand new Annual Pass. Unfortunately, our Magic Bands did not arrive in time. We have them now and can’t wait to return to the parks with them – far more convenient.

We’re experiential people so all of those criticisms we voiced about all of this beforehand were silly – Rich is loving all the online stuff, reserved FP+ and dining all on his phone. We had an 11:10 a.m. FT+ for Test Track and a 1:30 p.m. for Spaceship Earth. But when we saw no line at Spaceship Earth, we headed right in. Ah, also important to be the first ride.

Then we headed for France in World Showcase for a morning pastry via Mouse Gear for a quick browse but nothing grabbed our interest. We hadn’t been to the Boulangerie since it started opening before 11 and expanded. We were surprised it was now located inside the France Pavilion. For some reason, we thought they’d built onto the old location. There was plenty of inside (air-conditioned) seating, which was a nice change.

I looked for my usual puff pastry with cream filling that I’d been eating since opening in 1982 but it was no where to be seen so I ordered a Napoleon, wondering if that was it. Rich ordered his usual Apple Tart. But when I saw what the Napoleon actually looked like, I cancelled it and didn’t know what to order. Rich pointed out the Beignet so I chose that.

We also got a cup of coffee to share and sat down. We were pleasantly surprised to discover the Beignet was filled with chocolate or hazelnut chocolate as Rich said. It was absolutely scrumptious and is now our new favorite pastry. Next time we’ll get two! We didn’t think to take pics until we’d already had a few bites. 🙂

We headed back to Future World and stopped in to visit Figment in Imagination. We love this ride – lol! Figment cracked me up, more than ever. Is it my age or because we haven’t seen him in a while?

Then it was almost time for our Test Track FP+. We waited for about 10 minutes and then 5 minutes before, we were allowed in. This was our first ride since it was updated and found the design part to be more fun than just watching a move like before. We created an outrageous car that was pretty fast. And then on the open track, we were racing so fast, I realized this may be another ride on the list of “too old for” these days. After hitting my head on a train and tripping in Mazatlan, I’m becoming a bite more cautious. And that’s okay. There’s still plenty of fun to be had.

After our ride, we were hungry and headed for the Cantina in Mexico. It was packed and getting hot out and we really wanted to eat at San Angel – after all, that’s our traditional go to meal on our first day. For some reason, we thought the Cantina would be fine. We checked the dining app but it showed there weren’t any more ressies to be had until 2 p.m. Still, we approached the podium and asked if we could be seated and, yes, they found us in their system and we only waited for about 5 or 10 minutes. We were seated a table away from the tables on the end with the view of the boats.

What a thrill to be back here! We both ordered tacos – pork for Rich and beef for me – and two House Margaritas. I have no idea why but I forgot to take any pics of the Margaritas. Guess we were just too busy enjoying ourselves and our drinks. It was dark in there so the photos didn’t come out that well, but we had a blast!

Tacos de Carne (Beef tacos with Flour Tortillas)

Taco al Pastor (Pork tacos with Corn Tortillas)

The photo that says, “We are back and having a blast!” We also realized that one reason we were having such a blast is that it’s been a while since we’ve been. We don’t plan on wearing it out like we did when we lived 2 miles from Cinderella Castle.

We were tempted to walk the loop around World Showcase but by now it was getting late, we were tired, and it was hot so we exited World Showcase, waved at Pluto on the way, made our way through Future World, and out to the parking lot, got in our Jeep, and drove home. It was around 1 p.m. by this time so we were in the parks for 4 hours, having clocked 4 miles. What a memorable day!

 

Memorial Day Weekend APs

So after another Friday night at JBs Fish Camp, we headed for Disney Springs Guest Services on Saturday to trade in our Annual Pass vouchers for the real thing. We really like this Guest Services at Disney Springs – it feels like a park attraction. Well, guess what? The wait was 45 minutes. So we got our text set up and hung out a bit. We were starving so we checked out a couple of restaurant menus so we’d have something lined up after our “appointment.”

Deluxe Burgers was ridiculous – we weren’t about to pay $25 for burger and fries at a walk-up window and hope to get a seat. So we returned to Guest Services, sat in a couple of rocking chairs, took some photos, and enjoyed some people-watching while waiting.

Front porch of Guest Relations 

Eventually, we walked over to Frontera Cocina by Celebrity Chef Rick Bayless. As a California girl who grew up on Mexican food, I was really interested in tasting his Mexican food to see how good it could be with him being from Chicago. 🙂

I didn’t really think we had a chance since he’s one of the few celebrity chefs without a restaurant in Las Vegas. So we checked seating availability and the CM at the podium said we could just walk up and sit at the bar. Okay.

Rich checked our wait time at Guest Relations and they said we were #5. We sat down again, but then got the text saying we were next. So, finally, we got our APs. The CMs are pretty awesome and all went well. To celebrate, we headed over to Frontera Cocina and found a couple of seats at the bar.

