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Dream DETAILED Western Review, 5/29/10: Auditory, Olfactory, and Common Senses


Lady_Jag

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Laura,

Sorry I didn't get to see more of you on the cruise. Would have loved to have met Alex and Alyssa. She is such an adorable little girl.

 

We got very lucky in the people we encountered on the ship. Didn't run into any scowly faced people and we had great table mates.

 

The only problem was there was so much to do and so little time to do it. We were planning on doing a lot of stuff onboard during the Costa Maya visit but wound up spending way to much time shopping in the port area.

 

For future reference for anyone that reads this and is in love with Chocolate Melting Cake, you can order the consistancy that you want of the chocolate part. Found out from the pastry chef during the Chef's Table. They have 3 different consistancies that you can order from your waiter. It isn't something that they advertise but that is how they make it.

 

Looking forward to reading the rest of your review

 

Tom

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Hi, all!

There is more to come. My work has piled up and I'm in the middle of a really nasty project right now.

 

My apologies for the now missing photos. I exceeded my 10GB bandwidth allowance on Photobucket for this month, and now the pictures won't appear until the 28th, when my account is reset. :(

 

So I'll have to use hubby's account to post the rest of the pictures for my review. I hope to document our Belize experiences tonight. I was pleasantly surprised by this port. More later.

 

Thanks for reading and for your understanding!

Laura

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Room service this morning was all out of whack. We ordered 2 chocolate muffins, 1 tea, 1 skim milk and 1 chocolate milk. We got 2 chocolate muffins, 2 danishes, 2 teas, and 3 chocolate milks. Ummm…alright. Hey, as long as Alyssa got her staple of chocolate muffins, everything was going to be fine, right?

I had been wanting to try the BLT from room service since seeing pictures of it here on CC, and today felt like a good day to order it, since we slept in a bit, and I didn’t want the standard fare from the Lido buffet.

I picked up the phone and pressed the [Room Service] button. I asked for a BLT, but was denied! The voice on the phone told me that the only thing being served at that time was continental breakfast. Huh? Not to be defeated, I walked over to my mom’s room. “Can I use your TV?” I asked.

I explained that room service denied me a BLT over the phone, so I thought I’d try a little experiment. Let’s see if they can deny an order from the TV! I pressed the [Menu] button on the remote, selected the Room Service menu, and then ordered my BLT on wheat toast, mayo on the side. Within 10 minutes, I had my BLT! Awesome!

The Dream was anchored not far from the island of Belize, and since we arrived early again, tendering to the port had already begun. My original plan was to make this a “ship day.” This morning, though, I decided to check Alyssa into Camp Carnival, go ashore for just a few minutes to say I was there, then come back to the ship and enjoy the ship's facilities. Both my mom and Joann were happy to go along with that plan, so Alex and my mom walked Alyssa to Camp Carnival while I got some things together and Joann visited the bar for her morning Diet Coke.

 

This would be Alyssa’s first time in Camp Carnival since embarkation day, when they had just a general viewing. She didn’t want to go, so my mom and Alex told her she didn’t have to stay if she didn’t like it, but that she should just look around and see what they had to offer before she decided. She walked in and told the counselors, “I’m just going to look around. I’m not staying,” a few times. But then, she became really interested in the game the other kids were playing and decided she’d stick around after all.

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(Alyssa practicing her artwork before going to Camp Carnival)

Alex was issued a cell phone so that they could keep in touch with us, and we could call to check in on Alyssa. The counselors asked if Alyssa would be joining them for lunch and Alex said “uh…I dunno.” They told him that he needed to let them know if she was staying for lunch by 11:30, and could just call once he found out. Fair enough.

We all caught up on the Lido deck. My mom and Alex explained about the phone and lunchtime, so I dialed the Camp Carnival extension from the phone and told them that Alyssa would, in fact, be joining them for lunch. “OK,” the counselor told me, “but are you going to check in on her before you leave the ship?”

“I guess I can,” I said, “but we’re leaving the ship within the next 20 minutes. Is it necessary?”

“Well,” said the counselor, “it’s probably a good idea if you did. We recommend that children don’t stay longer than 6 hours without a parent checking on them.”

6 hours?!? It had been maybe 6 minutes since my mom and Alex left! Nevertheless, I agreed to check in on Alyssa before leaving the ship. So while Joann and my mom went to the Encore lounge to wait for a spot on the tender, Alex and I traipsed back to Camp Carnival to make sure Alyssa didn’t have any of the counselors bound and gagged in a chair somewhere. (Of course everything was ok!)

We slipped in and out of Camp Carnival without Alyssa seeing us, so that she wouldn’t get upset and cry to come with us. Then we caught one of the glass elevators to join the rest of our group in the Encore lounge.

“Wait! Wait!” came a voice. A hand stopped the doors from closing. A young girl, around 11-12 years old, stood there, holding the door and calling “Tyler! Tyler! C’mon!” She kept the doors open until her dad and mom and older sister showed up. “C’mon, Tyler!” she continued to call, as the doors remained open, and the family stood in the elevator bay, waiting on Tyler. The doors started to close, and the girl threw her hand in again to open them. Still no Tyler.

“We’ll send the elevator back for you,” I promised. The girl stepped back, and the doors started to close again. They were almost completely closed when Tyler finally showed up. At this point, the girl threw both hands into the doors and had to strain to pry them apart. She looked like Superman bending steel prison bars! I rolled my eyes. Any longer, and I would have to check in on Alyssa again!

