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Carnival Splendor Journal with Pics - Tequila, Dolphins, Microphones and a Bar Card

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First off, I know this is old but our plan is to post our Journals from this Cruise, our November '11 Cruise to Cabo on the Carnival Spirit and our February '12 Cruise on the Carnival Miracle over the next 3 - 4 weeks. A few from our Group have been at us to get them finished so we have been working on them.


Our September '11 Carnival Spirit Cruise was the repositioning from Vancouver, BC - San Pedro, CA with Dee's 2 boys and Dee's Mom and Dad, her brother, his wife and their 2 girls and we used that mostly as a cheap way to get to SoCal so we could do Disney, LA and San Diego so we won't be posting a Journal


This is a Journal with pictures of our October 17th - 24th, 2011 Cruise on the Carnival Splendor. For those of you who have read the Journals of our Carnival Freedom, Carnival Paradise and Carnival Dream cruises you will know that they are very long and detailed about what we did. And you will also know that we love to laugh at ourselves and with others.:D


Numerical conclusions ;):D will continiue from the conclusion of the Carnival Dream cruise.


As expected we had a great time with great friends, new and old.


OK - let's get on with it


Tequila, Dolphins, Microphones and a Bar Card


The Why? and The How?


In April of 2009 we, along with 11 of our friends, and the rest of Host Randy’s Cruise Critic Team Splendor Group attempted a Carnival Splendor Cruise to the Mexican Riviera; say attempted because on the 2nd Sea Day the Captain announced that we would be making a “Technical Stop” in Cabo San Lucas and after anchoring he subsequently announced that we would not be continuing to our Ports of Call due to the Swine Flu. Thus, our 7- day Mexican Riviera Cruise became a 7-day Mexican Neverera Cruise to San Francisco. Upon our return Carnival gave us 50% off a future cruise that had to be used by the end of 2010 which we thought was extremely fair.


Early in November of 2009 several of our friends decided they wanted to utilize their 50% off and wanted a do-over on the Carnival Splendor in October of 2010 and asked us if we were interested in joining them and of course we said “We were” so we started looking at dates. On November 8th we received an email from my BUDDY Terry stating that a group of people and their invited friends, many of whom were from Cruise Critic’s Saints and Sinners Groups, were going to be doing a cruise on the Carnival Splendor on October 17th, 2010 and if we were able to put together a minimum of 30 cruisers who were up for it then we could purchase an All-Inclusive Bar Card for $55.00/person/day or $385.00/person for the 7-day Cruise. Terry invited us and asked us to pass on the word on to the rest of the Canadians from Team Splendor.




Dee and I went through our Sail and Sign Account from our ’09 Splendor Cruise and calculated that by the end of the 2nd Sea Day on that cruise that we had already spent $1.46 more for drinks including the Wine Package and 15% Gratuity per drink than what it would cost us for the 2 Bar Cards for the week. Having experienced our dealings with the infamous Bar Cart on our Red-Eye flights to Miami in 2008 for our Carnival Freedom cruise we quickly realized that the Bar Card was the Uncle Scrooge McDuck of Bar Carts and we wanted a piece of that pile of gold. Conclusion #409: We were in - a ‘Cruise With Benefits’.


Terry sent along a link to a site that had been set up for the Saints and Sinners Group and we were very excited to see that WeBeCruisin’ (Allen), tha sista (Maria) and aggiesastrosfan (Meredith), all of whom had been on our Mexican Neverera Cruise, were already ‘onboard’. Conclusion #410: This was gonna be a good one. We were also excited to see many names we recognized from past Saints and Sinners Cruise Reviews and knew this was a cruise we did not want to miss. On the 9th we sent out an email to our friends relaying the info that Terry had forwarded to us and shortly thereafter Mo and Nicole, Tammi and Karl and Joyce were all game with Joyce talking about sharing a Cabin with Allen giving us some serious Canadian Content. Conclusion #411: As most would find out Canadian Content is sometimes Rated ‘R’


I emailed the Group TA that day and booked a Balcony Guarantee for $668.99/person + $385.00/person for the Bar Card for a total of $1073.99/person taxes and port charges included. Considering we paid $859.00/person for the Team Splendor cruise we were quite happy with the pricing. Mo & Nicole and Tammi & Karl booked side-by-side Balcony Cabins on Deck 6 Forward near the elevators that were closest to the Deck 5 Sports Bar as this had been our ‘Home Away From Home’ on the previous Carnival Splendor cruise. Conclusion #412: They are Forward Thinkers. A few weeks later Allen exchanged his 1A Cabin for a Balcony Guarantee which he would share with Joyce. Soon after we started to work on Dee’s brother, Dan, and his wife, Coral, to see if we could convince them to join us and after many months of gentle persuasion they decided to join us for their first Cruise and they booked a Balcony Cabin on Deck 6. So we had a total of 9 Canadians from the Left Coast who were all ready to get their money’s worth from the Bar Card…….Oh and go on a Cruise to the Mexican Riviera.


Once the 24th of November passed, which was 11 months before our return flight date, I booked our flights through Air Canada’s Reward Program – Aeroplan. Dee and I talked about whether or not we wanted to fly down to Los Angeles on the Friday before the cruise or just wait until the Saturday and save burning another Vacation Day from work. We agreed that we had seen what we wanted to see the last time and an early flight on the Saturday would suffice. Conclusion #413: What is it they say about Hindsight?: See Conclusion #416. - I booked our flights and ended up with a Victoria to San Francisco and then San Francisco to LAX itinerary with a scheduled ‘12:09pm’ arrival on United Airlines - Conclusion #414: United means we all pay luggage fees – with the reverse itinerary on the way back.


Next it was time to plan the ‘What-to-do?” in the Ports with Puerto Vallarta being our first Port of Call. We had booked a Royal Dolphin Swim along with Joyce for the Team Splendor cruise in ’09 and after not making any Mexican Ports we rescheduled it for our Carnival Dream cruise in Cozumel and either my niece or her fiancé were going to utilize the 3rd spot with Joyce getting her money back. With Joyce deciding to join us on the Carnival Splendor re-do we rescheduled it for Puerto Vallarta on October 20th, 2010 so the three of us could do it as originally planned. After the Royal Dolphin Swim the plan was to meet some other cruisers at the All-Inclusive Dreams Resort for the afternoon and then play the evening by ear.

For Mazatlan the 9 of us + Terry & Sue and Roy booked the All-Inclusive Stone Island Tour and Beach Day thorough www.mazatlantours.org . Soon enough we found out that Meredith (aggiesastroafan) and her family and friends had booked the same excursion.


With Cabo San Lucas being a tender Port and a short 7:00am – 3:00pm stop the 9 of us + Allen and Roy decided to book the 45 minute Land’s End Boat Tour through Carnival which began at 7:30am so we could all get off the ship as early as possible and then have the rest of the day to see the sights.


Once July rolled around it was time to finalize the Group Stuff so Donna (mizzcard), our Group Leader, arranged a Group Rate for Hotel Rooms at the Hilton Long Beach Executive Meeting Center and we booked a room for the 2 of us + Joyce and Allen. Later on in July we received a couple of emails from Shelly (Timmy_ and_ Sams_Mom) - Conclusion #414: Go Team Shelly - one with our Saints and Sinners Door Sign and the other with the Saints and Sinners T-Shirt and Tank Top order form and just have to add that Shelly did a great job on the S&S designs. And lastly we got a Money Order in the amount of $3465.00 US and sent that off to our Travel Agent to cover the Bar Cards for the 9 of us. Conclusion #415: We made a wise investment and purchased ‘Futures in Alcohol’.


