Well, I've spent the last 3 weeks either preparing for vacation, going on vacation, or recovering from vacation. Isn't that always how it is?
This year we took a cruise to the Eastern Caribbean. We had never been on a cruise before and had our reservations but decided to look at it as an adventure and just go. We booked our cruise on the relatively new and ginormous Carnival Magic. We had no idea what the difference was between all the different cruise lines so we just picked one that used Galveston as it's port (which is only 4-5 hours from us by car) and booked.
This is a picture of our huge ship when we were docked in Key West. The picture is taken from a speed boat out on the ocean. We were suppose to be going para-sailing but the wind was too high and they wouldn't let us go up. :(
That's my son standing on the balcony of our room. We were at the front of the ship - only the second room in on the 10th floor (promenade deck).
Here is our boat the Magic on the right. It is docked next to the Carnival Fantasy which is on the left. Makes the Fantasy look tiny doesn't it?
My son and I went on a Dolphin Excursion in Freeport, Bahamas. This was the best part of the trip for me. We got to spend time in the water with the dolphins, petting them and such. Also, they do this thing where the dolphin kisses your cheek and the photographer takes your picture. After that, I asked our trainer if I could hug our dolphin and he gave me a fish to feed her and then she let me hug her. It was so awesome!!
There were 3 dolphins in the enclosed area where we were and they were all girls. One was pregnant. The trainers said they keep the boys away from the girls unless they want to breed one of them. The dolphin that my son and I got to pet was named Cocoon. She was one of the dolphins used in the movie, Cocoon (way back in the 80's I think). She was 48 years old and the oldest dolphin that they had there in the facility. The trainers were wonderful and we really learned a lot and enjoyed the day.
Our three girls.
Pretty sunset from our balcony.
Dinner in the main dining room on our last night aboard.
My opinion of cruising on the Carnival Magic:
The excursions were great. My son and hubby did a segway tour excursion in Nassau Bahamas and loved it. My son wants a segway now to drive around the neighborhood. Everything was well organized at each port and everyone was so nice to us.
Service on the ship was outstanding. Our steward kept our room so clean that a dirty towel barely hit the floor before he was replacing it. The wait staff in the dining room were great. I can't say anything bad about any of the Carnival employees or the service we received on the boat. Everyone was so nice and professional.
There was a teen club which my son loved. They had activities from 8pm until 1am so we didn't see much of him in the evenings. On sea days, they started activities at noon. He didn't even have lunch or dinner with us most days but he had a good time and made several friends so it was ok.
Now here are the downsides.
1. The food was just food. Some of it was really good and some was really bad. The best thing I had all week was the wilted spinach salad and seriously, I don't think you could mess that up. They had a few good deserts and some banana bread that was pretty good. Otherwise, it was just food. And to be honest, I thought the room service sandwiches and things were way better than anything they served on the buffet. I didn't care for the buffet. There wasn't much choice and the dishes were unappetizing looking. They had good fruit and you could make your own salad. But I had heard all my life about how great the food was on cruises and the endless buffets but that must have been on some other cruise line.
2. There is absolutely nothing to do except lay in the sun or drink all day. I can't lay in the sun because:
I'm fair skinned
Some of the meds I'm on make me sun sensitive
My fibromyalgia makes me sun sensitive
I HATE laying in the sun - it's soooooooo boring.
I enjoy a cocktail occasionally - I had 2 during the entire cruise - but I'm not suppose to drink because of my meds and staying smashed all day just doesn't appeal to me. There were shady spots to sit on the deck but the deck chairs were seriously uncomfortable for me. I spent a lot of time on our balcony but we had a neighbor who smoked so if the wind wasn't blowing enough to take the smoke away, I had to go inside. I know people have the right to smoke but I was very disappointed that it was allowed as much as it was on the ship. The casino was unusable because of the nasty smoke smell. It permeated the entire room. They clearly didn't have any special air filters to remove it, which they should have, and it just ruined the casino for us.
I'm really glad I loaded several books on my kindle and took tons of quilting mags with me.
I thought there would be arts and craft classes, dance classes and things like that during the day but there wasn't anything. We did join in the trivia contests that they had during lunch. I told my husband that the next cruise we do better be a quilting/sewing cruise or he could just forget it.
Now let's get back to sewing :)
**Linking up to Sew Many Ways linky party.