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The Magnificent Seven Tropic Like it's Hot - Allure 12'08'19 - Star Class


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OK, this has been kind of bugging me and I just have to ask...

Are your husband's initials "DJ", and you're his missus? Or is your husband a disk jockey and you're his missus? Or is he a DJ who's also got the initials DJ?

Kind of hoping for at least the second one; we need more disc jockeys in this place. So far the only one I'm aware of is @Jaymac Radio?

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41 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

OK, this has been kind of bugging me and I just have to ask...

Are your husband's initials "DJ", and you're his missus? Or is your husband a disk jockey and you're his missus? Or is he a DJ who's also got the initials DJ?

Kind of hoping for at least the second one; we need more disc jockeys in this place. So far the only one I'm aware of is @Jaymac Radio?

Ha - yes, and good catch.    He was a club DJ here in town and I was working in a bar where he had a residency when we met.   He still gets some gigs here and there, but I’ll always be “the DJ’s Mrs. ” ??

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It's only 15 days until we check in to our pre-flight hotel.  Holy smoke.

Officially counting down the activities we have to get through before we go:  11 hockey practices, 7 games, 4 development sessions, 2 martial arts classes, 8 gym sessions, 1 hair appointment, 1 mani/pedi, and a partridge in a pear tree!  It's going to be busy with 3 out-of-town games, and one in Squamish on a day where it looks like we'll have some snow.  Snow in Ontario is typical - but here on the wet coast it usually leads to chaos, especially on the Sea to Sky highway.   Snow tires are on - so hopefully they don't cancel the game!  The other two require a ferry trip, so it's kinda like a mini-cruise, right?  Is it wrong to look for my genie on the ferry?  

On a bit of a downer - flying WestJet from YVR to YYZ (5 hours) we're on an older aircraft with no charging capabilities on board (737-600).  grrrrr.   At first I thought I was misreading the info on the aircraft, but then confirmed with with a friend who is a pilot for WestJet. Also - no West Jet connect, which is how you watch movies on the plane - the aircraft has seat-back televisions with live TV and 60% of the time it works every time (a la Anchorman's Sex Panther ?) .   On the plus side we're in premium economy, so food and drinks (we ARE on vacay after all) will be available to keep everyone fed and lubricated.  Gotta make sure the kids have battery packs charged and ready to go, and some Netflix downloaded onto their ipads (all our batter packs are airline compliant).

I guess we're just waiting now to hear from our genie about our schedule...  not sure if we'll get it before we board or once we're on the ship - either way doesn't matter.  Let the nail biting continue.....


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We are in single digits.   Happy dance!   Just have to make it through the work and hockey schedule for one more week!!!  

Have had a successful few games    Eldest son scored his first ever goal on Sunday (3rd year of hockey- and 3rd year of skating.   The struggle has been real!).  And youngest son has been playing better and better each game and keeping the team in the mix after our team got tiered up and our competition is tough!   Squeaked out a tie the other night against a team that beat us 10-4 in pre-season, and parents on the other team were asking “did you guys get a new goalie?   He’s on fire!”   Proud hockey Mum here - will require a champagne celebration when we are on board!  ? ❤️ 

Haven’t started packing yet - but the list is done and the suitcases are out and all pre-cruise shopping is done.  

Also scored $150 saving on a photo package - so was pretty chuffed about that.  AND scored an over the water cabana for our December 2020 cruise.  #forthewin



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Eldest son this morning as he dragged himself downstairs for breakfast "So - mum - you excited?"

Me "About what?   You eating your breakfast so you're not late for school?  Yes ...  very"

Him - sideye

Me "About the rain today and the freezing cold weather (a balmy 2 degrees) of course - I love cold weather"

Him - sideye

Me "About going on vacation, maybe a little"


We're in the final week of school - and the boys aren't sleeping very well.  I'm super excited but also managing our busy schedule as we still have three practices, two games, one volunteer/fundraising event, one dr appointment, one orthodontist appointment, three hair appointments, one nail appointment, work, and I'm pretty sure I'm forgetting something in there.  Oh yeah - I have to pack and get the laundry done and house cleaned.  I feel like a need a vacation just from getting ready to go on vacation!

