Monday, September 10, 2018

Pacific Coastal Cruise Trip Report - September 2 - 9, 2018

This was my annual getaway with my son.  I always look forward to traveling with him and we've pretty much vacationed every year together since he was six.  I only had 8 days so this was good as the departure left from our hometown Vancouver and the flight home from San Diego is a short one.  I've been on the Celebrity Infinity as I took it for my Panama Canal cruise last year.  I had 15 days on it and know the ship well.  We liked all the ports too!  Lots to do and visit this time.


We received a free Classic beverage package.  We later upgraded it to the Premium package.  We also received a $300 USD on board credit and $50 USD loyalty on board credit from the agency I booked with (Crucon).  Oceanview room was $999 each.  This is in US dollars.  Airfare home was $300 CAD each.  Our flight was direct on Westjet and left San Diego at 2pm.  I didn't buy any WiFi this trip so I did my trip report when I got home.

Sunday, September 2nd:

We took local transit (skytrain) to Waterfront station which is walkable to Canada Place where we were departing from.  Our timing was good as when we left the house our lovely neighbour gave us a ride to the train and saved us the walk.  We arrived at the pier about 15 minutes later.  Check in was quick and easy.  We were on ship having lunch about 1pm.  On the "Infinity", I like the patio on deck ten, outside the buffet for views...


Below is my hometown of Vancouver where I was born and raised.


We wandered up to the 11th deck after for a walk-around, and saw where they play movies.


The "Martini Bar" was next.  Always a favorite place to stop and I had one of the bartenders from last cruise that remembered me and enjoyed meeting my son.  Below were the "Decadence" espresso martini and a "Lemontini".


We went to the early show which featured a comedian, Phil Tag.  We really enjoyed him and laughed a lot.


We went for a late dinner at pay restaurant "Tuscan Grille".  We got an opening night special of $30 each per person.  Below is the arugula, goat cheese salad.


My son got a perfectly cooked medium rare, melt in your mouth filet mignon steak.  He also got a half order of a lobster carbonara pasta to go with  it.  He loved both dishes immensely!



I didn't enjoy my meal as much.  I ordered the veal Marsala and our server advised against it, but I went ahead anyway.  I sent it back as the sauce was horrid!  The manager came over and said 80% of them were getting sent back and they had to regroup.  I offered the advice that they should start with their Marsala sauce recipe.

We pretty much called it a night after a quick visit to the casino, to do a "donation".

8200 steps or 3.7 miles or 6 kilometres walked today.

Monday, September 3rd - Seattle, Washington:

We awoke early and had breakfast in the main dining room.  My son had eggs benny (below).  This would turn out to be what he ate every day on the ship.  They did them "made to order" at the buffet too.


I had this horrible thing called a "Greek yogurt frittata" and some chicken apple sausage.  OMG...just.say.no, to both.  ๐Ÿ˜ I decided that was the last healthy food I would order on this cruise!


I only had one plan for Seattle and that was to dine at JuneBaby.  It was the only thing I thought of doing when I knew we were coming and I was excited.  Alas, it is not open Monday.  ๐Ÿ˜ข  I've been to Pike Place Market a few times, but my son has not.  I decided to take him there and dine at Matt's in the Market which I've thoroughly enjoyed on previous visits.  I made a reservation for opening at 11:30am.  We left the ship and walked over to arrive about 9am.


Close to here, we could see our ship docked.


Seattle Great Wheel

We wandered the market.  It was packed already!  Below are some of the beautiful sights my eyes saw...










As I had nothing more than a couple of small bites for breakfast, I decided to get a crab cocktail $7.




But don't get fooled, because the crab doesn't go all the way down!  (I knew this from a previous visit).


And then it was time for lunch.  It filled up very quickly after opening, so I was glad we had made reservations.


Last time I was here I had an unforgettable lamb burger and saw it was on the menu again, so I indulged again.  I chose the seafood chowder as my side.  My son also got a burger (beef) with the same side.


