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starstruck05

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  • Content Count

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About starstruck05

  • Rank
    Cool Cruiser

About Me

  • Location
    New Orleans, LA
  • Interests
    having fun with friends and family
  • Favorite Cruise Line(s)
    Carnival, Royal Carribean
  • Favorite Cruise Destination Or Port of Call
    Anywhere the Ocean takes me.
  • If you have a personal or hobby CRUISE or TRAVEL BLOG, include the url here:
    briantoinette05.blogspot.com
  1. I only saw the piano player in the lobby and didn't catch the name. The only time I went into the piani bar was to wait for a table at dinner because it was right next door.
  2. Debarkation: Probably one of the most painless debarkation ever. We got to choose our zone number ( 10). The zones are set out on the promenade deck on the last sea day an anything before zone 10 is early debarkation, starting at around 8:30 with carry off as first. Late is anybody after 9:30. We had a lazy start and left the room after 8:45. We were the last on the floor and we did notice fans in several rooms around us, so it was not just our room as the suggested, that was warmer than normal. Up to the lido, found breakfast and sat until our zone was called. We did take the wrong elevators but still ended up in the right place. We waited about 20-25 minutes before fully off the ship. No real ding since they use tablets with scanners now. I don't think I mentioned that before. They no longer have those bulky machines you stick your card in. They scan your SS with a tablet and your picture ( and sometimes everyone in your parties picture) pops up. Off down the gangway, out to the terminal and down the escalators. I quickly got a porter and found out luggage. He zipped us through the almost pointless customs ( no declaration forms at all, only Id/ bc and passport checked. Less than 2 minutes and all of us done. Out to the pickup/drop off. C went to get the truck and we stayed with the porter. Very nice, talkative gentleman. Asked all about life in New Orleans, as he was considering going to work at that port. (NOLA of course has more days with ships in and out of port than Mobile) . I told him my inside info having work at Port of NO and about RC coming back to the city. He helped load the bags and got a nice tip for it. Next we were on the road and headed to MS and then back to NOLA. Of course Dreaming of the Dream in November but that will just be Mom and I. All in all despite a few issues, nothing will ever ruin our cruises and we all enjoyed ourselves and can't wait for the next family cruise. Again any questions feel free to ask and I will answer as best I can and I will attempt to upload my pictures as well. ( They are on two different memory cards and my phone so I will take some work)
  3. Cozumel: My home away from home. I know alot of people choose to stay on the ship in Cozumel but I love it! We ported early, having to be back on board by I believe 3:30. So we had breakfast in the lido and let the masses get off first. I knew from research that at least 5 ships would be in port that day and when we docked we could see two off in the distance and I believe the Breeze was docking when we were walking to the port? We walked the port via the famous gift shop tunnel and took our time making our way to the taxis. Thanks to CC, I found a new beach to go to. I have done Mr. Sancho's in the past, twice actually, and planned originally to go back this time, HOWEVER, the $55 all inclusive was going to be a waste for S. Why you may ask? Because 3 or so weeks before the cruise I found out I was going to be an Aunt! C and S were pregnant! As you know with an AI, the money is worth it for the drinks. No point in it if all of us couldn't get the value out of it. ( Even with virgin drinks, like she had all cruise, didn't seem worth it to us.) So I set out to find something else and stumbled upon many reviews for Paradise beach (and random ads on my instagram). It looked beautiful and only cost $3 per person and all they ask is that you spend $10 each on food and drinks. Not a bad deal! So we got in a taxi van with no issue, he charges us $20 however there are signs that say $15 for up to 4 people but we did not press and considered the extra $5 as a donation to the local economy. We were brought over to the beach, paying the $12 in cash and given wristbands. We found chairs and met our waiter and proceeded to hit the beach. So paradise beach is gorgeous and very clean. It is mostly about the inflatables, which were fun to watch, I did not get on. I swam about mostly undisturbed. No little sea creatures around either. There are floaties free of charge near the snorkel hut. WARNING, the beach is VERY rocky. And you can not see most of the rocks. You can only enter the beach at the yellow flag marker for safety ( unless you are boating or snorkeling) and there are lifeguards everywhere. I recommend swim shoes to help grip on the rocks. Once you get further out they are gone but walking back and forth is a bit of a struggle. We swan for a while, then got hungry and ordered food. The Volcanic nachos are AMAZING and no one person can get it all. Mom and I shared. Drinks were strong. I had a blue margarita. C and S had the nachos and a taco and burrito combo. Enjoyed both as well. C had a margarita I believe as well, S got a virgin daiquiri. We hung out on the beach and I really got to observe the area. It was never overly crowded and the wait staff was always around. They even had a big quinceanera group and it still