Written by Captain Mary on Monday, January 29, 2018

I am of age to retire and yet I can't stand the thought of not getting up and going to work. On the other hand I can't stand getting up and going to work. A world of confusion and chaos its how I live. That is what keeps me going. My energy is that of an old lady, oh wait I am an old lady! I have my mind full of clutter these days, thoughts spinning out of control where I have no single thought. The only way to keep focused is to have my head-set on. These thoughts interrupt my sleep and make me pretty cranky. Something to work on!
The big holidays are over and the family seems smaller, not larger. Loosing people along the way, even though they have lived amazing lives. Still seems like I have a missing piece in my heart. It makes me think that our lives are so important, and I have embraced each chance to explore and experience everything I wanted to. I must say that I am a lucky person. I have everything a person could want. I don't mean the stuff, like TV's, fancy cars, a big house, because those things have absolutely no meaning in the big scheme of things.
New Year's is when we make resolutions. Last year was to spend more time with family, that was rewarding and better than anything else I could imagine. This year I may not take my retirement seriously, I think I will let my work subside in time, most of my customers are celebrating 20 years with me and I can't just walk away from them. They have become my family and I don't plan on letting them go away.
I am taking more time for myself, I don't mind not going to work everyday. This year I need a resolution that could beat more time with family. I would like more time with family in exotic locations or even familiar locations, I want more laughter and more hugs. I don't think anyone can get enough of love.
I am going to start with a new "Bucket List", this is in addition to the good family stuff. I have gone to Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Costa Rica, Bahamas, numerous countries in Europe, Caymans, Bonaire, Aruba, South Pacific Islands, all 50 states of the U.S., and other destinations. So where do I start my list? I imagine I have made my goal of never living with regret or passing up an opportunity. I think the next adventure on my list should be a Cruise Around the World. Perhaps I will complete all the continents around the world that way. I want to get creative again, that is why I have been blogging more. I hope everyone who sees my posts enjoy them as much as I enjoy writing them.


Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, January 27, 2018

It has been over a year now since my father has gone to the other side. I know that he is here in my heart. After the pain of such a loss subsides, I can feel the joy that both my parents gave to me. Missing them is remembering them.
This is always how I want to remember them. I can't tell them how much they made me who I am, because in this picture I wasn't even a thought in their minds. Years pass and tears subside but I think about them everyday. All I can say is thank you for the time you gave me and for giving me a family that will forever keep you in their hearts.


Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, January 27, 2018

While fresh in my mind, even though my mind isn't so fresh anymore, I want to tell you about my last trip. A big one, 28 days at sea, crossing the Pacific Ocean with my sister Cheryl and her husband Joe. Planning for more than a year this trip was already paid for and only needed money for the fun stuff. This is the way to do it. Boarding "The Emerald Princess" after my flight to LA., excited and yet only a couple of hours away from departure. Cutting it close my friends is the way I go. As all great adventures, it starts with a thought or should I say a dream. I have a Bucket List, which has gone through a lot of completions in the years. I put down in my mind where I would love to go and basically I go. On my list I wanted to complete all 50 states of the USA, this trip would allow that check mark on the Bucket List and Bora Bora was on my list also. Check and check again.

I started by what is always an opportunity in my book. In the mail I got the specials for upcoming trips with Princess Cruises. As I looked through the specials I see, for an amazing price, the destinations on my Bucket List. I proceed to call my favorite travel agent, Cheryl, and tell her to check out this special and book me on it. I didn't care about anything at the time but going on the next adventure. A couple hours later my sister calls back and announced that "WE" are booked. Much to my amazement, WE, she told me "That one of the destinations was also on her list, like hell I was going without her". Much to my happiness I now have a couple of partners in the adventure of a life time, once again. I keep saying that and I am blessed to have it happen time and time again. After 14 months or so of planning the trip is here.

