TR: Jewel of the Seas 2014 Caribbean Cruise Pt. 4 – Impromptu Sea Day & Antigua (10/13 & 14/2014)

For all the planning we do, nature can throw unhittable curveballs. The discovery that we’d be skipping St. Maarten and cruising instead was generally inoffensive to my wife and I, but it meant that we’d need to reconsider our entire set of activities for day 3 of our cruise. In this instance, we chose to do very, very little. Part of that was unintentional, as we had no Compass to go off of for events and activities until early in the day. Most of it, frankly, was intentional. Drinking the day prior did my body no favors, and we spent much of the day wandering and grazing around the ship or in the cabin enjoying the balcony and bed.

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TR: Jewel of the Seas 2014 Caribbean Cruise Pt. 3 – Embarkation & St. Croix (10/11 & 12/2014)

With boarding complete, the process of waiting to leave seemed to drag on forever. Our bags arrived after a short time and we had to force ourselves into putting things away. The sailaway show promised comedy. Feeling confident in my own personal ability to make jokes about how powerful the toilet flushes and how many times lights flicker in the bathroom, we chose to skip this and do, well, something else. Mostly, this “something else” was to go tour the ship and see things. Both lunch and dinner were found in the buffet, with us siting both inside and outdoors in a comparative rarity – outdoor aft space for balcony dining. Nice to have it.

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TR: Jewel of the Seas 2014 Caribbean Cruise Pt. 2 – Ship Review (10/11-10/18/2014)

When I do trip reports of cruises, the ship itself is what I start with. It is where most of the action on a cruise takes place, whether sleeping, eating, or some combination where I snore with a sandwich in my mouth. I kid, I kid. It also simplifies things later rather than pour through and write out the same opinion over and over.

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TR: Jewel of the Seas 2014 Caribbean Cruise Pt. 1 – Preface

At one point in 2012, we had three cruises concurrently booked. I mention this specifically because after that third cruise of the group, we somehow managed to have zero booked for several months and not even any clear plan of when to next do one, where it would be, anything. 6 months out, emboldened by our new jobs and the revolutionary freedom to schedule things less than a year in advance, we finally settled on something that appealed to both of us. And then we canceled our reservation on the Carnival Valor for this April, departing San Juan.

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TR: Zoo-a-Palooza 2014 – Potter Park, Lansing & Celebration Square, Saginaw (9/28/2014)

Late here in the 2014 “amusement” season, we’re beginning to make preparations for the upcoming winter. One of those key preparations is making sure we have something to do in the winter. Meredith and I have talked for a long time about getting a membership at our local zoo, and after some careful consideration and looking at what our schedule resembles for the rest of 2014 and early 2015, we decided we’d make the plunge. And while we’re at it, why not go to the last AZA accredited zoo in the state we haven’t seen?

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TR: Random Michigan Stuff (all sorts of 2014 dates)

We travel around quite a bit: perhaps you’ve noticed? This sort of activity on our part leads us to revisit places we’ve been before which haven’t seen much change, and occasionally places we’ve never been before that don’t necessarily demand their own trip report. So why not just push it all in here, all at once? Continue reading

TR: Universal Orlando (9/12 – 9/14/2014)

In the two years since my wife and I last visited Universal, the one constant has been change. Opening two “e-ticket” level attractions in such a short period of time has further bolstered an already strong lineup of attractions, and we were compelled to come back and check it out again. Limited for time and trying to not completely break the bank, we had to settle for just a sprint weekend trip. Some expenses were still mandatory: staying at Hard Rock Hotel, for instance, guaranteed the shortest possible walk and Universal Express pass, hugely important with the potential of big weekend crowds. Our flights went smoothly, allowing us to get into Orlando with little discomfort or timing issues either way. We also remarked that both directions saw the least number of children we’ve ever seen on Orlando flights. Continue reading