Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | April 25, 2013

Luck Be a Lady: The Birthday Cruise Day One

Note: So here it is!  My entries from my latest vacation.  I’m posting them fairly unedited (I will probably not be able to help myself and correct or clarify when needed, but I’m mostly leaving it as is when I wrote it). I did want to flag that I am including a daily “gratitude”. I’ve been posting something I’m grateful for on Facebook each day, to remind myself to be thankful for good things in my life each day, and since I didn’t have internet access I’ve recorded it here.  And now, on with the entry!

Just a So you may have noticed that I’ve been neglecting my travel blog terribly.  I would blame it on lack of travel, but that would be a bald-faced lie, and a fairly obvious one too, particularly since I did not finish my blog from Rome.  I procrastinated because I was writing by hand, and my handwriting was terrible, and I just was not able to finish it (even though I had a great story about Alitalia changing my flight with less than 12 hours notice and long after I had no internet, so I ended up spending far too long in the Rome airport).  Then the next three trips I took were for work, and I did not have the energy to blog and did begin to experience travel fatigue, so this one has sat idle since the end of September.

Fortunately, my fatigue waned, and I am back to being a travel enthusiast. Coupled with a now working computer, I am hoping to get back on a day-to-day record of this trip.  But first, a little history.

The 1.2 carat diamond I won. Shiny!

The 1.2 carat diamond I won. Shiny!

In late November, my mother was selling tickets to a charity raffle her company was sponsoring (yay, De Beers!). It’s an annual fundraiser for our hospital foundation, and tickets are steeper than I usually want to commit for, but they weren’t moving as fast as Mom hoped, so I decided my budget could handle one, for a good cause.  It was two days before the draw and three before I was leaving on a work trip to Fort Smith and Fort Resolution covering someone else’s files, so it fell right out of my mind.

Until my cell phone was ringing and I was being told to come collect my prize.  I could not believe it, but the single ticket I bought (and the first ever) was a winner.  A top prize winner. So in addition to a gorgeous, 1.2 carat diamond (it is huge, that is not a typo) and money toward a setting, I also won a cruise.  So the Dolphin Whisperer (DW) and I are once again at sea, having traded our 7-day balcony room cruise for a non-balcony, 11-day cruise on Holland America.

We flew to Edmonton and overnighted (with a birthday pedicure at Eveline Charles courtesy of DW as a thank you for making her my plus one), then flew on West Jet to Fort Lauderdale via Toronto, though considering I had to call roadside assistance because I returned the keys of my rental car to the drop box then realized I’d locked my purse in the car, we very nearly didn’t make it. There was a little turbulence just before Toronto, but for the most part, everything went smoothly.  We were then whisked to the gorgeous Westin Hotel, which is associated with Holland America, where we ordered room service for a late supper before crashing in some very comfortable beds.

I didn't even last a day before spilling coffee on my new white shoes.

I didn’t even last a day before spilling coffee on my new white shoes.

We didn’t get up to much today, just ate breakfast at a lovely diner called Duffy’s at the recommendation of one of the Holland America hosts at the hotel, then bought copious amounts of sunscreen and water.  We were bussed to the port, and boarded.  There was a little hiccup at our rooms – they’d made the beds up as one – but that was easily fixed by the crew, and quickly to boot.  Holland America’s customer service is top notch.

DW and I remembered that, the last time we were on the cruise, there was a spa deal offered after a ship tour. We skipped the tour and went straight to the spa, were able to book a Head to Toe service, which included a massage from head to toe, including scalp, and a mini facial.  It was wonderful, and this time I managed to keep myself from buying overpriced spa products.

After unpacking our room, we went to a “Name that Tune” trivia contest at the theatre area (which we did not win despite being the only group to know the newest song, 1994’s Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows), then to dinner.  We chose open seating once again, and our company, as experienced previously, was delightful. We were seated with a trio of sisters (another trio live in England) who travel together as they live in different places in the U.S. and Canada. They were so much fun, and you could tell they were so close.

Our ship, anchored in the beautiful Bahamas!

Our ship, anchored in the beautiful Bahamas!

It was a late dinner for DW and I, since we didn’t get in line for dinner until 7:30, so we were quite hungry.  For the appetizer, I had beef carpacchio, while DW had a portabello mushroom dish.  Next, I had a nicoise salad while DW had a chilled carrot and cumin soup, which she told me was good if a bit much to eat all at once. Our entrees were fabulous as always.  I had a fish dish (barberini? I can’t remember the name) with a lime coconut sauce on couscous, while DW had teriyaki and ginger fried tofu. We (of course) finished with dessert, and neither of us could resist the red velvet cake.

After stopping at the shop so I could pick up more motion sickness medication (as well as an Oxi pen to try to get the coffee stain off the new white shoes I spilled on), we’ve both returned to the room and are crashing so we can make the most of tomorrow’s adventure. We’re in Half Moon Cay in the Bahamas – very exciting!

Towel animal of the day: Maybe a Lobster? Or a scorpion? DW and I haven’t seen enough animals to ID it.

Rockstar of the Day: Room attendant Aly, who gave DW and I handfuls of chocolates when we came to the room mid-turndown.

Drink of the Day: Can’t find it on the sheet, but I heard margaritas

Gratitude of the Day: I am very thankful that the universe thought I should have a free cruise.


  1. I love your Gratitude of the Day Myranda!!

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