2014-03-14 Friday to 2014-03-23 Sunday (Events Page)- Eight day southern Carribean cruise onboard the Carnival ship named Breeze.

2014-03-14 Friday to 2014-03-23 Sunday (Events Page)- Eight day southern Carribean cruise onboard the Carnival ship named Breeze.

2014-03-17_CarnivalBreezeCruiseShip(GrandTurkMargaritaville) (22)
2014-03-17_CarnivalBreezeCruiseShip(GrandTurkMargaritaville) (22)

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Here is the group schedule – this is a long post where I have included my comments in addition to the schedule.  Note that: the group activities are “in-addition” to the ship activities. (My favorite event was -Dinner-, so I placed it on the schedule <but it did not appear on the paper schedule that I received from the group leader because it is considered a ‘ship activity’.>)
Sea Phlocking 2014 – March 14-23
Friday – March 14
5:00 pm – Bon Voyage Party at La Quinta East Hotel lobby (about 54 people were in the cruise group, but -of course- not everyone stayed at the hotel before the trip.)
Saturday – March 15
10:00 am – Shuttle to the port
1:00 – 2:00 pm – Hospitality Table (receive group credentials = a name tag, the activities page, and other goodies)
4:00 pm – Leave Miami
8:15 Dinner – White linen table cloth with utensils in a place setting upon arrival in a beautiful dining room with fiber-optic bulb lighting chandeliers. Also, ceiling lights were all orange colored for ambiance. The lights were dimmed during the ‘show’. The first thing we received after seating was a waiter requesting our drink order. Next came warm bread and a few minutes later our menu. There was a menu page on the left for selections available everyday, and  a page on the right for the selections available today. After we ate dinner, another menu with the dessert selection was presented and our order taken after we had time to discuss with others what ‘looked good’. One of our favorite was “Chocolate Warming Cake/Pudding with Vanilla Ice Cream on the side”. <I regret not taking a picture of it.>
10:00 pm – Group Photo in lobby
10:15 pm – Pub Crawl after the photo
Sunday – March 16 – Sea Day
10:00 – 6:00 Pool invasion – back deck (the ship had two pools – a large pool on deck 10 in the middle, and a smaller pool on deck 10 at the back of the ship)
9:00 – 2:00 Silent Auction (to benefit “Paint Georgia Pink” a breast cancer non-profit support organization)
8:15 Dinner – Cruise “Elegant Night” (1 of 2) – Wear formal attire or very nice clothes. Note: I wore my ‘bling’ dress (see wedding photos on a previous post). The dining room lights flickered with different colors, then dimmed and the staff danced to a song. It was quite entertaining. I recorded it in video, but my travel blog is hosted by wordpress free to a certain size of storage. The free version does not allow posting video (and there is a paid version which does allow video.)
Door decorations must be up by 6:00 pm for judging. <Note: Since this was my first cruise with the group, I had not experienced the door-decoration contest previously and was uncertain of the decorations to bring. However, my roommate, Jeanette, arrived fully-prepared. I didn’t see the other decorated doors, and only posted pictures of the door of my room. (She didn’t win and we were both disappointed.)>
Monday – March 17 – St. Patrick’s Day
