Azamara Journey, here I come again

Good afternoon fair blog, it is Saturday 25 May 2019, Victoria BC, Canada.

I have neglected writing in this blog, mostly because this is a TRAVEL BLOG and quite frankly, I have not been traveling since August 2017 ……

I am leaving in the morning, 26 May 2019 on a Westjet flight to Barcelona, Spain. On 28 May 2019 I will be boarding Azamara Journey for a 14 night cruise. This will be my fifth cruise on this fabulous boutique ship, 684 guests and I hear it is completely full! I tried to get an upgrade but alas only the Owner Suite is available now! I have a balcony room booked and that will be amazing.

Ports of call will include Cadiz, Spain (Seville?), then two days and overnight in Lisbon, and an Azamazing Evening experience (my 4th!!) on to Porto Portugal …. and several stops in France. St. Malo, Cherbourg, Honfleur, and Rouen (overnight so we can spend time in Paris!), ending in Greenwich England and flying home from London Heathrow on 11 June 2019.

Small carry-on size suitcase is packed, I have made final decisions on shoes and other necessities for this cruise. This suitcase I purchased many years ago, it is an Italian brand and showing a bit of wear …. may have to purchase a new suitcase in Europe and bring it home! Carpisa is the brand, made in Italy, with a turtle logo.

Shoes in new IT black carry on bag with a strap on the back so it will hang on tight to my suitcase handle, carry my flats comfy shoes and computer, iPad and chargers etc. And trying out a new look for a purse, also has a strap on the back, and can hold iPad and computer ….. I think I am set.

I purchased a very small Microsoft computer that is lightweight so I can check on my work emails, if I need to on the trip. Knowing I have at least 4 trips planned for this year and portability is what I am looking for. “Surface Go. Performs like a laptop, travels like a tablet”. I will take both the Surface Go and ipad, am still an ipad lover so typing on my ipad right now. It has my photos on it also. With my phone on airplane mode and my “out-of-office” on, I am unplugging for the first time in 22 months!!! Woo hoo!

OK – going to do some last minute things, and see if I can remember how to post on the Blog!

Stay tuned my friends and family …… here we go again!!

Hugs, Pamela
“Your travelling agent”



Highlights of Cruise and stay, eastern North America

Highlights, East Coast Cruise 2017 September
The most significant highlight of this trip for me, was the travel companions. Travelling with my mom is so very special. I am so fortunate to have these opportunities to include her in my journey.
A reunion and two lovely weeks with a lifelong friend I met forty years ago, Rosemarie. She and I met in University and have stayed close all these years. She has supported me in every way every year since. What a delight to share time with her again.
Travelling with other great friends and new friends on this trip was also fantastic and made this trip a success. We dined and toured and shared laughs together. Hugs to all of you!  
Halifax is always a favourite stop for me. Shoe shopping at John David Shoes! Fantastic! Walking the boardwalk, enjoying the sights of eastern Canada and all its history. Eating gluten free pizza with a bevy (prosecco) with Lesley and my mom. Great time!
I love to travel when it is warm. Summer travel is great for this type of trip. New York City is a wonderful stop. I love the lights, skyline, excitement, anticipation, bridges, bright lights of Time Square, high buildings, Broadway theatre productions, great food, and busy-ness and this trip I got to spend some time in the amazing Central Park. A highlight! The greenery of the many varieties of trees, interesting bridges, vital energy, people enjoying this green space, the pedicab and stories …. sharing it with the people I love …. yup. Fabulous!  
Cruising with Oceania is always special, on board Insignia, 11 nights on board, balcony stateroom, specialty dining, ship board credits, room service, enrichment, exciting ports of call, fantastic food and wonderful service. I love the comfy beds, salt water pool, Canyon Ranch spa services and familiarity of the ship! Welcome Home! I think my 9th cruise with this company. This time, I hosted a nice size group … captains parties, wine package to share and new friends and so much more.  
We embarked in New York City and sailed out past the Statue of Liberty and under those magnificent bridges ….. on to Bar Harbor, Boston, Newport, Bermuda (again)for a few nights and days, Halifax and back to New York … great relaxing itinerary including lighthouses, beaches, swimming in the sea, hop on busses, walking cliffs, sunshine, walking and shopping. I really enjoyed the pace!  
It was a delightful trip and I am almost home.  
It has been a busy year of travel.  
Time to relax and enjoy my home town and family as well as friends in Victoria. Drop by if you get the chance, and keep in touch.
Ciao ciao for now!  

