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  1. Like
    Ken23 reacted to doubleJ in What can you do after boarding the ship   
    @LetsTryThisPlace Thank you!  Pool and drinks it is then.  
  2. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Stepping out from the Centrum onto deck 6 outside I discovered a sunset.  I've been pretty fortunate with sunsets and sunrises on these two cruises.

    The Celebrity Equinox sailing away into the sunset.

    A Celebrity silhouette of Equinox.


    Did I mention Empress offers great views of the sea?

    The bartenders rotate bars every two weeks.  Nicholae took great care of me at the Schooner Bar last week, now he's posted to the pool bar.  

    Chill mode enabled.

  3. Like
    Ken23 reacted to CarlaB in Give up 2 connecting rooms?   
    Thanks so much for the help everyone! I ended up giving up the connected rooms and switched us all into one balcony to take advantage of KSF. I switched TA's to one that was offering better perks and OBC and ended up saving us a little over $1500 in the end! Plus got a free specialty dining for 2 and paid gratuities for 2. With those savings and added perks, I think I can live with us all squeezing into one room. And hey, if I love this first cruise experience, we could put that money towards a second maybe?! 😉
  4. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Biff215 in Door Decor Stuff   
    I'll post pics after our cruise with them all up, but here are two examples.  The kids and I are obsessed with printing articulated (flexi) stuff from Thingiverse, so most are of that variety.  I always use these square magnets I got on Amazon, I just reinforce them with some Gorilla Glue to make sure they stay.  Each piece gets as many magnets as I can fit on them, and sometimes I cut them into small pieces to make it work.

  5. Like
    Ken23 reacted to AnnetteJackson in Door Decor Stuff   
    Personalized magnets are always great, and there is a company that does a complete door magnet which are amazing.  I have been told by a few people on cruises with our Group Cruises that they love seeing all this because it helps find your room when they all look the same!
    If you have a teacher supply store near your, they have some great bulletin board cut outs that can be used for very little money (or you can find the on Amazon).  Bags of pre cut magnets with glue on them already, so easy to put together once on the ship.
    I have also used magnetic paper in my printer at home and made my own.  Lots of cute designs out there.
    Have fun with this - its vacation!
  6. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    So where did my wandering bring me this morning?  
    To the Boardwalk where Johnny Rockets seemed like it would be a good idea. I tried to play Home Genie and get it “to go” so I could surprised Hubby with it. They would not accommodate that request. So it’s waiting for JR on my own this morning as I sit here to write this.  
    Interesting observation here is that on Harmony, I know that they allowed meals and snacks to go (not referring to room service).  I have read a few blogs where people were able to take breakfast to go and D12 was able to get fries and onion rings in March.  Not sure if that was because both cases were star class?  But here on Symphony, they would not allow it.  They said the food must be consumed at the venue. Oh well, Hubby’s lost, and my gain, literally, in the waistline 😆

    French Toast with “The Works”.  Delicious 😋 

  7. Like
    Ken23 reacted to mom2mybugs in Europe Here We Come! Vision of the Seas July 29,2019: 12 day Mediterranean/Greek Isles   
    We are on board!  We waited almost longer for the cab then we did too board the ship.  We used the cabify app... No Uber here in Barcelona.  The driver was a bit crazy because traffic here is fast and busy!  I was stressing because this was the latest Ive ever gotten to the port.  Didn't need to worry though!!  We pulled right up to terminal B with no wait.  No porter needed as we walked 10 feet to the cart where the nice porter loaded our luggage.  We had expedited arrival but it wouldn't have mattered because nobody was there at 1045.  We literally walked through security and on to the ship.. LESS than ten minutes!!!   By 1105 I was making our dining reservations... Got everything we wanted including chops night 2 formal night 630.  By 1115 had lava flow with kraken (well training bartender so first drink turned out to be a Miami vice actually) and eating in the windjammer!

    The windjammer want crowded and the food was typical fare... Food Temp was warm and everything seemed fresh.  We were offered there STRONGEST Bahama Mama welcome drinks I've ever had! 

    It's now 1245 and be we are in the solarium waiting for the room to be available!  Book in hand I am relaxing!! Oh, and so excited... The solarium roof is OPEN!!!!!!   Happy happy happy!  