Dan & Coral, Mo & Nicole and Tammi & Karl booked their flights once the NHL Schedule came out and were able to fly in a day earlier than us and see their favourite team, the Vancouver Canucks - Conclusion #416: Freakin’ Hindsight. Conclusion #417: Canucks Suck, GO HABS GO - play the Los Angeles Kings at the Staples Center on the Friday night. Joyce decided to arrange her flights to travel with us on the Saturday morning.


I arranged a 20–passenger Red Hummer Limo through www.alimozone.com , which was the same company that we had used for our Hollywood Tour in April of ’09. When I was making the booking over the phone Tony, the owner, pulled up our file, laughed and said “Oh you were the ones with all the empties”. I did assure him that we weren’t just getting rid of our ‘Recycling’ as the bottles and cans weren’t empty when we loaded them into the Limo. In finalizing the arrangements it was agreed that that we would call Tony when we were ready to be picked up he would pick us up at Terminal 1 and that we would need to make a stop at a Liquor Store - Conclusion #417: Gonna make some empties - and then we would all be transported to the Hilton in Long Beach. There were 11 of us who were booked for the Limo: the 2 of us, Terry & Sue, Joyce & Allen, Leslie, Pam (seaturtle) and Don (big_duck) and Dan and Coral who, although already in L.A., were gonna take a taxi from their hotel to LAX to meet us. I also booked a Limo Tour for Debarkation day for us, Terry & Sue, Dan & Coral and Joyce with Tony picking us up at the Port, taking us to wherever we wanted to go and then finally to LAX for our early evening flights.


Dee arranged for Dan and Coral’s Cabin to have the Bon Voyage decorations and then I ordered a bottle of Crown Royal, Dee’s Roses and a couple of the Carnival Beach Towels.


We, along with Donna & Dan, Lynne & PeeWee, and Joyce & Allen had booked 8B Balcony Guarantees and on September 15th Carnival released our Cabin Numbers and we all had been upgraded to 8F’s on the Panorama Deck with Dee & I in 1073, Lynn & PeeWee in 1075, Donna & Dan in 1071 and Joyce & Allen in 1063. Conclusion #418: We were ready!!!!




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October 16th – A Delay, A Hummer, Ralph’s and an Ice Bucket


The alarm went off at 4:00am and Dee jumped out of bed with a big smile on her face so I got up quietly, had a shower and got dressed before waking Dee up so she could get ready. Joyce was supposed to pick us up at 4:45am but it was about 4:25am when I saw her headlights in our driveway. Conclusion #419: Somebody’s excited: That makes 3 of us. So off on the highway we head towards Victoria International Airport for the short 20 minute, 25 minute, ½ hour, 45 minute drive. Conclusion #420: “Dee. Look! That’s sure a nice Mobility Scooter that’s passing us isn’t it?” If Joyce happened to own a black Station Wagon we, and the line of cars behind us, could have easily been mistaken for an early morning Funeral Procession.


Anyhow, Joyce idled into a Long Term Parking spot, we unpacked the trunk and headed towards the United Airlines Check-In Counter with our 2 pieces of luggage, each weighing a little over 49lbs, - Conclusion #421: It is amazing how much Cider weighs - to get our Boarding Passes while Joyce headed towards the Luggage Drop having done an on-line Check-In. Boarding Passes in hand we headed towards Tim Horton’s to get Dee a coffee so she could get rid of the German Shepherd she’d been using to lead her around since she got out of bed. With some coffee into her and her eyes now open Dee finally spoke “Let’s go to California!” she said before saying “Good Morning” to Joyce and I.


We made our way outside for a quick smoke before heading through Security. Once inside the gate area we hit the Duty-Free Shop for our cigarettes. We had a seat at the gate and waited for our boarding call. Dee and I found seats 3C and 3D and settled in for a quick 2 hour flight to San Francisco.




Once there we deplaned and headed towards US Customs and Immigration. The line moved swiftly and quickly we had the stamps in our Passports, retrieved and re-checked our 3 pieces of luggage and then made a quick pit stop outside to have a couple of smokes before heading through Security towards the Food Fair in Terminal 3 where we each had a Bread Bowl of Homestyle Vegetable Soup from the San Francisco Soup Company. Conclusion #422: Dishwasher has the easiest job there.


Soon enough it was time to head towards the Gate so we pulled out our Boarding Passes and quickly realized that Dee and I were on a different flight than Joyce Conclusion #423: Better hurry up Joyce. We got her to her Gate with instructions on what to do when she got to LAX. Conclusion #424: By the look on her face as we left her at her gate Joyce could have begun writing the book The Nervous Traveller on that flight.

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It was now time for Dee and I to board our 10:41am flight to LAX so we got on and found our seats. Well 10:41am came and went, as did 11:00am, and then 11:21am before I finally called Terry and Sue to say we were “stuck at the Gate in San Francisco” and could they call the Limo Driver to say we were gonna be a little late” and “Oh, By the way could you look out for Joyce”. The Captain came over the intercom to say that during a “mandatory routine inspection that they had to remove a component out of the bottom of the plane and they were having trouble getting it back into the bottom”. Finally they had success and the Captain said “we’d be pulling out shortly” Conclusion #425: We all know that pulling out does not work. We called Terry and Sue back and just after we gave them the good news the Captain came back on the intercom and said they had to disembark 2 passengers who would miss there Europe bound connections in LAX and as soon as they had the passengers and their luggage off the plane “we’d be pushing back from the Gate”. Conclusion #426: Pushing Back: Works much better.


During take-off the more and more I thought about the United Ground Crew having “a difficult time getting it back into the bottom” the closer I was coming to releasing something out of my bottom. Conclusion #427: We need a drink!!! As is our tradition we decided to renew our long standing relationship with the Bar Cart and decided to order as close to a Caesar as we could get. The United Airlines version consisted of Finlandia Vodka and spicy Bloody Mary mix. Because we were late departing the drinks were on the Captain so we asked the Flight Attendant to visit us as frequently as she could.


At 1:15pm we made our way down to the Baggage Area at LAX to see Terry & Sue, who we had not seen in about 8 ½ months, Allen, who we had not seen since May of 2009, Dan & Coral, who we hadn’t seen in 4 days, and Joyce who we had not seen in 3 hrs. We also met Pam (seaturtle), Don (big_duck) and Leslie for the first time. All set, luggage in hand, we called Tony and awaited the arrival of our 20-passenger Red Hummer Limo.




We loaded all of the luggage into the outside seating area and the 11 of us hopped into the Limo, cracked open the cooler full of beer that Tony, our Limo Driver, had waiting for us and hydrated our way to our first stop – Ralph’s Market for refreshments.




Once everyone was finished ‘Ralphing’ we hopped back into the Hummer and were on the road towards the Long Beach Hilton.




Several beers later we were outside the Hilton paying Tony for both this Limo ride and the one we had organized for the Tour at the end of the Cruise. I walked in and saw Roy’s backside sitting on a stool at the Lobby Bar so I gave him a slap on the back as I made my way to the Restroom.


