Sunny San Juan

These are some photos from my day in San Juan, Puerto Rico back in March that I rediscovered in the past few days. I forgot all about them, and was pleasantly surprised to see these.

I hope you enjoy the tropical photos!

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20130719-131852.jpg The walls of old San Juan

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If the weather where you are is anything like it it here in New York, stay out of the heat!
Spencer

Website Updates and Trip Photos

With the weekend in front of me, I decided it would be a good time to update my original website, and even make some changes here! To start, I was wondering what day would be best for the Photo of the Week.
Please take a moment out of your Internet viewing time to vote in this poll!

Also, due to popular demand, I thought I would repost the
Iink to my Mediterranean Trip Photos. Click Here for the Photos!

No matter how the poll results turn out, the Photo of the Week will come out on this upcoming Sunday Morning (10/14/2012)
Enjoy the Weekend!

Spencer

Photos of the Week, August 26- September 1

Vermont for the Weekend:

The Photo of the Week is back! Yes, it is 2 days late, but that’s why I was able to get these photos!

My family and I enjoyed a nice long weekend in Vermont, visiting my Grandma, and enjoying some of the local charms.

We went to the Celebrate Vermont Festival in one of my favorite places in Vermont, the Town of Stowe. Unfortunately I didn’t get any photos inside of the festival, where many local restaurants and businesses were showcasing their best.

After leaving the Event field, we went down to the little river that runs through Stowe. Here are some photos that I captured:

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I hope you enjoy these photos of wonderful Stowe, Vermont!

Spencer

Flashbacks from the Serenade, Part 2

As any cruiser knows, the food is the highlight of the ship!
Unfortunately, the food in the Main Dining Room was somewhat below what I expected, since we sailed on the Radiance of the Seas last year, same company, and very similar menus. The Main Dining room food on the Radiance was substantially better than the Serenade.

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The main dining room

Although the Radiance ranks higher for food in the Main Dining Room, the Serenade wins for the specialty restaurants! We went to both Chops Grille and Portofino. After those two dinners, Chops at the start of the cruise, and Portofino about halfway through, everyone at the table was stuffed to the gills, and quite happy about their meal!

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Chops Grille

At Chops on the first night of the cruise, we started out as the only table there, and another table wasn’t filled for 45 minutes. 3-4 tables were served that night! The waiters commented that “normally people don’t know about the specialty restaurants until the 3rd or 4th day!”

My Steak was perfect, and the sides that were brought or the table were excellent. All of the deserts were “oversized”, meaning my slice of Red Velvet Cake was about 8 inches tall! I couldnt finish half of it. I now regret taking a picture!

As for Portofino, besides an odd pesto Minestrone soup, dinner was great. The Mushroom Risotto and “Bistecca (steak) Fiorentina” we’re some of the best things I have ever eaten on a cruise!

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Portofino

I’m not into seafood, but this did look great, being the most popular item on the menu:

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Desert, ahhh, the best! I had the tiramisu, which was in a bowl made of chocolate. Royal Caribbean is doing a great job with their specialty restaurants!

Here is a photo of the sampler of deserts,

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Going back to the Man Dining Room, I still had a number of great dinners there. The Service was not a problem at all, in fact, Myla and Jason (our waitstaff), were some of the best we have ever had.

Look for more “Flashbacks from the Serenade” throughout the week.
Enjoy!
Spencer

Adíos to the Serenade of the Seas

Hello from the B Hotel in Barcelona,
I have said it before, and I will say it again, I love cruises and traveling, but I hate to see it all end.
I want to thank you all for following us throughout our trip. I will try to post from Barcelona again later this afternoon since we have just finished a city tour and were all starving!

Here is the view from our Balcony from this Morning (not as luxurious as in past days)

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Disembarkation in Full Swing

I hope you have all enjoyed!
Spencer

Our Final Port Day, Yesterday in Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast

Good afternoon from the beautiful Serenade of the Seas, we are currently traveling at 16.8 Knots back towards Barcelona, Spain. It is about 77 degrees Fahrenheit or about 25 degrees Celsius. It is very humid though, and it feels more like the upper 80s in the full sun. We are sailing in some of the smoothest seas that I’ve ever seen, and with a slight haze, it makes for a beautiful day on the Med!

