Alaska From The Ocean



A shot I took with my iPhone in July of 2013 as we cruised past on a Celebrity cruise liner.  A different look of the mountains from what we are used to as we see them from the Alberta side daily.  Very stark contrast as they rise out of the ocean as compared to the foothills and prairie on our side.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Nothing fresher than a glacier in Alaska. The prompt this week is Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh.  The definition provided is “the definition for fresh has a bit of a fork in it – it’s a state (new, recent, previously unknown) and it’s a taste or sensation (cool, sweet, invigorating, refreshing). Fresh is definitely this cantaloupe (“melone”) granita I enjoyed recently here in Italy. It cooled me down immensely (and it didn’t hurt that it was delicious, too!) “.  Doesn’t fit, BUT, I have an out.

“In a new post specifically for this challenge, share a photo which means FRESH to you”

This fits very well.  Fresh can me refreshingly cool.  Taken as a panorama shot on my iPhone.

Hubbard Glacier, alaska
Hubbard Glacier, Alaska

Weekly Photo Challenge: Fresh

Trip Summary – New Orleans and Western Caribbean

Safely back in Calgary it is time to summarize, review, price and recommend.  First the beginning, the flight from Calgary to New Orleans.

Continental Airlines

We flew via Continental Airlines, with a connecting flight in Houston in both directions.  We chose Continental for a couple of main reasons.  First, they had the flights that fit our need, second, they are connected with Air Canada, which allowed us to earn Aeroplan.  Total cost for flights was approximately 650 each, return including luggage fees.  The flights were on time (early on the return to Calgary).  I had two issues.  On the way down they ran out of hot food for purchase, which was a downer on a flight that I had to at the airport for at % in the morning.  Second, in-flight entertainment did not have a free option, only pay.  Overall, I would easily fly with them again, especially knowing what to expect.

There is an app for Iphone as well.

New Orleans

Lots to see and do in New Orleans.  we spent 3 night at Garlands Guest House and Creole Cottages.

1129 Rue St. Philip
New Orleans LA 70116
(504) 523-1372
(800) 523-1060

This is a bed and breakfast about 100 feet off of Rampart Ave, right beside Louis Armstrong Park.  We paid about 150 per night and the accommodations and breakfast were very good.  I would rate it 4 of 5.  I would double-check the rates etc. as the place had been sold, with new owner operators taking over on April 1.  We were there on the 27th of March for our last night.

We ate at the following establishments


Great little restaurant. Easy 4 out of 5.  Reasonably priced and bring your own booze.

900 Dumaine Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116

504 522 7222

tuesday – friday: 11am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
saturday: 9am – 2pm + 5:30pm – 10pm
sunday brunch: 9am – 2pm
closed monday

Muriels Jackson Square Restaurant

801 Chartres Street
New Orleans, Louisiana 70116
Phone: 504.568.1885
Fax: 504.568.9795

we highly recommend this place.  The service was great, the food reasonably priced and very well prepared.  If in New Orleans, you have to go here for at least one meal.  At least 4.5 of 5 stars.

Riverfront Restaurant

Average place, a little pricey for the quality, but a nice place to sit if you can get balcony seating.  Pleasant staff.

River’s Edge Restaurant


Other Places

We popped in and out of several other places, but these stand out.  Bourbon Street is full of bars and music, we enjoyed the House of Blues, with Rafael Saadiq and the Funky Pirate with Mark Penton and the Pentones.  I look forward to maybe getting back here again some day.

The Cruise

We cruised on the NCL Spirit (Norwegian Cruise Lines).  This particular cruise line does free style cruising, meaning that there were no set dinner times and tables and dress was casual.  The service was what you would expect, top-notch.  If we had any issues, it was with the entertainment.  Very low quality and we did not enjoy it.  We tended to ignore it.  Other than that, there were lots of activities on board to keep us occupied.  I can easily recommend this cruise company.  Overall cost was about 1200 per person after  excursions and extras, and we didn’t feel ripped off at all.

The Excursions

Costa Maya, Mexico

Boat Blast and Snorkel.  This was entertaining, driving a 2 seater out into the ocean to a portable dock and then snorkelling the Belize Reef.  This was a good excursion as it was not to strenuous and involved a 40 minute bus ride, which gave us a view of the area.  I would recommend this as suitable for most as you do have to snorkel and there is a beautiful beach to spend some time relaxing on.


A 37-mile drive along the Western Highway brings you to the Caves Branch River and its winding path, through the Maya Mountains and numerous ancient caves once inhabited by the Maya. Upon arrival at Caves Branch National Park, you head out for the caves with your equipment.  This excursion was the most interesting part of our trip.  The drive was good as again we had the opportunity to see the countryside and a bit of Belize City as well.  Suitable for all, you can get wet, so protect your camera.