Joyce checked the 4 of us in and then we made our way up to our Room with a plan to meet everyone else in the Lobby for drinks in 10 minutes. After dropping off our luggage we made our way down to the Lobby Bar for some refreshments, snacks and to get some introductions to some S & S’ers who would become lifelong friends. We met Laurie (Margarita Mom) and Rick (Rickb), Donna (mizzcard) and Dan, and of course Lynne (lynyrd) and PeeWee. It was an afternoon of laughs, appetizers and lots and lots of beverages. Eventually Tammi and Karl and Mo and Nicole made their way down to the Lobby and before we knew it we were a party.





(L - R) Dee, Jim, Terry



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After a while it became obvious that we needed some food so Terry, Sue, Mo, Nicole, Joyce, Dan, Coral, Tammi, Karl and Dee and I hopped into the Hotel Shuttle for the short and very loud trip to Bubba Gump’s – a Cruise tradition. Tammi ended up lying across Dee, Dan and I and she must have been a naughty girl because Dee ended up giving her a spanking she would not soon forget. Conclusion #429: The ride over to Bubba Gump’s had our Shuttle Driver wishing he worked at the Front Desk.




Once at Bubba Gump’s we proceeded inside and requested a table for a Baker’s Dozen as we were meeting Mark & Diane (msolberg) Conclusion #430: Coulda reserved the table for a ‘Baked’ Dozen. The Hostess told us it would be about a 20 minute wait so we made our way to Gift Shop and purchased some T-Shirts and a few other souvenirs.


Brother and Sister - Dan and Dee - and 'Yes they are!'



After about a 10-minute wait we got the call that our tables were ready so off we went to the Patio, grabbed our seats and placed our drink orders. Conclusion #431: Life is like a Box of Beer. Soon enough Mark and Diane arrived and the introductions were made however we were missing 1 person; Tammi who was either suffering from early-onset Sea Sickness or had felt a sudden urge to speak directly with her Maker via the Porcelain Phone in the Ladies Washroom. A few of the ladies checked on her while Karl waited for his drink to arrive. Conclusion #432: Thought we had finished ‘Ralphing’ earlier in the day. Finally realizing he could not keep Tammi waiting any longer he threw a 10-spot on the table, rescued her from the Washroom and grabbed a windows-down-all-the way-to-the-Hilton taxi. Karl’s drink was tasty.


Mo and Nicole



(L - R) Terry, Dee, Diane and Mark



After Dee and I were on our first cruise together on the Carnival Freedom I did a Journal much like this one and posted it on Cruise Critic – one of the replies on the thread came from msolberg and we ended up chatting about the fact that her Grandmother had lived on Saltspring Island which is very close to Vancouver Island where we live so I started calling her ‘cousin’. Since meeting Terry & Sue on the first Carnival Splendor cruise and then cruising with them on the Carnival Dream we had heard them speak very highly of a Group they called the Yoopers (Upper Michigan) who they frequently cruised with. When I posted the Journal of our Carnival Dream cruise on Cruise Critic a reply came from msolberg and we ended up going through the Saltspring thing again. And as it turned out msolberg, Diane (and Mark), were Yoopers and close friends of Terry & Sue whom they recognized from the pictures in the Journal. Conclusion #433: Any friends of Terry & Sue are drinking buddies of ours.


We ate, we drank, we laughed, we drank, we talked, we drank, we paid our bill, we drank, we tipped, we drank, we called the Hilton Shuttle, and we drank.




Dee pointing at her purchases...I think



We waited out front for the Shuttle to arrive and once it did we all piled in for the short and loud ride back to the Hilton.


Once there we ran into aggieastrosfan (Meredith) and their friends and they told us that everyone was in the outside Patio area so Dee and Allen followed them while I went up to the room to mix a drink and grab the Cider which we had brought for Sue because she liked it so much before our Carnival Dream cruise. While at the room I ran into Lynne & PeeWee and gave them each a glass of Cider + a bottle to take with them to the Meeting Area. Having given away the last 2 glasses from our room I headed to the ice machine, got ice and then poured myself a rather large Crown and Coke right in the Ice Bucket, grabbed the 2nd bottle of Cider for Sue, my bottle of Crown, the bottle of Coke and then headed down to the Lobby to find everyone. I ran into Terry, Sue, Mark and Diane and between the 5 of us and the Front Desk Staff we were not able to find anyone else or the area that Meredith had told us about so we ended up grabbing a table by the Pool. Conclusion #434: This is a Patio and it’s outside. Eventually Mauricio and Dan came by to say that they had been unable to find anyone else but were gonna do another round to see if their luck had changed. We asked them where Nicole and Coral were and they said they had gone to the Haunted House Exhibit at the Queen Mary with Joyce and Tammi. Conclusion #435: Now we are finally finished ‘Ralphing’.


As it turns out I had a 2-drink maximum at the Hilton and when I headed to the room to see if Dee was there yet or if there was a message. I could not find my way back to the Pool area so I decided to call it a night. Dee and Allen had been trying to find me and in Allen’s (WeBeCruisin) words here’s what they got up to:


You never know where you'll find a party. On the Splendor last October, we were at the hotel in Long Beach, CA, and Dee and I were trying to find her husband Jim, who had been somewhat "overserved". We were looking everywhere and wandered into a big party which appeared to be a 20th high school reunion. We walked up to the open bar and got drinks and were mingling and dancing and having a big time until some woman came up to us and waggled her finger in front of our faces and said "You're NOT alumni of our class, are you?" in a very stern voice.


I told her that I thought this was the class of 1911 and that we must have wandered into the wrong room. She was trying to ask Dee if she was an alumni, since she appeared much closer to the right age, but Dee was laughing so hard she couldn't answer her. We were escorted out.


We had our pre-cruise party out on the big patio at the hotel. One of our group had a friend from Long Beach who came and joined us for the party and wound up going out and bringing us all back In 'n' Out "Animal" burgers. Most of us had never had them but had heard a lot about them. They taste amazingly good after a night of being over served.


Eventually Dee, Allen and Joyce came back to the room and after waking up a grumpy Jim we all went to sleep.

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Day 1 - Back to the Carnival Splendor with a Bar Card


At first light Dee jumped out of bed with a big smile on her face NOT I got about 7:00am and showered before heading downstairs for a smoke as the other 3 began to stir. While waiting for the Elevator I looked out the Hotel window and saw a wave of people beginning to descend the downslope of the bridge that spanned the near-by waterway. …they were 25 across and hundreds and hundreds deep….the Long Beach Marathon. I took the elevator to the Lobby and headed outside, lit a smoke and then lazily made my way towards the sidewalk to watch the sea of runners. I felt bad standing there smoking as I watched the gallant marathoners run by so I sat down. “That’s better” I thought as I sat my hungover self down on the retaining wall surrounding the Hotel Garden. Conclusion #436: Wouldn’t even want to take a moving sidewalk for 26 miles. I Run to the Bank, run to the Liquor Store, run to the Grocery Store, get the runs, run errands – I run enough.


I watched the never-ending parade of runners pass by before realizing that I was thirsty and headed back into the Hilton, walked past the stairs straight to the elevators and hit the up arrow. Dee was ready when I got to the room while the other 2 were just starting their morning rituals or at least as much of their morning rituals that would survive the scrutiny of sharing a 2 King-Bed Room with 3 other people.


