Plans for Sea Days.

18 days out! 18 days. I cannot believe it! This trip is coming so quick. I'm excited but I am getting a little nervous about the whole thing. I know no trip can be perfect but being the OCD, perfectionist that I am I don't ever truly believe that. I just want the trip to go smooth. I think it will. I hope it will. I know the cruise will go great, but it's the Ireland/Spain part I'm nervous about. Actually just Ireland & now that I think about it, only one of the days in Ireland, the hoho bus day. Come to think of it. I have no reason to be worried. I think this is the sleep depravation talking. Disregard that whole beginning part. 

18 days! Wahoo! This trip is going to be smooth sailing! It's going to be trip full of unicorns and rainbows! How perfect! Okay, that's about as long as I can manage "chipper". On to the plans.

Plans for my 8 sea days.
8 sea days! 5 of which are back-to-back. Pure heaven. Sea days are my favorite part of a cruise. So relaxing. So in the way of plans, I don't really have many. My number one is to relax, next if the weather is good, there's nothing better than laying on a lounger in the sun with my new Kindle. (Yup, I ordered it! The new black, wifi/3g one. Starts shipping Sept 8... I leave the 13th. Holding my breath, but I have free 2 day shipping. Hopeful, but not expecting.)  I also love to eat while cruising. Nothing like my 5pm grilled cheese or PB&J snack from room service. I have late seating dinner (8:30pm) so that little snack is great to hold me over. I've been thinking about treating myself to a spa treatment this cruise. I'm going to be 25, I've been on 7 cruises & I have a spa 5 minutes from my house & I have NEVER even had a pinky toe inside a spa, let alone gotten a treatment. I'm just not that type of person. I have quite a problem with anxiety for new things & I think I'll be so nervous that I wont even relax & enjoy it. Plus, I get to a level 5 freak out just from people tailgating me while I'm walking in the mall. (Seriously! Public Service Announcement: If you are walking in the mall & you come up behind someone, either go AROUND THEM or SLOW DOWN. There is no unwritten rule that to shop in the mall you must walk within 6 inches of the person in front of you. Seriously. I am always so tempted to either "break check" them (stop suddenly) or join in their annoying conversation... & it wouldn't be friendly. Can you tell this is a hot topic of mine?? I double parenthesized! Is that even allowed???) So as you can see, a complete stranger rubbing my body for 3 seconds goes against everything I believe in. I can't imagine 30 minutes of it. So I may not be there yet. But who knows. After 4 days straight of sea days, I may be so relaxed, I may even like people. Okay, so maybe that's a little much. But maybe I'll be relaxed enough to tolerate 30 minutes of close proximity to a stranger. Guess we'll have to wait & see. See I was thinking since this trip is so long, I know my nails will be shot by the time I get on the ship. I was thinking to at least get a manicure at the spa, but there's my problem again. Unlike at home, the girls speak English in the spa, so I'll actually have to talk to them. Hmm. Would you say I need a vacation?? Let's see. I'm bringing a deck of cards & I have in my wishlist (waiting for my kindle) a book with 100s of different card games & how to play them. Also, the ship has ping pong, which I'm planning to destroy my dad in!! Also, a childhood favorite of mine, shuffleboard. Then there's the movies on my computer, the ones on the TV & the ones playing in the movie theater. On top of all that there's the stuff Disney will put on, galley (kitchen) tours, napkin folding, cooking demonstrations, talks from popular cast members, cake decorating, ice carving, tastings, character meet & greets, SHOPPING, hot tubbing, eating, shopping, hot tubbing, etc. So as you can see there's a lot. I'm also going to try and get a brunch reservation at Palo (adult only restaurant) once on board. It's super amazing & super popular, so I couldn't secure a resi before boarding, but with 8 sea days, I'm sure I'll be able to get one. If not, no biggie. Been there, done that. 

