Thursday, July 23, 2009

Day at Sea in Mediterranean- May 18, 2009

It's funny that I don't have any pictures of our major activity for our only day at sea... but, they were having an Art 101 class, followed by a Live Art Auction... Chris was intrigued, and even though the Art 101 lecture was interesting, and we had never been to an auction... Long story short, I had to reign Chris in from getting way too caught up in the auction that lasted way, way too long... we finally ditched towards the end because we were starving. So even though that silly auction took most of our afternoon of our day on ship, we experienced a less than lively Live auction, and learned a little about some interesting artists, created a stalker of the auctioneer who overestimated our enthusiasm, and learned a valuable lesson for future cruises... avoid the crazy art auction people...

After that, we just wanted to relax, so we chilled in the Karaoke lounge where we took a nap overlooking the sea, and read a little of course. And naturally, we ate, a lot... and then we ate some more.

And we always loved finding ourselves out on deck, overlooking the beautiful sea. I was mesmerized by the unique and brilliant blue that really is special to the Mediterranean sea.
I've decided our next cruise needs to be with some friends or family, so we can swap cameras and get some decent photos of us together.... and it's funny to see now, what and when we remembered to take pictures and what we forgot! Oops... oh well...
Funny cruise notes... we loved the big shows that they did every night, this was a contraband photo of the singing/dancing group that performed about every other night. We liked to chill and watch the shows, particularly after the days of running all day. And we looked forward to our funny little newsletter we got each night in our cabin with the next days schedules, and info about our ports. It's the small and simple things, huh? Oh, and the cruise director would always open the show greeting the cruisers in at least 5 different languages... rather impressive and kind of funny.

It's funny how quickly we all fall into routines, even in a completely different place... in the mornings we would go to the buffet and Chris would always get a bowl of Cream of Wheat, while my plate was always piled with bacon, sausage, Belgian Waffles, and hash browns... I only wish I had discovered the brioche with marmalade sooner. At night, we would get dressed and ready, go to dinner in the nicer dining hall in time to make the 8:00 show, whereafter we would check out the games going on in the main lounge, where we would quickly decide to go get dessert and leftovers at the buffet and then eat more on the back of the ship overlooking the water. Then we would decide to can our earlier plans of going to the later entertainment because we always had early morning plans to get off early as soon as we were at port. And we loved to people watch, and had nicknames for all sorts of people. Good times...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Embarking on our Mediterranean Cruise - May 17, 2009

It's finally time to get on the ship... we grabbed some breakfast at a little sidewalk cafe near our Hotel, disappointingly found out that La Boqueria was closed, then grabbed a cab and headed for Port Vell to board the Norwegian Gem!!

We got on the ship a little after noon, but our room wouldn't be ready until about 2, so we had fun exploring the ship, and mostly finding out where all the restaurants were. And of course, the first restaurant we found... we stopped and began our week long binge! We ate at the Blue Lagoon which is known as the comfort food cafe and is open 24 hours. After eating plates full of sardines, it was great to order a simple plate of chicken tenders and fries.

Until of course, we discovered the welcome barbecue on the deck beside the pool. They had some really great Penne Rosa and some wonderful grilled skirt steak. We didn't pig out though because we were excited about having lamb on the dinner menu... in hindsight, the grilled foods were WAY better than the lamb, and we would have gorged ourselves if we had known it was going to be one of our favorite meals of the entire cruise!

And we couldn't help but order a special drink (Virgin of course!) poolside for our big sailaway ... suckers!
It was rather relaxing just exploring the ship, stopping to eat, or chill in a lounge, and then finding our room, etc... etc... even enjoying a new view of Barcelona from the ship and looking out over the Mediterranean blue water, imagining the adventures that awaited us.

That is looking up at Montjuic, you may remember from one of my previous posts... beautiful!
We were so excited for our first dinner on the ship... the dining room was just beautiful and we loved the pampering service. As mentioned before, the lamb we were so excited about was a little lacking but they had a Vanilla Bean Souffle on the dessert menu, and that happens to be one of my favorite desserts. I had heard to order whatever you want on a cruise, and after eating my first souffle, I found myself wishing I had a little more. So I told Chris I was going to try out what we heard and order another one... he made fun of me of course, and when I timidly asked the waitress if I could have another one, she laughed and said of course, and said she would bring as many as I wanted and we all laughed thinking that was ridiculous but little did I know... because that second one was so fabulous, I ordered a third! Chris thought I was crazy but I didn't care because what a fabulous way to start our Cruise! Yummy!!

And what beautiful views we had all along the cruise, even just at sea. There really is something so special about that Mediterranean blue water, and the sunset over the Mediterranean was always even more amazing. We loved that our daily bulletin included the times for sunsets and we often found ourselves on the back of the ship at sunset. Amazing...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Claire Needs Your Help!!

I entered Claire in a Sugar and Spice photography contest for little girls on my friend's photography blog. The winner will win a free photo session with her, and frankly we would love to win, plus you all know how adorable Claire is! The voting starts today at noon, and you can log on and vote as often as it will let you. So help us out, go check out her BLOG and VOTE, VOTE, VOTE!!! Here is the photo I entered, isn't she so cute??

Seriously, go VOTE! again, and again, again!!

Oh, and we could only enter once per family, so Isabelle and Abigail are mad at me... but here are some pictures I took on the same inspired day...



And here is the cute picture of my beautiful niece Hannah that I entered as well since she was staying with me all last week!

But seriously, go VOTE!! HERE for CLAIRE now!!