Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Long Time No See

I'm going to get some posting done. First, where did I go last week?

I did a Disney Cruise on the Disney Wonder ship (see below - click on ship for blow up picture). It was primarily for KJita's benefit of course. It was also my first cruise, so it was a new experience for me. I'm sure that to some extent, Disney's experience is somewhat unique. My thoughts:

Not really a cheap vacation. Food was plentiful and "free" but the alcohol (read beer) was about 4-5 bucks a pop. I smuggled some Makers Mark on board, so I didn't have to buy any sipping drinks. I did like the "beer" deal though. For $9.99 you buy a nice Disney mug (22 oz.). You then pay the price from any bar for their tap beer which is normally served in 16 oz. glases. You get the 6 oz. free. I made money on that deal.

I'm kind of a space person. I felt like I had to go into the hall to change my mind, and I had one of the mid to upper level priced rooms. Which means nothing, really, as to size of the room. There are only about a half dozen bigger rooms on the boat. Your room cost is based mostly on (1) location (stay away from the engine), (2) middle of boat for smoother ride, (3) near the elevators, and (4) exterior room (meaning you get a view and/or a balcony).

Service was great. Food was quite good. Drinks were not outrageous. They were cheaper than Turner Field, but I hated paying for them.

The Disney private island and beach was pretty cool. Great investment by Disney I'm sure.

The Disney characters were mostly good, but Pochahanntus looked Native Philipino, not Native American. Mulan looked as asian as Tiger Woods (yes, he is 50% asian), and as black as well. Aurora (left), KJita's favorite princess, was a little old for the job. I mean, c'mon, Aurora is only 16 in the movie. Cinderella was hot. Smokin'. So was Belle. Snow White was the least attractive, but she is in the cartoon as well, so that was expected.

The staff took my daughters' pillow case, which we brought for the autographs, and had all the characters sign it, so we didn't have to wait in lines for all of them unless KJita wanted a picture. Which she did quite often. Other characterws included, of course, the Mice (below right, with Kwan), Donald, Goofey, Pluto, Chip and Dale, Peter Pan, Hook and Smee, Stitch, and others.

The Broadway type shows were fun, but they were not Broadway shows per say. For example, they did not have the Broadway version of the Lion King or Beauty and the Beast. The first night they did a short musical based on the Disney movie Hercules. It was funny, especially the Hades character. The next two nights were shorts celebrating Walt Disney, the movies, etc. Enough Disney already!

The duty free shop on the ship had a good selection of Scotch. I do not understand why KJita can't bring a bottle back into the states though. That hurt. The Johnny Walker Blue was $135 on the ship, but I waited and found it for $132 in Nassau (and also found it on the same block for $156, so it pays to shop around a little). I also got a free leather Johnny Walker duffle bag from the Nassau store. I couldn't find any Macallan 18 in Nassau, so I bought it off the boat.

Personally, I liked it, but I would prefer to go to Sandles/Beaches, where my drinks are free also. Throw in some Disney princesses, and I'm sure I could sell it to KJita as well.

Four days is not really enough though. You have a half day when you board, and last day is wake up, eat and get out! So it is really 2 1/2 days, 3 nights. If I do it again (and I'm sure I will), I'll go a little longer and not so close to tuition time for KJita.

Since I'm not a travel writer, let me tell you about my Manhattan business trip in early April.

I stayed at the QT. In expensive, small rooms. I did this because my conference sold out before I signed up, but it also saved me money on my budget for more drinking and entertainment. It has a weird mixture of nice and cheap. The bed was really comfortable, a rarity in hotels other than Starwood and other high end chains. All rooms have a flat screen TV and DVD player. It had the pay per view, and the towels were as large and nice as anywhere. No tub (which I didn't mind). Very small toilet room though.

The rest of the room? Think Ikea decor, but without the sense of style. Yes, very modern, but not my style. I paid a little extra for a table so I could work (most rooms don't have one). It was small, round and had no drawers. The chair was plastic and uncomfortable. Oh, the room had wireless internet and helpful tech support (yes, I had to call), a fridge and a safe.

The bar at the QT is a hip spot. It was for ultra hip, beautiful people. Not me. Pile On maybe. It looked into the underwater part of the pool.

Overall, fine for a sleeping room and bigger than a cruise ship room. Light on service. If it isn't your money, and you don't need to worry about maxing out your budget, stay at one of the Times Square Starwood or Hyatt family hotels.

I had tickets to a Mets game (the Yanks were out of town). It rained out. Of course, a rainticket was worthless to me. So my impression of Shea Stadium is it sucks, and so do the Mets. But I knew that before I went to New York.

Let me just mention two places I found with a friend on Saturday. Both are in Manhattan in the 30's streets. For a great beer menu, try the Ginger Man. This place is a Pile On wet dream. Around 150 beers on tap as I recall. The food menu sucks though.

Keen's Steakhouse had a better food menu, and 100 Single Malt Scotch selections. Many dollars later, we had spent a lot of my expense budget and not had the same scotch twice. Both are highly recommended for reasons stated.

The Producers, Mel Brooks' Broadway show, was very funny, though I did not get to see Lane and Broderick.

And you thought you could only get stuff like this from Conde Naste?


At 8:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What kind of beer do they serve on the Disney ship? Anything good, or is it all megaswill?

At 8:57 PM, Anonymous Brad Warbiany said...

I got one of those $135 bottles of Johnnie Blue on my honeymoon a few years ago... I really need to go back for another... I'm not a scotch guy, but damn is that stuff good!

I, too, would like to hear about the beer selection on the cruise. The wife and I have been talking about a cruise, and it would be good to know whether I'll at least have some premium stuff. (Note, my definition of premium beer is pretty stringent... I'm drinking DogFish Head 90 Minute IPA right now :-D )

And you left out one thing. Which was bigger, your room in Manhattan, or on the cruise? I'm guessing cruise :-)

At 8:54 AM, Blogger KJ said...

Well, on tap was my only concern since I bought the mug. The best selection was typically Amber Bach. So, mostly swill.

I think the room at the QT was bigger.

At 12:17 PM, Blogger Cassandra said...

a Pile On wet dream...???

OK. I am out of here. My girlish illusions about mr. On have just been rudely shattered.

At 3:13 PM, Blogger Doug said...


Hey, at least you were able to smuggle that Maker's Mark onboard. When Kellie and I took the cruise in Hawaii in February, you weren't allowed to bring any outside alcohol on board. I'd brought a bottle of Tanquerey (which had flown with me all the way from Virginia) and it was confiscated when we boarded the ship --- I was allowed to pick it up the morning we left the ship at the end of the cruise.

That was on NCL but the on-board staff said it was a Hawaiian thing. Frankly, I'm not sure whether they were being truthful with me or not.

At 4:49 PM, Blogger KJ said...


I call BS on the Hawaii factor.

It's a profit thing.

At 5:20 PM, Blogger Doug said...


I agree. Although it was interesting that it was the port security people, and not NCL employees who were doing the confiscating.

Fortunately, our room was located conveniently close to one of the ships many bars.

At 6:51 AM, Blogger Pile OnĀ® said...

Isn't a wet dream something you have when you are not getting any "beer"?

I get more "beer" than one man has a right to "get".

And I fully support the notion of Philipino-American Pochahanntii.

At 3:00 PM, Blogger spd rdr said...

Sounds like a heckuva couple of trips, KJ. I could use a vacation myself. Can I send the rdrs with you next time?

At 1:51 AM, Blogger camojack said...

LBFM Pocahontas?

Anyway, sca-REW all things Disney!!!


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