On an exciting note - eldest son has been growing his hair for nearly three years.  He decided to grow his lid out to donate his locks to wigs for kids with cancer - and we have finally achieved optimum length.  Have been running a little fundraiser on the charity's website and he's almost at $1,000 - and he's getting his lid cut on Thursday evening (thankfully hockey game was scheduled to Wednesday so we have an evening at home to get ready).  I'm so excited to see him with short hair - and my budget for conditioner is going to decrease significantly (which may help with future cruise budgets!).  Child #2 is also growing his out - and he's still a few months away from a cut, and I'm looking forward to seeing both my boys with short hair.   It's been quite a time for both boys as they've been asked "and what would she like?" in restaurants, or "and how are you ladies doing" in stores, and I've been told countless times "your girls are so well behaved" so I'm sure they'll be happy to be rid of these comments.  They handle it like pros and gently correct the speaker, but I know it cuts a little bit when you're a tween boy!  Yay for short hair on this trip - with all the snorkeling it's a tangly mess usually!

DH and I are also enjoying teasing the boys about "what will your friends do when we're in the suite lounge for chill-out time in the afternoon?"  "Maybe we should have the boys for a sleepover one night?"   They've no idea that we're all in one room - and I feel like I deserve a medal for not telling them.  Hopefully they're not disappointed with not being in a loft suite - they've been talking about it a lot!  

Fun bag is mostly packed with all the games, toys, sunscreen, beach bag, and snorkel gear.  Hopefully their summer shoes still fit because I'm not sure I'll have time this week to source out new ones if they don't!

Four sleeps until pre-departure hotel stay.  

All quiet from our genie - not sure if Alan has left the ship yet and Luciano is on board, but we can't wait to meet him!

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It’s a really happening.   Sitting in the lounge at the YVR Fairmont enjoying (a bit too much) vino and charcuterie.   Kids are being tucked into bed as we speak, there’s hockey on the TV, and a pretty good singer in this lounge.  

We have a stellar room on the 10th floor looking out on the international gates.  Kids are loving the view and watching airplanes.  The lounge here is one of my favourite places on earth.    Service is a smidge slow - but we don’t have to be anywhere until tomorrow, so whatevs.  

Also - and I may be partial because I’m from here - but this airport is my favourite ever.    There’s lots to explore when wandering (even before security), great food options for all price pints and time frames, and the architecture is above and beyond what is required from an airport.  The upside-down cabin not excepted, but exceptional.  Lol.    

Off to zzz soon for a 5am wake up.   Heaven help me.  Can not wait to get to Florida 


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  • 2 weeks later...

So... that just happened.   Turns out that cruising in a group of 7, with 4 boys is a LOT busier than I ever anticipated and the whole "live" portion of the blog went completely out the window.   We got home super late last night and are getting our feet under us today (kids actually went to school) and I'm plowing through a million work emails... I will attempt to recap and recount over the next few days.   


Needless to say - we all woke up this morning in official Starr Class Withdrawal (whaddaya mean there's no starbucks waiting for me on the table???)  


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On 11/8/2019 at 4:27 PM, Lovetocruise2002 said:

I sent a whole Word document.  Details of everything.  If you PM your email address, I will share it with you.  ?

Luciano has been all over the place since becoming a Genie.  He's gone from Harmony, to Ovation, and now Allure.

Would you be willing to share with me as well? We are getting ready for our first star class at the end of Jan. i really appreciate all of your input! 

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  • 1 year later...

Hmmmm - in my cruise withdrawal as I peruse old blogs -  I've come across my unfinished cruise blog - what a total disappointment.   Makes it hard to relive when it's not all posted.   So - in the interest of covid cruise and travel withdrawal I think I'll fire a bit of an update and review in here ?.  And what I can't remember I'll just make up - at this point does it matter?  I feel like I'd go somewhere in a row boat if I was offered the chance!

Not sure about the public art display at FLL behind my boys - but this dude is one that we all still talk about!   

And my boys - both still with long hair before donating - it's funny looking back on them and realizing that it's no wonder people thought they were girls.   haha!

I remember flights were good and we may have enjoyed a cocktail or two..   Everything was on time.   Got to the hotel late enough that our friends had already hunkered down for the night - so we grabbed a bite to eat in the lobby and tucked in to get sleep and be rested for boarding day.   Oh the good times of travel.  



