Thursday, January 12, 2017

Patti’s Pre-Penguin Party

Happy 2017... it’s strange, I’m not exactly sure how I got here. I remember decorating for Christmas early this year... I was all set (or mostly set) by Thanksgiving; then there was this road trip to South Carolina for a pre-Christmas visit to our daughter, husband and grand-daughter... back home the week of Christmas, and a mad flurry of baking and panic to finish up last Christmas minute details. Christmas was bright, shiny and fun-filled with champagne, presents, toys and, of course, whining! Exhausting to say the least! Heaven knows how people with really large families manage. I think I’d just gotten the French Silk pie covered and the dishes put away, when our good friends, the Delmonico’s arrived for New Year’s from Connecticut.

About that time I started to feel a bit peaked; it didn’t get better, even with a plethora of medications from CVS’s aisle 6 working on a cure; it got worse, and worse, and worse... by Wednesday after Christmas I was pretty much dead. Coughing all the time, generally miserable and sharing my misery to anyone that showed even the slightest bit of sympathy. I finally relented and allowed myself to be kidnapped for a doctor’s appointment New Year’s Eve; I couldn’t even sit up in the exam room! For 10 days I’ve been on all sorts of medication that warns you about driving and operating heavy machinery, and points out that it may cause drowsiness or breathing problems, dizziness and lightheadedness, and possibly death. I am slowly improving. I can sit up now, am sleeping less than 14 hours a day, and much to my distress, seem to have regained my appetite!

Best of all... I’ve regained my wits enough to realize I’ll be CRUISING IN LESS THAN ONE MONTH! ONE MONTH! Just before Christmas an opportunity popped up on Crystal Cruises for South America, 23-days, Valparaiso to Buenos Aires and we grabbed it. I’m so excited I don’t know whether to scream or eat a banana parfait! This cruise will be pretty much the last piece of South America having done Miami to Lima, then Rio to Miami. And there is so much to see.

While in the Peace Corps, John was able to see the Chilean Fjords as far as Puerto Montt, and then crossed the lakes to Buenos Aires. He has talked of how incredibly beauty of the Andes bordering the Chilean Lake district; far beyond anything we’ve seen in Alaska. And, then there is the excitement of the Drake Passage! From what I understand, Drake Passage is a coin toss: either smooth as glass, or the whole tossing up thing! I’m excited to see the incredible wildlife and explore the “unknown” in luxury. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d be headed for Antarctica! We will be joining the 2017 World Cruise: Serenity’s Southern Celebration... if only I could manage the full 94 days! But with 23 days there’ll be plenty of explore, so much to discover, so much to look forward to. Oh, and now there is the added excitement of the Larson C Ice Shelf; now connected by just 12 miles to the rest of the continent! Now that’s exciting!

I’m thrilled to be cruising on Crystal again! It's been just over 4 years since we took an abbreviated cruise with American Express for their Ambassador program, which was discontinued shortly thereafter. We cruised up the coast on the Crystal Symphony from New York to Halifax and loved it! The ship was immaculate, the crew delightful, and dining diving! This trip will give us the chance to relax, and really get to know the ship and her staff & crew in our new home.

When last we cruised, drinks were not included, nor was the internet. Edie Rodriguez had yet to be named COO & President, nor had her vision of luxury been introduced. Since Edie joined Crystal, the changes continue to brand Crystal as outstanding in the luxury cruise market. Now with Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises, Crystal Luxury Air, and Crystal Residences, the competition seems to be fading into the background.

I’ve made our initial arrangements for our specialty dinners, and have a request in for the Vintage Room on my birthday. But since I’m not reserving the whole room, we’ll have to see if there are enough requests to warrent Crystal arranging for a dinner.

The only shore excursions we have prebooked are the Tierra del Fuego & King Penguins by Helicopter – I’m thrilled, John not so much – he’s never been on a helicopter! We have a second shore excursion halfway booked; they confirm John, but I am waitlisted... Helicopter flightseeing and Andes landing! I’m sure we’ll have a solution before we leave, or I will have to waitlist both of us and keep my fingers crossed!