Now that Tyler was there, the entire “First Me, Then Me,” family piled onto the elevator. They accompanied us to the Encore lounge, and picked up their tender stickers. My mom and Joann were already waiting with our stickers on the opposite side of the lounge, thankfully. Even better was that we had lower numbers on our stickers, so we could board a different tender!

In no time, our group’s number was called, and we were asked to follow Katie down to deck 0. Now, my mom has issues with her knees and is not supposed to be climbing stairs, even though she does sometimes because she is too shy to speak up and ask for assistance. She insisted on hobbling down the first flight of stairs, but when we reached deck 2, I called over to Katie: “Katie, can she take an elevator?”

Without missing a beat, Katie said “sure,” and got on the house phone to call an elevator up to deck 2. I escorted my mom over to the elevator doors to await her ride down to deck 0. While we waited for the elevator, the remaining guests waiting to board the tender piled up in the stairwell. The last dozen or so guests of our group, including Alex and Joann, were stopped on the stairs halfway between decks 3 and 2.

At this point, an elderly couple walked into the elevator bay. By the expressions on their faces, they were surprised to see so many people in the stairwell. As they started to walk across the hallway toward where the group debarking was backed up, Katie, with her sweet English accent, approached the couple and said “Hello! Do you have a sticker?”

“A sticker?” the little old lady asked.

“Yes,” replied Katie, “You need to go upstairs to the lounge and get a sticker. Then when your number is called, you’ll be able to get on the tender to go ashore.”

“Ummm..no, I don’t think we need…” the lady began, and started walking again.

“Ok. So just go upstairs, and they’ll give you a sticker,” Katie nicely insisted, blocking the couple’s path.

About this time, the elevator arrived, and my mom and I stepped on. Before the doors closed, I heard the lady plead with Katie, “But we just want to go to our cabin. Can't we go to our cabin?”

We, along with everyone in the hallway (including Katie) burst into laughter. As the elevator doors shut, I heard Katie say, “Oh, of COURSE you can go to your cabin, dear!”

Still laughing, Alex and Joann gave a recap of the event to some of the passengers standing in the stairwell who missed the exchange. Before they could get to the punch line, Katie poked her head over the railing and demanded, “Stop telling stories!!” LOL!

 

The tendering process to Belize was simple and uneventful. The ride lasted about 15-20 minutes over slightly choppy waters. We stayed in the port area, and while the other 3 shopped, I took some pictures. It was hot again today, but I spent most of the time in covered areas out of the sun. After about an hour, my mom wanted to go back to the ship to rest, so I gave her the Camp Carnival phone to take back with her. (The phone doesn’t work off the ship…at least that’s what Camp Carnival told me…so no use carrying it around.)

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Around 2:00, Alex, Joann, and I were on a tender boat heading back to the Dream, too. Lunchtime! We decided to head to the Mongolian Grill on the Lido deck, but first I called my mom’s cabin from the house phone on deck 0 to see if she wanted to join us.

“Hold on, Laura,” my mom told me. Then in the background, I heard her say, “I’m calling to check on Alyssa W__. [pause] She’s 4. [Another pause.] Uh-huh. Ok. Thank you.” It was the second time since her return to the ship that my mom used the Camp Carnival phone to check on Alyssa. LOL!

I invited my mom to lunch with us, but she said she already had a hamburger, and besides, she was in the middle of doing laundry. (Doing laundry?!? Seriously?) Oh well, off to the Mongolian Grill! YUM!

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I mean it – I thought it was the most delicious meal of the week! Added bonus – there was no line or waiting! It was like the chefs were waiting just for us. (In a way, I guess they were.) We got our fresh ingredients, chose our meat and sauces, and in no time, we were consuming delicious hot, fresh stir fry.

After lunch, Alex and I picked Alyssa up from Camp Carnival. We brought her back to our cabin and changed into swimsuits. Then off to the pool for some fun! The pools were really crowded by now, especially the aft pool, so we chose the main pool by the big screen. We splashed and played around a while, then decided to leave the ever growing crowd in the pool and move to one of the whirlpools on deck 11. No one was there, so we had the whirlpool entirely to ourselves until close to dinnertime.

Before dessert was served tonight, the wait staff performed a Ballywood-type dance, and Alyssa immediately got up and dragged Alex out to dance with her and our assistant waiter, Dindo. Alyssa really surprised me with how well she picked up the steps! And I guess I wasn’t the only one surprised, because I noticed the lady at the table across from ours pointing and taking pictures of Alyssa during the routine.

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After dinner, we brought Alyssa back to Camp Carnival for some games and the “Funship Freddie Surprise Party.” Then Alex went to the comedy magic show of Bob Brizendine (he said it was really good), while my mom, Joann and I visited the Future Cruise Certificate desk. My mom was “just along for the ride,” Joann was interested, but noncommittal, and I was there to do business! Despite my cajoling, I was the only one to buy a certificate.

It really is a great deal! You pay $100 for a certificate that is good for $100 deposit towards any future cruise booking you make within the next 5 years. When you use your certificate for the deposit, you also get a set amount of onboard credit, between $25 and $200, depending on the length of your cruise. So basically you pay $100, and get anywhere from $125 to $300 for your next cruise. The certificate is fully refundable, provided you call and ask for the refund before the 5-year mark is up. How cool is that?

After my “big” purchase of the day, we three ladies explored the photo gallery and bought a few pictures. Since I was buying one of the 8x10s of the five of us for $22, my mom was able to buy two 5x7 copies of that same picture for just $10. Sweet!