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Boarding Day!

We were finally all together - the magnificent 7 were stoked to get on board.   We all gathered in the hotel, grabbed a quick bite and coffee, fired up an Uber XL (a suburban or something) and off we went.   Pretty sure we got to the port at 10:45’ish.  I remember we held on to our bags and wouldn’t let anyone touch them until the star class guy showed up -(a la @Lovetocruise2002)  and then it was an absolute whirlwind through everything and up into the waiting area where we sat for maybe 10 minutes until Luciano popped out of his lantern. ?‍♂️ After introductions were complete he led us up the gangway and on board and took us on the long walk down the long hallway to our room way at the back of the ship.   


Kids were so excited to see the room - I’m just remembering that we didn’t tell them we were all in one room until we got to our suite.   It was pretty fun.  Except for my oldest being disappointed that we weren’t in the crown loft suite.   Seriously?!?


It all happened so fast I was happy to have a video of us all walking the hall and entering the suite ?  But I can’t get it to load - so you’ll have to take my word for it that the kids were pumped.  

Once the suite life sunk in we headed to Sabor for some lunch and a marg and did some exploring around the ship.   My boys knew what was what after having been on Oasis so the were having a blast showing their buddies all the cool places to go and the all-important ice cream machine locations   



Then Muster



Then sail away on the ridiculously large balcony with cocktails ?   It was pretty heavenly.  And Frosty came along for the ride   ☃️


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Wow - this cruise had a great start.   We had 2 sea days to get our bearings and take advantage of all the ship board activities.  My boys both brought their own skates from home and had fun on a few tips around the rink.  Carousel, flow rider, climbing wall, lots of swimming, cupcake class, build a bear (penguin), ice cream machine inspections, bridge tour and we even found a new buddy in Central Park!  9915C565-5488-40BD-B926-8001301EE3C7.thumb.jpeg.20aec16c0aca3bc9b5bf13dc6a8a36b5.jpeg1DCE2393-4E1E-426D-B38F-F40D3E0C9818.thumb.jpeg.f3acdb1c0a6c7aac44a71fd4fc4cabc0.jpeg8C13BB84-F8BC-43E6-BC00-92C949AE1BFA.thumb.jpeg.261b52c844c350742cdd41dd4910b3c8.jpeg3B20E9D7-85E2-4B1B-B5FC-D5B469913DD6.thumb.jpeg.0ee90b7177c942554b34d06a946b5611.jpeg9E282112-FFEE-48D3-8D96-65AE4B06C82A.thumb.jpeg.52bcdb6ddeb6795575232b95d7dc914a.jpegDAB148E2-64F2-42A9-B79D-B31EAE22373D.thumb.jpeg.07254834510d06e03cc6981dffbb6e3f.jpegF38DCE3E-5740-46CE-8FC3-210F5FC4E76D.thumb.jpeg.3e613bdcd397ce3a43d0e73d01507300.jpeg




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We also took advantage of our sea days to explore food on the ship.   

Luciano asked us to let him know what we wanted for breakfast to be delivered - and we definitely enjoyed having breakfast in our room, on the balcony, and in bed (in some teenage cases - lol), and also loved having our Starbucks delivered to the room each morning.  It was heavenly.  Room service was good, food was warm/hot - and there were no complaints.

Our favourite spot for lunch ended up being Izumi sushi.   It was fantastic and the service was impeccable.   

Over the course of the week we enjoyed a meal at all the specialty dining venues and kids tripped into the jammer on days when we were hanging out by the pool to grab lunch.   Adults would more typically opt for park cafe (if we weren't going to Izumi).  All the restaurants were great and we had absolutely no complaints.   We did not eat in the MDR all week.

We also visited many of the bars and enjoyed a libation or two.   I loved having a "date" with my youngest on the rising tide for a trip up and a quick zippa something yummy.   He was treated to a sprite and thought it was the best - but by the time we got to the top he was ready to rip again... so the length of the date met his requirements ?

The suite sun deck was another spot we walked through and spent minimal time in.  The smoking side is the bar side - and the non-bar side feels a bit like no-man's land... so it just wasn't our jam.  Too bad because it looks great up there.  I think on Harmony it's non-smoking up there, so hopefully we can make more use of it on our next cruise.

