Sunday, 7 September 2014

Kauai - March 2014 - Marriott & Surrounding Environs

We spent the rest of our holiday at the resort, and wandering around the restaurants and businesses within walking distance. It was lovely and relaxing. The resort is wonderful, although the beds are a bit soft for us futon types.

Night View from our Lanai
 We normally don't adjust very well to the Hawaiian time zone, and end up doing the very "early to bed..." thing.
Pre-Dawn at the Beach

Sun is just coming up.

The Pool is Massive

Torch Lighting Ceremony
We found ourselves visiting the same establishments over and over again. On our favourites list we included The Feral Pig. The breakfast menu here is loaded with traditional fare, and something called a "Beermosa".
Mascot at the Feral Pig

Bar at the Feral Pig
We really enjoyed Kalapaki Joe's. They have terrific happy hour specials, and views of the surf. The food is tasty, with lots of reasonably priced seafood.
Kalapaki Joe's
Let me just take a minute to talk about the Nawiliwili Tavern. It is dark, and friendly, and lovely.
And they have this helpful sign as you leave


Saturday, 6 September 2014

Kauai - March 2014 - Driving Around

We spent parts of a couple of days driving around. While we were coming back from the sail, we finally managed to find Puka Dog. We had been to the one on Oahu and loved their tasty version of a hot dog. So, since we knew there was one on Kauai, we had to find it. I won't bother with a picture of that. Suffice it to say, I ended up with Lilikoi mustard all over my shirt.

The drive to find Puka Dog is lovely

The next day, we drove up the coast to see that part of the island. It was very rainy, but still lovely.

 All too soon, we had to head back to the airport to drop off the car, since we only had it for a few days. Still, there was lots left to do near the hotel. Including seeing some of my favourite Hawaiian inhabitants - like lizards.


And we took a cab to Luau Kalamaku, since we have to do at least one every time we hit Hawaii.  This one is at the KiloHana Plantation. We arrived early, in time to do the rum tasting first (lovely rum). The luau is fairly standard, with nicely flavoured pig and the standard sides. The show is entertaining as well.


Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Kauai - March 2014 - Na Pali Coast

We booked the Holo Holo Charters Na Pali Coast Sail and Snorkel. It was a great time. Note: this is a barefoot excursion. You take off your shoes before you get on the catamaran (do not forget to sunblock your feet. Mine got lobster red.). Snacks, lunch, soft drinks, and beer are included (there might have been wine as well).


My favourite sea creature
The snorkelling was very soon after we left dock. I think, to get it out of the way, so the drinking could begin. ;)
Reef

The View from Sea Level
The rest of the day was a motor up the Na Pali coast, and sail back. The views are, of course, breathtaking.




 We also saw many sea creatures: numerous whales, sea turtles, and lovely spinner dolphins, a pod of which escorted us for quite some time.



Thursday, 7 August 2014

Kauai March 2014 - Waimea Canyon

Our trip to Kauai was wonderful, especially on the heels of that brutal winter. We flew into Lihue and our first bit of sightseeing was a drive to Waimea Canyon. It was easy to get to in our rental car, but very hard to drive and not get distracted by the breathtaking scenery.

I am just going to attach some shots, without a lot of commentary. I think the beauty of Hawaii tends to speak for itself.




The World's Greatest Husband and Me




Thursday, 31 July 2014

Universal Orlando - December 2013

This will be a brief overview, because we have been here many times. I really love Universal, and would highly recommend staying onsite at one of the original resorts (I know there's a new cheaper one, but the perqs aren't as good).  We stay at the Royal Pacific, and enjoy the early entry and express line access. Also, it's a beautiful resort.

View from the Pool Bar
Lovely Comfy Bad in a very nice room
Protip: Join Loews' loyalty program (I think it's currently called You First), for extra gifts and privileges, including free WiFi.  Actually, join any hotel's loyalty program if you're going to stay there. It's never a bad thing.
There is Free Boat Service between the resorts and City Walk
There is a lovely path leading to City Walk and the 2 parks (Universal Studio and Islands of Adventure), which travels along the canal. You can also take the boat, which is nice when your feet are sore after a day at the parks or a night dancing.