Alex met us in the photo gallery after the show. Alex and I were the only two of the group charged for the deck party tonight, so we made our way to the main pool to see what it was all about. Fun! We were among the first to arrive to the party. Blackjack rocked out on the bandstand beneath the big screen, which showed live party broadcasts from the roaming camera crew. Todd, Katie, and 3-4 other members of the entertainment staff tossed (rocketed?!?) beads into the growing crowd, danced on the benches in front of the pool, and kept everyone in the groove. The atmosphere was electric, and unlike Ms. Scowl, everyone was having a great time.

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A little sidebar about the Mardi Gras beads – if you really, really want beads, don’t stand close to the pool, unless you’re in the first row in front of the entertainment staff. Instead, stand towards the back of the crowd, or on the upper deck along the front railing. Why? Because Todd and the rest of his staff seemed to have a little competition to see who could throw the beads the farthest, and who could toss the beads up to the other decks. They didn’t neglect those of us in the front area (Alex and I snagged quite a few beads), but most of their targets were further back.

Another valuable piece of advice – pay attention at all times! Those beads are hard to see at night to begin with, especially with the flashing lights and flickering big screen, and they will come at you at a high speed and force. I looked down for just a second to put the lens cap on my camera, and WHACK! I was struck across the face and in my left eye by a bead missile. Ow! I rubbed my eye and stinging face, and ZZZIP! Another rogue set of beads on the way to the back of the crowd clipped the top my right ear.

Tonight’s laser show was a lot better than the first night’s show, although according to Alex, not as good as the Pink Floyd show the other night. At the end of the show, someone announced a goal of “the worlds longest conga line,” so everyone on deck formed a chain and snaked around the pool area. The line brought me and Alex under the big screen, and a lady in her early 20s asked us, “mind if I cut in?” then she stepped in between me and Alex. “Uh, that’s my wife!” Alex told her. “Ooops! Sorry!” she said, and moved down the line. I laughed. “It’s nice to know you won’t let any woman come between us, Alex!”

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(The Dream's own Zamboni!)

 

The party probably went on all night, but at 11:00, Alex and I decided to collect Alyssa from Camp Carnival. Alyssa was wired from the “surprise party” for Funship Freddie, and loved that I shared my beads with her. Frank and Bridie were there to get their son too, and Alyssa was infatuated with 6-year-old Brandon! She shared her beads with him, and would have followed him back to Frank and Bridie’s cabin if I wasn’t there to stop her. (She’s always had this thing for “older men.” LOL!)

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(Alyssa sharing with her stuffed animals. BTW - our room steward, Antonius, would make up Alyssa's bed, then tuck in her stuffed animals every evening.)

Upon our return, on the bed in our cabin were three past guest party invitations, some chocolates, tonight’s towel animal, and our Fun Times for Costa May tomorrow.

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You are very brave to eat iguana! I've eaten alligator before, and that is as exotic as I will go! haha.

 

Great report so far!

My hubby's eaten alligator before and said it was pretty good. I told him I'd take his word for it. :rolleyes:

 

 

When I read Iguana as a choice, I knew that had to be it! One of my friends went to Machu Pichu and she ate Guinea Pig at a restaurant!

 

You are braver than I am!

Yikes! Guinea pig?!? That reminds me of the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou, when one of the main characters offers George Clooney a skinned gopher on a stick - "Care for some gopher?"

 

Lady Jag, Love your review so far...Alyssa looks like she's having a ball!

 

Yep the "hill" in Roatan, isn't the one from the pier to the shops. It's the one from the taxis to the gate:eek: I got a T shirt in St Thomas that says on th eback "Iguana take you sailing" You need one that says "Iguana take you to lunch":D Did you see the coffee kiosk in Mahogany Bay? Great coffee.

 

Waiting for Belize and CM.

 

Crew

 

Crew, Alyssa is already asking when she can go on another cruise - I think I've created a monster!

 

Too funny on the "Iguana take you to lunch" shirt! I saw a similar T that read "As bad as Iguana be" in Belize. :D

 

We saw the coffee kiosk, but I'm not a coffee drinker, so I wouldn't be able to tell good coffee from mud. :eek:

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Hey the photos are getting better... Of course the wedgie that is :) :D. Very good so far. Yes roatan was OMG hot. We didn't stay for the ocean or pool at the Monkeys and Pirates thing we just came straight back we were so sweaty. YOU had to walk up that hill ugh :eek:. I commented to Bridie about wow look how far out and up this hill the independent tours are. Yea i didn't care much for the singers either. Now some of the dancing girls on the other hand :D. Enjoying this review.

 

Thanks, Frank. I'm not sure "walking" up the hill is exactly right. It was more like "trudging." Ugh! I think maybe they should have pointed the "flying chairs" in the other direction, so that us poor saps with independent tours can make it up the hill. LOL!

 

Thanks for the reply!

 

and thanks again for the review!

 

You're welcome. It is my pleasure.

 

Hey lady jag! awesome cruise review, i loved reading about it!! I cant wait to sail on the dream in sept!! Glad you and your family had a great time!!!

 

Thanks, Flyboy! I hope you have as wonderful a time as we did. It really was one of our best cruises to date. :)

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Haha Iguana! I dont think I could ever eat that! Super adventurous! The most adventurous I've ever been was eating gator 8-)

 

I've not been brave enough to try gator. In fact, I don't usually try "exotic" foods unless I'm on a cruise. Then all bets are off! ;)

 

Cool review! Really enjoying it :)

Thank you!

 

Laura, I am loving your review! I can't believe we have been home almost a week! I am sorry you encountered some very rude people. We were lucky this time - or maybe didn't notice it because we were having such a fun time with our "kids." The only horrible behavior we encountered was trying to leave the show one night. The people coming in surged on top of us and we could barely get out. It was the night of a big bingo game or something - LOL.