    More later!  I will see how the voom is (can't tell if I'm still on data or voom) for periscoping.  A lot of those may end up replays for people with the time change!  Jane
  8. Like
    Ken23 got a reaction from mom2mybugs in Europe Here We Come! Vision of the Seas July 29,2019: 12 day Mediterranean/Greek Isles   
    Happy Happy (late) Anniversary. 
    I hope you all have a fantastic cruise, enjoy.
  9. Like
    Ken23 reacted to mom2mybugs in Europe Here We Come! Vision of the Seas July 29,2019: 12 day Mediterranean/Greek Isles   
    The end of the first day was amazing!  We knew we would be tired so found a great Italian pizzeria.  Drank cervasa and are thin pizza!  

    We finished the night with a walk to get gelato near the segrada familia.  The area is so funny... There is a whole street filled with 5 guys, McDonald's, taco Bell etc!  The gelato was just ok but what was amazing was there was a big street concert set up.  We ate our gelato on the stairs of the segrada familia listening to music.  Amazing!!  

  10. Like
    Ken23 reacted to mom2mybugs in Europe Here We Come! Vision of the Seas July 29,2019: 12 day Mediterranean/Greek Isles   
    We are at the airport!!! Getting ready to board... The plane got in late but they insist they will board us quickly!  We will see!  Since I got 4.5 hours sleep last night I'm hoping I will sleep on the plane!!!   Jane
  11. Like
    Ken23 reacted to mom2mybugs in Europe Here We Come! Vision of the Seas July 29,2019: 12 day Mediterranean/Greek Isles   
    When I took my first cruise on Vision in March 2015, I could not have predicted that I would be sailing her again so quickly as my 7th cruise and my 3rd one this year!!!  While I think this is the last hurrah for a while (we have rhapsody scheduled for next spring break, but the family wants some land trips to disney and london and my credit cards are screaming in agony lol), it is going to be an amazing trip.
    The set-up:  2 years ago ish, we started looking at Europe Itineraries.  We were getting ready to turn 50 and had wanted to do Europe forever, but Disney kept getting in the way 🙂 As soon as the itineraries came out, we saw the 12 day on Vision.  I truly wish that we were on a different ship in that I really wanted to try radiance class, but I enjoyed Vision as my first ship.  We wanted to do something different though, and we looked at the ultra spacious family room.  We only had 3 people traveling...more on that in a sec...and Sharla at MEI was able to grab 4032 for us.  It has a separate little bunk room for our 16 year old and a large couch/seating area.  There will be tons of storage and room to move around.  I don't usually care about our space much, but this will be nice since the whole trip will be 16 days with our pre-cruise stay in barcelona.  Those of you with teenagers know that some space will definitely be needed!   We thought about a balcony, but because Vision is so small and older, the balcony rooms are a lot pricier than on some of the newer ships.  In some ways I wish we'd tried jr suite...we'd have gotten 24 points!...but this trip is already a huge reach for us, so we will enjoy our different room with a big window and enjoy the ocean breezes on the outside decks!  
    The travelers:  Jane (mom2mybugs), Jeff (the husband who doesn't love cruising as much as I do but is really looking forward to the ports) and Madison (16, who is very much excited for Europe).  In retrospect, we should have also booked our 22 year old and 20 year old on the cruise as well.  2 years ago, we figured they'd both be working, but Morgan is still finding her perfect post-college job and John just got back from a study abroad in Germany and can't find a 6 week job.  I'm not sure we could have afforded to bring them with air-fare, excursions, etc, but booking them at the beginning would have given us the flexibility if it wanted them to come.  I looked at adding them a few months ago, and the muster stations were full and the cost to put them in another room (even interior) was insane.  So they will be staying with the 2 members of the family that I will be missing dreadfully (the 2 schnauzer puppies!) and basically keeping the house hopefully standing!  Madison is usually a huge teen center kid...we hardly see her at all on the cruises because she meets people and ditches us immediately. We aren't expecting nearly as many teens on this trip as we see in the Caribbean on spring break cruises.  However, she is not as stressed because the port days are so long and she is planning on lots of family time.  I am hopeful that she will find a couple girls to hang with in the evenings and on the sea days, because Jeff and I are pretty boring and we'd also like a little us time!
