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  #1  
Old February 12th, 2011, 04:12 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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Default Inspiration Review (with pics) to Grand Cayman and Cozumel

We just got home today from a 5 day cruise out of Tampa to Grand Cayman and Cozumel.

A little background info- this is the 2nd cruise we have taken our 3 children on (Last year was Key West and Cozumel). Last year we shared a room with all 5 of us squishing in- using 2 bunks and the beds put together. We will never make that mistake again! This time we booked 2 connecting rooms (M130 and M134). We booked back in August and paid about $1500 for the 2 rooms total after one lonely price drop of $40 per cabin.

This was our first time sailing out of Tampa, we used birth certificates for all 5 of us, and also brought state ID's for the kids. (They already had them from previous traveling with Grandma).

We had absolutely no problem with any of the documents and I will say I have 3 originals, 1 that was an ordered copy, and my 2, one original unofficial looking, and my second after adoption that is held together with tape. I opted to try the unofficial one first, and then would provide adoption papers and taped together birth certificate if needed. My unofficial looking one worked and that was it! (I am getting a passport before my next cruise!)

A couple notes:

The area around the port in Tampa is a dump. I love Tampa, particularly the beaches and I was unimpressed to say the least when we got off our exit!

We paid $70 for parking for the 5 day. The garage is right across the street from the terminal. We missed the sign saying drop off your luggage first, and decided we were already pulling in and would go with it. The parking garage attendants were the most miserable people I have ever met.

When you pull in you pull a ticket from a machine, then pull ahead 3 more feet and give the ticket to the attendant. Then you pay, she gives you a little wooden chip. You need that to get out of the garage or you have to pay $20 more. (So make sure with all the other crap you are situating don't lose the little chip.)

Once we were parked, we walked over to the terminal with all of our luggage. At the front door before you even enter, someone checks all of your documentation. Then you go in, it is checked a 2nd time. Then you get your zone card, and proceed to the counter where your documents are checked a 3rd time. At this point you get your cards, and you are finally done with documentation! Yay! We are assigned zone 5. Oh and by the way it is about 11:15 at this time. We waited for a bit, one wedding party loaded and by noon we were headed on board!


(And I swear there will be photos!)
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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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  #2  
Old February 12th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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I <3 reviews!
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Old February 12th, 2011, 04:16 PM
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Looking forward to reading the rest. We will be on the same cruise in a week!
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  #4  
Old February 12th, 2011, 04:21 PM
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Looking forward to the rest!!
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Celebration 9-19-05*Honeymoon Cruise*
Triumph-04-21-07 *Family Cruise*
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Fascination 9-19-09*Anniversary Cruise* Review with Pics
Freedom 9-19-10*Fifth Anniversary Cruise*Review with lots of pics
Legend *9-18-11*Annual Anniversary CruiseReview with tons of pics
Destiny 5-5-12*Family Cruise Review with Pics
Imagination 9-21-12 Annual Anniversary Cruise
Liberty 9-14-13 Platinum Cruise Eastern Come on, read the review & the pics are good too
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  #5  
Old February 12th, 2011, 05:01 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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Once on board we of course met the masses and made our way to the Lido Deck for the buffet lunch. We opted to eat inside because the weather wasn't great- a little chilly and pretty windy.

We wandered around the ship- I hadn't mentioned but we were with my husbands sister and her boyfriend and this was their first cruise. We spent a lot of time showing them this and that. I have to apologize because I did not take any of those "just got on the ship" pics. I know there are already photos out there of the interior of the Inspiration, and as far as the layout it is exactly the same thing as the Fascination and the Imagination, which were the other 2 ships we've been on. Quite honestly, I was bored of taking those pictures! But I did promise, and I never lie...there will be photos!

Why yes... I WILL have the bucket of beers...saving me $2 over purchasing 4 separately



(No that is not me, and no my underage son did not have any)


The magic room doors opened at exactly 1:30 and the kids were really excited to see their VERY OWN ROOM! We weren't sure how the set up would be- but M134 had the 2 twin beds in an L shape and the one bunk. Our room M130 had the beds pushed together, but then pushed against the connecting door. The head of the bed was against the connecting door, with the TV in the other corner so we were facing it. So we ended up rotating the bed so the head was up against the cupboard area, and the TV at the foot of the bed facing the window. I am not sure why they set the room up the way they did, because it is not feasible to be a connecting room that way. I'm not picky so it is what it is! (And I know you are thinking...here come the pics of the room set up...but alas...I failed you there as well!)

Our room steward came by and was looking at us like we lost our mind moving the bed! (I know too that often people will wait and ask them to move it, but I hate being a pain about something so easy to fix myself). Oh and when we moved the bed we found a black and gold flip flop- covered with sequins. If you are out there, with only one flop...we found it. Next time check under the bed!

Oh here is a pic!

