Wednesday, May 28, 2008

It's Been a Lovely Cruise - Carnival Pride May 2008

Oh to be on a cruise again....

I think I missed my calling. I should have worked on a cruise ship for a few years - I understand working on a ship is quite different than being on vacation, but I could totally see myself running bingo games and coming up with questions for super trivia.

We set sail from Long Beach - half of the group were VIPs and they were able to board about an hour before us non-VIPs. Of course that hour in line gave us time to not only finish a Propel Plus but we came up with the idea for this totally awesome boarding picture.

We sailed on the Carnival ("the Fun Ship") pride from Long Beach to Puerto Vallarta, Mazatlan, and Cabo San Lucas. All of our cabins were along the back corner of the ship - while we were never to come up with a good cruise t-shirt we did have lots of fun making 'aft' jokes.

We had a balcony room with an extended deck.

The room had a long couch, small table, lots of storage space with 3 full length closets, 4 drawers, and a small 2-shelf cabinet. The bedding was very comfortable but there was just a sheet and a comforter, no blanket - so some nights temperature was an issue. It was too cool for just the sheet but then too warm for the comforter.

Our balcony was on the back of the boat, and the decorative glass railing angled out giving us more, but basically unusable balcony space. We didn't pay any extra for the extending balcony, and you shouldn't.

We had major problem with our balcony, it was right below the Lido deck - it was fine having people look down in to our balcony, it was not fine having smokers ash down in to our balcony. Michael and I both ended up with shorts that have ash stains on the bum. Once we realized the problem, we just took out towels to cover the chairs before we sat down, but it was annoying.

The balcony was great for the views, relaxing while at sea, and breakfast.

Most mornings we had breakfast delivered by room service and then enjoyed our meal on the balcony. A lovely way to start the day. (The robes were provided by Carnival, they were really plush and luxurious.)

We sailed away from Long Beach with our own deck party. Gordy and Linda had a suite with a huge wrap around balcony. It went along the back of the ship and then turned the corner and down the side. It was great having so much room - I think we all made great use of their space.

Their cabin was even more awesome than the wrap around balcony. It had two separate rooms, the bedroom and the living room with a couch and chairs. In between the two rooms was a vanity area (which was taken over as our own private beauty salon) and a walk in closet! Their bathroom had two sinks and a full bath tub - total luxury.

Our first two days were at sea - this meant we had plenty of time to eat, drink, and explore the ship.

Monday night was formal night. We did our best to dress to impress.

The ladies used the McGuire salon featuring the services of Miss Karen for hair and make-up, with Linda's closet available for accessorizing. For whatever reason Rebecca decided we all needed to wear wigs one night. Well it turned in to each of us taking a turn wearing the black bob wig Linda is wearing in the formal picture above. I think our waiters thought we were one wacky group. When I wore the wig I looked like the mom from 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding', needless to say I don't have room here to post that photo! (Michael was a good sport and even wore the wig long enough for us to snap photos. He pulled it off really well, he looked like he should have been performing in Spamalot.)

After hours formal night we did some drinking and dancing. In one of the ship's nightclubs. The ship also had a casino that was really nice to Miss Karen.

The shows on board were hit and miss. Unfortunately for me the show I went to was more of a miss, so I didn't go back later in the week.

The ship does have a fun miniature golf course. The course was pretty tricky and the ship is moving, making it even more difficult to sink a putt.

I had a few favorite on-board activities. For some reason I decided we needed to compete in a 3-day super trivia contest. Day 1 was great, Michael, Mel and I teamed up with Doug and Elizabeth. They were young, cute, and competitive. We ended the day in first place. Day 2 of the competition we all enlisted the help of others, our team size grew to unmanageable size and we were subject of many stolen questions. Our competitors were playing tough. Due to the unfortunate events and missed opportunities on Day 2, our team size was considerably smaller on Day 3. Day 3 was looking pretty grim until the Wades answered our first question and rolled the scoring dice for a top score of 6 points. We held strong in Day 3 and ended the competition in a respectable second place.

Gordy, Mel, and I also participated in a ship scavenger hunt (it was billed as an 'Amazing Race' type game - so Mel and I were suckered in and brought Gordy with us on this fool's errand). Our second stop on the hunt was in an on-board restaurant that just happened to be starting a wine tasting. Goodbye scavenger hunt, hello wine tasting. The three of us had a great time learning how to taste wine and trying wines with different food pairings. We decided we were the real winners of the scavenger hunt!

And finally one of my all time favorite ship classes - towel and napkin folding. Who doesn't want to know how to make those great towel animals the steward leaves for you every night?

As fun as it was on the ship, we managed to have a great time in the various ports as well.

Our first stop was Puerto Vallarta.

Mel, Michael, and I went in to port a little behind everyone else but Linda. It was pretty warm, after walking the boardwalk we found a restaurant with an open patio and an ocean view. We had some cold beer and good shrimp and guac. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Next stop, Mazatlan.

Here I got off the ship with Gordy and Linda. Mel and Michael enjoyed some quiet time on the ship and everyone else went to a really cool private beach where they rode ATV's and found coconuts. Gordy, Linda, and I took a cab to the shopping district.

We stopped at Sea Shell City and eventually found ourselves at a nice restaurant with an open patio and an ocean view. Again we enjoyed cold beer and margaritas and good food.

And our final port - Cabo San Lucas. This time Michael and I were behind everyone else leaving the ship, but we all managed to meet up. Because of the port size you had to take a tender from the ship to the port, coming back they even let me steer the tender.

Once again we finished our time in port at a restaurant with an open patio and cold beer. The weather in Cabo was perfect, unfortunately we had to leave early - we could have stayed there for hours.

Leaving Cabo I took one of my favorite photos of the trip. I went to the Lido deck and snapped a picture looking down at Gordy and Linda's deck.

It really was a lovely cruise.

Sing us out Jimmy....

These moments we're left with

May you always remember

These moments are shared by few

There's wind in our hair and there's water in our shoes

Honey, it's been a lovely cruise