Dee and I decided to go for a walk with a mission to find a corner store to get something to drink while the other 2 got ready with a plan to meet at the restaurant in the Hilton for the Sunday morning Breakfast Buffet. Even though it was probably 10 minutes since I had been outside there were still hundreds and hundreds of runners. We didn’t know which way to go nor did we ask anyone before we exited the Hilton. ‘Looks like everyone is running that way’ we thought and walked along on the side walk as everyone else rushed by on the street. We walked alongside some ropes and barricades for several blocks, turning down different streets all the while evading people who were just standing next to the barriers clapping. We did not find a corner store so technically it was EXERCISE. No more exercising on this Vacation!!!


Inside the Lobby of the Hilton we headed passed the stairs towards the Elevators. Once inside the elevator I pressed the 2nd Floor button and we made our way up a floor. Not seeing Joyce or Allen in the Restaurant we hopped back on the elevator and settled in for the trip to the 3rd floor. Down the hallway to our room we went where Allen asked Dee “Where did you put all the T-Shirts that Donna gave you last night?” Dee’s initial response of “Donna didn’t give me any T- shirts last night!” while immediate, was not entirely accurate but only by 2 words. You could see Dee pressing the:


<< RW

∆ Stop


● Play



buttons in her head before saying “CENSORED. I lost everyone’s T-shirts!!! – everyone being Mo and Nicole, Dan and Coral, Tammi and Karl, Allen and Duckie, Joyce and Dee and I.


A quick call up to Donna and Dan’s room revealed that Dee had left the box with the T-shirts and what was left of my bottles of Crown and Coke and some S&S Beer Koozies which she had bought on a 6 hour No Interest or No Payments deal the night before from Donna. We retrieved our goodies and paid off our loan without incurring any finance or carrying charges. I inquired as to ‘whether or not there happened to be an Ice Bucket in the box?’ There was not but Dee, having re-played the tape of the night before, stated that she, in no uncertain terms, ‘had seen Roy drinking out of an Ice Bucket late last night’ before she headed out onto Donna and Dan’s Balcony for a Smoke.


Conclusion #437:

Dear Joyce.


Roy may have charged an Ice Bucket to our room.





PS -…and tongs!!!


That settled and the smokes finished we made our way back towards our room where we met a bare-chested Duckie in the hallway, tossed him his shirt and then played S&SS (Saint and Sinner Santa) to the rest of the West Coast Canadians who were all on our floor before grabbing the elevator down to the Restaurant.


An above average Buffet awaited us however I possessed a less than average appetite. A plate full of fruit and an Ice Bucket of OJ sans pulp was all I really wanted although I did help myself to several strips of Bacon as there was not a Hilton Bacon Copper to be seen anywhere. 3 cups of Coffee disappeared in a hurry around the table as did some cooked to order omelets, bacon, hash browns, pancakes and our hangovers as we began to realize we were almost there; almost on the Splendor, we almost have the BAR CARD in hand!!!!Conclusion #438: Doesn’t matter if Mexico is closed this time!!!


We paid our bill and then headed up to the room to staple on our luggage tags and pack up the last minute items and then told the rest of the Canadians that we were heading down to grab a Taxi to the port. Dan and Coral said they’d be right down while Mo & Nicole and Tammi & Karl said they’d see us at the Port. We checked out and had the Front Desk call us 3 Cabs and then headed outside to wait and ran into Rick & Laurie who were also waiting for a taxi. This was the first time I had an opportunity to have a sober conversation with the two of them as evidenced by the fact I asked them several questions that I had asked them the night before. Love those 2.


Soon enough we were heading towards the Port and after arriving and leaving our bags and a 10 dollar bill with our Porter we made our way over to the check-in area while Joyce and Allen headed to the VIP check-in. After a quick swipe of our Passports and our Amex we were “Welcomed Back” and then the Carnival Agent stopped dead in her tracks when she pulled out the Bar Cards. “What are these?” she asked as she read the letter describing all that the Bar Card included before calling over the Agent next to her. They both looked at us and knew immediately why we had the biggest smiles ever on our faces. They told us they’ had never seen these Cards before’ and asked ‘how we managed to get them’ and ‘how much we paid for them’ before adding ‘how lucky we were to have them’. Conclusion #439: We knew. The Agent checking Dan and Coral in came over to say “Daniel and Coral-Lee wouldn’t tell me so I am going to ask y’all What in the heck are Saints and Sinners?” We laughed and assured her we were not a Swingers group but were just a bunch of people who enjoyed cruising together and that we were a group of about 40.


Zone 2 Boarding Card in hand we walked over to the Park area to take some brother/sister and husband/wife pictures with the Carnival Splendor in the background.



Brother and Sister



We noticed that, even though it was close to 11:00am, very few passengers were disembarking the Carnival Splendor and as it turns we would live that scenario in 7 days. After a while we decided to head over to Queen Mary - Conclusion #440: They serve alcohol there – and on our way found the rest of the Canadians and Terry & Sue, Mark & Diane and Duckie. They were all seated on couches that were set up for the Queen Mary Haunted House and they had all their leftover beer and cider from the night before. Conclusion #441: Canadians are like Boy Scouts: Always prepared. We spent the next couple of hours creating recyclable items before the boarding process started.





Don and Allen



Terry and Sue



Dee, Coral, Dan and Joyce



When we headed over to the Zone 2 waiting Area we saw tha sista (Maria), who we had not seen since the Swine Flu Cruise, and her husband David, who we had not yet met, sitting in Zone 1 so we ran over to give her a hug and meet David before they headed inside.

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Finally we heard them call Zone 2 and we made our way inside the Dome and through security, then had the embarkation picture of the four of us taken and then we made our way across the gangway. We could see the looks of amazement beginning to form on Dan & Coral’s faces and after getting our Security pictures taken we heard the all too familiar ping of our S&S Cards as we entered the Atrium Lobby. Coral was literally squealing with excitement. To the Atrium Bar we went to break in our Bar Cards and start working on getting our money’s worth. Conclusion #442: They worked GREAT And WE DID!!!! It was absolutely awesome to get receipts for our traditional Embarkation Fun Ship Specials with a total of $0.00 at the bottom.


Their 1st Fun Ship Special - Because of the Drink Package they would not serve them to us in the DOD Cups - We did not mind ;)







Initially the Servers and Bartenders would only allow us to order our drinks individually but it became very time consuming to record 10 or 12 or 15 separate Bar Card Numbers as we always seemed to be in groups so as the week went along we started to be able to put multiple drinks on one card as long as the others were sitting there. It was the same with ordering doubles; started off only being able to order singles but as the cruise progressed and the Staff got to know us ordering a double was not a problem.


When we were on the Carnival Splendor in April of ’09 we only had one Port and it was San Francisco and unfortunately our ‘Welcome to San Francisco sign had been ripped at the end of the Cruise’ so I had posted on John Heald’s Blog about the possibility of getting a replacement done. He had said he would see what he could do and to leave him a message at Guest Services when we embarked so I left him a letter and a box of English Tea.