Now standing on the deck of my ship, for what will be my home for nearly a month. It starts to sink in, I am on my way. Finding my sister and our room was the first part of business and the days ahead is the next. Thinking this is great, 4 days at sea to find my way around the ship and see what she has to offer. I don't know about you but time always speeds up when you are on vacation! Finding my favorite spots to hang out and finding the Casino were well established after our sea time.

On Friday the 13th, October 2017 we land in Hilo, Hawaii. Our 50th state on my list, check! Just coming into port your eyes, ears and senses are on overload. Off on our first excursion, I am going on a separate place, which I had hoped was going to end with a Helicopter ride, the weather ended that little dream. Oh well, too much to see in meanwhile.
Much of the foliage was familiar, yet because of the rich soil and beautiful weather the plants looked like they were on steroids. Enjoying the splendid landscape and some mushy trails, the group stopped along the Cliffside to enjoy a BBQ of native foods. Special in everyway, I had no idea at the time that each location the ship embarked would be better than the last. Our next destination was only a short cruise away, by the time we wake up in the morning we will be in Honolulu, Hawaii. From here on in I will be joined with my cruise partners on excursions. Cher and Joe selected this hike up to Diamond Head Crater, much to my surprise, the difficulty would earn us a certificate of completion.
Atop the summit of Diamond Head the city of Honolulu looks so small. It was a brutal climb but well worth the amazing vistas. Back to the ship, minus my reading glasses, somewhere in the crater lies my glasses and my vision of seeing anything close. Finding another pair will be part of my future adventure. Getting old sucks. Our next stop close by is Maui,(Lahaina) definitely a place to enjoy the water.

morning was a snorkel trip, but due to rough weather we had to go to plan B, which was in a cove protected by the waves, the underwater world was a bit murky, but the trip back gave us an opportunity to see whales and dolphins, which was an unseasonal gift. A great crew and despite the discomfort made us feel right at home. The evening was a delight of dancing and traditional Luau, we ate and loved getting together at a social event much like the native Hawaiians do. I do understand why people love going to this destination, the people are amazing and the scenery is never ending. Formed by volcanos it's hard to imagine that such turmoil of Mother Nature could turn out so beautiful. The next destination on our route will bring us to Kauai, (Nawiliwili), like I said each spot gets better and better.

 The beauty of this place is breathtaking. We traveled around the island from one beautiful spot to another. Mostly with our mouths wide open. Waterfalls, cliffs, landscape, blowholes and lookouts beyond our dreams.

 The next day will be on the far side of the big island, Kona. Another location full of beautiful landscape, river cruise, fern grotto and always local entertainment.
  The destination after 4 days at sea will be Pago Pago, American Samoa. While waiting to arrive at our next destination we enjoyed the art actions and my countless hours in the Casino, not doing too bad. I am a light weight when it comes to gambling, some people we met spent a fortune in that place. In the casino the noise and excitement is a special place even if your loosing, to live where possibilities are abundant. So much to do on the ship, it didn't seem like there would be enough time, between my visit to the spa (which were countless) and casino, art sales and just hanging out with the amazing people we met. The parties on the ship and just relaxing under the stars watching movies on the deck, time flew. Of course, trying not to miss the crazy drinks and happy hours that become part of our days at sea was part of this well rounded itinerary.

Gentle breezes and blue skies, almost daily dose of rainbows, how does it get better? Did I mention the food on the ship, well, I had no complaints and I am picky. The specialty restaurants were amazing and diverse, from steaks to pots of crabs, yum was the word of choice.

The beautiful small island of Pago Pago, was a treat in spite of it being a Sunday. In general the people do not participate in work on this day, that is their family day and church. Since they only get about 4 ships a month to their port, they were so gracious to give us the privilege of welcoming us in spite of their customs.
The people never worry about tourist taking over their island, for all the land is owned by family groups. They have their own gardens and each enjoy a life of peace and serenity. Only in dreams we wish this could be like America. This American island, isn't anything like America. A couple more days at sea before I get to check off yet another place on my list. You guessed it, Bora Bora, French Polynesia.

