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Traveling Mike

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Traveling Mike last won the day on February 26

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About Traveling Mike

  • Birthday 11/01/1960

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  • Location
    Fresno, CA
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    Travel

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  1. Land Ho ... Canary Islands My live blogging has taken a dump because the internet on the Vision of the Seas has taken a dump. The internet is the joke of the ship. Even the staff has trouble with running their apps. As an IT person I wonder what kind of IT they have on the ship. Maybe they need to hire some retired IT to fix their ship. Well off to the Canary Islands. We stopped at two of the islands. They could not be much difference. The first one was La Palma. The volcano erupted for a couple of months back in October and November. The island was all volcanic rock and small shrubs. Nothing much grows because of the wind. The roads were small and there are old volcano holes every ware. I did a 4X4 bus that took us down a very step hill that at one time was a lava flow to a small fishing village that had one family living there. We then went to a place that they moved the volcanic ash and created a new mountain of ash. They fed us lunch that I was glad I did not pay for. Not to good. After that we had to drive back around the island to see the live volcano from a distance that is still smoking. We could see the lava flow that has turned into rock. It was very large and intimidating. The next day we were at Tenerife. This island was larger and modern. We took a bus up to their national forest and on to their live volcano. The roads were large and 4 lanes part of the way. We spend much of the dive in a large forest with large trees. On the way back we stopped at the old town square and spent a couple of ours shopping and having lunch/dinner. I ended up eating at a home cooking place with grandma cooking in the back.
  2. I am spending Friday and Saturday in Barcelona. I am going to get a two-day pass for the Hop-on-Hop-off bus. I just keep changing what company I want to purchase. Does anyone have a preference between the two HOHO busses in Barcelona?
  3. The others have already said it but you will be surprised how quick you will have lots of waters in your cabin by taking one back every time you head there. I have done it both ways and it is not a big deal. The cruise I am on now I paid $17 for a case of water in my room. My last cruise I took a bottle every time I headed to my room and by the 3 day I had a dozen bottles in my mini frig.
  4. Day ?? - I don't know I am lost.... The internet has been so bad I cannot post or work on the internet. Last night it was so bad I could not see emails or websites. The strange thing is I could still make WiFi Calls and was able to do Facetime with my son and the two boys (Standard Poodles). The dogs were excited to be able to hear and see me. Next time I need to get my son on his laptop so they will have a bigger screen to see me. This morning is the first day I got out of bed before 10:30 am. I got up at 7:00 am and went to the buffet for a fresh cooked omelet. The breakfast was not bad. I was working on my computer and about 8:30 am people started showing up and the internet went south. it is better because I am able to load this blog and type in it. I knew the closer we got to land the better it would get. Left Right Center Just a quick note. We played the game Left-Right-Center today and had a great time. There was about 15 people and we were very loud and had a blast. We are playing it agian tomarrow. Tonight I think it will be a lay in my bed and go to sleep early night.
  5. Day 6 - Geriatric Cruise Ok, I am not a spring chicken but there are times on this cruise I feel like I am on the wrong cruise. The last two nights there we two different times. Two nights ago it was a Twist dance competition. Out of everyone on the ship they picked three couples to do the competition that were all over 70 and could hardly dance. Last night was worse. They had a game "Love and Marriage". This is a game with three married couples answering questions. They started out asking for the couple they have been married the longest; they got a couple married 55 years. Then they went for the newlyweds. The newlyweds they got have been married 4 years and dated 5 years. And to top it off they were somewhere in their late 60's. Then they got the middle marred couple; they had been married 50 years. To Be Fair... this cruise is not young but it is not that bad just at times it feels that way. There are lots of younger people but they seem to stay away from the nightly shows and gathering. I know when I take a 14 day cruise in April I will be with retired people. Wait and Wait and Wait then Frustration The internet has been very good until yesterday. I am hoping it is because we were in the middle of the Atlantic. I am back to the internet of 1993 where you type the page you want then go to the kitchen and get a snack and you were excited if the page was up when you got back. Today (day 7) it seems to be a little better. Hopefully it will continue to improve as we get closer to land.
