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The Great Hawaiian Cruise of 2012

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S: The Great Hawaiian Cruise of 2012 What could happen in 14 days?

FC: The Great Hawaiian Cruise of 2012 What could happen in 14 days?

1: This book is dedicated to the salmon that gave of their lives and allowed themselves to be cured smoked and then sliced thinly just so we could have our daily fix ...and to the bakers aboard the SS Sapphire Princess that made it possible for us to have our daily morning bagels as well as our afternoon and evening bread ..and to the waiters that made sure we had cream cheese for our lox and bagels and butter for our bread ...and to the gardeners that tended their ficus and plum trees, keeping them fertilized and pruned so that we could have our daily figs and prunes

3: In the beginning of October, 2012 we started talking about the possibility of taking a cruise together. We looked over the various options available and on October 22nd, we booked a 14 night Hawaiian cruise departing Los Angeles on December 8, 2012, aboard the Sapphire Princess. This is our story and we are pretty much planning on sticking to it. | The Great Hawaiian Cruise of 2012 What could happen in 14 days? | 12/08 We arrived at San Pedro (the day was overcast) and said our goodbyes. The ship didn't actually leave its berth and enter the San Pedro Channel until almost 5 PM but once we received our room keys we were "on vacation" and immediately went to see our room and to see if our 7 pieces of "checked" luggage had arrived (we arrived with 7 pieces, and departed, it should be noted, 14 days later with 9 pieces) . We reserved a Jr. Suite on the starboard side of the stern end of the ship. | We were excited to see our room as the description read "Cabin D733 is a Mini-Suite category on Princess Sapphire and includes Sliding glass doors, two twin beds, sitting area with couch, desk and drawers. The cabin is 290 sqft with a 64 sqft balcony and can accommodate up to 3 passengers. Mini-Suites have features including luxury mattresses and pillows, welcome glass of champagne, and massage shower head and feature upgraded bathrooms with shower AND tub.

4: It all sounded great and for most people would have been fantastic, however...the "upgraded” shower/tub combo proved to be an issue. It turned out you actually had to step w-a-a-a-a-a-y up and over and in to the tub in order to take a shower and even for Ilene and Gail that would have been a stretch...but for Mom....pretty much an impossibility. The photo that is shown here doesn't completely reflect how high the tub actually was. | It was decided that Gail would go to the purser's office to see about the possibility of changing our room to one with an accessible shower (after being there for quite a while and speaking to numerous people, it was apparent that a room change wasn't going to happen as the ship was completely full). Meanwhile Ilene took Mom to get a “bite” to eat. She thoroughly enjoyed her first buffet. Ilene took this picture to partially illustrate Mom's complete refusal to leave this meal for the mandatory Emergency Passenger Muster Drill that had been called. | We had been wait listed for the early dinner and were assigned to something called "Anytime Dining" which was exactly like it could eat at any of the restaurants on board (all serving the same menu) at any time, assuming a table was available. For some reason, which remains unknown to us now, (even though we had not experienced it yet) we were convinced we did not want this "Anytime Dining". In addition to the International Dining Room (assigned seatings) and the Horizon Court (Buffet Restaurant) there were 4 restaurants (not to mention the 2 "small extra charge" restaurants) we could choose from. There was the Santa Fe (which became our favorite), The Savoy, The Vivaldi and the Pacific Moon (this became our least favorite).

5: Ilene (in an especially feisty mood) and Gail decided to "fight" for an early dinner time (Mom had even brought a letter from her Doctor to support this request which we had with us) ...lucky for all concerned, we were told our request would be accommodated and we would receive something in our room the next day confirming this...(phew!) dining crisis adverted! We "toughed" it out, eating in the gorgeous Vivaldi Dining Room that night. That evening, we decided to forgo the show in the theater that night and proceeded to explore the other choices on board the ship...there was entertainment (as well as food) everywhere. Mom discovered the Piazza (which became a favorite place for her to read, meet other passengers, snack on milk and cookies, and enjoy the ongoing entertainment throughout the cruise)... | This was also the first night of Chanukah. There was a candle lighting celebration on board, however, we unfortunately missed it as we were somewhere...more than likely...eating.