did not feel crowded. We headed back out in the water for a little bit more and then decided to head back. We walked by the pool and instantly remember that we never got in it. LOL. Next time. Restrooms were nice and clean. We did have to hunt down out waiter to pay him. I think our total was around $60-70 including tip. Not including the already paid for wristbands. SO, now it is time to leave, we get to the front area and you have to show your receipt to the guy at the desk and he marks off how much you spent. We asked for a taxi and a different guy says this one. Well this one was a VERY small four door car. We are larger people, especially my brother. He drives a pick up truck on a normal day. He is uncomfortable in my car and its a Elantra. So I said, can we take the van, we can't all fit in the car. Or two cars. Now they took a couple behind us and put them in the car and they are gone. Now we are told we have to take whats next, which was a van that you just put a family in. Next up was also a van and I got told that we couldn't take a van because they have rules about take the next car and it cost more. No sir, you clearly see we can not fit. After a beat it clicked that he needed to get us out of there because both me and C were getting upset and again I mention my brother is big and scary looking (he's really a teddy bear) and I guess they thought he may have done something? I don't know, I just wanted to get back to the ship. This is no knock to paradise because we had a wonderful time. I fault the taxi drivers for being greedy and unaccommodating. So be warned but I doubt others will have the same issue. It did not dampen or time nor will it keep us from returning. We may just use on taxi for the whole day or rent a car and drive ourselves. ( It is literary a straight drive from the port to Paradise Beach). Anyway, after finally making it back to the port, Mom got her passport stamped at one of the stand right by the taxis ( I had left mine on the ship). We did some shopping and some walking. Eventually made it back on board around 3. We were VERY tired so decided to take shower and take a nap. The day wore S out (understandably) so she actually skipped dinner that night. Tonight was the night we went to the Brits show and then the casino and off to bed.
  4. I used the Hub App for the fun times so all I have is a few screen shots of the menus I can send.
  5. Getting ready to type it up now! Have fun! Yes, trust the room felt more like 82 than 72. We are from New Orleans and are very used to humidity but we also normally keep the house at around 68 or less in the summer because our summers are extremely hot. Their temp reading, while it sound comfortable, was not an accurate reading for the room. We were sweating more than outside. Usually I am freezing on the ships.
  6. Costa Maya: So technically this is a new port for us, however, its part of the Yucatan/ Progresso, as I have been to many of times. We had no set plans for today and honestly, my mood was affected by the weather. Storm clouds had rolled in and they looked intense. I have been through m fair share of Mexican/ Island rain, even dodged mudslides in Jamaica, but most rain only a second and is done. Not today. So we docked, we took our time getting of because we had no plans. I knew the port was built us nicely, so we decided to wing it and if we saw a excursion that we wanted to take, we would ( we didn't). We were one of two ships that day. I believe the Majesty of the Seas was the other ship ( it followed us to Cozumel as well.) Mom has mobility issues and we we took breaks walking the pair and we discovered that there is a tram from Royals section to the beginning of the port. Why it doesn't go all the way to Carnival, I don't know, I would have gladly tipped for that. The tram is free, they did not ask or expect tips ( we did tip $1 each however). Saved Mom a few feet of walking. The port is beautifully built. Lots and Lots of shops, those fish eat you feet pedicures, bars, restaurants. We shops and walked, talked to a few vendors about excursions. One guy as heavy promoting a beach excursion and a shopping excursion, but me and Mom did not bring swimsuits then he heard that and all of a sudden the beach was the only option. The shopping was sold out. No sir, we will pass. (I could have easily went back and got out stuff but it was going to rain anyway so we weren't sure we wanted to go to the beach. Plus I had a beach day planned for Cozumel.) We made it half way through the shops to the pool (that we didn't know what there and will definitely use next time) before the rain started. And did it rain. I thought I was back home in New Orleans for a second. It rained/ drizzled off and on for the rest of the time in port. None was as heavy as that time however. We walked up to this art vendor who was making beautiful spray paint art. He is right on the end by the ladies restrooms and his work is amazing. We ended up purchasing two pieces (one for each house). A galaxy one and a beach sunset. I think they were $25 each. Further down we discovered the flamingos and over to our right a nice little bakery. There is no where to sit from the pool area towards the flamingos ( there were benches all the way up until then) so we headed into the coffee shop to sit and get out of the heat. We got an order of Churros and a Coke, came to $5. AMAZING! Best Churros ever. Freshly made. They also sell Mexican products, such as flour, peanut butter, coffee, etc. Must try. After that we headed back to the ship, dodging rain again and taking the tram to the half way point. Next up Cozumel and Paradise Beach.