Roatan Island, Honduras

Tabyana Beach & Gumbalimba Park was the excursion we picked.  A great day, suitable for all,  The park was fun, with parrots and monkeys o interact with and many picture opportunities.  the Pirate cave was a bit lame.  Tabyana Beach beach is spectacular.  The nicest spot on the whole cruise was Roatan, and we will be back for sure.


Cozumel by Jeep and Snorkel was the tour we chose.  Awesome tour guides.  I would say that this was the fullest day we had.  We drove to Punta Sur Eco Park, Cozumel’s unique Ecological Reserve.  We saw salt water crocodiles close up, a lighthouse, Mayan ruins and a spectacular Corona commercial beach with awesome snorkelling.  The snorkelling was strenuous but the rest of the tour was suitable for all, and if you didn’t snorkel, the beach was there.

The link for all NCL excursions is here’

And that was our trip.  We enjoyed the company, and we enjoyed the cruise.  I was skeptical, but would do one again.

Cruising to New Orleans March 26, 2011 – Sea Day

We awoke to our last day on the Spirit.  We were all pretty tired after our hectic schedule of the past week and took advantage of the sea day.  We had nothing planned other than a wine tasting in the early afternoon.  It was time to spend some time with our friends and look back on the trip.  We still have a day in New Orleans and we needed to plan that out as well.

In retrospect, I got more out of the cruise than I expected.  The giant expensive taxi was a good platform to get to many places with the least amount of hassle, but, and this is a big but in my books, I did not like having to pile so much in to so little time.  Having said that, it was good to figure out where I would go back to and spend more time.  Of the destinations, Roatan was by far the best, and will be back there some day.  Cozumel was good as well, but would I go back, probably not as a destination, but would be good as a stopping point.  Belize and Costa Maya, off the list, been there, done that.

Continue reading “Cruising to New Orleans March 26, 2011 – Sea Day”

NCL Spirit – Towel Art

One of the cool things about cruising is the towel art that the stewards create and place in your room after they are done cleaning.  the service and attitude of the staff on this ship was top of the line.  They looked after our every need and, incredibly, most remembered our names.

Cruising From New Orleans March 21, 2011 – At Sea (Definitely)

I had great plans for this post, but I now know the anguish of both censorship and editorial power.  I have been shut down on what may have been the next viral hits on the net. It is unfortunate, but you got to do what you are forced to do.  Maybe I will get drunk one night and post it anyway (after Lori passes out of course)

Let us see what I can make of this with my material decimated.  We got up, we ate, we got drunk, we ate, we got drunker, we ate, we saw a show, we went to bed.  No, that is not very good.  Let’s try again.

Another beautiful morning on the NCL Spirit. (Norwegian Cruise Line)  We are definitely at sea now, surrounded by the beautiful waters of the Gulf of Mexico, steaming towards our first stop, Costa Maya.  But first a full day at sea to kill.  Let’s see, first step, wake up, then shower then breakfast.  Pub crawl starts at 1 or so, leaving us lots of time for shopping and exploring.  Checked out the shops, got off cheap.  Then the pub crawl.  Since I am not allowed to publish the videos, I will only show the before part.  It was crazy.

Continue reading “Cruising From New Orleans March 21, 2011 – At Sea (Definitely)”

Cruising – Happy Birthday Cheryl

As a birthday present to my sister-in-law Cheryl, I will not be posting my planned summary of the events of Day 2 at sea, the Pub Crawl today.  Regular programming will continue tomorrow, unless that $100 makes it here, in which case I would have to deprive the world of this post.

Happy Birthday Cheryl

Cruising From New Orleans March 20, 2011 – At Sea (Kind of)

I am thinking I should have named this what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but this ain’t Vegas.  We are cruising into international waters on the NCL Spirit.  We departed at 5:00, but first we had to meet up with Gord and Cheryl, who arrived in New Orleans at midnight on the 19th.  We had our breakfast, made contact and headed off for our ship.  Arrived at about 11, were processed by noon and on board by 1.  The day ended in Y so it was time for a drink.  We found the pool, and made friends very quickly with one of the servers and proceeded to explore the beer menu.  It was extensive.  One bucket of Red Stripe (buy 5, get 1 free) later, Gord came up with a suggestion.  There is a pub crawl tomorrow, let’s do that.  (I’m thinkin’ Gord likes drinkin’).  After 6 beer,  that  sounded great, sign me up.  As all things do, the day was moving on and it appeared that it was time to find our staterooms and get ready for dinner.

Continue reading “Cruising From New Orleans March 20, 2011 – At Sea (Kind of)”

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