6: Later that night, Gail and Ilene went up to the Lotus Spa to sign up for our“exclusive”membership. We had done this previously on other cruises and felt it was well worth the price. For this 2 week cruise it was more than we had paid previously ($99 each) but we both decided to go ahead and do it anyway (they only sell a limited number of memberships). We both love those heated chaises....unfortunately, although we had purchased our membership, we soon found there were others on board that also loved the use of these chaises but didn't find it a necessity to pay for it, therefore (sob!) the chairs were seldom available for us on this worries, though. It was Gail's turn to be in a feisty mood and, as a result, the $99 was refunded to us both on the last evening of the cruise. | 12/9 Today was our first full day on board the ship. Gail and Ilene started our day (as we did most days) with a workout in the gym (Ilene enjoyed this a lot more than Gail did) followed by a shower in the spa (the staff had placed this HUGE shower chair in the tub in our room in an effort to help out Mom). Although she never used it, that took up most of our bathtub. We then went back to the room, got Mom and went to breakfast in the restaurant (in order to eat breakfast in the restaurant, we had to be there prior to 9:00). Ilene and Gail each had a double order of lox (which we had each and every day thereafter, without exception for the duration of the cruise) and Mom had oatmeal and prunes and we all managed to order (and eat) quite a bit more before leaving for other activities (line dancing led by "Sindy with an S" and the movie, Ruby Sparks) to get us ready for lunch a mere 3 hours or so later. As this was our first real full day, we also managed to fit in our first high tea (this was after breakfast and somewhere between Lunch and Dinner). Apparently our emphasis was on eating and relaxing as we missed many other activities that were available to us. Some of the activities we missed that day included 4 exercise classes, an interdenominational church service, morning trivia, several free seminars, lei making classes, a greeting card creation class, ukulele classes, ballroom classes, photography class, 4 lectures, a social event, an orientation tour of the ship, a book club meeting, movies shown poolside, bingo, mah jongg, virtual bowling, and on and on and on (and this was all before 4!). In our room, later that day was a written confirmation of our"fixed" reservation in the Vivaldi Dining Room for every evening at 5:30, as we had requested ...that night we had dinner there and this was our first and only dinner at our assigned table. That evening, the sea was a bit rough (the wind was "Near Gale" conditions) and Gail (apparently, Gail couldn't take a Gale) took the first of many Bonine tablets.

7: Also today, we discovered the Valentina commercial. If you haven't seen it on TV, and don't want to take the time to search for it on UTube, apparently, you merely have to take a cruise to see it. There is one station on the ship that plays this commercial, on a loop, continuously 24-7. It is actually a good commercial, assuming one wanted to watch is kind of a homage to "Roman Holiday" set to "Via Con Me" ...why do we mention it here? ...because it was on the TV constantly. | 12/10 Today was similar to the day before when it came to eating with the major exception that we had breakfast upstairs, in the buffet, rather than in the restaurant due to time constraints. It was a good thing we found the buffet as we discovered that in the morning, in addition to prunes, there were dried figs to be had ....(sometimes they | they were out and sometimes they were hidden in the back, however we found out we could always get them if we asked for them) and made a point of eating said figs that day and every day thereafter up to and including the last day of the cruise. (Why were we so obsessed with figs?) Mom attended the beginner's bridge lecture (loved it), the intermediate bridge lecture (hated it) and later that day played bridge (she said it was “so-so”). Ilene and I went to the line dance class, however, Mom didn't come with us due to a conflict with her bridge classes. It was the first formal night...we decided to boycott that and did just that. We did, however, see the first production show in the was entertaining, however very much like one that one would expect to see at a high school in Ohio.

