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ChicagoSunday, July 19: Chicago, here I come.

Chicago is one of my favorite US cities to visit - a feast for the eyes, the heart and the mind.  Stunning architecture and man-made green spaces complement  the natural beauty that comes from its location on the south-west shore of Lake Michigan.  As I wrote on my last visit to the city in 2006, Chicago has a  theatre scene that rivals New York or London - (Why Chicago dominates American Theatre, Part I  and...

gThis is the index of postings to my Travelblogue that documents my ballroom dancing-focused West Coast cruise in the Sapphire Princess  from Los Angeles, California to  Vancouver, British Columbia. I traveled with a group of ballroom dance enthusiasts led by Wendy from Dancers at Sea. With three hours of dancing every night,a dance workshop, excellent food on board and excursions to wine country en route, it was the perfect trip for a gourmet...

Vancouver's original and new convention centres
The Party's Over... it's time to call it a day
:

Saturday May 16, 2009.

Sadly it's time to call it a day and go back to the reality of every day life on land where  I can't dance for three hours every night. At least not unless I find an equally enthusiastic dance partner!

I was up very early to watch as the Sapphire Princess passed...
me
I see those harbor lights... the ports of Seattle and Victoria


On Thursday, May 14th we arrived in Seattle and were moored by 9 am. I decided that I had to try out the gym facilities at least once since I lugged my workout clothes and shoes with me to California so I thought I would go there early before having breakfast. I was up at the gym area by...
Haystack Rock, OregonAstoria and the South Oregon coast
Wednesday May 13 The ship schedule stated: Arrive Astoria, Oregon 7 am - depart 5 pm.

When pre-booking my tours I decided that after three days of dancing and two wine tours it would be time to have a relatively quiet day, try out a Deep Tissue Massage in the Spa and catch up with my writing. That was wise planning as I  was by that time  three days behind...
A lesson from Piero in Skywalker's Night ClubDancing at Sea: Dance and Workshops 
Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Tuesday  was the only day when the ship did not  call in at a port and we were at sea all day,  sailing  to Astoria, in Oregon. According to the ship's log - "throughout the day the Sapphire Princess steamed various northerly courses paralleling the coast of  California on her starboard side at a distance of...
Viansa Winery and Market PlaceDancing at Sea: Gourmet San Francisco Food and Sonoma Wine Tour

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Part II. The Wine


As we headed into the Sonoma  Valley wine country,  Jim told us about the wineries we would be visiting.  We were going to the Carneros region, the southern part of Sonoma.

As it turned out our first stop actually was not at a winery but at Cornerstone Co-Op - a little...
Dancing at Sea: ExplOratorium and the Golden Gate Bridge
Monday, May 10

tBefore we actually set off enroute to wine country we stopped first in the Marina District to see the grounds of the explOratorium. And that is not a typo. That's how they spell it.

The Palace of Fine Arts was originally built for the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition. The exhibition hall housed an exhibit of Impressionist paintings. Starting around 1964, it...

Monday May 11 The Gourmet San Francisco Food and Sonoma Wine Tour

Part 1. The Food

Your intrepid travel writer ready to make an entry in her Moleskine notebook ...

Dancing at Sea: Formal Night on Board
Sunday May 10

The note about Dining Room Dress Standards for Formal Night in the daily newsletter was quite unequivocal. Evening gowns, cocktail dresses or trouser suits for ladies. Tuxedo, slacks with dinner jackets, or suits with a tie for gentlemen. Hmm... Wonder what you wear if you are not a lady?  or a gentleman? And the note  went on to say that passengers who wished...

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