Nineties Party Theme Games For The Adults

For many of us the nineties were the golden days and these nineties party games should help to revive the good vibes from college days.

Corn hole:

This is a classic game played by college kids and still very popular so lots of your guests will probably already know how it goes. Plus these nineties party games are very simple so you shouldn’t have any trouble with the instructions for playing. The bags for these nineties party games are easily constructed from dried beans and fabrics sown into squares. You can write the guests’ names on a separate tag or sew appliqués for each guest directly on the bags, then they can take the bags home as their own special party favors. You’ll also need a wooden box around three by four feet with a circular hole cut in it. This will serve as your goal for the guests to throw their bags into at the nineties party games.

Pyramid:

For this fun nineties party game you’ll need at least six players to create the Pyramid. Although you can use as many players as you need to create a large pyramid. Make the pyramid a little easier to create make everyone lie down instead of getting on their hands and knees. A pyramid of six people would have a bottom row of three people, then the second row of two people lay on top and the lightest top person would lie on the top.

Remember for this nineties party game to ask your guests to dress up in nineties style clothing. The most people you can usually get in your pyramid are about twenty-one people before those on the bottom start getting crushed under all the weight.

Though the nineties weren’t real big on group games the guests will love the nostalgic trip through time with these two games designed to bring up fond memories of just hanging around with friends.

Shih Chon

Shih Chon is a dog that is a cross between a Bichon Frise and a Shih Tzu. Shih Chon is a great companion and a perfect dog to keep around the house and are medium size dogs and usually do not get much bigger than a big cat.

Thus, they are not suitable for outside. Make sure someone from the family is with them when the dog is outside. The dog should be provided nice fenced backyard to play. This would help them to keep safe from other dogs. These dogs are perfect family dogs and mix up easily. They are excellent companion with kids, and they are very loving. Shih Chon is a lap dog and needs to be attended every time. They are keen to sit on your lap always. Generally they sit on the lap quietly however sometimes they like to jump up and sit in the head of the households lap. So you need to watch out, it is going to want to sit in your lap.

The Shih Chon usually weigh about 8 to 15 pounds, thus, the dog is small and can be easily made sit on lap and you do not have to worry about them getting too big. The dog is pretty calm and if you want to scale their calmness then on a scale from one to ten (ten being the highest), they range about a 3. Although the dog is small in size then too sometime it show wild behavior. As the Shih Chon is gentle and is not very active, it makes a great dog for the retired people. The dog if properly trained can even will sit and watch TV with you or sit next to you when you are playing video games; this is the dog for you. At times the dog will not sleep and only watch you doing things and will company you till late night.

The Shih Chon watch fast moving things eagerly and most of the time they will watches your hands, because they move fast. As the dog is medium size and has a single coat it sheds less hair or no shedding. So the Shih Chon is perfect dog for those who hates matting or are allergic to dog hairs. Let’s thanks to these designer dogs, like the Shih Chon, now you can own your own dog. One should give this a try. The dog has a well built body and has great personality. Shih Chon is not a independent dog.

The dog hates to be alone and if left for long period can be a victim of separate anxiety. However, if proper care of the dog is taken they can outlive most big dogs, but fall short of outliving the smaller dogs. Generally, the dog is healthy however; it does have some health problems like skin infections, cushing syndrome, dental disease, patellar luxation, bladder and kidney stones. The average life span of the dog is 12 years.

The Importance of Video and Computer Games

It was only in the 1970 when video games started becoming a tool for entertainment and fun. Ever since, the industry of video and computer games has not looked back. The entertainment industry saw video games increase at a galloping speed in the next few decades. In the world of technology and innovation, computer games have played an important role.

They are constantly developing new strategies, techniques such that the games become increasingly appealing and exciting. Interestingly video games can be played on a hand device, mobile phones, dedicated consoles to gaming, and computers among various other options. The interactiveness of the video games is one which increases the popularity and growth of the industry.

There are many different types of companies which makes computer games. Usually most of the company’s indulge in specializing in a certain category of games. Thus each of these companies usually addresses the needs of a certain and specified age group. The variety of video games which are present on date is in fact fascinating and an accomplishment. It surely deserves mention when we talk of this booming industry. Games include adventure games, action games, educational and knowledge games, simulations or role playing games, practice games, math games, logical games, and strategy and management games among other types.