8: Later that night, while Mom was enjoying the Champagne Waterfall Party in the Piazza, Gail and Ilene went and saw a bit of Princess Pop Star tryouts (kind of like an American Idol thing) and saw 3 or 4 acts...actually they were really really good and with the exception of one, they appeared to be more talented than the performers in the production show. | 12/11 After breakfast, Ilene went to the line dance class, Gail instead played a bit of mah jongg, Mom also skipped it and enjoyed "Piano Melodies with Richard" in the Piazza. Later Gail and Mom went to explore the ship. After exploring the decks on the 14th floor, Mom decided she wanted to spend some time outside reading and napping as it was quite sunny out. After she was settled, Gail left Mom, agreeing to return in an hour and went up to the room to meet with Ilene. After chatting a bit (more than likely about our next meal), llene decided to check out the balcony...which is when she had started to rain (this was not a drizzle)..really, really, really rain. We grabbed some dry clothes for Mom and rushed was really coming down by then...but Mom was no where to be found. After going in different directions...finally (after 20 or 30 minutes of searching) Mom was located, safe and sound and totally..soaked | Once Mom was changed and dry, we went to the Savoy Dining Room where they had advertised a Pub lunch. Once we were seated and handed our menus, we realized, none of us wanted anything to do with a pub lunch and left the restaurant to eat elsewhere. Later we went to the Princess Theater and saw our 2nd movie, “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”. After dinner that night we went to the theater and saw a vocalist (Jamila) that we all totally enjoyed. After the show we discovered Pete Thompson on piano in the Crooners Bar...we seldom missed him after that. It was not a sing-a-long place but the 3 of us chose to disregard that and consistently sang along with him on all of his songs, regardless of whether we actually knew the words or not. He was scheduled to play every night from 9:30 until way past the time we were asleep.

9: 12/12 Today, we managed to wait almost 3 hours after eating breakfast before going to the restaurant to enjoy lunch. We enjoyed the food and our adorable waiter:

10: Later, Gail and Ilene went to the first of many on board "outlet" sales... we started the cruise with 3 shipboard credits of $25 each (which we managed to spend numerous times, over and over and over again). At the sale we ended up purchasing a hideous (Gail's opinion...Ilene thought it was lovely) huge plastic leopard watch (which promptly broke) and a beautiful scarf for Mom. | Mom decided to try the "sunning on the deck" (it is obvious from this photo that it was warm don't see her wearing her parka, do you?) thing again, but this time she only wanted to enjoy the fresh air of our stateroom balcony...It was almost like she didn't trust we might abandon her in the rain or something...BTW..Mom was typically dressed for an Alaskan cruise as opposed to a Hawaiian cruise. Later, we went to the theater and saw another movie. This time, we saw "Hope Springs".

11: While we were in the theater, we somehow missed a huge celebration being held for “Mary”, a fellow passenger who had turned 100 on that day. For the remainder of the cruise, people came up to us and asked “Is that Mary?” pointing at Mom. It should be noted that Mom was not all that pleased being compared to someone so much older. We always responded to others that Mom was just a “baby”, not even 93 yet, while trying to reassure Mom that being confused for Mary was not all that unusual or negative. Mary looked quite a bit younger than her age, was about Mom's height, with the same prominent cheek bones, similar hair style and typically in a wheel chair (as was Mom) Mary, it should be pointed out, however, is Asian. | This is Mary | Later that night, we decided to try the Pacific Moon Restaurant for a change. On this particular evening, we wheeled Mom in and as usual the waiters helped us all get seated and moved the wheel chair out of the way for us. After dinner, we let the waiter know we were ready to leave and asked him to bring the wheel chair out. First he came back with a walker. We reminded him that we had come in with a wheelchair. He and his supervisor, finally, after quite a bit of time had passed, brought out a wheel chair. It was a very nice wheel chair...unfortunately, not ours. Ilene spoke to everyone there, at first calmly, later on, (“go, girl, go”) not so much. After completely searching the restaurant and the area nearby without success, they finally said they would have someone bring a ship-owned wheel chair out for us to use while they continued to search for ours. This took a long time to do. When the steward brought the wheel chair out, at first he told us he was going to escort us to our room and then return the wheel chair to the ship. We were not ready to go to bed, (Mom still wanted to see a show or whatever) and we were scheduled to go ashore the next day and would require a chair. At this point Ilene was starting to get a bit heated, however, it wasn't until the steward told her she would have to sign something releasing this chair to us that she unleashed her inner bitch (again, “go, girl, go”). Much later that evening, Gail was walking around the ship with Ilene and she spied Mom's wheelchair with someone else in it! She knew it was ours as, earlier that day, she had tied a purple glove to one of the handles (don't ask). We walked up to the ladies pushing the chair and mentioned we thought they had the wrong wheel chair. It turned out to be an honest mistake and in the end all was well. Mom had her chair, we had an adventure of sorts, and another side of Ilene was seen.

