Rich’s Birthday Dinner at Pahrump Winery

We’ve been back from the cruise for almost a month now and almost recovered from our Pneumonia. Sorting through the GoPro photos/videos we took last month, I just realized I hadn’t posted Rich’s birthday dinner at the Symphony Restaurant at Pahrump Winery.

We’ve lived near a few wineries and they’re one of our favorite hangouts, so it’s really wonderful that we have a winery just about 50 minutes from our home in Las Vegas. And the restaurant is superb!

Here are a few pics from Rich’s birthday. Rich took a few from the GoPro and I took a few from my iPhone.

Rich started off with the Soup of the Day and went for the Ribeye with Mac n Cheese and  asparagus. I started off with my usual Lobster Bisque (yum!) and  I went for the Filet Mignon with baked potato and green beans. We also each had a glass of red wine (can’t remember what kind – waiting for Rich to get back to me.)

They brought us a complimentary creme brulee dessert for Rich’s birthday.








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.



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.


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


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.


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.


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.

The 20th Anniversary Celebration Continues on the Fun Ship: Day 5, Puerto Vallarta

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

Today is our Anniversary Day! 20 years ago today we were joined together by God forever in the sacrament of marriage at St. Stephen Orthodox Church in Cupertino, CA. A very special blessing that we celebrate today.

We woke up with the ship already docked at Puerto Vallarta. It was stormy, raining pretty hard. It’s the first time we’ve seen PV this way. It remained cloudy all morning, although the rain stopped before long.

We relaxed in our cabin with room service breakfast: cereal, banana, coffee, and juice. And then we continued to relax until lunch time. We’ve been to PV 3 times in the past year and we didn’t plan to do much today. We might have gotten off the ship to stroll the shops and grab a quick bite if Kathy hadn’t sprained her toe. We’d heard there been more violence in PV, but staying close to the ship would probably have been okay.

So, we strolled the promenade again, taking videos of PV. (Videos to be uploaded.)

Then we stopped in the Lido buffet for a salad for Kathy and a grilled Reuben sandwich for Rich.

The next stop was the Serenity aft pool area, where we settled in the shade to read our books and enjoy the drink of the day, the Sunburst (vodka, mango, and peach schnapps).


After reading, we headed back to the cabin to rest before our anniversary dinner at Nick and Nora’s steakhouse at 7 pm. At 2:30 when I went to take a rinse in the shower, we found that the hot water wasn’t working. Guest Services told us that it would be fixed by 4:30 pm. It actually wasn’t fixed until 6:30 pm, forcing Kathy to shower in cold water.

Nevertheless, we got ready and headed to Nick and Nora’s at 6:45 pm. We were seated at a table for two by the window and had excellent service, although the whole experience was better on our May 2015 cruise, including the awesome photo of us at the table together.

We ordered a glass of Kathie Lee Gifford Gifft Red Blend wine for each of us and were served an amuse bouche, a mini slider, which was quite tasty.

amuseKathy had the lobster bisque, iceberg lettuce salad, and the filet mignon, medium.




Rich had the baked onion soup, Caesar salad, and five-spice rubbed ribeye. We each ordered the ginger ice cream for dessert.





Then the servers surprised us with an anniversary dessert, a cookies and cream tart and two glasses of champagne.


It was a lot of food, but it was all delicious, although Kathy was starting to not feel well, which, little did we know, a portent of things to come.

Still, we had great service and a wonderful celebration of our 20th anniversary.

After 8:00 pm, we headed back to the cabin for 8:30 pm sailaway and another sip of our Merlot in the cabin.

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

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

Breakfast was pastries and coffee from the Lido enjoyed on our balcony. Then it was time for another wonderful walk around the promenade deck.

We returned to the cabin and changed into our swim suits and headed to the adults only Serenity Deck at the aft of the ship. We claimed two loungers under partial cover and jumped into the aft pool with soothing cool water.

Then it was time a our Mai Tais as we relaxed on the loungers. It was getting very hot, so after our drinks we were back in the pool for an extended time.


Not us – we don’t take camera or iphone when we plan to swim in the pool.

We were getting hungry, so we headed to the Lido mid-ship pool where we visited the grill and had cheeseburgers and fries with iced tea.


