Acapulco, Mexico

January 22, 2023

Last evening we had dinner with Paul and Carolyn, the around the world host and hostess. They are from the UK. There were two other couples with us as well and it was a fun time. Very few people were in the dining room because our chef, Farid, did a Red Ginger dinner in the Terrace Cafe for Chinese New Year. They will do it again tomorrow night.

I had the lobster pad Thai. Delicious.

The sky just after sunset tonight was just beautiful.

Last night and then this morning, Norm wasn’t feeling well. So we both decided to do Covid tests as I have had a post nasal drip and a bit of a cough.

The bad news

As you see, we both tested positive much to my surprise (about me, but kind of expected it for Norm.) He had a fever and a lot of congestion since last night.

We called the medical office and they did a confirming PCR test, both positive. So now we will need to quarantine in our suite for 5 days at which point we will have another test, then we will need to wear a mask inside and out for 5 days.

We are very thankful for being fully vaccinated and for the antiviral meds they gave us.

So, you won’t see many posts from three upcoming ports – I will post what we can see from our balcony, and updates on how we are feeling. For the 5 days, we will miss one in Mexico, one in Guatemala and one in El Salvador as well as 2 sea days. Nothing we haven’t seen before! So room service, movies and books here we come. We are watching the NFL playoff game now and we get the Australian Open, so I am happy about that. We also get all the news channels but don’t watch them unless there is some really important news.

Stay tuned!

Posted in Food, January, Mexico, World Cruise #4 | 10 Comments

Zihuatenejo, Mexico

January 21, 2023

We had a nice dinner in Toscana and met two new couples who are on the world cruise.  One of the men had lots of interesting stories – he is an engineer and has worked on geothermal energy projects all around the world, primarily government sponsored projects.

Today, we went on a sail and snorkeling tour on a 75 foot catamaran called the Picante.  This is a tender port (no dock for large ships) so they use the lifeboats to transport us to shore.  Once there, we boarded small boats to take us out to where the Picante was anchored.  Here are some pictures of the port area. We were greeted by music and local dancers and everyone there cheered as we came off the tender! Happy to see us, I guess.


Weather wise, it was a perfect day.  Not too hot and nice breezes everywhere.  Carlos, one of the crew, told us lots of Mexico stories. 

This city is located in a protected bay and very popular with boat owners in the winter season.  There are a lot of American ex-pats living here. Carlos told us the name of the city means “Place of Women”.


There is a replica of the Parthenon here – it was build by a drug lord and then abandoned – the government took it over and plans to make it into a museum.


We motored out to the snorkeling spot and spent 45 minutes in the water.  The coral was not colorful (but it was big) but the fish were very pretty.  Unfortunately for some reason our underwater camera didn’t work.  The fish move pretty fast anyway.

On the way back to the town, the crew put the sail and spinnaker up and we sailed around the area and back to the harbor. Lots of interesting houses on the cliffs.


They had a lot of drinks, fresh fruit, croissants, etc – for us to snack on and they played fun music.  It was a really fun day.


I loved watching the many pelicans dive near the shore.  There was a boat with many of them on the top, just hanging out.


I spent a little time walking around the town and Norm went back to the ship to rest his foot (for those who don’t know, he has a torn tibia in his right foot and wore a CAM boot for 3 months before coming on the trip.) The pain is much lessened but it flares up if he walks too much.


I wanted to have lunch at a restaurant that the crew on the Picante recommended – fish or shrimp tacos and guacamole, but unfortunately it was closed.  It was probably siesta time – we got back around 2 PM.  So I had a quick salad on the ship. I wasn’t sure of the food safety of an unrecommended restaurant.

Tonight we are having dinner with the around the world host and hostess, Paul and Carolyn and another couple we met on board and liked a lot, Bruce and Karen.

Tomorrow we are in Acapulco which I could really skip – we have seen and done all we would want to in the past and it can be kind of sketchy.  One of our lecturers recommended walking to the fort which is in a safe area so we may do that with George and Eva.

Here is the picture Eva took of the group of us before the  Ensenada boat trip for (haha) whale watching.


Posted in Excursions, January, Mexico, World Cruise #4 | 1 Comment

Manzanillo, Mexico

January 20, 2023

Yesterday at lunch there was a fresh pasta station.  I also noticed that there was this Bloody Mary bar!


We had dinner with two couples that we met on the 2017 world cruise, Mui and Erin and Sonia and Boris.  We are enjoying many tours with them on this trip and we had a nice dinner to catch up.