12: 12/13 After traveling 2,138 (nautical) miles from Los Angeles to Hilo, we were excited to experience our first (of four in Hawaii) day in Hilo. We hadn't scheduled a side trip and decided we would just take advantage of the advertised complimentary shuttles waiting eagerly for us ashore. Well, we waited and waited and waited outside the ship in the gangway in a kind of “holding area” (did I mention it was raining?) and finally our free shuttle came and dropped us off at its only stop...Hilo Hattie’s. | It should be noted that Hilo Hatties does have a lot of overpriced, but nice stuff you can purchase to hang in the closet or put on display on the mantel until your next garage sale. Luckily, with our “eagle eyes” and astute concentration, we had noticed a cultural site located within walking distance of Hilo Hattie’s. You are probably thinking we were near the Lyman Museum or perhaps the Mauna Kea Observatory or the Mauna Loa Observatory or even Rainbow Falls or the Liliuokalani Gardens...actually what we saw as our shuttle was just about to drop us off...was the pride and joy of Hilo, Hawaii and even though, by this time, we were experiencing a torrential downpour, thats right, we braved the weather and walked from Hilo Hattie’s to the (wait for it)...Wal-Mart where we managed to do our part in stimulating Hilo’s economy. | After we were all “shopped-out” (among other things, Mom made some exotic purchases including a sweatshirt, a pair of pajamas, and a travel pillow), we gathered our bags and went to the shuttle stop to get our free ride back to the ship. We waited (I did mention it was raining, didn't I?) and waited and waited and then we waited a bit more. We finally decided, perhaps it would be best if we got a cab. Most of the cabs were SUV’s and just a bit too difficult for Mom to easily get into (same issue as the bathtub back on the ship...just to high). Finally we were able to get a cab that would accommodate all of us. A man came from out of the crowd and asked if he could “share” our cab back to the ship. I said that would be OK and we waited while he and his wife and their seventeen bags were loaded in. When the cab arrived somewhat near the ship, I asked the driver how much it was and she said only $11.00. I told the man he and I would each only need to put in $7 which would include the tip. He proceeded to tell us that wouldn't be right since there were only 2 of them and 3 of us. Really???? Ilene paid our share and made him pay his and that was that.

13: 12/14 From Hilo to Honolulu was only 199 (nautical) miles. Today we landed in Honolulu and again, we had not scheduled a tour, but we did manage to avoid this island's complimentary bus to the local Hilo Hattie’s. I guess they are at all the ports. It was a beautiful day and we made our way a few blocks from the ship where we saw a sign for the “Hop on – Hop Off” bus. We spoke to the people working there and they told us for one price we could ride as long as we wanted, as many times as we wanted and, best of all there was a beautiful "Honolulu By Night" tour that was fantastic at this time of year with | all the Christmas lights out. They made some calls and arranged it so that we would have the wheel chair accessible bus (they only had one that was equipped to do so) and take us on the beautiful route that took us to Diamond Head and then they would exchange routes with another bus and take us on the Honolulu sightseeing route. We all thoroughly enjoyed the tour. Below are some photos from our tour.

