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  #1  
Old January 30th, 2012, 09:47 PM
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Default 1/21 Liberty Retailer Therapy 2.0 Cruise Ė Trip n Ship Report

I know you are all familiar with ďretail therapyĒ but those of us retail work full bore from about June through Christmas to make sure you all have lovely sparkly things to buy for your holiday celebrations. Iím telling ya, it wears a girl out! Getting away on a cruise and doing nothing is this Retailerís Therapy.

Fittingly with the FunShip 2.0, this was the second time Iíd used a cruise to recover from the Holiday Crazy. I was sailing with some friends Iíd met on my first Liberty cruise. And Karl with a K with our Cruise Director once again. It was 2.0 kismet I'm telling ya!

Weíd booked about a year in advance. I participated in the roll call here on CC and on the Carnival website. I was traveling with my stuffed cow. The cows review will be after I am doneÖ and yes, she has opinions.

Actually, I was set to travel with my BFF BubbaQ but he had to cancel about 3 weeks prior to sailing. So aside from wanting to kill him, the days leading up to the cruise were 100% stress trying to re-work my plans for nearly the entire trip.

Weíd used an FCC on this booking, which Iíd redeemed online and saw credited to my account within the week. Iíd also applied a few funship dollars in both our names prior to sailing on-line and those too, were applied within a week. His FSD transferred to my account when he canceled. Not sure if that is because weíd used just one credit card to set up our on board account, or if it was because Iíd originally bought the certificates on a credit card number that no longer existed. YMMV.

Although Iíd visited each of the ports before, I used Trip Advisor to research most of the ports we visited, Half Moon Cay, St. Thomas, San Juan and Grand Turk. I donít normally like to do big tours, if it can be a little educational thatís a bonus, and if thereís tequila involved Ė well, thatís a home run. My mission this trip was to learn a little bit about Rums. This proved to be a little more challenging than Iíd have thought - more on that when I take you to San Juan with me.

Buckle up buttercup, as I take you with me on my Trip n Ship journey.



One of my door signs, I changed my door about 3 times a day Ö. Just because.
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  #2  
Old January 30th, 2012, 09:48 PM
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Default Parking

I live in Jacksonville, which meant a 5 hour drive down to Miami. I used portofmiamicruiseparking (yeah thatís the real name), it was $4.50 per day. As an off-price retailer, Iím all about a bargain.

This isnít a parking lot for everyone, but I would use it again.

It is near a homeless shelter, so you may see street people laying about the sidewalks or milling around. I had no issue with this. I live in a downtown area and I found this part of Miami quite similar. The lot is a typical event lot with a chain link fence around it. No razor wire, and it is not gated. An attendant (two actually) were there when I arrived Friday about 5pm, and one was there when I picked up my car Saturday morning about 9am. It is definitely no frills.

I Walked 7/10ths of a mile from the lot back to the hotel Friday at sunset, solo.
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  #3  
Old January 30th, 2012, 09:51 PM
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Default Precruise hotel

Once BubbaQ canceled, I decided I was going to drive down the morning of the cruise. Fate intervened and I booked the Marriott Biscayne Bay Hotel and Marina for $100 a night (plus tax) via Priceline.

I have no complaints about the hotel. I was in a nice room on the 23rd floor. The only negative I have to say about it is when the balcony sliding door was closed it whistled. It was fine if I left it ever so slightly cracked. I slept with that window partially open Ė it reminded me of my days spent living across from Long Beach Port.

Some views of the room:
Comfy bed and pillowsÖ




The safe is in the desk drawerÖ


Coffee fixins (tucked away in the closet, donít miss it) Ö


My evening view Ö


Attached to the hotel is an area with shops and places to eat. There was a place to grab sodas, though my cruise companions will have to tell ya more about that since I didnít need to buy anything.

We ate dinner at Tony Chanís Water Club or house or water something or other. Though I was disappointed in the flaming pineapple, I did like my meal Ė even if I got brain freeze from my coconut sorbet.

In the morning, 5 of us plus luggage caught a taxi van to port. The hotel rounded up the van for us, it didnít take long to show up. Fare was I think about $13 before tip.
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  #4  
Old January 30th, 2012, 09:54 PM
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Default Embarkation

Even though I wore my Mickey Mouse watch with the specific intent to take a picture of Mickeyís hands when I got to port and when I got on board -- I paid absolutely no attention to my watch. Itís vacation after all.