The star today was the pecan pie though.  It had a grilled corn ice cream on it.  Spectacular!


We walked back to the ship to work off some of that lunch!  My son decided to go for a swim.


We then went up to deck 10 for sail-away.




We donated in the casino and had dinner in the main dining room later.

Duck Pรขtรฉ was very delish

Son played it safe with French Onion Soup

Herb Crusted Lamb Chops medium-rare for me

Shrimp Linguine for my son

Chocolate Cake for my son

A few cocktails here and there and then we called it a night.

15,800 steps or 7 miles or 11.5 kilometres walked today.

Tuesday, September 4th, Astoria, Oregon:

We grabbed breakfast at the buffet and headed out.  Our plan was to accelerate down the "Riverwalk" on this beautiful day.  We also wanted to find a shop where we could buy a crib board and a deck of cards.



To give you an idea of our walk, here was the Astoria–Megler Bridge view as we started out, before 1st street.  I'll show you the bridge again where we started to walk back.  Off we went!




We left the Riverwalk and stopped at 14th street for coffee, wifi and to find the cards.  We were lucky as there was a coffee shop and toy store kitty-corner.  Destiny I guess, or just lucky I decided to stop at 14th.  And the coffee was fantastic.



Back to the Riverwalk we went and continued our jaunt.  We walked to 36th street and this is the bridge view from where we were.



Elderberry?

I don't want to know what spun that web!

And we turned around and went back.  By google maps, it looks like we walked 3.1 miles (5 kilometres) each way.  Our legs were feeling it!  When almost back at the ship, I saw Bridge Water Bistro which I had seen had crab cheesecake so we went in.  I scope out restaurants before we hit the towns in case we want to stop.


View from our table

They told me they don't serve the cheesecake at lunch but she would see if the cook would agree.  I guess he would have to agree to heat it up?  ๐Ÿค” Anyway, he said okay and I was happy.  It was tasty.

$14.00
Dungeness Crab Cheesecake
dungeness crab folded into savory cheesecake, pecan crust, wild mushroom meuniere sauce

I tried a beer from a brewery we had passed on our walk called Astoria Brewing Company. I tried a half pint of the strawberry blonde ale.


Hungarian Mushroom-Dill Soup $5
with fresh dill, hungarian paprika and sour cream

I also tried a cup of  soup as she told me the cheesecake would not make a meal.  It was pretty good too.  Son had a grilled chicken arugula salad.  That was his healthy meal of the trip.  ๐Ÿ˜Š


We walked back to the ship and saw the trolley again.  This went past us a couple of times along the Riverwalk.  It is supported by volunteers.  I stopped and bought a fridge magnet and that ended our day here.


Back on the ship we stopped for tea.  I liked the stem leaf that you used to pull the tea bag out with.


Below is some of the treats on offer at the coffee bar today.


We dined at the buffet for dinner.  Our highlight of the evening was watching these two Russian ladies.  They call themselves the "Lighthouse String Duo".


They play an electric cello and violin and really rocked it.  So impressive and everyone loved them, they always had a large following wherever they were playing.

22,000 steps or 10 miles, or 16 kilometres walked today.

Wednesday, September 5th, Seaday:

Might as well just call this a day of excess!  We did sleep in though, slept in until it was time for lunch in the main dining room.  We really needed it after all the walking yesterday.  My son started with mozzarella sticks and I had gazpacho soup.



Son had a pulled pork panini that he didn't love at all (pickles he said) and I had a cobb salad.



We went up to deck 11 and walked some laps.  There was good rock music playing pool side so it made it enjoyable.  They were playing AC/DC and KISS and stuff like that.


We went and played some crib in the lounge.


