Adventure on the high seas

Enjoying a formal dinner on the Allure were (back row from left) Betty Passinetti, Mimi Graves, Shirley Bushnell, Stella Jones, Linda Finch and Kurt Bargmeyer, and (front row from left) Audrey Stacy, Ned Hagan, Dolly Hagan, Rachel Cassorla, Sue Campbell and Florence Bargmeyer.

What an amazing time we had in the Caribbean.  Allure, the largest cruise ship currently sailing  (225,000 gross tons, 1,187 feet long, 208 feet wide) was our home for seven nights. There were 5,672 passengers on board and a crew of 2,165. Sounds horribly crowded, but it just wasn’t. There was never a feeling of crowding, unless of course you were in the Royal Promenade  when they did a full parade down the center to celebrate the 100th sailing of this ship.  The dining room (all three floors of it) was a boisterous area, but you had an option to choose from 24 dining facilities and 37 bars and lounges.

This is a ship composed of “neighborhoods.”  Central Park is the first living park at sea.  It has 12,175 plants. Some of the trees are over 24 feet in height. There are even a few little birds that seem to have made the ship their home  (the crew keeps bird feed handy to keep them happy).

The Board Walk has a carousel to ride, a Coney Island hot dog stand, a Johnny Rocket’s restaurant, ktwo climbing walls, and at the end the Aqua Theater, the largest performance pool at sea with a depth of 17 feet.  High-divers climb the towers and propel themselves into the pool while the ship gently rocks back and forth  (they  did have to cancel the show a couple of nights because Hurricane Sandy made it just too dangerous).

On the sports deck we found the usual basketball court where often there was a soccer game being played, a beautiful putting course, two wave riders for learning to surf, and a zip line for the more adventurous.  Several of our party took advantage of the chance to try this out.

We found out that food consumption in an average week is 86,400 fresh eggs, 8,000 gallons of  milk and fresh cream. 45,000 pounds of fresh fruit, 62,000 pounds of fresh vegetables, 15,600 pounds of beef, 16,000 pounds of chicken, 1,500 pounds of coffee, 10,200 bottles of beer and 2,225 bottles of wine.  Vodka wins in the liquor category with 550 bottles.

Group shot of lunch in Long Beach with the Tsunami Burger. Photo courtesy of Linda Finch.

What a summer it was when it finally arrived.  We had such fun going to the ocean, the mountain, the lake and the forests.  We are so blessed in our beautiful corner of the U.S.  We have not had the horrid snows, heavy rains, fierce winds, and summer heat of the rest of the country.  We may have a few gray days, some fog in the morning and perhaps a shower or two but in the long run, we seem to have it the best.

A trip to Long Beach, Wash, had us sharing a “tsunami burger.”  Just imagine a 16-inch bun, 5 pounds of ground beef, 16 slices of cheese, 3 tomatoes, a head of lettuce, a cup of mayo and a group of people to share it with.  I admit to a mess but we did have fun with it.  And a beautiful day to be at the ocean on top of it all.

August took us to Leavenworth for their fabulous summer theater.  We spent two nights there so that we could take in all 3 of their plays (“Sound of Music”, “Annie Get Your Gun” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”).  It is so amazing to see such talented actors perform in such beautiful settings such as the ski hill and the salmon hatchery.  This trip had been talked about for years and finally came about.

If there is enough interest we will have another overnight adventure in September to Crystal Mountain.  There is a cable car that goes up the mountain to a restaurant.  The views should be spectacular and we generally have great weather at that time of the year.

Our big adventure in the near future is with Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd on board “Allure.”  I have talked about it many times and there is still an opportunity for others to join our group.  We will fly out on Oct. 20 for the cruise which starts on the 21.  This is one week with stops in Labadee, Jamaica and Cozumel.

In January there is another Caribbean adventure, this time with “Princess” to St Maarten, St. Thomas and Grand Turk.  Departure is on Jan. 19 with the 7 day cruise starting on Jan. 20.  By then you may really be looking for sunshine again.

