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cruisinfromtampa

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  1. Lunch! I first experienced Playmakers on Freedom, and everything I've had is delicious. The 4 of us went in stomachs empty, and took advantage. With the UDP, we get $20/person towards food. $80 in food there is a TON, so we were not unsatisfied. Onion Ring Tower. Crispy, light, and flavorful. I like when the onion is a thinner piece, so for me, this is great. It's a heavy on the batter ratio. BBQ Sliders. They were fine. If I was "paying", I probably wouldn't order them. Poke Nachos. Possibly the best thing on the menu. My only complaint is that we didn't order two. Buffalo Chicken Crunch Roll. We didn't know what to expect. It's basically buffalo chicken dip rolled in a tortilla, breaded, and then deep fried. What's not to like?! This was the unexpected delicious. Chicken Tenders. For $4 with fries, you can't beat it. Tenders were crunchy but still juicy, and we had them make the fries with the parm and garlic sauce. Yummo. Jalapeno Poppers. I'm not a fan, so I did not try. Those who did enjoyed. Nothing special, but solid. We ordered wings 3 ways: BBQ, Jerk, and Plain. I cannot speak to the plain because I couldn't be bothered, but the husband with the basic taste seemed to enjoy them. The BBQ maintained their crispy skin even with the sauce, which had a nice tang, and the Jerk wings were well seasoned, and it's a decent jerk blend. All around the wings are great. The Campfire Cookie. This is probably the best dessert on the ship. There might be something else, but I did not have it. A barely baked chocolate chip cookie in a skillet, topped with toasted marshmallow, and nutella. With vanilla ice cream and a shooter of milk on the side. It was everything you need in life. Scrumptious. Post Playmakers, we took a quick nap, because food coma, and then we got ready for dinner. Eating and sleeping, my kind of cruise! Dinner is Hibachi at Izumi. More to come!
  2. Day 2: Nassau I woke up to a beautiful sunrise off of our balcony. I know I've said it before, but I've missed this. Today was Saturday, Day 2, and we're porting in Nassau for the day. We decided to do breakfast in the MDR, which was new for us. I can't figure out why we haven't eaten there before. Everything was pretty tasty. Eggs Benedict. The eggs were beautifully runny. The Hollandaise needed more lemon. Bagel with lox. Standard, but good. French toast. Could have been left in the custard a little longer. There was a dry spot in the middle where it didn't soak through. But yummy nonetheless. Build your own omelette. Banana pancakes. My husband's new favorite. We were scheduled to do a tour of the Graycliff Chocolate Factory, and make our own chocolates. Unfortunately, that tour was not offered and we should never have been allowed to book it. We ended up rescheduling to a City Highlights and food tour instead. The group was small, just the four of us and one other couple. We stopped at the Queen's Staircase along the way around the city. Very pretty. The story is amazing. All of the food and drinks we sampled were good, but we felt like one or two more stops would have been nice. On the top, Duff, which is guava inside of steamed dough with a cream sauce. Absolutely delicious. On the bottom, a swirl with a drizzle of some type of sauce. It was meh. Dry, kind of flavorless. The duff was the winner. Fried conch with rice and peas, potato salad, slaw, grits and peas, and a fried plantain. I could have eaten multiple plates. Everything was good. Conch was tender, light, and crispy. On the way back to the ship we stopped by the Watling's Distillery. They gave a brief tour, and then we had samples. We were back on the ship by 1:00. We took a quick nap before hitting up Playmakers for a true lunch. That's next!
  3. Dinner Night 1...Jamie's Italian! We decided to get the Unlimited Dining Package, and surprise our friends. With this being our first cruise as a group, we wanted to splurge a little and do something special. In addition to the 3 dinners, we were also eligible for lunch at Chops on Day 2, and Playmakers and Johnny Rockets. We ate all the things. Meat Plank. Tasty. The bread was better than the garlic bread. Crispy Squid. Beautifully light, but still crispy. Garlicky Prawns. Not as good as I remembered. I asked for extra ciabatta because the last time we had it, that's all I needed in life...bread in the sauce. It was meh. Ultimate Garlic Bread. Don't waste the calories. Eat the bread on the meat plank. Disappointing. The lamb chops from the entree. We ask for them as an app, with just the lamb. Delicious. While we were waiting for the rest of our food, I had to run out to the deck and grab a picture of the sunset. I've missed that view. Back to the food... Tagliatelle Bolongnese. It was fine. I feel like I enjoyed it more the last time. Overly sweet this round. Creamy Penne Carbonara. This and a spoon. That's all you really need. Truffle Tagliatelle. Truffle can be incredibly overwhelming, and the balance in this was pretty perfect. Light and flavorful. Chianti-Braised Short Rib. 4 people went to dinner. 4 people ordered the short rib. 4 plates were cleaned. #noms Lemon Cheesecake. Not bad. Probably wouldn't order again, for my taste. But I can see it being the favorite for others. Caramel Ice Cream with Honeycomb. Just yum. Overall, a great meal. If we were on a longer cruise, we'd go back at least one more time, if not two. Day 1 comes to a close, and leads into Day 2, our first port, Nassau.