  6. Day 5 - Walking and missed Breakfast and Lunch I got up earlier today, but it was still 10:30 am. I got in shorts and a t-shirt and went to get some exercise. I found that the top deck with the jogging and walking track is not very good. It has lots of wind and chars in the way. Not much fun walking ... BUT ... on deck 5 is the perfect place for walking. There is a wooden deck that goes almost all the way around the ship. On the back of the ship, it goes all the way around. Then in the front it stops short, but you can go through automatic doors to get to the other side. I walked about 5 or 6 loops and was able to get 2 miles. I was hoping for 5 miles, but my body had other ideas. It started out with my hips hurting, then it went to my back and when I ignored that my body said, "OK, you think you are tuff, take this" and started making my head light headed and things spinning. I gave up and stopped at 2 miles. It is amazing how your own body will attack you when it is not happy. Food ???? After waking I went back and cleaned up in the cabin. I though I was fine for time because it was only 1 pm. I went to the main dining room where I ate a good meal yesterday and found out they closed at 1 pm. They told me to eat at the Buffett. I asked him if he has every ate there... he was smart enough to not answer. Well I tried the buffet again and once again I was sorry. It was bad again. I should have just skipped lunch and been really hungry for a good dinner and loose some weight. New Friends ??? I am on the 5th day and am getting lots of people stopping and visiting with me. I have my trivia team I see every day at 3:30 pm and lots of others that I keep seeing at shows and other events. Today I stopped at a bar to get a Diet Coke and ended up with a group of 10 people that seen me and stopped to talk about what was going on. This is the nice thing on a cruise like this... everyone is looking for new friends. Now it is time for dinner and then off to a game show about marrage. I am sure it will make me feel good about being single.
  7. Day 4 - Starting to act like I am cruising I did not get out of bed until 12:00 noon. I woke up at 8 am and decided I was on vacation and did not want to get out of bed. I was so late getting up I just swapped towels with the cabin steward. Today I went to the main dining room for lunch. I have given up on the buffet, it is terrible. The food was good, and I was able to get an adjusted meal to match my calorie counting. JUMP TO DINNER ... At dinner had one of the best meal, I have had in a long time. It was a light meal with great taste. I had a shrimp appetizer and fish and jasmine rice for my main dish. The fish was not battered and was light and great flavor. Traffic Jam ... During my meal I had lots of visitors. The bar manager seen me and came over to talk to me about how my Poker Pub Crawl went and if I needed anything different for the second one. As soon as he left the waiter that helped us with the Poker Pub Crawl came over to thank me for the tip I left him at the front desk. As soon as he left the dining room manager came over and asked me about my meal and how the food had been. Then he asked the wrong/right thing, "How is the buffet". People that know me, know I am not afraid to tell the truth. We had a discussion on how bad it is and what they are doing wrong. He did let me know I am not the only one telling him the same thing. Nightly Theatre Show X2 Alfred & Seymour as playing in the theater. They were great, crazy, energetic and fun. They worked the croud and had lots of fun with comedy. I got so much fun out of it I went back for the 9:30 pm show.
  8. Day 3 - realize I am on a cruise I slept in to 10:30 am. I was really proud of myself until I realized it was 6:30 am back home. I got up and went to see what was in the Buffet for lunch. I have to find a better place to eat for lunch or figure out how to make the Buffet food better. I am starting to realize the Royal Caribbean Buffets are not very good. In my opinion they are a tick below School Lunch. Ater Lunch, I sat on the pool deck enjoying the fresh sea air while I got ready for my Poker Pub Crawl. I am hosting a game called the Poker Pub Crawl and I had to get 6 decks of cards ready. After getting everything ready I went back to my cabin to take a short nap and lucked out that I ran into a new friend that reminded me that at noon the time jumped ahead one hour. Needless to say, that took my nap away and I had to get to the start of my event. In my opinion the Poker Pub Crawl is one of the better things for a new group to do. It is a social event where everyone kicks in $5, and we move around to 5 bars and at each bar we pull a poker card from the deck and visit with all the other people there. This is a great way of meeting new people that you are going to be with for the next 12 days. At the end someone won the winning pot of $75 with a full house and the lowest had of 7 high won $50. We had fun and still was able to get to our daily trivia at 3:30 pm. Now it is time for dinner, and I am off to the main dining room tonight. Night I went to the theater show tonight and thought it was very good. This was a comedian that was on the Symphony with me in January. It was very entertaining, and the time went quickly. When it was over, I wished he would be doing a second show. The shows on this cruise are only doing one show in the 14-day cruise. Now I am back in my room doing some work that is needed for tomarrow back in Fresno.
  9. Day 2 - Still does not feel like my ship This was our first sea day. We started out with our Slot Pull. If you do not know what that is, it where everyone tosses in $20 into one slot machine and then everyone gets 4 pulls. When everyone has their turn, you split the amount left with everyone. They also had some prizes for people. We ended up getting $19 of our $20 back so the adventure cost us $1. In the midafternoon we started our Daily Trivia Competition. I got a team from the Facebook Cruise Group. It is fun because I get to play with 5 other people that I did not know until this trip. In the evening I went to dinner at Chops Grill. This is a high-end steak house taht has an extra cost associated with it. I purchased a package of 5 dinners for the 14-day cruise. I had a 16 oz Rib Eye Steak with mushrooms. By the time I was done I had to take the cheesecake back to my room for a late-night snack. After dinner I took a nap and got back up for the 9:30 pm show in the theatre. That was a mistake. I ended up walking out after about 10 minutes. The man was singing songs from the 50's and doing imitations from famous people while he sang. If he would not have told me who he was doing I would not have known. At least it got me back to my room early to watch some movies on my computer. Note: The internet is good enough to stream movies. The one issue is I am showing signed in from the UK so HBO Max and Netflix are not working.