We had a late dinner at the Tuscan Grille again.  I had pre-booked and used onboard credits to pay for this.  Again I didn't find it very good, but my son enjoyed his again, so I was happy for that.  I just knew how good it had been last time on the ship.  I went 3 times that trip.  Different crew, different chef...  My son said the crab cake below was very good.  After that is my heirloom beet salad and it was "meh".  My son ate the same steak and pasta as last time as he knew he couldn't go wrong with it.



Below was my side dish of "Gnocchi".  That wasn't gnocchi.  OMG, it was terrible. I couldn't even eat it.  It tasted like balls of flat dough, and I had no idea what the tomatoes and artichokes were doing there.  Just yuck!


The branzino was very good but there was just too much of it.  There was no way I could finish it.  Under the top piece was another the same size.


My son did love the Pistachio Creme Brulee he had for dessert.


We also tried the lemon cheesecake.


I had booked a "Porto" tasting that was being held in the wine bar.  So it timed good to do it right after dinner.  This was $30 each and they added a mandatory gratuity which made just over $70 for the two of us.


We both enjoyed it.  Informative and a pleasant way to spend a half hour or so.



The tastes started from good to better or cheaper to expensive.  The port and chocolate was a nice finish to the evening and were very divine tasting them together.  There were extra chocolates too and he gave his an extra glass of the best port too.  He said it was about $300 a bottle, but I don't remember which one it was, to be honest...

8000 steps or 3.6 miles or 5.8 kilometres walked today.

Thursday, September 6th, San Francisco:

It was foggy when we awoke.  Chilly too.  We put on pants and wore our jackets.  We arrived at Pier 27.  Below is Alcatraz from Deck 10 on our ship as we arrived.  It looked creepy in the fog...


San Francisco has been on my "to do" list forever.  This visit would hopefully let me know if I have to come to back or if I would just say, "been there, done that".  Obviously 12 hours wasn't going to be able to cover everything so I just chose a few things.  Number 1 and 2 was a restaurant.  My food list was much longer, but I had to trim it thin.  I have been a big fan of chef Tyler Florence since I found him on Food Network, almost twenty years ago now!

Pic is from Food Network Wiki

He had a show called "Food 911" and I always wanted him to come rescue my kitchen. Okay, I just wanted him to come to my house, lol, but no, he only went to homes in America...Anyway, his place "Wayfare Tavern" was the one must do item on my list.  I made a reservation.  I also had to have some Cioppino, so before we went to Wayfare, I planned to stop here at Soto Mare.  I wanted crab cioppino.  Reviews said this place was "the one" for that...

My son likes history, so for him I booked us tickets to Alcatraz.  We walked over to Pier 33 which was an easy walk from our ship docked.



I wanted to see the "Golden Gate Bridge" but from what I had read online, we should be able to see it on our ferry ride to Alcatraz so that would do!  We used wifi while we waited to board our boat and then we were off.




Below we could see our ship and then we arrived.




We were told the hike up is 13 stories.  It felt okay to do, but would be tough on a hot day I'm sure.  We did the cellhouse audio tour when we got up there.








I must say, the audio tour was done very, very well.  We both felt it was time well spent.  I bought my son a T-shirt and a Golden Gate Bridge fridge magnet for me.  We walked back down and caught the next ferry back.  I had google map directions printed to get to "Soto Mare" so followed them.  They were good except it felt like all we did was climb hills.  ๐Ÿ˜„




And then we saw it in our sights!  And it was down hill this time.


The hostess seated us a little tiny table for two.  It is pretty snug inside.  We did have the choice of the counter as well.




They dropped bibs off to us and we wore them.  I'm so glad we did as they were needed.  The cioppino was absolutely delicious.  Yes we were starving, but it hit the spot with its flavors and bounty of seafood. The seafood was all cooked perfectly, none of it rubbery and it was a very satisfying dish.  Yum.  A delightful stop on our foot travels today.

I had directions for Wayfare Tavern next.  We wandered through the Financial district though I forgot to take any pictures.  I remembered that as we arrived at the restaurant.  We were early for our reservation, but she said it was not a problem to take us now.