Business completed and 3 Fun Ship Specials in we made our way towards the elevators and headed up to the Lido Deck. Dan and Coral said they were hungry and in my excitement I told them we would meet them on the Lido or Panorama Aft after they ate and off we went. Dee reminded me that Dan and Coral were first time cruisers so Lido or Panorama Aft wouldn’t mean anything to them. I felt bad so I went back to find them and eventually found them and Roy sitting at a table in the Main Pool area with 3 heaping plates of food in front of them. Conclusion #443: They looked just like Past Guests to me. I apologized to them and then explained exactly where we’d be and off I went to swipe my Bar Card for a Molson Canadian.


We grabbed a couple of sandwiches from the Deli and headed up to Deck 10 to eat and hydrate. The Lido Liner Bar – where we met Vicki (yooperwoody) and Gordie for the first time -


The Yoopers



and the smoking area on the Panorama Aft were full of Saints and Sinners so we grabbed a seat. This was the beginning of a great and memorable week. I can’t say enough about the people we had cruised with before who were on this cruise and those that we met for the first time – an absolutely great group of people.


We heard an announcement that the Cabins were ready so we made a plan to meet the Canadians at the Our House Sports Bar and then made our way over to Cabin 1073 where we were greeted by Dee’s Roses, our 2 Carnival Beach Towels and a bottle of Canadian Club from Bon Voyage. I was a little disappointed with the Canadian Club as I had ordered Crown Royal but never bothered going to Guest Services to talk to them about it as I wouldn’t be able to order a drink there. We were extremely happy with the location of our Cabin and the views we knew we’d have as we cruised south. After meeting our Cabin Stewards and with Donna and Dan on one side of us and Lynne and PeeWee on the other we were able to request the Staff open up the dividers to create one long Balcony. Our luggage was already there so we started unpacking and when I opened up my suitcase I was greeted with a ‘naughty’ letter stating that they had removed the remains of last night’s Crown Royal bottle.


Making the best of a bad situation I poured myself a CC and Coke and we finished unpacking. Our phone rang and it was Coral calling to “Thank” us for the Bon Voyage decorations we had arranged for them in their Cabin. We headed down to Deck 6 to grab Dan & Coral before heading down to the Sports Bar on Deck 5. Walking into the Sports Bar was like coming back home as we had spent countless hours in there during the 6 Sea Days of the Swine Flu Cruise. Conclusion #444: The Canadians - Mo, Nicole, Tammi, Karl and Joyce - were breaking in the Bar Cards well so the 4 of us joined them along with our 2009 anointed honorary Canadians; Terry, Sue, Allen and Roy.


The drinks, conversation, and laughs were flowing before we heard the 1st announcement for the Muster Drill. We waited a little while before a group of us headed up to a Muster Station while Sue, Tammi and Nicole hid in the Ladies Washroom by the Sports Bar. After the drill we returned to the Sports Bar where Sue said “That was the funnest Muster drill ever”. We heard an announcement that the Cabins were ready so we made a plan to meet the Canadians at the Our House Sports Bar and then made our way over to Cabin 1073 where we were greeted by Dee’s Roses, our 2 Carnival Beach Towels and a bottle of Canadian Club from Bon Voyage. I was a little disappointed with the Canadian Club as I had ordered Crown Royal but never bothered going to Guest Services to talk to them about it as I wouldn’t be able to order a drink there. We were extremely happy with the location of our Cabin and the views we knew we’d have as we cruised south. After meeting our Cabin Stewards and with Donna and Dan on one side of us and Lynne and PeeWee on the other we were able to request the Staff open up the dividers to create one long Balcony. Our luggage was already there so we started unpacking and when I opened up my suitcase I was greeted with a ‘naughty’ letter stating that they had removed the remains of last night’s Crown Royal bottle.


We set sail at 5:30pm and at 6:29pm Dee made her first deposit to the Royal Flush Casino. She made subsequent deposits at 6:38pm, 6:44pm, 6:47pm and 6:48pm before we headed back up to the Lido/Panorama Aft to meet up with several of the other Saints and Sinners. This was the first time I made the mistake of leaving my camera unattended by our Group. After reviewing the camera card when we got home I either had double vision as there were many pictures of things that come in pairs; there was some impressive cleavage and a not so impressive pair of urinals from the Men’s Washroom.




Soon enough and several drinks later it was time to get ready for supper so we returned to our Cabin to do so. All of us who were in the group and had late dining were seated in the same area and we were assigned a Table of 6 with Dan & Coral and Joyce & Allen. Donna & Dan, Lynne & PeeWee and Team Shelley & Team Jimmy were at the table next to us. Mo & Nicole and Tammi & Karl were at a Booth for 4 adjacent to us and Maria & David, Rick & Laurie and Roy & Don were at a Table for 6 just behind us.


As part of the Bar Card the Wait Staff put a bottle of White Wine and a bottle of Red Wine on our tables and would fill up our glasses as needed Conclusion #445: We were very needy. We thoroughly enjoy the Dining Room, getting to know our Wait Staff and have always found the food in the MDR to our liking. Dan and Coral ordered first and although we thought we had told them they could order whatever they wanted you could see Dan was a little envious when it came around to Allen and I as we ordered multiples of different things. I ordered and enjoyed 2 Shrimp Cocktails, a Caesar Salad and a Flat Iron Steak. For dessert I ordered the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake and as our Waiter was walking away I gave him a “Hey 2 Scoops” which he remembered for the rest of the week. Dee had the Ribs and Caesar Salad and a Cappuccino for dessert. We also met our MDR Drink Waiter for the first time this evening and with a promise of a cash tip at the end of the week, which we followed through on, we had attentive service each and every night for the duration of the Cruise.


After dinner we decided to head to Spectacular Theater for the Welcome Aboard Show hosted by John Heald so Joyce could see John in action. It was entertaining but to be honest having seen John on our very first cruise on the Carnival Freedom in 2008 we had seen some of the skits before. Conclusion #446: Allen thought the Spectacular Theater was a spectacular place to have a nap so he did. We did not find his Martini to our liking but we drank it anyway.


After the show it was time to head to the Royal Flush Casino and Casino Bar so we could have some drinks. I played some Black Jack with Maria, David, Allen and Meredith while Dee made her nighttime deposits to the slots at 12:33am and 12:42am before joining us at the Black Jack table.

We also spent some time at the Grand Piano Bar and Red Carpet Dance Club before heading to the Pizzeria Station on the Lido Deck for some late-night/early-morning Calzones and then retired to our Cabin for the night.

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Slots, Scavengers, A Thong and a Pair of 10’s


Dee jumped out of bed 1st NOT I woke up about at 8:30am to sunny skies, showered, woke up Dee, sat on the balcony while she got ready, called Dan & Coral and then the 2 of us headed up to the Lido for some breakfast. Conclusion #447: Weren’t we just here 4 hours ago. After a couple of omelets, some bacon, a few pastries and some milk to coat the stomach we were off to the Lido Aft for some beverages and some quality time with the Canadians, the Saints, the Sinners and the Yoopers.