Snorkeling with sharks and rays who sometimes get under foot. The waters were crystal clear and the temperature was pretty good once the afternoon sun warmed it.
Who wants to leave this place, or you kidding me!  They will have to grab me kicking and screaming to get me back on the ship. Up steep roads to the top we made our way around by 4X4 vehicle. Each panoramic view better than the last. A couple more days at sea for me to savor the beauty that is now burned into my brain. Time for us to tell stories and have more fun with our friends, drink and dine till we drop. The next location on our tour through French Polynesia will be Papeete, Tahiti. The next morning we cross between beautiful reefs before we come to a stop. Hanging over our balcony rail, seeing a busy, bustling city. Perhaps a bit surprised at how commercial it was, yet there has to be a hub for supplies to the other islands.
Once we boarded our 4x4 vehicle we moved away from the hustle and bustle to see the interior of this beautiful island, with waterfalls, rock stacking, eels and so many other amazing sights.

Our last but not least stop along the islands of the Pacific lies a small gorgeous island called Moorea.
Cruises are definitely a place to see and get a taste of your dreams. Hoping to come back another day and spend all the time you can. Last of our on shore port of calls we begin our 8 day sea voyage. A little sad, but excited because now we can get ready for Halloween, spend time with friends and melt away any stress we might have. Personally I don't think I can find any stress. Catching up on those things I want to do on the ship, shows, trivia and so much more. Couldn't get bored without making an effort to do so. Sorry no effort just go with the flow.
Halloween now on the horizon, Cher and myself decide to make a day of it. We brought our costumes with us. So much fun to see the whole ship decorated the staff in costume. There was dancing and fun beyond fun. 
The mood on the ship was one of joy and our home away from home was virtually perfect. We traveled 11,531 statue miles in 28-Days. It seemed like a blink in time once we landed and we had to say good-bye to our wonderful friends. As the motto of Princess Cruises says "Come Back New". A trip of a life time over and now I feel so renewed I can't wait until my next adventure.


Written by Captain Mary on Saturday, January 27, 2018

I can't believe it has been more than a year and a half since I posted anything to my precious blog. So much has happened and I don't know where to begin. So perhaps I should start with my last vacation.

A trip to Europe with family. I love so much traveling with family, in the end they will always be the most important. My travel agent sister, Cher, hooked up the family with a cruise around the Mediterranean. In attendance was my son Jason, my granddaughter Shy Anne. My sister Cher and her daughter Elise, and my brother Charles and his family, Mel, Connor and Haley, along with some friends.

As all trips begin, we start at the airport and begin the adventure there. All the family members were on different flights with us meeting up cruise day in beautiful Barcelona, Spain. My granddaughter was a bit nervous, her first overseas flight, that she managed to use up all her barf bags and some. I felt so bad for her, after we landed first in Portugal, each flight after that was a breeze. It was so exciting to get the opportunity to have so many of us together for a week.

My life is about travel and experience. When I get the opportunity to share this with my family it only makes it better. My granddaughter, Shyanne, wanted to go to Europe as her gift from me for her graduation. It took awhile to get there, but this was to be her first trip out of the country. Shyanne got to experience people, places and things that changed her life. I now have this in common with her and enjoy sharing these stories and experiences with her. My son, on the other hand, did not want to go to Europe, he thought it would be without our usual adventure. My son, Jason and I tend to go on more nature based trips, this one is out of the box. It didn't take long for Jason to see what I was so excited about. Now when we talk about this experience its a different story. We fell in love with people and the sheer social experience of a culture that is without the crap we have in the USA.
Our trip began in Barcelona, Spain, then on to the cruise ship, that would take us around the Western Mediterranean. Our first stop would be Sicily, a little island from which our heritage began. So much to see and do, and we wanted to do it all.
From ancient ruins to the amazing food. We tried to get it all. Our next stop Naples, Pompeii, where the sheer age of everything and the volcanic remains of a once thriving metropolis was exposed for us. We were lucky enough to catch a taxi that took my group and my brothers group everywhere and anywhere we wanted to go. We spent what seemed like hours in Pompeii, I imagined what it would be like back then in ancient times. Basking in the bath houses, walking along the cobblestone streets gazing into the shops and being part of this historical place. Which now lies under tons of volcanic dust, still waiting to be unearthed.
The Amalfi Coast and Sorento was breathtaking and one of those places that you have to be there to explain what it was like. The beauty and feeling of this seaside village was what dreams are made of.

