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  #1  
Old January 30th, 2008, 04:04 PM
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divetrash divetrash is offline
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Default Carnival Freedom 1/19-26, The Blogger's Cruise: A novella in multiple parts

Okay then, now that most of the gin has finally been processed through my liver, I can actually sit down and write about this cruise. Or at least the parts that I remember....

A little background... This was my 4th cruise on Carnival and my 4th overall. I'd like to think that I'm 38 going on 22, but in reality I'm just 38 and occasionally feeling older. This is the first cruise I have taken where I did not have a 13 or 14 year old with me. No responsibilities, no planning, all fun. I had been reading John Heald's Blog (http://www.johnhealdsblog.com) for a while and when they announced this cruise, I thought it might be fun. My boyfriend was SO NOT interested, and my girlfriends otherwise engaged, so (as was well documented on a thread here a while back), I mulled over the possibility of going solo. I was a little worried because I can, on occasion, be overcome with attacks of shyness. But John assured me on his blog that if I did come I would have a cruise I would never forget. I kicked around the idea for a while and then I found out that Ron Pass was going to be returning to the Freedom's piano bar in December and would remain on through April. Most of you who know me on here, know me from the piano bar entertainer thread (Oh yeah, quick shout out to VanIslandcruiser who recognized me in the piano bar and said hi. I can't imagine how he knew it was me! LOL!). I love piano bars on land and on sea and Ron is one of my favorites since I sailed with him a couple years ago on the Valor. So that clinched it for me, I booked it.

As it turns out, I needn't have worried about cruising alone. In the months leading up to the cruise, I met a fabulous group of people from the blog. We exchanged literally thousands of emails getting to know each other and plotting and planning a celebration for John Heald's birthday, dubbing ourselves "Big Ed's Evil Bloggers Crew". So when I eventually did get on this ship it was like meeting up with old friends.

Getting there is half the fun...

Being the obsessive control freak that I am, I flew in a day early and stayed overnight in Fort Lauderdale. I had a 6:30 am flight out of Newark. Early yes, but experience has taught me that the earlier you fly in the day, the less your chance of delays. So I arrived at the airport at some ungodly hour and sat down to wait for my flight. Eventually they announced that our flight was in an oversell situation and they were offering a couple of first class seats on the next flight out (7:35am) and a $300 flight voucher. Another woman and I raced to the desk leaping over carry-on bags and scaring small children with our blazing speed to reach the desk first. That was a no-brainer. By they time they finished boarding and printed our new documents it was time to board the new flight. I settle into my luxurious and roomy first class seat and shortly after take off, fully reclined and promptly fell asleep. When I woke up an hour and a half later the flight attendant immediately offered me a fresh fruit platter and buttery hot croissant. Yummy. This is the way to fly.

So I arrived in Ft. Lauderdale relaxed and happy. I figured this vacation was blessed. I stayed in Fort Lauderdale overnight at the Sheraton Yankee Clipper right on Fort Lauderdale Beach, I had run some errands when I first got in, so by the time I headed over to the hotel, I was able to check in. Pretty nice hotel. Excellent and friendly concierge and comfy beds I slept well that night. Now some of y'all are probably wondering why I would stay in Fort Lauderdale rather than driving down to Miami and staying closer to the port. Well, I wanted to check out a dueling piano bar I had heard so much about, Howl at the Moon. Shocker right? My hotel was within walking distance (well, walking distance for a Hobokenite/New Yorker) of that bar, so I moseyed on down and had a very nice evening. Dueling piano bars are a little different than a regular one. They are often rowdier and depend a whole lot of the chemistry and camraderie of the musicians playing. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and got warmed up for the coming week.

Off to see the wizard...

I got kind of a late start from Fort Lauderdale so I wound up returning my rental about an hour late at the Miami airport Dollar Car. There was a long line for the shuttle to the port. (This is a free shuttle offered by Dollar/Thrifty, there were even a few people in line who had just hopped on the rental car shuttle at the airport, to use the free shuttle). But two buses showed up after about 20 minutes and I think most of the line made it on. From there it was a quick trip to the port. I think I got there around 12:30 and handed one suitcase with a generous tip to a very friendly porter. I wanted to time it so that by the time I was on board I wouldn't have long to wait to go to my room, because my carry-on bag was extremely heavy, filled with sugar free jellybeans and tiaras and bagels (a present for a friend, who just can't find good bagels outside of New York). The line to get through security moved quickly, but I almost had a heart attack when port security said I couldn't take the bagels on board. No food, they insisted. I begged. I pleaded. I think I almost cried (tears can be very effective). I showed them the box which was still sealed from the shipping. I said it was a gift for someone, and they finally relented. Alcohol, I understand because that cuts into profits. Produce and raw meat, I understand because they can carry bad bugs. But these were shrink wrapped for freshness and sealed bagels! I guess next time I'll have to figure out a way to smuggle them. Any suggestions? Pack some in my jewelry case and insist they are bracelets or earrings? Hair decorations (a little Princess Leia)?

Bagels still in hand, I headed up to check in. Have to say here, I love the new terminal in Miami, my last two cruises on the Valor were out of the old terminal. The new one was light and bright and well set up. Not a lot of up and down. The line was long but moved quickly. I had all my paperwork filled out and handed over my passport, FunPass and Sail&Sign form and my credit card. The agent worked quickly, then disappeared for a moment to retrieve my Sail&Sign card. I liked this a lot too, rather than having to get on another line. I also told her as instructed that I was part of the Blogger's Cruise. She handed me a welcome aboard letter with and invitation to the Blogger's Welcome Party. After that it was straight onto the ship.

I think I was on about 1 pm. Still a little early to head for the room. so I found seat in the lobby dropped my bags and grabbed a drink and started people watching looking for anyone else from my group. Finally I dragged my butt and my bags up to Promenade and promptly ran into two people from my group. Then I finally got to my room to drop my stuff. I had a 1A on the portside all the way forward with two porthole windows. I liked it for the most part (You will understand the qualification when I get to the first sea day and Grand Cayman). Plenty of room especially since I was alone and there was one bed with a convertible couch. Now the nice part about sailing alone? All the closets and drawers are yours! Yay! Plenty of hangers, plenty of room. I met my room steward, Victor, shortly afterwards. He was great. A big friendly smile and asked about my day everytime I saw him.

I explored the ship a little. The nice part was that the layout was pretty much the same as the Valor so I navigated it easily. Again, I thought the decoration was garish, but not nearly as bad as I was expecting. I have to say honestly that I am usually so busy with other things that I rarely notice the decorations, or maybe I just don't care that much. I will say the one design I didn't care for is Scotty's Piano Bar. The wooden stools at the bar around the piano (thank goodness, I have my own natural padding! LOL!), the spartan chairs spread about the room. And the silly pianos with the moving parts arond the walls and ceilings, as if we couldn't tell it was a piano bar from the big blue(!) piano in the center of the room.

