Posts Tagged ‘Vacation’

It is easy to get lost on the MS. Oosterdam if you aren’t paying attention… I honestly don’t know how people find their way around the HUGE Superships that are 4 times the size of our ship!

We made our way to the 4th Floor – The Upper Promenade Deck, and very happily found our cabins… 3 in a row on the Starboard side of the ship.

If you have ever been on a cruise ship, you’ll know that the cabins are cozy… There are 2 beds convertible to a queen-size bed, bath & shower, sitting area which has a hide-a-bed couch, private verandah, floor-to-ceiling windows.Approximately 254 square feet including verandah.  They aren’t huge by any means, but if they are organized correctly, they make a comfortable home away from home.

I had to share the next picture because it makes me LAUGH every time I see it!  This is Tim standing in the shower in the our bathroom.  When I say ‘cozy’, by my 5’3 standards it truly is.  For Tim, who is over a foot taller than I am, ‘cozy’ takes on a whole new meaning!  LOL!


Our luggage wasn’t in our cabin when we first arrived, but within minutes there was a knock on the door, and our suitcases showed up, one by one.  We buzzed about the 3 cabins, comparing them, and the boys went out on the balcony to sit in the sun while I started unpacking and organizing the closets…

I couldn’t WAIT to show Tim the rest of the ship, and explore every nook and cranny!  But before that, we had to take part in the Muster Drill.  It is a safety drill that by law you have to participate in at the beginning of every cruise.   We went and found our Lifeboat, #11, and then we were off and running!

Michelle, our wonderful travel agent, surprised us with a few extra goodies, including a special dinner to start off our cruise, in the Pinnacle Grill.  On a cruise you have different options for eating meals.  If you want a casual eat-anytime meal, you can go to the Lido deck and eat at the buffet, you can also eat in the dining room for more formal service, but the cream of the crop is the private restaurant known as The Pinnacle.  I REALLY wanted to experience eating there, so I was both pleasantly surprised AND excited that we would be eating our FIRST dinner there…. We cleaned ourselves up, went on deck to see the ship pull away from the terminal….


Bon Voyage!!

And then we headed down for dinner….

The Pinnacle is only something you can describe as opulent…. It has over-the-top decor, but it isn’t ‘tacky’.  It is very well done, down to the silver chairs and the artwork, it is something that would be considered ostentatious anywhere else…I thought it was beautiful.

I soon realized that I had NO self-control after looking at the Menu… It all sounded SO yummy!  It was so hard to decide!!

I started with an Amuse Bouche, a tasty morsel to wake up my taste buds!  It was a sea scallop with a pumpkin puree… unusual, but really good!! Next I had the lobster bisque… and I thought I had died and gone to heaven… it was SOOOOO good!  Tim agreed, as he ordered that too, but my little dude enjoyed a Prawn Cocktail, and the prawns were as big as my fist!!


Tim and I thought we would pace ourselves and SHARE an order of crab cakes, but we a bite in we wished we had ordered them for each of us.. they were decadent with a crispy panko breading, with sweet and rich crab inside, they were perfect!  Oh how I wish I was still on the ship… 😉

For dinner I had the “Land and Sea” – or in other words Steak and Shrimp.  I choose the creamed spinach and rice for my sides, but I had to try my sister’s Lobster Mac and Cheese… It was the richest dish on the table, much too rich for my tummy, but it was delicious!

Tim had the Steak Dianne, and it was so much fun to see it flambeed table-side!  I wish I had taken pictures!

And to end off a WONDERFUL MEAL, I chose the Baked Alaska with Cherry Garcia Ice Cream and Flambeed Cherry Sauce… SOOO SWEET… SOOOOO RICH… and TOOOO MUCH… I only ate half my dessert, and washed it all down with a decaf Cappuccino.


I did make a mental note that if I was lucky enough to go to the Pinnacle again, to order the Creme Brulee… Tim and my Dad both  had it, and it looked incredible..  It has a perfect sugary crust, and was served in 3 different flavors….Oh Lord… I resigned myself to taking home a few pounds extra…

All of us were really tired after a very long day, and we were all STUFFED.  We said Goodnight to my parents, and after a chilly walk on the lido deck, we also retired to our cabin.  The beds were turned down, chocolates were left on our pillow (like we needed any MORE calories), and with 2 days at sea, we knew we didn’t have to set a wake-up call…. ahhhhh…. I hoped to have a LONG and restful sleep.

I was so incredibly sore, but so very happy to share these memories with my family.

Buenos Noches everyone…..


To Be continued…

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As always the last leg of a trip always seems to be the longest… It was a comfortable ride, but I was MORE than ready to get off the plane and get to the hotel where I could settle in for a little while.

