Episode 306 – This week we meet Felipe Couto, Cruise Director for the Carnival Liberty, as he and Rick discuss Carnival Cruise Lines, Carnival Live, and all the fun for the whole family on a Carnival cruise!
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We just returned from an 8-night voyage on the Quantum of the Seas, Royal Caribbean’s newest ship. This is one amazing ship! Billed by RCL as a “smart ship” there are many technological advances that make her, in my opinion, the coolest ship at sea.
We boarded the Quantum of the Seas in Cape Liberty, New Jersey for an eight day travel conference on board the ship and the week will gave us an opportunity to get to know the ship, participate in onboard activities, enjoy the wonderful dining on board, as well as network with travel industry peers and leaders.
As I mentioned, the Quantum is Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, and we are really enjoyed our time aboard! Here are a few of the things we liked most on this innovative ship:
The North Star, a capsule, modeled after the London Eye gives cruisers a 360-degree view of the deck but can also pivot over the side of the ship with just the sea below. Think London Eye type view on top of a cruise ship, one word – AMAZING!
SeaPlex is a giant, multi-use activity area at the top of the vessel that offers everything from bumper cars and roller skating (both cruise ship firsts) to basketball and even trapeze lessons. Two levels high, it also has upstairs nooks for playing Xbox, ping pong and foosball. There’s also the first food truck at sea, an outlet called the SeaPlex Dog House that serves up hot dogs, bratwurst and sausages. Can someone say #MeatinTubeForm…I know, hot dogs and brats at sea from a food truck, again, AMAZING!
There’s a Bionic Bar. This is the first bar with robot bartenders at sea. The high-tech venue features two drink-slinging robotic arms that take orders from passengers via tablets located around the bar. They then mix up the drinks by drawing liquor from dozens of bottles hanging from above and adding just the right amount of mixers and ice. Will they get it right? Will they spill? Who can resist sticking around to find out! After the drink is made, you use your ship card to claim your drink, so there are no mix ups this way, pardon the pun!
New flexible dining. The days of being herded into a cavernous dining room for a banquet-style dinner (often at a giant table with strangers) are coming to an end at Royal Caribbean — and none too soon. On Quantum, the traditional main dining room has been replaced by four smaller, no-extra-charge restaurants that passengers can visit when and with whom they like. Each offers a different cuisine, from contemporary American to pan-Asian. A fifth no-extra-charge restaurant is reserved for passengers in suites, and there’s also a wide array of extra-charge eateries on board from a steakhouse to a sushi outlet.
Fastest internet at sea! Royal Caribbean’s “smart ship” offers streaming quality unlimited internet via a special satellite technology exclusive to them so everyone can keep in touch while on the ship. Times were when on a cruise you were able to unplug and disconnect while on vacation. Today we are more connected than ever and want to share our vacation and stay in touch with friends and family while at sea. There is package to fit every need for one device or multiple devices. No more checking your minutes remaining or watching for bandwidth limits, Royal Caribbean has you covered!
Brooks Lake is an awesome destination and a place we like to visit every year. This year unfortunately because of my accident we had to find other things to occupy our time.
Since we couldn’t snowmobile, hard to do with a broken wrist, we spent some of our time snow shoeing, something that looks easy, but particularly for lowlanders from Florida is harder than it looks. The lodge is at 9,200 feet above sea level, and walking with these big things on your feet in snow, even packed snow is quite a work out, it makes you feel not nearly as guilty about those awesome meals at the the Lodge!
Another activity that my wife Leslie really enjoyed is ice fishing. Brooks Lake Lodge offers this as part of the winter package at their resort. Our guide Anthony was just awesome, he took us down to the lake on snowmobiles, drilled out the hole with an auger, gave Les a quick how to guide in how to catch those awesome little trout and before you knew she was catching fish!
You fish on a frozen lake that’s covered by a couple of feet of ice and snow, so to make it more comfortable and not freeze your feet, Anthony circled the snowmobiles up and drilled the whole right next to it so you could just sit on your snowmobile and fish off the side.
You can choose to keep a couple of the fish if you like, out of the 10 or so Les caught, she kept 3 and the chef in the lodge was gracious and accommodating to cook those delicious little guys up in brown butter and serve them as an appetizer before our dinner that evening.