After that it just seemed like I ran into one person after another and spent the whole day gabbing. At one point my jaw was so tired from talking, I had to ask the person with me if I was still making sense. But it was great to finally meet in person all these people I had met on line. Truly like meeting old friends. Note: I haven't talked about eating yet, because I never got a chance to... until dinner that night.

Muster drill... there's not much to say about it except I'm glad they've stopped making you wear the life jackets until partway through the drill.

We were about 45 minutes late sailing because bad weather in the Baltimore area had delayed a bunch of people. Some ended up not catching up until Cozumel on Monday. So unfortunately sailaway was during the Blogger's Welcome party at 5 pm. The Welcome Party was nice. Free booze! John welcomed all the Bloggers and introduced some of the people behind the cruise. And I got to socialize a bit more, meeting more of the people I knew by email only. It was alot of fun, as people came over to greet me, the person next to me turned and said "You're famous!" Well, at least among my little group. After all I was Princess Laura, the sweet and innocent, of Big Ed's Evil Blogger Crew. LOL!

Then it was off to dinner. 6:15 seating in the Chic restaurant, mid ship. I was happy to find that I had been seated downstairs in the center for the first time ever. I could actually watch the show from my seat! A table for 8 with 6 other people from my little crew, plus one poor soul who had no idea what a blog was. He was on the second leg of a back to back. So I tried to make it a point to talk to him often. Our wait team, Maro (head waiter) and Davro (assistant) were great. Very efficient, very attentive. And Davro was really cute and a little flirty. I enjoyed him. The food was good. Do you know, I think I ordered all the same dishes that I had on the Valor this summer? I think I just realized that. I believe on the first night I had the lamb. The one problem I had in the dining room, was our bar waitress. I only ever saw her the first night and ordered a glass of pinot noir or a cabernet, she had no idea what I was talking about so I just said, "Red Wine". And that was the only night I ever saw her. And I was looking forward to a glass of wine with dinner. Oh well...

After dinner, I checked out the ship a little more then headed to my home for the week, Scotty's Piano Bar. I love piano bars and Ron Pass is definitely one of my favorites. For me he is the perfect combination of talent and personality (and he's easy on the eyes too! LOL!) He's the genial host of a rowdy cocktail party each night. For a more thorough review of him, you can see my post on the Piano Bar Entertainer thread, because I'm too darn lazy to write it all again. http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showt...4#post13155854

Suffice it to say, if you are on the Freedom between now and April 25th, make sure you stop by Scotty's and you'll have a really good time.

Many gin and tonics and a couple of tequila shots (I apologize to the guy who bought them thinking he would get a good show! But, the shots were very tasty all the same!) later, when the piano bar closed, I stumbled back to my room and went to bed, anticipating a nice relaxing day at sea on the morrow...

Next up... I want to Rock and Roll all night and throw up most of the day...
__________________
I'll try anything twice. Once to see if I like it. And a second time to confirm my opinion.

Carnival Dream 9/20/2015 Rontourage Cruise!
Golden Princess (Alaska) 8/30/2014
Norwegian Breakaway 1/17/2014 (2 day)
Carnival Breeze 10/26/2013
Celebrity Constellation 3/14/2013 Trying something new
Carnival Breeze 11/24/2012 New Ship Smell!
Carnival Magic 3/4/2012 5th Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Glory 2/27/2011 4th Blogger's Cruise

Carnival Glory 9/2/2010 4 Day to Canada - Earl who?
Carnival Glory 6/14/2010 5 Day to Canada
Carnival Destiny 3/18/2010 4 Day KeyWest.Cozumel
Carnival Dream 11/15/2009 2 Day to Nowhere testing my sealegs!

Carnival Fantasy 2/7/2009 2nd Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Legend 9/28/08 - No review for this one... had fun, 'nuff said
Carnival Victory 7/3/08 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=810604
Carnival Freedom Bloggers' Cruise 1/19/08 > My story: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=704565

Carnival
Valor 7/8/07 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...67&postcount=1
Carnival Valor 7/9/06 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=383144
Carnival Inspiration 6/29/03


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  #2  
Old January 30th, 2008, 05:20 PM
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divetrash divetrash is offline
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Default I wanna Rock and Roll all night and throw up most of the day...

Day 2: First Sea Day..

I awoke at 7:30 am to the ship rocking and rolling. My first thought, "Oh no, maybe those two tequila shots weren't such a great idea." Second thought, "I should feel better once I throw up." And God obliged me.

Returning to bed, I laid there for a little while watching the Welcome Aboard Show. And then that was me again, running to the bathroom.

The rest of my day went like this:

Lay down on the bed.

Run to the bathroom and offer up the contents of my stomach to the porcelain god..

Lay down on bed.

Run to the bathroom, offer up the diminishing contents of my stomach to the porcelain (well plastic really) god.

Lay down on bed.

Run to the bathroom , certain now that this is not punishment for two tequila shots, offer up my soul to the porcelain god.

Lay down on the bed...

Well, you get the picture. Finally around 2 pm I was able to leave the cabin long enough to go to the pursers desk and grab some dramamine and collect a ginger ale. I returned to room, made my final offering and downed the dramamine. And promptly fell asleep.

I woke up around 4:30 with the seas still heaving, but thankfully, I was not. Drugs are good. Dragged myself into the shower and came out to my phone ringing. It was John Heald checking on me because he had been sitting with my crew and some were worried. I thought that was very nice. I managed to get myself dressed and up to the first formal night. John pulled me in for a photo, which went straight into the bin the next day because I still looked a bit green around the gills. I ate carefully at dinner (only my second meal in two days on the ship!), but the drugs had worked their magic and I was fine.

It was a comfort to know I wasn't suffering alone. Many folks never made it out of their cabin that day. Including John's Blog Master Roberto and several of the crew were a bit green as well. Including one poor clarinet player, who played through the pain.

Went to the "The Big Easy" in the main lounge. After two consecutive years of "Nightclub Express" on the Valor, I was getting a little weary of the "Chairy" character, the talking couch, so this was a nice change. I enjoyed the show, but I'm still scratching my head about how Lyle Lovett's "Blues Walk (Here I Am)" fits in with the New Orleans theme. Oh well, I try not to nitpick. What was really funny, was that there was a prop trunk and hat boxes sitting on the side of the stage on wheels. This ship was still rocking pretty good and the trunk kept rolling towards the edge of the stage, one of the staff happened to be sitting near by and kept leaping up to catch it just before it rolled off the stage into the audience. I asked if that was his job for the evening. He laughed and said, "No, I just happen to be sitting here." When John Heald came on the stage to introduce the show, he saw what was happening and had them remove the dangerous prop. The stage hands rolled it off and then a few minutes later one snuck back out with just the hat boxes in hand. Gotta have the dancing props I guess.