 

We pretty much avoided the lido area for dining - especially at lunch time. We ate in the MDR 99% of the time. We ate in the lido dining area on the last sea day - and it was a zoo! The staff were great about moving people through the lines quickly, but there were just so darn many people.

 

We did notice the sewer smell on the open upper decks and once or twice in our cove balcony rooms. It was not really a big deal to me. It was fairly mild and didn't stick around long.

 

We Florida folks were shocked by the heat and humidity as well - especially when climbing the Xuanantunich ruins in Belize.

 

Looking forward to the rest of your review!!!

Charlotte:D

 

Thanks, Charlotte! I know what you mean about the "surge." We encountered several such surges waiting for the elevators, but I would run blocker for my mom and any other folks I saw in wheelchairs so that they could get on first.

 

I'm surprised the smell reached your cove balcony. I think noticed it mainly on the upper decks. Like you said though, it was mild and fleeting.

 

:)

Laura

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I am loving your review. We are cruising with our 5 year old in August and it's nice to read a review by somebody cruising with their child. I look forward to reading the rest of it!

 

Your 5-year-old is going to have a blast! Alyssa recommends the Dream's Waterworks, racing slides, hot tubs, and of course, room service. LOL!

 

I've enjoyed your review and pictures! We sail Saturday on Dream. :D

Bon Voyage! I hope you have a great week!

 

Excellent review, with great pics. Wondering how you were able to get the trophy,and medal for your daughter. We are cruising in November, and my two dbs, 5 and 3 would love to get a knock on the door.

Thank you!

Our friend, John Heald, arranged for the trophy and medal to be sent to Alyssa. John is Carnival's Brand Ambassador and senior cruise director. A while back, he asked that I let him know when Alyssa's next fun ship sailing was so he could "send her a little something."

Next to Alyssa's stuffed cat, Hallie, they are her most prized posessions. LOL!

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Great Review!! We were the Western Itin right before yours on the Dream! We had such a great time!

 

I am particularly interested in your review as we are taking our then to be 6 yo granddaughter and 2 1/2 yo granddaughter - so glad to see your 6 yo had such a great time!!

 

Thanks for an awesome review!

Oh, you're going to have a ball with your grandkids! Cruising is definitely different when you bring little ones along. This is the third time we've sailed together as a family, and now I don't think I could cruise without Alyssa with us. :)

 

 

Also considering Dream in June 2011. Thanks for the review. ibm, i think were on Destiny together June 2010.

You're welcome. I'd say go for it - the Dream is a lot of fun! :D

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Laura,

Sorry I didn't get to see more of you on the cruise. Would have loved to have met Alex and Alyssa. She is such an adorable little girl.

 

We got very lucky in the people we encountered on the ship. Didn't run into any scowly faced people and we had great table mates.

 

The only problem was there was so much to do and so little time to do it. We were planning on doing a lot of stuff onboard during the Costa Maya visit but wound up spending way to much time shopping in the port area.

 

For future reference for anyone that reads this and is in love with Chocolate Melting Cake, you can order the consistancy that you want of the chocolate part. Found out from the pastry chef during the Chef's Table. They have 3 different consistancies that you can order from your waiter. It isn't something that they advertise but that is how they make it.

 

Looking forward to reading the rest of your review

 

Tom

 

Thanks, Tom! Good to know about the melting cake! We're looking at the Legend for April, so I'll have to make sure I give it another try, but ask for extra gooey. ;)

 

I know what you mean about there being too much to do. Someday we will make it back to the Dream so that we can catch up on all the things we wanted to do but missed - laser tag, mini golf, ping pong, and more time on the Serenity deck and spa. LOL!

 

 

Great review so far , thanks for sharing

It is my pleasure. :)

 

Can't wait to read the rest. I'm really enjoying your review.

 

Your daughter is precious!

Thank you very much! She is the light of my life and I am very blessed to have her.

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Laura - you guys need to head to Outback Crab Shack on state road 13 south - here in St. John's County. Their alligator tail is excellent :D We can "do lunch" sometime - LOL. Great Review. Thanks !!

 

Sounds good! Although my "land" personality is not as adventurous as my "cruise" one, I think I can make an exception in this case and give it a try. ;)

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6:30 in the morning found me lying in bed, listening. Our entire cabin was rattling and shaking, the hangers in the closet were knocking on the closet doors, and the picture above the bed was tapping on the wall behind us. “We must be arriving at Costa Maya a little early,” I thought.

Alex and Alyssa continued to sleep while I wrapped myself in my Cloud 9 robe, slid my feet into the Cloud 9 slippers, and walked out to our semi-private balcony at the front of the ship, ready to take the first pictures of the day. Drat! The deck was a bit wet and slippery, and the lens on my camera was fogged inside and out.

Oh well. I didn’t see anything but the sea spanning in all directions, so I walked to the railing on the port side of the ship. There was the pier, dotted with little white lights, stretched out some distance behind and to the left. The Dream groaned, muttered, and complained while the captain backed it up. I stood there for a while, watching, but I figured that reaching the dock was going to take longer than I was willing to wait, so I walked back to my cabin. Room service was right on time, so I tipped the man, placed the tray down, and crawled back into bed.

We all took a while to start moving today, and since the Dream would be leaving very early in the afternoon, we decided to stay around the port area. No wheelchair today, as there is a trolley that shuttles passengers from one end of the pier to the other. Nice, especially since we had another blinding hot, muggy day in the mid-90s!