After the muster drill we were informed that we would NOT be sailing away at 4, or 4:30...but rather not until about 9pm because of a cold front coming through. (We did end up sailing at about 7:30.) Needless to say, there was no sail away party, no celebration, no nothing. The lido deck looked like there were all of 4 people on board...and they were with me. The kids loved it because there were no adults in the hot tub and they took the opportunity to hop in with my sister in law who by the way is from NY so this miserably cold weather was actually paradise to her!




We all turned in early, but I was awoken at 2 am by the ship rocking like crazy. I wasn't sure if it was because we did position our bed sideways, but the ship was rocking back and forth and side to side pretty good. I was awake most of the night but luckily never got sick!
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2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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Old February 12th, 2011, 05:11 PM
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Love your review keep it coming!!!
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Inspiration- 4/6/03
Imagination-7/17/03
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Grandeur of the Seas-4/29/06 (baby's 1st cruise)
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Carnival Victory-5/13/07 (baby's 3rd cruise)
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Carnival Liberty-12/30/07 (New Years Cruise/dd's 5th cruise)
Carnival Inspiration- 8/30/08
Carnival Glory 8/29/09 (DD's 7th and DS 1st cruise DH finally platinum!)
Carnival Miracle 12/30/09 (New Years Again Baby!! DD 8th and DS 2nd cruise)
Disney Wonder 5/2/10 (WooHoo First Disney Cruise!!)
Inspiration 10/9/10 (Birthday cruise for myself and DD )
Carnival Miracle 12/29/10 (3rd New Years cruise) DD's 11th and DS 5th cruise)
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Carnival Legend 11/6/11 (dd's 13th and Ds's 7th cruise)
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  #7  
Old February 12th, 2011, 05:30 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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Day 2: Sea Day

I am pretty sure that everyone woke up day 2 sea sick...the ship was rocking and rolling like crazy! At 6 am we were traveling at about 18 knots per hour and the waves outside the window were good size.

I have to admit I lost the Fun Times from today, so I am going to try to piece it together the best I can.

At about 10 am we went to the welcome aboard information session. Stephanie Meads was the cruise director and she headed the session. She covered the ports, and the top 4 excursions for each port as well as some of the major events happening during the cruise on board. She was ok at this point, kind of funny talking about the drunks in Cozumel and how she recommended you wear the Carnival towel over your shoulders so when you do pass out they can claim you as one of theirs. I felt she covered the tendering process for Grand Cayman well, and overall it was informative. At this point I wasn't sure if I was going to love her or leave her!

With the sun finally shining, the Lido Deck was packed with people. There were no empty chairs on any level and we managed to rearrange a few to secure a space on the waterslide deck facing the water. The kids love the water slides on board, and I love the sun.



As I was enjoying some sun, we were delivered a notice to our room regarding the recent incident with the Royal Caribbean employee in Mexico.


At this point we were unsure what our plan would be, but we already had reservations for Nachi Cocum and I really did not want to have to miss that!


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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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  #8  
Old February 12th, 2011, 05:40 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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At this point we got lunch and spent the day being lazy. We planned on attending the Game of Love, but honestly I slept through it!

Tonight was elegant night, and since we skipped it last year, we were determined to make it happen this year! The kids clean up nice...







Of course, that doesn't mean they acquire manners....




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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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  #9  
Old February 12th, 2011, 05:46 PM
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Great review so far! Looking forward to more. We'll be sailing on the Inspiration in 2 weeks!
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  #10  
Old February 12th, 2011, 05:52 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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I just realized I have used "At this point" one too many times....

Dinner was delicious. We are usually pretty laid back and well a little bit lazy, so this was our one and only visit to the dining room this vacation. I had the greek salad and prime rib. Both were great. My husband had the same thing and liked it equally, while my daughter had the turkey/pasta dish with the mushrooms to start. She loved both. My son and daughter had the ham prosciutto to start and he hated it, she loved it. Then my son had the hen or quail...I can't even remember! And the waiter made my daughters day by bringing her chicken nuggets! The wait staff was great, and I was surprised to see a table for 2 left unattended. How many times do you read on here about people wanting to get a table for 2...and here there was one, sitting, empty.

We got to enjoy some singing, and they had all the men stand if they were in love, and then their women were to stand next to them. As they serenaded the crowd, the couples danced in place. It was cute, but our table was in the middle and I couldn't even straighten my legs because my chair was back to back with another and there was really NO room to move. It was a nice gesture however, and well done. We all had the melting chocolate cake for dessert and let me tell you...we learned it has AT LEAST 4,000 calories for each serving. Yes....4,000.