As you can see they were good to the last bite, there was even enough that we shared them with folks at the table next to us!
Here’s a video clip John put together of our ice fishing adventure, check out how giddy Leslie get’s when she catches her first fish, absolutely priceless!
So, as I’ve always said, travel is what you make of it, we went to Brooks Lake Lodge for snowmobiling, but ended up spending our time enjoying nature snowshoeing, ice fishing and just being together away at the lodge.
It wasn’t the trip we planned but it was still a great vacation!
Episode 302 – This week Rick takes us around World Showcase at Epcot’s International Flower and Garden Festival to enjoy a few of their outdoor kitchens as well as shows us a few of his favorite flowers, gardens, and topiaries!
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At Travel with Rick we just crossed the 300th episode mark. But that’s 300 weekly episodes. If you count up all the extra Food & Wine episodes, 25 Days of Christmas episodes, and short mid week videos, we’d have more, a lot more.
In Six years we’ve been around the world, crossed two oceans, the Atlantic and the Pacific, tasted great food along the way and taken you all with us via our weekly videos.
And we’ve made a lot of friends, the best friends ever! I met Amanda & Travis Tinney through TwR, and Marc & Kriss Bigbie and John & Sarah Donahue, Tony Caselnova, Sarah & Barry Luka and so many more, and I’ve met many of you, the great folks that watch our show every week.
You guys have left your comments, asked your questions, given your support and encouragement and some of you have said you lived or at least traveled vicariously through our videos and now it’s expanded to our posts and pics on our Facebook page.
I’ve learned a lot in these six years. Technical stuff like how to shoot and edit video, although I don’t do that anymore, thanks John for making the show look good. How to be more outgoing and meet people like you, believe it or not I’m kind of an introvert. I’ve learned patience and planning, well some and I’m still learning these, because I’m really not good at either. I’ve learned a lot about wine and enjoyed a lot of food along the way. My geography has improved, I still have a lot to learn there, but I now know it’s easier to get to Dublin if you go through Paris and that stopping at Jimmy Buffett’s hotel on the way to New Orleans is a mighty fun thing to do.
So thank you, all of you. All of you who have made these six years possible. All the guests, and all the fans, I still don’t like that word, I prefer friends. You all know who you are that have made all this possible. I owe you a lot, or at least a glass of wine, well maybe a toast…here’s to you and to six years and 300 episodes, thank you, you’re awesome…Cheers!
In case you missed them in the 300th video or on our Facebook page, Here are the videos some of our guests hosts, aka “the usual suspects” sent in, enjoy!
Recently I broke my wrist in a snowmobiling accident. The last race i ran before breaking my wrist was a Half Marathon in Tybee Island, Georgia, that was in February, just before I broke my wrist, three days before to be exact.
I was in a cast for five weeks, so running has not been something I’ve been able to do. Before the accident, I typically ran three or four times a week, four or five miles a run. I also usually run Half Marathons three or four times a year and occasional 5-K’s throughout the year.
Now that I have the cast off and I have a removable brace for a few week’s it’s time to start thinking about running again. I missed a couple of races that we were already registered for. Yes, we, my wife Leslie is really the runner in the family. She’s training for Marathons and Triathlons throughout the year. I mainly run for the exercise, the health benefit and to try to keep up with Leslie!
I really hated missing the races in February and March due to the cast. I couldn’t run the Best Damn Race in Orlando, Les did that one without me, I also missed a Support the Chimps 16K and a 5K in Vero Beach where we live.
So that brings us to today. The Citrus Classic 5K in Vero Beach. Saturday morning, 7:30am, I’m dusting off my running shoes, charging my Nike watch and hitting the streets. I won’t be fast, I never am, but I’ll be there with a goal to stay upright and not fall on my wrist and cause more damage. I just want to get out and move again!
I’ve decided to chronicle my “road to recovery” starting with this 5K today, I’m going to start my weekly runs again. I have a Half Marathon in July in Maine that Leslie and I are running together, then three Half Marathon’s in November. I’m going to get Carrie my friend from the KMV Runners group to give me some tips and help me plan a strategy that fits my travel schedule. We’re going to do some of the running trails at Disney, do some videos that we’ll share here talking about the tips, tools and the gear we use and I’m sure there will be another blog post or two.
Check back and follow my road to recovery and 39.3 miles in November!