7:00 am – 2:00 pm – GRAND TURK,Turks and Caicos – Party at Margaritaville. Tall Paul and Kristie play by the Margaritaville pool from 9:30 – 11:30.
8:15 Dinner – Wear green clothes. Note: In the dining room, bermuda shorts and t-shirts were permitted. However, no bathing suit or sunwear was allowed. Men were specifically requested to NOT wear tank tops and everyone was requested to NOT wear baseball-type hats.
Tuesday -March 18
9:00 am – 5:00 pm LA ROMANA, Dominican Republic
9:30 EXCURSION to Saona (a nearby island). We had 2 – 30 passenger speed-boats to take us around the area. Our first stop was to view the island shore where Christopher Columbus and his boats came ashore. Ingrid, our tour guide, said that there was a storm and the CColumbus sailors took shelter inside many of the caves on the island shore. Next, we went to a private beach. We had chairs, a nearby restroom, and were treated to beer and cola. (There was no electricity on the island.) The staff prepared a buffet lunch for us under a pole/palm-branch roof structure. About 3pm, we boarded the boats and went to a nearby starfish/stringray waist-deep sandbar. At that location, Ingrid encouraged everyone to be ‘well-hydrated’ and served more beer and cola. The excursion was arranged by contacting the following company = www.SeavisBayahibe.com.  La Romana has a port and nearby taxi/bus services, however, the nearby shore tourist shops are unavailable as this is a ‘still-developing’ port. <We were driven to/from the boat departure are in taxis.> 
8:15 pm Dinner – exotic food prepared by a staff of 78 people and presented by great waiters. We were very surprised to have another dance by the staff. The food was always wonderful and I typically chose an appetizer, entree and dessert.  Our table was treated to a bottle of wine by the maitre-d. 
10:30 pm – 12:30 pm Tall Paul and Kristie performance with attendees wearing toga’s. (On a previous cruise, party goer’s were allowed to wear toga’s to dinner. However, the rule has changed and toga’s are no longer allowed at dinner.)
Wednesday – March 19
11:00 am – Poker run. <Start in the group leader room, pay money ($5/hand) for the ‘pot’ and get a playing card. The next room is announced and go to that room and get another card. Continue for a total hand of five cards, then determine who has the best hand. The best hand receives a large part of the money, the second and third best hands also received money from the pot. The fun part of the tour was getting to see the different style ship cabins. We had a couple in the group to be in a ‘grand suite’ and the bathroom was spacious and contained a large whirlpool tub. They also had spacious walk-in closets and a balcony. I suggested that we all try out the whirlpool tub – but, the group was ready to disband and continue the day with the ship activities — as well as prepare for the port stop.>
2:00 – 10:00 pm – ARUBA, Dutch Antilles
8:15 pm Dinner – I did not attend the group excursion for a catamaran sunset tour. However, the ones who did go, returned in time for DINNER! We really enjoyed the food every night. I believe that this was the night that lobster tail was offered on the ‘today’ menu. (Many cruise guests stayed on shore until the last possible minute so the dinner attendance at most tables was sparse.) 
Thursday – March 20
8:00 am – 4:00 pm CURACO, Netherlands Antilles

