Documenting the dream western caribbean 01/21-28/2012; the money monkey goes cruising

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#1
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
WARNING!! WARNING!!

DANGER!!! DANGER!!!

ABANDON ALL HOPE



[OF A SHORT WRITE-UP]


YE WHO ENTER HERE!


This is a memoir and as such, it may contain stretches of events and thoughts both past and present. Time, after all, is fluid.


Synopsys: What’s this all about [almost]:

I am starting to post my write-up a week before the cruise because I have an inordinate amount of introductory and background material, the Who, What, Why, When, and How of this upcoming cruise. When I get back from the cruise in two weeks I hope to dive right in and post the review of the ship and trip with tons of photos and more. Speaking of SHIP and TRIP:

DOCUMENTING THE SHIP:

When I first started reading these threads a few months ago I mistakenly thought that these ship reviews would be just that: SHIP Reviews where I could read and really get a feel for the SHIP. For the most part they are TRIP reviews “What I did on my [name of season or reason goes here] vacation” reviews and the ship was only an adjunct to the write-up of the TRIP.

In about 98% of the write-ups the exploration of the ship can be summed up as: “After lunch on the Lido deck we explored the ship until the muster drill” followed by a few random photos of the ship with no connection between the photos and the places, in other words, you didn’t get a feel of relationship of one place to another.

Studying the Carnival web site was not much better. The Dream got the short stick compared to the Magic. They do have deck plans with a few photos of some of the main areas of the ship but still it feels disjointed. For the Magic they have a 4 ½ minute virtual tour which gives a much better feel of the new ship.

I even wrote to Carnival of this short-fall of their web site suggesting that they add a video tour of the Dream. I got a nice canned response. I found out later on, from these pages, that prior to the initial cruise of the Dream over two years ago, they DID have a virtual tour video. I have seen it but it is out of date and not on the CCL website now.

With this write-up I propose to change that and really explore the ship.

The photo below is a cheat; this is from another CC review taken from another ship while passing the Dream. I had to start with something…


For me the SHIP is the destination, as you can see from my signature below, and the ports of call are adjuncts to the trip. Missing a port is an inconvenience, a bump in the road, missing the SHIP would be a disaster.

I expect to explore the ship and report in a series of posts within this master thread from top to bottom (or bottom to top – I haven’t decided yet). These posts will be subtitled Documenting the Ship: DECK NAME (##) and will be in deck order, not date order.Besides the obligatory photos I will also be using marked up deck plans so you will know WHERE something is on the ship. I will be looking at ALL public-access decks including the “sleeping” decks. They may be all the same or there may be differences. Who knows? I haven’t seen anything on these six decks from any reviews.

I won’t be going on any paid shore excursions, so to help document the ship, I will break down and pay for the “Behind the Fun” INTERIOR excursion. Since photos are not allowed on this excursion, this will be one of the few areas of the upcoming review that won’t be profusely illustrated.

As a sneak preview see the plans below. This illustration shows the forward areas of the Spa Deck (12) alongside the Panorama Deck (11). My room will be inside “Spa Room” 11220 on the Panorama Deck. I’ve circled the room and also circled the corresponding area on the Spa Deck so you can see that room 11220 is below a relatively quiet area of the ship. I’ll discuss the decision-making process of why this room later in the week.

So we have goal 1: DOCUMENT THE SHIP.

Expect Ship Porn.

Deck plans of forward sections of Spa (12) and Panorama (11) with room 11220 and corresponding area above highlighted.


DOCUMENTING THE TRIP:

This is fairly straightforward: A chronological telling of what happened on the trip. Besides the oodles of photos, I will be using deck plans to show where on the ship certain things happen as well has charts, maps, and Google Earth to show where on EARTH we are at most times.

During the course of this write up I might wax philosophic. I might was poetic. I won’t wax floors.

I’ll be taking photos of the TV channel that shows the ship’s course as well as the large electronic wall map of the course.



Google Earth Map of the approximate route. Carnival had the route on their web site a few months ago and removed it. I have recreated it below. The numbers are the days of the trip.


Goal 2: DOCUMENT THE TRIP.

Expect Food Porn.