    The itinerary:  Amazing!  
    July 24--Fly out of Chicago O'Hare at 630pm, arrive Barcelona at 9:50
    July 25-28  Barcelona.  We have a barcelona city card, a barcelona day tours 1/2 day tour (they will pick us up from the airport) and a segrada familia ticket.  We will just roam around and eat/drink!  We are staying at an airbnb very close to the segrada familia.  It has a tiny balcony, 2 bathrooms and bedrooms and is out of the tourist area.  We thought about staying near the ramblas, but really wanted to not exhaust ourselves before the trip.  We can easily metro it looks like and we should be able to see a fair amount.  We are still trying to decide if we will go to Tarragona (Roman Ruins), Sitges (beach town) or both on a day trip (train out by ourselves, or do a 100 euro tour)...I still can't decide.  I don't want to race around, but i will regret not seeing the aquaduct and other ruins.  I'm very worried about the heat in europe though...my daughter tends to drag/mope/get herself sick in heat and my husband isn't in great shape.  We may just do the tour because it is easy and the van will be air conditioned.  Oh yeah, and Jeff and I will celebrate our 29th anniversary on the 28th!
    July 29  Board Vision of the Seas early....yep...I'm one of the those people who are there before security opens!  I am so excited!
    July 30 Cannes  No tour scheduled.  Either we will do the public crowded beach or take a taxi out to a more quiet location.  Didn't want to spend a ton here since the other excursions are crazy expensive.
    July 31  Florence (well La Spezia).  I know someday I will get back to Italy.  After Paris it is a true bucket list trip.  However, i am trying to tell myself that I will go back over and over.  It is going to be hot, crowded and we are cruising into a port a fair distance from Florence, Rome and Athens.  So we did all tours with Royal.  We are skipping Pisa since time is limited, and just doing Florence.  I really really wanted to buy an Uffizi ticket on my own but I can't quite figure out how much free time we have and I know that I wouldn't have more than a couple hours.  I think we are better off just finding one of @Traveler's gelato places and relaxing.  It will kill me...I'm a go/go/go hit every museum person but I'm trying to make my mantra "Pace/pace/pace!"
    Aug 1  Rome (again...not actually rome but far out).  We did a tour that will get us into the vatican museum and st. peters and I will see the Sistine chapel along with a gazillion of my close personal friends.  It will be packed.  I will be heartbroken if things are too crowded or the pope closes something, but again, I'm telling myself nothing is a have to...I will be back!!!  We will drive past the coliseum, but i traded that entry for the religious art!
    Aug 2 & 3   Sea days!  Much needed relaxation in my happy place on my sky deck chair near the bar!  I have my paperback books, my sunscreen and my chair clips!  I am tempted to do the thriller dance class which i think would be fun, but might involve me getting off my deck chair or not getting one in time, so maybe not!
    Aug 4  Athens!  I heard they closed the acropolis for 6 hours because of the extreme heat.  I am hoping this doesn't happen while we are there, but they will find something for us to do.  This is the port I'm the most worried about heat and water consumption.  Hoping nobody gets heatstroke.
    Aug 5  Mykenos   Jeff will celebrate his 51st birthday in Greece!  Because he is a high school social studies teacher, one of my majors was history and Madison is looking at anthropology/archaeology as a potential college major, we are going to the ancient ruins in Delos.  This will also be hot.  Really Really hot.  Hoping the fact that we are done by noon will help.  This will be a very cool port stop though!
    Aug 6  Santorini   This is the stop that originally i was really pumped about, and now I'm hoping we survive.  There are 4 or 5 ships in port that day, so it will be crazy crazy crowded and hot.  We are simply going to do a tour of Oia, walk around a bit, and then hit a cafe for some wine.  I think this stop will be a take pictures and soak up atmosphere because I feel like it will be over-tourists.  I don't think we will get back to Greece, and so I hope we can see what we want and enjoy whatever we are able to do.
