Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Let's Cruise

A few weeks ago, we took a 5-night cruise on Royal Caribbean's Enchantment of the Seas. The ship sailed from Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and stopped in Ocho Rios, Jamaica, and Georgetown, Grand Cayman. Rather than give you the hour-by-hour replay, we thought we'd share our 11 favorite and 10 not-so-favorite (in no particular order) things about the experience, which, overall, was fabulous! I've linked to some photos throughout, and you can see the whole set here. (And I assure you that we only played Bingo once!)

Top 11 (This one goes to 11.)
1. Royal Mojitos. These yummy, trendy drinks were served up with lots of mint and Bacardi Limon instead of regular rum. Out of sight for $4.25.
2. Ulimited Room Service. We love it when people bring us breakfast in bed. Plus, our "dinner time" in the dining room was 8:30, so room service hit the snack spot around 5:00 every day when we were famished from our excursions at the ports of call. I had a cheese plate every day, I kid you not.
3. Joe & Carlos. This fun couple from Tucson shared our dinner table every night. Despite the fact that they're 10 years our junior, we had lots in common and tons of fun with them.
4. Multiple Entrees at Dinner. Joe, who had cruised before, initiated us in the art of glutonous dining, by ordering not one but two entrees (or appetizers or desserts) for dinner. We didn't go overboard, but we did double order a time or two when we just couldn't choose.
5. Our Room. Cruise ship rooms are small. But they're also loaded with storage space a la dorm rooms. And unlike hotel room beds, there's room to store your luggage under cruise ship beds. We grew to love our cozy little piece of the ship . (Could it have anything to do with turn-down service including chocolates and animals made out of towels?) We were on the 2nd deck, near the rear, with a full-size window.
6. Climbing a Waterfall. In Jamaica, we joined hands with 20 other people and climbed a 650-foot waterfall in a bizarre, chain-like fashion. It was a fun-filled, soaking wet experience for which we weren't prepared. Had we known better, we'd have bought a disposible, waterproof camera. Needless to say, we left our new digicam on the dry bus and, sadly, have no shots of Dunn's River Falls.
7. Snorkeling in Grand Cayman. After I got the hang of the gear (i.e., don't breathe through your nose and fog up your mask), snorkeling was really cool. We saw some pretty fish, coral and a fish that camaflouged itself on the ocean floor.
8. Sun and Fun. At both ports, we scheduled excursions that included time at the beach, which was money well spent. The beach in Jamaica was a little rocky and murky, but hey, it was the beach nonetheless. Hanging out at the pool on the ship was fun too. There was even an indoor, adults-only, saltwater pool with a solarium. And laying out on the top deck with the wind whipping through my hair as we cruised past Cuba literally and figuratively took my breath away.
9. Rum Cake. In Jamaica, we visited a rum cake "factory," which was really just a store where you could sample all the rum cake and rum you wanted then buy some to take home. Nuff said.
10. Retro TV. You know we love the tube. And although there was no access to or time for regular programming, our tiny TV included a channel that played retro sitcoms, which we flipped on whenever we were in our room.
11. "No Problem." This Jamaican phrase means no worries, everything's taken care of, etc. And it summed up the trip quite nicely. We had all-inclusive food at our fingertips, even in our room. We didn't have to decide when and where to have dinner. We didn't have to call cabs, rent a car or (more importantly) pay for either. This has to be the most mentally relaxing way to vacation.