  7. Sorry I have been MIA, between school, work and events in the city over the last week I have been on the go constantly. I plan to wrap up everything in the next day or two( if not tonight). Entertainment: Cruise Director Ben was wonderful. His whole team was energetic and active all cruise long. As I state we went to trivia, and C and S went to Bingo. We also saw I think 2 shows and a few other things in the main show lounge. So our first "show" was the Hasbro game show, which the partnership between Hasbro and Carnival happened sometime after my last cruise and I really love it. *side note all the games in the library are Hasbro games and all the classic ones are there and in multiples, including twister. On previous cruises the items needed to be checkout if being taken from the library, however I never saw anyone in the library to do this so I think they are on the honer system. I brought books with me so I didn't borrow any this cruise but those are also on the honer system* If you have ever seen the show "Family Game Night" on GSN I think, its exactly the same. Very fun, very funny. Participants won a Hasbro game and the main winner won a Hasbro gift card. We attended Trivia, which was very popular all cruise. Something for everyone. Ben hosted different themed musical trivia in the atrium a couple nights. So, I usually do not like Carnivals stage productions. They are okay but I can do without them given the choice. However , since we were with newbies this cruise, we decided to go to some. The Motown show as up first and now the shows do a bit of a preshow, with singing, dancing crowd participation before. So to my shock C, my big, bear like, bearded brother, got pulled on stage and didn't refuse! Even put on a wig. He received a ship medal for his efforts and firmly told us to never show anyone the video. The show was pretty excellent. 8/10 The next show we saw was the Brits. Slightly disappointed. It was only however some standard songs I was looking forward to singing along to, and the show alluded to including, where not included. This show wasn't well attended, but we did the later show. 6/10 We skipped the Country show. The Love and Marriage show is always a favorite and always a must see and this cruise did not disappoint. The three couples were hilarious and this time the men where put behind a curtain instead of them facing back to back as I had seen in prior cruises. 10/10 We didn't attended the clubs or play mini golf. We mostly relaxed, played in the casino or sat around and read most days. Next Up : Costa Maya
  8. Thanks Everyone! The Ship: I went back and read my last review of the Fantasy from almost 10 years ago in 2009. My girl has changed a lot. She has been updated a bit but something remain the same. I will say the staff was always cleaning. I didn't smell any unpleasant smells at all throughout the week. She did need some paint touch ups here and there. On Costa Maya day we saw them redoing the outside handrails on the Lido. Food trays did not sit in the hallway for hours. We have walked up on the tail end of the carpets being shampooed one day. The Fantasy is very easy to navigate. I am a Midship fan for the ease of being about to be right in the center of everything and near an elevator that takes you everywhere you want to be. Bring that far forward I thought would be a concern. It wasn't. We were still central to everything, It was bit if a hike to the Lido so I didn't bring food back to the room like I normally would have but I didn't need to sit in the room all day anyway. As I said, she is pretty easy to navigate. The layout is pretty simple. I did forget about the $10 shop until I walked the full promenade deck and saw it again. The candy shop was popular as well. The Casino was small of course and I wasn't too fond of the variety of games and to be honest it seemed to have more smoking sections than non-smoking sections. Pixels still does printed pictures and they can not be viewed on the Hub app. I saw one lady on the last seaday with, no kidding, at least 50 + pictures in her hand, ready to buy. Between the 4 of us, I think we bought 3 pictures. Mom and I always get a dining room picture and S and C did formal night shots to use as engagement photos. We did have elevator issues during the cruise. Some do not have the deck names only the deck number (ex. 6 is Upper deck) and of course not having cruised in 2 years, remember deck numbers threw us off. We got our cruiselegs back and it was no problem. Some elevators did have the deck numbers and names. One elevator however would say we were on deck 7 but actually on deck 6. I made my steps everyday walking around the ship. I used the Lido steps from the Promenade deck up the Lido several times. Always remember to watch your step! The