It’s starting to come together as I have began sorting clothes (boots or no boots?) and beginning to “stage” my preliminary selection in the guest bedroom; probably enough to fill 15 trunks and 10 large suitcases! And, after battling bronchitis, a visit to my pulmonologist I finally getting some energy back and seem to be on track for a full recovery with time to spare!

I’m so excited! I’m going to be cruising!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Luxury Alaska from Regent Seven Seas

Summer has definitely arrived in South Florida; The humidity slaps you in the face and drops you into the sauna each time you venture out (even at 6am) and the temperature climbs into the 90’s each day. To that end, I’ve found an incredible interline bargain on the Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner in Alaska so you can enjoy some of nature’s air conditioning, that’s just too good to pass up!

Alaska is the last frontier, a pristine wilderness with natural wonders that absolutely takes your breath away...  and you must know by now that Regent is one of my favorite lines. Combine the two and I’m there!

There is a series of 7-night Alaska cruises in June, July and August on the Seven Seas Mariner, with discounts of between to 72% - 76% off retail rates! Cruise from Vancouver to Anchorage (Seward) or reverse from just $1750! Holy Toledo, what a bargain! I know, you’re sitting there thinking "I can do 7 nights in Alaska for much less than that". But wait – Regent offers an All-Suite ship that includes taxes, gratuities, unlimited beverages (including fine wines and spirits throughout the ship), personalized in-suite full liquor bar set up & mini-bar, fine dining, open seating, specialty restaurants, and Unlimited Shore Excursions.  Everything is Included!

Now you’re thinking there’s a catch. Well there isn’t.  On each of these 7 night trips, there are up to 40 - that’s right 40 -  free shore excursions available to experience! With more than 40 shore excursions to choose from you can see it all from Seward to Vancouver.  A nature hike through the Tongass National Forest creates unforgettable memories. In Skagway, climb almost 3,000 feet in just 20 miles during an exhilarating ride aboard the White Pass & Yukon Route Railroad. In Juneau, kayak through the Mendenhall Wetlands for the chance to see porpoise, seals, sea lions, eagles, herons or even whales! Enjoy a rip-roaring lumberjack competition while in Ketchikan and in Sitka embark on an ocean rafting adventure off the volcanic coastline of Kruzof Island where you can get an up-close view of towering cliffs and the nesting sea birds soaring, flying in and out of the volcanic caves. You can take as many excursions as time and your penchant for adventure allows.

In each port of call, you can choose from minimal activity such as the “Ketchikan Duck Tour” to moderate activity of the “Rainforest Canoe & Nature Trail” – there is a variety of shore excursions for a variety of interests!  

Itineraries vary slightly based on Northbound, VAN/ANC or Southbound, ANC/VAN, but you will cruise the inside passage and visit Ketchikan, Skagway, Juneau and Sitka as well as spending a day cruising Tracy Fjord and Sawyer Glacier and another day cruising the Hubbard Glacier.

There is one more choice – an exceptional 10-night at the end of the Alaska season that looks incredible; Cruise August 24 from Vancouver, to Ketchikan, Juneau, Sitka, Hubbard Glacier, before cruising to Victoria, Canada where you can enjoy Butchart Gardens and High Tea at the Empress Hotel and Astoria, Oregon for the Astoria Ale Trail or Fort Stevens Biking before cruising onward to San Francisco.

What a way to see Alaska - luxury, a phenomenal selection of free excursions, exquisite cuisine with the exceptional value only Regent Seven Seas can offer!

See discounted Regent Seven Seas sailings at

Friday, April 29, 2016

Fathom-tastic travel with a purpose!

Guest writer Hala tells of her recent experience aboard the Fathom Adonia. Fathom is a new kind of cruise that combines your love of travel with your desire to make a difference. Here's Hala's story.

