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Ports of Call

St. Thomas

U.S. Virgin Islands

We love St. Thomas.  The folks on this island are friendly and welcoming, and St. Thomas has some of the most beautiful views and beaches I’ve ever seen.  We consider St. Thomas a paradise, and Roger claims he’s working his way south to live in St. Thomas at least six months out of every year.  more »

Lobster Alive

Rum Punch Recipe

If you caught my blog yesterday, you’ll remember I said that the best Rum Punch we’ve ever had was served at Lobster Alive, a beach restaurant at Boatyard Beach in Barbados.  When we returned home, Roger tried and tried to duplicate the recipe, but it wasn’t ever just perfect.  So, on a return trip to Lobster Alive, the restaurant owner gave us his recipe.  Turns out Roger had everything perfect except two minor ingredients that are the  key to that perfect Rum Punch recipe.  more »

Category: Beaches, Cruise  Tags:  3 Comments

Dreaming of Beaches

Boatyard Beach, Barbados

I woke up this morning thinking about beaches.  Some of my favorite memories from our cruises are the relaxing days we’ve spent together on fabulous Caribbean beaches.  Roger is a sun lover, but I’m not, so he gets us two beach chairs and an umbrella at the beach, then he settles my chair in the shade of the umbrella, while he stretches out on his chair in the full sun.  We each take a few dips in the water, just to cool off, but other than that, we don’t spend any time in the water unless we’ve also booked some snorkeling, jet skis, or parasailing.  I love digging my toes into the cool wet sand.  I love hearing the waves lapping against the shore, the birds calling as they fly overhead, and the laughter of people nearby enjoying their vacations.  I’m happy with a lovely fruity beverage and a good book, relaxing in the shade, near my fabulous husband.  more »

Cruise Review

Carnival Conquest

January 31 – February 7, 2010

Please welcome my guest blogger, Robin Johnson, who reviews her recent cruise experience aboard the Carnival Conquest in true Arkansas style!  Here’s Robin …

 The Carnival Conquest was the second cruise for my husband, CJ, and I, but it was our first 7-night cruise. Our first cruise was just 4 nights, which wasn’t enough time to do everything that we wanted to do.  We decided to sail from Galveston, because it would be an easy drive from Arkansas, saving us the cost of flights.  With a group of 13 friends and family, we drove in four cars, sharing the cost of fuel to make it affordable for everyone.  more »

Polynesian Cultural Center

Polynesian Cultural Center

My DH Roger and me

My DH Roger and me

Our Marine son suggested we spend one of our days on Oahu over the holidays visiting the Polynesian Cultural Center.  We purchased tickets for the day with his military discount, which included a luau in the evening, and a live presentation, “Ha Breath of Life”, plus the opportunity to return for another day’s visit at no additional charge within three days of our original visit.   What an amazing place!  We didn’t realize that the Polynesian Cultural Center was created to provide work study opportunities for the students of the nearby Brigham Young University Hawaii, while allowing them to share their island heritage with the visitors. 

Great demonstrations, dances, songs and more for each different island group, including Fiji, Hawaii, Samoa, Tonga, Tahiti, and Aotearoa (New Zealand).  Each of these have a separate island village inside the Polynesian Cultural Center.  As we watched, listened, and participated, we got a taste of the differences between each cultural.  One of the things we learned was the Hawaiian hula is a slow smooth beautiful dance that tells a story, but American movies combined that with the fast hip-shaking dance from Tahiti, because that made the dances fit the rock ‘n roll movies better. 

Our kids, Rachel, 17 and Eric, 28

Our kids, Rachel, 17 and Eric, 28

We soon realized that a short day beginning at 3 in the afternoon wasn’t going to satisfy us, so we wrapped up our day to head to our luau already planning to return the next day.  So, here’s our tips to make the most of your day at the Polynesian Cultural Center: 

  • Arrive a little before Noon.  The villages begin their shows and demonstrations at Noon, so the early you arrive, the more you can get done. 
  • Pick up your guide at the Information desk just beyond the Ticket booth.  That guide will give you times for each activity, so you can kind of plan your day. 
  • Don’t miss the “Rainbows of Paradise” Canoe Pageant.  Each island group performs from a canoe that passes by you in the lagoon.  Arrive about 15 minutes or so before the scheduled time to get the best seated view.  This was fun!  (One of the young men guiding a canoe was on his first day at work, and the exuberant island dancers intentionally rocked the canoe so hard with their dance, that he ended up soaking wet in the lagoon.  Apparently first day of work initiation.) 
  • Figure out where your luau is before it’s time to go to your luau.  We had tickets for a luau, and we’d passed a sign for a luau, so that’s where we headed, waited in line, just to be told at the door that there are six different luaus in the center and ours was at a different location.  And, consider upgrading to Ambassador ticket for a little more luxury all day, but especially for your dinner luau. 

Our entire family enjoyed the Polynesian Cultural Center, and we recommend that you and your family visit there as well!  Here’s some of our favorite photos from the day: