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About this blog

A Personal Cruise & Travel Journal

All posts and photos © Janice Neves/Seven Sea Journeys, CruiseCrazies Authorized Agent

Entries in this blog

Winging It in Alaska ... "Bear"ly

Winging It in Alaska ... "Bear"ly

A cruise to Alaska isn’t about standing at the railing watching the scenery. Don’t get me wrong; you’ll see some amazing scenery from the deck of a cruise ship – wildlife, panoramic vistas and glaciers. No, to really experience Alaska, you’ll need to get off the ship and venture out into the wild and commune with nature. My husband came up with the idea first – a flightseeing trip to see black bears in their natural habitat. I’d seen pictures - tiny planes that fly relatively low and land o

Jan115

Jan115

Why I No Longer Travel By the Seat of My Pants

Why I No Longer Travel By the Seat of My Pants

These days, when it comes to travel, I am a planner. I don’t like surprises. So in order to make an informed decision, every vacation begins with consuming every review and article on every cruise ship and destination, reserving hotels and tours months in advance, and creating a spreadsheet itinerary containing every detail of the trip, reduced to a handy pocket-size guide to refer to when the need arises. I used to create a huge binder with obscene amounts of paper, but thankfully with the adve

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Jan115

We're Cruising to .... The Grand Canyon

We're Cruising to .... The Grand Canyon

What's my motto? If I can't get there by cruise ship, then I don't want to go. That's not entirely true, though, because Grand Canyon has long been high on our trip bucket list. Obviously, land travel will have to be involved. A trip to Vegas nearly brought us to the Canyon several years ago. As a side trip from the city glitter and hypnotic slots machines, we pondered over a day trip to either Hoover Dam or the Grand Canyon's west rim. Since we felt that traveling all that way to catch jus

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Jan115

Vacation Regrets and What I've Learned

Vacation Regrets and What I've Learned

I was cleaning out some old clothes the other day and came across a box of T-shirts, purchased from various past cruises and land trips at a time in my life when I liked wearing T-shirts. Most in the pile were too small and never (or hardly) worn, and should have gone out to the donation collection a long time ago. This re-discovery got me to thinking about small regrets about my vacations past. By regrets, I don’t mean missed flights, excursions gone wrong or hotels from hell, but those me

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Jan115

Trumping the Triumph Travesty

Trumping the Triumph Travesty

y An engine fire ... a cruise ship dead in the sea without the power to provide the basic of needs. A pleasant ocean escape to the Caribbean becomes a bad cruise to nowhere. Such was the picture on board the Carnival Triumph on its 4-day sailing last week. The unpleasant details of life on board that cruise need not be repeated here. We've all seen the video footage and heard the news reports. When the disabled ship finally reached the dock in Mobile, Alabama, greeted by 200 Carnival p

Jan115

Jan115

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly - A Week in Mexico 1990

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly - A Week in Mexico 1990

While I was recently perusing the labels of my vast collection of faux leather photo albums, I came across one identified as “Mexico 1990”. As I opened the cover and began viewing the photos, the first thing that struck me was how young and attractive my husband and I were 22 years ago. How time changes us! The second thing that sprung to mind was our encounter with a bat. Not the baseball kind, but the other kind - that nocturnal creature that flies in the night and inspires the likes of Dracul

Jan115

Jan115

The Document Dance ... a Beloved Pre-Cruise Ritual

The Document Dance ... a Beloved Pre-Cruise Ritual

At last the day has arrived! No, this is not the day when we embark the Grand Princess in San Francisco bound for Alaskan waters, nor is it time to pack our bags and fly to the “City by the Bay” for three days of pre-cruise sight-seeing. But it is a time of equally enthusiastic celebration. It’s the day we do the “document dance”, also sometimes referred to as the "happy dance"! Confused? Just ask any avid cruiser who has ever been part of an on-line cruise community. The “document dance” i

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The Cruise is Booked ... Now Fly Me to the Ship!

The Cruise is Booked ... Now Fly Me to the Ship!

