Monday, November 26, 2007

Our Floating City

Yesterday afternoon I toured the Diamond Princess trying to discover some more of her nooks and crannies. I discovered 5 swimming pools, 8 or 10 hot tubs, 2 more bars, several hidden terraces for sunbathers, as well as the tennis court and the putting green! Then I found the outdoor Chess set, a few more shuffleboard courts and more table tennis tables.

On the inside of this ship, I found the entrance to Lotus Spa Pool for adults only (pictured above), the teen center and a science center for kids as well as another video arcade and a private balcony off Skywalkers Lounge. I knew there was more to discover, but I grew weary and it was 3:30 which is the time the home made ice cream arrives on Horizon Court. Needless to say, I headed for the Horizon Court for two scoops of vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce and 2 warm toll house cookies. It's amazing how many folks emerge from nowhere and end up at the Horizon Court about 3:30 every day!

No matter where you go there are beautiful things to look at. I enjoy the fish mosaics on Lido Deck. And I guess, Lido Deck says it all...that's life! Our floating city has just about everything you could ask for.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Today I walked around downtown Honolulu and rejoiced at the beautiful autumn tropical weather. The sun is shining brightly, the tradewinds are blowing lightly AND (here's the best part) the humidity is low. In other words it's absolutely beautiful. Hawaii is a special place.

The Diamond Princess is safely berthed at Pier 6 where she dominates the skyline. She's taller than the Aloha Tower. Because it's Sunday, downtown is quiet. There are few cars, but never forget that Honolulu is a major city. All you have to do is look towards the hills and you see skyscraper after skyscraper marching along the horizon. Thank goodness there are beautiful flowers in bloom to soften the harshness of commerce.

The stores are decorated for Christmas with a mixture of poinsettias and orchids. There was a Christmas show at the Aloha Tower mall and the kids were dressed in red print skirts doing the hula to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" which was really cute. My heart was captured by a little three year old with her own private rendition of the dance. On the other hand, all the other dancers were most proficient.

As always, the flowers capture my attention, and Honolulu has a world class collection of hibiscus. Today I've seen them ranging from yellow to pink to orange to deep red. Tomorrow we're sailing to Nawiliwili in Kauai.

Friday, November 23, 2007

On the Diamond Princess

We have just landed at Hilo, Hawaii for the 4th time this year! And, it's the first really nice day we've had in Hilo. Hilo is on the wet side of the Big Island, so it rains here a lot...but today we have sun with just a few clouds. There might be a sprinkle today, but not a rain! That's different. (As an aside, I don't know why the picture is coming out yellow...but it is?!?!?)

The four day sail to here has been very pleasant. The Diamond Princess is a huge floating hotel with just about everything to offer. She has a Grand Casino, theater, several night clubs, bars and shops everywhere you look, and people. She has lots of people. We have a "full complement" which means about 3000 passengers and 1200 crew! We've never been on a ship this large. We paced off the "walk" from the stern elevator to our bow's a whopping 300 steps or about 900 feet! The hallways are excellent examples of one-point perspective! I've not been walking the Promenade deck this trip as there's no need too...all I have to do is walk to and from our room a couple of times, and I've walked a mile without really trying! I've also been trying to take the stairs instead of the elevators. We are getting our exercise in on a regular basis.

While Hilo is having a wonderful day, we've had 4 gray days at sea, which we thought was unusual. Generally, the first day out of LA is gray and the seas are rocky, but the sun shines thereafter and the seas are calm and everyone is poolside trying to get a tan before they hit the islands. This crossing has been different. The seas were calm, the sky was gray and the temps cool, so folks were poolside, but they wore towels or blankets to stay warm!

We celebrated Chet's birthday during our first formal night. The dining staff sang him Happy Birthday and presented him with a personal birthday cake and card. I don't think he was surprised, but he did have fun.

It's always good to be in Hawaii. Yesterday, for Thanksgiving, we sat back and thought about how lucky we have been this year. We've had good health, good travels and good friends. It's hard to beat that! We wish all of you a Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Home and Away

Just when we thought we were going to be spending a quiet 6 weeks at home, we received an urgent email from our cruise lecture agent begging us to help her out. She had 3 last minute cruises that needed lecturers. Two were during a time when we are going to be on a cruise, but one was for November 18. We looked at our calendars and said "we could fit it in" and in a weak moment said "yes."

That was yesterday. Today we received an email from our agent saying we "got" the November 18 we are on the ocean waves again. This time we'll fly to LAX and board the Diamond Princess for a 16 day cruise that will take us to Hawaii and Mexico. Check out the itinerary at We've been to Hawaii a lot this year, but it's always fun to return to that island paradise. Since I fell in love with snorkeling, I think I'm going to practice some more in the calm Hawaiian waters! Sounds like fun to me.

We'll get home from this cruise and 11 days later, leave on another cruise! We'll have had 7 cruises this year! What can I say!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Home Sweet Home

This has been a very long day. It started at 4 AM in Cairns, when an alarm woke us up telling us we needed to catch the 6:50 flight to Sydney. Today could be called "Plane Day" as we've been on a lot of 'em: Cairns to Sydney to Fiji to Los Angeles to San Francico and finally to Chico, arriving at our home at 10:30 PM. We started on November 1, 2007 in Australia and we are still on November 1, 2007 on the other side of the world. I don't know how long the day has been, but it seems like a 40 hour day to me. Crossing the International Date Line can be confusing!

Last night while we waiting for our flight in Fiji, I looked at a map and did some rough calculations on the distances we have traveled in the last 42 days. Would you believe close to 28,000 miles? The list of places we have stepped foot on is pretty impressive too. We started Chico CA making stops in Bend and Salem, Oregon, before boarding The Sun Princess in Seattle. Once on the ship, we stopped in San Francisco, Hilo, Lahaina, Bora Bora, Tahiti, Rarotonga, American Samoa, Fiji, New Zealand and Sydney. From Sydney we flew south to Adelaide to catch The Ghan which traveled north to Darwin; then we flew east to Cairns. That brought us to "today" and now we are back to Chico, where we started! What a trip!

This year has been filled with some fantastic travel. Antarctica/Argentina/Brazil in February; Hawaii in April; Finland/Estonia/Russia in June; and this trip. There's one more cruise this year, but it happens in December, and right now, I cannot think of that trip as I still have to get "organized" from this last one! It's good to be home!