Our cruise director is Ray Carr and we are delighted that he is on the world cruise with us.  He is so invested in the success of his team and always praises them all.  Last night he presented a birthday cake to a member of the string quartet that plays every night and also at the afternoon tea.  Everyone in the area sang happy birthday.


We arrived in port around 11 AM this morning.  Here are some shots of the sail in, the colorful houses on the hillside and the fuel ship that will pull alongside and refuel our ship.


We chose just to walk around town today – I needed a few things in a shop, which we found after a short walk.  It has warmed up nicely and as I write this in the afternoon, it is 81 degrees.  Feels good to me.  I could put the woolies away.

Manzanillo is known as the “Sailfish Capital of the World” thanks to the excellent sport fishing here. When you come to this port, you will never forget the huge statue of the Marlin – Manzanillo’s “official fish”.  Norm is in the picture for perspective!


There is also a smaller one near the ship.


The town is a pretty busy and important port town and we saw lots of container ships coming and going.

The downtown plaza (Zocalo) has recently been renovated and all along the waterfront are sculptures depicting the signs of the zodiac. by the artist Sebastian.


Here are the ones for Norm, Adam, Mark and me.  This exhibit is new since we visited in 2019, in fact it was set up in 2021. They are colorful and interesting.

IMG_1937~photoIMG_1935~photoPat and Mark’s zodiac sign

IMG_1933~photoIMG_1932~photoNorm’s zodiac sign

IMG_1925~photoIMG_1926~photoAdam’s zodiac sign

Tonight we are eating in Toscana, the Italian specialty restaurant on board – I love that one. 

Tomorrow we are doing a sail and snorkel trip in Zihuatanejo.  Happy that it will be very warm and the seas are calm.

Posted in Food, January, Mexico, World Cruise #4 | 1 Comment

At Sea

January 19, 2023

I am recovered from the rock and roll minus the whales excursion.  I really never get seasick on cruise ships but this small fishing boat which was just tossed around in the huge waves was something else! One of the people who was with us took a group picture but I haven’t gotten it from her yet.  I will post when I do.  Thankfully she took it before we went out, not after.

We are on the second of two days at sea along the coast of Mexico.  Two days ago when we were in  Ensenada, our chef, Farid, shopped for fresh mahi mahi and grilled it in the terrace cafe.  It was terrific.  Here is the display and also Farid doing the grilling (and showing off for the photo!) The sauces were as amazing as the fish!


I have been getting my blackjack fix. On the first sea day, January 16, I finished third in the tournament.  The top two get prize money!  But yesterday, I finished second and the casino manager asked if we wanted to play a second round, and I won that one.  We will see what happens today.

Yesterday at lunch, Farid was at it again.  He was making fresh crepes with all kinds of toppings available from berries to chocolate and chocolate chips to whipped cream.  I didn’t sample them (maybe it would have been OK after dinner, but too rich for me at lunch.


We have had two time changes in two days, moving the clock forward.  We are now on Chicago time.

Here is the sunrise this morning.


After I did the post mentioning one of the BEST TOURS ever, I thought I should have added the link to that post.  So here it is:

One of the best tours ever

Tomorrow we are docked at Manzanillo Mexico. We didn’t book a tour this time and we will see what adventures the day brings.

Posted in At Sea, Food, January, Mexico, World Cruise #4 | 3 Comments

Ensenada Baja Mexico

January 17, 2023

We arrived in Ensenada this morning around 8 AM and it was 47 degrees!  Brrrr. We brought lots of layers, thank goodness. 


Ensenada is the third largest in Baja and is only 78 miles south of San Diego. 


Today we booked a whale watching excursion with 3 other couples.  Well,  it was to be a whale watching tour but it turned into a 12 foot swell, rain shower and puking tour and of course no self respecting whale would be showing up in THAT! It was a cold and miserable 3 hours but, hey, you win some and you lose some! There were some nice fountains on the walk back to the ship!


When we returned it started to rain so we just went back to the ship, changed our wet clothes and had a late lunch. I guess this would have been a good day to do a wine tour in the northeast region where vineyards were first planted in 1703!  Some friends opted for that so we will compare our adventures later. 

Tonight our executive chef, Farid, is grilling fresh fish from the market here out on the terrace cafe deck.  We are looking forward to that and to the show, Matt Marcy who is a comedian and magician with 20 years of entertaining in Hollywood and around the world.

