Shopping at Chadstone

We had a VERY slow morning. After the long day and early start yesterday it was nice to just hang in bed (something I never do at home) with a cup (or more) of tea and enjoy this view. I also edited some vlogs and later ate breakfast in bed. Kevin opted for granola while I had sourdough toast with strawberry jam.

Many, many hours later we had our showers and got dressed for the day. Kevin needed to go to an Apple store to buy a better charger for his watch so we decided to head to Chadstone shopping center. I’ve never been before but knew it was supposed to be nice shopping – though we were more interested in browsing as we aren’t big shoppers any more.

Before we went to the shops I wanted to have a little drive along the foreshore to see a little of St. Kilda.

The drive to Chadstone wasn’t the best with LOTS of traffic but we eventually got there. We were lucky to arrive when there were still some parking spost available (on the rooftop), but it was crazy busy. Neither of us realized there were BLACK FRIDAY sales on !!

I was excited to see this Disney car parked right near us.

Thankfully the center did require facemasks to be worn. We wouldn’t have stayed if they weren’t. Most people were complying. Shops also had limits of the number of people allowed in. The center is lovely, esp. decorated for Christmas. It is huge and I’m sure we visited just a portion of the shops.

First stop was, of course, the Apple store. I thought it was a good opportunity to go to the bathroom, but I got lost when I came out – having taken wrong turn and ended up in the next corridor to where I should have been. I had to laugh at myself and use find my friends to see if I was headed in the right direction.

After being reunited we ventured down to the food court in search of lunch. Kevin suggested Schnitz since they have vegan options. I thought this was a good choice and we were able to be seated straight away. I had the Garden of Vegan wrap. I haven’t had one in the longest time and I’d forgotten how good they were. Kevin enjoyed a Chicken Parmigana.

I’d gotten excited when we passed a Bath & Body Works earlier, and though I don’t really buy all the stuff I used to from there (trying to buy more natural & ethical brands) I thought it would be very holiday like to check it out. Thankfully the line to get in wasn’t too long and actually moved quickly. We waited around 10 mins, which we really appreciated because the store, though busy, wasn’t super crowded. Plus you had to show proof of double vaccination to enter.

The black Friday sale was buy 3 things, get 3 things free. It was fun getting to sniff everything (though Kevin did say it felt strange/wrong during this covid time). Just a few years back I would have bought so many things but this time we ended up with 6 3-wick candles. A good choice really since the weight means we never bring back more than 1 or 2 when we visit the states.

We then went to Peter Alexander which is always a fun store to look around and we picked some jammies for Christy for Christmas.

Kevin spotted the cardboard dog just as walked into the store and we thought it looked very like Koda. How cute is it?

On our way back to the car Kevin picked up a few treats to eat and we went to Starbucks since he had 2 free drinks to claim. We both had Green Tea Frappuccinos. It’s something I very rarely have so did enjoy it.

Just as were about to leave we spotted a Coles so decided to pop in and get a few supplies so we didn’t need to stop on the way home.

We were pretty tired by now and glad to have this task over and done with. Back at the car it took quite some time to exit the carpark due to the number of cars entering and trying to find parking spots. So glad we arrived when we did. There was much less traffic on the road and it only took us 20mins to get back to the apartment.

I spent some time writing up yesterdays blog post before we watching some YouTube. Dinner tonight was some rice paper rolls that we pick up today from Roll’d. They were okay but not as nice as they could have been. I think the ones I make myself are tastier. But I definitely appreciated not having to make dinner.

The sunsets here are pretty late – close to 8.30pm but I’m loving getting to see them as it’s something we don’t experience at home.

Just as were going to bed I realized how pretty it was when the sun had gone down and the city lights were on show.

Tomorrow : Markets and a walk around St Kilda

Day 19 & 20 – Last days of the cruise

Our last two days of the cruise were sea days as we made our way back to Fort Lauderdale. On day 18 I still wasn’t feel great – but was certainly better than the day before. Still a good bit nauseous and my appetite had not yet returned.

View from the Diamond Club

The day basically went as follows :

Breakfast at Windjammers , time in the Diamond Club lounge, reading in our room, lunch in the Dining Room, a spa & swim, reading in our room, dinner at Windjammers, back to our room to watch some Vlogmas videos.

Chopped salad from the dining room
Sunset at sea

Our last day was pretty much the same, except for the swim. And thankfully I was feeling even better again and my appetite is almost back to normal.

Breakfast at Windjammers, time in the Diamond Club lounge, reading in our room, lunch in Windjammers, PACKING, reading in our room, dinner at Windjammers (with our tablemates from the dining room), put luggage outside room, read.