Google Earth of Port Canaveral. An NCL ship is upper left; the Disney Dream is at middle left at an angle, and a Carnival ship (Pride?) is just below.


Enough of this. Let’s have some fun.
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#2
Long Island, NY
8,066 Posts
Joined Jul 2006
Interesting beginning. Will be sticking around for more!
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#3
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
INTRODUCING THE MONEY MONKEY

Here is the Money Monkey (Macaca numismatica). This is a monkey, not an ape, because he has a tail.



The Money Monkey is significant because I am a numismatist (Money: Coins, Currency, Medals, etc) and have been all my life.

QUOTE 2:


“I started collecting at the age of five, before I knew I was alive, and by the time I was ten I was dangerous because I was organized!” - Ray


I’m a numismatic geek.

To provide some proof of the longevity of my involvement I present the following photo taken over 40 years ago:

Ray at the Franklin Mint, summer 1971. I’m standing in front of the world’s largest medal. I was 17 and about 5’5”, so the medal was 8 feet tall.


The photo was taken years before 60 Minutes’ 1980 expose’ on the deceptive marketing practices of the FM; but none of that was a surprise to me. I enjoyed the QUALITY of many of their products, but seldom bought anything.

During the late 1960’s and early 1970’s the US Mint (and other world mints) produced coins of poor or uneven quality, not just for circulation but also in the coins they put out in collector sets. I stopped collecting US coins by date in the late 1970’s and didn’t look again until the 1990’s, by which time the US caught up with and even surpassed the high quality of the Franklin Mint.

Back to the Money Monkey. The MM was given to me by a coin & stamp club in Flagler County (about 45 miles south of Jacksonville) for a presentation I did last year: Other Works by Coin Designers…Up to and Including the Supreme Court Building. This was a study of the works of 13 major artists/sculptors born during the 2nd half of the 19th century who had a great influence on art and coin design from the 1870’s until the 1960’s.

I do presentations every year at my local club and take them on the road to other clubs in North and Central Florida.

The hobby became a business in the mid-1990’s and I’ve been on eBay (seller search: radray) for almost 14 years. [That’s my night job; I still have a day job.] I travel to coin shows about three or four times a year on buying trips.

RULE 2 (an adjunct to Rule 1):


Never leave home without a tax benefit.


ALL of my travel (including the upcoming cruise) can be boiled down to buying trips. That will work here because I intend to go to a bank in each of the foreign ports of call (Mexico, Honduras, and Belize) and obtain new, crisp currency of use on eBay.

Goal 3: Obtain currency from three foreign countries.

In this write-up I may use photos/scans of currency or coins to illustrate points in my past or on this trip. Note that this is NOT a sales pitch, none of the photos of items in the write up (other than proof of achieving Goal 3) are for sale.

However, expect money Porn.

Speaking of which, how would you like to see a kilo of the pure white stuff from Mexico?

PSSST! Look in this box:



Open the box and look CLOSELY:


Too Close? How about this:

Okay, let’s back up a little…



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#4
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Okay, let’s back up a little…


This is a kilo of pure silver from the Mexican Mint. It is about 4.5 inches in diameter and weighs, well, a kilogram, about 32.25 Troy ounces.


To achieve goal three I will be going into the nearest towns or cities (San Miguel in Cozumel, Coxen Hole in Roatan, and Belize City in Belize), going to banks, and getting multiple examples of multiple denominations of new currency. It will be my kind of fun.

QUOTE 3:

“It is known that you have a funny sense of ‘fun’”


– Secretary Dryden to Lawrence after the latter tells the former that going into the Arabian desert in search of Prince Faisel and the Arabs who are in revolt against the Turks is ‘Going to be fun’ (Lawrence of Arabia, 1962)


To give you a sense of what I will be looking for I present a few examples.