On the other hand, there is a huge investment of multimillion dollars which is essential for the designing and development of these video games. However, still the market is one which has exponential growth and is still booming.

Various experts and specialists have undertaken research in this domain. They have come to the conclusion that these games are of extreme importance since they are beneficial in the following ways:

· Increase the player’s skill and imagination level

· Moreover one becomes quicker and the speed of reaction is unimaginable

· They teach children and adolescents some basic skills in an enjoyable fashion

· A child or even an adult acquires a very complex skill with the help of computer games

· With the help of computer simulations educational institutions support vocational and multi disciplinary learning

· Interestingly research has proven that computer games have been an exemplary tool to solve problems like confining spaces, heights and phobia.

· Moreover, language and learning disabilities have also been cured with the use of computer games.

Essentially the underlying factor is that the players should not get addicted to the video games. In that case the benefits would work to the optimal level. Moreover, the innocent children should not be misled to acts of aggression and violence as many of the video games depict. Parents need to pay tremendous attention that a video game should not affect their children’s behavior and thinking in any adverse manner.

Classic Game Review: Chivalry

Lady Jennifer pulled back on the reins of the team and attempted to back the wagon under the miller’s window. “Oh, dear!” milady exclaimed in frustration, “There goes another sack of flour. The miller really ought to make them of sterner stuff.” Seeing his precious flour dissemble in the wind, the miller decided to give Lady Jennifer a piece of his mind, nobility or not. “You clumsy oaf! I’m ruined!” Lady Jennifer went on to win the game, even after failing in some of the arcade games within the larger game. That is one of the best points about this family game. One doesn’t have to master every phase of it in order to win. Even the least coordinated member of the family can win.

Chivalry is a family game built around the medieval ideal of noblesse oblige. It is a series of arcade games and mini-adventure scenarios built around a board game format. Unlike many games which use both a board and the computer, the computer portion of the game contains some very fine graphics. In fact, the game could actually be played without the board, but the players would lose some of the enjoyment of immediately being able to compare the progress of their token with the tokens of the other players. The board also assists the players by visually directing them toward the goal (The Black Knight’s Castle) and providing a sense of accomplishment when they get by an obstacle. Perhaps, one of the best things in the game’s favour is that one doesn’t have to master each feature within the game in order to advance or even, win. My nine year old daughter (Lady Jennifer) gets very frustrated with arcade games of the traditional sort where one must master one screen before moving on to the next. In CHIVALRY, one loses a turn or goes back some spaces, but is never completely defeated by a screen.

This does a lot for morale, especially for some of us who will never be known as coordinated. Another positive difference between Chivalry and traditional arcade games is that each screen is a completely different game with a different challenge. The hill may seem to be DEJA VU of DONKEY KONG or CANNON-BALL BLITZ, but the mill (described above), the archer’s meet, the dart game at the Den of Thieves Inn, the willow path and the laurel maze are entirely different. My personal favourite involves jousting at either the Templar’s Castle or the Lists. of course, Chivalry is also an educational game. Besides the background colour of a historic period, the game facilitates learning in at least one other way. Each player must read a large text description of his move and his challenge on the screen. The text is easy to read and is surrounded by pleasant graphics. The text appears on the screen in short panels.

Panels linger long enough for most players to read them and faster readers may take advantage of the “fast text” feature of pressing the space bar to advance to the next panel. In this way, slow or beginning readers are not embarrassed by missing any of the important information, clues or instructions presented in the panels. The improving reader, however, has the incentive of learning how to speed up the game. If the panels are still moving too fast, the player may pause the game by pressing the escape key. Another possible educational feature is that of making decisions. Several of the mini-adventure scenarios require the player to make a choice. For example, a noble arriving at the Market are invited to choose between a fine wine, a common food and a bear potion. Seeing a bear cave two spaces ahead, the precocious adventurer will buy the bear potion. The astute noble will also listen to passer-by’s about bandits, special numbers, and their fortune. If the adventurous noble can remember this information, it will help him/her at a later time.