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Maybe it was the heat that made me a little bit cranky or something, but I wasn’t too impressed with Costa Maya. The shops were expensive, and some of the merchants were tricksters. One tried to play the old “hand a toy to the child” trick, which I absolutely detest! Alyssa and I were browsing around one of the shops, and the merchant picked up a doll from the shelf, said “Hola! Hola!” in a high-pitched voice, made the doll dance in front of Alyssa’s face, then, when he saw that she was intrigued, handed her the doll.

Now, this trick is to put the parent in an awkward situation. Basically, now that your child has fallen in love with and is now holding this dancing talking toy, you have to either 1) be the bad guy and make her part with it, or 2) buy the stupid thing so that your child can carry it out of the store and then lose interest in it once she realizes that the toy doesn’t actually talk and dance on its own.

My only defense for this trick was to tell Alyssa to put the doll down the second the guy handed it to her. Which she did without a word of protest. (I was sooo proud of her!) We continued shopping, and since she was being such a trooper, I decided to let her pick out a toy (which turned out to be that same doll…they were EVERYWHERE!)

“Cuantos cuestas?” I asked the merchant, trying out my very rusty Spanish.

“13 dollars,” he said in English, “but for you, 10.”

“Um, no. Cinco?” I bargained. (I’m HATE bartering, by the way, because I’m so horrible at it! LOL!)

“Eight,” he countered.

“Seis,” I replied.

“Seven,” he offered.

“Alright. Da el cambio en dolares americanos?” I tried to use my poor Spanish to ask if he would give me my change in US dollars.

“Si,” he smiled.

I gave him $10, and he grabbed three $1 bills from the cash register. In a final attempt, he held back a dollar and asked, “two for you and one for me?”

I laughed, “No, how about two for me and one for her?” and pointed to Alyssa.

Alyssa thanked me, gave me a great big kiss worth millions, and hugged her new doll…then handed said doll over to me the minute we walked into the shop next door that had other pretty and shiny things to look at, and that was that. Sigh!

Alyssa and I wandered around a bit, then Alex stayed with Alyssa so I could pop in and out of the remaining shops quickly. I caught up with them at the massage tables. Alyssa was fascinated and stared at the guys who were getting massages. I handed Alex a cold bottled water and told him I would watch Alyssa while he browsed a few of the shops. Alyssa was happy watching the massages on the beach and collecting rocks. Then she spotted the rope hammocks in the area next to the massage tables, and folded herself up into one.

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When Alex returned, the three of us took a little walk to see how much Costa Maya has changed since Alex and I were last there in early 2004. Both pools had a considerable amount of people in them, and the restaurant/bar was crawling with more people. Dang, it was hot today!

 

We made it back to the fountain in the center of the port and found my mom. The four of us sat on a bench in a small shaded area for a little relief. We chatted a little bit, then I noticed a tower with several steps, and since I have a thing for photographing stairs, I peeled myself off the bench and stepped back out into the blazing sunlight to take a few pictures. Alex and Alyssa decided they wanted to climb the tower with me, so the three of us ascended the stairs while my mom watched from the fountain.

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The view at the top was nice. We could see the Dream in the distance, as well as the remnants of what must have been a resort before the 2004 hurricane. Within a few minutes, Joann joined our group at the top. We also met a nice couple from the Dream there, and exchanged cameras to take each other’s picture.

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We all filed down the stairs, and Alex asked if I wanted to get a massage on the beach with him. “It’s $30 per person, but I can probably talk them into two for $50,” he said.

Now Alex had wanted a massage on the beach since the LAST time we were in Costa Maya, but I felt way too hot and sweaty to stay out in the heat any longer. So I told Alex to go ahead and we’d meet him on board, and I, my mom, Joann and Alyssa piled onto the trolley back to the ship.

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Ah! The cool air from the ship was just what I needed! Well, that and some lunch. Time to try out the pasta bar! Us girls found a table, filled out the card for our orders, and waited for our orders to arrive hot and fresh. While we waited, someone from the staff came around with a drink cart of tea, lemonade, water, and some sort of passion fruit drink. Wow! I think this was the first cruise I’ve taken where someone comes around in the casual dining areas and serves you drinks. Awesome!

Our pasta arrived, much to picky Alyssa’s disappointment, who was close to throwing a fit over not getting a grilled cheese sandwich. I ordered farfalle with a red sauce and told Alyssa it was butterfly pasta. She ate it up! I thought the meat lasagna was just ok. It was kind of weird because the beef in it was shaved and not ground, which gave it an unusual texture. Not something I would order a second time, but satisfying enough.

We ran into a very relaxed and calm Alex on the way back to the room. The massage was obviously worth the money. LOL! He took Alyssa to the hot tub and pool while I showered and got ready for the past guest party, which would start at 3:30 for folks scheduled for early/main dining. I was looking forward to it!

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(A surprise towel animal was on Alyssa's bed when we got back on the ship with a little thank you note from our steward, Antonius.)

 

The Dream left Costa Maya about 15 minutes late. I wondered if the four people that were paged over and over again made it back to the ship in time. If not, then their cruise would be over, as tomorrow was our last day – a sea day.

At 3:15, Alex and Alyssa were still MIA, so I stopped by my mom’s cabin to escort her and Joann to the party in the main Encore show lounge. There was a crowd of people piled up in the elevator bay, waiting for the doors to open. One lady asked me “what’s going on? What’s all this for?” She seemed disappointed when I told her it was the past guest party.

A few minutes before the doors opened, I called our cabin from the house phone, and Alex answered. He was just getting out of the shower, and still had to get Alyssa cleaned up. Alyssa always LOVES to dance on the “big stage,” so I told Alex to join us as soon as they could so that Alyssa could have some fun.

