Sunday, March 28, 2010

Cataract process

Well, I start the cataract surgery process on both eyes in about two weeks. First, I apparently get an ultrasound to measure and determine the size lens inserts I will need. Then, in about ten days after the ultrasound, I get the surgery on my left eye. As I understand it, this surgery is a little less complicated than lazik which I had 7 or 8 years ago. The doctor will make a small incision and zap/remove the lens/cataract. Then, he will insert the new lens. After a few days monitoring for issues, I will get the second surgery on my right eye. I understand that my vision should improve immediately - as it did when I had lazik.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Saw Dr Zlioba in Joliet this morning. He confirmed that my vision has deteriorated quite a bit. I could get new lenses; but, they can't correct my vision fully.
He feels that it is time to do cataract surgery asap. He could do the surgery in the next couple weeks; but, he would not want me to travel. So, we will do it beginning the week after I attend a business conference in Las Vegas in mid-April.
Over a two week period he will do one eye one week and the other eye the next week. This expedited process will require that I stay in Joliet for almost two weeks. But, this will get both eyes done the quickest. And, I will have almost a month to heal before Alaska. He wants me to have a few weeks to heal before travelling.
So...I need to put up with so-so vision for just a few more weeks.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Back to work

Have now been back home for about a week. Has actually been sunnier here in Indy than it was in the Caribbean. Not much different during that past week or so. Since I keep up on my email with my blackberry, I didn't have lots to catch up on at the office. Just had to review a few email with attachments that are difficult to read on the small screen.

Since my vision has continued to deteriorate, I moved up my eye doc appointment. I go in this coming Saturday. Will find out if he recommends replacing the lenses in my new glasses or if I am getting close to doing the cataract surgery. I'm kinda hoping for lenses for now so that I can see better when we go to Alaska in late May/early June.

My health is, otherwise, very good. Just the usual aches & pains and a little cough. Gained a couple pounds during the cruise; but, I have leveled off at my pre-cruise weight. No treatments at the moment.

Jill has been undergoing various tests during the past week or so. So far, she has passed everything with flying colors. She has been having pain in her back - probably her kidneys. She sees her kidney doc soon - maybe tomorrow or next Thursday. We'll see if he recommends that she prepare for dialysis. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sunday and more

The glass bottom boat turned out to be like our cruise. We were looking forward to it; but, it didn't turn out to be worth it. Certainly, we have enjoyed taking the vacation. But, it hasn't been the warm up we had hoped for. And, the smaller, more expensive cruiseline simply did not deliver for us. We will not be back on this cruiseline.

Well...we won trivia again. From the looks of some others, we have apparently become "that team". We won about 4 out of 7 or 8 times. We were very lucky that we had good team mates.

We sure have enjoyed the afternoon tea. Chocolate chip scones today with clotted cream and jam.

Tonight, they are showing the Oscars in the show lounge - in Spanish!! Apparently, the show will be on TNT from somewhere in Latin America. Should be interesting.

Docked. Waiting for our turn to disembark. It's over.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sunday and Saturday more

Before I move on to Sunday, we won trivia again on Saturday. So far we have won three times out of about six. Tonight's show by the ship's crew (Motown) was very good.

Immigration early tomorrow and, then, Key West. Finished immigration quickly. Just waiting for our excursion time. Don't know temp yet; but, it is very sunny.

Know now that, whatever the actual temp, it is quite chilly here in Key West. Probably about mid 60's. We took a glass bottom boat ride. Didn't see much - water had been stirred up by winds and waves the past few days.

Last excursion is over and we have our dinner tonight in the "special" restaurant. Jill has ordered filet mignon. I will pick either the filet or lamb.

Tonight we pack - Jill's least favorite time during any trip. Travel day tomorrow - at least we don't need to connect. We have a direct flight from Ft Lauderdale to Indy.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Saturday at sea

Day at sea - we slept in, of course. The butler brought me a double order of blueberry pancakes. Of course, I ate them all. Wasn't very hungry at lunch. Spent some time reading in the library and watch a bit of Iron Chef type cooking competition between a group of passengers vs ship officers.

Naturally, we napped. Getting ready for afternoon tea and trivia. Still not hungry; but, I will probably have tea and a scone with clotted cream/jam.

We continue sailing to Key West. We should arrive tomorrow morning and will spend the day in Key West.

Friday in Costa Maya

Well... Today our ship is docked at Costa Maya, Mexico - but, we didn't get off the ship. Had planned to get off briefly; but, Jill didn't feel 100% and we just stayed onboard and relaxed.

Nothing really different. Really good breakfast in our cabin. I've discovered that they make very good blueberry pancakes.

Then, we sat by the pool for a few minutes. Lunch at the buffet - good rice pudding.

Nice long nap this afternoon. Tea again this afternoon - followed by a surprising win at trivia.

