Thursday, March 29, 2012

A Simple Abundance .... Ft Lauderdale, FL

Before our trip we arranged to connect in Ft Lauderdale with our daughter Natalie who lives in Orlando.  We were so excited, we literally were the first ones off the ship.  Once we connected with Natalie we headed to the Las Olas area.

Realigning on our iPhones...wha-la we found it!

What we hadn't planned was attending the Las Olas Art Festival. We found our day spent strolling along the Boulevard, amidst life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings,  photography and live music in the streets. 



We found art created by Ilkin Deniz

We enjoyed meeting the artisit.

After walking and talking for hours we found a nice cool spot at the Cheese Cake Factory.        
 We will never forget our day enjoying each others company.

What a magical day we were so blessed!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I wish I could have stayed forever!

Half Moon Cay

Our last day at port was spent in paradise.  We fulfilled our tropical island fantasy by spending the day at Half Moon Cay, in the Bahamas.  We found ourselves on an idyllic sun drenched hideaway where we played in the tourquoise seas snorkeling, swimming, floating and walking the beach.
The water is too shallow for the ship to dock so there's tenders to take us ashore.

Our ship was the only one here for the day so there was plenty of room for everyone to spread out.  The mood on the beach was friendly and "party-like".  Many people had cultivated friendships throughout the week so folks stopped to chat. The beach guest take pause and enjoy their last day in heaven.  We did!

Gary and I strolled around the island.  They had lockers for you to rent to store belongings.

For sun coverage many rented these blue tents for the day.

This sign says it all!

 In the pirate ship they had a live band so you could "move" in the breeze to the sounds.

This photo cracks me up! 
If you look closely what appears to be people watching TV is actually folks sitting in a chapel.
The picture is capturing the door frame to the beach.
Another view of the chaming chapel.

We head back to the ship after our wonderful day at Half Moon Cay.

Our trip was magical, relaxing and long over due!
 While Sunday Loft readers know Jennie as my Round Top partner in crime.  Jennie is a certified Virtuoso Specialist with travel agency management for over 20 years.

This trip was a result of a cold January winter night with Jennie sharing stories of travels.  With her encouragement, passion and most importantly knowledge this trip was booked the next day.  All the photos provided throughout our cruise were a result of the itinerary that she provided.  The meal reservations, excursions, shopping to even assisting on what clothes we should bring.

I send a special thank you to Jennie for enriching our travel experience.  Your wealth of knowledge from your own experiences ensured our journey was filled with relaxation and happiness.
Thank you!
Contact Jennie for your next get away...

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, March 15, 2012

St. Thomas

Our next stop on our Eastern Caribbean tour was the beautiful island of Saint Thomas! 
As we approached land there were white and pastel houses sprinkled against the hills.

This photo really captured the beauty of the sail boats anchored in the St. Thomas harbor.

This marina was the view from our stateroom balcony as we docked. 

Magen's Bay was our destination for the day.  This National Park is located on the North side of the island and I can see why it's rated as one of the top 10 beaches in the world. This three quarter of a mile white sandy beach is truly stunning. Before enjoying the water we spent half the day sitting at this table taking in the glorious view.

I honestly had never seen paddle boarding before.  I think I would like to try it. 

One of our main attractions at Magen's Bay was this crazy bird.
It would circle overhead looking for food in the water.

Once the bird targeted dinner it descended into the water at a rapid speed dive bombing anyone in its path. It made for great people watching.  I even giggled (screamed) when it happened to me!

We enjoyed our whole day at Magen's Bay. Once we felt like we had enough sun for the day we jumped in another open air taxi and headed to downtown St. Thomas for shopping.  Here's a glimpse of our view coming back over the hills to town.

The view was spectaclar!

After sightseeing all day we dressed for our special dinner onboard the ship.  On each Holland voyage one night a week they transform the Pinnacle Grill into the famous Le Cirque of New York. The world famous Chef, Sirio Maccioni started his career on a transatlantic cruise liner and now he offers for one night a sampling menu from his famous New York restaurant. Needless to say, we took the opportunity and were not disappointed being wined and dined for hours.

The dinner started with a delicious Butternut Squash with Huckleberries soup.

Gary's main course was the Paupietter of Black Bass which he said was mouth watering!
I order the Chateaubriand I got so excited I forgot to take a photo.

THEN we enjoyed the Napolean which was a puff pastry with mousseline and berries for dessert.

Since we recently celebrated our 32nd wedding anniverary  we were surprised when they  brought us the special happy honeymoon cake!  Oh, what the heck, we blew out the candle and enjoyed yet another treat.    What a wonderful day and evening!

After dinner we rolled back to our stateroom.....I've never been so full in my life.
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Ooooeeee Baby ... Let Me Take You on a Sea Cruise!

Hello...I've missed ya'll.
We've just returned from an Eastern Caribbean cruise...

Image source Holland America

Last week we sailed from Ft. Lauderdale on the Eurodam, via the Holland America cruise line.
Come sail with us!
Our first night you could find us in the casino!

The next morning we sipped our coffee in the pool area while it was quiet and so surreal.

 Aren't these fish barstools fun?

The ship offered cozy cabanas at poolside, don't they look inviting?

Our first stop ... Grand Turk, one of a chain of more than 40 islands in the Turks and Caicos, this stop offered a tropical, laid-back ambience.  We docked at a pier and entered through a cruise ship terminal where we found gift shops filled with jewelry and beachwear.

We spent most of our day enjoying the pool area at Margaritaville.
This venue set the pace for our vacation...slow it down a notch or two!
At this point all iPhones and Blackberries were turned off!!!

The Jimmy Buffet bar was the happening place...

Everything was decorated very colorful and with a fun vibe.

Time for a swim!  Our ship was the only one docked for the day
so there was plenty of space to enjoy our day.

Image source

Our next port was Puerta Rico my favorite!
Here is our first view the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th-century fortress to protect San Juan.

The landscaping in San Juan is filled with such vibrant colors.

We made our way to the Barrachina located in Old San Juan. It is located just one block from La Fortaleza (the Governor's Mansion). The Barrachina is famous for being the birthplace and home of the pina colada drink.

After our complimentary pina colada sample we set out to explore more of this charming area.

We stopped, listened, and enjoyed (supported) the local music of Old San Juan.

We found the Hotel El Convento which is a unique Puerto Rican treasure. It's a
  350-year-old former Carmelite convent in the heart of San Juan.  You won't be disappointed with this alluring mix of Spanish colonial architecture and contemporary styling with a panoramic terrace bar!

Please come inside to visit the courtyard.

I will frame this photo to remember our wonderful day.

  We couldn't resist quenching our thirst at the Hotel El Convento terrace bar!

Next stop to view was the El Batly.  
The locals told us this is a favorite haunt of Hunter S. Thompson.

You'll find this bar directly across the street from the Church and the El Convento hotel.

 As we continue to sightsee we noticed these lanterns everywhere.  I love the way they complement the blue brick streets.

The streets of Old San Juan are still so beautiful and historic.  As most, I was fascinated by the adonquines, small blue-gray glazed bricks.  We were told they were cast from the residue of iron furnaces in Spain, and brought to the Americas as ballast in the Spanish galleons. Absolutely amazing!

Goodbye San Juan I hope to see you again real soon!

Image source

Once I complete unpacking I'll post St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands, Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas,
and the Las Olas, Ft Lauderdale art fair!
Thanks for stopping by!