My husband and I went to the comedy show which was pretty funny and we had a good laugh - but I have no idea who the comedian was.   Other than the comedy show we didn't really explore any other shows, save for the Aquatheatre show from our balcony, which was amazing.  Kids were getting up early, so it meant most nights we were done by 9:30 or 10:00.

I should also point out here the Luciano was great about getting us into venues without being "those" people.   The only instances were for the ice skating (which had a lineup), and the comedy show - and I was very grateful... and he brought us drinks too!  I'm easy to please, but even easier if you bring me a cocktail.  

Sorry - I know this is all over the place, but I'm really digging deep into my memory - and it's a bit of a stretch considering I don't really remember what I did yesterday.  lol


Next up ... St. Thomas!

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St. Thomas


Take me back


Day 4


Prior to leaving Vancouver I had arranged for a van to pick us up and take us to Sapphire Beach for the day.   I was trying to stay away from the busier and more popular beaches and get a bit of quiet, but still with services… and Sapphire did not disappoint.   

We booked with Big Love taxi (hope I’m allowed to say that?) and they were great.  But we did have one slight hiccup.   Ship time and St. Thomas time is different.   We arrived at 9:30 ship time… which I believe was 10:30 local time, so our poor drive sat and waited for us for an hour.   We met at the Windmill… and had some trouble finding him, but in true small-town style, the shop owner by the windmill knew all about our story and who our driver was and called him over and united us.   The poor guy - I felt really bad… but, lesson learned for future bookings!

Nonetheless, our magnificent 7 loaded into the van and he whisked us across the island to the beautiful Sapphire beach.   If I remember correctly, there was a beach bar/restaurant that we walked through to access the beach, but once we hit the beach we hooked a sharp larry (took a left) and wandered down a bit of a way until we found a spot that met our requirements of sun, shade, and not too many Iguanas!

Typically I’m a beach chair, umbrella, shower, pool, bucket of drinks, kinda girl… but with the 4 boys the mission was slightly modified to obtain maximum fun in the ocean and with the sand.   We did away with the chair requirement and parked our towels on the beach and it took me back to my summers when I was a kid at the lake - I brought some beach toys, we had snorkels and I think it’s safe to say that all the kids had a really great day playing, building, swimming, and napping.  

After about an hour of beach time we were starting to feel a smidge parched, and as luck would have it the most amazing person ever walked by and took our drink order.   Said bucket of beers arrived shortly and he helped us all day and brought lunch and the whole kit and kaboodle.   It was spectacular.  It wasn't cheap (a la Mexico) but I didn't feel like we were being gouged either.   

We had a great day on the beach until Big Love came to collect us and run us back to the ship.   I’m such a firm believer in pre-arranging a ride.   A time was set, he came, everything was smooth sailing and stress free.   I will  never forget being in Bermuda at the beach in the summer of 2019 and people were trying to leave to get back to their ships and there weren’t enough taxis or busses and some folks were losing their minds.   It was crazy, and after witnessing that debacle I am reaffirmed in my position to pre-arrange/book/pay for travel on the Caribbean Islands.

We got back to the ship, and if I remember correctly we ordered room service for the kids, got everyone showered and chilled out after a full day in the sun.   Loved St. Thomas - a really great day.   

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Beauty beach views all day

Amazing views all day

Never-ending sandcastles

Sandcastles all day long

... and swimming

Never too hot - perfect ocean temp

Isaac the Iguana making sure the boy is still alive (me calmly trying not to freak out - that was a BIG Iguana!!!)
Isaac the Iguana making sure the boy is still breathing


Fun in waves all day



And snacks!



Have you even been to the beach if you're not having a nap on your balcony afterwards? ?



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Oh St Thomas you made me so happy and I cannot wait to go back.  Next year.  Adults only - cannot wait.