Chivalry is a delightful family game. It is, of course, to most adult computer games what LIFE is to adult board games, extremely simple. Yet, it is a game that offers some interesting challenges to adults, as well as children. It will take several playing sessions before even Dad has mastered all the screens. Even then, it’s nice to have a game that the youngsters don’t have to feel intimidated about and are willing and even excited about playing. Once they’ve played Chivalry, how are you going to keep them away from Fantasy Role Playing? it’s not going to be possible!

The Short Term Effects of Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying does have negative consequences. The effects of cyber bullying can be short-term or if not dealt with can create long-lasting problems that can significantly impact the life of the target as well as the bully themselves.

Effects of Online Bullying

As a parent, it is your responsibility to check how much time your child spends in front of the computer. More importantly, you need to keep an eye on what each of them is doing. If you observe something strange, do not ignore these signs, even if it seems something small – step out and investigate.

You need to do this as the short-term consequences of online bullying may start out small but they can significantly develop and impact your child’s future.

Lets take a look at some of the effects of cyber bullying for the target

Severe Depression – A child being bullied online can experience depression that can cause them to avoid people, even parents.

Loss of Self-Worth – A target of bullying may lose confidence in themselves. The actions, words or any other methods of bullying can push a child to doubt themselves, to not to believe in their strengths and abilities, and cause them to think that they are worthless.

Difficulty in Sleeping – The effects of cyber bullying are not limited to the times when your child is online. It extends to different aspects in their life, even sleep. The combination of fear, depression, anxiety and all other negative effects, may prevent them from having a regular, complete and restful sleep.

Physical Indications – There could also be physical symptoms which may include things like constant stomach pains, headaches and the like.

Anxiety – A child who is bullied online may be worried about almost everything for no reason.

Lack of Interest in School – Your child’s lack of interest in going to school can mean not finishing their studies or doing poorly.

If you see any of these signs; if your child just doesn’t appear to be their normal selves; if you notice a difference in their behavior – make sure you take the time to find out what is going on.

Effects of Cyber Bullying on Bullies

Online bullying does not only affect the target of the bullying, but it can also have an impact on the bully. As stated earlier, parents should keep watch of their children. Whether they are bullied or they bully others, there will always be negative effects – these may include:

Trouble in Making Friends and Maintaining Relationships – A bully, due to their intimidating attitude and personality, may find it hard to make friends. The few friendships that they do have may be built on fear, thus they are more difficult to maintain.

Struggles in School – Being an online bully may impact your child’s interest in studying. What they are doing online may consume them and with all this going on, there may be a lot less room for other important things like study.

Problems with the law – In many countries and states, there is an increase in laws against cyber bullying. A child who is bullying others online may at some stage be charged, this means they could end up with a criminal conviction against them and the repercussions of this are huge.

Short-term or long-term, the effects of cyber bullying can be devastating. Your child does not deserve a ruined life due to being bullied or bullying others. These possible consequences of online bullying are a sobering reminder as to how important it is to keep an eye on what your children are doing online.

Spicing Up Your Relationship

Most of the time, the reason the spark has gone out is because things have become mundane or routine. The fastest way to rekindle that flame is to change things around and break that routine.

If you and your partner are accustomed to having sex at the same time of the day or at a certain day of the week, chances are that you have started to think of sex as a chore or something to schedule. Simply having sex at a different time of the day can spice things up. Changing your position can also raise your couple temperature. Purchase a book with illustrations of new ways to connect. Look at the book together and once the giggles have subsided get creative.

While you are having your spontaneous sex consider using a mirror as a prop. Position a large mirror so that you both can watch. Humans respond to what they can see and watching each other in a mirror can really heat some things up. If your shyness or vanity makes you one of the types that can’t do it with the lights on, try positioning some scented candles around the mirror. The soft glow will only add to the ambiance and heighten the passion.

Other things to try involve creativity and fun. Start your evening with an innocent board game, but change the rules. For each point earned in the game a kiss is exchanged or an article of clothing is removed. Soon the game will be long forgotten and you will be finding new ways to score. Writing each other love notes is another way to heat things up. Place the notes inside a suit pocket or briefcase. Maybe you can allude to what you will do when you see each other again. The anticipation of a romantic night alone is an amazing aphrodisiac.

Plan a romantic date for your special loved one. Remember how hot things were when you first met and try to recapture some of that energy. Sex experts also highly praise spending a night in a hotel. The change of scenery without the distractions of our daily life can relax us. If booking a hotel is out of the question try taking sex out of the bedroom. There is no reason why an exciting time can’t be had in the rest of your house.