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We sat in the first row to the right of center and had a great view. We barely sat down before 2-3 servers offered us some munchies and some drinks. Nice! We listened to the music and watched a smattering of people dance on stage. Funship Freddy made his brief appearance as well. I was into my fourth drink, a blue margarita, when Alex and Alyssa came through the door. At this point, the last dance was over and Todd took the stage. Oh well. I got a fruit punch for Alyssa, which she accidently dropped, spilling it on my shoes and the floor. I wiped up what I could with the remnants of our cocktail napkins, then called one of the servers over, apologized for the accident, and asked her for some more napkins. She told me not to worry, and mopped up the remaining liquid with a cloth.

After the standard “Welcome Home” movie, it was time to go. I ran into Todd in aisle on my way out, shook his hand, and told him that he had been our cruise director on the Miracle back in 2004, and that I’ll never forget the improv show he arranged at the last minute when one of the comedians couldn’t board. He smiled and said he remembered that, and that the Miracle was where he got his start as cruise director. He told me he’s trying to make his way to the Splendor eventually, since he just bought a house in San Diego. (I think he said he would be leaving the Dream at the end of August?)

Anyway, there was plenty of time to go back to the cabin to change into our clothes for our second formal night. Alyssa and I wore very similar…ok, almost matching…outfits. (I know, the mother-daughter outfit thing is cheesy, but I had to do it just this once!) Alyssa was a HUGE hit! She looked so grown up, and at dinner, she danced the YMCA dance with Dindo and Alex, which brought several “aw!”s and “ooooh!”s from the people seat around us.

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(Our second towel animal today was a monkey. Alyssa couldn't wait to "rescue" him!)

 

After dinner, we stopped to get several portraits taken, then changed into our casual comfortable clothes back at our cabin. My mom and Joann decided to call it a night, so Alex and I took Alyssa down to the main atrium so she could dance some more. Alex and I sat on one of the nice leather couches and listened to the music while Alyssa danced around on the dance floor in front of us. The drinks from the party finally caught up to me and were making me sleepy, so I had to make my way back to our cabin and to bed. Alex and Alyssa stayed in the atrium a little longer, then joined me a few minutes later. I had already begun packing to make the process easier on the last day, but I would have to finish the next day – our final day at sea.

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(Mother-Daughter)

 

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(3 generations)

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Laura what happened? Haven't seen an update? You would think something crazy happened like a Constipated cat or something. :D

 

LOL Frank! Yes, aside from that expensive "cat-astrophe," my job has gone haywire, so I'm having to spend more time on my work laptop, which leaves less time for review and photos. :rolleyes:

 

More soon...

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Love, love, love the girls' pictures. You 3 are adorable :D And matching-cheesy mother-daughter outfits are cool for as long as you can get Alyssa to go along with it - LOL :D Julie wouldn't do it past 3rd grade. (Except we both wore black dresses on this cruise)

 

So glad you are finishing your review. It is excellent!

xxxoo Charlotte

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wow! I was so happy to discover your review tonight. How I missed it earlier I don't know :D

 

I've really enjoyed it and plan to check back when I can see all of the pictures.

 

You have a beautiful family.

 

Welp it's after 1 a.m and I have to be up at 5....looking forward to the rest of your review.

 

Happy Sails!

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Wow! I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to finish! Sorry, everyone, but besides work and travel, I had some issues recently with my little fur baby that needed my attention. Anyway, on with the show –

 

We slept until our 8:00am room service wake-up call today. Ah! Today would be a relaxing day at sea. The temps would still be in the 90s, but the best thing about not being in port is that there’s always somewhere air conditioned to provide us a cool escape on board.

 

My mom said she wanted to try “a formal breakfast” today, so off we went to the main dining room. Even though the menu is different from what’s served on the Lido buffet, I’m not normally impressed with a main dining room breakfast. Today was no exception, although we got our share of morning amusement based on what we were served. My mom ordered “2 eggs, medium-well” and received one medium egg and one well (fried) egg. I ordered decaf hot tea and received a steaming hot cup of coffee. Alex ordered 4 pieces of toast (“FOUR pieces?!?” our waiter asked) and got 2 pieces of toast, cut in half. Alyssa ordered chocolate milk, and got a cold glass of OJ. LOL! I was tempted to keep ordering from the menu, just to see what would actually be brought.

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After breakfast, Alex took Alyssa to the Waterworks area for one last day of play, while us three grown-up ladies tried our luck in the nearly empty casino. I explained how the cashless/coinless system worked on the video poker machines to Joann and my mom. (Having left a few bucks in the machine last year on the Glory, I couldn’t stress to them enough that they had to cash out to their player banks before taking their S&S card out of the machine!)

 

We LOVED that the casino was mostly smoke-free, and I played quite a while on my initial $20 deposit. I saw by the credits on the machine that my account was up by about $15, so I decided to cash out and try my hand at one of the Blackjack tables, since I had a $5 match play for opening a Carnival credit card account the previous night. Guess what?!? I was NOT up by $15 – I was up by $150!! Woo hoo! I walked…no, danced…over to the cashier’s office to collect my winnings.

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On the way through the casino, one of the Blackjack dealers who had no one at his table asked, or rather, begged, me to play. I hesitated and balked, uncertain and uncomfortable in my knowledge of the game, and finally, he promised to “show me the ropes.” I bet just the minimum $5 bets, but still, $50 flew out of my hands in no time. Bummer! Oh well. I had set aside $50 for gambling, and was still up $100. Time to walk away.