After only an hour of sleep and a very LONG day, I needed to get where I was going… How do I look after only having 4 hours of sleep in the past 48 hours?  LOL!!

On the way into the San Diego airport my little dudes ears started to ‘plug’ and it was really bothering him…  he couldn’t get them to unplug with any of the normal tricks, and he decided he would plug his nose and blow… WRONG MOVE!  A LOUD POP followed by a tonne of pain followed… to the point where he had tears in his eyes… I thought once we were on the ground for a while he would find relief…. relief took longer than I expected.

Once on the ground we headed to the Sheraton Marina, and what a beautiful hotel it is!!

With BEAUTIFUL tropical grounds, a private marina outback, and rooms designed in a ‘Ralph Lauren’ Nautical theme of reds and blues, it was a perfect start to our holiday.  Once we checked into our rooms we decided to do some sight-seeing before dinner… We all knew if we stopped for even a minute we would all be asleep until morning.

We took a cab past the cruise terminal, and into the heart of San Diego… My little guy was really having a hard time with his ears 😦  It took much of the enjoyment out of it for me as I started to worry….

We stopped at a TGIF for dinner.  We had seen loads of commercials, but don’t have that restaurant chain in Canada, so we thought we would give it a try…. Besides the horrendously SLOW service it was okay, not great, but okay.  Certainly nothing to write home about, but to tell you the truth, I was so exhausted by this point I don’t think much would have made me happy.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped to pick up a bottle of wine, and a bottle of peroxide for Aidan’s ear… we had heard of a ‘remedy’ for clearing out any fluid in his ear by using peroxide and a Q-tip..  um… it didn’t work…. By the time we got back to the hotel I was REALLY starting to worry, and Aidan held his ear and cried.

He fell asleep in spite of the pain, but less than an hour after we all crashed he sat up like a bolt of lightning and let out a scream… he was in a PANIC because the pain was so bad… I started to panic too… I was starting to get scared that he had burst an eardrum of something.  Tim dragged his very TIRED butt out of bed, and went to get some juice from the main floor snack shop, and I searched through the meds I brought.  We put some antihistamine/decongestant into the OJ and let Aidan drink it down… and within seconds it came back up again… all over the floor leading to the bathroom… My poor baby…. We are in a different country with travel insurance, and I had no idea what to do…. Are we going to make it to the ship?!?!?

Throwing up actually helped the pain… the pressure of gagging or something actually let some of the pressure in his ear loose.  He went back to bed with a now plugged ear, but not as much pain… I went back to bed shaking… Tim went for a walk… and we BOTH slept with one eye open.

Oh God, I needed sleep…

Tomorrow we board the MS. Oosterdam!!!

To be continued….


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Oh please don’t tell me I have to get up…. I fell asleep sometime close to 1am, and at 2am my alarm went off… I felt my way to the kitchen, made myself an instant coffee (no time to brew a pot), and felt my way to the bathroom, and jumped in the shower… Okay I wasn’t actually jumping, it was more of a ‘thud’.  I could have stayed in the shower forever, the HOT spray of water pounding down on my back… I was so sore, but I knew I had little time to focus on that, because I had to go wake up my boys.

My honey slept in my little dudes room, and my little dude had slept with me.  That was the only way I could guarantee little dude would sleep… and after all he needed it more than we did, right?

My honey got up, and bleary-eyed he went to make sure everything was packed, and all the luggage locks were closed.

I went to wake up my little dude… It didn’t take much, the usual cajoling wasn’t needed.  He was WIDE awake in seconds and talking our ears off… “I can’t believe the day is here!!!…. We are going to the airport!!!… What kind of plane do you think we will be on?…. Oh my God I am so excited!!!!…. Hurry guys, we can’t be late!!!!”.  Oh to have the energy of a nine-year-old boy…

After checking our carry on bags at least 3 times to make sure we had everything, we headed gave Sophia, our fat feline one last rub, and headed out the door, down the elevator, and out to the car… If I have forgotten anything, it is too late now I though to myself.. here we go!!!

We decided to park our car at the Park n’ Jet for the week, as it was more cost efficient, and more comfortable to me.  We met up with Mom and Dad on the Shuttle that took us to the airport and just after 4am, and minutes later we joined up with my sister Yvette, and my Niece Hailey.

We checked in, went through security, and my honey was stopped… his jewelry and belt buckle set the alarms off… I was also stopped.. The security guard played hard ball with me.  “M’aaammm.. Do you have anything in your bag that I can stick myself with?” gheesh… well if you mean knitting needles, then YES, if you mean hypodermic needles, then the answer is no… He pulled everything out of my bag… including my large Ziploc baggie filled to the brim with meds.. I got looked at sideways, and I was expecting to be grilled, but he didn’t say a word.  Apparently a tube of Burts Bee’s Lip gloss was the most dangerous thing he could find.  He chastised me for having it out of a plastic baggie, and made me clean up the mess he created after he had pulled every last thing out of my bag… sigh…

We headed to the Gate, all bleary-eyed, and needing sustenance, we looked for something to eat to pass the time.  I settled for a coffee while everyone else grabbed a little but of food.  I am not a morning eater.