After the show, it was back to my seat around the piano, for the rest of the (necessarily more mellow for me) evening. But it was so nice to be out and about, I closed the bar once again. Then off to bed, because the next day was Cozumel.

Next up... Rainy Days and Mondays...
__________________
I'll try anything twice. Once to see if I like it. And a second time to confirm my opinion.

Carnival Dream 9/20/2015 Rontourage Cruise!
Golden Princess (Alaska) 8/30/2014
Norwegian Breakaway 1/17/2014 (2 day)
Carnival Breeze 10/26/2013
Celebrity Constellation 3/14/2013 Trying something new
Carnival Breeze 11/24/2012 New Ship Smell!
Carnival Magic 3/4/2012 5th Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Glory 2/27/2011 4th Blogger's Cruise

Carnival Glory 9/2/2010 4 Day to Canada - Earl who?
Carnival Glory 6/14/2010 5 Day to Canada
Carnival Destiny 3/18/2010 4 Day KeyWest.Cozumel
Carnival Dream 11/15/2009 2 Day to Nowhere testing my sealegs!

Carnival Fantasy 2/7/2009 2nd Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Legend 9/28/08 - No review for this one... had fun, 'nuff said
Carnival Victory 7/3/08 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=810604
Carnival Freedom Bloggers' Cruise 1/19/08 > My story: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=704565

Carnival
Valor 7/8/07 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...67&postcount=1
Carnival Valor 7/9/06 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=383144
Carnival Inspiration 6/29/03


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  #3  
Old January 30th, 2008, 11:47 PM
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divetrash divetrash is offline
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Default Rainy Days and Mondays

I woke up bright and early around 7:30 to the sound and vibrations of the thrusters moving us into docking position. I laid there for a while enjoying the vibrating bed, then fell back sleep until around 9:30. A quick look outside not to mention an earlier announcement by John confirmed that the weather was not idyllic. Most of the water based excursions were canceled.

As I mentioned earlier, this was a cruise of very little planning. I hadn't booked a single thing to do in Cozumel. But, new friends invited me to accompany them into Cozumel, with no particular plan other than to eat lunch, drink a few margaritas and chill out. Turned out to be the perfect plan for that kind of day in Coz. We got off the ship around 12:30. The Carnival Liberty was docked right next to us, giving me the comforting feeling of home as I walked down the pier between two skyscrapers. We took a cab downtown ($7 for the three of us) and had lunch at La Mission. The restaurant was open air, but covered and since the weather wasn't overly hot it was very comfortable. The food was tasty as were the margaritas and pretty reasonably priced. We ate and drank and laughed and talked. And then the skies opened up and it poured. Now as I said, it was covered, but we were apparently under the leaky part of the roof. It started dripping on our table and we strategically moved empty glasses and ashtrays around to catch the drips and we drank some more. They offered to move us, but we were having too much fun. It let up a little then started pouring again, so our very obliging waiter brought us little paper drink umbrellas to shield us from the drips. It was very funny to see.

We eventually left La Mission and headed to another bar on the other side of downtown, you know after so many marnigritas, I can't actually remember the name or location! That's kind of funny. But it was a very nice bar, with very big margaritas. We drank and laughed some more and then headed back to the ship.

After 3 cruises traveling with picky eater teenagers I finally had the opportunity to try the supper club and roped in an accomplice to join me. The Sun King Supper Club is very nice. We dressed up and headed up for our 8pm reservation. It's all very nice. But I will admit I thought the service was a little overbearing. I don't really require long lectures about the wine I'm about to drink or a welcome speech from each member of our serving team. I had the escargot trio (way tasty), the spinach salad and the rack of lamb. We polished off a really nice Cabernet between the two of us. I tried the trio of chocolate desserts, I dislike tiramisu and the chocolate torte thingy and the fudgy thingy were a bit overwhelming so I only had a couple of bites of the two of them. It was a nice and very filling way to pass the evening. Definitely worth the $30 per person.

Since the piano bar was closed on this evening (booger, but I guess he needs a night off), I went to the 10:30 show. It was a comedy juggling show starring Goronwy Thom (http://www.goronwythom.com). He's very good and very funny. Juggling while on a 7 foot unicycle on a moving ship is a pretty impressive sight. I got to talk with him a little the next day. He usually does the European runs, but John brought him over for this cruise. I am glad he did. Oh and I thought I had problems with port security... it took this poor fellow a half an hour to convince security that he was the ship's entertainment and he was allowed to bring his unicycle, clubs and (completely dull) juggling knives aboard!

Afterwards, I went up to check out the deck party, then met up with some of my crew for some late drinks in the cigar bar. I ducked into the Internet Cafe to check my email. My boyfriend was being a sulky and hadn't written to me yet. As I was heading in I had my first late night encounter with John Heald in the cigar bar. He was sitting with Heidi and Goronwy and inquired about how I was doing. Between all the margaritas and the wine and the after hour drinks, I'm hopeful that I babbled something coherent.

Then off to bed... because tomorrow was a very full day of doing nothing... at sea

Next up... Sailing, takes me away...
__________________
I'll try anything twice. Once to see if I like it. And a second time to confirm my opinion.

Carnival Dream 9/20/2015 Rontourage Cruise!
Golden Princess (Alaska) 8/30/2014
Norwegian Breakaway 1/17/2014 (2 day)
Carnival Breeze 10/26/2013
Celebrity Constellation 3/14/2013 Trying something new
Carnival Breeze 11/24/2012 New Ship Smell!
Carnival Magic 3/4/2012 5th Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Glory 2/27/2011 4th Blogger's Cruise

Carnival Glory 9/2/2010 4 Day to Canada - Earl who?
Carnival Glory 6/14/2010 5 Day to Canada
Carnival Destiny 3/18/2010 4 Day KeyWest.Cozumel
Carnival Dream 11/15/2009 2 Day to Nowhere testing my sealegs!