But back to December 2019 - following St. Thomas was San Juan.    We've been to SJ a multitude of times, and honestly the most exciting thing we've done at this port is go to the Walgreens to pick up bandaids, tylenol, or after-sun care ?   So hubs and little boys stayed on the ship - and I ventured out with my friend, her eldest and my eldest son.  We had a lovely wander - I love the old town in SJ, the denim bricks are fantastic, and we also popped in to Walgreens.  lol.   Then we got ditched, so my son and I went in search of the street with the umbrellas and we also enjoyed just wandering around.   The only conundrum was that it was HOT.   And not just mildly uncomfortably warm.   It was like Hades turned up the thermostat to 9 million.   And humid.    We were in a situation and I caved at one point and let him have a gatorade - and I made him share it with me.   But we had a lovely walk around.   

We had been to SJ in July when the protests were in their full glory and there was graffiti everywhere and shops (although open) were boarded up.   At one point in July we happened upon the intersection where the protesters were face to face with the police, and it was fairly uncomfortable - so we high tailed it outta there in the even bricks started to fly!

Our December visit revealed almost no evidence of the summer events.   We found a few view points, went to the chocolate shop, and enjoyed the amazing colours and architecture.   We were back on board for lunch, and had a really great day exploring the ship some more, and of course had the kids (and adults) in the pool!

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San Juan was a good little wandering day - and time with my son is always appreciated... I don't have many days left where he actually wants to spend time with me, so I was grateful for him coming along ?

Puerto Rico was followed by another sea day.   I'm pretty sure this day was full of pools, lunch at Izumi, cupcake decorating for the littles, and general relaxing.   We had to be well rested for the penultimate day at Coco Cay the following day.   

Needless to say the kids were out of their minds excited... and I'm not gonna lie - so were the parents.   We managed to score a cabana in the waterpark, which was handy for a group of 7.. we wanted to have a home base where we could leave our stuff and not worry about it.  In hindsight - I wouldn't do it again I don't think as we barely spent any time there.   We were first off the ship thanks to our genie - but people lost their minds.   As we disembarked there were a couple of cart/train things that drive you around the island, and as the doors opened and we headed off it was like folks were running from Armageddon and the only way to survive was to be on one of those vehicles.   It was horrifying and the fighting and behaviour of the adults wouldn't be tolerated in a kindergarten classroom.    We literally stood there with our jaws on the floor - it was something.  I was trying to reconcile the amount of energy required to run and fight for a seat with the energy required to walk...  it didn't jive.   Wowza.

After the debauchery of getting off the ship we walked all of about 100 yards (I'm guessing - it wasn't far) over to the water park, found our cabana and we were off.   The slides were great - we had so much fun.   Lines weren't too bad - we just avoided the long lines and went on the ones we really wanted to hit first thing in the am, and then at the end of the day.   I feel like they almost had to kick us out!

We made it back to the ship for snacks and a little rest - and an lovely little surprise for each of us from Luciano.   He really nailed it and we were totally surprised.   Boys were over the moon ?

As this was our last night on the ship we ordered room service and really enjoyed an amazing dinner on the patio with everyone before the packing was finished up.   What a great week...  

Disembarkation was a breeze - I think it was under 15 minutes from room to curbside for the uber.   

Great week... I'm feeling melancholy looking through these photos and trying to remember everything.  Something that's dawned on me, however, as I review our cruise is how much time I put into everything ahead of time.  And I mean everything... I'm obsessive about it.   Maybe because we were such a large group and I didn't want to miss out on things because there were so many of us.   I feel, moving forward, I will plan a little less (save for imperatives, like transportation and excursions) and try to go with the flow a little more.   I've already got a list going for our December cruise (if we get to go) of 5 or 6 "musts" and other than that I think I will leave it to fate!  Hopefully we're on Harmony this year - I've got everything crossed... and writing this with crossed fingers and eyes is less than ideal.  lol

Happy sailing everyone - and remember... be calm, be kind, be safe!

















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One last thing - the flights home.  OMG.

Left FLL at noon, into Toronto at 3:00 - out of Toronto at 7:00 and home at 9:30.

With time changes we were travelling for 12 hours - and the kids were absolute troopers.   My youngest napped on the flight from Toronto to Vancouver, but the eldest held strong...  until we were ten minutes from home.   The conundrum is that he's getting a little heavy to carry up the stairs into the house, and then up the stairs to his bedroom   

Good thing they're so bendy - I'd be in treatment for a month if I feel asleep in the car like this!




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