El Dorado
Corralejo Reposado, Ancho Reyes Verde Liqueur, Del Maguey Vida
Mezcal, lemon, agave $14

The drink was fantastic.  We were off to a good start!  But then it got even better when they dropped over these complimentary popovers with creamy butter and fresh sea salt.


We decided to share a bunch of dishes so I wouldn't regret "not" trying something later.  

HEIRLOOM TOMATO SALAD
watermelon, Persian cucumber, lemon ricotta, toasted lavash,
tomato water $13

I liked this so much, I am going to the farmer's market this weekend to see if I can create it at home!  Adding sea salt just took it over the top and that ricotta was insanely good. 

PETALUMA FARMS DEVILED EGGS
Dungeness crab, avocado, lime $14
(These were as amazing as they look!)

ORGANIC FRIED CHICKEN
(best fried chicken in America list, F&W magazine)
buttermilk brine, roasted garlic, crisp herbs, lemon $26

OK, without a doubt, this is one of the best fried chickens I have ever ate!  And when you squeezed that lemon over - WOW!  I had trouble finishing my 2 pieces, but I ate every piece of skin off it for sure.  The chicken was so juicy and tender because of that brine.  Just heavenly.

BAKED MACARONI & CHEESE
smoked olive oil, chives $11

I ordered the mac & cheese for my son and he ate it all.  I tried it and of course, it was delicious as well.  RICH and decadent!  We had a very charming server.  The food and experience exceeded my expectations.  Unlike going to a Gordon Ramsay or Guy Fieri restaurant in Vegas, you will see nothing of Tyler Florence in the restaurant.  My son mentioned that to me.  No pictures, no self-promoting.  The restaurant doesn't need it, the food spoke for itself.  There is no happy hour either.  It was very busy late afternoon just before dinner.  We were sooo happy when we waddled out of here.  And then we decided we needed to do some more walking and hit the pavement again.  We walked to the Embarcadero and were at Pier 1.  The sun had come out and it was beautiful and clear now.


Our ship was at Pier 27.  Luckily it wasn't long blocks between the piers.  




We seemed that we were back there in a time that didn't feel too painful from walking.  Saw a cable car.


We continued on to Pier 39 and had a look around.






And then we turned around and decided to head back to the ship.  We started walking back and I started telling my son about Boudin bakery and about the clam chowder bread bowls.  And then I told him to turn around.  I told him I didn't care if we couldn't finish one, but I had to try it or would regret it.  So back we went.  ๐Ÿ˜‚




The soup and bread were all that was promised.  We did not even get close to eating the bowl, but we had a few spoons of soup and a few bites off the top of the bread.  Really good, and no regrets.  And then we really did walk back to our ship with about a half hour left to spare before sail-away.  Son had some apple tart tatin he really enjoyed as his dessert nightcap this evening.


Steps 20,000 or 8.7 miles or 14 kilometres walked today.

Friday, September 7th, Monterey and Carmel:

We were up early today.  My son changed to jeans after we scouted the weather out up on deck 10 having breakfast.  Another foggy morning, we could see absolutely nothing from the boat.  There were only 2 other couples on the tender over to Monterey about 7:30am.  We were taken to Old Fisherman's Wharf.  


I saw this restaurant I had researched that apparently had good clam chowder.  It was kind of infamous because it doesn't allow kids in.  



We walked along the Coastal trail to get to our bike tour by "Adventures by the Sea" on Cannery Row.  It was not really drizzling, it was more like a constant mist outside.  



It took us about 15 minutes.