Examples of Mini Trampoline Games for Children and Adults

Sick and tired of the same old boring routine on your rebounder? Did you know you can use a mini trampoline for things other than staying in shape and bouncing up and down? You can get more out of your tramp with a little bit of creativity. We have put together examples of games you can perform on your mini trampoline allowing you to continue having fun with it for many years.

The following trampoline activities are specifically for kids and parents. These can be performed both indoors and outdoors so that your children can savor active play in almost any weather conditions. Prior to trying these types of activities, ensure you have picked the best and safest mini trampoline for your kid.

Count n’ Bounce – For kids just learning to count, a fantastic game to reinforce numbers is this counting game. Simply have your little one count (one, two, three, four…) each and every time they bounce. After they have counted as high as possible, they have to stop bouncing. They can then start again from the beginning. This may seem like a super easy exercise, but it will attain a couple of things. First, it encourages your little one to try learning to count higher to achieve more bounces per round. Second of all, it will help strengthen the numbers they previously understand by tying them to a physical activity. Lastly, it gives your youngster a reason to exercise!

I’ve Got Rhythm – Another great approach to indulge your child in activity on the trampoline is to play music while they bounce. Have them then try jumping to the rhythm of the song. For added fun, rotate between slow and fast songs for variety.

Stop and Jump – For a play on the old classic “red light, green light” game, try “stop and jump” with your youngster. Select a predetermined number, for instance, twenty-five. When you say “Go”, the kid starts off attempting to get to 25 bounces. Whenever you say “Stop”, the little one should stop bouncing. If they fail to stop bouncing, they have to start again. It is hard to stop bouncing on a mini trampoline, particularly when jumping high, so your kids must learn to control their rebounding to be successful.

Catch the Ball – To truly improve hand eye coordination, try throwing a foam or light rubber ball to your child when they are bouncing. As soon as they get it, they can pitch it to you as they continue to leap. Reflexes will be tested here, but make certain your child is skillful on the mini trampoline so that they have much less chance of falling off.

The other activities listed here can be entertaining for everyone. As usual, be sure to stick to the right basic safety procedures for your model of trampoline.

Ball Return – You can utilize your trampoline for activities other than leaping. Place the trampoline against a wall in an angle and toss a small ball at it to utilize it as being a ball return. You can use ping pong balls, tennis balls, or baseballs. We suggest executing this particular exercise outdoors, as a powerful toss could send your ball a far distance.

Competitive Games – Get your friends or family involved in rebounding by having friendly competitive events. Who could bounce for the longest time without stopping? Who can balance on one leg the longest? Who can do ten bounces the fastest? There are many ways for you to hold competitions to determine who will reign as being the mini trampoline champion!

These are just some examples of games you could perform on your mini trampoline. With a little creativity I know you can think of a lot more.

The Race

The nervous thoughts began to fill my stomach as I sat in the locker room moments away from the biggest race of my life. I got up and paced back and forth, trying to control my breathing. Cold sweat already formed on the tips of my fingers. It was less than an hour before my event. I pulled my brand new racing suit out of my bag. This was the “LZR Elite” everyone was talking about. It was a $260 water-resistant suit, the fastest of its kind. My mom had heard about it and had saved enough money to buy one as a Christmas gift.

Careful not to rip it, I slowly slid the size 26 past my clean-shaven legs and it brushed right past them. As the suit neared my waist, I understood the “skin-tight feeling” everyone complained about. The compression suit tightly wrapped around my crotch in an awkward way, making it difficult to walk without flinching. I sprinkled some water onto the suit to test it and was surprised to find that the water bounced right off. I looked into the mirror and shut my eyes as I played out the entire race in my head. I imagined the start, the middle, and the finish. I imagined that I had just won the race. I jumped up and pumped my fists in the air. I smiled and waved to the crowd. But my smile quickly faded. Even then, in my own little world of imagination, doubts filled my mind.

I was racing against Jay Thompson, the fastest freestyler in the state, who also happened to be my longtime teammate and captain. All I ever wanted, all I ever dreamed of was beating Jay in any event. I wanted to prove to him that work beats talent.

Walking out of the locker room, I went and sat down beside my coach.

