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RayColey

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RayColey last won the day on June 2

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About RayColey

  • Rank
    Member
  • Birthday November 28

Personal Info

  • First Name
    Ray Coley
  • Last Name
    Hobbs
  • Gender
    Male
  • State
    Maryland
  • Country
    United States

Cruising

  • First Cruise Year
    1969
  • Cruises Sailed
    8
  • Days Cruised
    54
  • Favorite Cruise Line
    Oceania
  • Favorite Shipboard Activity
    Ocean watching
  • Favorite Itinerary
    Mediterranean - Eastern
  • Favorite Port of Call
    Kusadasi, Turkey
  • Favorite Port Activity
    Walking & sightseeing
  • Places I've Cruised To
    Belize, Guatemala (first cruise); Stockholm (second cruise, on Baltic); Santorini, Rhodes, Kusadasi, Istanbul (third cruise, on Renaissance - now Oceania); Nassau, Key West (fourth cruise, on Royal Caribbean); New England, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia (fifth cruise, again on RCI); Lisbon, Gibraltar, Cartegena, Malta, Split, Venice (sixth cruise, RCI), Cozumel (seventh cruise, on Carnival); Sweden, Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia (eighth cruise on Royal Caribbean)
  • Last Cruise Date
    2014-07-13
  • Next Cruise Date
    ?

Details

  • Hobbies & Interests
    Music, Woodcarving, Ballroom Dancing, Church, Outdoors
  • Music
    Almost all classical and jazz. I perform some pop music, but I don't listen to much of it myself
  • Movies
    I'm a Trekkie!
  • TV Shows
    I don't do a lot of TV watching... but I did when the Star Trek series were running!
  • Sports
    Most team sports, but especially Nationals' Baseball!
  • Food
    I dote on great seafood. Other than that, I love middle eastern cuisine.
  • Pets
    3 kitties
  • Books
    History or sci-fi
  • Quotes
    All's well that ends.
  • Occupation
    Entertainer / Teacher