Excursion: IrieTours schoolbus tour of the island. This includes a tour of the rum factory and a stop for sunning on a private (that is: developer designed) beach. I loved the spoken accent of the tour guide, Ariel. He played music when driving, then announced the tour houses and locations on a sound system. When the distinctive Carribean-beat music was playing and we passed some locals, we would wave to them and they would wave back — they liked us ‘tourists’. (The bus had no windows because they do not get a lot of rain there. I took a picture of the removed escape hatch in the roof.) 

4:00 – 6:00 pm Tall Paul and Kristie perform for the group
8:15 Dinner – PINK night. Wear something Pink to dinner. <In the pictures of that night, Ga-ry and Ga-il dressed for the occasion. Ga-ry wore a wig, flip-flops – and a  pink ‘flapper’ dress! (Flip-flops were on the list of banned dinner attire – but, they didn’t stay to eat, just show the outfits). Guests were treated to another dancing show by the staff. >
Friday – March 21 – Sea Day
10:00 – 3:00 pm pool invasion <Some guests get up early in the morning and place a towel on a lounge chair as a lounge-holder until others in their party come to the pool. Carnival has has a “lounge-policeman” who places a sticky-tab label onto empty towels with a time of his arrival on the tag. If he observes that the towel hasn’t been used within a certain time, he will place the towel and other contents of the lounge chair in a mesh bag and note the location. I presume that, later, you may reclaim your personal effects. Anyway, the cleaned lounge chairs are then available for others.> 
4:00 – 6:00 pm – Tall Paul and Kristie (websites: TallPaul.com and KBogal.com)
8:15 pm – Dinner “Elegant” Night 2 —   I wore a sequened top and black, chiffon, skirt/pants combo. The members of my table were treated to champagne.  I was surprised when my tablemates ordered frog-legs – I missed the entry on the menu and don’t recall that I have ever seen them offered at any restaurant menu before. Anyway, they said that it ‘tastes like chicken’. The staff stood on the stairway and sang a ‘farewell’ song for us changing the words to “Leaving on a JetPlane” for their purposes. 
Saturday – Marcy 22 Sea Day
pool invasion – and Chocolate Extravangaza 1:00 – 2:30 pm
3:00 – 4:30 pm – Tall Paul and Kristie public performance (websites: TallPaul.com and KBogal.com)
10:00 pm – Pajama party at the piano bar (I stayed in the cabin to pack for the trip home. We had to pack the suitcases that were to be transported to the dock for us by the cruise line and place them outside our door by 11:00.My roommate attended the event.) 
Sunday – March 23 Miami
8:00 am Disembarkation –  We had to carry the lighter baggage to the terminal (unless, of course, you decided to carry all of your luggage yourself). We were given luggage tags and told which group number to exit with. I didn’t leave the ship until about 10am because of my group number. We were told to exit our rooms about 9am so that the ship crew could prepare for the next in-coming group. Our terminal exit included gathering our heavy bags from a carousel in the building, then waiting in line to pass through customs with our “declaration (of items purchased)” document. Once outside, our group assembled at the taxi curb to wait for a pre-arranged shuttle back to the LaQuinta Hotel. 

It was sad saying ‘bye’ to may “new-found” friends. 
Many heart-felt thanks to Cathy of 3Women2Blame.com for her efforts, and to Pris Phillips (CruisesInc.com/pPhillips) for a WONDERFUL trip! Also, to Tall Paul and Kristie for their performances. <Of course, thanks to Carnival for a wonderful staff and ship!>

Additionl comments:

The video of the staff performances on the cruise can be seen on the YouTube.com channel = PuddinInVannaWhite. A quick note about the weather – when we first started, there were high waves as well as strong winds. On the return trip, the ship course was near Cuba island and the waves were small as well as little wind. We didn’t have any rain.  When I left Atlanta, the temperature was about 33 degrees F. When we returned to Miami, the temperature was around 80 degrees F. When I returned to Atlanta, the temperature was about 50 degrees F and we had another cold front come into the area where temperatures fell below 30 degrees F overnight. I don’t like cold weather and tried to do everything that I can to escape the cold this winter!

I had parked Vanna White at LaQuinta during the cruise and only had to pay the hotel $5 for one night as they allowed seven nights free parking (what a deal).
I drove to back to Atlanta during the next two days. Google maps shows about 680 miles from my house to LaQuinta – 9 hours and 34 minutes. With my stopping for gas and food, it took me over 13 hours (besides, I was not in a hurry). I drove the whole trip on interstates and couldn’t live without my Garmin GPS. There was some construction on the roads and I saw a couple of wrecks. However, I returned without incident. Gas cost was around $335 round-trip – Vanna White gets about 15mpg. (Note: Gas in Miami cost $3.70/gal and in Georgia <outside Atlanta> $3.30.)

I gained 5, ‘very deserved’, pounds in weight!

Be sure to look at the some video of the cruise at YouTube.com on the PuddinInVannaWhite channel!
<The pictures below are posted to the website using the gallery feature of wordpress.>>

I feel like I have spent time in “PARADISE”!  I am very honored, priviledged and blessed to have taken the trip. 

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2014-03-14 Friday to 2014-03-23 Sunday – Eight day southern Carribean cruise onboard the Carnival ship named Breeze.

2014-03-14 Friday to 2014-03-23 Sunday – Eight-day southern Carribean cruise onboard the Carnival ship named Breeze.