I was lucky enough last week to be a guest on board the brand new Fathom Adonia cruise ship. Fathom is a new brand of cruising by Carnival Cruise Lines.  It showcases a new type of vacation that lets you enjoy your vacation like any other cruise line but with a difference - and that difference is you - or more specifically what you do.  Fathom brands themselves as “Impact Travel” which they describe as travel designed to make a difference, a real impact, in the local communities that you visit.  So, it is a combination of the usual cruising fun and  plus specially designed impact activities that give you a real sense of accomplishment and joy at being able to help those less fortunate.  But don’t worry - the volunteer activities were easy and fun!

Our journey began as soon as we stepped on board and were welcomed by Fathom’s impact guides.  These guides were specially picked by Carnival after a rigorous screening because of their enthusiasm and a desire to help others.  They are all young, very energetic, and extremely sociable and talented, and they all share a strong desire to change the world for the better.  Their enthusiasm was totally infectious.  They were all there to make a difference. Once you step onboard the ship the Adonia, we were all greeted by the enthusiastic Impact guides with big smiles on their faces.  You can feel their energy and enthusiasm and their sense of purpose for being part of a new era in cruising and being part of the Fathom family.

Carnival spent 18 million dollars to refurbish the Adonia and it shows.  It was a nice combination of classical hardwood panelling in some of the bars and lounges, and modern functional cabins.  The Adonia is small by modern cruise standards, carrying only 704 passengers, but that is ideal on a cruise like this because it helps give you a sense of intimacy and you very soon get to know many more people than you ever could on a large ship.  We made many new acquaintances very quickly.  It was fun to be able to meet people you barely knew but whom you had already passed three times going to the buffet and discuss which seminars you had been to or which impact activity you had done.

The food choices were plentiful and they were all good.  There was a main sit-down dining room, and the usual buffet with an omelet and waffle station in the morning and a pizza station at dinner.  There was one specialty restaurant that had a modest cover charge that served up some unique caribbean inspired food.  Two of my husband’s favorites were the pool-side bistro and the coffee bar.  The poolside bistro served up some Cuban and Dominican Republic specialty hamburgers and sandwiches that were really tasty.  The coffee shop specialized in Cuban and Dominican style coffees like Café con leche, Café Cubano, Colada, and Cortadito.  He didn’t even know what these were before this cruise but he soon learned and loved them.  The coffee bar also had a daily specialty pastry which was always amazing.  For example, one day they made Pineapple and Cilantro Cake - it was soooo good!

We sailed away on Sunday afternoon and arrived in the Dominican Republic late Monday.  The seas were calm and there were tons of activities onboard including all the usual pool side stuff, spa, ping-pong, games, etc.  There were even free meditation, yoga, and dance classes.  However, and surprising to us, was that what was really special to us were all the great workshops and seminars they put on.   First, they organized us into groups called “Cohorts” which gave us a good chance to meet more people since you stick with your cohorts for a few of what they called “Core Programming” sessions which consisted of entertaining and at times very thought provoking presentations and interactive discussions.    Everything from basic history of the DR to special programs designed by Ashoka (who designed the “Humans of NY” project).  One of these special programs was called “Social Innovation in Action”.  In this program we teamed up with everyone to brain-storm and see how we might solve some of the world’s pressing problems like declining fisheries, and leftover land mines.   In another workshop, called “Raising the Next Generation of Changemakers” we looked at and discussed what children need in order to master the four essential skills needed to deal with constant change - empathy, leadership, teamwork, and changemaking.  If you have children or grandchildren you would find this workshop especially interesting.  There was also some training available to directly help make you impact activities more productive such as “Empowering English Tutoring” where we were taught the basics we needed to help students learn english and “Spanish Phrases”.  One of the activities on board was playing dominos.  Many people in the DR love dominos and so knowing how to play can help break down barriers.  My husband and I had a great time playing with one of the Implact guides, Francisco, who was originally from Spain.  For fun we decided to play using only Spanish which really helped us learn our numbers quickly!

