FUN-travel: End of Princess Baltic Cruise

August 3, 2014 by · Comments Off on FUN-travel: End of Princess Baltic Cruise 

Day 31 – Thursday, July 31 –Warnemünde, Germany – End of Princess Cruise – full sun – high 70’s

Helsinki, Finland 2014 13



  • 7:15 – get up – best cappuccino ever
  • – Chris went to Deck 16 – bartenders are breakfast barista
  • 8:30 – walk off ship


  • 5:00 am – parking ship wakes me up
  • fitful night sleep

Cruise Recap: Travel is very personal. This felt like a big fat “glorified Carnival ship” and if you like that sort of thing and Las Vegas, then this is the ship for you. We don’t like big ships and we wouldn’t go to Las Vegas on vacation.

  • In our opinion a cabin on a lower lever is better. You don’t want to be dependent on the elevators on this ship. If you are, you’re better off taking the down elevator to go up. Otherwise you’ll wait a long time to get on. We were on Deck 8 and most of the action was in the atrium on Decks 5, 6 & 7.
Helsinki, Finland 2014 19

Esplanade Park, Helsinki

Copenhagen, Denmark 2014 26

Gefion Fountain, Copenhagen

FUN-food – It’s all about “pizza, pasta, espresso & ice cream.” For Princess they did a pretty good job of 2 out of 4. I expected to see a “pasta station” at lunch and never did. Cappuccino was pretty much latte every morning on Deck 5 until I found Allan who “got it” when I told him less milk and more foam. Some meals were very tasty but for the most part were just average. Martini’s were best at Crooner’s with a bigger pour & the nice olive tray. The wine list had some variety and with the purchase of the “wine card” wasn’t so overpriced.

  • No “Can Do” Attitude – That pretty well sums up how we felt about the majority of the staff. If we asked a question they didn’t have the answer to, rather than find out, they told you to check with another department.
  • I found out the reason that I couldn’t take pizza from Alfredo’s was because a lady took hers on a china plate. She fell on the stairs, cut her arm and sued Princess. I have been walking out of the restaurants every night carrying my wine glass and not one person stopped me. I kid you not!
On-Board Royal Princess 2014 1

The Atium

  • Internet – We spent $99 plus a $3.95 activation fee (seriously!) for 200 minutes. Clearly the most expensive and beyond snail slow on any ship we’ve been on. In hindsight, I would spend that money at cafés with free Wifi and have a nice enjoying experience in a city.

Our Travel Motto – “We want to be surprised and not pissed off.” We broke our cruise rule which is, “To only sail with all inclusive small ships.” And that will never happen again!

  • PS – Our favorite cities were Helsinki and Oslo because their city centers are relatively small, easy to walk and have a really good feel.
Stockholm, Sweden 2014 3

Stockholm, Sweden – Where We Didn’t GO!

January Movies & Oscar Buzz

January 12, 2011 by · Comments Off on January Movies & Oscar Buzz 

Rabbit Hole – the Academy seems to love depressing, sad movies since they continually get nominated year after year – and this movie is clearly another one of those – SHE said, “It was very deep and emotionally raw, the main point of the film is about grieving and how everyone does that differently. HE said, “Eckhart and Kidman were both very good – didn’t need to see 2 hours of grieving (enough already).” SHE said, “thumbs up” HE said, “thumbs down”

Blue Valentine – this film is about the very beginning and the very end of a relationship – there is no middle – and felt with all the media hype about the movie I found it to be the same depressing stuff, different theme.  SHE said, “Gosling and Williams are great actors, no question, but I am done with going to depressing movies. Several years ago my girlfriend Susan and I needed to see 3 movies that were up for Oscar’s so we went to the theatre where they were all playing and hopped from theatre to theatre to watch them. 30 minutes of each is all we needed to get a gist of the acting and not have to sit through more depressing stuff. I am going back to that!” HE said, “Ditto on the depressing and I found it hard to follow.” – “2 thumbs down”

Casino Jack – the reviewers said this would make a lot of people angry since it the events were too fresh in our minds. SHE said, “Spacey is truly great and I found it so disgusting to watch politicians’ flaunt their power and greed.” HE said, “Kevin Spacey was great. I found the movie too “slapstick,” didn’t present the events with enough seriousness. The rest of the actors were miss cast in their roles.” SHE said, “thumbs up” – HE said, “thumbs sideways”.

December Movies & Oscar Buzz 2010

January 11, 2011 by · Comments Off on December Movies & Oscar Buzz 2010 

What makes this Oscar season so interesting is that so many of the movies are based on true stories. Rumor has it that Reality TV is changing Hollywood. The Oscar for best movie this year should be between The King’s Speech and the Social Network.

Our “Oscar Buzz” Picks The King’s Speech – lots of buzz on this one and now I know why, Geoffrey Rush and Colin Firth are exceptional and the chemistry between them is outstanding. Definite Best Movie and Actors contenders – “2 thumbs up”

Colin Firth as King George

The Fighter – and yet another true boxing story, and a dysfunctional one at that – I love anything with Amy Adams (except Leap Year) and she has taken a role that is very different than anything she has ever done (rent Junebug if you haven’t seen it) – Mark Wahlberg is great as usual but Christian Bale’s performance is definitely Oscar worthy – “2 thumbs up”

Black Swan – we had to see this even though the movie trailer didn’t really excite us. Natalie Portman has a shot at Best Actress on this one! SHE said, “Even though it was a bit hard to follow (you don’t know what is real and what is not) this one left me feeling a bit haunted and I liked it. HE said, “Natalie Portman played this role extremely well and she was the only bright spot. The movie used too many flashbacks, was dark and predictable from the beginning. Overall just not very good.” – SHE said “thumbs up” – HE said “thumbs down”.