    Aug 7   Sea day!  I loved this itinerary because it gave me sea days to relax on a port intensive cruise.  Again, Vision is a bitty ship, so I think we will enjoy some trivia, my deck chair will call my name and I will spend my $20 on the quarter game in the casino.
    Aug 8  Valetta, Malta  We are doing the blue grotto and fishing village tour.  It will be relaxing, we will see the beautiful caves and water, and I'm actually looking very forward to not having a lot of ships here.  Apparently they filmed some of Game of Thrones here?  Means nothing to me but since Jeff and my son have been binge watching the first few seasons this summer, he might recognize something!  
    Aug 9   Last Sea Day.  And that dreaded day of having to get packing!  Ugh.  I have never done a cruise over 7 days and I think it will be amazing.  However, I will not be looking forward to going back to work (in education, August is gear up for the year time lol!).   
    Aug 10  Back in Barcelona.  We have a 355 flight so we had some options.  We didn't want to hang at the airport all day so we considered the option to stay on the boat.  I thought that would be pretty depressing...all these excited people just starting their trip and we would have to be going home.  So we decided to do the montserrat trip and airport transfer.  We had been trying to figure out montserrat earlier and decided it would be a fun last day activity and we wouldn't have to worry about the airport transfer or catching a cab.  It says it is good for any flight after 3 and will get us to the airport by 1215.  I will be stressed about getting through security but i know really we have plenty of time.  
    Dining and Extras:  We bought a 4 day dining pkg.  I would have considered the udp, but there are only 3 specialty restaurants on vision, and we don't want to do them that much.  We will go to giovannis on Jeff's bday, chops, izumi and I think chops a 2nd time.  I've never gotten fish at chops, so i'm tempted to try it one time.  Chops is a trickier restaurant for my vegetarian girl, but she can live on the sides!!!  And the dessert!!!   Jeff and I also are doing Chef's table  again.  We have done it twice before, and I know this is a repeat menu but I enjoy it a lot, and I'm hoping I get the world again for dessert!  We are going my time dining this time, and expect that we will hit the windjammer a couple nights (esp. Rome and Athens) because we will be tired.  We booked middlish times...630ish...because if madison does want to meet people, she can, but we didn't want to do too early.  We are kinda getting tired of the scheduling specialty at 530 or 6 for her, so we might schedule stuff a bit later and tell them she is leaving.  Then we can have dessert and coffee together.  I haven't really checked out show times, etc., since the compasses out there have been pretty old.  However, again, we can either try to get an earlier table at my time, or skip the dining room if there is something we really want to see.  We are going team drink pkg as usual...it is close for jeff in terms of price, and i totally benefit.  I also think we will be drinking a ton of water, so that will totally make up the difference, plus sending jeff for my morning latte!  We snagged it on a sale for $48 and then upgraded to $57 for the voom.  Voom will be spotty...vision is not known for its good internet...but i want to be able to check email and facebook message the kids back home.  Plus, if we get signal, I will try and periscope for sure (I think I'm mom2mybugs there).  I will also try to blog.  I have to try and find the email that had the info on the picture compresser thing.
    So that is it....I'm doing a week long babysitting live-in job that pays for a lot of our plane tickets so i'm crazy busy until Sunday.  Then its drs appointments, last minute pedicures and on our way wednesday!!!!!   So can't wait to share my first experiences in these amazing ports.  Jane
  12. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    You know it!  I’ve been drinking these since @Susie recommended them to me in December. Love them. Way better than Cosmos.
    I will gladly take other recommendations too 😉 TeamDX lol
  13. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Day 8, Cruise 2 Day 2 - Approaching Key West
    I went to bed early and woke early, in time to catch the sunrise.  A sliver of a moon was high above us.