As far as other plans. So I finally received my second order (free of charge) of pirate t-shirts. STILL WRONG! Ugh. One t-shirt was right, but the other two were still wrong, so they're sending them out again. I've got quite the collection of pirate t-shirts. They'll be going on e-bay. I'm gong to profit by this headache, so it's not all bad. What else? Like I said, I ordered the kindle. I've already found a bunch of books that are waiting in my wish list. I started to pack up my jewelry. That's been quite a job. I'm not the type who picks out an outfit & knows what jewelry I want to wear with it. See these things take time & it depends on if my hair is up or down, etc. So I'm bringing a ton of jewelry. In my carryon of course. Those dumb TSA people. This last trip to Florida was the first time i ever experience theft via TSA. Can you guess what they stole?? My universal charger, but not the cord. Expected, but guess what else. Rocky's 2 used, squeaky toys! Who steals dog toys?! They were in the bottom too so it's not like they fell out. They rummaged for & stole dog toys, USED dog toys. What is this world coming to?? Poor Rocky. One was her favorite squirrel squeaky toy. We have a squirrel that torments poor Rocky. I should get it on video 'cause it's quite amazing, but mean. That stupid squirrel teases her just outside the window that she sits & looks out. It runs up to the window, gets her barking, then runs further away, then runs back up to it. Then it will just sit there & stare at Rocky while Rocky is going insane. It's quite mean, but also hysterical. So I went & bought her a squirrel squeaky toy to take out her aggression on. Gone. Dumb TSA. They should have to pay my Vet bills for the emotional stress this is going to cause my poor Rocky. I dogress. I also booked the last of my excursions. Oh, I also found out that for whatever reason, Aer Lingus is not charging us for our 1st bags, so now it looks like we're going to bring a third, garment bag suitcase. It will only cost us $25. Originally, we were going to have to pay for our first bags & then even more for additional ones, but they're not charging us. Fine by me. I have basically all of my shopping done, except for some clothing. Technically, I have enough clothes to go, but where's the fun in that?? I still have to make my dad a little cheat sheet with his room number on it. Your room key obviously doesn't have your room number on it, as that would be quite interesting if you happened to loose your room key. So on our last cruise we sent my dad up to drop some shopping bags off in his stateroom & an hour later, he's back... still carrying the shopping bags. He forgot his room number AND deck number & was walking all the decks looking for his room. I had decorated his door, so I guess he was hoping to recognize the door decorations as he walked by. He never found it. So I'll be making him a little cheat sheet with his room number on it. He's cute. I've made copies of our passports & will have one in each of our bags. I'm going to order a few more euros. I don't want to have to bother looking for an atm & then worry about a skimmer being on it, etc. So I'll pay a little more here, but it's convenient & I'm a stereotypical, lazy American. I think that's it for now. I'll be back soon... if I don't have a nervous breakdown from work first.


Plans for Day 5 & 6.

What a week this has been, specifically Wednesday night! You're talking to a TV star who rubs shoulders with the Jonas Brothers & the rest of the cast of Camp Rock 2. I bet you didn't realize you were reading such a prominent person's blog. I should start charging admission for reading privileges. Okay, so maybe I'm going overboard just a tad... a little over exaggerating never hurt anyone. Too bad I'm exaggerating A LOT. I'll just explain. On Wednesday evening I managed to get two tickets to South Pacific on Broadway. I am a huge broadway fan. I've seen 21 shows, plus five of those I've seen 2-3 times each. I love Broadway & specifically South Pacific. It's one of my absolute favorites. So anyway, South Pacific is closing on Sunday. When this announcement came out I immediately went to buy tickets to see it one last time. I also wanted to be sure I saw Paulo Szot. (oh heavens!) There's always a possibility that you could go on his night off or if he gets sick, etc. and miss seeing him. So I e-mailed the box office to see when his scheduled day off was. (I'm not seeing this show one last time with any understudies) So I heard back that it's Tuesdays. Great. Then I hear that pbs will be airing South Pacific Live from the Lincoln Center. I knew on such a rare night as that there would be no way any understudies would be used. I mean we're talking live tv. I was lucky enough to manage to get front row mezz for the live broadcast which was Wednesday night. If you'd like to see it, they are re-airing it. In my area you can see it again on Sunday at 12:30pm, I think. The show was great as always & now I have it on dvd, since I recorded it on my Tivo which is on my wireless system, therefore on my computer. So exciting! So I was on tv! No, you never technically see me, but it's my blog so I can spin it however I like, sooooo... I'm a tv star!  It doesn't end there though. It just so happens that the movie Camp Rock 2 (I have no idea, apparently it's Disney. Some fan I am.) was having their premiere at Juilliard which is at Lincoln Center, where South Pacific also plays. So as my mom & I are walking up to the theater we hear all kinds of screaming. We assumed it was stars for tonight's live broadcast. Nope. We took a couple more steps & there was the Jonas Brothers standing 30 feet from us. We had a perfect unobstructed view of them and the rest of the cast (I had no idea who they were. I feel so old) as they each walked the red carpet. Now, I am in no way a Jonas Brothers fan, but after that night of luck, I felt like I should leave straight from there to play the lottery. Who just happens upon a red carpet with a great view, on a night where you were able to get tickets to a show that should of been impossible to get, let alone the seats we got?!?! Wednesday was my night, to say the least. Okay, so enough bragging. On to the plans.