“Hey coach, how do I  swim  this race?” I asked even though I already knew the answer.

“You nervous?” he asked.

“Yeah, just a little bit.”

“Don’t think about it too much. Just do it like we did in practice. Keep your strokes long and strong and remember to keep your breathing pattern steady. Don’t try to keep up with Jay; you’ll burn up all your energy. Just  swim  your own race. Really kick your legs in the back half and try to get that second place.”

“Okay, thanks coach.”

I wanted to ask if there was any possibility I could win, but instead I nodded my head and left for the warm-up pool.

Heading towards the pool, I looked up into the stands. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were packed into the stands. Parents, friends, teachers, and even a few Division 1 college recruiters had come to watch this state championship meet.

As soon as I entered, I spotted Jay talking with a bunch of swimmers from the other teams.

“Look who’s here,” he said smirking.

His friends turned around and looked at me. Jay singled me out not because I was the second fastest on the team, but because I was the only one who would have the guts to challenge him. Even the coaches were obedient to him. He would make fun of my name, my skinny body. He loved it since it made him feel superior.

“What’s his name again? Jizzy? The one who wants to beat you?” one of his friends asked.

They all started laughing, but I didn’t find it funny. I knew that I had trained harder than he and deserved that first place more than anyone.

He declared loudly in front of everyone, “You don’t have to keep it a secret. We all know you think you can beat me. I know you’ve been working hard, but I’ve been working on my talent.”

I remembered the night when Jay broke the state record. He said to me, “Work will get you nowhere if you have no talent.” But how can you get talent? Can you build talent? He told me only a few athletes are gifted with talent and that I wasn’t one of them. But I would have none of that. I wasn’t the best, but I trained like a champion. I knew that if I trained my hardest, I could  swim  as fast as him.

I walked away from them without saying a word and jumped in the pool to start my warm-up. During the 500 yards of easy  swimming , I practiced the smooth long strokes that coach wanted. Breathe, pull, reach… Breathe, pull, reach. Simple right? I had practiced the same stroke day after day for years. But now my strokes felt foreign to me. The anxiety began to overwhelm me. My head spun. My body tensed. How much more pressure could I endure?

The meet had already started and there were only a couple more races ahead of me. I finished my warm-up and headed to the waiting room early. There were eight seats for the eight finalists for the event. Seeded with the 8th fastest time, I had barely qualified, which meant I would be  swimming  in the farthest lane. The fastest swimmers  swim  in the middle lanes, giving them a clear view of the competitors during the race. As usual, Jay was the number one seed in this event.

The television screen in the room was tuned to a sports network, with two analysts giving a preview of the race.

“… This really isn’t much of a race. It’s not IF Thompson wins, it’s how much he wins by.”

“That’s right. He is a three-time defending state champion and is looking to not only break his own state record that he set last year, but to also break the decade-long national record.”

“Folks, this is an event you will not want to miss. We’ll be back to deliver you live coverage of the men’s fifty yard freestyle… “

“Pretty cool huh?” Jay said behind me.

“Yeah, sure I guess,” I admitted.

“You guess? I’m gonna break the record and it’ll be nationally televised! Oh, and by the way, good luck. You’re gonna need it,” he said and walked away.

The pump-up music started booming from the natatorium speakers, as the PA announcer signaled us to walk out.

“… And nowww, the men’s… fifty yard freeestyyle… “

We walked in a single file line to the pool deck and lined up behind our blocks as the announcer introduced us.

“In lane 1,  swimming  for West Central… In lane 2… “

I strapped on my goggles and put on my cap. Extending my arms, I stretched shoulder to shoulder and took ten deep breaths.

“… And in lane 3, a high school All-American from Rock Valley… “

My lips quivered and my throat dried. I told myself to keep breathing and that everything was okay. But my heart was throbbing uncontrollably. I tried shaking my arms and legs to loosen my stiff body.

“… In lane 4, your top seed in this event, is a 3-time defending state champion and state record holder…  swimming  for Mission Viejo High School… Jayyy Thompsonnn… “

The roaring crowd drowned my thoughts. I picked nervously at my fingernails; and readjusted my goggles and cap, worried they might fall off during my dive.

“… And in lane 5, who was runner-up in this event last year… “

I looked into the stands trying to find my parents so I could wave to them like I always did before my race. I wanted to thank them for everything, for all the support, for all the effort that they put in for me. I kept looking, but I could not pick them out from the hundreds of onlookers.