(What? Iím from Southern California, everyone out there has owned a Mickey Mouse watch at some point).

We checked in via the Kiosks, and I had been given zone 11. We took a seat and waited for the zones to be called. I boarded in zone 6.

My travel friends were swapped from 11 to 6 when they got their sail n sign cards. (donít be hating, you would have done it too!)

I think we were checked in about 11am and probably were on board right around Noon-ish. I headed straight to Guest Services so I could pick out my Half Moon Cay Cabana Ė Iíll tell ya all about that process when I take you to Half Moon Cay with me shortly. For now, this way English reading peoples Ö

Pretty sure the next thing I did was get some food and drink. Cause Iím on a cruise, and thatís what you do .. you drink, eat and relax.

My traveling Bovine companion was a little miffed about my lunch choice Ö



Guyís Burgers are quite good Ö this coming from someone who thinks nothing much compares to an In-N-Out Burger. (You cannot take the California out of this girl, no matter where I live). Honestly, these burgers reminded me a bit of Fuddruckers. I had two during the course of our cruise. The Cow is good at the guilt trip thing.

Oh look!! The big had is on the 6, the little hand is on the 1. (Iíll wait for you to figure that out). Time to check out my stateroom!!
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  #5  
Old January 30th, 2012, 09:58 PM
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Loving your review so far.
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  #6  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:00 PM
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Default Stateroom 1004 - inside obstructed ocean view

There is a lot of misinformation floating around these forums about this cabin, so here you have it from someone who has slept in it. Although the carnival website only listed the bed configuration as two twins that cannot convert Ė contrary to what Iíve read on this message board, the beds are not bolted to the floor.

When I arrived, the beds were in the twin bed configuration.



My steward IWaylan converted the beds to the King configuration the second day


There is a pole in the room by the closets. Originally, Iíd packed some glow bracelets to tape to it so I wouldnít run into it at night. That wasnít necessary.



Yeah, thereís probably some stories here.

More of the room Ö


You could see the ocean when we were actually sailing. From the outside, people canít see in during the day, but at night if you have a light on, you see inside the cabin. Thing is, very few people were even on that deck other than at sail ways and one sea day.

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  #7  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:02 PM
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Contrary to what I read on the boards, there were some sun loungers and chairs available for use. This deck was only closed off one day early in the cruise, due to high winds.



Morning of the last sea day I had my own personal serenity deck. Later in the afternoon there were about 6 people sunning out here.



I am a very light sleeper. Everything wakes me up. Noise in this room was not an issue. This stateroom is located under the gym. I never heard any gym-type noises. I was in the room while someone was on the treadmill and didnít notice it. I only know someone was up there because I went out on the deck at sunset in St. Thomas and could see a couple people on treadmills directly above my room. I never heard the doors to the deck slamming. Ever. Though I think we were all careful about that since it was usually windy.
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  #8  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:03 PM
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Default Mandatory safety briefing

For the first time on any of my cruises, you could actually have heard a pin drop during the safety briefing. The crew and staff were very diligent about keeping people quiet. They meant business.

It was a little on the long side, but not unbearably so.
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  #9  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:04 PM
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Default SAIL AWAY MEET and GREET

On the roll calls, Iíd coordinated some opportunities for us to meet up and hang out. Sail Away Meet and Greet spot was by the Lido Deck Aft Pool bar and Pizza Pirate (itís what the sign said!)









It was windy. If you have longish hair (male or female), I recommend a ponytail. Hold the lip-gloss too (male or female).
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  #10  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:08 PM
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Default Cocktail time!



Another gathering weíd arranged on the roll call was a Cocktail Hour at the Alchemy Bar between dinner seating. 7pm to 8pm we were there.

Letís talk about the Alchemy Bar, shall we? I could write a whole review on just this place. I liked the old Paparazzi Bar, but I LOVED the Alchemy Bar. I found the atmosphere pleasant, the Alchemists (bartenders) wonderful . You know, thatís just not a good enough work for Ioana and Gabor. I may have hugged them a time or two. It was love at first sip!



When Carnival first announced the FunShip 2.0 enhancements, I was intrigued by the Alchemy Bar drink menu. I tried out nearly every drink, and while some I wasnít wild about I liked every single one of em. I didnít quite make it through the entire menu. My bad, but I was traveling solo and needed to be sure I could get back to my cabinÖ. And as you may guess, I tend to hug strangers when I drink. (Random lady at the elevators one night who complimented my sweater Ö which lead to a retailer conversation Ö she shops at my stores! Yay!). Yes. Iím a hugger.