We have two sea days now before reaching our next port in Mexico, Manzanillo on Friday.  We were there in 2019 and if you wish, use the search function to read that post about the BEST TOUR EVER! I don’t know how we will top it.  We didn’t book anything here and will probably explore on our own. 

Posted in Excursions, January, Mexico, World Cruise #4 | 1 Comment

First day

January 15, 2023

All of our suitcases arrived! We did track some of them with airtags which let us know that the ones sent via luggage forward in late December were in California waiting for us. We traveled with only one checked bag so the forwarding worked well as it has in the past.

When we arrived on the ship, we were directed to the Insignia Lounge where we were served drinks, small sandwiches and sweets. When our room was ready we started the organizing.

It took us pretty much the whole afternoon to get our stuff unpacked and organized. Those who know me may remember that when asked how to pack for 6 months, I said ” put all the clothes and all the money you want to take – on the bed. Then take half the clothes and twice the money.” Well the clothes part didn’t work out – we will see about the money!

We had a nice dinner in the Terrace Cafe, met many friends and crew from previous trips. Norm skipped the show but I went and saw all of the entertainment team and musicians. Still on east coast time, so it was an early night. There are 394 around the world travelers, 180 of them are first time cruisers on Oceania. It seems like a large leap of faith to book a 6 month cruise without testing the line for a shorter one, but we know they will not be disappointed!

Here are some pictures of the Bay Bridge and from when the ship went under the Golden Gate Bridge about 10:30 PM enroute to Ensenada Mexico.

Picture courtesy of fellow passenger Younga Craddock
Picture courtesy of Younga Craddock
Posted in January, North America, World Cruise #4 | 6 Comments

The journey begins

We started our next 180 around the world journey on Saturday with a flight from Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco. When we landed there was a break in the rainy weather so after checking in at the Fairmont Hotel, we walked down two very steep blocks on Mason Street for a late lunch at a lovely Bistro, Aaliment. We watched the 49er/Seahawks game (sorry, Deb), while enjoying the food and drink – not at all crowded since it was mid afternoon.

The Fairmont is a really beautiful hotel. We were pretty tired and it started to rain so we stayed around the hotel the rest of the day.

After breakfast on Sunday we were on the first shuttle to our home for the next 180 days, the Oceania Insignia!

Posted in January, North America, World Cruise #4 | 13 Comments

Leaving for home

April 14, 2022

These evil warm freshly baked sticky buns called my name every day at breakfast and I resisted. But we are leaving today. So does that make it net zero with my usual fruit? Servers and wait staff say yes! We will miss you all. Till next time, bye Oceania Marina.

Alps spotted from the road!
Vineyards as far as the eye can see.

Posted in April, Europe, Spring Cruise 2022, World Cruise 3 | 3 Comments

Trieste, Italy

April 13, 2022

First the good news.  Our Covid tests were negative this morning.  And we saw the sunrise from the balcony.

Today we are exploring Trieste.  This is our port of call instead of Venice which does not allow cruise ships into the city anymore.  We sailed in there when we visited years ago, but they are prohibited now.  Oceania is looking for permission to dock closer to Venice but that has not been approved yet.  So Trieste it is, and we haven’t visited this city before.  Venice is a 2 hour trip from here and many passengers are going there.  We will need to travel to Venice airport tomorrow so our flight has been changed to a later one on a different airline.

Our tour today is Trieste and its Miramare Castle.  Our guide was Katya.


On our way to the Castle, she gave us a lot of information about Trieste.  The population here is 200,000 and the city is bordered by Austria to the north and Slovenia to the east. Croatia is only 19 miles to the south.  There is a long coastline and its location from a plateau to the Adriatic Sea keeps it physically and psychologically isolated from the rest of the Italian peninsula.  It preserves its own culture and dialect, a mixture of Italian, Austrian-German, Croatian and Greek. It has one of the highest standards of living among Italian cities and was named one of the 25 best small towns in the world for quality of life and one of the ten safest cities in the world in 2021.

Actually, we felt pretty safe on this whole trip, no pickpockets or any kind of threat at all.  Of course the crowds were not here both because of Covid and the early part of the season.

The city has mostly one way streets which makes it challenging to travel through.  Our driver is of course familiar, so no problem.

The 17th century was very important here, the Empress Marie Therese made a lot of positive changes and she is much loved by the people.