Carnival Fantasy 2/7/2009 2nd Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Legend 9/28/08 - No review for this one... had fun, 'nuff said
Carnival Victory 7/3/08 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=810604
Carnival Freedom Bloggers' Cruise 1/19/08 > My story: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=704565

Carnival
Valor 7/8/07 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...67&postcount=1
Carnival Valor 7/9/06 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=383144
Carnival Inspiration 6/29/03


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  #4  
Old January 31st, 2008, 06:21 AM
cathyoo cathyoo is offline
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excellent, can't wait to read the rest.
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  #5  
Old January 31st, 2008, 02:04 PM
divetrash's Avatar
divetrash divetrash is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hoboken, NJ
Posts: 1,396
Default Sailing, takes me away...

2nd Fun Day at Sea -

This morning I woke up thankful. Thankful that the sea had calmed that we sailed along. And thankful that we weren't pulling into a port, so I actually slept until around 9:30. I eventually rolled out of my cabin in time to grab a little breakfast on the lido deck. Breakfast is okay. I like the sausage, as long as I get one that hasn't be floating around in the grease, and the bacon is cooked pretty well. After that it was off to a Blogger's Q&A with John at 11 am. At least I think it was that day. I met Erica who was blogging for cruisecritic and we chatted for a little bit. John fielded lots of questions with his trademark self-effacing humor.

After the Q&A... Well you know, I can't rightly remember what I did! I know I wasn't drinking... Perhaps I should have written this down. I'm pretty sure lunch was involved, or maybe not. Food just wasn't a priority on this cruise. Well, basically I lollygagged around the ship, probably hit the internet cafe to see if my boyfriend had written back to me yet, it had been 2 days with nothing. A fact that many on the ship now knew because John asked how my boyfriend was when I got up to ask a question in the Q&A. But still nothing.

Close to 2pm I headed down to the Victoriana Lounge for John's Marriage Show which I had heard so much about. And promptly did an about face and ran up to the Promenade Deck when an announcement reminded me that the "On Deck For the Cure" T-shirts were being sold up there. This is as cause that will get me to open my wallet every single time as my mother passed away from breast cancer when I was only 4. If I had missed it, I would have felt terrible. So after making my donation, it was off to the "Marriage Show". It was funny and silly, John had men asking their wives to marry them again, coaching them on being romantic. It was sweet. Perhaps because I've never been married and am not planning on it anytime soon, it did not resonate as much with me.

When that was over, there wasn't much time before the surprise birthday party we blogger's had planned for John. Setting a time a place for this to take place was a major undertaking, fortunately with Heidi, Roberto and Stephanie on our side, we were finally able to set it for 4pm in the Victoriana Lounge. My job was to get a jug big enough to hold as many jellybeans as possible and then collect them from people on the ship. The jug overflowed. Thank goodness I had received a fruitbasket earlier in the week to catch the overflow. They wheeled a cake with a dog and a doghouse onto the stage and set up a table for John and Heidi to sit at, while the Bloggers honored them both. Heidi got John to the theater by telling him that a pipe had burst backstage and it was flooded. When John walked into the theater to find us all waiting for him, he seemed quite surprised and a little embarassed. We celebrated him as Big Ed explained what we had done and presented him with his jellybeans, t-shirts, a scrapbook of the bloggers, a charm bracelet for Heidi and other gifts. it was quite a moment and I think he was truly touched.

After the party it was off to change for dinner. I enjoyed all of my entrees and appetizers, but I've said this before and I'll say it again. The desserts just don't thrill me. I try them quite hopefully, but I always end up a little disappointed. The warm choclate melting cake is very chocolaty but inconsistent. On the Valor it was like chocolate soup covered with a bit of cake. On the Freedom it was all cake. It was odd.

Anyway, after dinner I went to the early show of Al Ernst, a comedian. He and John had a whole little shtick worked out where Al pretended to be a befuddled backwoods hick, confused about some of the aspects of cruising. It was pretty funny. But once that was done, I just wasn't feeling him. So I left and made another small donation to the casino. Then it was off to... you guessed it, the piano bar for the rest of the night. I just had such a blast singing along and drinking and meeting new people that it was very hard to want to do anything else.

Once again my head didn't hit the pillow until around 2:30 am, but I figured since I wasn't getting off the ship in Grand Cayman, I could sleep in... Yeah right...

Next up... Relax.. Don't Do it.... Don't get off the ship...
__________________
I'll try anything twice. Once to see if I like it. And a second time to confirm my opinion.

Carnival Dream 9/20/2015 Rontourage Cruise!
Golden Princess (Alaska) 8/30/2014
Norwegian Breakaway 1/17/2014 (2 day)
Carnival Breeze 10/26/2013
Celebrity Constellation 3/14/2013 Trying something new
Carnival Breeze 11/24/2012 New Ship Smell!
Carnival Magic 3/4/2012 5th Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Glory 2/27/2011 4th Blogger's Cruise

Carnival Glory 9/2/2010 4 Day to Canada - Earl who?
Carnival Glory 6/14/2010 5 Day to Canada
Carnival Destiny 3/18/2010 4 Day KeyWest.Cozumel
Carnival Dream 11/15/2009 2 Day to Nowhere testing my sealegs!

Carnival Fantasy 2/7/2009 2nd Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Legend 9/28/08 - No review for this one... had fun, 'nuff said
Carnival Victory 7/3/08 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=810604
Carnival Freedom Bloggers' Cruise 1/19/08 > My story: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=704565

Carnival
Valor 7/8/07 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...67&postcount=1
Carnival Valor 7/9/06 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=383144
Carnival Inspiration 6/29/03


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  #6  
Old January 31st, 2008, 03:48 PM
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TennisLover TennisLover is offline
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Laura: Great review so far! I can't wait to read the rest! (We have to cruise together some time!)
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  #7  
Old January 31st, 2008, 04:11 PM
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This is a great review! Can't wait for more...
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Old January 31st, 2008, 04:22 PM
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Wow, you've done an amazing job with this review. Sounds likeyou had such a fabulous time! Can't wait to read the rest!
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  #9  
Old January 31st, 2008, 04:46 PM
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Laura, you make me wish I was there. Great review. I just love cruising solo; don't you? Do you think you would do it again???? Can't wait for the rest of your review. Mary49
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Old January 31st, 2008, 05:48 PM
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Ahhh... Grand Cayman... also known as Day at Sea #3 for me...

I've been to Grand Cayman three times on my previous cruises, I've done the stingray thing. I've done the Hell thing. I've done the Turtle Farm thing, the shopping thing, the Rum Point Beach thing. Been there, done that and that AND that. So I decided to experience the ship while most of the passengers were off, and even better I decided to have a spa day.

