Our first trip to Asia was a couple of years ago. We went to the beautiful island of Bali, Indonesia. Bali offers so much to see and do and we truly felt welcomed there. To read our review of The Chedi Club Tanah Gajah click HERE. To read our restaurant reviews from Ubud click HERE.
Here are a couple of videos from our trip:
1 Fiat, 2 adults, 1 teenager, a shorkie named Fred, and 3 nights in Saint John NB. Here's what we've been researching:
1. Driving through Portland and stopping for a soda at Vena's Fizz House! So delicious and very cool owners!
2. Scenic pass through Acadia National Park as recommended by my sister! If time permits!
3. Driving and hiking The Fundy Trail!
4. Walking on the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks!
5. Searching for foodie finds at Saint John City Market
6. Staying out the Hilton Saint John
7. Checking out some of the pet friendly restaurants that Jessica at Discover Saint John researched for us:
This trip is also new because it's Porscha's and Fred's first trip out of the country.
Some of our must have items for traveling (in addition to our recommended list):
Fred's traveling necessities are:
I can't wait to share our stories and photos with you so stay tuned!
Rome is one of my favorite cities to visit. Rome is a city full of beautiful sights, friendly people, fabulous food, and and offers incredible moments. We have visited Rome several times. To check out our full travel reviews you can visit HERE and for our full restaurant reviews visit HERE.
I've just finished editing some videos of Rome. The first is Climbing the Cupola in Vatican City. The second is touring the Vatican Museums. The third is a flock of birds over the Piazza Navona.
A few years ago we joined friends for a road trip to Savannah, GA. To see our hotel review click HERE. For yummy restaurant reviews visit HERE.
Here's a quick video from Ft Pulaski. To learn more about Ft Pulaski click here.
One of the best perks about staying in the Haven on Norwegian Cruise Line is the Disembarking! We chose to walk off with our luggage since we had a long drive ahead of us. We headed up to the Haven lounge and the concierge asked us if we were ready or wanted breakfast first. We decided we were ready to leave. We were walked over to the service elevator and given priority access (over staff). We went down to the proper floor and Adrian our concierge met us and walked us along the red carpet directly to the pier (by passing an extremely long line of patrons also doing self-disembarking. Awesome!
The positives from our cruise:
1. Haven - incredible staff, restaurant, pool area, lounge, benefits, and feeling of relaxation and serenity.
2. Gym - well laid out and with plenty of machines
3. O'Sheehans - always fun in the afternoon
4. The food - with the exception of Cagney's the food on board was terrific!
5. The ports - with the exception of Nassau were a happy sight to see
The negatives from our cruise:
1. Always having to press buttons to open doors instead of having motion sensors
2. Balcony's - are incredibly small including Haven Penthouse Suites
3. Drink menus - are basically the same at every bar and they never had lavender for a particular drink
4. Smoking - is allowed in the casino which is open to other areas. (It wasn't as bad though as others experienced)
5. Photographers - There are too many photographers per floor and they block walkways and staircases
We drove from Miami to Hampton Inn Stafford/Quantico & Conference Center in Stafford VA. Along the way we stopped at Peach World for peaches and peach bread for our family. We also made a stop at our favorite farmers market! We have visited Pee Dee State Farmers Market numerous times and a must have are Sweet Potatoes!
The next day we drove back to Boston, hugged Fred, and collapsed in our bed! Home sweet home!
I woke up with a full blown cold this morning! Luckily I always have my "Mary Poppins" bag with me. I have everything from tissues to cough drops with me wherever I go. We ordered breakfast from our butler and now that I'm thinking and writing everything down I really wish we hadn't tipped him as much. I received turkey sausage (that I couldn't eat instead of oven potatoes this morning. I understand he's busy and the Haven was full but take a minute, write stuff down, and make sure things are accurate. For the price we paid it really shouldn't be this difficult to order eggs, bacon, and potatoes.