Breakfast from Windjammers
Reading in the Diamond Club
One of tonights dinner options in Windjammers
Vegetable Mongolian Stirfry from Windjammers

Can’t believe the cruise is almost over. We have enjoyed it and really enjoyed the South American ports but I do think I might prefer other modes of travel for now, or at least cruises with less sea days. I guess after 20 years of cruising our lifestyle/needs have changed somewhat and we probably aren’t getting what we used to out of cruising.

Day 16 – Late arrival into Aruba

No alarm this morning but I still woke about 6am (which was now 7am since our time zone had changed again but we didn’t realize this until 12pm

Kevin kindly went and got some soy milk so I could make a tea & a coffee for himself. about 9am (which was 10am) we went to have breakfast at Windjammers. We sat out the back in the open which was nice and cool due to the sea breeze.

My typical breakfast on this cruise

After breakfast we went for a little exploration of the ship. We checked out the Diamond Club (for Diamond level cruisers). Would be a lovely area to use if we didn’t have our own balcony. We sat and enjoyed the view over the pool area for a little bit…

then checked out some of the bar areas….

And other areas around the ship.

and then around some of the outdoor decks. It was pretty windy out there today, but still very warm.

Back in the room for a bit where, after sitting outside in the sun for about 10mins, I worked on catching up on my blog posts. Kevin had a little nap. About 2pm there was a knock on our cabin door with a special delivery (for being diamond club members. And I confess I had half of the strawberry and half of the chocolate cup. Both were delicious. But it meant we had dessert before lunch !!

Finally we realized the correct time and about 2.30pm we went back to Windjammers (again) for a late lunch. We had planned to go the dining room but it was closed by the time we were ready for lunch. We ate outside again but this time at the back of the boat.

I spent the rest of afternoon desperately trying to catch up on the last few days blog posts before I forget all the details. We arrived in Aruba about 4pm (not that we can see much as we are facing the ocean) and after I finally finished off yesterdays blog, we headed ashore.

Dinner tonight was a surprise Kevin – The Dutch Pancake House. It was about 10 min walk and was in a really lovely place – all lit up for Christmas and there even a band/singing performance going on nearby. So we finally got to listen to some Caribbean music (sadly this ship doesn’t have a Caribbean band onboard.

Kevin and I both had pancakes. I had fruit delight and Kevin had bananas with a pina colada sauce (turns out it was our waiters invention). Both were delicious and they were the thin pancakes which I really prefer.

After dinner we strolled through the complex (mainly restaurants but some shops) and back to the ship.

We were hot and sweaty when we got back (still 28C outside) so I decided to have a cool shower to freshen up (not much point having one in the morning since we’ll be going swimming). Kevin and I then did face masks (it’s not Kevin’s normal thing but he was happy to join me). I then wrote up this post (yes, I’m all up to date and current) – just need to add in photos when I get the chance.

Going to read for a bit then go to sleep.

Day 12 – All access ship tour

It was another slow morning for us (no surprises there) and eventually we decided to get dressed and head for breakfast about 9.15am. Before leaving I asked Kevin to check what time our all access tour of the ship was. And guess what? Instead of being in the afternoon like we had both thought for some reason, it was a 9.45am. So instead of breakfast we headed to the meeting area. Then read that long pants were required so Kevin (who was wearing shorts) had to go back to the room to change. No to worry we were still ready in plenty of time.

The tour was really good – we had a talk by the dining room manager, walked through the kitchens (which are always amazing to see), the storage rooms and ONE of the meat freezers, the Engineers room and laundry – always have someone from that department to talk to us.

And luckily we also got to see the bridge. We really enjoyed this 2 hour tour and though it was reasonably expensive, feel that it was well worth it, if you are interested in the behind the scenes operations of these big ships. Kevin and I thought the best part was the galley. It’s always amazing seeing the work that goes into providing meals for everyone at sea.

Since we had missed breakfast, again, we headed right to Windjammers at the conclusion of the tour. My lunch today was salad, potato and bread (which you will see is a pretty reoccuring theme whenever we eat in Windjammers).

A 2 hour non-stop walking tour was quite a lot for my body so we pretty much just chilled in the room for the afternoon – reading (and I also did some computer work). I would have sat outside but it was way too steamy.

Before 5.30pm we got ready for dinner and headed off to the dining room.

I had tortilla soup (which was yummy, but a little spincy, vegan bolognases (delicious) and a “cheesecake” which was super sweet so I really only had a few bites. We had two new dinner companions tonight – from the UK. Luckily it was easier to here everyone nearby tonight.

We didn’t stay for tea/coffee as we wanted to catch the 7pm show – which we did. It was the usually. Nothing too outstanding (especially after our cirque shows in Vegas) but we enjoyed it anyway.

After the show it was back to the room and off to bed.