Since I wasn't going anywhere, I decided to have a nice luxurious sleep in. Or not. Bright and early around 7 am those vibrating thrusters cut loose and powered us into position. By now, I was getting kind of used to the noise and especially the vibrations, and almost enjoying them, think of all the quarters I would have had to spend to enjoy the same luxury in a motel! Anyway, I rolled back over to doze off again, but then came the ANCHOR. Wow that is one big anchor with one long chain. It went on and on and on and on... Later on one of my crew asked "Did you hear the anchor this morning?" Oh yes, I heard it. According to him my cabin is right below where the anchor drops from. Egads. I will pause for a PSA here: I was in a 1A cabin on the Main Deck(2) with two portholes on the port side of the ship all the way forward, cabin 2216. Do not book this cabin if you want to sleep in on port days! Don't say you haven't been warned.

I tried to fall back sleep, to no avail. So I laid there an watched TV for a while, catching up on some of the onboard shows I had missed because I was too busy drinking in the piano bar or throwing up in my bathroom that first day. I eventually got up and actually put on a bathing suit for the first time! Then I threw on some shorts and a t-shirt so I could grab some breakfast on the way to the lido deck. But first I stopped at the spa. I've never ever set foot in one of the Carnival Spas. I wasn't sure what to expect. But I moseyed up to the desk, looked over the list and booked a "Top toToe" Full body massage and moisturizing facial treatment. Sounded heavenly. I made the appointment for noon, then trudged of to grab some breakfast and some rays. How nice was it having at least 2/3 of the other passengers gone? Blissful. No kids running around, no lines at the lido buffet (although, I ate at such odd times, I never actually saw many lines. And my pick of deck chairs. I found a nice sunny spot on one of the risers, popped on my mp3 player earphones and relaxed. When I opened my eyes a little while later I noticed a cute guy sitting on a chair on the riser below me. Then I realized it was Goronwy Thom, the juggler from the other night. Cute guy with an accent, even better! So I went down to talk to him for a little bit. He was catching a few rays before he got off the ship and headed home. A really sweet guy. Then it was back to napping in the sunshine. Around 11:30 I headed back to my cabin to shower off before my massage.

Okay, now I've heard all the horror stories about the hard sell the spa staff gives you, and I was prepared to politely decline, but it never came. I filled out the little form they gave you, when I got to the part about what I wanted to acheive with my visit, I filled in "Relaxation, relaxation, relaxation!". After I handed back the form I sat down for a few minutes until I was greeted by Zandile, who would be taking care of me. She led me back to one of the rather small, but comfortable massage rooms. We went over my form and looked up with a grin and said "You haven't mentioned anything about relaxation?" And I laughed. It was a nice start. I told her that I carry my stress in my neck and shoulders and that the last massage therapist who worked on me, worked over my neck and shoulders, then finally gave up and said "I've done all I can". Zandile took this as a personal challenge. First she ran a brush over my back and legs (it was like the most wonderful back scratcher you can imagine.). Then she dug in and went to work. Oh... oh...oh...oh... it was wonderful. I thought I might melt right into that comfy massage table, but then I realized that would make a big mess and Zandile would have to clean it up, so I kept it together for her. After the massage, she did the facial. Again what a treat. I finally got out of there close to 2pm and didn't feel very hungry so I skipped lunch, went and put my bathing suit back on and found another empty lounge to doze off in the sunshine.

As people started to return to the ship I went back to my room to take a nap. I finally roused myself out of my stupor to shower and dress for dinner. Having arrived before a couple of other people at the table I took the chance to switch my seat. Not that our lone non-blogger tablemate wasn't very nice, but I was running out of things to say about Frank Lloyd Wright, Ian Fleming and figure skating. So I had an enjoyable meal with a new perspective. I mentioned earlier that this is the first time I've ever been seated downstairs and right in the center so I got to watch the shows they put on. I really enjoyed watching my waiter and my very cute assistant waiter shake their groove thing. Then one disappointing dessert later, I headed out.

Hmmm... no show tonight, too early for the piano bar... what to do? I decided to try my hand at sound clip trivia, hosted by Adele in the show lounge. I was feeling pretty confident. But in the end I fell two short. No ship on a stick for me. But I still maintain that was a duck not a goose since geese honk not quack, and that was clearly a quack!

Then off to the casino to make another donation. Now it seemed to me like everyone I met was winning something, and I didn't win anything. But I guess they need the saps like me to payout the winners.

So it was off to... everybody together now.... the piano bar. I think it must have been a full moon, people, including me were a little nuts. And I think I might have drank a bit more than usual. I found myself in a predicament of my own making when while watching a guy hit on a woman unsuccessfully, I offered to be his "wingman". Alas, that only succeeded in turning his attention to me. I should have known better. Thank godness for the friendliness of piano bar patrons, because sitting next to me was a gentleman who started hanging out in there when his wife pooped out early. Victor, if you ever get around to reading this, you were a godsend. Thanks for letting me hang on you and get rid of that other guy! So it was another entertaining and late night in the piano bar for me. Have I mentioned that I think that Ron Pass is one of the best out there? Well he is, so there...

I left the piano bar late and stumbled down to the internet cafe to see if there was any word from the boyfriend yet. And what comes next is not pretty, but pretty funny. As I tottered through the piano bar, I saw John Heald sitting with his lovely wife, Stephanie the ACD and another gentleman, I waved and John called me over. He asked a simple question, I answered. Another question was asked so I sat down. John introduced me to the gentleman, saying "This is my mate Roger Blum. I've mentioned him on the blog". I could vaguely recall that. I also vaguely recalled he was someone who worked for Carnival. We chatted about the blog for a few minutes and I admitted that the clincherin booking this cruise for me was not only John who I had never sailed with before, but the fact that Ron Pass was going to be in the piano bar and I had enjoyed him so much previously. Well that turned into a drunken gushfest about Ron and Carnival piano bars in general and a hopefully gentle harangue about how the back lounge entertainment doesn't get any promotion. Oh, I got all fired up and went on and on and on... Eventually the little party broke up, I excused myself and went to check my email (finally an email from the boyfriend.) Somehow I stumbled back to my cabin, got my contacts out and clothes off (apparently I even put them away, which confused me mightily in the morning.)

Next up... Jamaican' me crazy and moment of clarity...
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  #11  
Old January 31st, 2008, 06:47 PM
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Laura, you must be Ron's biggest fan. So when's you're next cruise?? Mary49
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  #12  
Old January 31st, 2008, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary49 View Post
Laura, you make me wish I was there. Great review. I just love cruising solo; don't you? Do you think you would do it again???? Can't wait for the rest of your review. Mary49
You know, I was really reluctant to go solo. But I think after this experience I would definitely try it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mary49 View Post
Laura, you must be Ron's biggest fan. So when's you're next cruise?? Mary49
Oh, I don't know if I'm his biggest fan, I'm sure there are bigger. Ron had a pretty regular cast of characters in there every night.