Miracle still doesn’t have Guy Fieri’s burgers, but oh my goodness, these look delicious!

After lunch, it was back to the aft pool where we soaked in the cool water while chatting with a couple from Twentynine Palms. The wife grew up in Fountain Valley just like Kathy.

Nap time followed and then we prepared for dinner in the Bacchus Dining Room again. We got a table for two at the upstairs railing overlooking the traditional diners.

Kathy had Cajun shrimp flatbread appetizer and the tilapia entree. Rich had the ahi tuna appetizer and the baked ziti entree.



Rich had a small glass of Limoncello, a tasty Italian lemon alcoholic drink. As you can see, the Miracle has that wild and crazy Farcus decor, but the service is the best we’ve had at sea and we love the booths we often get in the dining room – the only ones I’ve seen on a cruise ship in my 16 cruises.


We’d heard so much about Carnival’s Chocolate Melting Cake and couldn’t wait to try it, but too late, we looked up the calories and they were a whopping 770! And that doesn’t even include the scoop of ice cream, which was amazing together! If we’d known, we would have shared. Oh well… we were celebrating!


After dinner, we enjoyed a lovely stroll on the promenade deck where we got a terrific view of Cabo San Lucas at night. When sailaway started, we headed back to our cabin balcony where we said goodbye to Cabo while sipping some red wine. (Videos yet to be uploaded.)


We ventured out one more time around 9 pm to check out the shops onboard and have another short stroll around the promenade.


We returned to our cabin to tonight’s towel animal.



Finally is was time to turn in for the night. It was a little difficult getting to sleep after we had the chocolate melting cake, but we finally drifted off awaiting our sail-in to Mazatlan.

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

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

(Btw, once again, Rich wrote up the day’s report on our iPad, and Kathy inserted the photos for the report.)

We were up around 8 am. Rich went up one deck to the Lido deck to get pastries and coffee for breakfast that we enjoyed on our balcony.

After breakfast, we headed out for a walk around the promenade deck with a lovely view of the water. The sun was still hiding behind thin clouds and the walk was very pleasant.




At 10 am we were ready for the Sea Day Brunch in the Bacchus Dining Room. We started with their great bread basket and Kathy’s favorite Cappuccino muffin. They brought us fruit plates to tide us over to the main course, Huevos Rancheros. Rich added a side of bacon and a side of corned beef hash that we shared. We had coffee to drink, no Bloody Mary’s today. The meal was delightful.



After brunch, we stopped back in the cabin for our books which we took to the Alchemy Bar where we found our cozy reading corner.


Then we ventured to the Serenity Deck, the adults only deck at the aft of the ship where we continued reading while enjoying the drink of the day, Blue Margarita. We had a nice shady spot that was very relaxing.

But we weren’t finished relaxing yet — we headed back to our cabin and sat on our still-shady balcony until the sun finally encroached.

IMG_7275Then it was nap time until dinner.

Tonight was formal night, so we dressed and headed to the dining room at 6:00 pm. We were immediately seated at a table for two by the window overlooking the ocean.


We each had a glass of Layer Cake Pinot Noir. Kathy had the Shrimp Cocktail appetizer and the Lobster and Shrimp entree. Rich had the Blackened Pork Tenderloin Tart appetizer and the Striped Sea Bass with Lemon Beur Blanc and Sour Dough Potatoes entree. We both had the yummy butter pecan ice cream for dessert.

The service and atmosphere were wonderful at dinner and we are looking forward to returning to the dining room again soon.

After dinner, we headed to the show lounge for the live show, Heart of Soul, where 8 performers danced and sang soul music. It was very entertaining. We watched from our box seats at the side of the stage.

After the show, it was time for a lovely stroll around the promenade deck. This is a special time for walking the promenade — a little humid, a little breezy, the sound of the ocean, and the moon shining. Very romantic.

Then it was time to call it a night and head to our cabin. We caught a glass atrium elevator up to our cabin and happened to get into the elevator with the Cruise Director, Adam. We made it back to the cabin to unwind and eventually drift off to sleep. We were greeted with turn down and a frog towel animal. Ah cruising!