Yesterday, we were picked up by our tour guide in Salerno, Italy at about 8:00 in the Morning, and our first stop was a place where I have always dreamed of going, Pompeii. If someone was to ask me what the best representation of a Roman City was, I would say Pompeii, not Rome! This is because Pompeii was buried under volcanic ash and preserved during the Time of the Roman Empire.

It was 79 AD when Mount Vesuvius blanketed the city in 20 feet of ash and killed practically everyone within the City Walls. In Rome, on the other hand, there are many artifacts and buildings from the ancient Empire, but the city as been lived in by other people since the Empire fell. Overall, there is more history throughout the years in Rome, but Pompeii paints a better picture of the ancient Roman City.

To save some time on our onboard Internet package, I am going to number the photos and caption them ahead of time.

In Pompeii, we visited the Forum (1), An Original Pompeian Street,(2) an ancient Roman Pub/Bar(3), some of the original preserved skeletons found on the site, with a plaster cast put over the top to create the correct body shape (4)(5). These people knew they were going to die and there was no escaping it.

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After Pompeii, we began our drive along the Amalfi Coast. Here is a great photo looking down over Positano on the Coast.

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We drove even further up above Positano for lunch, which was incredibly fresh, all organic, and there were incredible views!

Here are the views from the Restaurant, and some photos of our fresh Italian lunch:

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Well, yesterday was another incredible day in what I have now decided is the best place I have ever visited, Italy.

Look for a brief ship tour blog post later on today.

I hope all of the photos are in the right order!

Ciao for now!

Spencer

A little bit late, but the highlights of Santorini for you all to see…

Good Evening from the Serenade of the Seas as we sail away from our final port of call, Salerno Italy.

The Internet has been down, but here is my post from two days ago, when the ship anchored in the protected harbor of Santorini Island in the Greek Isles. It was more about the beauty and scenery than any other day, not much history here. It’s a volcanic island that was originally round, but half the island collapsed into the water around the volcanic crater, which is still active today.

What is left is a caldera (almost a cliff) that gradually slopes downward to the Sea on the opposite side. The two largest cities are perched on the cliff, Fira (pronounced Fee-ra), and Oia (pronounced ee-ya). We began by tendering, taking a small boat to get to land because there are no cruise ship docks in Santorini, and then we took the cable car up the caldera. Once we were up in Fira, we had an hour to spare before we had to meet our tour guide, so we wandered around and picked up some souvenirs before it got too crowded. We were on the second run of the cable car for the day, but we knew that 5 ships would eventually be in.

To start the tour, we got a view of the most famous of the Blue Domed Churches, and continued on to Oia, where we looked around and got some great photos. A stop at a winery with great views, and a roadside stand selling Santorini’s specialties, such as real sun-dried tomatoes, pickled capers, grown in the volcanic rock of the island, and more!

For lunch, I had Souvlaki with the freshest Tatziki Sauce I have ever had!
Next up was a stop at a black sand beach, where the sand was made from volcanic rock, not clear crystals like most beaches.

Once we got back into Fira, I could barely recognize the area because 5 ships, 2 Royal Carribean, Holland America’s Noordam, a small European line called Etstur, and NCL’s Jade were all dumping passengers onto the island, and the cable cars were bringing them, about 10,000 passengers among those ships, up onto the same street at only 30 at a time. At 2:30, when we thought we would get back on the cable car, we got on line in the brutally hot sun and we were squeezed in like sardines because of the many rude people who can’t wait their turn in line like everyone else. They just have to push, shove, and work their way around the line. After 45 minutes we were so desperate for even the slightest breeze, but we made it onto the cable car and down to the tender to bring us back to the Serenade of the Seas.

Here are the highlights of my photos from Santorini because there is no way I could share all 211 of them!

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Freshly Sun Dried Tomatoes

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This is what happens when 5 ships dump passengers onto Cable Cars that bring them onto one small street!

I will put up a post about today in Pompeii and the Amalfi Coast of Italy, bright and early tomorrow morning!

Enjoy!
Spencer