We walking through the beautiful shops and took pathways, whose never ending turns would lead us to this beautiful view and beach. A little seaside place where your imagination would take you away. The town of Sorrento offered up the same magic, with streets full of the gathering of Italians speaking with their hands. Maybe I didn't understand the words but I understood the smiles and beauty of everything this place offered. There are so many beautiful pictures that were taken there I would need another blog to fit them all.
Our next destination would be Rome. The place where we experienced the most ruins and historic places. The size of the Gods and what they built showed in what we could only imagine. Our group shuffled off to see just a taste of this vastness they call Rome.
Florence and Pisa is next on our itinerary. We got on a train and began our adventure.
The white marble of the Tower of Pisa was much more beautiful than any photograph that you will see. We had to almost run to catch the last train to our ship. It was exciting and stressful at the same time. It was definitely worth the effort.

Our time on the ship wasn't without a ton of fun. That was the time we could spend with the rest of our group of family and friends. Each time we hit a port, our group went in different directions. We had fun, maybe too much fun while on the ship, talking about the adventures of the day. Everyone with a different tale of their excursion around beautiful Italia. Another excursion is in our future before we venture back to Barcelona, Spain. Our next stop is the seaside village in France, Marseille.

We began walking the streets into the open fish market, where the days catch was displayed on tables. The live octopus wriggling about on the tables, along with strange species of fishes I had never seen. The language as people spoke was so beautiful. I found while traveling if you learn a few words of the language, the local people are much more receptive to your presence. I also learned that most places don't really like Americans, so the thing to do is not act like an arrogant American and just be part of the fun. We sort of lost our group and myself, Jason and Shyanne ended up off the beaten path away from all the places that the tourist visit. Sitting along the streets under our umbrella we ordered our meal. Knowing what ever we ordered would be grand, I noticed that food without chemicals and additives never left me bloated, everything was always made fresh. While here there is never a rush to get away from your table, because the table was yours for the day if you wished.
 There was one last excursion and my small group decided to stay on the ship and relax. The rest of our gang would be heading toward America and we needed a day of rest for our next week. Me, Shy and Jason were heading to Ireland, for a little taste of rest and drunken debauchery. Sad to say good-bye to the beauty of what we had just seen our trip was only half way over.

We stayed the night and another day in Barcelona so that we could really enjoy this city. It would be the first experience for Jason and Shy staying at a hostel, and it was not a good one. Without getting into too many details, we were glad when it was over. Off to Ireland on a short plane ride, arriving in Dublin and into our next shot at a hostel. Which ended up being fantastic, with friends and fun. We walked and walked. It's just what the natives would do!. The most fun about Ireland is definitely the people. The weather is wet and cold, but ignored by the big smiles you see on every face you pass.
 The Malahide Castle was beautiful and we had complete access, because it was closed, but they don't lock the doors. We laid on the grass, we explored the queens garden and chased rabbits all over the place. A beautiful day. Another day we enjoyed cliff walking in the rain and eating at amazing restaurants along the waters edge. Watching sea lions as they begged for hand outs when the fishing boats unloaded their catches. Shopped at fish markets, just to see what it is we would be eating. We enjoyed days in Ireland and mostly enjoyed each others happiness. So much to see and we only touched a small part of this part of the world we call Ireland. Our adventure soon to end still gives us a bit of a layover in Barcelona once again. We went to our favorite little restaurant and found a friend we met previously on our trip. Just enjoying the last days of this journey, I wish that my life was full of these journeys, especially when I get to share them with the people I love most in this world, FAMILY!