We were early so my son got a horchata drink at the Mexican place and they gave us their wifi password.  Just before 9am we went inside and met our guide.  He was a young guy.  Another person got us to sign our waivers.  Guide took us out to the bikes and explained the electric bikes super fast like we knew everything already.  I didn't and told him that he would have to explain again and that we don't use electric bikes often (my son never has) and it has been a long while since either of us have been on bikes.  So he did.  All he kept stressing was that we would have to use the lowest assist setting (1) or we would run out of battery.  He kept saying that if that happened we would have to peddle on our own.  We understood, at least by the 2nd time he told us that... haha.  He said we could use the battery on the way back.  We were fine with that.


We took it for a 10 or 15 minute test ride though he didn't say that.  We stopped on a dock somewhere.  The seats had to be adjusted again.  My feet could barely touch the ground when sitting.  We saw a sea lion while he was correcting the seats for the second time.  We saw our ship too.  He was surprised when he saw it because no one knew it was there because of the fog.  He asked if that is where we came from?  You could only barely see it...


We went on our way.  First stop was "Lover's Point".  He spent a long time here chatting about inane random stuff.  He also told us that 17-Mile drive wasn't really 17 miles and only 5 miles in total.  Really???  I began to wonder about his guide skills...



We stopped to see Point Pinos Lighthouse but it was too foggy to get a good shot or clear sight of it, unfortunately.


Beautiful cypress tree below.


When we got to Asilomar beach and conference grounds he said that it was time to turn around and go back.


I asked him if that was half way through 17 mile drive?  He said no, that we hadn't even started 17 Mile drive yet.  Then I got a little upset.  I kept my cool, but told him that tour was for that.  I told him I was quoted that Pebble beach was half way and usually took an hour to get to.  Then he started to get angry.  Said we were already almost at an hour and it wasn't his fault if people can't bicycle up to speed.  And then I got more angry and said I didn't appreciate being talked "down to" like that and explained again how my tour was quoted to me.  In fact, here's my confirmation of it:


He then changed his tone and said it was a problem with communication between the staff and the guides.  He said "she" told him to drive us to the entrance of Asilomar beach, not to do 17 Mile drive at all.  I told him I would not be happy if he turned around now, so he went on and threatened big hills to me and told me I'd have to keep up and shift my gears.  ๐Ÿ˜„  He also warned that the rest of the trip was shared with cars now.  He took off like a bat out of hell, lol.  I let my son stay with him but I purposely hung back because I was so pissed off now!  I shifted those gears and caught up and he asked me if I was "okay".  I told him I was fine and he told me were at Spanish Bay now.


Him and my son took off quickly again and I got behind this time.  But I thought, screw it and turned on my throttle and caught up in no time!  There, I showed him, didn't I?  Then I worried I'd run out of battery on the way back!  ๐Ÿคฃ  We stopped at Bird Rock next and he told me this was the half way point and we were at Pebble beach.  He did offer that we could go further if I was up to it.  I told him I was okay (my butt was aching from the seat).  It was crowded and there were tourists and buses everywhere (probably on my ship's tours).  A lady took the guide's bike while he was chatting with my son and he started panicking a little.  She just wanted to pose with it for her husband but I don't think they spoke any English.  Then she came over to me and got her husband to take a picture of us with my goofy helmet on, lol.  Totally random incident.  My son and him went for water and bathroom break and I promised to watch the bikes.


We went full throttle back and got up to 20 miles per hour, or at least I did.  I was about 9 miles per hour on the first leg of the tour.  My son and I made it back with a quarter battery to spare.  Time was 11:15 so from 9 am tour time, this was only 15 minutes over and that includes the bike lesson and trial run we started with.  I tipped him $30 but I was hesitant about it in my mind. I did it because him and my son seemed to get along okay and since he did fulfill the tour, I gave him the tip.  My son agreed he was not the greatest guide but said he didn't think he meant to seem/be rude and maybe I was interpreting it that way?  I let it go.  He told me that when they went to the water break he told him we were doing great and he's had so many "heavy" customers that get so disappointed when they can't ride 17-Mile drive.  Then I got mad again.  ๐Ÿ˜  The guide and I did not mesh at all.