Doesn't that shot rock??
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  #11  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:10 PM
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Default A little drink porn

Martini Sampler


Invigorating Mint Martini


Restorative Basil Drop


Cucumber Sunrise


The Perfect Storm


40 is the New 20
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  #12  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:10 PM
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The Firey Tropical Passion Martini may have been my favorite. Itís a tequila thing.



Whew. After all those cocktails, are you still with me? Maybe we should grab a bit to eat!
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  #13  
Old January 30th, 2012, 10:11 PM
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Default Food food food

I didnít take a lot of food pictures. We had late seating in the sliver Olympian aft dining room. We were at a 10-top, with two other couples joining our group. You know how you always seem to be seated with table companions that you magically have something in common? Age, geography, young couples, singles Ė Right? RIGHT? Not us. We were seated with nice people, a little bit older (ok some way older). We tried hard not to scare them off the first night. Alchemy bar prior to dinner and all. (For the record, I only hugged one of them .. .at the end of the cruise). Our dining staff was excellent. I donít recall any of their names. My bad. (Iíll just refer you to where I was prior to dinner). The food was fine, the only thing I didnít really like were the Alligator Fritters and the Bitter n Blanc. The fritters because they tasted like onions and nothing else. The Bitter n Blanc cause it was a little blah (and itís usually my favorite dessert!). I didnít do lunch or breakfast in the MDR.

Guyís Burgers I already showed you a picture of, and I did really like the burgers as well as the fried. I didnít get too fancy, ordering a Plain Jane with cheese (which I guess makes it not so plain), and added some toppings from the toppings bar. Iím not normally fond of steak type fries, but they were good, I liked the seasoning on them.

I didnít try the burrito bar, Iím actually not that fun of Mexican style food. The buffet seemed OK, though I didnít eat from it. I try to hold off till the deli opens so I can have bagels n lox with a schmear. Pizza was good as usual, and I did try a Caesar salad Ė that was just OK. I can no longer tell the difference between the ice cream and the fro-yo, both were good. The lines moved quickly at all the food stations.

Fish n Chips was only slightly greasy, and I love those fries. When I was up there they didnít have any malt vinegar, though I have been assured they usually have some. I wasnít about to go to every table to see who the vinegar hogs were. Even I have my limits.
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:12 PM
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Anxiously waiting for the rest. Although I fear there may be some drinks involved!
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:12 PM
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Default Tea time!

Another gathering coordinated through the roll call, I made teatime on the first sea day. This was the first time Iíd ďdone teaĒ on a sailing. I liked it! Froufie Ė I thoroughly enjoyed having tea with you and the girls! It was a perfect afternoon. I had a mint tea that I really liked. I should have paid better attention to it so I could buy it at home. Iím not really Miss Observant.



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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:12 PM
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Loving your review so far... Cannot wait for the rest! Will be on the same ship (again) and itinerary in under 3 weeks!!
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:14 PM
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Default Steakhouse (MOOO!)

We did this spur of the moment early in the cruise. I had the Lobster Bisque, Spinach Salad, Surf n Turf and apple tart. I ATE TOO FREAKING MUCH. The food was all quite good, service good, music playing a little odd, and my only complaint is the dining area feels crowded. Itís not that you are bumping into people, it just feels crowded to me. Hereís some steakhouse porn for ya.









If you are wondering what each of those pictures are, then you werenít paying attention. Shame on you!
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:14 PM
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Default Intermission

Time to take a break. In our next episode weíll continue with Other Shippy things, Deck Parties, and Shows. As well as the Ports of Call. Bye for Now!
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vacruizer View Post


Anxiously waiting for the rest. Although I fear there may be some drinks involved!
LOL - I see that the drinks showed up in the time it took me to post that!
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Old January 30th, 2012, 10:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by navybaby1113 View Post
Loving your review so far.
aww gee thanks!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by vacruizer View Post


Anxiously waiting for the rest. Although I fear there may be some drinks involved!
Squeee! You know maybe just a little sip here n there girlfren!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ViolaSwamp View Post
Loving your review so far... Cannot wait for the rest! Will be on the same ship (again) and itinerary in under 3 weeks!!
Thanks! Take me with you! I'm ready to go back!!
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