Canadian Cruise Update

Royal Carribbean Explorer of the Seas

Royal Carribbean Explorer of the Seas

Last Saturday I returned from a wonderful 9 day Canadian Cruise from New Jersey to Portland Me, then Bar Harbor Me, Then St Johns and Halifax Canada and finished up with Boston and back to NJ. I taught “Scrapbooking for Quilters” to 70 quilters. Almost everyone that took the class went home with a finished 5 port wall hanging. We had a ton of fun and I met a bunch of fun Cruisin Quilters!

I went alone as Zebra Patterns was still very busy sending out FabricPlates™ all over the country. Gary had to stay home! 😦 Everyone else I asked to come was also tied up! I took advantage of the downtime and created 50 new license plates for next year’s Row by Row Experience! They are really going to be nice! They will have the flavor of the traditional plate but with a bit more emphasis on the theme – which will be announced in Houston!

We sailed on the Royal Caribbean ship Explorer of the Seas. The food was great, the shows were awesome and the ports were very interesting. So here is how my trip went down. I traveled from Baltimore to Newark airpot via Amtrak. It is a great mode of transportation – easy – no lines – cheaper and on time! I had wifi all the way up and worked the whole way. That was a great move! I brought one large suitcase and two huge boxes. That was NOT a great move! I should have shipped the projects to the boat – lesson learned! I arrived at the hotel to meet Deb Lutrell of Stitchin Heaven who runs the quilt cruise. We stayed at The Extended Stay Inn…Note to self – NEVER stay at an Extended Stay in in Bayonne NJ! OMG! The hotel was nasty! But we made it. We boarded the ship at 10 and somehow the 90 sewing machines that Deb had sent got caught in traffic and did not arrive on board until 3:30pm – we set sail at 4! Deb brings Bernina machines for every sewer. Deb’s Stitchin Heaven staff of 2, plus a few helpers, along with myself and the two other teachers opened 90 sewing machines. Deb also ships her own tables. We had to open and set up 40 tables. Once the machines were unpacked they all needed to be cleaned, threaded with a new needle and tested. Each sewer had an assigned seat and a bag of pre-purchased goodies. We started setting up at 3:30 and did not finish until 11:30! We broke for dinner and a short meet and greet. Classes started the next morning at 9-3.

It is quite a feat to get everything prepared for a 9 day stitching cruise! My first day went great. I had thirty great quilters and we made a lot of noise and had fun! I really enjoyed it! I was surprised at how many quilters attended. I was also surprised that many of those quilters do this every year – sometimes twice a year! We also had scores of regular cruisers stop in that were quilters who wanted to join in! The first day of sewing was Friday. The next day at sea was the following Wednesday! No teaching for 5 days. However I made myself very available for anyone who wanted help by hanging out in the sewing room quite often. I was surprised to see how many sewers sewed for long hours each day. Many did not even get off at the ports! The last day of teaching was Friday. I really enjoyed meeting all the ladies and one husband who sewed. We had one mishap – a lady from Oklahoma fell on the dock in Halifax and broke her upper arm and had to be flown home. That was unfortunate! She had surgery to put in plates to her arm today!

Overall it was a great experience. I teach again next fall with Deb and Stitchen Heaven when we cruise to Alaska! Hope some of you can join us! It is going to be great! I have uploaded some pix of the trip.


My cabin had a kingsize bed, a huge porthole and room service!


View at Bar Harbor Maine – Loved that Port!


Weather was nice enough to eat outside!


Lobster Rolls! Yummy!


Everywhere I go I see License Plates! OMG!


I walked through 3-4 churches at every port – LOVE art in churches!


Canadian Plates!

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I visited the Halifax Art Museum – loved this artist!


Annie Leibovitz had an exhibition in that same art museum!


Halifax, Nova Scotia – Favorite Port of ALL!


Public Gardens in Halifax! Spectacular! This flower was over 6 inches in diameter!


Incredible Roses!


Dinner size plate Dahlias! Just amazing!

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This is standing in the middle of the Promenade on board the ship looking left……


and looking right! Amazing boat! They had an ice rink, mini golf and rock climbing!


Two great quilters – Carolyn and Jeannie from Florida. They were my dinner table mates.


8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Karen Miller
    Sep 24, 2014 @ 01:35:46

    Debra congratulations! It looks like sew much fun…. woohoo!


  2. JRHerold
    Sep 24, 2014 @ 21:11:37

    Love the pics! Thanks for sharing. Setting up sounded like a race! You all won!


  3. terrysthoughtsandthreads
    Sep 25, 2014 @ 20:06:07

    Glad to hear the cruise was successful. Seems like a very happy group.

    Is there any further information on when the Postcard Party fabrics and related materials will be made available? I would order now if I new where to find the information. I’m introducing the project to our needlework/quilting guild on October 1st, and would like to have samples to display and demonstrate.

    Thanks for any information you can offer.

    Terry Palardy, Quilters’ Quarters, Georgetown, Massachusetts.


  4. Zebra Patterns by Debra Gabel
    Sep 25, 2014 @ 20:26:12

    Terry –
    Yes there is more information – we have had a very unexpected delay as Janet Lutz has fallen ill.Janet is the founder of Row by Row. We do have an emergency plan in progress and are aiming to have everything out to state coordinators on or before Monday. We are hoping to have a working link by Sept 27, 2014 at the Zebra Site.


  5. terrysthoughtsandthreads
    Sep 25, 2014 @ 23:17:24

    Wishing Janet well, and sending virtual hugs and prayers for her health. Thank you for all that you are both doing to help small quilt shops hold their own in this economy. Bravo to both of you!


  6. Isabelle
    Dec 12, 2015 @ 23:36:02

    Very enjoyable, loved all the Photo’s. would love to go on a quilting cruise, but I never hear of when there are. Isabelle


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