Month: October 2019

Did Someone Say Alaska?

I may, or may not, be working on the photos from the second week of our wonderful 2016 F&F Alaska Adventure. That would be the Friends & Family UnCruise. I’m not going to make any promises, as I have had some false starts in the past. But, you can find a link to a completed report for Week One of our UnCruise Adventure!!! in More Travel Stories.

In reviewing the archives, I came across this gem and wanted to make a special point of resharing it.

The post I linked was the Guest Blog written by Tory about the Alaska Cruise. But she bypassed us and went directly to the UnCruise Blog. Our very own celebrity blogger! I’m so proud.

But when I clicked the link, it didn’t take me to Tory’s post 😞 It linked to current posts in their blog, and I had to search back through, ahem, three years of posts to find Tory’s blog. So, I took screenshots of their blog, and want to share them here. Remember – Tory was only 13 when she wrote her Celebrity Blog. She wrote an amazing piece.

Blog Stuff

Just a word about a recent organizational change to the Blog. It’s always been annoying to have blog posts go from most recent to older posts, especially when trying to report on a trip that covers several days. I can fake it, and put the wrong date for the post, but this becomes problematic down the road.

I am now using Links – check out the section on the right hand side of the blog called More Travel Stories. Here you can see a list of trips we have taken and reported on. This section existed before, but was used to point you towards trips that were written up on another site … usually blogspot (google’s free blogging software). Now I have added links to trips where all the posts are written up in this blog, but may be spread over a period of time (sometimes a very long time, so long they may actually be in a Galaxy Far Far Away …).

If you go to the link for the first post in a story, you will find a link to the second post for that trip at the bottom of the first post, and so on. I am still organizing older info, and will update the Links section in the coming months.

Why not just continue to make a separate “blog” for each trip like I’ve done in the past? While ideal, this is time consuming and means I have to keep up to date with multiple sites. But the biggest reason is the next topic … security.

Let’s talk about security. I almost gave up the blog because of issues with security, but managed to work through it with the help of our hosting company and a security consultant. Please let me know if you experience any issues when visiting this site. So, I don’t want to risk dealing with security issues on multiple sites.

That’s all the boring admin stuff for now. Let’s get back to pretty pictures, and hoping for lots of fall color soon! It is rainy and windy today, but the leaves are trying to turn to fall colors.

Castaway Cay – Cabana Day


Our family always seems to enjoy the day at Castaway Cay. Lou and I may only go ashore for a couple of hours but we like to walk around and also check out the Heads Up Bar for a frosty island drink.

One of our favorite cruise activities is spending the day in a cabana on the beach at Castaway Cay, and this trip was no exception.

Olivia and Tory no longer spend hours in the waterslide at Pelican Plunge, but they have mastered the art of beach relaxation.



The Cabana Life makes one seriously contemplate giving up the rat race and finding a quiet island somewhere in the middle of nowhere.

Getting the Cabana on our first cruise was a real splurge, but it turned out to be one of our best experiences, and we’ve been fortunate to snag one on all of our cruises so far.

The Cabana provides welcome shade, and soft drinks in the fridge. And all you have to do is call for an adult beverage or two.


This was our final night onboard, and we all attended the Captain’s Gala. We were in the Royal Court Restaurant. We had a nice dinner, and also celebrated Olivia’s birthday.

This concludes the report on our Fantasy Cruise. Apologies to the family for taking two years to post these photos, and for not capturing as many photos as usual. Particularly disappointing to see how few photos I took of the ship. It is unfathomable to think we did not go to Palo Brunch, and at least one dinner at Palo. I was probably giving the family a break by not making them wait for me to take a photo before their every bite.

I found these photos from our first Day at Sea … presumably these were taken before Palo Brunch. Still no evidence of Dinner at Palo, but I’m sure we went once, because it is Lou’s favorite.

There is only one answer to the missing experiences during our Lost Vacation – Book another family cruise on the Fantasy!

Click HERE if you would like to read about our 2012 cruise on the Disney Dream.

Click HERE to check out our second cruise on the Disney Dream in 2014.

A Galaxy Far Far Away

We woke up to an exciting day at sea. We were in the midst of the Star Wars Galaxy – characters everywhere you looked.

The Holmes Family got into the spirit and everyone dressed to go have their photos taken with their favorite villains and props.

Olivia made her own costume, and was definitely realistic. Tory was styling in her X-Wing Fighter outfit.

I followed along to snap some photos – good thing because, for the first time ever, we had an issue with retrieving our Ship Photopass shots.