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Joann said she was done losing her money, and chose to soak in some more sun rays before tea time. My mom and I headed to the relaxation room in the Cloud 9 spa so that we could sip some tea, watch the sea go by, and write our thank-you notes to all the crew members who deserved special recognition and a little extra $omething.

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We chatted and compared notes (literally!) until lunch time. My mom wanted to give the Mongolian Wok station a try, because I raved so much about it earlier in the cruise. I knew it would be packed, but where did we have to be anyway? It was 1:00pm, and there was a chocolate buffet on the Lido deck that we would be sure to visit after our Mongolian experience.

 

I’m sad to say that we’ve reached one of the low points of our cruise…possibly the lowest point, in fact. The line for the Mongolian Wok stretched out almost to the outside area and was a 45-minute wait! But that’s not the low point. As I said, I expected the line to be long, and wasn’t disappointed. To pass the time, I chatted with my mom and a nice young man (dang, I sound OLD!) in the line in front of me while we waited. Really, the chefs were doing everything possible to move people through the lines. There were 2 lines of about equal length, and 3 burners for the woks in both lines. A crew member was at the sinks filled with soapy water behind the chefs, cleaning the woks used for the previous orders as fast as the chefs could discard them. Several times, I saw a member of the staff bring fresh dishes and utensils, and clean up the accidental veggie droppings left on the counter by the passengers. I was impressed with the efficiency!

 

A few minutes after getting in line, one of the chefs spilled something (a piece of chicken? Some sauce? A veggie?) onto the direct grill, creating a suffocating fog of smoke that covered the dining area. The ventilation system above the woks was either malfunctioning and/or unable to handle the demand, so everyone in the line began to cough, gag, and choke. (I saw a young boy start coughing over one of the stacks of clean plates.) Our eyes watered, I fanned the air in front of my face, and my mom covered her mouth and nose with a tissue to keep from breathing in the smoke. But that’s STILL not the low point. I mean, yeah, it was uncomfortable and a bit irritating, but manageable.

 

The low point was actually my allergic reaction to the food, due to cross-contamination. Now, it wasn’t really that big a deal and the reaction was very mild, thanks to the light nature of my allergy. Still, I know of other people who quite possibly could have required an Epipen and life flight if they had been in the same situation.

 

So what happened? Well, in their efforts to get people through the lines efficiently, the chefs got a little sloppy in their reuse of the utensils they used to cook the food. The Mongolian Wok is set up as such: guests grab a bowl, help themselves salad bar style to noodles and veggies to their heart’s desire to be cooked with the sauce of their choice, and request one or more of three meats available – chicken, beef, or shrimp. Each of the raw meats is on its own platter to the chef’s left. In front of the chef, as I mentioned, are 3 burners that accommodate 3 woks, and to the right of the chef and added by request, are 3 bowls of sauces: mild black bean, medium Thai BBQ, and spicy Szechwan.

 

I am allergic to shellfish, which is no big loss for me, as I’m not a fan of seafood anyway, and planned to order the chicken. What I didn’t count on, though, was that someone in the line before me requested both chicken AND shrimp. For that person’s order, the chef measured out a bit of soy sauce into a ladle and dropped the soy sauce into a fresh wok. He then used that ladle to scoop out the shrimp and dropped it into the wok. Next, he ladled out the chicken from the appropriate platter (yep, same ladle!), and placed that into the wok. He gave the shrimp and chicken a stir, covered the wok to cook, then asked the next guest for their order while the meat cooked.

 

The guest who requested the shrimp and chicken handed over her bowl of veggies when the chef asked, and the chef dumped the bowl into the wok, gave all the contents a stir or two, then asked which sauce the guest wanted. He plopped the [same] ladle into the requested sauce, dumped the sauce into the wok, stirred some more, then used the ladle to help slide the guest’s meal from wok into bowl. When the order was complete, he passed the dirty wok back to the dishwasher behind him, but kept the ladle, which he used to measure out the soy sauce for my meal, scoop out my requested chicken, stir in my veggies, dip into the black bean sauce I requested, then guide my food into a clean bowl.

 

I thought nothing of this at the time until the back of my throat started to itch. At first I thought maybe a little of the spicy Szechwan sauce had slipped into my bowl, but the sensation was too much like an allergy flare-up than just a spicy burn. Boo! I waited 45 minutes for a meal I just KNEW was going to be delish, and now I couldn’t eat it because of my stupid allergy!

 

On the up side, I spotted Alex and Alyssa at a booth near the chocolate buffet, so my mom and I were able to join them for lunch. And there was plenty of yummy chocolate goodies I could help myself to, now that the 30-minute wait for that particular area was gone. Our wait team, Dindo and Savio, were in the area as well. (Dindo was blending milkshakes, and Savio was wiping down the machine in the 24-hour ice cream area.)

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(Alyssa's cats, with a surprise for our cabin steward and assistant steward.)

 

 

 

After lunch, I talked Alex into taking Alyssa back to the cabin for a much-needed nap while I took some pictures around the ship, wandered through the stores, and observed the madness they call a “Watch Sale” out on the tables in front of the Fun Shops. Before long, it was time for tea, so I walked over to the Crimson dining room to meet my mom and Joann. My mom was chatting with a couple of ladies at the table next to her when I arrived. I was excited about our final tea at sea, but was disappointed again...just a little. Today, I guess because of the chocolate buffet at lunch time, there was no chocolate to be had on the cart. Oh well! I had consumed way too much chocolate already, and settled for a nice hot cup of decaf mint tea.

