Wednesday, December 13, 2017

2017  Nov. 28 - Dec. 12:  11 night HAL Koningsdam sunfarer cruise (St. Kitt's, St. Lucia, Barbados, Martinique, Antigua, St. Thomas, Half Moon Cay) and 3 night S. Florida stay:


When Southwest offered some insane airfares to FLL from ATL for $37@ way, I decided it was time for another trip!  So I chose Nov. 28 - Dec. 10----the week after Thanksgiving until a couple weeks before Christmas.  Now all I had to do was find accommodations and wait for Nov. 28th.  We were able to find a good deal for an 11 night Caribbean cruise of Holland America's newest ship, the Koningsdam, for $899@.  We were on her last year and really liked it.  But we still needed a night before the cruise and 2 nights after the cruise.  Having a bunch of Wyndham points, I was able to book the Wyndham Palm Aire.  I was even able to get the 4 bedroom penthouse for half the points of a 2 bedroom unit with our VIP status for the night before our cruise.

But before Nov. 28th came around, a little storm called Irma decided to pay a visit to the whole state of Florida and even up to us in Atlanta!   2 weeks before the trip, we got an email from Wyndham saying they were cancelling our pre cruise reservation---and might still cancel our post cruise 2 night reservation.  Dang!!!!  I did call them closer to our trip and confirmed that they were not going to cancel our 2 bedroom unit for the 2 nights after the cruise.  Yea!!!

I had thought about cancelling our trip, but since it was past the cancellation period for the cruise, we decided to go anyway.  We'd stay in a Ramada Inn and pay $85 for the pre cruise night.

11-28 :  Travel day

The Koningsdam:  VA 8065 and around the ship

11-29 :  Koningsdam 11 night Embarkation day 

11-30 :  Sea day

12-1   :  Sea day

12-2   :  St. Kitt's

12-3   :  St. Lucia

12-4   :  Barbados

12-5   :  Martinique

12-6   :  Antigua

12-7   :  St. Thomas

12-8   :  Sea day

12-9   :  Half Moon Cay

12-10 :  Debarkation Day-Green Cay

12-11  :  Wakodahatchee Wetlands

12-12 we headed back to the airport and flew back to ATL.  Another long travel day, but our daughter did pick us up at ATL so we didn't have to go to the car rental building off site. 
It was another great trip that went way too quickly!  The snorkeling wasn't the greatest this time, but the weather was pretty darn nice.  Even were welcomed several mornings by a rainbow!  The Koningsdam was as nice as we remembered, maybe even nicer.  It was another great trip! 

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 Nov. Mother/Daughter trip to Sapphire, North Carolina

 Nov. 7-9 mother/daughter trip into the Southern North Carolina mountains:

It was time to get back up into the mountains and see the leaves in fall colors!  So I booked a couple nights at another Wyndham that we hadn't been to, Wyndham Resort at Fairfield Sapphire Valley.  I was able to use our VIP status and get it at 50% fewer points and upgraded to a 2 bedroom unit.  So I asked Angie if she'd like to go.  She did.  So Ken decided to stay home and let us girls go on another mother/daughter trip.  We did and we had a great time!

11-7-17   on our way to the Wyndham at Sapphire Resort

11-7-17  Wyndham Resort at Fairfield Sapphire Valley

11-7-17  on to Whitewater Falls

11-8-17  on our way to The Biltmore, by way of more waterfalls and the Blue Ridge Parkway

11-8-17  The Biltmore decorated for the holidays

11-9-17  traveling back to Buford, Ga, by way of more waterfalls: Bridal Veil Falls and Dry Falls

As Angie said---this was a perfect little get-away!  It was only a couple hours away and there is so much to do in the area!  We were only gone for 2 nights, but it was like having 3 full days to explore the area.  They like to advertise that there are over 250 waterfalls in the area.  We're going to have to take a lot more little get-aways to see them all!

Saturday, August 26, 2017

2017 Aug. 3 night trip to Lake Lure, North Carolina

Aug. 22-25 trip to Lake Lure with Ken:

After spending 2 nights here last month with Angie and Faith, I was excited to pick up another 3 nights here for Ken and me. 


8-22-17  To Lake Lure


8-23-17  off to some waterfalls, the Pisgah Mountains, and the Biltmore


8-24-17 Hickory Nut Falls and kicking around Lake Lure


8-25-17 scenic ride back to Atlanta


Lake Lure is appropriately named---it keeps luring us back!   I'm sure this will be one of our go to places for a short get away from Atlanta!  Such a beautiful area and beautiful ride there!


 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

2017 July 21-23: girls' weekend to North Carolina!

Since I had a $500 gift certificate to use at the Biltmore Estate, I decided it would be fun to take the "girls" out for a weekend trip.  So we decided to go to the nearest Wyndham resort to the Biltmore for a weekend and go to the Biltmore for one of those days.  Turned out to be great decision!  Angie had bragged about theWyndham Fairfield Mountain Resort at Lake Lure, N. Carolina every since she and Josh went there last year.   She was right---it's a pretty awesome place!  And it was only about a 3 1/2 hour ride for Angie and me; about 2 1/2 hours for Faith.  But it's a gorgeous ride, so the time went fast.  Not just the ride, but the whole weekend! 