    I know people like to sleep in but this is often a great time to see the awe of sunrise.

    In the distance the tall towering clouds would sparkle with a bolt of lightning occasionally.  

    As it became brighter some fellow sunrise enthusiasts ventured out.

    The rising sun started to highlight the clouds even before it peaked up above the horizon.

  14. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    My view of the not so little biggest ship from the biggest little ship:

    Cheers and Happy Anniversary!

  15. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    Dinner Night 1: Coastal Kitchen 

    French Onion Soup

    Caesar Salad

    Crispy Pork Belly

    Filet Mignon


    Already full from the day, we just shared a cheesecake 😊

  16. Like
  17. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    First drink on board...Patron Margarita 😊
    Team DX

  18. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    Good Morning!  It’s cruise day!
    ”Symphony starts when you walk together, feel the heartbeats, and understand the unspoken words.” — Amit Ray
    17 years ago today we started this journey, after 17 years, we’re getting there ❤️

  19. Like
    Ken23 reacted to Lovetocruise2002 in “Symphony No. 17: Celebration, Relaxation, Exploration, Reflection” – 07/27/19 – 08/03/19   
    One reason that I love the Intercontinental Miami is their Club level rooms which give you access to their Club Lounge. Happy Hour and Breakfast are complimentary here in the club lounge. The hours are 5-7pm and 7-11am.
    Here are the selections for Happy Hour tonight:

    Mini sliders 

    Chicken Croquette

    Chicken Wings

    Specialty coffee

    Make your own cocktails 

    My pre-dinner snack:

    The wings were so good I went back for seconds on those. 
    Needless to say, we were stuffed by the time we actually headed out for dinner.
  20. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Day 7 Miami
    Not a bad view to wake up to.

    Back to terminal G.
    Consecutive cruises met in the Schooner Bar at 9:30am.  Regular guests were still trickling off.  At 10am around 11 of us were escorted off.  Bit of a wait as we were held waiting for a mother/child B2B guests who didn't come down on time.  CBP did a quick glance at out documents and we immediately turned and headed back on board.  Time off ship ~ 14 minutes.  

    By 10:14am we were back on board with complimentary champagne and mimosa's waiting for us in the Schooner Bar.  #winning

    New beverage cups on this cruise in honor of Royal's 50th.

    As I start the rinse, lather and repeat phase of this B2B I'm going to slow down on posting.  I'm going to wait until day 3 to buy Voom since I'll have cell coverage in Key West tomorrow so I may disappear for a bit.
  21. Like
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Nice sunset tonight.  Best place to take it in was deck 6 aft behind Boleros.

  22. Thanks
    Ken23 reacted to twangster in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    One of the benefits of being Diamond Plus.  These tours are free.  I don’t think I did it on Explorer but I have on sister ships like Adventure.  Those ships have a two deck galley if I recall.  Empress being smaller they have to go vertical more.  
    I enjoy the tours because you learn so much.  I remember on Adventure the Sous Chef asked if we knew why they keep track of food temperature so closely.  It’s because we have 5,000 crew and passengers on board but only 5 beds in the medical center he explained.  Chef humor but a good point.  
  23. Like
    Ken23 reacted to WAAAYTOOO in Who would ever let go of your child, even if there was no glass there?   
    I’m still leaning towards the idea that he was holding her up so she could see out and she just wiggled loose and fell.  The whole “I didn’t know it was an open window” just isn’t believable.   It’s just a terrible, horrible, sickening accident. They happen every day.  But there is no way that this is the fault of the cruise line.  I hope they fight it.
  24. Haha
    Ken23 got a reaction from SpeedNoodles in Empress B2B 14 nights On The Biggest Little Ship July 2019   
    Don't they all?
  25. Like
    Ken23 reacted to tiny blonde in Who would ever let go of your child, even if there was no glass there?   
    I totally agree that Grandpa used poor judgement resulting in a tragic mistake. But I don't think the family is necessarily trying to "strike it rich" - because I remember how I felt when tragedy struck my family, albeit under different circumstances. One of the early symptoms of grief is anger, and certainly this family has a lot to be angry about (Mom is angry at Dad for letting Grandpa take the baby over to the window, Dad is angry at Grandpa for lifting the baby up to the window, Grandpa is angry at himself for being responsible for the tragedy, Grandma is angry at Grandpa for causing the death of the baby, etc.) and when people are angry, they flail around looking for someone to blame. When my daughter was killed, I was angry at EVERYONE with whom I could find anything to be angry about, and her father was so angry he drove people away (a phenomenon you may have observed in other bereaved parents), but that was just a normal grief reaction that gave way, eventually, to the deep grief that comes when the energy provided by anger is spent.
    The only person I blame is the lawyer, who I think is the one trying to get rich by inventing this cockamamie story of it being a "kids area" and parading this family in front of the media. I don't hate lawyers, by any means. My dad was a lawyer, but he never chased an ambulance or a cruise ship or dragged his clients into the limelight. He honored the confidentiality of the lawyer/client relationship, that this lawyer apparently never heard of.
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