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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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  #11  
Old February 12th, 2011, 05:58 PM
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To the OP,
I have enjoyed reading your review. I'm just wondering..Did you take your kids out of school? (They could be home-schooled), and if so, do you have any regrets about doing so? I want to do that next year to take advantage of great prices, I just hope it doesn't make too much added school work for the kids. Just curious... Thanks!
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  #12  
Old February 12th, 2011, 06:06 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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I know I said it was a long shot that we even made it to elegant night, but I really had high hopes of everyone staying dressed up for the evening and having an exciting "night on the town". Not a chance. My daughter took off to the hot tub while we all also changed back to comfortable clothes and we eventually met up for the kids comedy show.

We watched Mark Hawkins perform for the kids. He was really good and the kids really enjoyed him. At this point, I forgot to mention my son took off to Circle C and we really rarely saw him after that! We sent the girls back to their room while we stayed for the 2 adult shows after.

We watched TC Tahoe for the first adult show and he was ok. I have to say, they have a staff member Lee who does all of the introductions. Before the kid friendly show he did a schpeal about buying the shooters with the take home shot glass. He even mentioned the woman at the casino that said "OOOooooh it looks like a little martini glass!". I mention this because we watched 3 shows that night and heard the same schpeal before EVERY. Single. Show. He also told a joke during the introduction and said if anyone told him a joke and he used it, you would win a bottle of champagne. Let's just say the vacationers are not comedians and it should be left at that. I'm not going to lie he made it painful.
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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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  #13  
Old February 12th, 2011, 06:08 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wework2play View Post
To the OP,
I have enjoyed reading your review. I'm just wondering..Did you take your kids out of school? (They could be home-schooled), and if so, do you have any regrets about doing so? I want to do that next year to take advantage of great prices, I just hope it doesn't make too much added school work for the kids. Just curious... Thanks!

We did take the kids out of school, they missed an entire week and we did the same thing last year. I don't like doing it, but with our work schedules it is the only way to do it.

Our school allows them to collect all of the work they will miss ahead of time and they have a week after their return to finish it. This year my son has some C's and it made it more painful to do so next year we will probably try to do a long weekend one instead of an entire week.
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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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  #14  
Old February 12th, 2011, 06:18 PM
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Cruisin Christi Cruisin Christi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohitssunshine View Post
We did take the kids out of school, they missed an entire week and we did the same thing last year. I don't like doing it, but with our work schedules it is the only way to do it.

Our school allows them to collect all of the work they will miss ahead of time and they have a week after their return to finish it. This year my son has some C's and it made it more painful to do so next year we will probably try to do a long weekend one instead of an entire week.
Glad you answered that. I am planning on doing the same thing with my girls. They are much smaller though, so it shouldn't be as painful for us. Great review, love the pics.
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Old February 12th, 2011, 06:23 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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We stayed up entirely too late and enjoyed entirely too many drinks...but we did get some room service and turned in for the night. Tomorrow....Grand Cayman!
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2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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Old February 12th, 2011, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ohitssunshine View Post
We stayed up entirely too late and enjoyed entirely too many drinks...but we did get some room service and turned in for the night.
LOL, that is going to be my plan for at least one night
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Old February 12th, 2011, 06:35 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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Day 3: Cayman Islands

We dropped anchor at about 8 am and waited to be called for the tendering process. Now on our first cruise, with Felipe he also said he would announce that the tendering process had begun, and he never made the announcement. So we grabbed buffet breakfast and checked out the view.









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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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Old February 12th, 2011, 06:36 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cruisenub View Post
LOL, that is going to be my plan for at least one night
Oh of course! It's not a vacation otherwise!
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2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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Old February 12th, 2011, 07:02 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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We were told that the tendering would begin at about 9 am for anyone without an early excursion planned. We made our way down to the gangway at about 8:45 and waited in line until shortly after 9 am. The process was slow but once on the tender boat it was quite smooth. The Gemini ship actually used their life boats to tender the passengers which was really neat to see.







My daughter on the tender boat



We didn't book any excursions and just planned to kind of planned on doing a little shopping and exploring. There was another Carnival ship and a small ship called Gemini or something also in port. Needless to say the main area was completely packed. Any store you went into was pretty full, the streets were full and restaurants were full.

Some random pics:


My daughter loves, loves, loves Guy Harvey so this was the highlight of her day.


Is it a Honda, or an Acura?


Some random mailboxes on the side of a building.


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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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Old February 12th, 2011, 07:06 PM
ohitssunshine ohitssunshine is offline
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The best part of traveling with other adults...built in baby sitters! My husband and I left the kids with their aunt and snuck back over to get a drink at Margaritaville!
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2012 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau
2012 RCI Monarch of the Seas: Nassau and CocoCay
2011 Carnival Sensation: Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1490761
2011 Carnival Inspiration: Grand Cayman and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...082&highlight=
2010 Carnival Imagination: Key West and Cozumel Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...700&highlight=
2009 Carnival Fascination: HMC and Nassau Review Here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...552&highlight=



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