The Grand Princess ... our floating paradise for 10 days this summer ... has now been repositioned to it's new home port of San Francisco for it's spring and summer itineraries. It would be so cool to drive there to meet our ship. However, let's be realistic. We live on the East Coast. Since a leisurely cross-country drive to the ship is quite out of the question, we'll have to fly. We have two choices - book our preferred flights on our own, independently, or choose a cruise air package wi

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Jan115

The 12 Days of Christmas - for Cruisers

The 12 Days of Christmas - for Cruisers

One of the great benefits of my husband’s recent retirement is his enthusiasm about making me a homemade lunch each day, lovingly packed into my L.L. Bean lunch bag and accompanied by a yellow note containing a game, puzzle, quiz or some other “assignment” to pass away the lunch hour. Today’s note contained blank lines numbered 1 through 12, headed by the title, “Name the 12 Days of Christmas.” I am nobody’s poet and not the most creative girl in the world, but I decided to give it a shot with m

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Jan115

Stingrays, Horses and Bears ... Oh My!

Stingrays, Horses and Bears ... Oh My!

The dream Alaska cruise is booked, air fare reserved and pre and post-cruise hotel stays arranged. Now comes the hard part - deciding what to see and do when we get to the Last American Frontier. With only a day in Skagway, Ketchikan and Juneau, the choices won't be easy. While I enjoy touring famous cities and landmarks from the comfort and safety of a vehicle, as I grow older and cruise more, I find myself wanting to experience sightseeing in a more active and thrilling way. This is a bi

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Jan115

Share Your Alaskan Cruise Packing Secrets ... Please!

Share Your Alaskan Cruise Packing Secrets ... Please!

I am so excited, I am beside myself! Our new lightweight luggage has arrived and sits in my living room waiting to be filled with an endless variety of stuff befitting a 10-day Alaskan cruise. As I look at the assortment of wheeled bags in an array of sizes, I realize I went a little overboard in buying 7 pieces. What the heck was I thinking? I needed only a couple of replacements. But, hey - the old stuff was getting - well - old, so why not replace it all, I rationalized to myself. The kids wi

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Jan115

Self-Help for this Cruise Junkie

Self-Help for this Cruise Junkie

When I told my husband I would be cruising without him come October, he was less than enthused. We have enjoyed seven previous journeys at sea together, one being with Carnival, another on Norwegian, and the rest with Princess. I was itching to try another line, not because I disliked the other three, but simply because I want to say that I’ve sailed every major cruise line, at least once. David and I discovered cruising fairly late in life, at age 47. Why we waited so long to sail away on

Jan115

Jan115

San Francisco to Alaska ~ Let the Journey Commence!

San Francisco to Alaska ~ Let the Journey Commence!

San Francisco, Alaska and Grand Princess, here we come! I am getting a jump on reviewing this trip - our 2013 summer vacation - less than two days before departure. Tomorrow, I'll be busy double-checking and triple-checking my CruiseCrazies packing list to make sure I have everything covered and probably will be too exhausted to do much of anything else, let alone write. The idea - and I'm probably over my head on this one - is to write a day-by-day review of our experiences along the

Jan115

Jan115

Regal Princess: A Stormy Start and First impressions

Regal Princess: A Stormy Start and First impressions

In attempt to keep the costs down for this cruise, we initially booked an inside cabin. However, the price dropped and we were able to upgrade to a standard balcony at no extra cost. I wondered, would a balcony even be usable on a cruise like this, one in which driving rain and wind kept everyone inside? First things first ... get the balcony door open. We pulled and yanked to no avail, but finally the door slid open so that we could barely see the skyline and Statue of Liberty through the mist.

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Jan115

Packing Procrastination

Packing Procrastination

It's Friday - my day off, meaning that I have three full days before the hubby and I fly to Ft. Lauderdale for a CruiseCrazies group cruise leaving for Panama on Tuesday. My packing/to-do list is printed, waiting for items to check off. However, in typical fashion, I am suffering from packing paralysis. I have a lot of loose ends to tie up, laundry to do, and bags to pack, and instead of starting this process, here I sit at the computer writing about it. My middle name begins with "P" - really.

