A Travellerspoint blog

Monday April 4th - One Adventure Ends & Another Starts

all seasons in one day 18 °C

Very short entry today. We headed out from Geneva around 9:00 am in the pouring rain. This is the first significant rain we have seen since leaving home in early March. The temperature when we left Geneva, NY was 6C, by the time we had gone 100 km the rain had stopped and the temperature was up to 10C. By the time we crossed over the border to Ontario it was up to 16C and by the time we got home it was 18C. What a great welcome home !!

Due to the normal delays in getting a working Visa and all the other travel arrangements we are not sure when the trip to Dubai will start but we have decided to set up another blog for that adventure as well. We suspect we'llbe heading out around the 10th to 15th of April and be returning mid to late July.

http://davidandhazel2.travellerspoint.com

Thanks to everyone who checked in and left comments or emailed us with comments. Hope you have enjoyed reading the blog as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.

David & Hazel

Posted by DavidandHazel 16:12 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Sunday April 3rd - Another Day on the Road

semi-overcast 8 °C

We managed to get back on the road by 7:00 am and saw something we had not seen in a long time - frost. Yes, there was frost on the fields of North Carolina on April 3rd. Locals were not impressed by this unusual event at this time of year. Once again we headed north on I-95. The drive is pleasant and traffic was not too bad. We have now started a new audio book - The DaVinci Code. This is one of several audio books that Hazel borrowed from the local library and loaded onto her iPod prior to our departure in early March. Once again it is a real page turner and the kilometers really fly by while listening.

By noon we were well into Virginia and many of the area names were familiar from old motorcycle trips we have taken in the area. As the afternoon slipped by we moved into Pennsylvania and the little town names became very familiar as we have done a lot of motorcycle touring in this area over the years. We now started to see snow in the woods beside the road, a rather depressing sight. As the sun settled into the western sky we slipped into New York state and moved from the four lane highways onto the two lane secondary roads. If we had been going directly home to Brampton it would have been four lane highways all the way, however, our stop in Geneva, NY meant that we had to take a number of secondary roads as we moved north through the very scenic roads of upstate New York. Finally we skirted up along the western shore of Lake Seneca. By 5:00 pm we had covered 948 km and arrived in Geneva. We quickly settled in for the rest of the evening with Rob, Ingrid and BiBi and Desmond. The GPs indicated probably our best ever drive time to stopped time ratio ever. Ten hours total time and only one hour total stopped time. A long drive yes but compared to a 900 km day on a motorcycle it is a walk in the park.

Posted by DavidandHazel 13:49 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Saturday April 2nd - Back to Reality

sunny 25 °C

The Express Departure set up by Celebrity was like clockwork. By 7:00 am we had disembarked, grabbed a cab back to our hotel and had repacked the car and headed north towards home. As has been the case virtually every day for the past three and a half weeks the morning started off flawlessly with a lovely cloudless sky and comfortable temperatures in the low 20s. We rapidly cleared the chaos of Miami traffic and sped north past Fort Lauderdale, Pompano & Palm Beaches and onward towards Daytona Beach.

Our goal today is to head north and get as far along our homeward bound route as possible so that we can get to Rob & Ingrid's house in Geneva, NY by supper time tomorrow, Sunday.

There is not much one can say about a drive up I-95. We listened to the last few hours of Book #7 of the Harry Potter audio book series and it seemed like we had lost a fellow traveller when Book 7 drew to its very exciting conclusion. Harry has been our driving companion for nearly 8000 km this winter. We started Book #1 of the 7 book series when we started out on our January trip down to Florida and we have been listening to it almost anytime we have been in the car for more than 10 minutes since then. It has been a great adventure and a wonderful way to pass the time on these long drives.

Once again this trip we noticed the temperature gradually starting to drop once we got north of Florida. Our high for the day was around 26C around Daytona and it steadly went down from there for the rest of the day.