7-21-17 Lake Lure and Wyndham Fairfield Mountain resort

7-22-17 A day at the Biltmore!

7-23-17 boat ride on Lake Lure

It was a great weekend.  Only spent about $350 of the $500, so maybe there will be another girls' trip including the Biltmore in the not too distant future!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

2017 May South Florida 10 night trip:

Since we had airfare credit with Southwest to use before June 9th, we decided to use it to go to South Florida for 10 days.  I was able to pick up 2 nights at the Wyndham Royal Vista and 9 (one overlapping Royal Vista) at the Palm Aire.  It was great going back and playing tourist in the area we lived for a year.

 Day 1 -- travel day : May 13, 2017

Wyndham Royal Vista---2 bedroom deluxe, rm 8814

Day 2---Mother's Day at Butterfly World and the beach  :  May 14, 2017

Wyndham Palm Aire---2 bedroom deluxe, rm 975

Day 3---move to Palm Aire and birding at Wakodahatchee  :  May 15, 2017

Day 4---Happy Birthday to me in Naples  :  May 16, 2017

Day 5----birding at Green Cay Wetlands  : May 17, 2017

Day 6---Flamingo Gardens  : May 18, 2017

Day 7---Loxahatchee wetlands : May 19, 2017

Day 8---the beach, Wakodahatchee, and Green Cay--Yea! :  May 20, 2017

Day 9---the Everglades

Day 10---The beach and Wakodahatchee one last time! 

Day 11-time to go home 

It was another great "vacation"---almost felt like a "stayvacation"!  Went to our favorite spots---the beach, birding parks, restaurants...  .    Only problem was that time went by too quickly.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

2017 Feb. 4-11 Orlando trip:
What do you do in Orlando if you don't go to the theme parks????

Feb. 4---the drive down to Orlando from Atlanta, by way of Silver Springs State Park in Florida.
             

Orange Lake Resort --- Where we stayed while on vacation:
         

Feb. 5 --- finding the birds:
              

Feb. 6 --- hanging around the resort:
 

Feb. 7th ---   Harry P Leu Gardens:

            and  Part 2, on to Disney Springs:


Feb. 8th --- to Merritt Island and the Cape Canaveral Sea Shore:


Feb. 9th --- the ever popular Lakefront Park!


Feb. 10th --- Albin Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens

             and (part 2) Apopka Lake wildlife area:


Feb. 11th --- back to Atlanta by way of Providence Canyon State Park in Georgia:


Would I have liked to have gone to some of the theme parks---yes, but Ken isn't a fan.  So it's nice to know we can still go to Orlando and have a great time!
         

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

2016 Dec. 4-14 Koningsdam 10 nt cruise (Half moon cay, Grand Turk, Amber Cove, Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba):

On our last cruise (2015 Nov. cruise) we signed up for the future cruise bonus.  The Koningsdam is the newest ship in the HAL fleet and was going on a route we wanted to do.  Didn't know if we'd like being on such a big ship, but it turned out to be great.  We met a lot of interesting people, ate a lot of great food, visited several interesting ports, enjoyed the entertainment; everything would have been perfect----if it hadn't stormed all day in Bonaire.  Oh well, there's always next time!

We tend to base most of our cruises (and most of our land vacations) around beaches and snorkeling.  This one was no exception.  In fact I chose this specific itinerary because it went to Bonaire and Curacao again, plus a couple new ports for us---Amber Cove and Aruba.

Instead of making a ridiculously long blog, I'm supplying links to the ship, ports, and sea days individually---and the 4 days pre-cruise mini S. Florida vacation.  

11-30-16  back to our old stomping grounds in South Florida!
12-1-16  back to the beach!!!
12-2-16 Mounts gardens in West Palm Beach:
12-3-16  Wakodahatchee and Green Cay! 

Now---on to the cruise!

The Koningsdam

Dec. 4---embarkation day

Dec. 5---Half Moon Cay

Dec. 6---Grand Turk

Dec. 7---Amber Cove

Dec. 8---1st sea day

Dec. 9---Bonaire

Dec. 10---Curacao

Dec. 11---Aruba

Dec. 12-14---sea days and disembarkation

I'd read a lot of complaints about the Koningsdam---no library, walking was hard on the promenade deck, lines were bad in Lido, not enough elevators,  more places to nickel and dime you, and more that I can't think of right now, but none of that bothered us.  We loved the Koningsdam.  But then, we've loved every ship we've been on.  This one was different from the other HAL ships, but I kind of liked that.  Shows they're trying to grow with the times.  I especially loved the digital daily Navigators, the Lido movies, the New York Deli, and the World Stage.  I wouldn't hesitate to cruise on the Koningsdam again.