Day 5 & 6. Sept 17 & 18.
Day 5 is gonna be an early one, to say the least. I'll be starting my day at around 2:40... AM! Today is the day we fly from Dublin to Barcelona. We are flying Aer Lingus & there was only 2 options for a flight, first thing in the morning or late in the evening. Obviously we would go with first thing in the morning. Too bad I forgot to figure in that I'd have to be at the airport 2 hours early since, we're still flying international. Oops! So our flight leaves Dublin at 6:40am and we arrive in Barcelona at 10:10am. The flight is only 2.5 hours but Barcelona is an hour ahead of Dublin. I am pretty sure we'll sleep on the plane. Once we land I have a private tour picking us up. Originally I was just going to get us a cab to the hotel, check-in & then take the hoho bus to sightsee for the day. Then as I got thinking about it. With the fact that we're gonna be slightly tired, it's a Spanish speaking country & we really only have one day in Barcelona for sightseeing I got us a private tour. It's perfect. The tour will pick us up at the airport at baggage claim, so they'll help us navigate the airport and our luggage. Then we'll be whisked away on a 4 hour guided tour of the best of Barcelona. They will keep our luggage in the car the entire time so we won't have to waist time stopping at the hotel. Once the tour is over they'll be dropping us off at our hotel at around 3pm. We'll check-in, take a nap and then that night I planned a special dinner for us. We'll be going to a Flamenco dinner & show. I had planned for us to go to a show that was about 30 minutes from our hotel & it a much more extravagant experience, complete with an old spanish village, but I just felt like after an already long day, I didn't want to have to deal with cabs, etc. So I found the second best one in Barcelona, which happens to be only a few blocks from out hotel. Score! This company actually travels the world and has actually been here in Madison Square Garden, so I'd say we're definitely gonna get a treat. The dinner starts at 7pm and then show show is right after that, so we'll have time before to stroll Las Ramblas, one of the most popular areas (street) in Barcelona. After the show, we'll walk back to our hotel and get to bed already! The next morning we'll be getting up and taking a taxi straight to the port to board the Magic!! Which is exactly 4 weeks from today. Just a little excited. The port opens at 10am, so we'll be there around that time. We don't board until around 12pm (every cruise says boarding begins around 1pm & they all start at around 12pm!) but there is so much excitement we always get to the port at opening. We'll check-in, the characters will come out for pics & then next thing you know, we're boarding!! Once on board, we'll head straight to the buffet that has outdoor seating (if the weather permits) and we'll have a nice relaxed lunch overlooking Barcelona to start our 14 day cruise across the Atlantic! Florida here we come! The only other plans we have for that day is to start our cruise with a bang. The Disney ships have an adult only, Italian restaurant on the top deck of the ship with panoramic views. We decided that we wanted to start our cruise eating there. Plus, we always hate not eating in main dining, 'cause we feel like we're missing something if we're not there. The first night's dinner is always never anything to write home about & it's always chaotic. So the first night is perfect to head to Palo. The dress code for Palo is a little dressy, so back at the hotel in Barcelona we'll iron our semiformal wear & then pack it in our carry-ons that have a garment bag built in. Luggage could possibly not make it to your stateroom until 6:30pm , which is our reservation time, so we'll be sure we have it in time by carrying it with us that day. After our amazing dinner I'm a little torn. I want to go to the theater to see the show, which is always a bunch of short acts by all the entertainers you'll see on the cruise. Kinda like live coming attractions. I really want to see it so I'll know if the comedian, etc, is worth seeing, but it will be right around sail away, which I really want to see! I'll probably skip the show, since they air it again on the stateroom tvs, but knowing me, I'll never watch it. Hey, if that is my biggest problem of the day, I'd say I'm pretty lucky. I mean it could be worse. I could be home, reading a stranger's travel blog, bored to tears. Love you guys! So that's it for day 5 & 6. I'm getting so excited! 