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  1. Tuesday, July 9, 2019 Good Morning, Crazies! Cruising is so much fun, but it comes with a price - frequently, it turns out that all your friends are scattered around the globe on this sea or that river or the other ocean, and it seems that we are never all around the Dock at the same time!! My summer schedule has toned down a bit, so I only have four days of lessons and four days of gigs, and usually they are the same days of the week. Whatever will I do with all this spare time? Oh, the stress... Andi, the flies are still hanging around, but in a week or so they will move on to the east, where some of the people camping near the ocean will become acquainted with them. So, are you packing for the Adriatic cruise already? Jan, I am going to be gently prodding, so hopefully, we'll have enough of a crowd to take over the Viking Sea somewhere along the way. Avast! I already have my "sea days" planned out, so we won't be too exhausted at the end of the cruise. Now, who's planning 2022? Miranda, in the post-World Cup days are we still friends? HaHa, the Orange girls will certainly be a force to reckon with in 2023, and maybe they'll be the ones to get the gold medals in the Olympic games coming up! Jackie, our heat wave has broken, and we have more spring-like weather here on the Shore. I haven't seen too many Florida license plates up here, are Floridians staying at home this summer? Time to get out to play gigs. Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  2. Saturday, July 6, 2019 Good Morning, Crazies! I didn't realize that it's been so long since I posted on the Dock! I have some sort of schedule for lessons this summer - it looks like they're down about 20%, which is not as much as usual, and there is no dropoff in performing. So we don't go broke this summer! LOL Yuki is spending hours every day sorting through her hundreds of photos of China and Tibet, so we're keeping busy. Andi, hopefully a number of our new cruising friends decide to opt in for the Adriatic cruise on Viking. It really looks like a great cruise at a great price, so although I'm not counting the days yet (my heavens, over 600 of them!) I am looking forward to it - and thankfully there should be room at the spa and all those great onboard restaurants! Miranda, Tuesday is the day! I'll be rooting for the US women, but I won't mind if Orange comes out on top... Jan, I will be nudging our new cruise friends toward the Adriatic cruise in 2021 - perhaps they aren't used to booking so far in advance, but this appears to be such a good deal that it might sell out... Shari, we're always thinking of you... Jackie, the heat wave continues up here in Maryland, with most days getting up into or close to the nineties... That, coupled with the biting flies, is enough to keep me inside most of the time. Yuki and I have become mall walkers!! Time to face the morning before it's gone... Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  3. Daily Dock for June 2019 Is Closed.
  4. Saturday, June 29, 2019 Good Morning, Crazies! I didn't intend to be working as much as I am between June and September, but a few more students opted to take lessons over the summer, and I don't like doing remedial work in September, so my teaching schedule is a bit more robust than I originally wanted. Well, that's OK - my students get better, and get a leg up on the rest of the world, and I have a little more income. Andi, it looks like we're all going to be dripping this summer. To make it worse, we now have to deal with little nasty black-and-yellow flies that land on you and take bites of flesh. They were supposed to have come and gone while we were on vacation, but it looks like they came late; they stay for about a month. Miranda, it's nice to see our women's teams advancing in the World Cup, and I'll be rooting for Orange today - but if they meet in the finals, well... I sure get your point in your weekend email! I see myself in all of those things! Jan, I think I got my sync issues cleared up yesterday at the Apple store - we'll see. In the meantime, we're looking ahead to 2021 and the Aegean Cruise, and a few of the nice people we met on our China trip also expressed interest. I've passed along the contact information, and I'll gently push... Shari, we're always thinking of you... Jackie, I hope that you're able to get some good walking time in the mornings. It always gets a bit steamy up here by nine o'clock, and I've been too lax in getting out early. My joints have not failed me so far (!) but I do struggle with COPD during the summer months... I have a makeup gig to play this morning, so I'm going to have to get myself cranked up... Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  5. Hi There, Crazies! I'm just about back to "normal" (whatever that is) after ten days of ups and downs, plus catching cold and having that turn into bronchitis. Actually, I haven't missed any gigs or lessons, which probably contributed greatly to my going downhill over the past week, but this morning I got up feeling pretty perky, so I'm hoping that the rest is looking up! Andi, my going right back to work does not display any superior physical health on my part - actually it shows how my brain doesn't function properly. I've taken every opportunity over the last week to laze off on the couch! Be very happy to share some warmth with you guys - here it's in the 90s (30s for you, Miranda) and I'd like to shed a few degrees, if you'd take them. Miranda, it's easy to recognize Americans after they lose weight - they're the ones who look the same as before, but their scales have been damaged... I'd love to dance with you here at one of my gigs, but when I get up to dance, the music stops... Jan, I only have syncing issues because I need to transfer photos to the computer. As soon as I connect the iPhone, the syncing causes multiple copies of my contact list to propagate throughout my iPhone, iPad, laptop and desktop computers. This is not nice. I would have gone to the Apple store last week, but I was hacking with bronchitis, so I stayed home... (*sigh*) Shari, if you're lurking, I want to say a very warm "hello" to you (to me, you're the embodiment of "Minnesota Nice." Unfortunately, I do not go to FB anymore, so I can't talk there, but you're never far from mine or Yuki's thoughts... Jackie, I hope that you're getting some relief from the weather. At least you don't have much worry about being knee deep in flooded streets! I've been turning in early the last few nights, and this one is no different. Good Night, Crazies!