Below are a few Mexican notes from the 1980’s (Front):


Reverses of the same notes:

Going back further in time, here is a 1 Peso note from the 1960’s which features the famous Aztec Calendar:




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#5
pittsburgh
12 Posts
Joined Mar 2009
Well, it looks like this could be interesting. We sail on the dream 2/18. hope you're done with your review before we leave on the 16th. I also like to save a buck and will be interested in any tips you may have. I've read dozens of reviews of this ship. We've cruised on RC, HAL, NCL and carnivel one other time and I can't wait to experence this ship.
#6
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
I am also a science fiction geek, both literary and media. This, too, has been a life-long passion. I am an original Trekker (not Trekkie) and take IDIC very seriously. In my younger days I not only went to science fiction conventions, I organized a few between 1976 and 1992. I became less involved during the 1990’s because my second wife was a Mundane (Muggle). I stopped attending in 2001 after putting in about three fannish lifetimes.

Here are a couple of highlights from my days in fandom:

Gene Roddenberry (The Great Bird of the Galaxy) at the University of Central Florida in 1976 (At the time it was known as Florida Technological University):


I was on the speaker’s committee at FTU (Now UCF) and I suggested bringing GR to the school. They were swamped with 1000’s of people wanting buy tickets to his two presentations. The highlight was the famous BLOOPER reel years before they became available on video! Of course, there was no video in 1976.

Ray Bradbury, guest of honor at the 1986 World Science Fiction Convention in Atlanta.


I stood in line over two hours for his autograph. I was deathly afraid they were going to shut off the line when I was THIS close! Below is the autograph!

Photo by Patty Perret from her book The Faces of Science Fiction (©1984):


Any of you who saw the late 1980’s series The Ray Bradbury Theater will remember the opening credits scene of his office with all the nifty stuff. This photo proves that it was all REAL!

So, for this cruise and write-up: Expect me to bring a sense of wonder to this endeavor.

Next: The Dreaded Circles of DOOM and DISSENTION!
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#7
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
In the last couple of posts I’ve discussed what this trip and write-up are about. In this post I will discuss what this is not about.

BEHOLD! THE CIRCLES OF DOOM AND DISSENTION! AND HYPERBOLE!


The circle of D&D are not in a particular order except how they look esthetically as a group.

The First Circle:

This one is very easy: I don’t drink so there’ll be no discussion of Drink of the Day. The wife is happy with a glass of beer or wine with a meal once a week. Per Rule 1, she is fine with those drinks occurring the weeks flanking the cruise, if at all.

The Second Circle:

And now, a few minutes with Ray Rooney, the vastly illegitimate son of the late Andy Rooney (1919-2011):

What is it with D[Insert First Initial of The Relationship] in Cruise Critic posts? Where does this come from? This really seems so artificial, like an air-hug or air-kiss. I think an air guitar would be more productive. People really think that saving a single key stroke from son to DS is going save so much time with these write-ups? And when it comes to IN-LAWS…well, let me put it this way:

I’ve had 2 ½ sets of in laws and all but the current ½ set (3rd mother-in-law) are deceased. My relationship with them was certainly varied at times. I can just imagine that if I had addressed any of them as DEAR or DARLING anything they would have cacked over YEARS earlier than they did!

So the D[Insert Relationship Here] is out for me!

The Third Circle:

I understand the meaning of this one; it is all over the WEB. I keep reading this as LOTS OF LAUGHS. I know it stands for Laugh Out Loud. Could be Left Over Lox. Loads of Leotards, whatever.

It is so overused and abused. Most of the references deserve a slight smirk at best, almost never a laugh out loud. So, none of that here either.

And while we’re at it with some house cleaning, have some smiley faces on me:
JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ
JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ
JJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJJ


There, that should tie you over. Oh, wait! You, sir, down on the left. Yes, you. Here, you forgot yours!
JJJJJJ


The Fourth Circle:

This takes a different track: Florida has over 1250 statute miles of coast line, over 2500 statute miles of shore line (that includes all the nooks and crannies), and over 633 miles of beaches. Never use them myself. I hibernate in the summer, and in Florida summer lasts about seven months. So I won’t be paying to go to beaches when I live within a gas tank of plenty of free ones.

The Fifth Circle:

This is the “Food Foible” section. You’ve got ‘em; I’ve got ‘em. I’m extremely anti-onion and anti-tomato. The latter is “okay” in a sauce it if were puréed and spiced so that the original texture and taste was not recognizable.