  4. As I said before, the boarding process was incredibly easy. I think some of the new process will stay, which is better for all. It really couldn't have been easier. Terrible picture, but I'd much rather have a terrible picture of the elevator floor than had to have been at work. Our boarding time was 1:30-2:00, and we arrived right at 2:00. We were on board and to our rooms by 2:30. We were staying in 8690, which is a corner aft balcony stateroom. We LOVE the aft of the ship. There's just something about listening to the wake that is so peaceful. But that's for us....you'll hate it. I don't recommend it at all! It's your standard balcony room. Bed, desk, loveseat, etc. We did find the mini fridge to be the coldest of any we've had. Didn't pay attention to if it was new or not, but normally things are just cool. Our drinks were cold, which was nice. Some of the things left in the room. The masks were great, and almost every venue had extras if you needed one. But this view is what we paid for. Being on the corner afforded us the open side, which was everything we needed on our return to sea. We were joined in port by a lovely Disney ship, which made the journey to Nassau with us. It's officially official when you have your first round, right? As is tradition, the Schooner Bar for our first cocktails. We also stopped by Izumi and took care of our dinner reservations for the duration of the cruise. We hadn't eaten anything since bagels at 10:30, so a pre0dinner snack was in order. The Boardwalk Doghouse was open, so a hotdog it was. We were joined at sailaway by a few dolphins. They were difficult to catch, but they definitely brightened the day. Up next...Dinner Night 1! Jamie's Italian.
  5. Day 1: Tampa to Port Canaveral For our pre-cruise COVID test, we chose to do the Abbott BinaxNOW Ag Card. The App is not highly rated in the App Store, but we had no issues. In fact, it worked easier than we expected. The connection was clear, and we were able to take care of it quickly and easily. As is standard operating procedure for us, we waited until the morning to start packing...and by start packing I mean throw the clothes in the laundry. Thankfully, we're a quick ride across the state from PC. Our tradition is to stop at Bagels Plus on Fletcher Ave on our way out. In our experience, the best bagels in the city. HIGHLY recommend them if you can pop by. I normally get sliced lox on a plain, but this time I was craving a garlic bagel with turkey and chive cream cheese. And a croissant with nutella. Worth every calorie. We arrived at the port, checked in, and were on board in less than 30 minutes. It was incredibly easy, even with the extra process needed.
  6. Well...this weekend I learned that when you leave your computer bag on the couch, you don't get to live blog your cruise....thankfully nothing but the laptop and all of my chargers were in it. That would have been a horror story had our passports not been in the other bag. So I'll now tell you all about the trip...after it is over. 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️
  7. We could not be more excited to get back to cruising! My last cruise was Thanksgiving 2019, and the hubs was June of 2019. I'll be posting live from Mariner of the Seas for a Bahamas weekend getaway. Our group consists of 4 career educators from Tampa, 3 middle school teachers and a high school principal. We will be staying in aft balcony staterooms (photos to come), and have the UDP to explore some food options and celebrate our return to sea. Follow along for what I hope is a great weekend! Happy Friday!
  8. We sailed in 12727 on Harmony, and loved the location. We're aft people whenever we can, and still getting a bit of a wake view was worth it. Only one night did we notice noise from the Boardwalk, and it was gone by 11:00 at the latest.
  9. Still our favorite class of ships! Can't wait to be on Radiance next year for our third try to Alaska. The ocean views from everywhere are what do it for me.
  10. We leave Saturday, and I just bumped 2 couples from a 4B to a J3 for free, and us from a 4B to an OS for $200, plus gained $300 OBC. Prices are definitely dropping for close in sailings.
  11. We LOVE Radiance Class. The views can't be beat. But Navigator post-AMP and Harmony were both fantastic. In the end though, my favorite ship is Yes.
  12. Thank you for sharing! We're spending 1.5 days in Seattle before flying to Anchorage...a Funko stop has my name written all over it.
  13. While there may be Spring Breakers from elsewhere, Spring Break in the surrounding counties and public universities will already be over. Most are scheduled for the week of March 16th. I know this because I'm a teacher in Hillsborough County (Tampa), we are on Break that week, and also on Rhapsody that week. #maytheoddsbeinourfavor
  14. I know we're lucky. But we've also had to fly. Those tickets to Alaska from Tampa next June weren't cheap! It's an entirely different ball game when it comes to budgeting.
  15. And I hate 75. We've been lucky on I4...a little traffic at Disney, but then smooth sailing after.
  16. Same here. We don't mind driving to PC, but we are loath to go to PE or Miami.
  17. I've never understood why people get so pressed over someone else's planning tools. 15 minute increments is detailed!
  18. Our last names is hyphenated, and their system doesn't allow for hyphens. We put both last names in the last name box without the hyphen. Perhaps you could put "IV" in the box with your last name? I don't know if it would solve the issue, or be allowed, but an idea.
  19. Same here. DH doesn't drink much, so buying 2 packages is a complete waste. We come out very much ahead paying as we go vs buying the package, but we still spend a nice chunk.
  20. We paid $58.99/person in June. I believe we were able to go almost all the way up. The views were incredible, and we got some amazing pictures. It was definitely worth it for a one time thing. We won't pay to go up again if it's just the two of us.
  21. I had no problem ordering multiple entrees on Harmony in June with my UDP, in 150CP, Jamie's, and Wonderland.
  22. That would be me! Thanks for the kind words. I'm glad you enjoyed it. And thanks for the laugh...I'm definitely a dude. 😂😂😂 The link to my review is below. Wonderland reviews are on Pages 4 & 6.
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