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2012 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,900 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 12 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Incredible Vancouver

Vancouver is so pretty, and if I wasn’t settled here in San Diego, or if my kids weren’t small – I would move to Vancouver – without hesitation. It is easy to get around in this city, in fact I got a train from the airport to my hotel at the Hyatt Regency in Vancouver without a problem and for only $8.75 (Canadian) one-way. This video will show you two different sightseeing buses that I took – Hop On Hop Off, which allow you to make the most of your trip, if you are staying for just a short while. Since I stayed for just one day and night on this trip, I had to make the most of my time in this city. This was my second visit to Vancouver, and it certainly won’t be my last.

Here are some of my pictures:

Steam Clock, Gastown – Vancouver

Gastown, Vancouver

Gastown, Vancouver

Hyatt Regency, Vancouver

View from Room 2003 – Hyatt Regency, Vancouver

Hyatt Regency, Vancouver

The Shops at Hyatt Regency, Vancouver

The lobby of the Hyatt Regency, Vancouver

The fries are delicous from this vendor – Bada Bing.  I like my food very hot, and the fries were hot until the last one.   I asked for vinegar to put on my fries, and hot sauce, and the vendor told me it was not necessary.  I listened to him, and was so glad that I did.  They put a special sauce on the fries and some onions too, and these fries did not need anything else at all, they were tasty just the way they were.  These are a must-try!

Best gourmet fries – Bada Bing, Vancouver

Actually, it was a great thing that I took a picture of the menu board.  My fries were the “Animal-Style” made with grilled cheese, and the Bada Bing secret sauce.

Bada Bing Menu

Gastown, Vancouver

View from the Big Bus – Hop On Hop Off – City Tour

Canada Place

Gastown

Robson St. – Vancouver

To view more of my pictures, here is another link that I posted last month Vancouver

I hope you will get a chance to visit Vancouver soon, and you will also see that it is incredible.

Have You Ever Wondered About The Entertainment On A Cruise?

The entertainment on a cruise ship just has to be experienced, and is one of the reasons that cruises have so much intrinsic value……not just for the journey, or the destination, but for the experience onboard the ship. On the Radiance Of The Seas, the entertainment was absolutely terrific. The Aurora Theatre was the venue each night of some highly entertaining acts, and in this video that I made, I tried to capture a few seconds of most acts. There is so much that I could not include as I like to keep my videos down to 10 minutes or less. I also felt it was important to show you the Cascades staff, who were also highly entertaining, as were the Cruise Director’s Staff who entertained us from the Centrum (the lobby) to the swimming pool. If you go on a cruise, you won’t be bored!

Hope you all have an even more entertaining evening with watching this video. Thanks for viewing it.

Do You Ever Wonder About Food On A Cruise Ship?

Don’t wonder anymore! Take a look at all the incredible options that were available on the Radiance Of The Seas, during the cruise from Vancouver to Alaska. You will see Cascades Restaurant, the Windjammer Cafe, the Park Cafe, Rita’s Cantina, Izumi, Samba Grill, and Chops Grille. You will see Indian food including the delicious Andhra Pakora Curry that I just had to have two servings of, and there was also Indian food available each night on the dinner menu in Cascades.

After I had uploaded the video on to You Tube, I realized I had duplicate coverage of some scones in the Windjammer Cafe, but then thought who’s going to pay attention……I’ll just leave it in! It was easier for me to not upload the video a second time – it takes hours to upload everything to You Tube. Anyhow, I hope you’ll take a look, and you might even get hungry! Hope you are all having a terrific weekend.

PS: Just wanted to add that thumbnail images (such as the image you see in the video) drive me mad.  You only get three choices or so and in this video I did not get lucky!  You’d think if you are showing a video about food, then the thumbnail image should show something really good or mouthwatering.   My thumbnail pictures actually came from what I recorded on my camcorder (not photographs).   Three thumbnails get selected automatically, perhaps based upon the positioning of that particular image during a crucial moment when the thumbnail gets chosen.  If the three that get chosen automatically are not the most appealing thumbnails, you are left with an option, and that is to edit the video again to get another chance at a better thumbnail.  From what I can see, you don’t get to pick one, so it’s all about luck.  I got the least appealing thumbnails to choose from.  The other video that I just posted recently that shows the Radiance Of The Seas – Part 1, has a much better thumbnail – which just goes to show – that sometimes you can get lucky.  But with this video, it wasn’t so.  Sometimes, I get to a certain point where I just decide that I cannot be bothered to go back and edit again.  Who has the time?

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Of The Seas, Vancouver to Alaska – Part 2

On this video, I have more video footage than photographs. I captured a sighting of a porcupine – I’ve never seen one before, therefore, I was so happy to get that on video! I also show the specialty restaurants, and a little of the entertainment. Also, you get to see the Solarium, and my favorite breakfast place on the ship – the Park Cafe.

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance Of The Seas, Vancouver to Alaska – Part 1

This video will show my photos and video footage of the cruise, and the port visits, including pictures of Mendenhall Glacier and Hubbard Glacier. Part 2 will have more cruise coverage.