  6. Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Good Morning, Crazies! When we got back from Le Cruise Chinoise, I went to work the same day! I haven't had a major problem readjusting to the time zone change (12 hours) but somewhere along the way I managed to acquire some major congestion, which has worn me out. Egad! Looks like it will take us until August to get all the pictures sorted out and uploaded. Added to the normal chore of photo sorting is the additional problem that every time I sync my iPhone to the computer, I manage to get three or four copies of my contact list flooded onto the phone. For that reason, I'm not going to sync until I have a chance to get to the Apple store in Annapolis to get them to show me how to avoid it!! I found the Chinese people to be friendly and helpful, and some of them quite open in their efforts to be a global community. Of course, they don't feel free to talk about a number of problems with the government, but that's no different from Russia... On the Great Wall, one mom insisted on taking pictures of her three children (probably not the same family, due to childbearing restrictions still in effect) with me - due, I think to the fact that blonde hair and blue eyes are still a bit on the unique side over there. We were blown away by the size of the Forbidden City, the beauty of the Great Wall landscape (and there's a funicular now to help you get up to the wall!) and the scope of the Terra Cotta Soldiers museum. Chine sure does its museums well! Tibet was totally amazing. The religious life and the social life of the people are identical. They pray virtually all the time. There seem to be religious festivals and events every week, and the people from the countryside pour into Lhasa and make pilgrimages to the Jorkhan Temple, walking around it (two thirds of a mile) 108 times, praying, spinning prayer wheels, some on posts and some in their hands) and prostrating themselves in front of the temple and sometimes on the street itself! When we came down off the plateau, we were treated to the delicious cruise down the Yangtze River, making excursions to the huge dam project and into the three gorges, plus visiting unique pagodas and museums. We sadly said good-bye to the Emerald and zipped into Shanghai, where we finished the trip in a five-star hotel on the Bund. Now comes the "Let's see if we can get back in shape" part of the experience!! Jackie, I hope that your weather down there has gotten a bit better - I haven't been able to follow the weather reports for a while, so it seems a bit, shall we say, mixed? Hope yours is OK! Andi, I know that your weather has been a bit of a blister, with storms and swamps and what-all. It really does seem messy... Jan, from what I've been reading, you're still going around in sixty directions at once. Well, remember the beatitude, "Blessed are those who run around in circles, for they shall be known as wheels." Thank you again for the bang-up job you did in arranging our Fantastic Journey! Miranda, I've been sticking everything under the sun in my yogurt, from fresh fruit to nuts, seeds, grains and honey. It sure does get me through a work day!! Sorry about not joining the New England/Canada cruise, but we do have to spend a little time working now, to pay for all this stuff!! Shari, sadly I don't get on FB much anymore, due to their security issues, but it's nice to know that you're posting out there and getting better, even if it's not at a breakneck pace. Please know that you remain in my prayers and in the corporate prayers of my church. It's time to get ready to face the morning. Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  7. Hello Crazies, We are on the next-to-last day of the cruise ☹️ We have an extension in Shanghai for a couple of days, then we’ll pour ourselves onto another thirteen-hour return air trip. I’ve been learning a lot about how much I don’t know concerning chinese history and social structure... Andi, so far the cruise has been really nice, although we need to be picky about our excursions, cuz there are so many. Best news is that there have been no additional costs involved, including meals out - Viking has covered everything! Food is great (too great!) and the shows are quite nice. We’ve met some very nice people on board, and we’ve directed them to CC... Hopefully we’ll see some new cruisers on the Dock. Jackie, sorry to be seeing such crazy weather in the US as we catch news on TV. Makes us scared to come back! Miranda, you’d like the yogurt selection on board here, but you’d have to improvise for the granola - I’ve been using walnuts, pecans and pumpkin seeds... Jan, it’s all been positive so far, with a collection of interesting stops and excursions. The Emerald is nicely appointed, and doesn’t seem at all crowded, despite the 140 passengers on board. The dining room is never overloaded, nor is the lounge. Six decks handle all shipboard programs handily. Although we prepaid our gratuities, we (and many other guests) have decided to give a number of crew a 100% bonus because of the exceptional work they have done. Plus we have the world’s best cruise agent... There’s an upcoming excursion, so I need to get ready. Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  8. Hello from the Yangtze River, Crazies! We came dowm from Lhasa yesterday, looking like refugees, and poured onto the Empress, a well-appointed, five-deck cruiser which will take us down toward Shanghai. Jan, we were delighted to find the Welcome Surprise you had waiting for us in our cabin! We will be sharing that with the table that we are sharing with some really nice, new cruising friends from all over the USA, all of whom are now familiar with our CC group. We have also told them that we have the best Cruise Consultant ever!! Miranda, I’ve totally switched over to your gourmet granola-and-yogurt breakfast, just adding walnuts and berries! Great start to the day... We’re going to spend the next few days exploring the spectacular scenery along the Three River Gorges area, along with visits to some of the small villages along the way. Andi, Shari, and all the lurkers, miss you all! Time for breakfast - Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  9. Hi Jan! No, we don’t have crazies cards - I used my entertainer cards, to a small selection of really nice cruise couples. We’ve had two people who had issues with the altitude, but Yuki and I have been ok. Gotta run now, headed off to the Jokang Temple!,
