Friday, August 31, 2012


Remember this from last post?

At Sevastopol's Dophinarium, the kids went SWIMMING with the Dolphins!!!

Ok, not much description necessary...just ENJOY!!!

And thanks to Alix and Austin, who helped in the photography as  Hutch, Emerson, Julia and Mary Cecile went in the pool with some new friends!

Just waiting for our turn.

We waited to be last...

First up--Mary Cecile and Julia!

Then it was Hutch's and Emerson's turns!!!

Having fun??

Yeap, it was a hit!!!

Definitely worth the wait!!!!!

(and MUCH cooler than war monuments.......)

2012 SFC-- Sevastopol

What to do in Sevastopol?
It's a home port for the Russian Navy...a place of siege in World War II and a marine study base.

Here's the memorial to the victims of the Great Patriotic War. (or World War II, as the rest of us call it).

It also has a kick-ass Dolphinarium.  More on that later.

And, with the help of my iPhone One World translator app, fairly easy to get around.

But not without some funny moments.

We decided not to take a tour in Sevastopol, as they mostly covered military and history sights. With young kids in tow, we headed to visit the Aquarium and Dolphinarium.

In Russian. Totally in Russian.

Not to sound preciously American, but most of the places we have visited have had interpreters or the residents speak a smattering of English.  Not Sevastopol.  We were on our own, out in the weeds, and yes, my Russian is rusty. (Oh, cut me some slack--it's been 30 years since I studied it!!)

But with the translator app, we were able to buy tickets and figure out how to swim with dolphins.  Go figure.

First stop, the Aquarium.

Looking for Nemo.

Still trying to find Nemo.


Oh, if only the teachers could see that we are LEARNING on vacation...

Crocodile toes.

Hey Dude!

Haven't seen Nemo either.

Don't question the piranha.

Now this is one cool critter...

I don't know exactly WHAT he is...but I think he was the model for the Creature from the Black Lagoon.

Having found Nemo (and the rest of the clown fish) we headed off in search of dolphins.  Emerson was on a flower kick, and stopped often by the beautiful public beds.

Yes we found it!

But we were 15 minutes late for the beginning of the show...and in true Soviet Ukranian fashion, the ticket seller would  not let us in....but that was okay...we had fun waiting for the end of the show.

This old guy made a LOT of noise...

as did THIS character.

Lots of fun had by all.

Oh, dolphins?? You want dolphins???
You are gonna have to wait for the next post.....

Follow me!!!!

2012 SFC-- Yalta

Well, today's blog post is coming to you from the  dining room of Maison Cou Rouge West--more commonly known as CruiseGran's Shreveport house.  I don't have high-speed internet yet...that comes (Comcast and the Internet Gods willing) on Tuesday, and for now it's all via the iPhone's hotspot.  But as my good and faithful readers have been subject to my vomiting my emotions all over my keyboard  sharing my emotions, thoughts and feelings of the past month, I decided it was high time for an update to the Summer Family Cruise.

No applause necessary.

Well, back to June.  After sailing through the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus, simultaneously shouting "hello" to both Europe and Asia, we headed into the Black Sea for a week's work of visiting.  First stop, Yalta.

How lucky we were to find a party waiting to happen!

Ok, I was excited to see Yalta.  After all, Yalta was the location of  Her Imperial Majesty, Empress Alexandra of Russia's favorite palace, Livadia.   But first, it was a stop at the memorial to the victims and heros of World War II.

(My, we are a good looking bunch, aren't we??

The thoughtful and caring crew of Crystal Cruises had arranged for us to place memorial flowers next the the eternal flame.

And then it was off to Livadia.

My Alix at Empress Alix's.

(Nope--the name's not coincidental.  I named Alix in honour of her.)

Then Alix returned the favor.

Beautiful details at the main entrance.

Most people are more familiar with the Livadia Palace than they realize.  It was the sight of the famous meeting of Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill in 1945 that has become known in history as the Yalta Conference.

Here is the large meeting table still on view.

My favorite spot, however, was the Italian Courtyard.

It sounds hokey, but I loved thinking that I was walking in the very spot that Empress Alexandra had walked100 years earlier.

I was able to get up close to a few Romanov family photos....

Empress Alexandra was considered one of the great beauties of her day.  An example---

She had a nice "front porch".....

Even the weeds were pretty.

I would have loved to stay at Livadia all day, but we had other sites to see.  We visited the diminutive Swallow's Nest Castle, perched precariously high above the sea.

And then we visited the beautiful St. Mikhail's Church.

It was a brief trip, but so rewarding.  Back at the ship, the clouds rolled in briefly, giving me the chance to catch some sunrays.

Hutch was all smiles.

And at the other end of the "bowling alley", Suzanne caught us up on THEIR day, while Bill shared (or rather BEGGED) our next-door neighbor to share some --um-- interesting  Crimean wine...

And, as we sailed away, the public beach seemed to be the happening place.

Another great port--another great day!!!!!