We started off with a couple of Margaritas, the Frontera for Rich and a Blood Red Orange Jalapeno for me. For lunch, Rich ordered the Carnitas tacos and I ordered the Carne Asada tacos. Rich loved his Carnitas and this Carne Asada was the best I’d ever had. It was amazingly flavorful. Rick Bayless definitely knows what he’s doing and why wouldn’t he? A real Mexico aficionado, he goes straight to the source in Mexico. I figured it would be good but this was amazing! I could do this once a week.

The Frontera Margarita

Red Blood Orange Jalapeno Margarita

Carnitas

Carne Asada

 

The 20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: TOC

20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 1

20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 2

20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 3

20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 4

20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 5

20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 6

20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 7

The 20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 7

Who: Rich and Kathy
Where: Los Angeles to the Mexican Riviera
What: Carnival Miracle
When: August 13-20, 2016
Why: The 20th Wedding Anniversary Celebration Continues

Another sleepy morning at sea relaxing in our cabin. We finally made our way out of our cabin around 11 am and checked out the formal photos from last night. There was a very good photo of Kathy that we purchased.

We walked the promenade briefly and then headed to the atrium lounge for a couple glasses of Domaine Chandon Brut for sipping while we relaxed.

img_7374

img_7375

At lunchtime, we headed up to the Lido pool where we got lunch from the poolside grill. Kathy had a cheeseburger and fries and Rich had a couple hot dogs with sauerkraut and fries. We listened to the DJ music as we ate.

We made a donation to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and received a t-shirt for Rich.

Then it was time to head away from noise and crowds of the last day at sea and head back to our cabin for a rest. The debarkation information was waiting for us in the cabin — we’ll meet in the Bacchus Dining Room on Deck 3 at 7:45 am to be the first off the ship tomorrow morning.

We had a long rest in the cabin. Finally it was time to pack and then get ready for dinner in the buffet. Kathy had salad, jambalaya, and a bite of pizza. Rich had jambalaya, cornmeal chicken, ricotta ravioli, and a couple slices of pizza. A few bites of carrot cake ended the meal.

Back in the cabin after our last turn down service, we poured the last of our Merlot and sipped it while sitting on the balcony watching the ocean go bye. 8:00 pm was time for our movie, St. Vincent, and then bed time to rest up for debarkation tomorrow.

Disembarkation and Final Thoughts

Carnival had a nice setup for the walkoffs who were either Platinum or who had Faster to the Fun. We got to wait in the dining room with coffee, juice, and pastries, while we waited for the all-clear. We didn’t have to wait long and then we were back in the parking lot to pick up our car, load our bags, and drive the 4 hours home to Las Vegas.

We made really good time – it might have only taken 3.5 hours to reach home. The kitties were happy to see us and we were happy to be home. Unfortunately, during our first night home, we woke up sick and called 911. Kathy was taken to the emergency room and as it turned out, we both had pneumonia. We’re both much better but still recovering.

We may have had enough cruising for now – tired of getting pneumonia after cruising even though we got our flu shots and pneumonia shots and wash our hands religiously. I guess all it takes is somebody sneezing or touching something to get sick in these tight quarters.

But as we put together the trip diaries and some of our photos, we recall what fun we had, and we’ll probably cruise again.

In the meantime, it’s time for some Disney!

20th Anniversary Cruise Part 2: The Fun Ship, Day 6

This morning’s breakfast was some coffee from the Lido and breakfast bars we brought from home.

We relaxed in the cabin until 10 am when we went to the Bacchus dining room for Seaday Brunch. Kathy had eggs over-easy, hash browns, and bacon.

Rich started with the Flaming Tomato Soup and then blueberry pancakes with a side of corned beef hash.

soup

Then it was to shop. We found a pink cap and t-shirt for Kathy and a dressier hat as well.

pinkstuff

We stopped briefly back in the cabin on our way to the Serenity Deck for some reading and the drink of the day, Mai Tai.

maitai

After sweating too much, we headed back to the cabin to finish our drinks. Then Rich went up to the Lido buffet to make a salad for Kathy and get some Caribbean food for himself.

We enjoyed our shady restful cabin with a little time on our balcony where we spotted our one and only dolphin of the cruise. We rested in our cabin until 5 pm when we got ready for our final formal night dinner.

We arrived at opening and requested a booth for another anniversary dinner celebration.
Kathy had Chesapeake crab cake appetizer and terriyaki salmon. Rich had clam chowder (not very good) and the salmon.

For dessert, we both had a few bites of the Grand Mariner soufflé. Kathy had a decaf coffee, and Rich had another Limoncello.

We each enjoyed a glass of Santa Julia Malbec from Argentina.

A photographer stopped by to take some pictures, and then the wait staff surprised us with an anniversary celebration — chocolate heart cake with a macaroon and a candle. They sang Hoppy Anniversary to us. Very lovely.

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We strolled the promenade deck briefly before heading to our turned-down cabin, a little time on the balcony, and then a movie, The Imitation Game, which was very good.