  10. June 1st, 2019 Good morning, Crazies! I hope that June finds everyone not drowning or in a horrible windstorm! We are now at the turnaround point of our trip. We arrived safe ‘n’ sound at Lhasa, Tibet. So far, no ill effects from the altitude (about 11,500 feet.) China has been fascinating - The Forbidden City, The Ming Tombs, The Great Wall, the ancient “Old Town,” and the Terra Cotta Soldier Museum. Tomorrow we will visit the holiest of sites in Tibet, The Jokang Monastery, and after that, the Potala Palace, winter home of the Dalai Lama (but he has not been here for decades - his residence in unoccupied, although the business of Tibetan Buddhism is still carried out here by officials. We will turn around from this location to go to the Three Rivers Gorge and embark of the Empress (or, as Jan calls it, The Anthem of The River.) The ship carries four decks and will make a number of stops along the Yangtze River on its way down to Shanghai. Again, I hope all is going well. We’ve made a number of friends here, and we’ve passed along cards for Cruise Crazies/. Hopefully some or all of these really nice people will check out our community, like us, stay with us, and cruise with us! I’ll try to get back on the Dock as we move along, but the schedule is really packed!! Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  11. May Daily Dock is closed
  12. Friday, 24 May 2019 Good Morning, Crazies! Unbelievably, I still have ten lessons to teach and two gigs to play before we leave for our cruise (tomorrow!) Yuki may just drop me off at the sanitarium and go on alone. However, the big stuff - the Recital - all that is behind me, so I feel pretty good about getting underway. I started packing yesterday and finished yesterday, which filled Yuki with angst, but I have a checkoff sheet on the computer and I keep some regular essentials already prepacked in my suitcase all the time, so really all I had to do was to lay a bunch of clothes out and roll them up into one of those vacuum bags and I was essentially through. We're flying out tomorrow, going from Baltimore to Toronto and on to Beijing (yes, I have a book and a bunch of snacks already packed!) Jan, sorry that you have to do the river thing alone. Somehow, I think it's harder to strike up acquaintances on a river cruise than an ocean cruise, but maybe that's because I am so aloof... Anyway, you can test out a brand or two of "port shoes" and report back to us on what is best! Miranda, although I much prefer smaller ships for our cruising, I really do like the ocean vessels as opposed to the river ships. I like having a nook or two available when I want to "escape" for a while. I think that somewhere between 500 and 1500 passengers is the ideal size for me. We'll see what this cruise down the Yangtze River shows us. It's a really large river ship, which Jan called "Anthem of The River," quite aptly, I think. Jackie, I agree that sometimes ya just need to get away for a few days! Yuki and I have a handful of places that are a few hours away, but where we can leave the phones behind and relax - good therapy, I think - enjoy! Andi, we're two years away, but we're already planning out things for the Adriatic in 2021. I have a list of places where I'm going to apologize to strangers for our crazy government, and first on the list is Montenegro!! I'll do some more intensive research on the Greek islands when we get back from Asia, then we can while away the happy hours between losing innings advising each other on PTGs and TTDs (places to go and things to do.) Shari, you remain in our thoughts and prayers, and we're kinda hoping to manage to get to Mpls late this fall, if Kevin's schedule allows... OK, time to get moving - Yuki needs one or two more small items to pack, so we have to head over to the shopping center. Given that it's a holiday weekend, we want to get over there and back ASAP, before the Bay Bridge traffic clogs the roads like plaque in the arteries. Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  13. Good Morning, Crazies! We've done the doc dance, we've gotten foreign currency (cheaper to get it here) for anything that we can't conveniently charge and we've loaded up on take-along meds; packing starts tomorrow for me, next weekend for Yuki. Looks like spring weather in China and Tibet, so I'm taking only a jacket and a light sweater to protect, plus my absolutely best, most comfortable walking shoes. Jan, if I try baton twirling I'm sure that I'll just manage to hit my punkin' head. Miranda, when we took the Viking cruise to Africa, I counted four specialty restaurants, in addition to the main dining room and the world cafe. The best part is (and we were several days into the cruise before we discovered this) there is no additional charge to dine at the specialty restaurants, and one of them (Chef's Kitchen) was absolutely out of this world, with wine pairings for every course they served. There was even a chef's visit to each table, and he would explain how each course was prepared if you wanted... It's one of the main reasons we choose Viking - there are really no extra charges (unless you want to go further afield than the included excursions, which are offered at every port.) No spa charge; wine, beer, coffee, tea and soft drinks are also free, and in unlimited quantities! On the stop at Santorini, for example, we are taking the included tour just to get ashore and have the free funicular ride to the top of the mountain (then we'll ditch the tour and go off on our own>) Andi, please continue to suggest great places to go in Venice, Montenegro and - wherever! Shari, if you're lurking, we're thinking of you and praying for your full recovery! Be religious in doing the rehab! Jackie, how goes the battle with the doctors? OK, now I have to go prepare a jazz lecture for Monday. Have A Great Day, Crazies!
  14. I may go out and buy a cheerleader's outfit just so I can cheer for you! (May have trouble learning how to handle the pom-poms though...
  15. Super! Andi and I are thinking to do a "post-cruise" in Venice - we'd like to book our own hotels (much cheaper than the Viking post-cruise package) but we'd also like to take advantage of the Viking airfares. Think you can work some magic on those flights again?
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