10 October 2011

Carnival Dream

The long and short of it:

The bad:
1.  Long hair on balcony
2.  No lunch until 12pm (I think it should start at 11am)
3.  No cheesecake on dinner menu
4.  Occasional sewer smell (but I have experienced this on EVERY boat I have been on)
5.  Loud Sheryl Crow concert on big screen at pool
6. Missing the salad course at dinner

The good:
1.  Comedy shows
2. Trivia EVERY DAY!
3.  Loud Pink Floyd concert on big screen
4.  Excellent food
5.  Excellent service
6.  Ocean Plaza midship 5
7.  Cove balconies
8.  24 hour ice cream
9.  Cherry cokes
10.  Activities onboard
11.  Perfect Sailing!
12. Jeff the Fun Dude
13.  Kim Lemon
Day 1-

The day started with our shuttle service from the Country Inn and Suites to the pier.  Our driver was wonderful.  She was a skinny legged little southern gal…who liked to crack a couple of jokes.  She acted all excited as the ships came into view “oh there’s the Disney boat” she exclaimed.  Then she said “look at the Disney boat, there are painting…….oh it’s goofy” And really it is goofy hanging off the side of the ship.  How old is that ship? I have not cruise from Port Canaveral in 13 years and I think that was the year it came out because I remember it was new, followed our same path (Fantasy 1998) and seeing Goofy off the back end...still looks good if it is that old.

There was our ship MUCH bigger than the Magic.  She looks like a typical Carnival ship, wider, taller, but basically the same.  We enter the terminal and it is VERY smooth.  Port Canaveral has a reputation of being the fastest check in and 13 years and many cruise terminals later, they still are the tops.  Very efficient, very fair, very fast.  We were on the ship about 20 minutes after we entered the terminal.  We were over 2 hours each, BOTH times in Seattle.  Mobile was about an hour and Miami/Ft Lauderdale seemed liked FOREVER!!! 

The embarkation photos are singles and not families and they are on a green screen…. I am anxious to see what these photos look like. I have not sailed with Carnival since 2009 and the changes are many…very many. (the green screen photos were of our head in an astronaut costume!)

Enter the atrium…..NICE…not glitzy like most Carnival ships.  A little classy but still has that “Carnival” vibe.  Very pretty….this atrium is very much similar to the Legend.  Taller and slender just like that one.  There are baubles everywhere.  I am not sure what Carnival calls them, but I call them fun.  They are on the floor, on the elevators, EVERYWHERE. 

I did not find much that I wanted for lunch.  I had a salad.  Trevor a burger, John a hot dog and Hannah had a grilled chicken breast.  I did not much enjoy lunch, but I really wanted to get into my room.  What I did was take pictures and make sure the kids were signed up for Camp Carnival.  Then we went to our Muster stations.  Carnival has streamed lined this just like Princess has…NO LIFEVESTS!!!!  It took about 30 minutes and then we went back to our cabin for the sailing away.

OUR CABIN---It was long and skinny just like I expected.  A twin lower, a twin upper and a King sized bed.  TONS of storage space (these skips have done such a good job making this better---every inch is used).   And the large balcony.  I think it was larger than our last, wait I know it was.  This one is enclosed a bit and feels very private.  It is very close to the water line.  From our balcony we were able to view manatees, turtles and loads of jellyfish.  Later in the evening Trevor saw dolphins. 

The room is very clean, my only complaint was a VERY long hair on the balcony that does NOT belong to me.

DINNER- We had dinner at 6 at table 235.  It was a table for 7 and that is scary because you never know if you like the people or not.  We sat down alone for a long time, and ordered our food and our table mates showed up….low and behold it was a group from home…James, Anita, and Nathan Smith.  Don’t know how we got together (Jamie did you ask for that?) but it was nice.  Trevor and Nathan are about the same age so I think those two will get along fine.  We had a good meal…my salad was WONDERFUL!  I did not like the tilapia, it was very fishy and I did not like the grill seasonings.  I did not find dessert I wanted so I got cappuccino.  John got warming melting cake and crème’ brule.   Hannah got lime sherbet and Trevor got nothing.  His pickiness really limited his dinner selection. 

After dinner- we went shopping for a bit. I found a GREAT Carnival lanyard that I will wear to work come Monday week.  Hannah found a $40 backpack  that she wanted.  Trevor and Nathan went to mini golf together.  However, it was closed so Trevor came back to the room.  John hung out in the cabin and Hannah and I checked out the ship.  We had our photos made and checked out the teen scene that is until I got kicked out.  I came back to the room and got in my jammies and Hannah is still not home yet.  Guess she is having fun.  Trevor is playing football in the room, surprised???? Nope not me. 