14: Additional photos from the "Hop On-Hop Off" tours in Honolulu: | We finally got off at the International Marketplace (I know it was mentioned we were “shopped out” the previous day, but apparently we were lucky enough to find the inner strength within ourselves to go on and shop once again). Being the altruistic souls that we are, we knew it was almost our duty to once again stimulate the local economy. Mom did some serious bargaining/haggling (and managed to get a shopkeeper to not charge her state tax that the rest of us paid). We all did a bit more shopping (Ilene purchased, among other things, a suitcase so that she could carry home her other numerous purchases) and then we stopped for lunch (Ilene and Gail had fantastic sushi) followed by a foot massage for Mom. After returning to the boat, eating an early dinner (it's not like we were going to miss a meal) and taking Mom to the Piazza to listen to and watch one of her favorite groups entertain, Ilene and I left the ship to take the evening tour of Honolulu. We waited and waited (Ilene called the bus line and waited on hold for over a half hour) and waited some more and finally realized the tour was not going to happen. Oh well!

15: 12/15 From Honolulu to Nawiliwili was only 92 (nautical) miles. We arrived in Nawiliwili, Kauai and today, once again, we had beautiful weather. After breakfast (one never misses a meal when one is cruising) we disembarked and waited in a warehouse kind of space where we awaited our tour. This was not a very attractive space (it was after all, merely a “holding area”) but Ilene decided we should take pictures (see below). | There were lots of people milling about, but Ilene turned to a specific man to one side of her and asked if he minded taking our picture. He said OK and Ilene said, “well, you hold the camera in like this and just take your other hand and press the button here” that point he said, maybe you should ask someone else to take the picture and turned to the lady at his side and passed her the camera to take our picture, which she did. (It should be noted...the man only had one much for our powers of observation and so much for our future as professional photographers, with an ability to find those special backgrounds, missed by so many others.) Is this not an amazing background in these photos?

16: At any rate we finally boarded our bus and had a wonderful tour of Waimea Canyon and the Koloa Heritage Trail. The tour driver was great and appeared very knowledgeable about his island and other miscellaneous things...amongst other tidbits he shared was that if you eat something that is too spicy, you should stuff your mouth with bread and that would absorb the heat...who knew? He also shared that we should not worry so much about saving money when buying souvenirs, that if we saw something we liked we should buy it and not take the chance that we would not see it again in order to save a dollar or two...well we did have one stop along the way that allowed for shopping and saw the same souvenir $h!t we saw before and would see again, however in this special store, everything was 20-25% higher interesting, no? With all that said, he actually was a very interesting tour guide and we all, really did enjoy the tour though...the following pictures were taken on this tour:

19: When we returned to the ship, they were having the candle lighting services for the last night of Channukah and we were able to see it and participate. It was a lovely service and Mom totally enjoyed, not only the service and the singing, but also the glass of Manishevitz wine. The latkes she felt were too greasy...oh well. They also served challah bread which Mom much so that she took a piece into dinner with her (of course we had dinner). | 12/16 From Nawililiwili to Lahaina was 174 (nautical) miles. Today we arrived in Lahaina, Maui. Unfortunately, Mom was unable to go ashore. In Maui, the ship does not dock, but instead uses tenders (which in the best of cases is difficult to get on and off for those with any type of physical limitations) and the sea was extremely | was extremely rough. Several passengers fell and one was injured due to the roughness getting on and off the tenders. The weather once again was wonderful and those that wanted to complain, complained about the heat...meanwhile, Mom was bundled up in her parka (over a long sleeved top) with her wool scarf around her neck . Ilene and Gail once again (altruistic to the core) attempted to help stimulate the economy in Maui, and did a bit of shopping, had some Hawaiian ice cream. Ilene then took her shoes off and waded in the Ocean. Beach time, however, could not interfere with shopping time and Ilene did manage to get to one of the many ABC stores and try some flip flops on her sand-encrusted feet. Which brings us to some miscellaneous facts about the ABC stores....did you know that ABC stands for All Blocks Covered? Did you know that in addition to the stores located on almost every corner in Hawaii (39 in Oahu, 12 in Maui, 3 in Kauai, and 5 on the big island ), that there were 8 locations in Las Vegas? Did you know that among other things, they sell Spam flavored macadamia nuts? | We even managed to attend a local craft show where we saw a young Hawaiian dance troupe and some random man with many beautiful was free to take a picture of the birds, however if we wanted to be in a photo with the birds, we had to pay...needless to say, there are no pictures here showing us "with" the birds.