We got changed and headed back up to the Haven sundeck for some sunshine and reading. We watched us pull into Nassau and enjoyed the view. We decided not to venture in to town since we were just there the month before. Anything besides the Only and Only Ocean Club again would be a let down.
We basically had the ship to ourselves so we walked around and took some pictures.
My memory is a little fuzzy but I think we went to O'Sheehans for lunch. I'm never very hungry when I'm sick so I ended up with french fries. After lunch we went back to the room so I could nap. Our last evening onboard was incredibly boring unfortunately. I was so sick that we decided to call our butler and order dinner from Le Bistro.
The dinner was good but definitely not as wonderful if we received it from the kitchen to the table. The staff did remember that we were supposed to have a bottle of wine comped to us and so they sent it along with our dinner. I thought that was a very nice touch.
After dinner we quickly packed and I proceeded to fall directly asleep!
I didn't sleep at all last night because.....I caught a head cold! This morning we tried to sleep in a bit since i'm suffering from a sore throat, stuffy nose, and a small cough. Definitely not fun! We ordered room service from our butler and unfortunately he forgot our pot of tea. I used the Lavazza machine for tea but they are very small cups.
We changed into our swim suits, grabbed a couple of books and headed up to the Haven sundeck. Today was a terrific day to sit outside. The air was warm, there was only a light breeze, and the sun was shining! The staff came around to all the chairs offering cool towels, fruit skewers, and took drink orders. In the afternoon we did venture out to O'Sheehans for some darts as usual.
I then headed back to the room for more tea, cough drops, and a nap. It was nice to be able to watch McFarland USA before falling asleep!
We enjoyed pre-dinner drinks in the Haven lounge. Delicious Mint Julep's and Tom Collins (with a splash of St Germaine). Tonight was our 2nd time at Ocean Blue. The staff welcomed us back and my allergies weren't a concern at all!
Greg started with the Fried Calamari while I had to have the Beef Tartar again! We ordered a couple glasses of Matua Valley Sauvignon Blanc (which the staff told us also happened to be popular on this cruise). For entrees Greg enjoyed the Red Snapper. I ordered the Scallops and Pork Belly. Both entrees were delicious. To finish the meal Greg had the chocolate flourless cake and I had the Sorbet Trio. Most times I find Sorbet at restaurants to be boring. Definitely not the case here! The Creme de Casis is tart, the strawberry is sweet, and the coconut is creamy. Put them together and it's perfect! With the exception of the staff in the Haven area, the Ocean Blue staff are the best. The staff are friendly, efficient, perfectly timed, and are welcoming.
After dinner we tried to venture into the Karaoke again but it was empty. We then lost a small amount of money in the Casino slots lol. Finally we ended up at Mixx Bar for a couple of drinks. Unfortunately, the drinks weren't as good as last time.
Earlier in the day Roluca told me she was going to be sending me a special treat. She spoke with the dessert chef and together they came up with a plan for a dairy free, gluten free, and soy free dessert for me. When we got back to the room I found a platter with chocolate cupcakes (sans frosting) and berries. All things considered they were good. I do wish I could work with cruise lines to introduce them to the products I love and the recipes I created. There are so many new options out there and people with food allergies don't need to me as limited.
There are certain places in the world that give you a sense or relaxation and utter joy. The British Virgin Islands are one of those places to me. In the past we have visited Tortola, Jost Van Dyke, Norman Island, and Virgin Gorda. For this trip we originally booked an excursion to Jost Van Dyke. We were feeling relaxed and at ease and didn't want the rush of an excursion to spoil that feeling. Adrian (our concierge) helped us out tremendously by canceling and refunding our excursion even though we were within the 48 hour cancellation policy.
The morning started with breakfast in the Haven restaurant. As usual I had bacon, poached eggs, and gluten free toast. After breakfast we picked up our belongings and headed to the Taxi line. The near pier in Tortola is nice and a much closer walk. It's still not finished but it definitely has potential.
