Saturday, January 2, 2010

Day 15 Caribbean Vacation Xmas 2009

This morning we woke up at 7.00am as the Celebrity Mercury was docking at the pier in the Port of Baltimore. In an hour or so we will disembark from the ship.

We went up to the Palm Springs Cafe for our final breakfast onboard. What did we have ?? Waffles with strawberries and whipped cream of course.

7937k Waffle Breakfast Celebrity Mercury

Our car is somewhere out there in the parking lot. No one is lounging in the deck chairs.

8287a Baltimore Pier8287c Celebrity Mercury Baltimore MD

We grabbed our carry on bags and headed down the gangway to the terminal where we were met by the Customs Agents and answered a couple of questions. It took a few minutes for me to find our large suitcases, but once found we were out of the terminal and into our car and heading home by 9:15am

The weather in NY and ON does not look too good tomorrow so I am going to do the drive home in one shot today. It is about 500 miles and that will take 10 to 12 hours to complete.

Driving through Pennsylvania was good, the roads were dry.

8308 View from US 15 N between Williamsport PA & NY State Line8316 View from US 15 N between Williamsport PA & NY State Line8319 View from US 15 N between Williamsport PA & NY State Line

Entering New York we started encountering light snow flurries.

8325 Welcome to New York8329 I 390 N through Snowy NY8334 Snow Plow on US 63 NY

There was a delay at the bridge crossing over the Niagara River onto Grand Island NY.

8339 Slow Traffic I 90 Grand Island NY

Also another delay at Canada Customs and as you can see, it is snowing harder.

8341 Slow Traffic at Canada Customs ON

By the time we got through customs, it was dark but we are now in Ontario.

8349 Welcome to Ontario

The snow let up again just north of St Catherines and the roads were fine all the way to Perkinsfield where we then found snow covered roads the last few miles to the house.

We arrived home at 9:15pm, 12 hours after leaving Baltimore.

We had a wonderful cruise, a relaxing vacation, and now we are starting to think about and make plans for where we will be travelling this coming summer.

I didn't take very many photos today, but if you wish to see the ones that I took, please click on this link to my FLICKR site.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Day 14 Caribbean Vacation Xmas 2009

Today is our final full day at sea. 7am tomorrow morning we should be docked in Baltimore and stepping off the ship. We will then begin our drive back to Ontario so that we can start back to work on Monday.

Today is a cloudy overcast, cold day. The outside temperature is about 50 degrees, warm by Canadian standards for this time of year, but cold when you have just spent the last week or so in a warm tropical climate.

Karen got brave and went outside on deck 6 to capture this photo of a passing container ship.

8284 Evergreen Container Ship Stitch

Things are winding down on the ship after last nights New Years Eve Celebrations… there are some last day sales in the shops, a few seminars, but nothing that interests us. Pretty much a relax and read type of day.

We were presented with a questionnaire about the cruise and asked to rate our experiences. I have had several complaints, which I have let the staff know about as I noticed things, and I also filled out the questionnaire with my comments.

Number one complaint, although not a biggie, is that there are no towel animals each night on our bed. On our Alaska Cruise, it was always something that we looked for as we opened our stateroom each evening after returning from dinner, to see what new towel animal was waiting for us. I was told by a ships crew member early on in the cruise that she would bring this to the attention of our room attendant, but we never saw a towel animal the whole cruise.

Number two complaint is the lack of labelling on the food indicating what it is and what the ingredients are. As one with severe food allergies, it is important for me to know what I am eating before I eat it. I had to shy away from a lot of the selections because there were no signs, and because when I inquired, no one really could give me a definitive answer as to what was in it. I even spoke to the Food Manager, I took him around to the different food selections and asked him what it was and what was in it. Guess what.. he didn’t know… or he was just guessing… and he is the food manager. If he doesn’t know, how am I or other passengers with allergies supposed to know. The Alaska Cruise, the food was well marked and described.

Number three complaint and frustration was with the internet access. I bought a $99.00 internet package the evening that we boarded. That package entitled me to 235 minutes of internet usage. If you use up your 235 minutes you can buy more minutes. There were 4 occasions when I had to go to the internet office to get a refund on our shipboard account, because the system was charging me and adding the charges to our shipboard account for internet use and not applying the use to the minutes that I had already purchased. One of the internet staff checked my laptop to make sure the settings were correct and she determined that indeed the settings were correct and even wrote me a note and signed it stating that she had checked my laptop and all was well, and that the problem was with the shipboard system. I don’t know how many times I heard after that, that some manager or some staff member tried to suggest that it was my laptop that was causing the problem and not their system. I am glad that I have the letter stating that my laptop is fine and that indeed the problem is with their system. I hate when people are so insistent that it is never their system or fault or problem and won’t take responsibility for their errors or faults within their systems. Anyways after a lot of time and effort, all the additional charges that were added, have been removed. I have not been online for the last 2 days because I have used up my 235 minutes and rather than buy an additional 60 minutes for the last 2 days of the cruise, I don’t want to have to go back down to that internet office and go through the whole process again of asking for refunds for something they should never be billing me for in the first place. There were no billing issues with the internet on the Alaska Cruise.

We had lunch in the Palm Springs Cafe.

We had dinner in the Palm Springs Cafe.

Tonight we are packing up our suitcases, they have to be outside our door by 11pm so that they can be off loaded tomorrow.

Nighty Night, see you tomorrow in Baltimore Maryland.