Alaska Cruise on the Norwegian Jewel: Day 1&2

I debated wrapping up the end of my trip with the second half of Seattle but I figured I might as well follow how my vacation went.

Day 3 of vacation was the morning blitz mode in Seattle that I wrote about HERE in the previous post.

Second half of that day was spending about an hour or so boarding the cruise ship.  During the first part of the line-up, I have to be honest that I freaked out just a little when I searched all my bags and I couldn’t find my passport.  Somehow I found it tucked somewhere or another.  It was just hidden.  Its been so many months that I can’t even remember where it finally popped up.  But that is generally how I am when I travel.  Good thing I pull out these documentation in advance. Imagine the stress of not finding it at the last minute and holding up the line, I can already feel the stress 😉

So, security checks and check-in for the cruise ship, getting our Norwegian Jewel card that is technically our access and payment for EVERYTHING for the 9 days on there.  I can tell you one thing, the perspective of life changes a little when money becomes this behind the scenes figure (kind of). I’ll talk about the entire cruise experience when I’ve finished with everything during a recap.  For now, lets get these rather uneventful Day 1 and 2 over with.

Day 1: Boarding ship and settling in!

Here’s our room, which is the first place we went after we boarded since we chose to carry our own luggages there. We didn’t bring a lot so it was light and easy.

Norwegian Jewel

Our room

There were no windows.  We were on the 8th floor.  It was a decent size and really tidy.  To be honest, I really just went back to rest here between activities or sleep at night or shower between workouts and meals.  I didn’t stay in there incredibly a lot so it didn’t really bother me much. It was really comfortable and the whole no windows thing made us kind of lose track of time in the mornings when we didn’t have to wake up for a tour because we couldn’t see when it was light out 😉 That’s vacation!

There was some Sailing Away activities in the afternoon as we inched closer to the 3pm time when we departed Seattle.

Norwegian Jewel

The Deck

Norwegian Cruise

View of Seattle from the Cruise Ship

When we sailed away, we walked around the ship to explore what there was and where it was all situated so we’d be able to get to wherever we wanted for whatever activities soon.  We peeked into the Workout room which I ended up spending a lot of time the next 9 days between trips and whatnot, starting the next day where I went two times or something since we were at sea. There were activities on the middle area with pools, sat down and enjoyed the sun a little, then found where the theatre for all the evening shows and we ended up finding the game room where we found a set of Mahjong complete with all the tiles.  Guess what? My mom and her friends wanted to kill some time doing that so we did until dinner time 🙂

Our first night at dinner was the restaurant we scouted out.  My mom and her friends had already been on various cruises before but its the first time they saw Asian cuisine as free dining on the cruise ship so of course, that was our first choice. Here’s what we had at this restaurant called Chin Chin.

The service was very nice.  The food was very westernized.  They called it Asian fusion, but its not.  Although, you will see that we did end up going back for lots of dumplings and possibly fried rice 😉

To wrap up the evening, we went for an evening walk on the deck where I discovered the Spinnaker Lounge which I will end up spending nights there checking out their game/theme nights and its kind of my way to have some alone time to relax and not be rushed from point A to point B. It was still relaxing but I do enjoy time to myself.

Norwegian Jewel

First Night on the Deck

There was also the Welcome Aboard Show at the Stardust Theatre to end off the night.

Day 2: At Sea

I was still experiencing jet lag on Day 2.  I’m telling you, as I get older, this jet lag business takes longer to settle especially those 3 hours time shifts.  So, guess what? I woke up at like 5 or 6 am or something and walked up to the deck and took some sunrise shots.

Norwegian Alaska Cruise

2nd day, sun rise!

Fresh air, ocean in front of the us and the dawn of a new day! That was an amazing and incredible feeling! 🙂

I had an early breakfast, headed to my first ever Zumba class then because the instructor was late and the class wasn’t long, I headed up to the gym to get in some jogging and rowing, before showering and heading down for lunch.  Sadly, it seems I didn’t take many pictures of the buffet portion of the trip, which I spent mostly for breakfast and lunch.  I can’t remember exactly what happened but I remember activities in the middle area with the pools slowly being opened and the hot tubs and whatnot.  There was the Mr. Alaska competition which was pretty entertaining, some music that followed.  We sat in the sun a little, booked our tours for the next few stops and just relaxed.

I’m telling you..I love relaxing but the first two days started getting so relaxing that I didn’t really know what to do so I walked around and explored by myself, especially after I went to do a second workout and lost my mom in the process on the ship.  I eventually found her right before dinner.  This night, we had already said to meet at one of the main dining halls called Azura.

Azura was very accommodating, especially for my food allergies.  The service was great and the food was delicious.  I can’t remember the name of the food at all but I have an idea of what it all is.

We ended the evening with a show at the Stardust Theatre called Back on the Road Show. I think it was a singing show.  I can’t remember anymore.  Then there was a game show called Battle of the Sexes which was really funny.

Its a calm two days and nothing much to really talk about so I put them together. We arrive at Ketchikan in Alaska for our first stop the next day! 🙂

#FantasiaFest, Friends, Date Night and Fun Times! :)

Wow, this week went by really fast!