Not So Top 10
1. No Pets. Of course a cruise with pets on board would be a disaster, but we still wished Gil, Kenz and Tosh could have come along in our suitcases.
2. Power Cruisers. OK, the "power cruisers" were actually a plus, but what stinks is that we didn't get a photo of them. This was the couple that we saw literally everwhere we went. His name was Terry and he was working a wicked mullet. And he sang "Sweet Home Alabama" at karaoke. Three times. (BTW, karaoke sucked. You'd think there would be a few good crooners in a group of 2,500 people.)
3. Motion Sickness. I know it's shocking, but I felt perfect the whole trip. Kevin, however, experienced a bit of motion sickness. The Dramamine helped, but next time we cruise (and believe me, we will), he's going to look into those prescription dots you stick behind your ears.
4. Rain. It rained the first day at sea, but there was plenty to do inside. And it rained a bit in Jamaica. It also poured on us at the very end of our Grand Cayman Jeep tour, but that was actually pretty fun.
5. Bingo. We played Win a Cruise Bingo the day it rained. We didn't win.
6. Jump Zone. We wanted to try out this giant jumping apparatus on the front of the ship, but it was closed due to high winds. We did get to climb the rock wall on the back of the ship, though. I rang the bell.
7. Irish Ladies. The first night a mother/daughter duo from Ireland joined us for dinner. They never came back, though. Joe and Carlos figured out that they switched tables when we saw their "dinner photo" later in the week (RC takes a photo of everyone at dinner every night, then displays them so you can buy them for $20). We're hoping they just switched to the 6:00 seating; otherwise, we're not sure what we did to offend them.
8. Tiny Shower. Our shower was miniscule. I was hitting the walls with my elbows, so I can't imagine what it must be like for an average-sized claustrophobic.
9. Elevators. One of our pet peeves is people who get onto an elevator before you've had a chance to step out of it. I guess elevator etiquette flew out the window when we left land.
10. Over Too Soon! Although a 7-day cruise would truthfully probably feel a bit long, we were sad to leave our temporary floating home. We can't wait to take our next cruise!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Top 12 Ways to Reduce Global Warming

As a follow up to yesterday's slightly depressing post, here's a more hopeful article about ways to reduce global warming, courtesy of the National Resources Defense Council. If you're skeptical about global warming or just don't know a lot about it, I highly recommend watching An Inconvenient Truth.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Our Oceans are Turning into Plastic ... Are We?

This article about plastic and its affects on the environment and our own health is shocking. It's long, but very interesting. Makes me want to buy fewer plastic items, reuse grocery bags or ask for paper, and be less careless about "replacing" things that still have life left in them. Thoughts?

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

I Heart IKEA

The crawl on the morning news said they're breaking ground for the new IKEA in West Chester today. That's about 20 minutes from our house! It was originally supposed to open this fall, but I think it will more likely be 2008. Oh how I love cheap, well-designed housewares.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Happy 5/3 Day!

Get, it... 5/3... May third... Fifth Third... Bank.

And more importantly,


Oscar II

Subtitle: Why we love AppleSo a couple of weeks ago my iPod nano (who I named Oscar, for obvious reasons) started acting goofy. It was playing music without a problem, but the screen was all garbled and I couldn't read anything. It would only do it sporadically, so I wasn't sure if there was a big problem or not. I tried all of the troubleshooting tips and it was still doing it, so I decided to take it to the Apple Store. I didn't know if they could or would do anything, but I had no where else to turn. So I ran over on my lunch break, told them what was going on, they looked at it and said, oh yeah, we need to replace this. Within five minutes, I had a brand new iPod, working perfectly. I can't explain why, but I was a little sad that Oscar had to be completely replaced. I guess because he goes everywhere with me and brings so much enjoyment to my life. Anyway, Oscar II and I are getting along great and this is why we love using products from companies like Apple. They know how to make great products and they know how to take care of their customers. I can't imagine using anyone else for music devices and computers. And maybe phones, if I can convince Sarah that I need a new iPhone. Don't hold your breath.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

We Love Brunch

We've had brunch dates the past two Saturdays and it's been a great way to kick off the weekends. We can still sleep in a little, we knock two meals out with one check, and we get out of the house and socialize much earlier than usual.

Two weeks ago, we had brunch downtown at First Watch with a friend and colleague of mine, Darin. I met Darin at OU, and since then we've become great pals and have done some freelance writing for one another. He lives in Strongsville, OH, now, but was in Cincy for a conference.

Last Saturday, we dined at Price Hill Chili with Katie and Casey. It was Casey's first restaurant outing and we did it up in true West Side style.

If you'd like to be our next brunch date, just give us a call!