20: This picture (with the Sapphire Princess in the background) was taken while (still in Maui) eating our authentic Hawaiian ice cream. Just because we were off the ship was no reason, or so we felt, to go for more than an hour or two without eating. When we returned to the ship...we got together with Mom and immediately (of course) went to the dining room to eat. Random note: Half way through the cruise we had a change in cabin stewards. The first one did an awesome job which we didn't truly appreciate until we got his replacement. The new guy thought it was more important to turn our TV on to the channel with fake fireplace (this was a tropical cruise, not an Alaskan cruise) than to actually clean. Just saying...

21: 12/17 Today (as well as on the 18th), the seas felt extremely rough (today the wind was NE 7 with "Near Gale" conditions and on the 18th, the wind was NE 8 with actual "Gale" conditions) ..Bomines in (Gail's) hand, we soldiered on. The seas didn't keep any of us from enjoying our lunch. (Nothing ever got between us and our food.) | Tonight was "formal night"we all got dressed up. Here we are at dinner:

22: More pictures from taken at dinner

23: Because it was "formal night" we had a "formal" picture taken.

24: 12/18 Today, not all that surprisingly, we didn't miss a meal. Did we mention that Mom never left a meal without taking a cloth napkin from the table with her? We saw our 3rd and final movie, "The Intouchables", in the theater. We looked at the pictures we had had taken the night before and Mom said she wanted to purchase a few of them...and so we did. We ran into an older woman we had met our first day...(at that time and for the next week or so, whenever we ran into her and asked how are you doing?" she would complain she was having a terrible time because she was cruising alone, without family or friends)...Today she was happy as she now traveling with her daughter (wtf?). She was, however, fretting over her pictures. It must be said that most of us WERE fretting over our pictures...the difference was that we could only see flaws. "Pretty Lady" (as we referred to her from then on) was having a difficult time, so she said, picking out a picture, because she was so very very PRETTY in all of them, it was too hard to limit herself to just one. There is a quote by Anthony Powell, "Self-love seems so often unrequited." | Later that evening, Mom thoroughly enjoyed the Dixie Land Band playing in the Piazza

25: 12/19 Today, after eating lunch and before tea, we decided to visit the nightclub we had previously discovered to be the quietest place on the ship, with the best views, and we felt, the perfect place to . r | After that, Ilene and Gail decided to go to the "formal" tea in the Pacific Moon one last time, as we were a bit too hungry (really?) to wait until dinner. (Mom was not hungry at all - something to do with all the milk and cookies served in the Piazza, perhaps?). We wanted our tea and scones and small stale sandwiches and sugary sweet cakes (beautiful to look at/probably not even close to being worth the calories). The maitre d' asked us if we would like to share a table or have a table for 2...we had gotten in the habit of asking for the smaller tables so we said, we would prefer the table for 2. We weren't sure why he even asked us didn't seem to please him...he pointed to an area away from where most of the passengers were being seated and will have to sit up there and you will have to wait quite a while to be served. (I guess we shouldn't have opted for the smaller table). He told it that it would take a while...and it did. Server after server passed our table with trays of scones, trays of cookies, trays of pastries, pitchers of tea, bowls of jam and clotted cream, and as hard as Ilene tried, nobody would stop for us. Eventually we did get served (phew! ..that was close...otherwise we would have been without food for more than 2 hours). Later that night, after dinner, we went to the Princess Theater and saw an entertainer, Heather Sullivan that we all loved | read.