“… In lane 6, from Lincoln High… And in lane 7… “

This was it. This was my time to shine. All those sleepless nights I spent dreaming of this race; all those hours I spent training day after day, were not for a second place finish. I poured my heart out to prepare for this last race of my high school career. I trained like a champion and now I was ready to win like one.

“… And finally in lane 8, also  swimming  for Mission Viejo, is Jizzzy MacGibsonnn… “

The whistle blew and the official signaled the swimmers to take their marks. It was dead silent… and then whoosh, off we dove into the water.

My hands entered first, in a streamline position. I glided for a few yards and took seven dolphin kicks before I surfaced. Holding my breath, I  swam  the length of the pool and charged into the wall for my flip turn. My feet positioned perfectly as I hit the wall and carried my momentum into the final length. By now, the crowd’s cheers were deafening. I took another five dolphin kicks and  swam  the rest of the race with my head down.

I finished to the wall and took a few seconds to catch my breath. Gasping for air, I lifted my head up and looked at the scoreboard. Out-touching Jay and the others by less than a tenth of a second, I had claimed my first victory.

Now as I looked into the stands, I could pick out my parents from the hundreds of spectators. They were screaming and jumping up and down with joy. I smiled and waved to them and they gave me a thumbs-up.

As I got out of the pool, a news reporter immediately congratulated me.

“Hey, great job. Do you have a moment to tell us about your race?”

“Uh yeah,” I stammered.

I had only dreamed of being interviewed, but reporters never asked me about anything.

“Well, tell me about the race. How did you prepare for it and how did it feel to finally win your first title?”

“I spent months preparing for this race. It took a lot of commitment, but through the pain, through the sweat and tears, I knew that every ounce of effort was worth it.”

I had practiced reciting those exact sentences every night for this moment, and now I was finally able to say them.

Review: Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas From Galveston

I had planned this cruise for seven months. A friend and I who had previously cruised with Carnival and Celebrity were eager to try Royal Caribbean after hearing so many positive things about the beauty of the ship, quality of food and service, etc. For the second time, I surprised my retired parents by taking them with us (the previous year I had surprised them with an Alaskan cruise which I will review later), and they were absolutely giddy with excitement when they found out that they would once again be traveling aboard Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas, which they claimed was their favorite ship of 13 other cruises they had taken. With the ship fresh out of dry dock for upgrades, were set to go to some brand-new destinations none of us had ever visited: Roatan Island, Honduras and Belize City. Expectations were high.

Then cruise time came. While I am not prepared to say that we had a BAD time on this cruise, I think it is fair to say that our expectations were a bit deflated, pretty much from the minute we arrived at the Port of Galveston. Allow me to take you through the high and low lights of life on the high seas aboard Navigator of the Seas.

The Highs

Our dining experience– Most definitely the best service we received on the ship was in the main Sapphire Dining Room, which is without a doubt the most gorgeous dining room I have seen on a cruise ship. Walking into the dining room is like entering a regal opera house complete with grand stair case and three levels of dining with windows on each side. Our two servers were extremely attentive, noting my step-mother’s preference of making her own ice tea with two glasses of ice, 2 tea bags and some hot water, which was waiting for her every night after night one. I could fault her for being a “tea snob,” but then I’d have to look at myself in the mirror with my Starbucks in hand turning my nose up at Folgers. All of us enjoyed the variety of meal choices and thought the food was of very high quality, with service running like clock work. It was truly a pleasure to dine each evening.

Here we are at dinner. I am the goof-ball in blue.

The Cabin– Inside cabin 7667 (Aft Port) was home sweet home for our week at sea. My parents were right next door in 7669. For an inside cabin, there was plenty of room to stow all of our stuff and have a completely clear space to move in. I would say the bed was a bit hard, but it’s all about your preference as my friend and traveling partner Jay (the guy in purple) said his was just right. Ample closet and drawer space allowed us to each have sufficient space to unpack. Our steward service was also top-notch, re-stocking and tidying up twice daily.