2014-03-2d_AtlantaParrothead.com
2014-03-2d_AtlantaParrothead.com

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I drove Vanna White from Atlanta to Miami a couple of days before the cruise left port. I met with the others in the group at La Quinta East Airport the night before the cruise departed. A funny thing happened after I returned and downloaded all of the pictures = The picture of the back of a t-shirt with the group name was the first picture to sort at the top, so I decided to post it first. The group was “The Atlanta Parrothead Club (that is — singer  Jimmy Buffett fans <from Mobile,AL>)”.
Both my younger brother and older brother play guitar and they began playing Jimmy Buffett music many, many years ago. I have given them Jimmy Buffett merchandise for Christmas for years. Anyway, after I moved to Atlanta, I found out that there was a fan club and joined it. The club calls the cruise “Sea Phlocking” because Jimmy Buffett fans are a flock – spelled, of course, a different way — because the people who belong to this group, are -well- “different” (that is — ‘non-conformist’).
Before I retired and was working in a job, I found that the music encouraged ‘thinking-a-different-way’. “What-you-are”, –and– “where-you-are”, is considered a ‘state-of-mind’ and you can change that by thinking a different way. If someone were to ask you for your ‘favorite place’, most people would think of a beautiful beach and peaceful waves coming to shore and sunshine to warm you, and a gentle breeze to cool you. His popular songs offer escapism from the daily grind. His ‘deep-cut’ songs are ballards telling a story about people and places, with most of the places being in the islands south of Florida.

The group organizer arranged for a singer/guitar-player and his wife to join the group and sing on several occasions for both us and others on the tour. I will post the schedule on a second page. General cruise pictures on the first post, and the date of events are on the second page. When you see references to “Tall Paul and Kristie”, you will know that they were our outstanding cruise entertainers.
<The pictures below are posted to the website using the gallery feature of wordpress.>>


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2014-03-02 SCEhrhardt – Broxton Bridge Plantation Civil War Reenactment

2014-02-26 Wednesday to 2014-03-05 Wednesday – From Atlanta, GA to Bamberg, SC (Also, to Ehrhardt – Broxton Bridge Plantation Civil War Reenactment.)

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I visited Dad and Kenny in Bamberg,SC. Kenny had reserved a campground spot for the week-end Civil War Reenactment at Broxton Bridge Plantation. We arrived on Thursday and left on Sunday. The reenactment of the war was on both Saturday and Sunday afternoons. The weather when we arrived was cool, but for the week-end – it was very nice. Many vendors brought their wares and food. It was a grand week-end.
(Note: Kenny is a new member of the Good Sam’s Club and we attended several functions with them. We cooked hamburgers on the first night with the group. Kenny had his guitar and sang songs around a campfire. The next two nights, we ate in the Grange Hall. I didn’t know what a “Grange Hall” was and someone told me that the farmers in the area had a meeting hall for learning about how to best cultivate their crops. The Grange Hall was both a social and educational building many years ago.)
At Broxton Bridge Plantation on Friday, many school busses brought children from nearby schools to see the camp and experience some of the history of the area. During the Civil War, the swamp of the area divided the Confederates from General Sherman and the Northern Agressors. In order to bring the northern soldiers into the south, they had to cross several bridges in the area and Broxton Bridge was one. The Confederates were outnumbered and they knew that they couldn’t win a battle, but they defended the bridges bravely and slowed the northern march for several days. The first set of pictures in the gallery is the Plantation and the reenactment battle.
The last of the gallery is of Highway 601 passing through Ehrhardt – a small town near Broxton Bridge Plantation. I enjoy seeing the differences between the towns of the area and the styles of the houses and yards. There had been a winter ice storm a few weeks previous to the trip. On my drive to the area, there were many trees and branches on the highway sides. One picture shows a tree crew cutting limbs so that they will not fall on the electrical power lines and cause an outage.


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