After a few Caesars for some and Bloody Mary’s or Buckets of Beers for others it was time to head to the Royal Flush Casino for our 11:30am Group Slot Pull. We gathered around the Wheel of Fortune Machine and everyone who wanted to participate anted up $10.00 and we each took a turn on the machine. Some were luckier than others and some had some very unique ways of pressing and engaging the wheel. Conclusion #448: If the Wheel of Fortune Machine had feelings it would have felt lucky twice on some pulls. Conclusion #449: “Pat I would like to buy a towel.” The drinks, comments and laughs kept coming and coming and eventually, as a group, we finished up about $300.00 so each of us that participated got our original investment of $10.00 back + an additional $15.00. It was a great way to spend an hour.


We grabbed a couple bowls of food from the Mongolian Wok station and headed to the Lido Aft to eat and have a few beverages. We absolutely love the stir fry that is offered there; the Medium sauce was in order for Dee while I had the Hot sauce.


At 2:00pm it was time for the Saints and Sinners Digital Scavenger Hunt. Dee decided not to participate and headed off to the Casino while I was placed on a team with Rick, PeeWee, Donna and Candace and we were competing against 4 other Teams. Donna, our Group Leader had made up a list of exactly what we were hunting for within our 45 minute time limit and it was as follows:

Group or ‘A’:


1. with a guy with a hairy chest…50 pts√

2. with a woman with a hairy chest….500 pts!

3. in the pool…15 pts √

4. in the shower…15 pts √

5. with the Captain…50 pts…+ 200 pts if pic is from the bridge

6. with the CD…50 pts….+ 500 pts if he’s just in his underwear

7. with Fun Ship Freddy…10 pts

8. with a Drink Waiter…5 pts √

9. with a Bartender…5 pts √

10. with a Ship’s Officer…25 pts √

11. standing outside Cabin #1203…20 pts√

12. in a Public Bathroom…10 pts √

13. in an Inside Cabin…15 pts√

14. in a an Oceanview Cabin…15 pts√

15. in a Balcony Cabin…15 pts√

16. in the Splash Pool…10 pts √

17. with a Baby…10 pts √

18. with a Senior Citizen. ..25 pts … √*Allen doesn’t count*

19. Group Member on a Scooter…30 pts√

20. Booty Crack…15 pts √

21. kid wearing braces…15 pts

22. Back Tattoo…10 pts √

23. Group Member giving a Stranger a Lap Dance…200 pts

24. Conga Line…20 pts√

25. in the Main Dining Room…50 pts√

26. Group Member going down the waterslide...25 pts √+ 150 pts if wearing clothes √

27. Man in a Speedo…10 pts √ and ewww!!!!√√√√

28. Passenger wearing a Life Jacket…50 pts √

29. Swim Diaper in a Pool/Hot Tub…25 pts √

30. Passenger taking a bite of a Hot Dog…20 pts √

31. Twins…30 pts

32. Kids in an adult Only Area…10 pts

33. Ship Shirt other than the Splendor…25 pts√

34. Passenger’s Blue S&S Card…10 pts √

35. Passenger’s Gold S&S Card…20 pts √

36. Passenger’s Platinum S&S Card…30 pts√

37. Passenger’s Milestone S&S Card…50 pts

38. Port T-Shirt other than current Ports…50 pts√

39. Passenger talking on their Cell Phone…50 pts√

40. Passenger using a Lap Top…30 pts√

41. Man wearing a Bikini Top…100 pts√

42. Socks with Sandals…50 pts√

43. Celebrity…100 pts

44. Someone wearing a Carnival Bath Robe on deck…50 pts√

45. NFL Shirt…10 pts√…+ 20 pts if wearing an NFL Hat too

46. College Shirt…10 pts√ + 20 pts if wearing an College Hat too√

47. being filmed by the CCL Roving Videographer…50 pts

48. with a Carnival Dancer in Costume…100 pts

49. standing outside Cabin # 1457…30 pts√

50. Passenger wearing a Thong…50 pts√


The 5 of us devised a strategy to go directly to the closest mid–ship Lido Bar and get ‘Roadies - drinks we ‘could hit the road with’ and lucky for us we were able to take care of getting pictures for numbers 1, 8, 9, 10, 18, 20, 22, 27, 34, 35, 44, 45 and 46. :D. Roadies in hand we made our way to the top deck and on the way took care of 3, 12, 16, 17, a nasty 20, 26, four more unneeded views of 27 + 29, 30, 40, and 42.:eek: We ran into a large Group of family members from Texas on Deck 10 and we were able to gently persuade them into helping us out…and through them we took care of the Conga Line, Group Member giving a Stranger a Lap Dance, Ship Shirt other than Splendor, Group in a Balcony Cabin, Port T-Shirt other than current, Passenger talking on a Cell Phone, Man wearing a Bikini Top and Passenger wearing a Thong. It took us a while to convince one of the Texan men to change behind some well-placed hand-held towels so that the Man in the Bikini Top was also wearing the Thong. We had misread the ‘Passenger in a Thong’ challenge thinking it was supposed to be a man. We took a few of them to our Cabin where I had a Carnival Freedom and a Cozumel Bar Hop T-Shirt and we got our picture taken on the Balcony before I gave them a bottle of recently received Champagne as a ‘Thanks’ Conclusion #450: I prefer to look at it as ‘Paying It Forward’ rather than ‘Re-gifting’


We spent the last 15 minutes of our allotted time taking care of 11, 13, 14, 19, 25 and 36 before going to a Bar and getting a round of ‘End of the Roadies’ and then made our way to Panorama Aft to submit our Pics.

We received our 1st Place prizes which were Photo Albums emblazoned with the Saints and Sinners 6 Logo, Ship Name and Sailing Dates. Conclusion #451: Winning!!!


Dee returned a short time later to show me the bracelet I had bought her from the Gift Shop. She also mentioned that she had maintained her ‘I am gonna lose more than a dollar a minute at the Casino’ game plan first adopted on the Carnival Freedom. A large group of us sat around, drank, talked, laughed and enjoyed each other’s company until the early evening.

It was time to get ready for the 1st Elegant Night and a trip to the nearest Laundry Room was up next to iron my dress pants and shirt. I am not a great ironer at the best of times Conclusion #452: This was not the Best of Times. Having successfully created some of the most pronounced creases in spots they did not belong on the shirt and the pants I returned to the Cabin to see a Vision in front of me; Dee had poured me a large CC and Coke with lots of ice. She had also taken advantage of my absence and gotten herself ready and as always she looked stunning.


Dee and I had made a conscious effort to color coordinate for this evening’s dinner with my tie matching her dress as the plan was to get some Formal pictures taken with her brother, Dan, and his wife, Coral, so we could give the pictures to their parents at Christmas. The Photographer had a tough time convincing us to put our drinks down but finally we did and he snapped away. Conclusion #453: Smile!!!


Formalities out of the way it was time to meet up with the rest at the Casino Bar for some drinks and a few hands of Black Jack.


Mo, Karl and Coral



We all got a huge laugh from Karl when he took of his Suit Jacket at the Casino. Someone asked him ‘what the numbers were that were written on his arm?’ Everyone could easily see the 6282 boldly written in ink on his arm. His response of “That’s my Cabin Number!” had everyone roaring. Conclusion #454: CSBCGPS – Carnival Splendor Bar Card Global Positioning System.




Off to dinner we went where we all enjoyed unlimited wine, shrimp cocktails, lobster, WCMC and Cappuccinos.

Dee ended up dancing with our Wait Staff



and Nicole, from her booth, made friends with the couple in the Booth next to them. Conclusion #455: NOT so much!


