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Dancing at Sea: The Wine Excursions

Sunday May 10 Santa Ynez Wine Country tour

Buttonwood1We were scheduled to arrive at Santa Barbara at 7 am and depart 4 pm. I had pre-booked a Wine Country Tour leaving at 9 am. The directions on the ticket said to assemble in the Princess Theatre at 8:20 am. I knew that I needed to have some food in me or I would be staggering after the first few sips of wine – yes, I know...

Dancing at Sea: I Could Have Danced All Night

May 9th, 2009

Dance Floor at Wheelhouse LoungeThe On-Board Venues:

Since dance is what this cruise is about,  at least for most of the members of the Dancers at Sea Group, the idea is to dance non-stop from after dinner till midnight. On various evenings some folks may choose to attend the song and dance shows which are at 8:30 or 10 pm in the...

Dancing at Sea: Embarkation Day 

May 9th, 2009

My son is driving me to the Cruise Terminal. We turn it into a family outing so my grand-daughter can see what a really big ship looks like. It's a short 1 hour drive along the highway to the cruise ship terminal at San Pedro from which the Sapphire Princess is to sail. We made excellent time until we got to the last turnoff to Harbor Boulevard where somehow...
CruiseshipFriday May 8 th, 2009

It is six am on a bright California morning. Tomorrow my family will drive me up to the cruise ship terminal at San Pedro where I will embark on the Sapphire Princess for a seven night cruise from Los Angeles to Vancouver. With shore excursions for winery tasting and a gourmet food and wine tour in San Francisco, this cruise promises to provide most of my favorite activities - fine supping, great sipping and a different travel experience. But...

XCARET –THE ECOLOGY PARK

We wanted to check out the Paradise river raft and set off along a sand path winding through more luxuriant jungle vegetation. En route to the river we stopped off in the huge greenhouse where they cultivate a variety of orchids and other exotic plants. The pictures say it all.

We also visited the mushroom farm area where they cultivate edible oyster mushrooms (pleurotus) in foul smelling bags containing wheat straw and dead leaves of native Yucatan plants.

We passed by the very noisy flamingo enclosure and the extensive fish...

XCARET – THE WATER PARK

Xcaret (which means small inlet in Mayan) was once an important port for the Yucatan Peninsula and also served as a Mayan ceremonial centre. Today it has been developed into an aquatic recreational park where you can float down underground rivers, swim and snorkel in pools and lagoons, and see turtles, dolphins and even sharks up close and personal. While one can drive to the park and just pay the admission fee, from the hotels it makes sense...

pMexico and Me: Day 5 (Tues 23rd): Oops – what is happening to our minds? Too much sun?

We still have not figured out how it happened but we were chatting around 10:45 when the Brio Spa called to tell us we had missed appointments for massages. How do three compulsive detail oriented individuals do that? We were all completely bamboozled and somehow had 2 pm in our heads instead of 10 am. We are feeling very stupid and also deprived as we were...

aMexico and Me: Day 2 (Sat 20th): Sun and Son

Amanda and I hit the gym first thing so we felt thoroughly virtuous as we took a cab into Playa del Carmen to stock up on food for breakfast and lunch. Our unit has nice kitchen facilities so our general plan is to eat breakfast and lunch in our unit and go out for dinner. The taxi in to Playa is a flat 195 pesos. The drivers are happy to wait while you shop...
BeachThe Mayan Palace and Grand Mayan  Resort is one of a sequence of hotels and resorts that line the Caribbean Sea along the eastern coastline of the Yucatan Peninsula. The resort is  south of Cancun  near Playa del Carmen. In the five years since I last stayed here the resort has changed a lot.  It is roughly divided into two areas, the Mayan Palace and Grand Mayan, with a new section of ultra luxury suites called the Luxe, to come next year. As well as...
Mexico and Me: Day -3 (T): Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow
 
Dire warnings from Environment Canada greeted me when I woke up the morning before I was to catch a plane to Toronto and then later to Cancun. “Snowfall overnight, expect delays on your morning commute.” Hmmmm, I thought. With an early morning flight I did not want to find me and my taxi in a ditch while my plane took off into the clouds. The scene adjacent shows...

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