Getting ready for dinner - followed by the show. I guess you could say that we're in a rut - a nice relaxing rut. Day at sea tomorrow.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Thursday - Roatan

Roatan is one of the places with what I think is some of the best snorkeling. But...can't handle that. So, we stayed onboard for a very relaxing day. I got a massage and Jill read by the pool. She took a bubble bath this afternoon - while I napped. No other plans. We'll have dinner and see the show tonight by the ship's singers and dancers.

Wednesday more

OK, after such a tiring excursion, it is time for some other general info. We will be staying onboard for the next few days. We haven't booked any excursions until Key West on Sunday. Nothing but relaxing for three days.

Breakfast in our cabin has been very good for me. Jill doesn't as much; so, I think she has been OK with breakfast.

For lunch, we have been doing the buffet - but we missed lunch due to excursions on a couple of days. The buffet has been just OK. Nothing particularly bad - but the Holland America buffet at the Lido Restr is much better.

Afternoon tea, served in one of the lounges, has been excellent. Not a great sandwich selection. But, the desserts have been very good.

Dinners have also been mostly OK. A few things have been very good and others have been average.

The ship, the Navigator, has been very good for us. At just 500 passengers, it is a good size for us. Everything is within comfortable distance.

The evening entertainment in the show lounge has been very good. The ship's singers and dancers are as good as any we have seen. The other performers have been fun and very entertaining.

The butler has been reserved and not particularly outgoing; but, in general, he gets the job done. Not as good as the butler we had on Celebrity or the Concierges that we have had on Holland America. Cabin Stewardess has been very friendly and has done a very good job.

Waiters in the dining room have been much better the last few days. I get the impression that they have heard our complaints and must gotten our pics from when we boarded. They have clearly known who we are. Our waiter tonight addressed Jill by name even before we told him that she had a special order meal. And, they have been bringing two iced teas to avoid needing to refill.

I am now even more strongly opposed to open seating. Besides repeating the same initial conversation topics every night (boring!), it definitely feels as if many of the staff are not as motivated to please since they know the ship is "no tipping". It's too bad since we would normally tip extra for exceptional service by waiters and cabin staff. It is not likely that we will tip extra for this cruise.

Oh, second in trivia again today. And, Jill didn't go to the casino again today. Apparently, she is often unable to get a slot machine that she likes and she says the slots are very tight.


Well...let's start by saying that our excursion today is what Jill called the Excursion from Hell. Certainly, we understand that nobody can control the weather/temp. But, that was the worst ride on a small boat that we have ever experienced. I thought my spine was going to be shattered by the extreme banging at the speed we were going in a flat-bottomed boat. For most of the almost hour ride each way, we tucked down our heads, held onto our hats, froze and took a real bruising on our butts and backs.

This was one of the only excursions that we paid for and I was quite put off that they clearly solicited donations for the school we visited. Also, their excursion description definitely did not help us to understand the difficulty of the steep, uphill walk and the many even stairs. It turned out to be an extreme challenge for both of us. The guide actually said "Of course we don't tell you. If we did, you wouldn't come". The only break in the beating that was the return boat trip was when they stopped the boat for about ten minutes for little kids in dug out canoes to badger us and try to harass us into buying their sea shell and trinkets. Certainly, we have experienced that type of thing before; but, it has never been so blatantly initiated by an excursion operator. We will try to find time tonight or tomorrow to lodge a complaint with the ship's staff.

More later.


Not a lot to write about today - and, we need to get to sleep. Early start tomorrow for us.

Jill stayed on the ship today in Belize. Got a facial, took a nap and relaxed. She is feeling well today. I went on an airboat tour. Saw loads of birds and quite a few crododiles. Nice afternoon tea. Our team won trivia today.

Good dinner. Very improved service. Entertaining show by the ship's singer and orchestra.


Cozumel Day Two. Today we were booked on a Cozumel Highlights and Shopping tour. Turns out that Jill wasn't feeling well about an hour into the 4 1/2 cruise. We just got back on the bus after the first stop and took the bus ride around the island since it turned out we were seeing most of the same things we saw yesterday.

The bus took us "downtown" to shop. Didn't take long to realize that most stores were the same as other islands. Diamonds Int'l and others of that type. So, we headed back to the bus pickup spot and just waited a few minutes for the bus back to the ship.

We missed lunch due to the tour - not a good thing for Jill. But, we can go to dinner in about 90 minutes.

Jill decided she needs a "do nothing" day tomorrow. So, I returned her excursion ticket.

Oh, I got a call from the concierge today. She said "I know that you cruise a lot and wanted to see if there is anything we can do for you to enjoy the rest of your cruise". I told her about some of our problems. We'll see...

Tonight we sail for Belize.


Well...Jill wanted to swim with the sting rays today. She figures this might be her last chance. But, that was not to be due to the weather. We skipped Grand Cayman and headed to Cozumel - where we docked this morning. Quite a night with very high swells. We will stay overnight and have another day in Cozumel tomorrow.