Pics of some Barcelona sites & a small taste of the Flamenco show we'll be seeing. I know, it's been a while since I shared a video... so I'm gonna share two! The second one is from on board the Magic when it arrived in Barcelona back in April. Disney put on a fireworks production for the people of Barcelona to announce the arrival of the Disney Magic. I'm sure the guest onboard believed it was for them, but let's say it together... ADVERTISING. Disney does everything 100000000000000%. Can you think of any other cruise line that does a fireworks show just for the arrival of a ship. Seriously. Enjoy!



Plans for Day 3 & 4.

I'm back... but here's a warning for yah, I am overwhelmed & exhausted. Work has been insane. I have a major deadline coming up the week before we leave for the trip. I have been working 5-6, 12+ hour days a week, on my feet & my brain feels like mush. So I'm hoping this post ends up even making sense. 26 days! I can't believe it. It's coming quick but I'm feeling good about the trip, it's just work that's freakin' me out. Yesterday I received our cruise documents. Very exciting. All that really means is that our trip is close & I have my luggage tags. Really not that exciting at all. But when you've been planning a trip for almost two years & you receive this package it's like Christmas morning... or for my Jewish readers, like Hanukkah. I'm not Jewish so I don't know, but I can't imagine a person could be that excited for all 8 nights. I would think it would start to die out a bit after maybe night 3? Especially if the "gift of the holiday" is a dreidel... and that song. Okay, so maybe not the best metaphor but work with me, I'm trying to be all things to all people. I digress. Since my last post I haven't bought much of anything. I figured out that I do not need a converter at all, since the only thing that would need it is my blow dryer, however, I have a travel one from Walmart that has a switch right on it to convert, so I'm good. My parents are going to need one, since my mother is a coffee addict & she doesn't travel anywhere without her travel coffee pot. Yes, she's even brought it on all 9 of her cruises & has never had a problem. So they'll definitely need one & I still have to see about my father's CPap machine for sleep apnea. We have other odds & ends to finish up but really, there's not much. THANK GOD!