 

After tea, I returned to our cabin to find Alyssa fast asleep. Aw! I finished my packing and our cruise director, Todd, came over the PA system to announce that one of our fellow passengers was ill and had to be taken off the ship via helicopter, so everyone had to clear the decks on and around deck 11 to allow for the helicopter’s approach. Whoa! I later heard from someone that the passenger had appendicitis, and from another person that the passenger had gall stones. I’m not sure which rumor was true (or if she had an allergic reaction to the Mongolian Wok), but I felt horrible for the way the passenger’s cruise had to end.

 

There was a farewell party in the Burgundy lounge (aft) before our dinner seating tonight, so we all got cleaned up, dressed, and made our way to the lounge for some free drinks and live music. The lounge wasn’t very crowded, and Alyssa had a GREAT time on the dance floor! After showing off her moves for a little while, she ran back to our table and dragged me and Alex both to the dance floor. We thought she wanted to dance with both of us, but instead, she pushed me and Alex together, placed my hand in his, and then ran off to move to her own groove. LOL!

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Alex and I had a couple of dances, tried (and failed) to get Alyssa to join the Electric Slide with us, then made our way back to our table, where my mom was having her second (or was it third?) whiskey sour. I grabbed my camera, set my lens cap on the table, and jumped up to take some more pictures of Alyssa. The party ended and it was time to clear out. I rounded up Alyssa and went back to the table to collect my lens cap. Oops! No lens cap! I looked all over the table and the floor, then my mom walked me over to the dance floor with me to see if I had dropped it. Nothing. One last check around the table, and Alex called to me from the door of the lounge. He held up my lens cap! While I was getting Alyssa, he had spotted it on the table and put it in his pocket so that it wouldn’t get lost. Aha! Except now my mom was disappointed because while she was helping me look for the cap, one of the servers collected the glass with the remains of her final whiskey sour. (Oops!)

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Oh well, off to dinner. Alex, Alyssa, and I took the stairs while my mom and Joann waited for an elevator. The dining room doors had not yet opened, so there was a huge crowd waiting. In front of us by one of the elevators was a little boy and his sister. The elevator doors opened, and another little boy (along with a sizable crowd) step into the bay. The first little boy was tickling his sister, and she wound up pushing him away…right into the second little boy, who yelled, “what’s your fr*ckin’ problem?!” and then shoved the first little boy down.

 

“Hey!” Alex said, leaning down close to the second little boy, “It’s way too crowded in here for you to be horsing around like that.” The boy just glared at Alex while the first little boy took his sister by the hand and walked off to the back of the crowd. When the doors opened, I watched the second little boy walk, alone, into the main dining room and sit, alone, at a huge table for 10-12 people. I was astounded that his parents let him roam the ship alone and debated on letting them know of the altercation when and if they finally showed up, then thought better of it.

 

Dinner was wonderful, but a little sad during the “Leaving Our Fun Ship” performance. My mom made us laugh when she bemoaned the loss of her last whiskey sour with the maraschino cherry still at the bottom of the glass: “Alex, I lost my cherry looking for that stupid lens cap!”

 

All I could do was roar with laughter, but Alex, who had consumed considerably less than me at the farewell party, wore a serious expression and asked, “How is that possible? You had two kids!”

 

After dinner, I tried to talk Alyssa into visiting Camp Carnival for a little while. She was reluctant, but agreed to at least look around before deciding whether to stay or go. We all walked her to Camp Carnival, and I signed her in, promising to stay and watch from the door for a minute until she decided. Well, my mom piped up with “it’s ok, Laura. I’ll take her if she doesn’t want to stay,” and Alyssa started to cry saying that she didn’t want to stay. Sigh!

 

So I signed Alyssa out precisely 4 minutes after I signed her in, turned in the Camp Carnival phone and phone charger, and we all walked to the photo gallery to check out our pictures from the previous night. My mom ordered reprints of one of our formal pictures, and asked if Alex and I could pick it up later that night, and she would Alyssa back to the cabin for the night. No problem!

 

Alex and I attended the R-rated comedy shows of Mike Macy and Al Ernst. (This time, because there was no line outside, we were able to stick around after the first show without leaving the lounge and coming back in.) I thought Mike Macy was a riot, and enjoyed his show more than Al Ernst, but both shows were entertaining.

 

After the second show, we enjoyed the night strolling on the lanai, and I’m pretty sure we passed Todd’s cabin, or perhaps the hotel director’s cabin, all lit up and the curtains open. It was 11:00pm, and we had just decided to head upstairs to our cabin when I remembered that we were supposed to pick up my mom’s pictures. Ack!

 

We raced back to the photo gallery, which looked closed up for the night, save the photo staff gathered around in front of one of the registers, having a meeting. We gingerly approached, and one of the photographers standing behind the register looked up at us. I smiled, held up my mom’s receipt, and asked if it was too late to pick up the pictures. “No problem,” he said, then called one of the other photographers out of the meeting and asked him to get the photo out of the file for us.

 

The second photographer led us from one side of the gallery to the other and back a couple of times before concluding that the photo was actually in the lab. So we stood by while he ran off and retrieved it for us a few minutes later. Whew! Close one!

 

Back at the cabin, our luggage was still waiting to be picked up outside the door. We thanked my mom for babysitting again, then Alex talked me into a late night room service snack. Tonight, though, room service was not an option on the TV, so I used the phone to order. I was told it would be a 45-60 minute wait! Wow! Lots of people with the late night munchies, I guess. Oh well, tonight was the last night everyone had to live it up. Tomorrow would be a sad debarkation day.

 

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(Watching the sun set on our final day.)

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