I love piano players in general (my best friend and great unrequited love is a piano player) and piano bars in particular. He just happens to be one of the best I've seen. I'm on a mission now to see some of these other guys who have been posting on the piano bar thread, or I've talked to online. Top of my list are Brad Alexander, Vince Strong, Bryan Roper, Duane Lewis and Damian Brell. Would that I had unlimited funds and vacation time. I could spend several months cruising checking them all out. It would be my "Year of Drinking Dangerously!" LOL! Alas, I have no cruises planned at the moment. Got to fit in a vacation with the boyfriend first (he doesn't cruise).

And thanks for the kind words.

Cheerios,

Laura
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  #13  
Old January 31st, 2008, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by divetrash View Post
I'm on a mission now to see some of these other guys who have been posting on the piano bar thread, or I've talked to online. Top of my list are Brad Alexander, Vince Strong, Bryan Roper, Duane Lewis and Damian Brell. Would that I had unlimited funds and vacation time. I could spend several months cruising checking them all out. It would be my "Year of Drinking Dangerously!" LOL!
Laura
Laura: I have cousins who travel around the country to visit various baseball parks. I love the idea of trying the various Carnival ships to check out the piano players! Your list somewhat overlaps with mine. Wish I had the time and the money also!!

Can't wait to read about the rest of your trip!
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  #14  
Old January 31st, 2008, 09:10 PM
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Laura - if you ever need company in cruising with these piano players on Carnival; just let me know. Would love to do that but I would also love to check out those Music ....... Bands on all these Carnival ships as well. We could be a good team You for the piano players and I would check out all the bands LOL Take care. Mary49
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Old January 31st, 2008, 10:25 PM
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Default Jamaican Me Crazy Mon and a moment of clarity

If it's Thursday it must be Jamaica.. or Ooooo that smell (just kidding)...

I've never been to Jamaica before so I was kind of excited to see it. I had booked and excursion that was at first called "John Heald's Jamaican Bloggers Bash". We had assumed it was going to be available exclusively to the Bloggers, but not so much, which made for a crowded day at the beach. But more on that in a minute.

I booked the option that included Dunn's River Falls, since I'd never been to Jamaica but had heard a lot about it. The night before, I had made arrangements to meet up with a couple from my crew who were also doing the falls and head in together. I told them to give me a half hour warning before they wanted to leave.

I should have thought this through better. After my drunken harangue of John Heald and Mr. Blum, I didn't make it back to my room until 3 am. Bright and early at 7:22 am my phone rang, apparently I slept right through the thrusters this time. Oh great, morning people. I dutifully rolled out of bed and threw my clothes on and threw a towel and other assorted objects into a bag. Then I slapped some sunglasses over my poor bloodshot eyes and headed down to deck 0.

When you step off the ship and onto the dock, I have to say the island is stunning. All lush and green. but as you get closer, I don't know, it just started to lose it's charm. And as the day wore on it got less and less charming. After we were herded onto the buses our first stop was Dunn's River Falls. The falls are really pretty as it tumbles down right on the beach. The climb was fun and slow enough that you never really gave much thought to the elevation you were gaining. I was very glad that I had remembered to bring my knee brace. The couple I climbed with, John and Anna, were a blast to hang with. The guides kept teasing John about his two women, saying that when they grew up they wanted to be like him. John was quite the gallant man. And it cost him. After helping Anna and I up a particularly steep part, he came up behind us and immediately lost his footing and ended up splayed out on his back. Now to be fair, Anna had just lost her balance and I was in the middle of help her regain it when John took his tumble. When we turned around and saw him splayed there, we couldn't help but laugh. He laughed too, until suddenly he started to slip backwards. The look on his face was priceless as the guide caught him and helped him up. As I teased him about it he said, "I saw my life flash before my eyes... And I was a little disappointed!" We made it he rest of the way up without incident. The one thing that struck me was how skilled they were at separating you from your money. The guides split up and stood at various points on your way out so you were obliged to tip each individually. You were directed to the exit by way of the shopping village and if you tried to go around it you were told you couldn't go that way. They'd welcome you to the country by putting a necklace around your neck, then demand payment for it. So if you are offered a cheap looking necklace, just say no thank you and move on. I know 3 people who bought the DVD of the climb. Two were given DVD's with the wrong group on it and one got a blank disc. So make sure you make them check it in front of you, if you do want to buy it.

After the falls we were taken over to Dolphin Cove. Now the Bash included food and drinks (including alcohol), a shark swim, swimming with the stingrays, use of the kayaks, basically everything Dolphin Cove had to offer. And at the last minute they decided to include a free 15 minute dolphin encounter. Not a bad deal. But as they had opened the excursion to the entire ship, it was very crowded. Lots of lines for food and drink and the swims. I opted not to do the Dolphin Swim because I've done them before and I've also had some amazing experiences with them in the wild. So I grabbed some food and found some of my crew and sat to watch the festivities. And one point in the food line, a woman told about half of us to follow her to a different area for food where there was no line. We followed her to the upper floor of a building where there was a serving station but no food. As I was turning around to head back down, I saw Roger Blum heading up the stairs to the roof level. I figured here's my chance to apologize for my drunken ramblings of the previous night. Oh did I mention that I had gone back that night/morning to check the web about Roger Blum? Turns out he is the Vice President of Entertainment Programming for Carnival. At least I was gushing/haranguing the right person!

So anyway, once upstairs in what turned out to be a poorly enforced VIP area, I sidled over to Mr. Blum and apologized for crashing the conversation the night before. He was very gracious and said I didn't, and assured me I was coherent. And we had a lovely chat about scuba diving. Then John Heald came over and began teasing me about my gushing the night before, acting hurt that he wasn't the deciding factor, that I wasn't here to see him. Well that started me off on a whole new round of gushing about Ron and another discussion/lecture about the lack of promotion for the lounge acts and finally a discussion about piano bar design and location. It was very interesting. Being sober this time, I didn't wish to overstay my welcome, so I excused myself and went back down to the bash.

I was one of the few people to see/interact with John Heald that day which was one of the bigger Blogger complaints. The come on was a chance to party with John and Heidi and they pretty much stayed holed up in the VIP area with the press people. It was a little disappointing. Actually it was kind of symptomatic of the whole experience and something Carnival will probably learn from for the next Blogger's cruise. The whole idea behind the Bloggers' Cruise was a chance to cruise with John Heald, meet the man behind the blog. There would be special Blogger only events, John would not be CD for the whole ship, giving him more time to hang with and host the bloggers. Once it was decided that John was going to be CD for the whole ship a lot of that fell by the wayside. Blogger only events, like the bash were opened to the entire ship. Some of the more die hard bloggers felt like they were given the short shrift.

