Skip to main content

Posts

Willamette Valley, OR

We were forced to change our trip to Napa at the last minute (like a day and a half before we were supposed to fly out) due to the wicked (and unpredictable) wildfires.  We headed to Willamette Valley again instead, since we weren't flying from home and had our wine luggage with us.  It's beautiful there in the fall, although chilly, and we weren't packed for that.  Before flying out, I stopped off to get us each a long-sleeved shirt and myself a water resistant long jacket.

The wineries marked with * are on my highly recommend list

Lodging
Stacey's Loft from AirBnB - so glad it was available last minute.  $341 total for three nights.  Here's the review I left: We booked very last minute (like 2 days out), and I'm so happy that Stacey's loft was available. We used her place as our home base for Willamette Valley wine tasting, and it was amazing! Very clean, updated, quiet & private, well-appointed, stocked with snacks, good wifi, lots of channels to help …
Recent posts

Carnival Sensation - Western Caribbean

We booked this  4-day cruise in celebration of the Hub's 40th birthday (gasp!).  We took his parents along with us and asked for adjoining rooms.  We also bought the Cheers package for the first time ever.

Parking
For ease of getting to and from the cruise terminal, we sucked it up and paid the $20/day at Port of Miami.

The Ship
The Sensation got the 2.0 upgrades, which was great!  The theatre is still large and open, and there are now the following places: Blue Iguana Cantina, Guy's Burgers, and Alchemy Bar.  The Alchemy Bar is the largest I've seen, with a lot of couches and chairs to hang out.  Bartenders are great as usual.

The Ports
Key West

Skipped due to Hurricane Irma.

Cozumel
I booked a private island tour with Tours Plaza Cozumel. The prices are very reasonable, and we had a nice time with Jerry, our driver for the day.  He was very kind and friendly and let us decide what we wanted to do and when.  Would definitely recommend this company for anyone looking to book an…

Carnival Vista - Southern Caribbean

This will be a long one so feel free to skip to the stuff you care about most!

We spent 8 days on Carnival's newest ship - the Vista - cruising from Miami.

The Ship

Inside Cabin 7309
As usual, we booked an interior on Carnival.  The major difference in the new ship layout is one few closet side and a few less drawers.  We still had plenty of space for our stuff - we typically don't take much more than we need.  No real issues with the cabin and location other than a very slow response time with the TV and flipping through options.

The Food
We ate in the steakhouse on the first night (Fahrenheit 555), which has been moved from one of the highest decks to Deck 5.  The layout of the restaurant was a little different than most other Carnival steakhouses, but it was still fine.  The food, as usual, was amazing and worth the upcharge. A+
We ate at the Italian restaurant on the last night (Cucina del Capitano) and made the mistake of having apps with friends about an hour and a half bef…

Celebrity Reflection - Western Caribbean

For Spring Break 2016, the hubs wanted to do a land vacation instead of a cruise so we stayed at Couples Negril for 5 days.  It was wonderful, and we got that out of our system for a while.  For a couple of years we had been talking about trying a different cruise line.  If you have followed by travels over the years, we have cruised Carnival (two weeks shy of Platinum after this year), Royal Caribbean, and Disney.  I started researching and came across Celebrity.  I had heard good things but always assumed it was out of our price range.  I was pleasantly surprised that I was quite wrong.

Room
We had cabin 6192, obstructed view balcony (or as they call it, veranda).  Please note that the hubs and I have only ever booked interior or oceanview, so this was our first balcony.  The obstructed view didn't bother us.  The room was spacious, and the bathroom was big (relatively speaking) as well.  At first I was worried about lack of drawer space, but the closet and other nooks and crann…

Disney Wonder

This trip was a short girls' weekend cruise on the Disney Wonder, re-positioning from San Juan to Port Canaveral.

Transportation
We flew Southwest from MCO to SJU and had a very easy flight (about 2.5 hours). After collecting our baggage, we went out to the taxi terminal, told them where were going, and they gave us a price for the taxi and baggage from the air port to the Pan American pier.  For 3 passengers with 4 pieces of luggage, we paid $26 + tip.  The taxi ride was about 20 minutes or so and uneventful.

Cabin
We stayed in a Deluxe Oceanview with Veranda Aft (7118).  The room shook horribly every night and had a terrible rattling in the ceiling panels.  We are not sure if the rattling is unique to this room or more common, but if I had to venture a guess, all Aft cabins may experience this.  None of us really slept well at night due to the vibration and the rattling.

The room is a nice size for 3 adults, and I love the split bathroom (sink and toilet on side, sink and tub on …

Portland, OR

Following our weekend in Seattle, we spent a day and a half in downtown Portland.

Transportation
We had booked Amtrak tickets ahead of time for $63 total, and the scenic train ride took about 4 hours.

Hotel
Portland Marriott City Center
This hotel is in the best location!  Very central, close to Pioneer Square, Mother's, Blue Star Donuts, etc.

Restaurants
Jake's Famous Crawfish -  This bar and restaurant has been around for a very long time, and many of the old fictures are still in use or on display.  Good food and nice place to stop for happy hour.  It apparently gets crazy busy for dinner, so happy hour might be your best bet to try it out if you don't want to wait.

Clyde Common - I kind of wish that we'd tried this place out for dinner because happy hour wasn't that enticing.  OK food and drink specials.

Mother's BistroOh. So. Good!  Happy hour is simply wonderful, and we ordered several different special drinks and items from the menu.  All of it was fantast…

Willamette Valley, OR

On the hunt for great Pinot Noir, we spent 3 full days exploring several Willamette Valley AVA's.  I can unequivocally say that WV is far less commercial and pretentious than Napa (which we sill love) and the tasting prices reflect this.  The wines are still in the $25-75 range for most, so in that respect, it is similar to California.  What you will find, though, is that the people are super nice and love what they do.  A lot of the wineries started as farms, and you will drive through farm fields everywhere you go. It's beautiful.  And picturesque. And hilly - very curvy and hilly - so share your tastings!  Most of the tasting guides did ask us if we wanted to share, which implies that it's common practice in WV.

Transportation
We booked Amtrak from Seattle to Portland ahead of time, and the cost was $63 for both of us. Much cheaper than flying!  There was free wifi on the train and pretty views, so the almost 4 hour ride didn't seem so bad.

Lodging
AirBNB Room Rental …