My whole family dislikes onions. This is the only thing I have in common with my sister besides parentage. Anyway, I’m not a foodie.


The Sixth Circle:

The Genie said it. I believe it. That’s good enough for me.

Next: LBC (Life Before Cruising)
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#8
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
LBC (Life Before Cruising)

Before going into the current cruise we should go back to the beginning about my prior cruises:

Chapter the first

I am born

Whether I will be the hero or my life or just a putz…Nope, nope, sorry. Too far back. Let’s try again.

QUOTE 4:

“I’ll never go on a cruise until the ships are as big as aircraft carriers.” - Ray


I [Almost] Never Fished for my Father

My father loved boating. Any kind of vessel in any weather. He lived for fishing. Me, not so much. Fishing on a lake was like watching grass grow. Fishing on the ocean could be interesting to down right scary depending on the conditions.

What is ironic is that as much as he loved fishing and I was pretty much a land lubber, the record fish in the family was caught by yours truly. In 1966 my father landed a 4+ foot sail fish and had it stuffed. It is on the wall of my bedroom.

In April 1968 I landed a sail fish at was about 7 feet long. Here is the proof:




It is hard to tell from the photo but I couldn’t hold up the fish to its full length. It is bent in the middle.

My father wouldn’t have my prize stuffed. It was eaten. I was not happy.
I was always a little fearful of going on the ocean on a small boat. The real ironic incident happened a couple of years later on this boat [Ignore the dog for now, we’ll get back to him.]:



My father was working in Monkey Wards as an audiologist and invited his boss and his son (who was a couple of years younger than me) to go fishing out of Ft. Pierce.

Maps of Ft Pierce (left) and Ft Pierce inlet (right):


The sky was slate and the wind was up. Even while we were still in the inlet (see above) the water was high and rough. When we got out on the ocean the waves were mountains compared to the 24-ft boat. I can’t give you an accurate account of wave height but think of The Perfect Storm scaled down for a small fishing vessel. That’s how it looked to me. I got seasick and hurled overboard for the first time in my life. I’m sure I impressed my dad’s boss and son.

This is one of the reasons I wasn’t interested in going on an ocean cruise. However, there is another reason I won’t go in the ocean:

Bruce on display at Universal Studios Orlando in 1990.


Now, I can imagine you’re thinking, c’mon, Ray, that flick was released almost 37 years ago. Okay, but just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water, Soul Surfer comes out. I’m good for the next 36 years.



The experience above was not my last time on the boat. A few years later I got certified in SCUBA and we went lobstering out of the same area. The conditions were, however, MUCH calmer.

Still, it was with much apprehension that I decided to go on my first cruise.

In late 2003 and early 2004 the brand new Carnival Miracle was stationed in Jacksonville. The local paper wrote about it and I was impressed with what I saw. At over 950 ft long it qualified for Aircraft Carrier length (though not quite as long as the modern Nimitz Class Super Carriers, but that’s a quibble).

So, to celebrate my 50th (50th!!) birthday, my wife (#2) and I booked a cruise for early April 2004.

NEXT: A mini (by my standards) review of my first cruise.

The above posts represent 26 of 46 pages in a word document in the works. Continuned tomorrow.
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#10
midwest
188 Posts
Joined Apr 2009
Best review ever! Getting the gobbledy-gook out of the way first. And I have you on old phones. This is my cell phone. It has an antenna you pull out, and the keys are stupid, so if I hit the 4, the 1 might come up. Luckily there is a back button. I wish my home phone had that feature, if I misdial on that I have to hang up and start over. Stupid phones.
Can't wait til you actually get on the ship!
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#11
Charlotte, North Carolina
123 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
You're losing me fast - started out strongly & with conviction, then the sudden shift to things non-Dream.... coins, sharks, sheeeesh !!

Let's get on with it !
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#12
Canada
1,171 Posts
Joined Oct 2010
Originally posted by Transatlantic Dvoika
You're losing me fast - started out strongly & with conviction, then the sudden shift to things non-Dream.... coins, sharks, sheeeesh !!