Tuesday morning we woke early, ate and then were off for our first impact activity - Reforestation.  After about a 45 minute drive through Puerto Plata and then some countryside, we arrived at a national park where the people of the DR are trying to reforest.  In this case the park has a large marsh-like area where we planted mangroves.  The mangroves will help keep the soil from eroding and will retain moisture in the soil.  After arriving, we split up into teams of diggers, planters, and conveyers.  I am sure you will be surprised to learn that the diggers dug, the planters planted and the conveyers kept the planters supplied with seedlings from the nursery :).  It was a little muddy and quite hot and humid but we all had a great time and really felt a sense of a job well done when we found out we had planted 350 trees!

Our second outing, on Wednesday morning, was to teach grade six students english.  We had a short bus ride into Puerto Plata and soon arrived at Padre Las Casas school.  We were first welcomed by the principal and then given a short tour of the school.  Then it was off to meet the students!  After a few words by the Entrena guides and a song to loosen us all up we divided quickly into groups of four students and two travelers.  We were given a lesson plan, called “Nice to Meet You” which guided us in teaching the children basic phrases like “Good morning”, “How are you?”, and of course “Nice to meet you”.  We had pictures and flash cards to help us.  The children were adorable.  They were all extremely well-behaved and really eager to learn.  I cannot really express how heartwarming and enjoyable it was even for people like me who have never taught a day in their lives!  Our first lesson lasted 45 minutes and then we met with a second group of kids.   It was so inspiring to find out there dreams of being veterinarians, doctors, teachers, and even one who wanted to be a secret agent - 007 no less!

Wednesday afternoon we went to “Rapappel” - where a group of enterprising Dominican women have set up an association to create and sell arts and crafts from locally recycled paper.   As soon as we arrived at their workshop, we were greeted with a song and introductions to each of the eleven women working there.  They were all so happy to see us that it made you feel like you’d won a million dollars right from the start.  We split into small groups and then rotated through the tasks required to go from used office paper to new recycled paper.  The first station is where we tore the paper by hand to separate it into the parts with ink on them and the parts that were just white paper.  Next, we took the paper shreds and put them in a washing machine to turn them into what looked like very watery cold porridge.  From there the porridge-like material was put in an ordinary kitchen blender and blended for 45 seconds or so to make pulp.  At the fourth station, we took 8.5 by 11 sized screens (just like on your windows at home) with wooden frames and swished them in the pulp that had been put into a large (like two kitchen sinks) fiberglass tub.  The swishing caused the pulp to adhere to the mesh.  After a couple of minutes we took the mesh screens out of the pulp and let them drain a bit.  Then we flipped the frames upside down causing the pulp to separate from the screen and form a sheet of paper.  The final step occurred after the newly form paper sheet had dried.  We took it and rolled it briskly between two other pieces of paper to make it nice and smooth.   From there, it went to their store where they finally made some money!  We had a fantastic time here, the women were so happy and constantly singing and dancing while they worked.  We felt like we had known them for years by the time we left.   We were all so sad when it was time to return to the ship.   Its a true lesson in humility to see how happy these women were, in spite of how hard they worked to make a living to support their families. A few of them were single mothers and this was their sole income.

Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to make it to our last scheduled impact activity on Thursday due to a scheduling mix up. 

Friday morning we set sail back for Miami.  All of us had wonderful experiences and during the cruise back one of the things we had was a story telling event where anyone who wanted to could share the story of what they had done and how it had impacted them and the people of the DR.  There were some really touching stories told.   Most people we talked to on the ship said this was really a life-altering experience for them.  Because Fathom and their onsite partners Entrena and IDDI did such a fabulous job everyone came away with great memories and a truly impactful experience.

Want to book your own experience? Contact your PERX travel planner today!