This week wasn’t exactly eventful but it did mark a few things happening and so much to be grateful about. I’m really enjoying this busy weekends and not so busy weekdays.  Its nice to finally regain some form of balance in my life and any sign of negative and I just dodge it and bounce right back to being happy and positive 🙂

Next step: getting back to my working out more regularly 😉 Maybe I should do my workout posts again.  What do you think?

Before we get ahead of ourselves, lets see what things I have to be happy about this week 🙂

1) FANTASIA FESTIVAL!!

Fantasia Festival has started and as I write this, I’m back from the third movie.  I’m happy because I managed to get tickets for all the movies I wanted to see except one (other than the ones I had to skip because of scheduling problems).  Things always work out in  the end and you’ll see why.  If you missed my post on the movies I bought tickets for, you can check it out HERE!

There is one movie not on the list.  After Joseph @ The Cinema Monster dropped me a comment after seeing my lineup, he told me about two movies.  One I couldn’t put into my schedule but I looked into The Harvest with Michael Shannon and decided to add that one in.  Here is the trailer on the Fantasia Festival page:

http://www.fantasiafestival.com/2014/fr/films-et-horaire/80/the-harvest

A funny moment for you: I actually didn’t watch the trailer before getting the tickets and just read the plot.  Lets say, I have a feeling I’m going to be pretty creeped out…  I’ll tough it out though! It does look quite good 🙂

Final tally is now 11 movies and 14 tickets! 🙂 One more movie than I expected because I just couldn’t let go of That Demon Within.  Nick Cheung has really grown as an actor and anything that he’s in cannot be bad so I just couldn’t resist, what else can I say, right? I still remember him when he first started taking up stupid roles in ridiculous movies that I didn’t laugh at.  He’s really changed and does more sophisticated roles and its works out a lot better (at least I think so).

I have a good space between each group of movies so expect the reviews for Open Windows, I Origins and Cybernatural and tonight’s in the next few days 🙂

2) LEMON VERBENA & its flowers

Lemon Verbena

I may or may not have talked about before in my many gardening posts but my lemon verbena had little bug issues and thats why its now living outside for the summer.  It bloomed some cute littler flowers in the middle of the week when I went for a miniature gardening maintenance run 🙂 Bug issues are completely gone and the leaves are perfect.  These little victories (and some that will follow) makes me slowly grow more and more interested in this gardening business.

3) BIKE RIDE TO OLD MONTREAL WITH FRIENDS

Old Montreal

Old Montreal from the Concord Bridge

Montreal

Downtown Montreal from Concord Bridge

Saturday was a busy day and it all started at 9:30am in the morning when me and two friends started getting ready for our Old Montreal bike ride.  I do one of these every year at least once.  Its a really nice ride with amazing scenery that reminds me of why Montreal is actually a beautiful city when you put all the stupidity aside.  This year, I had company, making it so much more fun 🙂

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll

And we even got to enjoy some of those pretty famous and extremely tasty lobster rolls!

4) ATTENDING A WEDDING FOR A LONG-TIME FRIEND (that I haven’t seen in a long time)

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Weddings are a super happy event. I haven’t seen this friend in ages and being at her wedding (and the bachelorette party last weekend) makes me really honored that she thought about me enough to invite me to the happiest moment of her life. She was a beauty and a princess all  night in the most elegant manner.  The wedding was beautiful and it was so much fun.  I saw a few people and reconnected with them, and even hit the dance floor all in good fun! The restaurant even had a window and terrasse facing the fireworks.

The couple themselves was just the symbol of love.  It was also an honor to be there to witness two people completely in love with each other, go through all that they’ve gone through and finally get to this step in their life.  I was so deeply moved by the event itself 🙂

5) COMPLETING THE FIRST FLOOR

Office done with new lights also :)

Office done with new lights also 🙂

Suffice to say that I talk a lot about my new house, but I think it comes with being a homeowner.  I’m almost all moved in except for a few things but I figured that as we get things in room by room, we’re getting every step closer.  The first floor is all done! We bought some new ceiling lights last week for the office (brighter than the previous owner’s) and with the natural light and everything, the office is looking lovely.  Next weekend will be spending time arranging how all the furniture goes while my boyfriend will take care of the painting in the main floor and basement.  The main floor will be the hard part as its a bit more colors and more tricky.  Progress, my friends! That makes me happy 🙂

6) SUCCESS WITH THE SELF-WATERING SYSTEM

raspberry plant

Raspberry is happily hydrated

Raspberry plants are like overly demanding and easily dehydrated babies. It wasn’t happy with one wine bottle full of water so I added another one. Then it still guzzles the water in exactly the same speed. At least, my baby here is blooming some flowers at the top and maybe it’ll be a champ and grow me some raspberries 😉

vegetable garden

Miracle squash/zucchini growth

My mom says these are yellow zucchini so I’ll take her word for it. This baby went through a lot.  Its grew from a snapped stem repaired by green tape. And then I put in a self-watering system about 10 days ago and unlike my raspberry up there with a tantrum, I came back to a sudden growth of this zucchini right there.  Its telling me I love you. And I love it back because its has so many coming out.  I just hope it doesn’t get tangled in its own growing vegetables.  I guess when that time comes, it means it time for harvesting! YUM! 🙂

7) THE STAR OF MY GARDEN: PURSLANE!