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Dee had her traditional Elegant Night Banana Split



and we got her picture taken with our Head Waiter



and once that was done we headed back to the Casino where Allen, Dan and I joined Maria and David and another ‘player’ who none of us knew at a Black Jack Table while Coral and Dee hit the Slots. Things were going along quite well until the ‘player’ decided it was a good idea to split a pair of 10’s. I gave Allen a quick nudge and we both looked towards Maria and as it turned out our heads were ‘in sync’ with David’s as he was looking in the same direction. The round finished as expected with the ‘player’ taking the Dealer’s ‘bust card’ and Maria quickly turned her attention to the player with a “Y’all didn’t just split a pair of 10’s did ya?” Maria advised him concisely as to why that was not a good idea before leading us in a packing up of our chips and a vacating of our seats. Conclusion #456: He split so we split too. It took the ‘player’ a little over 5 minutes to lose his chips before he left and we reclaimed our seats and were joined by Dee and Donna. I immediately asked Maria “After the 1st Splendor cruise you know I learned it was not a good idea to split 10’s but Jacks, Queens and Kings are OK right?” Her answer consisted of what some might consider a smile - Conclusion #457: I know better - a tilt of the head in my direction and a raised eyebrow. Conclusion #458: I will stay on 20.


After a couple of hours in the Casino we headed over to the Piano Bar for an hour or so and then hit the Disco before making our way up to the Lido for some late night Calzones and then called it a night. We also had to move our clocks ahead 1 hour @ 3:00am.



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Mittens, Poker, Sun and a Band


Wanting to let me sleep Dee got up first NOT....I got out of bed about 8:00am, showered and then headed down to the ‘The Coffee Shop’ to get Dee a Vanilla Latte and headed back up to the Cabin. She was up and getting ready so we enjoyed some time on the Balcony








We called Dan and Coral and arranged to meet on the Lido for some breakfast. Some made-to-order omelets and some bacon hit the spot before we decided to hit the open decks for some fun in the sun. We ran into Maria and David who told us to meet them on the Portside Aft on Deck 10 which we did. Shelly & Jimmy, Rick & Laurie, Lynne and PeeWee, Mo and Nicole, Allen and Duckie, Tammi & Karl and Joyce & Allen all had their Saints and Sinners radar on so we ended up with a rather large party in that area.






During the Vancouver Winter Olympics in February 2010 Maria had emailed us to see if we could get her some of the ‘Red Mittens’ that she had seen on TV during the coverage. These mittens turned out to be a very popular Olympic souvenir and people were selling them on eBay for top dollar. Dee and I looked everywhere and even had my relatives looking for them on the East Coast of Canada. Having exhausted all avenues we told Maria that we couldn’t find them. As luck would have it Dee was at The Bay department store in Victoria in August and a store clerk brought out a box of mittens that had been misplaced in their storage room. Dee was lucky enough to pick up a few pairs as they went very quickly so we presented Maria with her mittens at that time. It made us feel great to see Maria ‘mitten smitten’. Conclusion #459: Instructed Maria not to split the mittens up. Her answer consisted of what some might consider a smile, a tilt of the head in my direction and a raised eyebrow.


It was about this time that we could see Cabo San Lucas off in the distance on our left-hand side and for those of us who been on the ‘Swine ’09 Cruise’ we were all a little nervous until Cabo was behind us. Conclusion #460: Need a drink to calm our nerves



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A few more rounds and a trip to the Deli took us up to our Meeting Time in the Atrium for our next Group Event




It was time for the Poker Run and Bar Crawl. Everyone ponied up $10.00 and we each got our first drink and our first playing card at the Atrium Bar. The event called for the Group to hit 7 additional Bars and receive a card and a drink at each stop. Out of the 8 Cards received the person with the best 5-card hand would win 75% of the pot and the person with the 2nd best hand would win 25% of the pot. After 8 Bars and 8 Cards those of us who did not win would just have gone to pot.


Cards dealt and thirsts quenched we made our way up to the ‘Our House Sports Bar’ for a 2nd round of cards and a 2nd round of beverages. Next it was onto the El Mojito Wine Bar and then to the Cool Jazz Lounge. The Poker Faces that were being worn at the first 2 bars were no longer as prevalent.


By the time we finished in the Royal Flush Casino Bar the top 2 hands were revealed. Conclusion #461: Between Dee and I we had a pair of .08’s – We didn’t win. Conclusion #462: Nor did we care. We spent some time in the Casino - Conclusion #463: Losing money is sobering


We spent some more time on the Lido and Panorama Aft areas soaking in lots of sun and many adult beverages. Conclusion #464: Eventually we were ‘Burnt-out of it’


Terry and Sue...and it's just a Shirt



Gordie and Vicki (and Mark in the Middle)



Mark and Cousin Diane



and it was time to head for Sushi and then a quick stop at the Casino. We wound up ahead by a little bit and then it was time to get ready for dinner.





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My Double Crown and Coke in at a tall glass with lots of ice was already seated when we got there as was Dan’s Crown and Ginger. The ladies hit the Martini Menu this evening as did Allen. Dinner was enjoyable as always with Dan and Coral getting into the swing of things with ordering multiples of whatever they wanted. Dee had her traditional after dinner Cappuccino while I had the WCMC with 2 Scoops.


After dinner we headed back to the Cabin to change and then headed down to the Casino to lose some change before heading up to the Lido Deck for a change.


The Deck Party was just starting and we met up with Terry & Sue, Mark & Diane, Gord & Vicki, Maureen & Kevin and Leslie & Mary. Diane, aka Delilah this evening. Vicki and Diane had brought inflatable microphones and guitars plus lots of 'Stoooopid' Hats and as it turns out when you put a microphone in front of someone’s mouth or a guitar in their hands ‘We are all Guitar Heroes’.


Bar Card Eyes



Mark and Sue






Vicki in search of...



The Band



We drank, sang, played and danced well into the early morning before it was time to call it a night Conclusion #465: Good Night ladies and Gentlemen and Thanks for coming!!!



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Wow! A new journal from Vanislandcruisers. Caesars, Monkey's, Coconuts & a Buddy (and a Red Dress) set the gold standard for how to write a cruise review, and I've been waiting for the next one ever since. Write on my friend...this is the next best thing to cruising.

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Good start!! Can't wait for the rest!


Thanks bougiet


Wow! A new journal from Vanislandcruisers. Caesars, Monkey's, Coconuts & a Buddy (and a Red Dress) set the gold standard for how to write a cruise review, and I've been waiting for the next one ever since. Write on my friend...this is the next best thing to cruising.


Thanks so much otowncuisr....Thats BIG praise!!!....appreciate it :)

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Dolphins, Dreams, a Monkey and a Donkey


Dee had set the phone for a 7:30am Wake-Up NOTConclusion #466: She is consistent. I got up at 7:30am and made my way out on the Balcony to see that we were making our way towards Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and it looked like it was going to be beautiful day weather wise.














On our itinerary we were scheduled to arrive at the Port in Puerto Vallarta at 10:00am but I had been watching the Carnival Splendor webcams for quite a while and knew the ship had been arriving around 9:00am Ship Time which was 10:00am PV time so I knew we had plenty of time to make our 11:15am PV time Royal Dolphin Swim excursion. Today was no exception as we got the all clear about 8:45am Ship Time. We headed up to the Lido Deck and had a quick bite to eat and then met up with Joyce.