Princess Leia entertained breakfast guests in the Concierge Lounge

This was certainly an awesome beginning to the day. The kids swam and broke more Aqua Duck records, Mark had more soft serve (just guessing), and Lou relaxed. Beth, Catherine and I splurged for brunch at Remy. This is only offered on 7 Day cruises, so this was our first experience.

I recall brunch being a lot of fun, even though the food was on the weird side. Everything served came with foam or bubbles, and half had something that looked like a potato crisp. Either I missed a few food shots, or the pickings were on the slim side. But no matter, we laughed a lot and enjoyed excellent service.

Walking back through the lobby after brunch, Catherine and Beth posed for one of my favorite photos of the trip (I am in the minority here, as Beth said this photo is “awkward.” And, I cant repeat what Catherine said in a family safe blog):

We enjoyed the rest of the day, and finished with more Star Wars at dinner:

It was soon time to rest up for our last full day – at Castaway Cay!

Click HERE for the next post about our mystery cruise in the Fantasy.

The Lost Cruise – Adventures #2 & #3

Cozumel was fun, but we were all really looking forward to our second port stop – Grand Cayman. We had a surprise for the family – our friend Nan had booked a private boat for us, and would be joining us for the day! Nan’s middle name is hospitality, with a big dose of fun! We took a taxi from the ship to the dock where we were meeting Nan, and we were soon headed out for adventure:

Our first destination was the famous Stingray City, where you get right in the water with the stingrays. Our group enjoyed this – Catherine wouldn’t give up until the stingray calmed in her arms. Tory and Olivia were stingray whisperers. Lou captured some nice shots of the girls with the rays.

Next up was snorkeling along the reef. It was a little windy, but the girls enjoyed a chance to snorkel with no crowds. We had good weather for the day, and enjoyed the sun. After snorkeling, we headed to a special beach where the starfish are abundant. Nan brought a bunch of stuff for lunch and we made sandwiches and visited. Note – Lou and I were both on the boat as well, we just carefully managed not to be caught on camera.

We had a wonderful day and it was great to see Nan. Unfortunately, Dave had a bad cold and couldn’t join us. Little did we know, this was a precursor to the future … Nan has retired from “The Law” and now owns and operates Cayman Luxury Excursions:

“The species of starfish around Starfish Point are called Oreaster reticulatus or more commonly known as red cushion sea stars. These starfish are usually found in grassy, shallow waters in the Atlantic ocean and Caribbean sea.” … google is my friend

Our destination the next day was Jamaica. The Holmes Family set off early for a horseback riding and hiking adventure at Dunn’s Falls. Beth and I walked around the shopping area at the port – adjacent to where the ship was docked, but spent most of our time enjoying the comforts of the ship.

Note – that is the virtual Holmes Family on horseback. I have no photos of their outing, but they said they had a good time riding the horses in the water at the beach.

Click HERE for the next post about our Lost Fantasy Cruise

The Lost Vacation

The Fantasy docked at Cozumel

While sorting old photos, I kept thinking we had taken a 3rd Disney Cruise with the kids. But I had no photos in my smugmug album, and only one blog post about being “On Our Way.” So did we actually go, or is this simply a Fantasy

Turns out, we did depart on April 1, 2017 for a 7 Day cruise on the Fantasy. This cruise was triple special, because it was for Olivia’s birthday AND it was a Star Wars Cruise. AND it was on the Fantasy, a new ship for us.

I remember having a problem getting the Photopass photos from Disney – never did get them. And by then we’d moved on to other trips and I let this one slide. So here we go … highlights of the Lost Cruise coming up.

It all started with the dogs. Kathy & Steve kindly came to our house to watch Natasha & Stitch. Pretty nice of them to give up a week to stay with the hounds. The California kids all arrived, and we took the traditional van ride to Port Canaveral.

We safely navigated our way onboard. While it was a different ship, it was much like the Dream.

All dressed up for dinner:

The next day we arrived in Cozumel. We were signed up for an island tour in little ATV cars. The plans included snorkeling and lunch at the beach. The kids had fun. Catherine and Beth especially enjoyed being serenaded by the Mariachi Band.


Catherine and Beth, and Lou and I, enjoyed a fancy pants dinner at Remy- one of the two signature restaurants onboard the Fantasy. Dinner was nice, with lots of small tastings and a most interesting lemon dessert. Mark and the girls enjoyed pizza, burgers, and soft serve ice cream cones (I’m just guessing on the soft serve, but I have a 98% chance of being correct, as Mark’s love of soft serve is only surpassed by my own).

Click HERE for the next post about our Fantasy Cruise.