Friday, December 9, 2011

Seven Quick Takes - Where We've Been Edition

--- 1 ---

I am alive - I swear! It's just that on November 5th, we loaded into the car and headed south. We crossed at the Thousand Islands Bridge, drove through New York and into Pennsylvania, spending the night in the Poconos. On the 6th, we drove through the Delaware Water Gap and into New Jersey, headed to Cape Liberty. Once there, we embarked on the Celebrity Silhouette for a 12 night cruise to the Caribbean. It? Was a lot of fun.

The trip was to celebrate my Dad's 65th Birthday, and we'd been planning in since April 2010. On the reservation, Veronica was listed as "Baby McLean" as the deposit was made well before her birth. It had been on the calendar for so long, it was almost a shock to have it start.

--- 2 ---

We'd cruised out of NYC before, back in 2006 when we went to Bermuda. It was fun, but I'm not sure I'd do it again. It's great to be avoid worries about luggage restrictions as well as paying for flights. But the weather can get rough. In 2006, we hit the roughest seas I've ever seen when we sailed through a Nor'easter. This time, we hit the outer bands of Tropical Storm Sean. Like a fool, I thought "I'd better not take Bonine because I'm nursing." Not my best idea, let's just say. I got seasick for the first time ever. I caved and took the drugs, thank goodness, so I eventually felt better. But never again.

Also, we weren't big fans of the other cruisers. It was a brand new ship, and so the sailing was touted as a big deal, but the folks on board were GROUCHY. The less said about them, the better.

Silhouette is a lovely ship. We've cruised on one of her sisters, the Equinox, twice before. The Equinox is our favourite ship (possibly in the whole fleet) but we'd go back to Silhouette if the itinerary and the price were right.

--- 3 ---

One of the best parts of this trip was the 'Bonus Shannon Time'. I'm sure I've mentioned Shannon in other posts. She also grew up in Georgetown, practically around the corner from Dave and me, and she and I were close friends/student government nerds in University. She's married to an Australian and lives there now. But the two of them have worked on cruise ships for years, he in the casino and she running the Youth Program. We've had the good fortune to cruise with her twice before, down the West Coast and across the Atlantic. She's currently on a project where she travel to all the ships in the fleet to train Youth Program staff, and she was onboard Silhouette for 8 days along with us. We love you, Shan!

--- 4 ---

We visited some familiar ports (St. Thomas, St. Maarten), and some new ones (St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Antigua). We knew we'd hit beaches in a couple of ports, but we underestimated how much both kids would love the water. Teddy was able to both run towards the water (a no-no at pools) and throw sand/rocks in the water, as well as swim and get hit by waves. Veronica LOVED being in the water, too. We had brought their floaties along, and there made things so much easier. We ended up riding a train in St. Kitts, but in every other port we just went to the beach. After the last 3 beach days in a row, both kids were sun-kissed and exhausted.

--- 5 ---

On our way back, we stayed in Scranton for a couple of days. We celebrated my Dad's actual birthday at Steamtown National Historic Site, which is amazing. I'm not even all that into trains, and I enjoyed it. Teddy and my Dad, though, were in heaven. I highly recommend it.

We almost didn't get there, though. Our original hotel had no water, as the city had inadvertently cut off the supply to a whole section of Dickson City while doing roadwork. Thank goodness that there was room at another, older hotel nearby. Then, a Santa Claus parade that cut off every single access point to Steamtown. No word of a lie - we drove round for 25 minutes and had to illegally drive around barriers to get to the entrance, around which the parade was not running. We were the only people there for the first hour, so we did get the personal touch. But come on Scranton - get your act together! You and your confusing roads and your non-existent signage and your traffic.

--- 6 ---

We got back on the 20th and, well, re-entry has been a bit of a struggle. The kids are doing great; it's me who's struggling! It's such a busy time of year and I feel like I can't get my act together. Twitter is overwhelming me - there's so much going on! Blogging has obviously suffered, especially since I keep thinking: "I need to write something amazing! I've been away for ages." Clue in, Sarah - your writing isn't amazing. That's now why you do this. Stop procrastinating and start doing.

So I'm going to try to post frequently about little things. Stuff like Veronica's sleep improvements, or fun Christmas gifts I've purchased. All the awesome travel stuff I've booked on POINTS ALONE or Teddy's new favourite songs.

You've been warned.

--- 7 ---

One of the awesome trips booked on points? Is to New Orleans next November for The Blathering. I am so, so excited! I've never been to LA, and I'll probably try to take a quick drive to nearby MS so I can visit my 35th and 36th states. I'm flying in early and staying late. NOLA, I am coming for your turtle soup, your beignets, and your hurricanes. Blathering Organizers, I'm at your disposal.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. Yes, do more blogging! But not too much about next year's blathering because that will just make me jealous.

  2. Oh, I love cruising, although I'm the girl wearing those ugly wristbands the entire time, because I get seasick. I took Bonine on our last cruise to Alaska, and it make me feel drunk, so I stopped taking it. That was a GIANT mistake!

    Usually, the posts I love reading most are the ones about little things, so yes! Write those!

  3. Oh my gosh. We cruised out of NYC once, and NEVER AGAIN. The New Yorkers on board were just intolerable. These were people who lived in, like, QUEENS and LONG ISLAND and acted like we were the least interesting people on the planet, just because we lived outside New York. The only cool couple we met happened to be the only Manhattanite couple that we met, but the rest? SO entitled, SO rude. Seriously, never again.