The ship– Navigator is definitely a beautiful ship. Of note is the Royal Promenade, a series of shops, restaurants and bars running aft to forward giving cruisers the feel of strolling down a cobblestone street while at sea. I recommend the Two Poets Pub for some nice ambiance and people-watching. The main atrium is gorgeous, and the various lounges and bars are designed with a very classy yet comfortable feel. The pool deck is also impressive, featuring two main pools flanked by several hot tubs, some of which are shaded. For the most part there are plenty of chairs both in and out of the shade, but if your cruise is full you had better get there early to snag one. We also thought the nightclub overlooking the pool deck with its floor-to-ceiling windows added a nice touch to the ship’s offerings. The ship’s casino is also pretty decent, but since smoking is allowed in there, you may come out smelling like an ash tray.

Overlooking the Royal Promenade

The Grand Atrium

Beverage Package–Three of us on this cruise had the premium package for $55 per day, but since my dad only drinks beer, we got him the basic package. At first glance, this package might seem a bit pricey (Royal Caribbean’s beverage packages are some of the most expensive at sea), but overall we got our money’s worth. What I especially liked was that basically nothing on the drink menu was off limits short of the super premium stuff. You could even opt for Grey Goose vodka at no extra charge. The flip side here is the bar service (see below).

Theatre Entertainment–If you ever find yourself on Navigator of the Seas, don’t miss the ice-skating show. It is fantastic and was much better than I thought it was going to be. We also enjoyed the Elton John impersonator, the bar flair show and the adult game show.

The Lows

Embarkation/Debarkation–The words fiasco, nightmare, eternity and disorganization come to mind for both. This was hands-down the WORST embarkation/debarkation process I have ever experienced, and my parents who had been on 13 previous cruises agreed. We should have expected this when Royal Caribbean sent us out an e-mail prior to the cruise instructing us to arrive at certain times based on the deck on which our cabin was located. As it happened, we had flown into Houston, and our transfer dropped us off right at the time we were supposed to be there, which was 12:30 p.m. We did not step foot on the ship until almost 2 p.m, as we were stuck two different lines, both of which were extremely slow-moving. This is definitely not the way you want to start your vacation, and very few smiles were to be found in the security and check-in lines. Mind you, I totally expect a bit of a wait checking in, but this was just ridiculous. I think the longest wait I have ever experienced prior to this was 30 minutes tops. I definitely expressed my dissatisfaction to the check-in lady.

Debarkation was practically just as bad. Since we had a driver waiting for us, we opted for the self check-out and were given a specific time and place to meet. We have done this on other cruises with minimal waiting, with customs officers boarding the ship to collect forms. In the past, we have basically just walked off the ship. Not this time. When we arrived at the appointed spot we then waited another good 45 minutes just to be allowed to disembark. Once off the ship, guess what? Another line, another 45 minutes to pass through customs. I ended up being a charged an additional wait fee by my driver, thanks to Royal Caribbean and the Port of Galveston.

Bottom line–I will never cruise from Galveston, Texas again as they clearly do not have the ability to handle the volume of people that cruise ships have. Basically, Royal Caribbean left a negative first impression and a negative last impression.

Service–Aside from our servers at dinner, service in the bars and lounges on this ship was average at best and certainly not what I am accustomed to on a cruise. While some bartenders were standouts, it generally took forever to get a drink and often you felt as if you were a bother to the bartender or server. The worst service was probably at the pool bar. Some might say that I am too demanding, but when I spend my hard-earned money on vacation I want decent service. Period. I didn’t really get it on this cruise. My parents also commented that “things just weren’t the same on this cruise” as their previous experience on Navigator of the Seas.

Kids, kids, kids– OK, I am probably going to get some eye-rolls for this, and maybe for some it wouldn’t be a negative, but there were just too many kids taking over the main pool area on this ship. As with anyplace else, parents are partially to blame here, allowing their little monsters to run amuck and splash others in the main pool, but I fault Royal Caribbean for not enforcing pool rules. On past cruises, kids weren’t even allowed in hot tubs, but they were in this one. Granted, there is an adults-only pool and hot tub, but the problem is that there isn’t any entertainment there (not that the entertainment at the main pool was anything to write home about).

We did not participate in any excursions on this cruise, so I can’t speak to their quality. We did hear various comments that the excursions were over-priced and not worth the money. One excursion was even over an hour late and had to be delivered to the ship by boat as it was departing Honduras.