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Looking Back

March 29 - Disembarkation day was, as usual, a lot of waiting and sitting - we were given colored and numbered luggage tags to assist in getting everyone off in a timely manner. Since we had no flight to catch and simply had a car waiting, we were some of the last to disembark. One lovely thing about the delay in getting off was that I got to see Stoyan, the bar manager as he was leaving the ship and,  a very nice unexpected surprise, Daniella, VP of F&B was just getting back on after vacation! So we had a little chat.

Murphy's, Hudson's and Macchi's were able to gather all of their luggage, some ten or so bags, and the van found us waiting at the curb. It was a very artful (and snug) packing job!

It was about 11:00 a.m. when we made it home and sorted out our luggage and got it all into the house.

We called the Vet immediately to arrange to pick up Guinness and Lacey, but we were told they wouldn't be ready till 3:00 p.m.. We reached a compromise of 12:30 p.m.. 

I was ever so pleased to be at home again, after 25 days, it was time. Our own bed, our own stuff, more clothes, my own washer! It struck me as I wandered from room to room checking on things, that I love my house. I only wished it came with all of the benefits of Regent!  I love the service; having Julius and Roger to care for the room, fresh sheets daily, having the incredible, fantastic buffets for breakfast and lunch, the specialty restaurants as well as the Compass Rose, and Peter's Cosmopolitans, Rosetta's or Kir Imperials. Oh...and the lovely wines offered at lunch and dinner. Even the shows and after dinner entertainment. Although John and I don't often join in, it's quite nice to have it available!

I miss the easy, relaxed, quite routine we fall into at sea, I miss the adventure of seeing new places and meeting new people! It would be hard to imagine the cruise without Danny and Alison! Such fun! A St. Patrick's Day we won't forget!  Most of all, I miss the learning. There is such a big wide world out there, and so very much to learn about people, places and things! It's hard to imagine not traveling. 

Just as I suspected... it was quite a shock getting home. We met the Hudson's and Murphy's for dinner Friday night for the Murphy's last farewell; with a 5:00 a.m. flight to Boston I won't be at the gate waving good bye! Saturday arrived and I still didn't touch my bags. My cold returned with a vengeance and the unpacking would have to wait. Sunday morning I finally started to unpack, slowly.  Sunday afternoon we got ourself together for Easter Sunday at Scott and Lisette's home and, from a quiet dinner for six, it turned into a wild Cuban Easter.  Children running and screaming so high on sugar, they are probably still bouncing off the walls. Just about all the Miami relatives showed up to eat. Spanish, English and Spanglish were all part of the conversation; two labs, one Yorkie  and dinner for 20 with something for everyone including two cakes to help celebrate Scott's birthday!  I was exhausted from just trying to keep track of what was going on! Quite a change from the calm, serene Seven Seas Mariner...

Can't wait to go again! Maybe Europe - that seems out of favor this year! But I'm grounded until our dog sitter Lilia is back in action!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Last Day!

March 24 - It's so unfair! How can it already be over? I have to pack again? Make my own bed? Face life? Good news is that I will get to pick up the little fuzzy ones tomorrow morning, Guinness and Lacey will be sprung from the "Mastiff Suite" at the vets.

When we saw that Nassau was the last port on the trip, I opted out of all shore excursions and thought it would be great to go over the Atlantis, see the aquarium and find a nice restaurant with some great conch chowder and maybe a fresh grouper sandwich.

We had a quiet, if not late, morning and, after breakfast, began our test packing - you need to test the suitcases to make sure they will carry everything you have. Somehow, even though we really didn't buy too much of anything, stuff grows. You know all of my packages are small, so it's certainly not my fault!

We didn't arrive until noon, berthed at what I would swear is a new pier - Carnival Fascination, Norwegian Breakaway and the Allure of the Seas were all in port so Bay Street will be wild!

It's been long enough since I've been here that I think so much has been filled in, redone and  spruced up! Last time I was here, I was caught up in the middle of a fight between two men on Bay Street that involved both grabbing liquor bottles off the shelf of a liquor store and throwing them at one another! Such vivid memories!