Anyway, the tour was done and despite the fog and chill, we really enjoyed the ride.  I loved all the fresh air and exercise we were getting.  I don't regret it and was glad we saw it that way.  However, my butt was so sore now.  Ouchie!  Turns out we biked 13 miles round trip when I google mapped it.  My guide tried to tell us it was just a little over 2 miles...anyway, half of that was throttled so no exercise skill was required except sitting on that damn uncomfortable seat!

We went back to the Mexican restaurant and ordered a Lyft car for Carmel.  I was quoted as just under $15.  We took it and were soon on our way to the "Treehouse Cafe" for lunch.  Carmel-By-The-Sea does not use street addresses, so it was simply on San Carlos Street.  Our driver said Clint Eastwood made eating ice cream and wearing high heels illegal in town because of the cobblestones.  She said they didn't enforce it, but if someone wanted to sue because of slipping, the law could be used.


We were seated on the patio and it was lovely.  It was gorgeous and sunny and clear in Carmel.  I was happy for my shorts now.  We were starving!


My son ordered the Greek burger and I the chicken gyros both recommended by our server.



The food was good.  Service was pleasant.  We settled the bill and went on our way walking around the town.


We bought my son a T-shirt.  I bought a beautiful Christmas ornament.


We kept walking and exploring.




We stopped for dessert for my son, below, and wifi too.




He couldn't resist the eclair.  After we walked down to the beach. It was beautiful but all down hill, so I knew what that meant coming back...




We started our way back up the steep hill.  When we got back to the bakery we called a Lyft back to the wharf for the same price.  It was hot and sunny in Monterey now too.  The pier was alive as well, compared to this morning.




We stopped and shared a cup of the chowder from "Old Fisherman's Grotto" sitting outside on the pier.  It tasted very, very rich and was so thick a spoon stood by itself.  We enjoyed it.  We could see our ship now too.


We went back with about an hour to spare.  It was good we did as it was really rough by the ship and the tenders were bouncy, bouncy.  I was waiting for someone to get sick.  Even water came in from the waves.  It wasn't long for sail-away.


Then it was time for a casino visit before dinner.  We had signed up for a "crab feast" for $35 each at the Sushi restaurant tonight so were just killing time before our reservation at 7pm.  Kept a TITO for tomorrow and had tripled my $20.


Dinner was served.


The crab legs were not as advertised at all. The ones on display were huge.  These were served cold and they were dry.  I complained.  They brought one more for each of us which was as promised and was hot as well and not dried out.  The crab cakes were good I thought.  The butter was cold and hardening. The bisque was okay and the coleslaw was good of what I tasted.  They also brought complimentary creme brulee.  My son had his.  I did not. I  was WIPED out.  We wanted to see the comedian who was on late at 10:45 tonight.  We said we'd nap and set the alarm.  At 10pm, neither of us wanted to go so just went back to sleep.

We biked 13 miles or 21 kilometres.  Steps were 13,400 or 6 miles or 10 kilometres.

Saturday, September 8th, Santa Barbara:

We woke up at 7am and were ready and having breakfast at 8:15.  We knew tickets had to be picked up for the tenders today so when it was announced they were ready, I went down to pick one up.  It was for the 2nd tender which surprised me that all the 1st tickets were gone already since there were no people at all.  However, I learned they give those to the cruise passengers on tours first.  We had a tour for wine tasting that was due to leave at 9:30.  I had been waiting until 9 and and asked the gangway staff when tender 2 would be here.  They said in about 15 minutes.  I asked how long it would take to get to the pier and they said about a half hour.  My alarm bells rang and the crew kindly called my tour operator so I could let her know. She said it was fine and would wait for us.  The crew let us sneak on a tender that wasn't announced.  I guess for more cruise ship tour passengers.  We were off.  It was cloudy, foggy and overcast again.  We sat across from this couple and I heard her phone our tour guide.  I asked them if they were on the same tour and it turns out they were.  That made me feel better that we weren't the only ones holding up the others.