We went to the lovely Miramare Castle which was the home of the Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximillian and his wife, Charlotte of Belgium, later Emperor Maximillian of Mexico.  He supposedly chose the site after taking shelter from a storm in the harbor.  The castle has a surrounding 54 acre park. It was only accessible by sea. It means “look at the sea.” It was finished only after he went to Mexico in 1864 and reigned there as Emperor until he was executed in June 1867.  During the construction he  lived in the Castelleto which still stands on the grounds but is closed to visitors.We spent 45 minutes touring the castle and another 45 minutes walking around the grounds.  The area is isolated and very serene.


This is the view as we approach the castle.

We heard so much history about Marie Therese, Maximillian that it is hard to capture it all. 

Here are pictures of the beautiful interior with original silk wall coverings and intricate furniture. There are 5000 books in the library.



This is a piano forte, an early version of the piano.


Later, the residents of the castle were the family of Duke Amedeo of Aosta and they had simpler tastes!


And here are some shots from around the grounds.


After the castle, we went up to the San Guisto area which is high on the hill overlooking the city.  There we toured the San Giusto Cathedral which is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the main church of Trieste. The first building on the site was in the 6th century and was completely destroyed by the Lombard invasion.Between the 9th and the 17th centuries, two basilicas were erected and in the 14th century the two were joined. Inside you can see the difference in the architecture and décor between the two.


There is an old fortress on the hill with the church and some ruins. The brick is newer, the white is the original.


We didn’t have free time in the town but since we are here overnight and our ship will change locations, we may do a last dinner in Italy. The comedian Mark Palmer will perform again tonight.

We THINK we filled out and uploaded all of the required forms for our flight back to the US.  We are flying on Iberia and we change planes in Madrid, then back to Miami and home. 

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 2 Comments

Koper, Slovenia

April 11, 2022

Slovenia is another country we have never visited so we were looking forward to today. Our sail in was beautiful as most of these Mediterranean countries are, but a difference today was that when we looked down from our balcony into the sea, there were literally thousands of big jellyfish!  We never saw so many before.


We arrived at 10 AM today and our tour was at 10:45 and was a walking tour of Koper.  We could get right off the ship and met our guide on the pier. This was the only place they stamped our passports.  Most ports did not even require that you have them with you, only Croatia and here, and they never checked or stamped them in Croatia.

Marajita was our guide today.  We walked into the old city first.  As we walked, she gave us some of the history of the city. This city was built on an island surrounded by swampland that was later drained. .  It was called Goat Island because of the many goats that lived here.  It was controlled in the 1400s and 1500s by the Venetian Republic and many of the buildings date back to this period.  The main square in the city is called Tito Square. The country is only 10 miles from Italy and both Italian and Slovene are taught in school and spoken by most of the population. Because Italy is so close, many people travel there to work as the salaries are higher.


The country is bordered by Austria to the north and to the east, Hungary.  Croatia is to the south and Italy to the west. Slovenia has barely 30 miles of coastline.

We visited the museum and the Pretorian Palace. The museum is celebrating 110 years. In the museum there were letters from people whose relatives lived through WWII. The exhibits were in Slovene and Italian and occasionally there would be a laminated sheet in English.  It was still interesting, though.  Some of the letters were in English.


Here are some of the sights of the city.


The city is shaped like a shield and Marajita pointed out all of the places we visited on this map that is in one of the squares.

This wall is where people could come and make their complaints!IMG_0683~photo


The winged lion is the symbol of Venice and is seen all around the city. The large homes have wells outside to guarantee that they will have water. The sun represents the jellyfish and Medusa.

After our walking tour we went to a restaurant, Kapitalita which was along the harbor and we were served wine, potato chips and olives. The corner has the trunk of a vine and you can see the shadow of the vines on the roof.


Next door was a salt shop. They have a lot of salt flats here and the salt is famous. I bought some to take home.

Marajita said that the cyclists and other sports figures are excellent here and greatly respected. Of course she also mentioned Melania and Fiorello LaGuardia who were both born here.

Tomorrow is our last day of the cruise and we will visit Trieste Italy which is a short distance away.  We don’t leave here until midnight which means the shops and the casino will be closed.  It is a nice treat for the crew to be able to get off and walk into town.

I had a lovely facial today and tomorrow morning we will get our Covid tests.  We have a tour of Trieste and then sadly, we will need to pack because we leave for the Venice airport early in the morning for our flight home.

Posted in April, Europe, Excursions, Spring Cruise 2022 | 3 Comments