The Straw Market has been rebuilt and is now housed in a nice modern building that looks as if they can pull down the shutters and protect the building from hurricanes. The whole waterfront has been redone with a new Señor Frogs overlooking the water. Bay Street looked freshly painted with the duty free shops all vying for attention and clients. With so many ships in port, the entire town is buzzing.

We caught a cab over to Atlantis (Paradise Island) with the expectation of a little walkabout and a nice lunch, and zap...the hotel charges non-hotel guests $50.00 per person to visit the hotel aquarium and beach facilities. We passed.

We then got a recommendation for a good place for conch chowder, Anthony's, a few hundred feet down the road. I wasn't sure when we first entered, but a couple of ice cold Banks Beers got me onboard. Their conch chowder was great! Oh, and the grilled grouper sandwiches with fries? Divine!

I feel a bit guilty as there is so much to do in the Bahamas. Anything you can imagine water related is at your fingertips. Snorkeling, scuba, boating of any kind is all available. The water is a magnificent turquoise blue, to blue green and so crystal clear you can spot your own conch resting on the brilliant white sand at the bottom under 20 feet of water.

Nassau is a cacophonous blur of bouncing jitneys, horse drawn carriages, hustling cabbies, bargaining vendors, trash talking pirates and elbow-knocking tourists.

Take your pick, jump right in and enjoy!

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

San Juan

March 22 - Outstanding day in San Juan! I had skipped all shore excursions and planned a shopping day! Yay! Actually a fabulous day. We had our face to face with TSA, immigrations, and cleared by 9:40 a.m.which was a bit later than hoped for; we were meeting Michael De Sadeleer, the GIA certified shopping consultant. He had made a call for me about a gem stone I was hunting.

As a member of the crew, Michael was delayed disembarking and sent us ahead to Blue Diamond, an exquisite designer jewelry store located in old San Juan. He had paved the way for me, with an introduction to Sunny, the owner and Charles the manager. He had let them know what I was looking for and actually, they shipped in the stone for my perusal. That's scary, but made me feel that I was queen for the day! It took about 3 hours to put the deal together, select the setting and select the additional stones, but once completed, it will be spectacular, even if I do say so! 

Michael gives lectures during the cruise and is more than willing help anyone on the ship who is looking for something special and offers his services with compliments of Regent. He knows the ports and various stores so well, he can determine where you will be able to find the best deal based on what you are requesting or looking for; no cost or obligation to you. And, most importantly, he will hold your hand. He looked at the stone, and assured me that it was a very good stone indeed; I really needed hand holding on this one. If he's on board, take advantage of his expertise. He can put your mind at ease, when making a purchase.

After a Cafe con Leche and a Cordadito, determining the perfect setting, it was done, and I am officially broke. It will take eight weeks and we'll be in touch throughout the creation of this marvel to tweak the design if needed!

Michael not only helped me,  he was everywhere throughout Old San Juan helping a number of people who had requested his assistance.  On his recommendation we made our way up to Barrachina, a family owned restaurant that has been in Old San Juan since 1963 offering "Creative Puerto Rican & International Cuisine!"  Not only that, they are the birthplace of the Pina Colada...quite  honestly the best I've ever tasted! I had two just to make sure! Set in a beautiful courtyard, the bar is circular and can handle most any crowd - Jorge, the bartender, always checks to see if you want alcohol or not. Holy Toledo - so yummy! And NO ice! A very special, very protected, recipe.

I ordered a great Mofongo and Camarones!  John opted for a boring old steak sandwich while Michael had a whole Red Snapper a la Criolla that looked delicious! We each savored our choices thanks to the excellent service from Victor as well as great food - and Sunny at Blue Diamond had arranged to pick up the tab! A lovely surprise!

Time to make our way back to the ship for 4:00 p.m. sailing. The Murphy's and Hudson's had been on the Bacardi Tour and came home filled with plenty of trivia - did you know Bacardi owns 150 other liquor brands - as well as rum! And they escaped Senor Frogs!