Day 2 at Sea-

 Our first day at sea was all about resting and playing TRIVIA! I won 2 competitions today, did some shopping, more shopping, saw a comedy show, ate some great food and had our first elegant night. 

Day 3- Cozumel

The objective was to get LOADS of vanilla and take pictures of the kids at Puerto Maya.  The environment had other plans as it was POURING!   I have never been to Cozumel and seen it rain like it did today.  Thank goodness mom packed ponchos and umbrellas.  We donned  our raingear (except dad who decided to tough it out) and walked down that VERY long Cozumel pier.  I knew exactly where we needed to go: Los Cinco Soles!  We made our way as quickly as possible and got into the store.  I looked at the silver jewelry and picked up a ring for myself, then made my way to the other side of the store.  $93 later, I had many bottles of vanilla and a new ring!  We glanced around the rest of the pier where Trevor bought two wrestling masks and a shark necklace.  Then it was time to head back to the ship for lunch.  We sort of split up…Trevor went off with his friends and Hannah with hers and that left John and I time to head to Serenity.  Serenity is an adult’s only deck that happens to be very relaxing and CHILD FREE!!!  John went down the waterslides and I got some hot tub time….love me some hot tub.

FOOD---We decided to eat dinner on the lido deck which was a MISTAKE.  Carnival no longer serves the same food on lido that they do in the dining room.  Food choices are almost NIL.  I was not happy at all with the choices.   And if you want any dessert other than ice cream, forget it.  This is where I see a huge difference over the last 14 years.  The food is still yummy that is offered, just less of it, at shorter times.  While I am on the food, the sit down dinner menus have also changed since my last sailing, last year.  No longer will you see an appetizer and then a salad.  The salads are currently listed with the starters and you choose one.  For those that don’t know about cruising, you can have 4 starters if you wish and I have (roast pumpkin soup).  You can also have two entrees ( and I have).  The entrée choices have not changed that much.  They still offer the wonderful favorites and added some new ones too.  Still have prime rib and filet migon too.

This evening after dinner I won $58 (on $20 starting point) on the penny slots.  I have used approximately $14 of it.  I plan on playing again as it was very fun.  

Day 4 Belize City-

First of all this is a tender port. I hate tender ports!!!!!  We were anchored about 4 miles off the coast of Belize.  We were not going to go, but this is the place for bags, so away we go.  In our first few minutes I found many bags and scarves that I would love to own, but we pushed on to look for more.  After we made our purchases we headed back to the tender.  The tender ride was sort of fun, especially when we hit a wake from another boat J. 

Day 5 Isla of Roatan- Mahogany Bay

We got off the ship soon after we docked and headed to the beach.  It was $43 for a chair lift ride for the whole family.  I thought it was nice.  The lift carries you above the crowds and the landscape, over the ocean and down to the beach.  It took about 20 minutes (because of stops/starts), but it was a scenic trip.  The beach was fairly large.  Contained FREE beach chairs and had beach side waiters from Fat Tuesday.  The free chairs were nice and you could have sun or shade. I chose shade and read some Harry Potter while the gang swam.  I do not like to swim in the ocean.  1.  Whale poop.  2. Water makes the sand feel NASTY and I can’t stand that feeling on my toes or in my shoes.  3.  If you get wet that sand will get into everything.  I promise that. 

After we got back the kids and I ran to play trivia while daddy took a nap.  Trevor won a ship on a stick (with my help) and then we played cornhole.

Day 6 Costa Maya

We docked extremely early this morning.  I went out on the deck and read a few hundred pages of the Deathly Hallows while everyone slept.  I watched some gun toting guards and dogs board and exit our ship.  I heard looking for drugs.  Fun times huh?  Eventually John woke up and we got dressed and headed into town.  It was the longest pier that I have ever seen, but not horrible.  We went into most of the shops. I tried to buy a tiffany necklace but no one would wait on me.  Booooo.  I did buy a handpainted Beatles sign.  VERY very nice!  Then we headed back to the ship.  There was not much at this port, nothing but drunk people in the public pool and dolphins on the beach.  It was pretty, but you could tell that recently they had hurricane damage. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent playing trivia, lounging around, casino hopping, and SHOPPING!!!!  We did see two comedy shows.  I almost peed my pants from laughing so hard. 

Day 7 THE END!!!!

Here it is, the last day on the ship.  We get kicked off VERY early in the am.  TOO EARLY.  We will be moving through some tropical system today  and the weather is NOT good, but the seas are rough.  I love it when the last day at sea is rough. 
We put down some money on our next cruise.  No idea where yet, but when you are this close to platimum cruiser status, go for it!!!!!  See you next time!