Our Other PicksLove and Other Drugs – if you want a light, FUN, movie experience, you’ll love this one – great chemistry between Anne and Jake – predictable from the beginning but they added a twist that gave it more meat – “2 thumbs up”

The Tourist – this got such terrible reviews we almost didn’t go – we both liked it, and why? no special effects! and it felt like a 1960’s “To Catch A thief” kind of movie – Angelina looked like Sophia Loren, with great costumes – and how can you not like the sex appeal of a movie filmed in Venice? HE said, “The chemistry between Jolie and Depp just wasn’t there unfortunately.” –   “2 thumbs up”

How Do You Know? – cute, predictable entertainment about denial, trouble, limbo and love – Reese Witherspoon is adorable and Owen Wilson is just Owen Wilson, which is what I like about him – he plays a self absorbed successful baseball player – Paul Rudd was at his most charming best – “2”thumbs up”

All Good Things –Inspired by the most notorious missing person’s case in New York history, it is a love story and murder mystery set against the backdrop of a New York real estate dynasty in the 1980s – Ryan Gosling is truly one fine actor – and so is Kirsten Dunst! “2 thumbs up”

Not as Good as ExpectedTrue Grit– no question that Hailee Steinfeld stole the movie, but we personally expected more from the Coen Brothers –SHE said, “maybe because they have set us up to feel that way – just felt too slow and hard to understand, too much mumbling” – HE said, “The performances from Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon (out of his comfort zone) were mediocre at best. The storyline was shallow and overall an unbelievably bad movie.”  – “2 thumbs down”

The Oscar for best movie this year should be between the Kings Speech and the Social Network.

October/November Movies & Oscar Buzz 2010

December 28, 2010 by · Comments Off on October/November Movies & Oscar Buzz 2010 

We got back from our six week Africa trip the middle of October and slowly eased back into our weekly Friday movie habit. We usually go with our friends, and fellow movie critics, Susan and Bill. Now we’re in full swing!

Jesse Eisenberg

Our PicksSocial Network – heard from friends it was good and we agree – very engaging & great acting, but not our pick for the Oscar – “2 thumbs up”

Inside Job – this documentary leaves you feeling pretty “pissed off” at the banking industry and the scam they pulled off for years before it all came tumbling down. And the same people responsible for it are in charge of the bailout. Go figure! – “2 thumbs up”

Fair Game – the true story of Valerie Plame getting ousted by the CIA got panned by the critics and we liked it – truth and justice eventually prevail if you don’t give up – “2 thumbs up”

127 Hours – as gruesome as it was, we didn’t “feel like we were going to pass out” as was reported by some of the critics. He said, “The story was predictable from the start and I felt it was filled with too many flashbacks just to fill up time.” She said, “Well, we knew the outcome before we went in. I thought the acting was great considering James Franco pretty much carried the movie by himself – “2 thumbs up”

Unstoppable – I wondered how they could make a feature length movie all about a runaway train and it was great edge of your seat entertainment! She said, “How come you liked this movie if you knew the outcome going in?” He said, “I knew they got it stopped, I just didn’t know how they were going to do it.” – “2 thumbs up”

Angelina Jolie

Not as Good as ExpectedSalt – just OK – too much “over the top” special effects and felt like “Angie was playing the female version of Jack Bauer.” And as we all know, only Jack Bauer can play Jack Bauer. “2 thumbs sideways”

Inception – forgot that we saw this during the summer and just could not get into it, too bizarre – “2 thumbs down”

Due Date – we surprisingly loved “The Hangover” but this was not near as good and a bit too raunchy for us. Robert Downy, Jr. did a good job. In the end it was just a so-so movie – “2 thumbs down”

Stone – Edward Norton is one incredible actor and this is another example of that – Robert De Niro’s character felt like I was watching “more of the same of De Niro playing De Niro.”  “2 thumbs down”

Couldn’t AgreeWinter’s Bone – film about a young girl in the Ozarks was very bleak – acting was very good. She said “thumbs up” – he said “thumbs down.”

Summer Movies 2010

December 20, 2010 by · Comments Off on Summer Movies 2010 

I find something to like about almost every movie I see.  My husband on the other hand likes very few. That being said, this summer has been pretty disappointing. 

Best Movies of the SummerToy Story III – great story, great twists and turns, just plain great FUN even though it was a bit scary. (my 5 year old granddaughter asked to sit on my lap at that part)

Knight & Day – although panned by the critics we both liked it. I belly laughed many times, especially at the end, and even gasped quite loudly on several occasions.  Don’t get too picky about where all there change of clothes came from and how realistic all the stunts were. Diaz and Cruise had a great chemistry and the story was just FUN.

City Island – great indie film about a dysfunctional family that all harbor secrets and lies.

Get Low – academy award winning presentation by Robert Duvall as the recluse that plans his funeral while he is still alive.

The Kids Are All Right – great acting by Annette Bening and Julianne Moore

Robert Duvall

Not as good as I expectedIron Man II – the first big blockbuster that I found to be too over done. We really liked the first one but the sequel was way too outlandish. Too many special effects that were just not realistic (felt the same way about Downey’s role as Sherlock Holmes) 

Robin Hood – Ditto review see above. Love Cate Blanchet but it still didn’t work.

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