only issue was the comedy club. The seating is SO limited. I think only maybe 30 seats. There is a big empty space (running theme here) that leads to the Serenity deck in the back that went unused. If you wanted to see the show and didn't get there an hour early you had to stand up in the space. They did not add more seats for the show at all. I think I may just have an issue with wasted space. :') I did not get a chance to visit the nightclub however I did visit the Cat's Lounge aka Brand themed bar for Trivia a few times. Hint, know some Lord of the Rings and obscure Superhero trivia to win. We actually didn't do that bad but didn't win ( we won something later but I'll explain that in the Entertainment potion of the review) The gift shops left a little to be desired. I did spot Victoria's Secret items in the perfume/jewelry store. The Carnival fun shop however only had a small section of carnival branded merchandise. Everything else was candy and name brand items. Guess, Valentino, etc. I would prefer more Carnival things over high end things I can purchase on land for cheaper. ( Seriously don't but name brand items on board. I happen to have looked into getting the same Guess backpack they had on board and it was half the price at TJ Maxx). I think I covered most of the ship but If I missed anything feel free to ask! More coming up!
  9. Forgive me for any grammatical errors. I am typing this and doing a lesson plan at the same time and forgetting to proofread myself. The Room: Sigh...... We were in room U10, which is Upper Deck, Port Hole Room in the very front of the ship. We have never been this far forward and I wanted to try and see if the anchor or the engine noise would be an issue. ( Neither was) Beds were set up for two twins ( has been an issue in the past) Right away we noticed the room was hot. I couldn't figure out were the thermostat was so I let it go for a second. Mom discovered that their was only one washcloth in the bathroom. Noted. Need another one. Plenty of hanging clothes space for the two. Number coded safe. Draw space still the same. Not much but just enough. The weird thing about out room and apparently many others was a now very empty space where I believe a sofa use to be? It now at a chair with a back, which I could be mistaken, but don't remember ever having on any of my cruises. The sofa felt needed because the space was really wasted on us. We used the chair but mostly sat on the beds and the stool. It would work for someone with an extra person on a roll away bed however. It would allow for plenty of room. Remember it was hot? Well it stayed hot. The whole cruise. So when we met our room steward, I believe her name was Donna, we only got so far as the washcloth, which she someone thought we wanted more when we told her a few times we just need the one missing. For the rest of the cruise we had an additional 5 at all times that we didn't need. So later I discovered the thermostat changed from the ceiling. It was about an 1/2 inch from the lowest setting. I tired to turn it higher and it would not move. Called maintenance. They said it was indeed hot, we would send someone else up to fix it. No one else came. This was the first night. The next day we called again. Send two more people. We eventually got a small desk fan to us after asking. It was still hot. We got a note card telling us that maintenance has been in our room and a letter from Anna the guest service manager. I called her back and explained how hot it was and that it is not getting any coolers even with the fan on. She told me that Carnivals policy is to keep the room at 72-76 degrees and ours have gone from 76 to 74 to now 72 over the course of 3 days, maybe 4 at this point. I explained that 72 degrees is a heat adversity day here in New Orleans and I don't even keep my house at 72 and it was impossible that this is a policy of Carnivals. She told me that their are 25 other rooms on the same system and lowering it anymore would cause them to be uncomfortable. Mind you when we left to get off the ship we saw at least 2 other rooms in our area that also had desk fans. Anna said there was nothing else she could do and I knew there wasn't but this had to be a known issue before hand. Different areas of the ship where extremely hot as well, with not alot of people around. She did over us drink vouchers to use anywhere on the ship and we accepted and accepted that our room was just extra hot. C & S were in E74 and report no issues. I did love our portholes. Not as much as a ocean view or balcony but I wouldn't mind sailing that kind of room again..... Oh and one last thing about the room. The light fixture in the bathroom randomly fell. No one was in there at the time. NEXT UP?: The Ships, Entertainment, The Ports and Debarkation.