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A quick call to Dan & Coral during which we made a plan to meet them and the other Canadians at the Dreams Resort after our excursion had Joyce, Dee and I ready to head down to get off the ship. After getting our ‘Welcome to Puerto Vallarta’ picture taken we made our way past the Donkey, Snake and Parrot photo ops and then outside the gated area we grabbed a Taxi to take us to Aquaventuras Park Vallarta which is located in Nuevo Vallarta. We agreed on a $18 fare for the 3 of us and then we were on our way. The traffic in PV was something to behold and we quickly realized the easiest way to avoid it was to drive through certain sections of town with half of the Car on the sidewalk.




We ended up at the Park around 10:15 PV time so we had an hour to burn which we did by doing the best impersonations of 10 year olds we could. We headed over to the Locker Area and changed and locked up our valuables and then made our way to the Water Park. First up was a ride down the twisting Waterslide which had one of the ‘Swirl Funnel’ finishes.




As we were talking to the Attendant at the top of the slide Dee and I noticed a sign that said “No one over 50 years of age may ride”. We asked him “Is the slide fast?” and he said “Si”. We asked him if “the water was cold?” and he said “Si”. We were the only people in the park so we asked him “If it was always this busy?” and he said “Si”. We asked him if “he spoke English?” and he said “Si”. We asked him if “we would get hurt?” and he said “Si”. We had been conveniently standing in front of the sign so Joyce couldn’t see it and soon enough we heard 35 km/hr screams coming from a 50+ year old lady as she went down the slide. The last thing we saw and the final scream we heard was while Joyce’s feet disappeared through the hole in the bottom of the funnel. Dee went down the slide next and then it was my turn to go down a waterslide for the first time in my life. Conclusion #467: Only took 46 years……..and 6 seconds. I laid on my back and gave myself a push before crossing my arms across my chest and headed down the slide. It was a fast, fun ride and all too soon I was going around and around in the funnel before realizing I was about to head through the hole in the Funnel back and head first. Landing in the pool below was the closest I have ever come to kissing my own azz. I stood up and then felt around in the water to try and find the breath that I had just lost on impact. Dee came running up to tell me that I “was bleeding” to which I said “Si”. I had managed to bite the inside of my cheek while traveling down the slide. Dee and Joyce didn’t want to do the slide again but I did so I headed back up the stairs to Si the Attendant with a reminder from Dee not to bite the inside of my cheek again and I didn’t. Conclusion #468: I bit my tongue …literally.


Having fished donating a pint we headed to a Booth where we got some Inner Tubes and headed to a different slide which was a much calmer trip down.




Next we made our way over to the Lazy River and made a lazy trip around the circuit before returning the Tubes and heading over to the Dolphin Area.




I’ll be honest in saying that even though we had originally booked this Excursion before our first Carnival Splendor cruise I had mixed emotions about it that began as soon as we booked it. Over time I began to have 2nd thoughts about the ‘captivity of the dolphins’ aspect of it BUT my reservations were somewhat reduced when I learned that ‘generally well looked after captive dolphins live longer than those in the wild’ and completely disappeared once I was in the water with these magnificent creatures. Conclusion #469: We giggled like little kids.


We held them, they pushed us in the water, they pulled us in the water, there were fin pulls and foot pushes, kisses. hugs, hand and flipper shakes and all in all it was a once –in-a-lifetime experience that we will cherish forever. We ended up buying all the pictures and the Video.

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Finished at the Park it was time to find our way over to the Dreams Resort. Outside the gates to the park we spoke with a Taxi Driver and asked him “How much to take the 3 of us to Dreams?” He took out a pen and wrote ‘$25’ on the palm of his now opened left hand. Conclusion #470: A hand is not bad; least it’s not going to cost us an arm and a leg.


It was a nice ½ hour drive over to Dreams which was on the other side of Puerto Vallarta from the Aquaventuras Park. When we got into the downtown area we were amazed at the Cobblestone roads and were quite happy we hadn’t started drinking yet. We arrived at the Security Gate for Dreams at about 12:45pm PV time (11:45 Ship Time) and were informed that 1 person from each Party had to leave ID at the gate, be it a Passport or Driver’s License. With some hesitation I handed in my DL and then our Taxi Driver drove us down to the Lobby Entrance to the Resort. We put the fare in his left hand and made our way inside. Several of us had contacted the Resort pre-cruise to book their All-Inclusive Day Pass; others just showed up without a Reservation and paid for the day without any problem. Our names were on the list and the Pass cost us $48/person which we paid by credit card and then headed out to the Pool/beach Area to find everyone else. Conclusion #471: It was GORGEOUS!!!













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We can’t say enough about the Resort, the Drinks and the Company that day. We met up with Terry & Sue, Mark & Diane, Gord & Vicki, Donna & Dan, Lynne & Peewee and Maureen & Kevin. We were a little surprised that Dan & Coral and the other Canadians weren’t there yet and asked the rest if anyone had seen them. Someone did say that the last time they saw the Canadians they said “See you at Dreams” so we figured they’d be along shortly. Joyce, Dee and I were hungry and THIRSTY so we made our way over to the Bar, got some drinks and then headed to the Restaurant where we grabbed a table and helped ourselves to as much as we could eat from the Buffet. There were several restaurants that we were able to eat at but we chose this one based on LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION. Conclusion #472: It was the closest.


Lunch done we headed to the Bar for a refill and then down to the Beach where the Group had a number of Lounge Chairs and Palapas.


Dee Relaxin'



We spent the next several hours drinking, laughing, drinking, laughing, swimming, - Conclusion #473: There was a Swim Up Bar -


Donna, Dee, Joyce and Lynne in the Pool with the Swim-Up Bar



..wandering, eating, drinking, laughing and watching Joyce single-handedly raise the price of Silver. From the moment we sat down Joyce began buying Silver Jewelry off of the Licensed Beach Vendors. One would come up, show her his goods, they’d negotiate and agree on a price for whatever Joyce wanted and then the Vendor would leave. Next we would see the Vendor on the other end of the Beach pointing back at Joyce and shortly thereafter another White Suit with Briefcase in hand would be heading Joyce’s way. She bought a total of 33 pieces of Silver Jewelry that day. Conclusion #474: If the Lone Ranger came riding up to Joyce on his horse that day he’d have walked away.


Joyce Shopping



She also bought a Beach Dress.




Did I mention the Drinks were STRONG:D

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Dee and I were a little concerned that none of the Canadians had showed up but assumed they had found something else to do. It was close to 6:00pm PV time when we all headed out ...




Dan and Donna



Joyce with a couple of trinkets that she REALLY wanted to take back with her



... with a plan for 11 of us to meet up at the Cheeky Monkey Bar on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta. http://www.cheekymonkeypv.com/index.html





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Dreams really does look like a nice place. After seeing your pics I regret not taking the cab ride down there to check it out. Great job on the review. Keep it coming! ;)


Thanks so much!!!... and YES we thought DREAMS was AMAZING!!!...Living on the West Coast of Canada PV is very much a Vacation Destination for us and Many of our friends...and lots we know have done an AI at Dreams and absolutely LOVED IT

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