Of course I wasn't there to see John... LOL!

I returned to the ship about an hour before sailing and this is where Jamaica lost the rest of its charm. There was a long line to LEAVE Jamaica. The Jamaican police were searching all bags before they let your through to the dock. No real explanations, just a point, wave and NEXT! It was a little disconcerting.

Once back on the ship, I showered and got ready for the 2nd formal night. I can honestly say that I didn't pay much attention to what most people were wearing. I wore a red lace cocktail dress and felt dressy enough. In fact, I'm one of the few who remained dressed up the entire night. Well, hey, the dress was comfortable, and it showcased my décolletage nicely thankyouvery much. I was going to get all I can out of it.

The show that night was the Beatles Tribute "Ticket to Ride". That was a terrific show. Very entertaining and well done. I enjoyed myself singing and dancing along.

After the show, it was off to... do I even have to say it? Okay, I will... the piano bar. Many drinks and many songs later I found myself at 3 am on the aft lido eating pizza with a bunch of people. I really do like the Du Chevre (goat cheese) pizza, it's very tasty.

I crawled back to my cabin around 4 am and threw myself in bed...

Next up... The Final Countdown
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Carnival Dream 9/20/2015 Rontourage Cruise!
Golden Princess (Alaska) 8/30/2014
Norwegian Breakaway 1/17/2014 (2 day)
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  #16  
Old January 31st, 2008, 10:32 PM
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Hey Laura!! How did I know this was going to be highly entertaining before I even opened the thread??? Really enjoying it, and sounds like you had a great time!!!! Thanks for sharing!!
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Old February 1st, 2008, 05:50 AM
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Your review is a riot to read! I feel like I am experiencing this cruise right beside you! Thanks for taking the time to get it all down. You definitely have a gift for writing. And I agree - Ron Pass helped make our cruise a great time also. Can't wait to sail with him again on his last Freedom jaunt in April, before he leaves the Freedom. Look forward to reading your final installments.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 06:07 AM
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keep it coming girl.
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Old February 1st, 2008, 10:10 AM
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Thanks for the kind words folks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoinCruisin View Post
Hey Laura!! How did I know this was going to be highly entertaining before I even opened the thread??? Really enjoying it, and sounds like you had a great time!!!! Thanks for sharing!!
Hey Chris, I did have a great time. I'm still trying to figure out if I can swing SS4 and Bloggers v2.0. I still want to sail with the Saints and Sinners!

Quote:
Originally Posted by pe4all View Post
Your review is a riot to read! I feel like I am experiencing this cruise right beside you! Thanks for taking the time to get it all down. You definitely have a gift for writing. And I agree - Ron Pass helped make our cruise a great time also. Can't wait to sail with him again on his last Freedom jaunt in April, before he leaves the Freedom. Look forward to reading your final installments.

Pe4all, I'm so jealous. On that April 19th cruise, Brad Alexander is sailing for a week before he takes over in the piano bar. I don't know if Ron will be able to get him to play at all, but boy would I like to be in that piano bar. Brad is a hoot and a half!


Cheerios,

Laura
__________________
I'll try anything twice. Once to see if I like it. And a second time to confirm my opinion.

Carnival Dream 9/20/2015 Rontourage Cruise!
Golden Princess (Alaska) 8/30/2014
Norwegian Breakaway 1/17/2014 (2 day)
Carnival Breeze 10/26/2013
Celebrity Constellation 3/14/2013 Trying something new
Carnival Breeze 11/24/2012 New Ship Smell!
Carnival Magic 3/4/2012 5th Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Glory 2/27/2011 4th Blogger's Cruise

Carnival Glory 9/2/2010 4 Day to Canada - Earl who?
Carnival Glory 6/14/2010 5 Day to Canada
Carnival Destiny 3/18/2010 4 Day KeyWest.Cozumel
Carnival Dream 11/15/2009 2 Day to Nowhere testing my sealegs!

Carnival Fantasy 2/7/2009 2nd Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Legend 9/28/08 - No review for this one... had fun, 'nuff said
Carnival Victory 7/3/08 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=810604
Carnival Freedom Bloggers' Cruise 1/19/08 > My story: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=704565

Carnival
Valor 7/8/07 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...67&postcount=1
Carnival Valor 7/9/06 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=383144
Carnival Inspiration 6/29/03


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  #20  
Old February 1st, 2008, 12:24 PM
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divetrash divetrash is offline
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Join Date: May 2003
Location: Hoboken, NJ
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Default The Final Countdown...

Last Day - a relaxing day at sea...

A quick note about Thursday in Jamaica that I forgot to mention. Just after we sailed, they held the "On Deck for the Cure" photo event, where everyone who had donated and got a t-shirt and a wrist band gathered on the Lido Deck for a big group picture. It was a pretty impressive group and they raised over $7000 dollars for the cause. Big Ed's Evil Blogger's Crew had tried to work something out where we could collect pledges from friends and family for the cause before we got on the ship, but there were too many legal issues that held it up. So the Evil Crew, at the suggestion of one of our group took up a new cause. John's Blog guru Roberto was going to participate in a half marathon after the cruise to raise money for the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation. It was a cause close to his heart, because his sister passed away from the disease. The group decided to help sponsor his run and collected over $1300 in a week. The checks were presented to him at John's Birthday Party and the poor guy about lost it. It was a very sweet moment.

Anyway, back to the relaxing day at sea...

No vibrating bed, no roar of the thrusters... and I still woke up at 7:30 in the morning. What the heck is that about?!?! After futilely trying to fall back asleep for a while, I got up, put on my luxurious Carnival robe and climbed into my little window area to mindlessly stare out at the sea for a while. Once again I was very thankful that the seas had calmed, but I was still popping dramamine of a semi regular basis just to be safe. Around 9, I flipped on the TV to watch John Heald's Morning Show. If you've never seen it, John does a televised show each morning where he reads out letters and dedications that passengers have sent him. He also calls some of those people and other people call in. It can be very silly and very funny and often quite touching as people wrote in to talk about their loved ones and their battles and triumphs. It made me a little homesick for my family and my boyfriend.

I wandered up to the Lido deck around 10 to grab some breakfast. I ate light because I realized I had doubled booked myself for lunch. I had a group lunch with the Evil Crew at 12:30 in the Posh dining room and I had invited a new friend to lunch later on that afternoon. I've realized now that a lot of the gaps in my activities were not actually gaps, I spent a lot of time in conversation with people. It was nice being able to walk around the ship meet up with people your know and sit down and just chat for a while. I don't think I've ever talked as much on a cruise as I did on this one. I've also never had so many phone messages and knocks on my door. I don't know why I was ever worried about cruising solo when I was among new friends the entire time. What really made me laugh was all the people who kept stopping me to ask if I had heard from my boyfriend yet. He was famous without even being there!