We were hoping to avoid the crowds so we headed to Long Bay Beach. We were paired up with a couple in the taxi (who originally wanted another location but after talking to us also decided on Long Bay). This pairing really made today exceptionally fun! In the taxi we discovered we're both from Massachusetts, we both love to travel, and both love the Virgin Islands.
When we got to the beach we set up a time for the driver Dan to pick us back up. The couple we met went to get drinks and Greg and I headed to chairs on the beach. Long Bay Beach was quiet, had soft sand, and just had a serene feeling to it. There is a hotel on the beach, a few restaurants, and bathroom facilities available. After a few hours we met back up with our new friends and the driver and this is where the day got very fun!
Dan picked us up and as a group we decided to go on an adventure. We all knew we wanted Pusser's Painkillers and Pusser's mugs so Dan suggested we go to Pusser's Landing rather than Pusser's Road Town. Greg and I have been to this location before and so we were happy to go and hang out for a while. We shopped for our mugs first (a must have each year although this year the dates weren't printed on the mugs). Greg, John, Denise, Dan, and I grabbed some seats at the bar and that's where we met our new favorite bartender Pearl. The afternoon was filled with laughter, goofing off, jokes, and teasing! Added bonus! The staff were able to make me chicken wings that were dairy and gluten free! After lunch and several Painkillers Dan showed us a few more sights and places to visit the next time we're on the island. Once aboard the Getaway we changed into drier clothing and headed to O'Sheehans for the usual drinks and darts.
In the evening we had pre-dinner cocktails in the Haven lounge which was a great place to unwind and chat with fellow cruisers. We walked around the corner and had dinner in the Haven Restaurant. Roluca (Maitre'd) was kind enough to ask the chef to make me sauteed spinach and a baked potato for my sides instead of the usual steamed veggies. I was so thankful since most of my meals consisted of the same sides throughout the week!
After dinner we had tickets to the comedy show in Headliners. The show was hosted by James Ervin Berry and the show was by Dean Edwards. This was a really fun experience. The bar was overworked so there was a good wait to get drinks and the room was pretty crowded. We actually found James Ervin Berry to be funnier than Dean Edwards. Overall the show was good though!
Forgot a small addition to yesterday's post. To finish our day in St Thomas there were fireworks off the port side of the Getaway. Here's a couple pics from that show!
We had plans to just head to a beach on our own so we slept in a little and then had a leisurely breakfast in the Haven Restaurant.
After breakfast we picked up our stuff from our room and disembarked the ship (avoiding the staff dressed up for pictures)! We walked through Havensight Mall to the taxi line. The first person we spoke to agreed to take us to Magen's Bay as requested. While we were waiting another taxi driver told us he wanted to be honest with us and that Magen's Bay was closed due to contamination over the past few days. We thanked him for the information and decided to head to Sapphire Bay.
Sapphire Bay was warm, sunny, and definitely a much less crowded beach. There are restrooms, waitresses, and a dive shop nearby for any of your needs. We stayed here for a few hours just relaxing then we headed back to the ship to change into dry clothing. Walking back to the taxi line we decided we would go back to Glady's Cafe for lunch. Greg enjoyed a Carib beer and Conch Fritters for lunch. While I enjoyed a water and the Jerk Chicken Wings.
We browsed around the shops but really didn't have too much time for shopping. We did stop by to see our friend Chad at Liberty Jewelers. We purchased a few pieces from him over the years and he remembered us the minute we walked in the door. We didn't buy anything on this trip but it was nice to stop in and say hi.