Some people go on a cruise ship for the destination, and some go for the experience on the ship.  I liked both aspects, because I just love cruises, and love traveling.  My other favorite parts of the actual cruise were the entertainment (got a little bit of Bollywood), the Park Cafe food, and the Indian food in the Windjammer Cafe, where I also got Indian tea.  It’s important to have some of those home comforts!

Radiance Of The Seas – An Overview

“Welcome to the first day of the most amazing cruise vacation of your life”  – these words are taken from the Cruise Compass that you will find in your cabin each day, that lists all the important things to know from the safety drill, to the dining, entertainment and activities.  I really enjoyed the May 11, 2012,  cruise from Vancouver to Alaska.  This is the perfect ship to take in the sights of Alaska as the views are magnificent and can be seen from within the ship due to the floor to ceiling windows.

Here are some more details of  my May 11th, 2012 cruise, including pictures of my cabin, restaurants, swimming pool, entertainment, theatre, coffee shop, and other public areas.  This is not a big ship, such as the Oasis of The Seas which can hold up to 5,200 people or so.  The Radiance Of The Seas (a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship) holds about 2,200 people approximately, and is easier to get around.  If you don’t want to get “lost” in a ship, then this may be the one for you, it is easy to get the feel of it, and to get your bearings compared to some of the larger ships.

As far as entertainment, what can I say?  Spectacular!  The entertainment was different every day, and could be viewed in the Aurora Theatre either before dinner or after dinner.  Then were was also entertainment that was brought to you all around the ship, including the lobby area – named the Centrum – or to the swimming pool by DJ Terry, and the Cruise Director and his staff such as the 70’s Disco Inferno one evening in the Centrum, as well as the highly entertaining Sail Away Party at the Poolside on the first day of the cruise.  There’s a movie theatre, a casino, shops, a gym, solarium, spa, kids clubs and activities.

The dining options are magnificent!  I ate in the Cascades Restaurant with my CruiseOne colleagues, and we had the late dining at 8:30 pm every night.  There are also a handful of specialty restaurants that are available if you wish to try something different – such as Giovanni’s Table – I tried it, and I liked it!  There is also the Chef’s Table, Chops Grille, Izumi’s,  Samba Grill, Rita’s Cantina and these all range in price and can go up to $30 per person, which is very reasonable.  If you don’t want to spend extra money, you don’t have to….Cascade’s, and Windjammer Cafe have more than enough food for you to feast on, and the food in these two restaurants is very good quality and varies from day to day.  If you are looking for specialty coffees, there’s Cafe Latte-tudes (but you will have to pay for these – they’re not included).  My recommendation to you for breakfast is the Park Cafe, this place was a fantastic discovery, because first of all, I thought it was a specialty snack shop/cafe, but the food here is included in your cruise fare, and you must try it.  The paninis were so delicous, I can’t even begin to describe them accurately – my favorite was the breakfast panini with eggs, cheese, spinach and salmon!  It was so good, I ordered a second one!  The yoghurt parfaits are tasty – there were two kinds: strawberry or mango-banana, and there were also quesadillas, as well as other types of paninis, sandwiches and fresh fruit.  Close to the Park Cafe, was another counter where you could get pastries, and a coffee bar (with complimentary American coffee) and complimentary juice machine were also close by.  On other cruises, I have always opted for the breakfast buffet, but this time I could not wait for my paninis at Park Cafe.  Also, don’t forget to try the Boardwalk Dog House, this place serves delicious hot dogs – I tried one that was spicy turkey.

Even though the cruise was not scheduled to sail until 4:30 pm, it is important to get to the cruise terminal as early as possible.   I got there at around 1:00 pm, and was actually on the ship at around 3pm (that was two hours spent in the line even though I had done my online check-in, sometimes it’s not just the cruise line, but the immigration process that could slow things down).  Now for some photos that will show you around the ship, and give you some insight into my seven days of cruising enjoyment.

Radiance Of The Seas

Firstly, we have my cabin – an Inside Cabin with no windows unfortunately, but I still loved it, it was spacious and comfortable.  There was a safety video playing on the tv, and we did have our muster drill within the first few hours of getting on the ship.

Cabin 3549 – Inside Cabin on the Radiance Of The Seas

The lobby of the Radiance Of The Seas is ever so spectacular, colorful, modern and one of the nicest lobbies I’ve seen on a cruise ship.

Lobby known as Centrum on the Radiance Of The Seas

The lobby (Centrum) of the Radiance Of The Seas

The stunning Centrum of the Radiance Of The Seas

The Centrum, Radiance Of The Seas

I headed to the Windjammer Cafe to take advantage of a buffet lunch that did not fail to please.  What a nice welcome!

Windjammer Cafe, Radiance Of The Seas

I just had to take a picture of this waiter who had some colorful drinks:

Windjammer Cafe, Radiance Of The Seas

Too full now to get anything from Cafe Latte-tudes

Cafe Latte-tudes, Radiance of The Seas

Went to take a look around the ship, and we were still in Vancouver – not sailing yet.