By 9:45 pm and several driver switches we had covered 1375 km and had achieved our goal of getting well into North Carolina so we decided to call it a day. The only dining facility available was a Denny's near our Motel. It was not quite the 5 star dining we have grown used to on the ship but it did the job after a long day's drive.

Posted by DavidandHazel 13:28 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Friday April 1st. - At sea day

sunny

Well sadly our wonderful cruise is drawing to a close. The main stage show last night was a great finale to the entertainment we have enjoyed on board this great ship. While we enjoyed our first two cruises on the Holland America Line ships we have enjoyed this ship, Celebrity Cruise Line's Equinox even more. Part of it is that this is a very new ship so has lots of nice features and a modern very pleasant airy decor, but I think the real difference has been the crew on this ship. They have exceeded our expectations on almost a daily basis. Holland America crew are great but at Celebrity they have been just a cut above. Needless to say we will be adding a few $ of cash on top of the normal tip that is added to your bill every day. Yes, for you non cruisers, the most common way that cruise lines handle tips these days is to add a “Gratuity” charge of between $10 and $12 per person per day to your ship’s account. If you wish to reduce or increase the standard tip you just go to the front desk and change it. It is all very sterile and convenient but it certainly takes the guess work out of tipping. In addition 15% is automatically added to any bar charges when you incur them.
Our original plan was to get off the ship at a leisurely pace and go back to the hotel and pick up our car and stay in Florida for a few days before heading north. We were also planning to stop for a short visit at Rob & Ingrid’s (Hazel's son and his wife) in Geneva, NY on our way home. Given the increased urgency of getting home and getting our Visas and other travel documents ready for our move to Dubai we have decided to take advantage of the ship's Express Departure option where you have to carry your own luggage, which can be considerable on a two week cruise with dress up wear and all, and you have to get yourself off the ship by 6:30 am.

Posted by DavidandHazel 13:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Thursday, March 31, 2011 at Sea Day

sunny 27 °C

Sea days on board the ship are always relaxing as your planning and activities are limited to the ship. This cruise is a themed cruise – and the theme is cooking. They have a celebrity named Sara Moulton who has been on the Food Network for years and was the editor for many years of one of the well known gourmet magazines. She is very down to earth and entertaining as well as extremely knowledgeable. She has made several general presentations and also hosted several for fee cooking classes (@ $90 a person) in which people can cook along with her and then have a meal. We passed on that opportunity but have enjoyed her public presentations.

On sea days there are non stop activities all around the ship so we spent some time wandering around the various venues listening to music or presentations or just sitting on the deck for a few minutes. Hazel even broke down and made a small donation at the casino. For lunch we went down to deck 3 to attend a beautiful big formal brunch in the main dining area. There were lots of ice sculptures and fancy food. After lunch we sat out on the deck listening to another chapter of Harry Potter. In the mid afternoon we attended a reception for “Captain’s Class Members” – Celebrity Cruise Lines recognition and rewards program for repeat customers. We got to go because technically this is our second cruise. It again was lovely – good entertainment by the excellent ship’s band and the a capella group, more lovely food and complementary champagne. Hazel is really getting to like this cruise line as they give you free champagne on a number of occasions. They hand you a glass when you first board, they provide it at the captain’s welcome evening for a welcome toast – and then again today.

This evening we again sat with previous acquaintances plus two other couples and had a lot of fun at dinner. The main stage show this evening was a repeat of the great Cirque style show that we saw a week ago. It was as good as or even better than it was a week ago. After the main stage show we wandered around the mid ship area checking out the shops (there are 18 shops on board) the art auction display area and the ships photo gallery where all the pictures that are constantly being taken are on display. Later on we went off to hear the excellent ship’s band play. With a four piece horn section they can really fill the place with sound. Tonight they teamed up with the four men from the A capella group and did a great selection of Chicago tunes.

Soon after 11:00 pm we decided to call it a night and headed back to our cabin.

Posted by DavidandHazel 09:29 Comments (0)

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