The Entrance to Islands of Adventure
 Islands of Adventure is my favourite park for many reasons. I think it has better rides and theming, and I have still not quite forgiven Studios for getting rid of Jaws.  We usually start the morning at Crescent Rolls, getting a light, inexpensive breakfast before our gruelling day in the parks.

The Forbidden Journey in the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
After breakfast, if we have taken advantage of early entry, we head over to the Wizarding World, and ride The Forbidden Journey. It is fun, and the tech is quite impressive. The line is well done, as well, with excellent theming. Then we will ride Dragons, and even the Hippogriff, until it gets too crowded.
Looking back into Three Broomsticks from the Hogshead Pub 
Three Broomsticks seems to me to be horribly overpriced, but the pub attached to it is nice and kind of fun.
Camp Jurassic is not just for kids
The Jurassic Park section has the Jurassic Park water ride, which is kind of fun, and Camp Jurassic, which is a well-themed playground somewhat reminiscent of the Boneyard in Animal Kingdom.  We really enjoyed romping through there.

We don't tend to do the attractions at Toon Lagoon because we are not big fans of water rides (JP is the exception and we've never gotten too wet on it).


Seuss Landing all decorated for Christmas
Since it was December, Seuss Landing was decorated for Christmas and has never looked better. Without the decor, it looks kind of stark, but with them it is very jolly and friendly.

Marvel's Superhero island has lots of thrill rides, and has a comic book theme. The Hulk is a particular favourite, being one of the better roller coasters I have been on.


Making it snow in City Walk - it was over 70F.
City Walk is the shopping and dining section of Universal. They have several themed restaurants including a Pat O'Brien's, and Bob Marley's. The food is good and not too expensive.

Universal Monster's Cafe Detail
Universal Studios has a few rides, but mostly attractions, like Shrek 4D and Despicable Me. They do, however, have a new roller coaster that is pretty sweet. They also have some good dining venues, and some fun counter service places.

Moe's Tavern in Springfield
 Springfield was the newest section when we were there, although they were building Diagon Alley. Do read the signs at the Kang and Kodos ride. They are great.  The Simpson's ride used to be the Back to the Future ride, but I think the technology is a little better now.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Freedom of the Seas 2013 - Sea Days

I love sea days. I could just sit and watch the ocean for hours. They are also a chance to indulge in Johnny Rockets. TWGH doesn't like the one in Toronto, but the one on the Freedom suits him just fine. So we go, and have burgers, and way too much deep fried stuff while enjoying an ocean view.


This was the second formal night, so after a leisurely day, we got dressed up, ready for a night on the "town".


We were a bit early, so we had pre-prandial cocktails in the sports bar.


Our towel animal tonight was a monkey, I think.


Tonight's entertainment was dancing in the solarium. They have twinkle lights over the hot tubs. It is quite lovely.


The cigar bar is nicely decorated, but a little cozy if you aren't a smoker. We took a bit of a tour on the last sea day.


Bolero's is a nice bar to hang out at.



Sadly, tonight was the night we had to pack. Early morning debarkation comes way too soon. Once again, we had a wonderful time, and the Freedom continues to be our favourite ship so far.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Freedom 2013 - St Martin

Thursday was Sint Maarten/St Martin. This is one of my favourite places in the Caribbean so far. I love the temperature of the water in Orient Bay and the seafood, and the weather, and... anyway.


If it's Thursday, This Must be St. Martin

Look at That Water

It's easy to get a shared cab to Orient Beach
Cabs to Orient Beach are shared, and leave frequently. They are shared and are not that expensive. The drive is quite scenic and crosses the unprotected border between the Dutch and French sides of the island.

This Obelisk Marks the Point Between the 2 Countries

Orange Fever

We like to go to Orange Fever at Orient Beach. They have the same deal for chairs, umbrella and drinks as everyone else, but the seafood is really amazing.

Orient Bay is Beautiful and Warm


A Hotel Bar in Phillipsburg
After we had had our fill of sun, seafood and surf, we took a cab back to Phillipsburg and wandered the town a bit. The downtown is very friendly to pedestrians and there are lots of things to look at. Eventually, we stopped for cocktails at the above pictured bar.  They were a bit pricey, but very tasty. 

Having had our fill, we took the reasonably priced water taxi back to the pier and got dressed for dinner.