26: 12/20 Today was the first and only day that Mom didn't feel up to doing much of anything...her first and only "down" day. Ilene and I started the day out at the gym, checked on Mom, ate breakfast, checked on Mom, found a shopping opportunity on if there weren't the same prices and merchandise every day...but this one was advertised as their BIG sale...(kind of like Macy's "best prices of the year" 1 day only sale...held pretty much, weekly during the holidays, but I digress) and because there was an additional 10% discount if you bought 3 things that you didn't need instead of 2, between us Ilene and I bought 2 bags and 1 hat... After that, Ilene did part of the "Walk for the Cure" and Gail played mah jongg for an hour or so...and then there was lunch and then we had an (no more Pacific Moon for us) informal tea on the 14th floor: | After tea, and while wandering, we found these home-made ginger bread houses in the Piazza area and mistakenly asked someone if they had been (unfortunately the photo does not really show the detail, or lack thereof, but we will be able to remember!) done as a fun activity by the kids on deck...Woops! The kitchen staff had made these.

27: 12/21 From Lahaina (our last port) to Ensendada was 2,250 (nautical) miles. We would not reach Ensenada until 4:00 PM. Today was our last full day at sea. This morning, all before Noon, we could have taken exercise classes (today they offered, “Long and Lean Stretch or Core Pilates or Spinning Strength or Zumba or Carpet Bowling) or we could have exercised our brains (today they offered The Puzzle Place which was putting together jigsaw puzzles poolside or Scholarship at Sea which was an enrichment lecture re Route 66 or there were the daily Bridge Lectures or there was Morning Trivia) or we could have participated in other activities around ship (today they were showing “How To Marry a Millionaire” poolside or we could have taken Ukulele Kanikapila classes or joined the Scavenger Hunt) but after the daily stuffing event we choose to call breakfast, we took Mom to the Piazza to listen to the Diamond Strings. | Random Note: Why does a Hawaiian cruise stop in Ensenada. Edification has been provided. In one of the "absurdities of seas", the Jones Act (enacted in the 1920's to protect seamen) forbids foreign ships, which includes most major cruise line fleets, to transport cargo or passengers between two United States ports without first stopping at a foreign port.

28: When the strings had finished playing, Mom decided to stay in the Piazza and listened to Piano Melodies with Richard (and be served milk and cookies...the waitress told Mom that she baked them fresh each day)...while Gail and Ilene went up to the nightclub (kindles in hand) on the 18th floor to read. | As this was our last full day at sea, we knew we would have to sacrifice a bit in order to get in as many meals as possible. We penjoyed the snack below, between breakfast and lunch...partially because they wee "s-o-o-o-o cute"

29: Next, we each got a "sample" massage. (No idea why there isn't a picture of Mom...she loved her free massage) | Before going upstairs to pack, Gail and Ilene went to the pizza restaurant (Vines) for the first time...all I can say is it is a good thing we didn't discover this restaurant until the last day...the scales would have been even worse when we got home. | We actually needed NINE (9 tags for just 3 of us) of these tags in order to pack!