I never knew Santa Barbara was called the "American Riviera".  Our guide from DeeTours would later tell us that was ridiculous if you'd ever been to the "French Riviera", said there was zero similarities in comparison...  We got to our jeep limo which would be our transportation for the tour.  The price for this was $150 per person.  He told us he couldn't put the top down as it would be too harsh on the freeway for us.  Promised he would do it later when got up higher and it was warmer.


We were given a snack of crackers, apple and nuts and were on our way.  Our guide was born in Glasgow but said he has lived in Santa Barbara for sixty years.  He was an old hippy who said surfing was life.  We liked him.  We drove through town first and he showed us some sights.  The first was a  Moreton Bay Fig tree.  It was too big for my picture and we couldn't get out of the jeep.


It was beautiful.  He said you couldn't eat the figs.  We drove by the Mission next.


He showed us a blue whale skeleton next.  It wasn't easy to get a good picture as he was driving.


Then we were off to the freeway for our long drive out to Solvang, to the vineyards.


First stop was a little winery called Shoestring.




The women were lovely that worked here and it was a great stop.  I don't like  Sangiovese usually but this changed my mind!  It was fantastic and our favorite tasting of the day. 


Next we went to the town of Solvang.  The others walked around for 20 minutes.  I tried another tasting for $10.





And then we were off to the next vineyard which was called Buttonwood.  He took the top down for us on the jeep.




We had lunch here.  We had pre-ordered our sandwiches prior to the tour.  They were fresh and healthy and they brought us some California strawberries, which I love.  ❤


The last winery we visited was Andrew Murray Vineyards.  We had our tasting outside.


Each tasting was different than the others and I appreciated the thought in that.  I enjoyed each place and really had a lovely day.  We headed back to the pier.  We took a couple of group photos and my son and I tipped our guide $25 each.



I was only sad we didn't have time to see any of Santa Barbara itself.  We didn't even have time to shop for a fridge magnet when we got back, had to get right in the tender line up.  I had a nice appetizer of melon and prosciutto tonight.


There was some excellent stuffed pork belly with cracklin' in the buffet and a great vegetarian Indian curry as well.


We had an early night.  Bought duty free on the ship, gambled a little.  We packed and tried to get a good night's sleep.

7500 steps or 3.3 miles or 5.3 kilometres walked today.

Sunday, September 9th, San Diego:

We self-disembarked at 8:30.  Took a taxi to the airport which was only about $12.  I gave him a $20 and let him keep the change and he was soooo happy and grateful.  Glad I could make his day!  Our flight left at 2 pm so we had a lot of time to kill.  I planned to start my trip report but my laptop was acting up and it took me almost all of the 3 hours to fix it.  By then I didn't have time to start it.  We were landing in just over 2 and a half hours.  Customs was a breeze and we were home within an hour of landing.



If this report is badly written it's because I did it all on my last day off (today - Monday) before returning to work tomorrow.  It took 12 hours in between other tasks and I'm tired of writing it.  ๐Ÿ˜œ  I also had to sort through 500 pictures.

My son and I had an awesome time together.  I was not very social this trip and just chose to spend my time with him.  He met a friend who he talked to casually when he saw him.  We were polite to all, but didn't spend time chatting with others like we usually do.  We kept to ourselves and dined alone.  We enjoyed the ports a lot more than the cruise.  Our visit to each and every port was a true pleasure, each place special in its own way.  The boat felt a little boring and excessive, eating and drinking on the ship all the time.  I didn't enjoy it as much as I sometimes do.  Just wasn't feeling it this time.  I'm scared to get on that scale, even with all the exercise we did!  We only saw one comedian the whole trip.  We walked out of one show and didn't see another.  The Duo with the strings we did see twice as they played in different lounges and they were the highlight, for sure.  Until next time...