Day in NYC

Full day in NYC
I started the month, 1 September, in the city that never sleeps, New York. We met for complimentary breakfast in the lobby area to plan the day. We went to catch the hop on bus, Rosemarie, my mom and I. We did two complete tours and enjoyed the sunny scenery and great stories told by the commentators.  
Back to the hotel around five pm to prepare for our night out and Broadway production of Hello Dolly with Bette Midler at Schubert Theatre. David Hyde Pierce was also starring in this award winning stage production. We were high in the balcony and I managed an end row. It was amazing and so very different from Come From Away that we enjoyed the previous evening. Fantastic entertainment.  
Today we visit Central Park and get a few last minute purchases, perhaps the Empire State Building and maybe a matinee? Then we will be packed up to move to New Jersey location near the airport to fly home in the wee hours.  
As the trip draws close to an end, we continue to enjoy all that New York offers.  

Land again, New York City, day one

New York, New York. 
We arrived a little later than planned from the cruise ship yesterday due to crazy storm at sea for two nights … it slowed down the speed the ship could safely travel.  
Now on dry land and happy. Six of us shared a hired vehicle to our hotel Manhattan on Times Square. I have stayed here on previous trip to New York and it is centrally located and fun. We are on the 14 th floor with a view of the city streets and taller buildings that surround.
We spent the afternoon wandering after we lunched at Ellen’s Stardust Diner (where the wait staff sing and perform Broadway hits as we eat :). Then we checked out the gigantic three story M and M store with huge green m and m created into Statue of Liberty. Very cool. Onward to the Times Square ball drop site and some watching of people and feeling the city vibe. New York Yankee paraphernalia … and ticket booth, NYPD everywhere. 
We got tickets to see Come From Away on Broadway at Schubert theatre. We returned to our hotel, prepared for dinner, found fabulous gluten free pizza place near the theatre, Johns of Times Square, pizzeria. The inside is like a converted theatre with one large wall of black and white drawing of New York City from the air. It is beautiful and great huge brick oven, thin crust pizza …. yummm. In shifts we ate, then we enjoyed the show. We were all proud Canadians and entertained by this wonderful creation of artistic expression of a difficult time in North American history. Highly recommended.  
On the walk home to the hotel, we noticed how bright it was on the street. Lit up by the super large video screens stacked high and wide along the strip. The only way to know it is nighttime is to look straight up and see the black sky above. Hoards of people, streets are packed with locals and tourists alike. Fantastic really. 

Departing our last port of call, Bermuda

Sea day, depart Bermuda
Good morning. We have departed early from the port of St George’s in Bermuda as the prediction of a storm coming on our path. The sun is bright and the seas calm and beautiful colour as we depart the last port before New York.  
Last evening was a deck party with music and dancing after a lovely dining experience at Terrace Cafe.  
Today we have relaxing and enrichment planned. Learn about New York City, and enjoy the ship and pool area, and spend time with family and friends. As well, a few of us have been invited to model some fabulous jewelry at a fashion show this afternoon, so that will be so fun. Beautiful designs and a very good cause, Wild Jewels.

Bermuda, sailing 

Up early and sailing along coast of Bermuda from Hamilton to St George’s. The sight of the pastel coloured homes, white roofs, surrounded by dense greenery. It is unique and beautiful. 
This cruise has been special as I am travelling with family and friends, and visiting eastern North America ports. It feels different than Europe and other parts of the world where I have travelled.  
Relaxing with some sea days and not too focused on the excursions. We did take a tour around the South Island of Bermuda yesterday morning. We learned a lot about the island and its people. Many of the sights I had seen before, now the stories. The weather was on and off again rain with cloudy periods, although we did not get rained on when we were out of the vehicle … phew.
Today we are sailing this morning to another port of call on still Bermuda. No tours, we plan to wander and maybe find a beach for a swim. 
Not many days left on the cruise, tonight and then sea day tomorrow and overnight, ending in New York City. Six of us are staying on for some time in NYC before returning home on the long weekend.
It is peaceful and beautiful out today. Thanks for joining the blog and following along.

Bermuda Day 1

Bermuda, a contrast from what we expect.
There are famous beautiful pink sand beaches on the island of Bermuda. Sand never gets hot. Because limestone base. Water same temp as air. Bermudians don’t go to beach. We saw housing empty, locals prefer to live on the marina side of the island.  
The lower income levels in Bermuda make Up to $70,000 per year income, and their rent is subsidized 25%.
The next income level to $120,000 receive Govt housing mortgage. Upward of that for income purchase their own homes. Housing starts at 1.1 million for mortgage. 
Colour of the paint on the house matters. Yellow means party, welcome. Pink or purple, same sex marriage support, and white colonial with tea service at 4 pm. Green for environmental. Orange, combination oriental and colonialism. Although not always true, generally it is Understood. Blue are folks who are connected to the sea.
We stop to view the Beautiful fairmont golf course. And the famous Gibbs lighthouse. We see beaches, homes and a few residential areas.  
The income of the island is represented by 15% tourism. Rest is trademarks and re-insurance. 
After the tour we went walking. It is a Sunday and most everything is closed until tomorrow. Tomorrow we will dock at St George’s.  
Maybe some beach time ….