Vancouver in the background of the Radiance Of The Seas

The skies are still a brilliant blue, while we are in Vancouver.

Main Swimming Pool, Radiance Of The Seas

Our first taste of some terrific entertainment – poolside!

Entertainment on the Radiance Of The Seas

And the audience joined in, every one got into vacation mode, that’s the spirit!

Beautiful Vancouver from the Radiance Of The Seas

Vancouver from the Radiance Of The Seas

Vancouver from Radiance Of The Seas

View of Vancouver from Radiance Of The Seas

We were not the only ship leaving from Canada Place, so was Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody Of The Seas

View of Vancouver and the Rhapsody Of The Seas from the Radiance of The Seas

I then walked around the ship and took these pictures, some on the first day because I was so excited to see the ship, and some pictures I took on other days:

Samba Grill, Radiance Of The Seas

The Fitness Center, Radiance Of The Seas

Best place to relax, and read a book, be warm and feel like you are in paradise.  The birds are chirping, and you don’t need a jacket here.  This is also where the Park Cafe is.

The Solarium, Radiance Of The Seas

The Crown & Anchor Lounge – go here to sign up for an account so that you start getting acknowledgement each time you cruise with Royal Caribbean – you will accumulate points and/or rewards.  This is not automatic membership, you have to sign up for it, so you might as well do it while you are on your cruise.

Crown & Anchor Lounge, Radiance Of The Seas

Children’s Area – Adventure Ocean

Bring your babies along, and your other kids too!

Royal Babies & Royal Tots, Radiance Of The Seas

Sports time, stay fit on this ship with plenty to do!

Basketball Court, Radiance Of The Seas

Play mini-golf on Deck 13

Mini Golf on the Radiance Of The Seas

Rock-climbing

Rock Climbing on the Radiance Of The Seas

StarQuest Nightclub, Radiance Of The Seas

You can’t go wrong with this interactive device, find out what to do, where you are, and where to go.  It is truly your compass.

Cruise Compass – Radiance Of The Seas

Read a book in the library on one of the decks, or play board games on the deck one level up

Leisure Time, Radiance Of The Seas

Lounge & Relax Time, Radiance Of The Seas

Club Royale Casino – Radiance Of The Seas

Hair Salon, Radiance Of The Seas

This is where spectacular entertainment was delivered every evening – The Aurora Theatre

Aurora Theatre – Radiance Of The Seas

A few pictures of the entertainment, as good as any Broadway show in the Aurora Theatre

The entertainment in the Aurora Theatre, Radiance Of The Seas

Entertainment, Aurora Theatre, Radiance Of The Seas

Captain Sindre Borsheim at the Captain’s Welcome Aboard Reception in the Colony Club

Cascades Restaurant – Radiance Of The Seas

Forgot what the dessert was called, but it was delicious!

Dessert in Cascades

The staff of the Cascades all get together at least two or three times, and say a few things about their team, they do a terrific job!

Cascades Staff – Radiance Of The Seas

Dinner at Giovanni’s Table was a nice change, and for $20 – there was plenty to eat.   Bring your appetite!

Giovanni’s Table Restaurant, Radiance Of The Seas

The most tasty and succulent chicken dish was devoured at Giovanni’s Table

Entree at Giovanni’s Table

Dessert Selection – Giovanni’s Table

The most scrumptious breakfast ever – breakfast panini – is to be had at Park Cafe in the Solarium area

Park Cafe – Radiance Of The Seas

Park Cafe – Radiance Of The Seas

Park Cafe, Radiance Of The Seas

I love to eat Indian food, and every day the Radiance Of The Seas had Indian items in their buffet at the Windjammer Cafe, but on this day – this Andhra Pakora Curry was undoubtedly the best!

Indian Food in Windjammer Cafe, Radiance Of The Seas

The changing landscape – Alaska in the background

The Radiance Of The Seas – Alaska

Radiance Of The Seas – Alaska

Staircase Artwork of the Radiance Of The Seas

Outdoor movie time – Radiance Of The Seas

Every day there was a new towel animal design, the staff are so clever and talented

Towel Animal

They’re hard at work in the kitchen feeding so many people; I got a look at the hard workers when I took a tour of the kitchen:

Kitchen of the Radiance Of The Seas

Shopping Choices on the Radiance Of The Seas

Actually, I saw long lines today (I think this picture may have been from Day 2 or 3)

Sales and Bargains on the Radiance of The Seas

As you can see, there is a lot to do and see on the Radiance Of The Seas.  I have so many more pictures, and will also be including some in a video that I will produce soon.  I hope you enjoyed my overviewof the cruise that I took.  Actually, this could be considered a review if I give you my recommendation – and I do – I definitely recommend taking this cruise.  You will love it, you won’t be bored – in fact, you’ll have way too much to do!  Thank you for reading.