Our cell phones worked for the first time so we caught up with all of the kids and puppies. All is well, but the fuzzy ones have had a bit of a time with the stress. I know the Vets take really good care of them, but they do so much better at home! 

We woke up to the news of the bombing in Brussels, and continued to catch news on BBC, CNBC and MSNBC off and on throughout the day. By channel surfing we seemed to get a fairly accurate, well rounded picture of the story as it unfolded.

As lovely as our day was, it was tragically marred by the terrorist attack in Brussels. In what seems to be a series of bizarre coincidences, our cruising schedule seems to intersect  with memorable terrorists events - we were cruising when Seal Team 7 went in for Osama Bin Laden, we were cruising when Paris was bombed, and we just commented on the fact that they had captured the last of the terrorists earlier on this cruise, and suddenly we're faced with the devastating bombings in Brussels.  If only there was a way to erase the hatred.

Monday, March 21, 2016


March 21 - I love Antigua... It's a classic example of British Caribbean, with a ring of forts, quaint colonial architecture and best of all, 365 beaches! One for every day of the year.

Original plans were for a catamaran lobster and champagne cruise, but I opted out of that days ago. Patti and the sun just don't mix, and even with cover I'd be fried after 61/2 hours on the water!

Each time I'd been to Antigua was for a specific reason; a cruise on Star Clipper and later a visit to Pineapple Beach Club. Both delightful events, but never a chance to see the pier area downtown and shop!

It was great! Step off the ship, maybe a few hundred feet and voila! You are there! Right at the end of the the Heritage Quay Pier was a myriad of shops all just waiting for our arrival. Highlights were Diamonds International (and stroll down a bit further for the a DI clearance center), Tanzanite International, Abbott's Jewelry with Gingerlilly (a women's resort shop with lovely clothes), a Del Sol and Cariloha (the bamboo bedding and bath shop). Sound a bit like Bridgetown? Somewhat, but keep in mind, if you make a purchase on one island then see something you like better in another port, you can upgrade without a problem! I think that's a great benefit to shopping in the Caribbean!

I was delighted to find a new watch band for my watch, and someone kind enough to show me how easily they can be changed, so I can have a wardrobe of watch bands! As if I need to worry about is another wardrobe!

On our Cruise Director Jamie's recommendation we walked a bit further up St. Mary's Street to have lunch at Hemingways - established in 1987. They are on the second floor of a small wooden building and have a lovely balcony overlooking the street, and provide classic Caribbean service. I really don't know a kinder way of putting it. It was so slow that it was well over an hour between the time we ordered lunch and it's arrival at the table. We enjoyed sitting on the balcony, catching the lovely breeze and sipping our Red Stripes. We had heard about the fantastic lobster in Antigua and we were going to enjoy some for ourselves; so two orders of Grilled Caribbean Lobster - Market Price. Beware Market Price! With a good deal of savoir faire,  we placed the order - hey, we're international travelers, how bad could the market price be! The late lobster was delicious! Served with lemon butter and fries, we were happy campers! Now maybe we were just so hungry by the time it arrived, anything would have tasted good, but they were really tasty. Ah, a bit of relaxation after the meal, a little chat and the request for the bill. OMG! Shocking doesn't begin to describe it! For the price of lunch, we could have hired a boat, scuba equipment and caught our own lobster! Possibly less! Lesson learned. ALWAYS ask the market price!

On the way back to the ship we wandered into a couple of other shops, but there was nothing compelling capturing our attention (or money!)

It wasn't far but by the time we walked back to the ship, we were both exhausted! It was bloody hot outside! It was a delight to get back to the ship and its air conditioning. We both crawled back to our cabins, showered and had a lovely nap!

We were in the Compass Rose for dinner with the regular menu, however four of us had requested escargot. One of the lovely things about cruising with Regent is that with 24-48 hour notice, they will cook anything for you! We enjoyed our little snails and have actually put in a request for a Chinese Dinner on Thursday evening... I love cruising!