Back on board we I headed to Le Bistro. After last night's disaster in Cagney's I decided to pre-order my meal at Le Bistro for that evening. Afterwards we went back to our room to relax and ran into a big problem. Last night we received a note saying our balcony was going to be painted. Okay no problem! Problem! We could smell paint in the hallway outside our room. Greg thought it would end there but it didn't. Our room was completely contaminated with fumes. Paint for ships is extremely strong and we were immediately getting headaches. We contact our concierge who sent the floor supervisor to our room. The supervisor agreed that we couldn't stay in the room and asked us to give them a couple of hours. After a while we went downstairs to the guest services desk (as the supervisor told us to) and asked for an update. It took us 20-30 minutes to get an answer (not the fault of the staff at guest services he was wonderful). The room potentially needed some more work to clean it up so the staff member walked us up to our room to help with some luggage so we can use another room to shower and change for dinner. When we entered our room our concierge met us there and the room was a lot better. Adrian our concierge asked if we wouldn't mind stepping out for a few more hours (after showering) to bring in some more equipment to clean the air. Adrian also offered us a bottle of wine at Le Bistro that evening. The whole situation was annoying but I really felt that NCL handled it appropriately.
Le Bistro is an adorable little restaurant. We loved the atmosphere and our extremely friendly waitress Cherry! I started with the scallops which were a major disappointment. Every ounce of flavor was removed due to my allergies. I ended up with a plate of seared scallops and nothing else. Greg enjoyed his appetizer which were an assortment of filled cornets. For entree's Greg ate every last drop of his Coq Au Vin! I enjoyed the duck which was cooked beautifully and lightly seasoned. For dessert Greg ordered the chocolate layered option. Cherry offered me a dairy, gluten, and soy free chocolate fondue for dessert! I was incredibly excited! Unfortunately, the restaurant was dark and I didn't realize that there were profiteroles mixed in the with the fruit and I ate one. Cherry was so apologetic and so friendly and was so upset that the whole meal was fine for my allergies until that moment. In the end the restaurant offered us a bottle of wine the next time we dined at Le Bistro!
After dinner we ventured around the ship and popped into the extremely bad (not even funny) karaoke in Bliss Ultra Lounge.
We walked upstairs to the Haven Restaurant for breakfast this morning. I ordered poached eggs and bacon for breakfast. The thoughtful Roluca had the kitchen make my poached eggs over the gluten free bread. After breakfast we sat outside on the Haven sundeck for a while but it was extremely windy again.
We decided to try our hand at the very expensive Bingo. NCL offers a few different bingo options the pricier the package the more raffle tickets or instant win tickets you receive. We did not win and really felt we ended up spending $30 to people watch and give ourselves a good chuckle.
For lunch we decided to try the Sushi restaurant. I ordered the Octopus, Shrimp and Tuna. The seafood was fresh and appealing to look at unfortunately the rice wasn't cooked properly and the size of the rice wasn't in proportion to the seafood. Greg did enjoy the Spider Roll and something that had a name close to 50 shades of grey.
In the afternoon we ventured back to O'Sheehans for drinks and darts before heading back to our room to watch a movie. We weren't sure if it was a Suite thing, an error, or for everyone but the movies on demand were all free.
Before dinner we went to the Mixx Bar. We really liked the dark wood bar, classy feel, and friendly staff. We had a reservation for Cagney's (Steakhouse) and were seated right away. Then things took a turn for the worst. We sat there for 20 minutes before someone came and asked us about drinks. Our wine was delivered and 10 minutes later we were asked about our order. In all other restaurants the staff knew about my allergies and/or easily accommodated me. Our waiter proceeded to scold me when I mentioned my allergies by telling me I should have pre-ordered. A steakhouse should be the easiest option to avoid Gluten and Dairy! Plus I'm not the type of person to try and order Macaroni and Cheese and expect a miracle dish to be made for me that avoids my allergies. I ordered a steak plain, baked potato, and steamed broccoli. I should have just walked out at the point! As we're sitting and waiting for our food we notice that we are surrounded by empty tables that haven't been cleaned and it's been 15 minutes that our wine glasses were empty. Toward the end of the meal we must have had really displeased looks on our faces because another waiter came over to us and started joking around and told me I just had to have the lemon sorbet for dessert. We really appreciated the effort he made and the lemon sorbet was actually the best part of the meal!