30: Later we arrived in Ensenada. Mom insisted she wanted to shop and explore Ensenada. We left for the gangway (hadn't mentioned this before, but whenever Mom wanted to leave the ship it was quite an experience for her. The gangways in port did not have ramps and Mom would have to be carried, wheelchair and all, with her hands over her eyes, backwards, both up and down the stairs) where they had Mom leave her wheelchair and enter this contraption that was like a wheel chair with an attached a result, although still somewhat difficult, this was the easiest departure for her of all the ports. When we first got ashore we were in this overcrowded area that had about a dozen stalls or so selling the requisite souvenirs, liquor, etc...there was no way to even get Mom close to the "merchandise" due to the stifling amounts of humanity competing for oxygen space. Ilene and Gail took turns pushing the wheelchair away from this area and towards the shopping area of Ensenada (about 5 blocks away).

31: After eating our last dinner on board and not having shopped enough (apparently), we then shopped in the liquor store on board and found cigarettes, regardless of brand name, they were only $31.95 (no tax) for a carton which we thought was a great deal (I think they sell for $57-$69 or so, plus tax in the regular stores. The alcohol we weren't so sure about. We mainly looked at the scotch and found Johnnie Walker Red for $17.50 a bottle, JW Black for $36, JW Blue for $205 (or $235 for the Elite Pack with 2 crystal glasses), JW Platinum for $100 and JW Gold Reserve for $75. Surprisingly...we purchased...nothing. | We got within a block of our destination and Mom decided she wanted to get back to the ship as it was reaching dusk and would be getting dark soon. These pictures were taken on the way photo is of our ship all lit up and another of a beautiful Ensenada sunset:

32: True Fact: Morgan Robertson’s “The Wreck of the Titan,” is an unusual novel describing the doomed voyage of the luxury liner Titan, the largest and most glamorous liner ever constructed. Carrying the wealthy and prominent of her time on her April maiden voyage between Southampton and New York, she set out to break a nautical speed record. In the middle of the night, the Titan struck an iceberg and sank, killing most of the passengers as a result of an insufficient number of life boats. “The Wreck of the Titan” was published in 1898, fourteen years before the Titanic sank | From a passenger cruise ship, everyone can see a bearded man on a small island who is shouting and desperately waving his hands. "Who is it?" a passenger asks the captain. The cruise ship captain replied, "I've no idea. Every year when we pass, he goes nuts." | A magician was working on a cruise ship in. There was a different audience each week so the magician allowed himself to do the same tricks over and over again. There was only one problem: the captain's parrot saw the shows each week and began to understand how the magician did every trick. Once he understood he started shouting in the middle of the show: "Look, it's not the same hat". "Look, he is hiding the flowers under the table". "Hey, why are all these cards the Ace of Spades?" The magician was furious but couldn't do anything; it was, after all, the captain's parrot. One day the ship had an accident and sank. The magician found himself on a piece of wood in the middle of the ocean with the parrot, of course! They stared at each other with hate, but did not utter a word. this went on for a day and another and another. After about a week the parrot said: "OK, I give up. Where's the boat?" | Calories (noun) Tiny creatures that live on board cruise ships, hide in the closet and sew your clothes a bit tighter every night

33: 12/22 After traveling from Ensenada to Los Angeles, a total of 143 (nautical) miles, the ship arrived, entering the San Pedro Channel at 5:30 AM, with lines all fast, safe and secure at 7:00 AM. | Miscellaneous numerical facts regarding the cruise: We traveled a total of 4,996 (nautical ) miles 1 nautical mile = 1.15 statute miles) There were 28 meals where we each partook of bread and butter (that would be every lunch and every dinner) Gail gained 5 pounds Ilene gained 3 pounds Mom's weight gain unknown (but one pair of her pants were a bit snug that last day) We enjoyed 14 days together...priceless!

35: The Great Hawaiian Cruise of 2012 December 8 - December 22, 2012

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  • By: gail h.
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  • Title: The Great Hawaiian Cruise of 2012
  • A journey, exploring the Hawaiian Islands while wearing ski jackets. also... A journey, exploring menus of upcoming meals, after being over served at previous meals in order to pack on as many calories as posible in only 14 days
  • Tags: food, more food, even more food
  • Published: over 5 years ago