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It has been a busy few months at work.  Except for three months of silence on my blog while transitioning between work assignments, running and blogging were effective ways to unwind and refocus.  Running on my weekends helped to burn off negative energy that would build up through the week.  I abandoned my training schedule when the summer heat came along and turned my attention back to blogging.  At the end of my long day, blogging allowed me to leave behind the issues of my day.  I stepped into happy memories of quality time with family/friends and trying different restaurants and/or cuisines.

I was more than ready to take a vacation after what felt like eons of working.  I had a nice mix of mini-getaways and staycation time to spend with family and friends.  It was just a matter of reaching vacation time.  The week leading to my time off seemed to drag its heels.  I was literally counting down the days.  Eventually, Friday arrived and I was on vacation.

So what was my first vacation activity?  Well… sleep was definitely a high priority.  After that, I packed for my cruise.  Although the itinerary was only an overnight repositioning cruise from Seattle back to Vancouver, I was quite excited.  I was travelling with my downtown coworkers in celebration of someone’s retirement and was sharing a room with a good friend.

On Saturday morning we met up at the depot to catch the bus to Seattle.  Arriving mid-morning allowed us some time to wander around downtown on our own.  IMG_3717 IMG_3719

By early afternoon, we boarded the Golden Princess, had a quick bite at the buffet before attending the mandatory evacuation session and then set sail on our cruise.  My roommate and I were very fortunate. We were assigned a room with a balcony. Two coworkers happened to be assigned to the room next to us and they also had a balcony.  Lucky us!  Yay!

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room with a balcony...yay!

room with a balcony…yay!

The buffet was not a great experience for me – people were pushing from behind, others were butting into line, food was being replenished at a snail’s pace.  At one point, I thought the person behind me might redecorate the back of my shirt as the edge of her plate was pushed right into my back.

Yup… that’s all I ate…

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bye bye Seattle

bye-bye Seattle

As the ship set sail, we walked around the various decks to see what the cruise boat had to offer.

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When we reached the Plaza Deck, we stopped to enjoy an afternoon treat at the International Cafe.

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Tired from exploring the cruise ship, we went back to our rooms and were later joined by the rest of the group.  When the others suggested exploring the ship (again), I decided to stay in my room and relax on the deck.  It was a beautiful day and it would be a waste to not enjoy the bonus balcony.

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Soon enough, it was time for dinner.  Our group opted to go for a later seating in the dining room.  We had a group of 12 and were split over two tables.

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Here’s what showed up at our table:

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Trio of Cantaloupe, Honeydew and Watermelon

Trio of Cantaloupe, Honeydew and Watermelon

Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip with Baguette Chips

Warm Crab and Artichoke Dip with Baguette Chips

Shrimp Cocktail

Shrimp Cocktail

New England Clam Chowder

New England Clam Chowder

Deep Fried Sushi with Bacardi Wasabi Emulsion and Kimchi

Deep Fried Sushi with Bacardi Wasabi Emulsion and Kimchi

Seared Barramundi Filet with Pineapple-Papaya Salsa

Seared Barramundi Filet with Pineapple-Papaya Salsa

Cajun-Spiced Crawfish Crockpot

Cajun-Spiced Crawfish Crockpot

Cajun-Spiced Crawfish Crockpot (opened)

Cajun-Spiced Crawfish Crockpot (opened)

Slow-Braised Corn-Fed Prime Rib with Natural Rosemary Jus and Horseradish Cream

Slow-Braised Corn-Fed Prime Rib with Natural Rosemary Jus and Horseradish Cream

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Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

Peach and Blueberry Cobbler

Princess Love Boat Dream

Princess Love Boat Dream

French Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

French Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee

Traditional New York Cheesecake

Traditional New York Cheesecake

Not to worry, I did not order and eat all these items.  The photos are a collection of what showed up at our table.  The shrimp cocktail, warm crab and artichoke dip and the deep-fried sushi were shared with two other people.  I also ordered a clam chowder.  The deep-fried sushi was not good and the clam chowder was not that great.  The shrimp cocktail was standard.  The best item was the crab and artichoke dip.  It was fantastic!  My favourite food item of the entire cruise!

For my main dish, I ordered the barramundi filet.  Except for the fish that tasted okay, the rest of it was quite disappointing.  The bamboo shoots, green peas and potato hash underneath the fish was not appetizing and had a weird taste to it.  I tried a bite of my coworker’s prime rib and it tasted pretty good.  Although I wasn’t in a mood for beef, I think the prime rib meal as a whole would have been a better choice.

For dessert, I ordered a cobbler and a cheesecake.  The cobbler was okay.  I tasted more blueberry than peach.  The cheesecake itself tasted good but the strawberry sauce beside it seemed too runny.  I only tried a bit and finished my cheesecake with the whipping cream but not the sauce.  I tried a bite of my coworker’s chocolate mousse (Princess Love Boat Dream) and the creme brulee.  The chocolate mousse tasted good but one bite was adequate for me.  I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a full order.

Full from dinner, a group of us went for an evening stroll.  We walked around the outer deck and enjoyed the evening breeze.  When it became a little too cold and windy, we found a refreshment station to enjoy some hot water and tea.  Soon after, we called it a night and went back to our rooms.

Before bed,  I went outside to see the view from our deck.  In the distance, I could see lights from the shoreline.  Looking into the evening sky, I was amazed at how clear the skies were and the many stars.  It only took seconds to find the Big Dipper.  It is unfortunate that I have forgotten much of the astronomy and constellations that I learned in school.  There were so many stars!

I slept well that evening and woke up to catch these pictures as our ship was approaching its destination.

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After breakfast at the buffet and another quick visit to the room to collect up our overnight bags, we were back in Vancouver.  Home sweet home!

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