Planning for 2013 has already started.  We are looking for fun things to do and encourage ideas.  If you have something you would like to do, toss it out and we just might catch it.

For reservations and information call Linda Finch at 253 927 8207 or get on the email list at

Here we are almost through summer and it seems like it just got here.  It certainly was late this year but it hasn’t slowed us down any.  The last mystery trip had us dreaming of sunshine and beautiful gardens as we wandered through the aisles at Molbak’s in Woodinville and then headed to Swanson’s for lunch in their café and more beautiful flowers.  The van was packed with things to plant and happy passengers as we headed home.

On another day we took off to explore Mercer Island.  If you start out with no set pattern it is amazing all that you can see.  We found spectacular gardens, amazing waterfront views and glamorous homes.   Lunch that day was at the Roanoke Inn, a quaint establishment that ha been in operation since the 1800s.  Weary travelers who ferried across the lake from Seattle to that then desolate island could relax here for a quick one on the way home.  We had a wonderful lunch on the back lawn under the shade of an umbrella.

The dinner group drove across the bridge and then headed south to Shelton and the smells and tastes at Xihn Clam and Oyster House,  Oh what a sumptuous evening. We always seem to find new and interesting places.

Leavenworth is on the schedule for August 10-12 with a nice two night stay in order to attend the theater 3 times:  “Sound of Music,” “Annie Get Your Gun,” and “Thoroughly Modern Millie”.  The weather should be nice and the shows entertaining.  You still might be able to snag a room reservation and tickets if you want to come along.

September will have us doing an overnight stay at Crystal Mountain.  We intend to drive around the area and then enjoy dinner at the top of the chair lift.  We are hoping for fantastic views.

Of course we are still talking about the Caribbean cruise in October  (20-28) aboard “Allure of the Seas”, the largest ship sailing at the moment.  We have made our reservations for the Broadway show “Chicago” as well as an ice show and another at the Aqua Theatre.  There is still time to join our group.  Remember, we help people find roommates.

If October is not good for you there is another group traveling on “Princess Cruise” Jan. 20 out of Ft. Lauderdale.  You might just want to think about getting out of our winter weather and into their sunshine.  It always seems to lift my spirits to get a little sun in the winter months.

Speaking of no sun in the winter month….what could be better than a couple of weeks in Hawaii?  We had a great time last year and will do it again if there is sufficient interest.  This time we will rent a house nearer to Diamond Head so there isn’t so much traveling for those who prefer to shop rather than just relax with a good book.  Be sure to let your interest be known.

For reservations and further information call Linda Finch at 253 927 8207 or email to

What is it about cruising that is so peaceful?  Is it the fact that you are pampered and waited on; have time to really enjoy a spa treatment; are entertained every night by singers, dancers, bands, magicians, comedians; can relax by a pool or in a hot tub; sit on a balcony and watch the rhythm of the waves; learn to cook or play bridge.  We sailed out of San Diego for a 4 day cruise to Vancouver and loved every minute of it.
Now we look forward to the October cruise on “Allure”, the largest ship on the seas and then in January a trip on “Ruby Princess”.  Check now for further information and reservations.
Also in October is a wonderful trip to the Music Cities of the US.  Join with a group raveling to New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville.  Listen to jazz, visit Beale Street, and wander the halls of Elvis’ Graceland.
But what about now….how about summer things we can enjoy.  The Museum of Communication shows us the evolution of the telephone; the Georgetown Trailer Park Mall brings us in touch with one of the newest crazes with food and boutique trucks; Longbeach and a day at the ocean even includes a surprise lunch.  And don’t forget there is a Dinner Date and a Mystery Trip each month.  Those are always a surprise as we try out new restaurants and explore new highways and byways.
In August we are heading to Leavenworth for a fun filled time of three stage shows.  See “Sound of Music”, “Thoroughly Modern Millie”, and “Annie Get Your Gun” all in one weekend.  Reservations must be made early in order to reserve tickets.
For all reservations and information call Linda Finch at 253 927 8207 or ask to be added to the email list for all current updates at