For our group lunch that day, the Princesses, Empress, Duchess and Queen of our group all decided to wear our tiaras for the day. I showed up a little late because I lost track of time while sending a lenghty email to some friends back home. When I walked in and found our group filling up 3 or 4 of the big tables, I grabbed and empty chair and sat down. I've never eaten a meal other than dinner in the dining rooms, it was an experience. First of all our waitress, Amela, was great. She approached me with a little curtsey and addressed me as "Your Highness" and handed me my menu. I ordered the calamari, the salad nicoise and the eclair. She dropped a cute little curtsey and headed off to put in my order. I chatted with my tablemates for a little bit and then got up to make the rounds of the other tables, when I sat back down Amela appeared at my side and said, "Is the Princess ready for her calamari?" It was very funny as she totally got into the spirit of it. The food was okay, the calamari was a little chewy and bland, and I only ended up eating about half of each thing since I knew I had more food coming later. The group talked and laughed and exchanged contact info. I eventually had to excuse myself to get ready for 2nd lunch.

After running back to my room, I made arrangements to meet my friend on the promenade deck and then we headed up to the Lido. This was only the 2nd lunch of the entire cruise that I managed to have in the Lido Deck Buffet. I knew I wanted to check out the pastrami at the Deli. Being a New York girl, I'm kind of a pastrami snob. I love Katz's pastrami downtown on the lower East Side. Mmmmmmmmmm..... But I'm always hopeful of finding decent pastrami elsewhere. I had been pleasantly surprised by the pastrami on the Valor (It wasn't awful!), so I had high hopes for the Freedom. Again, it wasn't bad. I've had a lot worse. And for the most part it was pretty moist and flavorful. The only downside was that Carnival has caved to the new wave of pressed/panini grilling. If I had realized that, I would have stopped him before he started. This was also the day that they had the "Chocolate Buffet" in the Lido restaurant. Having gotten my hopes up and having had them dashed twice in the past, I didn't even bother. I'm sorry, good cheesecake is just NOT supposed to jiggle like that! Anyway, my friend hit up the Mexican station and we met up and found a quiet table upstairs by the fish and chips. We had a lovely chat as we ate and then headed to a somewhat quiet spot on the promenade to continue our conversation. Before I knew it, it was after 4 and I needed to get ready for the Blogger's Farewell Party at 5pm in the Victoriana Lounge.

There had been a Q&A session with the press types on board scheduled for 4 pm. When I arrived there at 5, of course decked out in my tiara, it was still going on. And on. And on. And on. So I took advantage of the free drinks and downed a couple of melon balls. Those are way tasty. So I had a couple more to make sure that I liked them as much as I did. At this point it was almost 5:30 and the natives were getting restless. Finally they ended the Q&A and John took to the stage to say a farewell to us all. And then... he danced. Well we all danced. And much to my horror, there are pictures as proof. The social staff made up a silly little dance for the John to do and he insisted that everyone join him. The melon balls had entered my blood stream, so I was game for anything and hopped up on stage. I was in the front row next my crewmate Lance, all happy and a little drunk and ready to act foolishly. Next thing I know I'm being muscled out of position, by one of my fellow princesses who decided that she needed to dance with Lance. Now I find myself standing in the very front right next to John Heald. I'll say right now, that there is a reason John does not dance, I'm not sure he could have found the beat with both hands and a flashlight. As social host, James, showed us the steps, my poor flip flopped feet paid the price. Everyone was just loose enough and drunk enough to give up all dignity and get into it. John must have stepped on my feet about 4 times. I'm just now getting the feeling back into my toes. Afterwards it was a lot of laughing and hugging and waiting to say goodbye to John.

I ran back to my cabin to change and showed up at dinner about 20 minutes late. As always, the food was good, the conversation was good, the dessert was disappointing. Our waiters were very sweet and I tipped them both extra for the excellent service I had received.

After dinner, I returned to my cabin to pack my suitcase. After trying self assist once, I wasn't about to try it again. So my I dropped my bag outside my door and then at 9:30, it was off to .... wait.... wait for it... I know y'all are dying to know... the piano bar! One last night, holding down a seat around the bar. If I was a truly good and selfless person I would have left the piano bar and gone to the Legends show, seeing as how 3 people from our crew were in it. I was torn. I arranged with the two fabulous bar waiters, Tufik and Svetlana to leave my drink in place so the seat would appear occupied, and one of the regulars promised to guard the seat as well. To appease my conscience I dashed down to the theater at 10:30 to find it packed and hot and bingo still going on. So I turned around and dashed right back to the piano bar and resumed my seat round the piano. The alcohol flowed and even somewhat freely, so I must thank George and Lisa, Mister Shawn, and some unknown kind soul for the drinks that evening. Everyone knew where to find me so several of the crew stopped in to say goodbye over the course of the evening. I laughed, sang along, got my evening ride atop the piano... I like the low notes.. Was that "Honkytonk Badonk" you played that last night Ron? I was a little drunk, much more than I little I think. We closed down the bar once again. I stumbled back to my room in the wee hours.

Up next... "I'd rather be sailing, and then come home to you..."
__________________
I'll try anything twice. Once to see if I like it. And a second time to confirm my opinion.

Carnival Dream 9/20/2015 Rontourage Cruise!
Golden Princess (Alaska) 8/30/2014
Norwegian Breakaway 1/17/2014 (2 day)
Carnival Breeze 10/26/2013
Celebrity Constellation 3/14/2013 Trying something new
Carnival Breeze 11/24/2012 New Ship Smell!
Carnival Magic 3/4/2012 5th Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Glory 2/27/2011 4th Blogger's Cruise

Carnival Glory 9/2/2010 4 Day to Canada - Earl who?
Carnival Glory 6/14/2010 5 Day to Canada
Carnival Destiny 3/18/2010 4 Day KeyWest.Cozumel
Carnival Dream 11/15/2009 2 Day to Nowhere testing my sealegs!

Carnival Fantasy 2/7/2009 2nd Blogger's Cruise
Carnival Legend 9/28/08 - No review for this one... had fun, 'nuff said
Carnival Victory 7/3/08 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=810604
Carnival Freedom Bloggers' Cruise 1/19/08 > My story: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=704565

Carnival
Valor 7/8/07 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showp...67&postcount=1
Carnival Valor 7/9/06 > My review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=383144
Carnival Inspiration 6/29/03


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