Purslane

Purslane in full bloom

Coming home yesterday to tend the garden, the happiest sight is to see everything going well and then my Purslane is looking very beautiful with its little pink and orange flowers brightening up my deck! 🙂

I’m still trying to figure out what I can do with these purslane because apparently it is a herb or edible plant.  I’m interested to know what use I can do with this.  I’m taking it easy though.

8) LITTLE VISITORS IN MY GARDEN!

bumblebees

Bumblebees hard at work!

I haven’t put my work into my front yard.  But thats starting soon.  However, the previous owner’s left these rather bland looking flowers from afar but along with the fluffy fern things and my flowers and whatnot in the backyard, its attracting a lot of bees. I took a neverending weeding break to try to capture them hard at work.  This is the best picture I’ve taken in a while 🙂

9) DATE NIGHT WITH MY BOYFRIEND

Montreal

Evening sky in Montreal

My boyfriend and I work opposite schedules so we don’t see each other very often and we don’t spend too much quality time either.  With the Fantasia Festival, its my way to just not sit at home and stare at my walls and just go out and have fun.  Although I saw two movies by myself already, I was happy that my boyfriend agreed to see 3 of them with me.  The first one starting at 9:30pm on Sunday.  We drove out and was welcomed by lovely weather and a beautiful evening sky as we drove over the bridge.  Romantic, eh? And made our way to see Cybernatural.  He is my best movie viewing buddy because he always automatically discusses the movie with me afterwards. Its fantastic to ponder on it in my head by myself or even talk out loud to the walls or my cat but its also nice to have an answer some times.

Joking aside, we really needed a date night! He gets a break next weekend and the week after, he’s back on double duty for being my movie date 😉

10) FANTASIA LUCK!

I love Fantasia Festival ever since I went last time.  This time, my biggest worry was to not choose the right movies.  I mean, I only chose one that sold out and it didn’t even sell out on the screening I’m going to.  Either way, I remained confident with my choices. I honestly have to say that, although there was some small issues, overall, I enjoyed all of them.  3 for 3 sounds like a good track record and it has be all hyped up. Last night’s was the first one where it was hosted by people related to the film.  Director Leo Gabriadze and I actually think the other man was the executive producer Adam Sidman.  There, they also had their supposedly first live Skype Q&A session.  The first to join was the writer Nelson Greaves and producer Timur Bekmambetov.  After 10 minutes or so, they even brought 3 cast members (which is pretty much half of the lot).  First was the two girls, Shelley Hennig and Courtney Halverson and later, Moses Jacob Storm joined in after he resolved his technical issues.  Its a pretty ingenious idea and matches how technology has really changed how certain things are done.  I’ll talk more about it when I review them.

To be absolutely honest, I’m just feeling so lucky! Luck isn’t normally on my side often but I make the best of what I can. It is now and I’m enjoying every moment of it!

Things are going great, my friends! I’ve been having a blast this summer!

sunbeams

Before I leave, here’s a lovely quote I found and here’s the article you might want to check out for 15 Quotes about Life from Children’s Books!

Happy Monday, my awesome friends!

Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top

This week’s photo challenge theme is On Top.

On top can be a feeling, a perspective, or a physical location. – The Daily Post

I started thinking to myself after I read this.  What makes me feel like I’m on top of the world?

For starters, its when I’m flying in a plane, travelling from one place to another. You know that moment mid flight when you look out the window and you are literally flying above the clouds or between the clouds, whichever it is.  Over the clearing, you even see mountains under you. That feeling is just something can’t be replaced.  Its exactly how I feel take off is so majestic also.

Plane

The second feeling is when on a peak of some kind.

The Hong Kong Peak gives me that feeling especially with the bright lights and skyscrapers.  Its really beautiful to look at.

Hong Kong Peak

I’m not really so much an urban girl.  I don’t like crowds much and lots of people so the most relaxing feeling of being on top of the world has to go to being in nature.  Some of the best views I’ve seen are in viewing towers of Maine.  This one is from the top of the hiking trail in Maine that we spontaneously found while looking for another trail.

Maine Hiking Trail

Maine hiking trail

Now, since I’ve made myself a bit happier thinking about travelling. Lets bring things a bit closer to home and be more literal.

Here’s a view on top of my bookshelves.

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It has a bit of me in there.  Cookie jars, childhood dolls, souvenirs from my mom’s trip, my fave Yuna figurine and Disney stuff, oh right and hockey.

And to end things off since I’m doing this last minute and to celebrate Friday! Some fruits floating on top of  my Sangria from a hangout with my friend 🙂

Sangria

Sangria and fruits

This is my response to Weekly Photo Challenge: On Top.  Be sure to check out other entries HERE!

HAPPY FRIDAY, MY LOVES! 🙂