Let's get on with it !
I think you'll be waiting a while. He hasn't even taken the cruise yet.
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Previous Cruises:

Carnival Liberty Feb 25, 2012 - 7 day Western (Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Grand Cayman)
Carnival Liberty Mar 3, 2012 - 7 day Eastern (Half Moon Cay, San Juan, St. Thomas, Grand Turk)
Carnival Dream Nov 10, 2012 - 7 day Western (Cozumel, Belize, Roatan, Costa Maya)
Carnival Miracle Jan 18, 2014 - 15 day Hawaii (Maui, Hilo, Oahu, Kauai, (Kona Missed, unable to tender due to rough seas )
Carnival Liberty Aug 1, 2014 - 8 day Eastern (St. Thomas, St. Martin, San Juan, Grand Turk)
#13
Pennsylvania
1,509 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
OMG! I am subscribing to this very interesting and informative review. Sailed on the Dream last summer so it will make some very good reading. But, I have to go watch The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in fifteen minutes. I'll be studying this thread in depth and I am very excited about it. Thanks for putting so much time into it. Have a terrific cruise.
#14
columbus,ohio
2,577 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
What a train wreck of a review. Its human nature to stop and gawk at the train wreck. I like the fishing part of the background. Were you the fella inquiring on here recently about fishing from your balcony? Hope your cruise is great and that you don't have to write to CCL to complain. Your letter would be so long and detailed theres no way in Hades they'd read it.
#15
Charlotte, North Carolina
123 Posts
Joined Apr 2011
Originally posted by mondello
Hope your cruise is great and that you don't have to write to CCL to complain. Your letter would be so long and detailed theres no way in Hades they'd read it.

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#16
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by mondello
What a train wreck of a review. Its human nature to stop and gawk at the train wreck. I like the fishing part of the background. Were you the fella inquiring on here recently about fishing from your balcony? Hope your cruise is great and that you don't have to write to CCL to complain. Your letter would be so long and detailed theres no way in Hades they'd read it.
If you recall Rule 1; I'm the last to have a balcony. I don't fish.
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#17
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by Transatlantic Dvoika
You're losing me fast - started out strongly & with conviction, then the sudden shift to things non-Dream.... coins, sharks, sheeeesh !!

Let's get on with it !
Please re-read the warning in the FIRST Post and take heed!
There will be MULTIPLE cruise reviews before the subject Dream review for comparison.
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#18
Jacksonville, FL
779 Posts
Joined Jul 2011
Originally posted by o2banotter
Best review ever! Getting the gobbledy-gook out of the way first. And I have you on old phones. This is my cell phone. It has an antenna you pull out, and the keys are stupid, so if I hit the 4, the 1 might come up. Luckily there is a back button. I wish my home phone had that feature, if I misdial on that I have to hang up and start over. Stupid phones.
Can't wait til you actually get on the ship!
My neurologist has a 2 POUND cell phone from the 1990's. He has us beat.
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#19
12 Posts
Joined Jan 2007
RadrayJax- Can you do me a favor. We are sailing 3/17/12 on the Dream, we are in cabin 11224. We are worried about the noise above from the gym. Can you let us know how the noise is in the cabin. Thanks and have a great cruise.
#20
Tallahassee , FL
14,360 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
Originally posted by panthersfan
RadrayJax- Can you do me a favor. We are sailing 3/17/12 on the Dream, we are in cabin 11224. We are worried about the noise above from the gym. Can you let us know how the noise is in the cabin. Thanks and have a great cruise.
Let me interject here as you might sail before RadrayJax gets gets to his 5th Grade fishing trip or 9th grade lean the coin on the bathroom wall game.. I've been on that side of the Dream near your same locale. You are under the area some dancers use to stretch and the trainers use to meet cruisers. There's a small desk there. You might be just outside the free weights area where sometimes early in the morning the World's Strongest Man wannbes attempt to see who can drop the most weight on the mat the furthest. So you might have some minor noise issues early AM but nothing compared to your neighbors across the passageway who will have to endure the thumping of the treadmills continuously throughout the peak morning hours, plus the full force of the weight dropping contest. Gym opens at 6AM.
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Costa Maya/Mahahual Malecon Beach Clubs and Maps (posts 26-36)

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