Valparaíso Chile, Colorful Coastal City

Leave a comment

DSC_0320-smMy recent visit to Valparaíso, aka “Jewel of the Pacific” provided me with many photo opportunities, from street art to stray dogs, from steep streets to broken down buildings. One image shows a multi story building with laundry hanging in the breeze and three cars parked on the rickety structure. Chile is one of the most Earthquake prone zones in the world. Ask anyone who lives here and they quickly start rattling off the most recent “BIG” quakes. At one time the city featured 26 ascensores (funiculars), but after the major quake in 2010 only 8 currently work. Also note, several sources, including Wikipedia don’t agree with how man Ascensores are in Valparaíso or how many are in working condition. Valparaiso is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of these unique ascensores.

Be sure to visit My Cruise Stories for more about Valparaíso

DSC_0333-smEverywhere you look, sidewalks, buildings, hillsides, streets and parking lots, Earthquake damage can be easily seen. In 1960 a shallow Earthquake caused a Tsunami that sent a wave 13 km inland. But people here are resilient, rolling with the quakes’ destruction, and building, if you can call it that, on steep hillsides. Upon close inspection of many side hill buildings, I would not dare to risk my life literally living on the edge. But these residents do and with a smile.


Carnival Cruise From Sydney Australia Aboard The Legend

Leave a comment

Snorkeling With Tarpon at Grand Cayman Island


Marine Park, Grand Cayman Island

Paradise Restaurant, Grand Cayman Island

My travel tastes include enjoying some interesting activities. Recently my wife and I spent 15 days cruising aboard the Carnival Splendor, with several port stops that included Grand Cayman Island. One of the coolest, free things to do include swimming with tarpon. The Paradise Restaurant, which sits at the edge of the water, also has a public marine park with steps from their outdoor area into the water. Five to six times daily, they feed the tarpon raw fish and chicken.

These daily feedings have “tamed” the tarpon to the point of the fish approaching any swimmer who enters their watery world. They are not aggressive at all, but do provide some great fun.

Grand Cayman Island

Port stops at Grand Cayman include “tendering” because of shallow waters.

Cruise ship visitors to Grand Cayman arrive by “port tenders” that carry 100 plus passengers from the ship’s offshore anchorage to one of the city’s docks. On the day of our arrival rough waters prevented the captain from anchoring in front of Georgetown. Instead, the ship went to Spotts Bay, on the other side of the island. Luckily Carnival and the city worked their magic and quickly put into place all of the necessary vans, taxis, excursion providers and even some beach vendors. Later in the morning, after we anchored at Spotts Bay two cruise ships with later arrival times than us were able to anchor in front of Georgetown, which provided the usual flood of people to enjoy Grand Cayman’s wealth of activities. Amazingly, few people know about the tarpon.

While in Georgetown Dawn, another hardcore cruiser aboard the Splendor told use about a unique place to buy “special” rum. Uhmm I wondered. What kind of place could she be talking about? After all, every cruise ship port plus the cruise ship itself has all kinds of rum.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABig Black Dick’s is the place Dawn lead us to, on main street, directly in front of the cruise ship tender docks. Upon entering the uniquely named establishment, someone offered samples of their unique rum — several flavors in fact. Not being a fan of alcohol, other than wine, I accepted the sample. After tasting the sample it became clear why the place was crowded — great tasting rum! In addition to the spirits, the store also offered several other items for travelers looking to bring home something they could not find anywhere else. I’m sure many of the items purchased here is a direct result of the branding and most likely became “gag” gifts.


Big Black Dick, Grand Cayman Island

Looking for a unique shop in Georgetown Grand Cayman? Try Big Black DIck’s

11 Fun Facts About Carnival Cruise Line’s Cruise Ship Liberty

Leave a comment

Cruise ships world wide have their own unique hidden personalities. While cruising for 14 days on an Eastern and Western Caribbean cruise aboard the Liberty I learned several fun facts that reveal this ship’s interesting statistics.
1. Cozumel Mexico is a port where some passengers literally miss the boat. When they say don’t be late that does mean “don’t be late.” Cozumel Mexico has several really fun and exciting bars that encourage lots of drinking. Some passengers drink a bit much or simply don’t pay attention to “ship’s time” and fail to catch the boat before it sails away into the sunset. Luckily though, passengers can take a ferry to the mainland and hire a car to take them south to Belize, the next cruise ship stop – at their own expense of course. When leaving the ship ALWAYS set your watch to ship’s time and make sure to return on time or the ship will leave without you.
2. It is harder to feed the crew of the Liberty than the passengers. During a seven day cruise the guest menu is different each day and then starts over for the next cruise. The crew’s menu however, lasts 29-day menu before starting over.
3. The Liberty crew comes from 60 nations with 27 nations represented in the dining room. With workers from 60 nations they all have their own preference of meal choices, the reason for a 29-day menu, which is an effort of the kitchen to provide cuisine to please everyone without boring them from repetition.
4. The kitchen has 140 chefs, most of which come from India. These chefs are highly trained and provide quality and consistency every single meal. The chefs cook the food and the waiters help plate the food. A picture hangs on the wall for each dish to insure accurate and precise plating for each dish served.
5. Chefs aboard the Liberty prepare over 15,000 meals daily.
6. According to the Maitre’ D approximately 250 people eat two dinners each day during the cruise.
7. On average during a week-long cruise aboard the Liberty, passengers consume 40,000 liters of hard alcohol, 3,502 bottles of wine, 1,402 bottles of champagne, 28,150 bottles/cans of beer, 24,500 cans of pop, 620 gallons of fruit juice, 1,000 pounds of coffee, 900 gallons of milk, 20,000 Danish pastries, 12,900 slices of white bread, 36,000 slices of bacon, 22,000 eggs, 6,200 pounds of flour, 1,100 pineapples, 1,003 melons, 2,500 apples, 4,320 bananas, 5,300 heads of lettuce, 6,700 pounds of potatoes, 3,000 pounds of tomatoes, 7,000 pizzas, 1,000 pounds of pasta, 900 pounds of salmon, 600 pounds of ham, 1,300 pounds of baby back ribs, 2,200 hot dogs, 4,800 hamburgers, 400 pounds of veal, 1,000 pounds of lobster tails, 15,000 pounds of shrimp, 2,500 steaks, 4,500 pounds of chicken, 2,200 pounds of prime rib.
8. A free sushi bar offers passengers a limited selection of sushi every day except during formal nights. At first glance the sushi bar looks like it would cost extra, which might explain why so few passengers have discovered and taken advantage of the sushi bar.
9. The crew’s favorite port in the Caribbean is St. Maarten. This quaint dual country port offers free Internet, some free “phone home” benefits and lots of fresh food to suit the tastes of many nationalities.
10. Saint Thomas and Cozumel are two favorite ports of call for cruisers aboard the Liberty.
11. Belize is the least favorite port of call, according to comment cards sent to guests via e-mail after their cruise.