  10. Day 1 - to the ship and try to organize After getting cleaned up and packed at my Airbnb the host took me to the port in Fort Lauderdale. I was surprised when we had to show photo id just to enter the port area. I got dropped off at 10:45 am for my 11:00 am boarding time. As soon as I entered the building there was someone to check to make sure I had my valid test results and vaccinations. After being cleared I went through metal detectors and on to a person that checked me in. They were not at a counter like they have been in the past. It was just a person standing in the middle with a scanner and handheld device. They check my boarding pass, covid test results, vaccination records and passport. After doing all their input they did inform me that I got a FREE Upgrade. They moved me from 2 deck inside cabin aft to 3 deck ocean view midship. They then directed me to a holding pen. This took a total of 10 minutes. After we got our seats in the holding area, we got to sit there for the next 2 hours. I found out later that everything was late because the ship got back into port late that morning. Once back on the ship it was not much better; rooms were not ready, everyone got on the ship about the same time, so the buffet was backed up and out of plates and food. We had to wait about 10 to 15 minutes for plates and then when we went into the buffet line there was not much food. After getting food I was able to go stand in line at customer service and get my room key that they did not have because of them moving my cabin. Once I was all set it was time for a nap. Evening At 4 pm we had a Cruise Critic and Facebook get to gather. Those are always hard because you never know who is who. After meeting some new friends I left and went to my 6 pm dinner in the main dining room. I choose to eat alone because that allows me to eat and get out of there in about 45 minutes. If I eat at a table with other people it would have been 2+ hours. At 7 pm I went to the Singles and Solo get to gather planned by the ship. The problem with these are they are at a common bar and is not hosted. So I was setting there realizing I could spot about 10 other people setting there alone wondering "Is this it?". After a new minutes a couple of us started talking and we started moving everyone together. It would not have happened if me and one other person would not have started asking people to join. After a hour there I went and talk to a new friend as she at a light dinner. When we were done and both realizing how tired we were it was off to bed to watch TV and try to sleep.
  11. It looks like they use the time zone of the port. It opened up for my Alaska cruise at 3:00 am EST or 12:00 am PST
  12. I made it to Fort Lauderdale without any issues. Everything went smoothly. The nice lady that has the Airbnb that I am staying at came and picked me up for and extra $20. I like the Airbnb Link to Airbnb and it is a quite room with my own bathroom and shower. I took my covid test yesterday at work and was negative before leaving California. Tonight I had 3 of the self proctored tests from RCL that are going to expire in 3 weeks so I decided to do one tonight so I know what I am doing before I have to do it in Spain. the test was fairly easy to do because I had a good connection and could hear the directions from the proctor. Now I am sleepy and will put a movie on my computer and see if I can get a good night sleep and board the ship tomorrow. One last note: I have an alarm set to get up at midnight to check in for my June 13 Alaska cruise.
  13. I love pre-check. If you do not have it, you need to look into getting it. I have Global Pass and It is not much more money or work, and it gets you into the United States without any hassle. I got to the airport in Fresno, a medium size airport, and it was very busy outside at 4:20 am. I lucked out and American Airlines was not the busy one this morning. Everyone was loading other airlines. I got my ticket and dropped my bag (34 lbs.) very quickly. I got over to security and the regular line was very long. I got in the Pre-Check line and walked right to the front of it. As soon as the guard was done with the person, she was working on she called me in front of the people in the regular line. She checked me really quick and sent me to the line by the wall where no one was at. The guard was working with a Spanish speaker having him pull off his sweeter and shoes and belt and everything out of his pockets. He waived me around him, and I just dropped my computer backpack (with the computer in it) on the belt and waked through with everything still on. I was in and out so fast I felt guilty. Now I just have to wait an hour for my flight to load to take me to Dallas then to Fort Lauderdale. Talk to you later, Mike 302
  14. Anyone reading this log, get ready... you are going to feel great about yourself. Yes, I am packing at the last minute, and I left my computer power cord at work. I just had to take the dogs and drive 20 minutes downtown and to get my power cord. That was 1 hour of time I did not have. Yes... I am stupid, I took it out of my bag on purpose. I was trying to lighten my bag, so I took the extra cords out of my bag at work, not home, and by mistake my power cord was part of them. Now time to charge my computer and try to get 4 hours of sleep.
  15. This is my typical trip; it is 9 hours until my flight and I am washing cloths so I can pack. I am wondering what I will forget and wondering if I will get to sleep before midnight. My suitcase is out so the dogs are mad. The older one will not come near me and they younger one will not leave my side. Pluto
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