Monday, January 27, 2014

Carnival Victory - Part II


The ship didn’t arrive in Cozumel until 1 o’clock so we spent the morning in the gym, working off our lobster and Bitter and Blanc. When we pulled into port, we docked alongside Carnival Paradise and Carnival Elation. It was neat looking down at the Paradise’s deck from our deck. We were there last year!

towel animals

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Carnival Victory - Part I

Carnival Victory


The problem with taking a cruise in January is that you never know what the weather will be like. We’ve been cruising over MLK weekend for the past five years now and for the most part we’ve been lucky. But as our cruise on Victory neared, the temperatures on the weather forecast got lower and lower. On the drive to Miami, we stopped at the rest stop on Alligator Alley and it was 56 degrees with a fierce wind. Everyone was bundled up in scarves and jackets except for a few people in shorts who apparently hadn’t gotten the memo that it was COLD!

When we got to the port at noon, they were just starting the boarding process. We were assigned to Boarding Group 10 so we had a wait a bit but we were onboard and exploring the ship by 1 o’clock. I loved Victory’s theme, Famous Bodies of Water. All the restaurants and public areas were named after oceans or mythological sea creatures, like the Atlantic and Pacific Dining Rooms, the Caspian Sea Wine Bar and the Tritons Pool. I especially liked the Atlantic Dining Room. It was 2-stories high with a dramatic staircase, statues of mermaids and mermen, and wavy blue lights. It was very pretty. Well, except maybe for the mermaid heads lining the walls. They were a little creepy. :-) The Seven Seas Atrium was decorated in greens and blues, with a deep green ceiling that gave the area an underwater feel. And there were seahorses everywhere – on the door handles, on the bar stools, on the stairway banisters. People on Cruise Critic warned about the stairway seahorses. Since the seahorses’ snouts stick out farther than the handrails, they will “bite” you if you walk too close. Fortunately, we made it through the trip without any seahorse attacks.

Monday, January 6, 2014

TECO's Manatee Viewing Center

manatee sign

Florida is one of the few places in the world where manatees are found. Although manatees look fat, they actually have very little body fat to keep them warm. So when the Gulf of Mexico dips below 68 degrees, they migrate to warmer waters like the natural springs in Homosassa or Crystal River. Every few years, Ron and I like to take the boat up to Homosassa to swim with the manatees. But since it didn’t look like we’d have time this year, we decided to spend an afternoon at Tampa Electric’s Manatee Viewing Center instead.

The viewing center was created after the Big Bend Power Station opened in 1986 and employees noticed large numbers of manatees congregating in the warm waters of their discharge canals each winter. The center includes an observation platform, as well as educational displays, a nature trail and butterfly gardens.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!
You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
(Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the Places You’ll Go”)
The best part about starting a new year is the possibility. There’s a whole year ahead to fill with trips, planning and anticipation. Where should we go this year? What will we see? What new things will we experience?

Ron and I haven’t decided on a destination for our annual Caribbean vacation yet, but we're going on a short cruise in a few weeks. And for Christmas, Jenny gave me, Mary and Mama travel books to London. We’ll be taking a girls’ trip to England in the fall! Lots to look forward to. your name Buxbaum or Bixby or Bray
or Mordecai Ali Van Allen O'Shea,
you're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting.
So...get on your way!
(Dr. Suess)
Happy New Year and Happy Travels to all!