They offered most of the same excursions - so, we went on a sightseeing bus and saw local folk dancing. It was interesting and a chance for us to get off the ship for a few hours. On past visits to Cozumel, we have snorkeled the barrier reef - beautiful. This is where I fell in love with snorkeling. It would be nice; but, my snorkeling days are probably over.

Tonight, I had my best dinner so far - broiled red snapper. Unfortunately, service has not improved. Three nights, different waiters but similar inadequate service. Had to ask three times for sugar for our iced tea. Finally, he brought a container with lots of pink, blue and yellow chemicals and one real sugar. So, I had to ask him again for sugar - real sugar - artificial sweeteners.

One of our tablemates got very frustrated when she waited forever and had to flag down someone to refill her water. This was the second time they sat with us at dinner and the second time she had the same issue. She said she has cruised with Regent and has never before had such poor service.

Waited more than 1/2 hour for dessert menus after they cleared our table. I could go on about quite a few other things. But...clearly, we will not be sailing on Regent again. Most things are simply OK and are definitely not worth the considerably higher cost. I realize that we are being picky. But, that is supposed to be why we paid the high premium to be on Regent.

It is, however, a good thing to be in weather that is much warmer than home. And, we are getting lots of relaxing time. It was sunny all day today. Not sure of the temp; but, I did get chilly in short sleeves. Taking a sweater on our excursion tomorrow.

I have been feeling very well. Jill is doing pretty well. She has felt a little funky a few times - but not for an extended time. She was bothered a little by the waves yesterday.


Breakfast was great. 2 fried eggs, 2 pieces of crispy bacon, 2 pieces of toast with strawberry jam. Potatoes sat on my plate looking like McD's hash browns. Grapefruit juice seemed fresh-squeezed.

Watched a lecture about the original people in the Caribbean and took a short nap afterward - not during the lecture.

Weather is rainy and a bit chilly. Since there will be no poolside activities, they are showing Julie & Julia in the show lounge this afternoon.

Lunch was OK. I had small portions of Caribbean Chicken, Beef Shortribs and Red Snapper. Also had linguine with bolognese sauce - which I finished since it was the best of the bunch. Chocolate banana roll was excellent.

After an afternoon of rough seas, the captain just announced that we will not go to Grand Cayman tomorrow. Really too bad because Jill was looking forward to swimming with the stngrays. Instead, we will continue on our sail to Cozumel and we will now spend an overnight in Cozumel. We were just planning to shop there; so, now I guess we'll have another lazy day on the ship.

Based on the captain saying that the swells were about 16 feet earlier today and it is worse now, I would guess the swells to now be 20 to 25 feet. Temps seem to be around 55 or 60.

Decent dinner tonight despite the very rough seas. Only one crash of plates. Initially, they cancelled the show that included dancers - unsafe. Now, they have also cancelled the show that was to be musicians. They are showing another movie - one that we have seen. So...Jill headed to the casino and I will look for something on TV in the cabin.

Friday boarding

OK, I'm going to try to give impressions based on what I expected from Regent. Arriving at the terminal building, their organization was good and we pretty much went right through registration and boarding.

Being almost 1:30, we looked for food for lunch. We came across the pool grill which had burgers, brats, beef (maybe roast) and typical pasta and potato salads, lettuce salads. The brat was very good - or maybe I just haven't had one for a while. Everything else was like what might be served at a office picnic.

Unfortunately, we later found another buffet location that might be more to our liking. We'll try it tomorrow.

Staying with the food theme, it appears that I have a good selection of fresh fruit in the suite. I will certainly nibble on it tonight.

Dinner was OK. Jill's rice was excellent but the shrimp were tough. My pumpkin soup was good but the salmon not fabulous. Plain grilled with no sauce. Cut veggies were decorative. Baked potato was acceptable. Another at our table said her potato was not fully cooked. Creme Brulee was commercial - nothing special.

Biggest issue was the lack of beverage service. Jill and I got iced tea - what the waiter referred to as American Champagne - like he was looking down on us for just drinking tea rather their wines and mixed drinks. Unfortunately, those drinking wine at our table had glasses filled numerous times while Jill, another drinking water and I were basically left alone with empty glasses. It took quite a while to get anyone's attention. I finally talked with a Maitre de' and we suddenly had four glasses of tea. They finally filled Linda's water glass.

This was certainly not the kind of service we had expected. I contend that this is a negative of the open seating where a waiter doesn't serve you every night. But, hopefully, this will get better in the next few days. I am not yet a member of the "Regent is so much better club". I'll come back to this after a few more days.

It was a bit extravagant to have the butler unpack my luggage and hang/fold everything. But, he got things put away lickety-split. Cabins seem a little tight on drawer space.

The Regent Version of the Penthouse Suite is OK. Much smaller that the Royal Ste on Celebrity. 20-30% smaller than the Concierge Ste on Holland.

Tomorrow, while at sea, we will observe other things - TV entertainment options, other onboard entertainment, etc. As we settle in, we will certainly enjoy ourselves. Our comparisons will answer the simple question "Would we sail Regent again?"