We all acknowledged that indeed it would be a long day, nobody got much sleep… Yvette being the smart one, went to bed at 9pm.. everyone else was running on less than an hour.

The time went by quickly, and we boarded our first flight… to Denver.

Now I must say that normally I am not a good traveler.  My body is REALLY sensitive to air pressure changes, and combined with sensitive ears flying is usually on the top of the list of things I dread.  Tim has issues with his ears as well, so we were both concerned about having to take off and land not once, but twice in one day.

A few months back we found a brand of ear plugs called “Ear Planes” especially for flying.  And I must say that they are one of the most incredible things I have ever purchased.  For a measly $6.29 a pair we both were completely comfortable for the first leg of our trip.  Taking off I noticed that I didn’t have ANY problems with my ears, and only a little bit of pressure coming down… a VAST improvement from the agonizing pain I normally experience!  I asked my little dude if he wanted to wear a pair as well.. he said No 😦  and I regret not making him.. but more to come on that later.

The flight to Denver went by quickly, I think I nodded off for about 20 mins or so, which is ODD for me as I normally cannot sleep in planes, trains, or automobiles… Hell, I can hardly sleep in my own bed!! The plane to Denver was nothing more than an old puddle jumper, with 2 seats, a VERY SMALL AISLE, and another 2 seats.  Somehow we were separated, and Aidan and I sat together, and poor Tim had the WINDOW seat across the aisle from us…  Now, that might not mean much to you, but my honey is nearing 6’4, and he has a very broad build.  I was hoping that the lady sitting beside him would be polite and kind enough to switch seats with him as he spent the flight with his knees up to his ears.. I even tried to very kindly draw attention to how big he is, and how SMALL the seat was.. but to no avail.  She ignored me.  My poor honey couldn’t even skootch his bum a fraction of an inch in his seat… It must have been a LONG flight for him.

We had a few hours to kill in Denver, so we walked around, looked in the shops, had a bite to eat (again, I didn’t but everyone else did I think), and just hung out at the gate and chatted.  The kids were SO excited, and it was fun to watch them chatter at each other.  It is such a blessing to me to be able to see things through my son’s eyes… and it was really special to me to be able to experience this with my honey as well… I spent a lot of time this holiday just sitting back and observing…

The second flight was MUCH more comfortable, and we all got to sit together.  The plane was taking what seemed forever to pull away from the gate, and we soon learned why.  The wind was insane and the airport had closed every runway except for one… So we watched out the window as one by one planes took off.. It soon was our turn, and by the time we were in the air I was wishing to be gently put down on earth again.  The turbulence was INCREDIBLE!  I have never experienced such rocking and rolling on a plane before.  My Dad, a very WELL seasoned traveler admitted that he hadn’t experienced anything quite like that before either.  My little dude was so brave… and I must admit, braver than I was.  We held hands (all of us, because I needed someone’s hand to hold as well 😉 ), and the first half hour of the trip was telling each other ‘this too shall pass’.  It is pretty humbling to be on an aircraft that weighs TONNES and be thrown around like a shiny ball in a pinball machine… oh the adventure!!!

Coming soon… Part TWO of this post, Here we go!  December 3rd.

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View of Coronado and San Diego from the air.

Image via Wikipedia


It has been a long few months getting ready for this holiday.  As most of us “Chronics” know, an amazing amount of preparation goes in to getting through our daily lives, let alone special events such as vacations… It has been an exhausting few weeks, and I am ready to collapse, but in a few short hours I will be leaving for the airport.. I.. Must.. Keep.. Going..

Suitcases Packed – check

Passports and tickets ready – check

Carry On loaded with meds, heat wraps, reading material – check

All I need is some sleep…

But I have a feeling that might be hard to come by tonight.

It is 10pm, and my alarm is set for 2am…

and I am awake.. and SORE… and buzzing…

My little dude is still awake as well, and my honey is still cleaning – I pooped out about an hour ago, and I have no more energy.. I feel bad that the last odds and ends fall on to his shoulders, but I just can’t do anymore… I haven’t stopped since my feet hit the floor at 6:45am this morning.. How blessed I am to have such a wonderful and understanding man in my life!!

So I am off to bed.. to try to get something that resembles sleep… tomorrow is going to be a LONG day…

I can’t wait to get to San Diego, and get this holiday started!  Once the luggage is checked in, and I am sitting at the gate, I will feel relieved.. until then, I am a bit of a stress case!!


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