The verdict–If I had to choose between Royal Caribbean and Carnival, I would probably go with Carnival based on past experiences. I am not totally closed to giving Royal Caribbean another chance, but they would have to completely WOW me to keep me coming back.

Coaching Defined

Coaching has been around as an established profession since the early-1980’s. However, it seems that every time I tell someone I’m a coach the response is typically this:

First – a momentary pause,

Next – a quizzical look,

Then – an “ahh” (and somewhere behind the “ahh” you can hear the wheels spinning), Finally – ending with something like: “So what is it that you do?”, “Who do you coach?”, or “Coaching? What’s that?”

It’s time to get clear on what coaching is all about. Coaching is an extraordinary profession in that the sole purpose is to support someone in achieving what they want. Coaching is a “high touch” service business. Coaches are like Sherpas in that they support their clients to successfully reach new heights. Coaches often will ask their clients to do more than they may have done on their own. They help their clients stay focused in order to produce results faster. Clients are provided with the tools, support and structure needed to accomplish more. While most coaches would agree with these statements as a general base for what they do, we will look at some of the distinctions between different forms of coaching. We’ll review executive, business, and corporate coaching; personal and life coaching; and sports coaching. Then, we’ll identify the distinctions between coaching, consulting, and therapy. Last, we’ll provide tips on how to select a coach and conclude by summarizing the benefits of coaching.

Executive, business, and corporate coaching are grouped together based on their commonality in dealing with business and the workplace. Typically, people looking to reach new heights with their career or business will seek out an executive, business or corporate coach.

Personal and life coaching are both focused on supporting individuals who are looking to develop personally. There are many niche areas for personal and life coaches from finances and work/life balance to image and relationships. People typically invest in a personal or life coach because they are ready to take action on a change they want to make.

Sport coaching is a type of coaching that everyone seems to understand. The one big distinction between a sport coach and other coaches is the competitive nature of sports. It creates a win/lose environment. A sport coach is not just pushing for someone to be their best. They are pushing for the person or team to win which means someone loses. In business and personal coaching, the coach is helping their client get to win/win solutions not win/lose solutions.

Often the discussion around “What exactly is a coach?” includes identifying the difference between a coach and a consultant or therapist. The definitions, while oversimplified, should help bring clarity around the distinctions between the three professions. A consultant is typically hired for their expertise in an area. They are brought in to help solve a problem and advise you or the company on what to do. The consultant then leaves you to implement the solution on your own. A coach will do less advising and more questioning to help you find the answer that best works for you. A coach will stay with you and support you as you implement the solution.

A therapist is typically hired when someone has a problem they want to overcome. The focus is in exploring the past. The therapist helps the person identify the root cause of the problem by delving into the person’s past and exploring from a human behavior viewpoint how the problem came into existence. The focus of a coach is future-based. A coach supports you in achieving your goals. There doesn’t have to be a problem to work with a coach, just a goal, desire or dream that you want to make a reality.

So, you may be wondering, “Who uses a coach?” The value of coaching has proven itself when two things are present: 1) a person or team has a desire to grow or develop and 2) there is a gap between where they are and where they want to be. With those two ingredients you have what is needed for a coach to successfully help you reach new heights.

So the next question becomes, “Who’s the right coach for me?” The coach and client relationship is that of a partnership. It is critical for you to be able to be open and honest with your coach in order to truly receive the full value of coaching. Consider interviewing your coach just as you would a new partner in business. Here are some questions to ask yourself before interviewing a coach*:

1. What do I want to use a coach for?

2. Do I care if my coach is male or female?

3. What kind of background would I prefer in my coach?

4. What will I expect of my coach?

5. What should my coach know about me?

Next, here are some questions you can ask a coach during an interview:

1. Describe your coaching style.

2. What’s your specialty or niche?

3. How long have you been coaching? Are you a certified coach? If so, what certification? If not, what are your coaching qualifications?

4. What is your coaching format?

5. What is your fee structure?

To conclude we’ll summarize the benefits of partnering with a coach which have been interwoven throughout this article. You can get clear about what you want and set the right goals to get there. You can have more money either personally or for your business. A coach can help you focus on making better decisions for you or your business. You can increase your energy so you can do more of what you want, and reach new heights by realizing the successful life you desire!

* Questions from Coach U- 2002