Day 3 & 4. Sept 15 & 16
Our second day in Ireland (3rd day of the trip) we'll head to our tour meeting spot for the day. This is a full day tour taking us to some of the popular places in Ireland, Wicklow Mountains, Wicklow Gap, Powerscourt, Glendalough, Blessington Lake & the filming locations of movies like Braveheart & P.S. - I Love You, among others. The tour leaves at 10am & we get back about 6pm, so it's a pretty full day, to say the least. Once we get back, we'll be having dinner at a restaurant about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. After dinner I'm pretty sure, we'll crash at the hotel. On our last day in Ireland we'll be getting up early for a big, traditional breakfast at a restaurant about a three minute walk from our hotel. They have an "award winning full Irish Breakfast", which to be honest has me a little scared. Bacon, eggs, sausage, mushrooms, hash browns, (we're doing good) beans (oookay), toast and black & white pudding, which isn't pudding at all, it's sausage (uh, oh!)."  Looking forward to that. Then we'll be seeing Dublin via the hop-on-hop-off (HOHO) bus. But after breakfast, we'll be heading by taxi straight to Kilmainham Gaol (jail) to get the first tour of the morning, as this is a very popular place & I want to be sure we see it. It was Dublin's jail from 1796-1924. After our tour of the jail we'll pick up the bus & see as much of the rest of Dublin as we can. This was a very hard trip for me to plan, 'cause there is SO MUCH to see in Dublin alone, let alone the rest of Ireland. I'm definitely going to have to go back some day. On this day we'll be trying to see Saint Patrick's Cathedral, Christ Church, Dublin Castle & Trinity College. Trinity College also houses the Book of Kells (4 gospels of the New Testament written in the 6th-9th centuries) which is what everyone says you have to see when in Dublin, but I just don't think they'll be any time. Plus, I've been to Israel. I've seen the Dead Sea Scrolls, the tomb they believe Jesus was buried in, among many other things. I just can't see spending 45 min+ to see this when there is just so much to see in one day. So we'll probably just end up walking around Trinity College. After that whirlwind of a a sightseeing day, we'll head to Temple Bar for a traditional Irish Dinner to end our wonderful time in Ireland, but we'll be back! After dinner we'll do some shopping though, 'cause a girl's gotta shop & in Ireland Thursdays most shops stay open until 9pm. And it just so happens that our restaurant is close to the most popular street for shopping. Some planning, huh? My poor dad. 

Well, that's it for Ireland plans. It's so exciting! I can't wait! Below are some pics of some of the sites we'll be seeing as well as the breakfast with the "pudding". Um, in America our pudding usually comes in chocolate or vanilla flavoring. If you're adventurous you go for the rice or even tapioca. Just sayin'. 

Powerscourt, Glendalough & breakfast. Not too many pics... gotta keep the anticipation. (click to enlarge)

Plans for Day 1 & 2.

It's been forever! I thought in the last week I'd have the time for at least 3 posts if not more. I spent all last week in Florida with my extended family & it was go, go, go. I was so happy I got to see everyone & spend time with my favorite uncle. My mom's two brothers fight over which of the two of them is my favorite uncle & they actually refer to themselves as the "favorite uncle" when talking to me or on facebook. Funny thing is my favorite uncle is not even blood related! If you think this whole thing seems childish, it is. They're Italian men, they need to be coddled. In all seriousness though, my "favorite" uncle is my dad's best friend who married my mom's sister. He's been fighting cancer for the last 15 months so I went to spend the week with him & some of my other family. So there. That's my favorite uncle. Now hopefully my other two uncles don't read this, 'cause I'm never gonna hear the end of it. I also came home to my Grandmother who was visiting, so it was nice to see her. She is 88 years old & is wrinkle free, says Grandma. She is the typical tiny, Italian lady. We had the time to bring her to her town where she lived for 45+ years, Cold Spring, NY. We even got to take her into her old house. This house she lived in for 42 years! It was also special for my mom as my Grandparents bought the house the month before my mom was born & her last night in that house was the night before her wedding. I even have memories of that house! It was so special. The woman living in it is the same one who bought it from my Grandma in 1991 & luckily she is into preserving it's history. She hasn't even changed the light fixtures! The house was built in 1830. The only thing she did do was take down a wall to open up the living room & in doing that she left the original wood support beams exposed. It was amazing! I was so happy that she invited us in! We were just going to take a picture of the outside but she insisted that we come in.  So that was the end to my week with family. It was a busy week but I loved it! Now onto what we're all here for, my plans for Day 1 & 2.