  10. Thanks Everyone! I'm trying to add as much info as possible because I was very pressed before this cruise and didn't find much. Any questions, feel free to ask. I will say we did have a few hiccups ( which you will hear in the next few parts) but they did not damper or ruin our cruise at all! The Food: Since I did the main dining room and YTD, I might as well get the rest of the food out of the way. We ate at every venue for various meals. Mom had breakfast in the main dining room on the last sea day and said it was A+. Lido food was a hit or a miss but that is not unique to the Fantasy. Guy's Burger was a highlight as well as the burritos and taco bowls at Blue Iguana. Let's talk about Guy's however. The staff at Guys weren't the best. I ordered a signature burger twice and both times I had to hand the food back because they handed me a plain cheeseburger. I asked for a ringer and the other time just asked for the sauce ( don't remember the name). Mom asked for the pig patty and they cook told her to use the bacon on the bar...NO sir. You have a menu and you have the patties right their. I don't know if they were overwhelmed with the amount of work or people however no one ever got a burger right on the first go at Guy's all week. C is a big guy and wanted two patties to save on bread he wasn't going to eat. Not two full burgers. Their saving grace was that the burgers were awesome. Everyone but Mom ate Lido breakfast everyday. A Tip is to not stand in the main lines but go to the salad bar and on one side they have the exact same items as the two main sides. No need to wait in line. If you need ketchup or butter you still need to go to the ends of the main areas however. They were having issues with the drink dispensers all week. They kept going out and the pitchers were being used instead. Hopefully that is resolved with new machines soon because at one time both on the inside area went out and had to be reset. Room Service: The new priced room service had not been rolled out before my last cruise so I was excited to try it this time. I only got the Honey BBQ wings, which were $5 and AMAZING! I had 8 I believe and couldn't finish them all. Also had my standard order on a Caesar salad and cheesecake. Both still free before 10pm and still good. I only ordered room service once unless you count the ice I called for one day. ( No ice bucket in the room, only got one from room service but it stayed in the room and continued to be filled) I will include drinks in the section. Kiss on the Lips is my standard. I had 2 or 3. Pirate Punch is my new favorite drink however. Drinking it out of a disco ball helps as well. LOL. Long Islands were good and strong from Mom and C. S couldn't drink but her virgin drinks were good. I ordered C a birthday cake to be delivered to dinner on the last night( his actual birthday). Was perfect and tasted great, although I thought it used to have a strawberry jelly filling but this one had a mousse filling. I think I covered everything food wise Next up is the room......Buckle your seat belts for this.....
  11. Your Time Dining on The Fantasy/ Formal Night: YTD is done in the Celebration dining room. We attended dinner every night and saw a wide range of outfits. Most we dressed appropriately. What you would see on land. One night I did see someone dress in workout clothes headed to the dining room. We had no wait the first night however every night after we had to get a pager and wait. Wait was never more than 30 minutes and we chose to wait in either and library or the piano bar. No issues with the paging system. This cruise especially in the summer attracts alot of families and groups. Their were at least 15 groups on board from school reunions to family reunions and birthdays. They were at least 10 deep and some how all had YTD. They did the best they could to accommodate them all. Our first night we sat in the very middle section off to the side by the railing and it was VERY cramped. Had we not finished after the tables around us we would have had to wait for them to be done before we could get out of the section. Every night after we were seated in the side sections near the windows. Service was okay. We have had better. Food was actually really good. I did wish for a slight bit more variety and items I miss from old menus. Mac n Cheese is every other night. Mash Potato switch with it. I ate alot from the Port of Call menu. Not to be missed. C tired almost every specialty item on the menu. Rabbit, escargot, ox tails. All at hit with him. The fried chicken was a miss from me but the ribs was a hit. We almost always ordered to apps and one entree. The night of the ribs and chicken and had those and one app. (Always a Caesar salad).