Jan115

Jan115

No, I Don't Want to Be a Volunteer From the Audience

No, I Don't Want to Be a Volunteer From the Audience

In previous posts, I spoke of the personality differences between my husband and myself. David likes to fill every moment of his vacation with all manner of entertainment, where I like to curl up in a quiet corner with a good book or simply sit and watch the world go by. He likes to arise well before dawn, eager and ready to face the day, where I would just as soon roll over and catch a few more hours of precious slumber, maybe have a leisurely breakfast on the balcony – when we’re lucky enough

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Jan115

New Year - New Un-Resolutions

New Year - New Un-Resolutions

It's a new year - March, already - and a belated Happy New Year! I hope everyone here at CruiseCrazies is in good health and has at least one cruise on the 2018 horizon!  I'd like to say I made resolutions for the new year, but that would be a lie because I never keep them. However, if I could put together a personal plan - an UN-resulotion, so to speak - it would involve three components: (1) cruise more, (2) cruise more and (3) cruise more ... oh, wait, that's the cruiser in me coming out

Jan115

Jan115

My Top 10 Travel Moments of 2014

My Top 10 Travel Moments of 2014

Another year has gone and it's time, once again, to lay out my annual Top 10 travel experiences of the year. Since the big summer trip for my husband and I this year was a Mediterranean cruise, many of the following favorites are destinations resulting from that 11-night sailing. Here are my top 10 favorites for 2014: #10) Flying First Class. On a selfish whim, I decided to splurge and upgrade our usual economy seats on Aer Lingus between Boston and Rome. Aer Lingus has a bidding system for

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Jan115

My Top 10 Most Memorable Travel Moments of 2013

My Top 10 Most Memorable Travel Moments of 2013

In 2013, David and I were blessed with another year of amazing travel firsts - first time to Alaska, first time to San Francisco, first time to the Grand Canyon, first time in a tiny 6-seater plane, and other notable moments of first glimpses. New and different sights and opportunities always produce an abundance of fresh stories and photos to share. Here, in no particular order, are our top 10 most memorable travel experiences of 2013, followed by photos I took: Flightseeing in Ketchikan,

Jan115

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Looking Ahead to Alaska - Summer 2013

Looking Ahead to Alaska - Summer 2013

When one cruise ends, another begins … that’s my motto! Our Ireland & Scotland Interlude was not yet complete, when we were already thinking of our next cruise. Actually, we were not yet sure of the destination, we just knew it would be a cruise on Princess. Therefore, as is the custom, we took advantage of the Future Cruise Desk while on board the Ocean Princess and earned future cruise credits and on-board credits by booking a future cruise, to be taken on any ship at any time within

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Jan115

How to Score Onboard Credit for Your Next Cruise

How to Score Onboard Credit for Your Next Cruise

Do you ever wonder how some cruisers seem to get loads of shipboard credit to use for onboard purchases? For the benefit of you folks new to cruising, any added value in the form of cash for you to use on board your cruise - for things like beverages, shopping, drinks, shore excursions, the spa, and other for-fee extras - is known as on-board or shipboard credit. Some people get a lot of it, while others seem to get none. If you're looking to score maximum onboard credits for your next cruise, y

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Jan115

Home for the Holidays vs. A Christmas Cruse: A Lively Debate

Home for the Holidays vs. A Christmas Cruse: A Lively Debate

As the holiday season approaches each year, I wonder aloud to those who will listen: Wouldn’t it be great to combine two of my most favorite things in the world: Christmas and a cruise vacation. From the moment I picked up a copy of John Grisham’s “Skipping Christmas,” at the library, I knew that book was written with specifically me in mind. If you haven’t read the book, or seen its weaker film version (“Christmas with the Kranks”), the story is about a couple that decides one year to forego Ch

Jan115

Jan115

Friday's Food for Thought: Start your trip with a Blank Canvas

Friday's Food for Thought: Start your trip with a Blank Canvas

How I love this quote:  "Travel is like a giant blank canvas, and the painting on the canvas is only limited by one’s imagination." – Ross Morley When I was in the planning stages of my first cruise back in 2001, I combed through every book, magazine, website, review, video and photo I could find in order to choose the perfect cruise. Through others' eyes, I learned of the best ships, the best cabins, the best food, and the best destinations. I listened while others touted their advice

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Friday's Food for Thought ~ 5.29.15

Friday's Food for Thought ~ 5.29.15

"Traveling is the ruin of all happiness! There’s no looking at a building after seeing Italy." ~ Fanny Burney I felt the same way when I visited Europe - not just Rome, but Lisbon, Athens and Istanbul. Every other building pales in comparison. Photo © J. Neves

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Jan115

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