Day 1 & 2: Sept 13 & 14

On September 13 we will be leaving for Dublin at 10:40pm. We'll be flying out of JFK on an Air France (delta) flight. Our seats are in coach but they have a power outlet which makes my day. I have bought a bunch of movies that included a free digital copy so I have uploaded them to my laptop. I doubt I'll need them for our flight but it's nice to know that I'll have them & a power outlet if need be. This flight is only around 7 hours if I remember right, which is nothing compared to my four other 12+ hour flights. They have the tvs on the seat in front of you just like most of the international flights. So the flight should be pretty uneventful, with no sudden stops, to quote my favorite uncle. I'm planning to pack a change of clothes, makeup, etc. in my carryon. We land at 10:15am in Dublin. I'm planning on an hour to get through customs, even though from everything I've read you just walk right through. I'm planning on an hour taxi ride to our hotel. Dublin sounds very much like Boston, a walkable city with lots of traffic issues. We should arrive at our hotel, hopefully around 12pm. I'm pretty sure our room won't be ready so we'll have them store our luggage & use the bathroom in the lobby to change & freshen up. For lunch we'll be headed to Ireland's own fastfood place that's kinda like a McDonalds & KFC combined. It's called Supermacs and it's 100% Irish. It's only about a 5 minute walk from our hotel. Our hotel is on "the main drag" of Dublin, O'Connell Street, so everything is a short walk away.  So if my times are correct, we should have 2 hours once we arrive at our hotel to change, eat & then make it to our first tour pickup spot, which is across the street from our hotel. Yes, we are going on a tour our first day & no I'm not crazy. The worst thing to do when dealing with jetlag is to arrive & take a nap. The best way to get rid of jetlag is that first day, force yourself to stay awake until a reasonable time to go to bed. If you can get yourself to stay awake that first day, it's smooth sailing (er...sleeping?) from then on. So after we freshen up & have something to eat, depending on time, we head to our tour or have a little time to stroll up & down O'Connell Street & then head to our tour. Our tour starts at 2pm & is a three hours tour, but it's not on a boat, so it should stay a three hour tour. On this tour we will see our first castle, Malahide Castle. It looks gorgeous & I can't wait. We'll also see some other places but the castle is the highlight of the day. So our tour should be getting back at around 5pm. After our tour we'll head to dinner at, ready for this, a chinese buffet! So Ireland is not really known for it's food so I wanted to mix it up. In the following two days we'll have a traditional Irish breakfast & dinner, but I like to compare. My family are huge chinese food fans. We try a chinese restaurant everywhere we go, as it's never the same as at home. So that day we'll have had Ireland's version of fast food and chinese buffet. After dinner I can guarantee we'll be in bed, asleep almost immediately. So that's it for day 1 & 2. That's the plan, can't wait to see how much of it goes according to plan.

As for shopping. I ordered our pirate shirts & they arrived all wrong. So I e-mailed cafepress & they were great. They're letting me keep the wrong ones & sending replacements. I was trying to keep the fact that I ordered my parents shirts as well a secret, but when they came, I was tired from traveling & frustrated when they arrived so in my weakness I showed my mom. We'll still surprise my dad though. I also found a new shoe organizer that will make a perfect organized for in my cabin. It's a smaller version, only has 12 pockets & has a hanger hook on top rather than the three metal hooks so it is MUCH lighter. For those who have no idea what I'm talking about, people bring those over-the-door shoe organizers with the clear pockets to hang on the bathroom door to organize little items, like sunglasses, sunscreen, room keys, etc. It works great & you hang it on the "front" of the bathroom door, so it's actually hanging in the "bedroom", not the bathroom, & it's right by the front door. Very convenient! Also, on the most exciting news... I got my room assigned! No free upgrade for me, but I don't mind at all. I love the room they gave me. It holds 4, but it's just for little old me. It's midship & only about 8 doors down from my parents. The best part is it is right by the midship elevators! I'm on the end with only a room to one side & the midship stairs to the other. It's a very popular room apparently, so I'm excited! I also bought a ton of clothes. My favorite store, NY&Co sent me a 50% off your entire order coupon & it is in addition to all the sale prices. So after all my discounts I got $900 worth of clothes for $350! I also found an amazing deal on memory cards & ordered two more. So I now have three 8gb, class 10 memory cards for taking plenty of pics & video. I still need to look into if I even need a electrical converter. Most of my items are chargers & they all convert on their own. My travel blow dryer also has a switch for dual voltage, so I still have to look into that & see if I really even need one. I have already purchased those awesome adapters I talked about earlier. I also found a real cool travel sized power strip on amazon. As you can see, I've caught the shopping bug. Well, that's it for now. Gotta head to work.

Pics of Malahide Castle, parent's pirate shirts, shoe organizer (it's the smaller one) & power strip... & my shirt too.