  12. Hub App: Another first was using the Hub app. I downloaded it prior the the cruise and like using the countdown feature ( although did not often stay. I had to reenter the info often to see the countdown.) I did not turn it on as soon as we go on the ship. I waiting until we were leaving port. We all decided to spend the $5 to use the chat feature for the week. All you do is agree to the terms on the app and create and chat with your group. Very easy. I never had an issue with the app. I only wish I had downloaded it on my kindle as well so I didn't have to have both with me if I need to use the app for something. I also got saltwater in my phone in Coz and it wouldn't charge for the night and most of the next seaday so having it on my kindle would have had me not so dependent on my phone, unable to communicate. (My phone is waterproof but saltwater still messes with the ports and speakers) S & C did have issues. Their app went down a few times and didn't send or receive messages a few times. We loved being able to like things we wanted to go to and to see what members of our group liked. My favorite feature was being able to check my account from the privacy of my phone and not in line at the kiosks or on the tv in the room. The menu feature was also very helpful and easy BUT we had YTD ( which I will review next) and I would be so much easier to book your dining time for that day on the app OR instead of the page system they text you on the app to tell you your table is ready. I don't know if the chat option would be really needed if it is just me and Mom but having a group it definitely was very helpful and easy. Also because it was a question I had as well, The app does not drain your battery too much. Same to normal Instagram or facebook use.
  13. Hello all! It has been a very long time since I have written a review. I decided I would type up a quick one since my homework (I recently went back to school) is giving me the blues. This review will be short and not picture heavy. I would like to make up for my last unfinished review. So, lets get started. On this trip was me, B. My mom....Mom lol and My brother C and his girlfriend and now as of the first night of the cruise, future wife, S. Yes! They got engaged on the cruise. No big showing however, he proposed in their cabin after dinner the first night. This was his birthday cruise and all he wanted was for them to be engaged:hearteyes::hearteyes:! BTW this was both of their first cruise and they are now hooked! (I get everyone hooked on cruising). Embarking: After an 8 am test I had to take, Mom and I drive from NOLA to meet C & S in MS where they live and drove to Mobile the morning of the cruise. Made it to the port around 12. Our check in time I believe was 1:30 but I wanted to be early to see if they would allow us to check in. I had not dealt with check in times having not cruised in 2 years and found no info on how it was being done in Mobile so I decided to be the CC guinea pig for it. Finding a spot was hard. We ended up parking on the roof. Tip for Mobile .....pre-pay to park because it is a NIGHTMARE trying to pay at the port. They use parking meter machines like you would see at a normal parking garage but only set for the length of the cruise. Make sure you take a picture of your plates as well. Thankfully I am used to these machines because they are the same ones we use all over NOLA. The attendant (the only person I saw at all on any floors) sent us down a floor because she claimed that meter didn't take cash. The next meter lost power the second we went to used it. (they are solar powered and in a dark parking garage....whose dumb idea was that?) We went down one more floor and finally it was paid. It was either $90 or $95 I can't quite remember. So I know you are asking, " Why would you cruise out of mobile when you have a perfectly good cruise port 10 minutes from your house?" I asked myself that same question on the 2 hour drive cramped in the back seat of a pickup truck. SMH, What was I thinking?? Truthfully, I just wanted to experiences another embarking port. This wasn't too fair but I'm not sure I would do it again. It would have to be an awesome itinerary or ship. Any who, getting into the terminal was relatively painless. Now they scan your passport and enter your BC and ID info before you even go through the security scanners. 2 seconds. No one mentioned check in times or early or late only priority boarding. Desk check in 2 seconds as well. Photo and keys at the desk. Then up, up UP the blue ramp to the ship! Total time about 30 minutes. I will be back in a few to review everything else and figure this picture situation out.
  14. We are booked on the Dream. Don't quote me but I am pretty sure all the ships after the Dream have these rooms. Our is a Deluxe Ocean-view. One is a normal restroom and the other has a sink and bathtub. If you search "Deluxe oceanview" on these boards someone has posted pictures of them.
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