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Gemynii

A First Time Cruiser's Review: Carnival Paradise 7/14/12-7/19/12 (LOTS of Pics)

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Okay... I'm going to try to get this review done as quick as I can. I know how nice it is not to have to wait weeks for a review to be finished. Keep in mind that this is the first time I've done this and I still feel like I'm rocking and swaying, so bear with me.

 

I'm currently uploading all my pics, so I'll get started with listing some stuff that I found very useful while at sea and other stuff that I didn't use at all...

 

Useful Items:

 

Bonine! - I got the one a day chewable kind. DH and DD didn't need them, but I definitely experienced some queasiness.

Fabreeze - Came in handy when those small bathrooms were not so fresh.

Binder Clips - Used to hold the towel to the chair on our first sea day (which was extremely windy) and to keep papers left in our room together.

Empty Foldable Bag - Packed flat in our suitcase and used to carry off our souvenirs.

Pop-up Hamper - Obviously used for dirty laundry. We kept it hidden away in the closet.

Post It Notes - To leave notes for each other in the room.

Snorkeling Gear (Mask & Snorkel only) - For excursions in both ports.

AA Batteries - Our camera runs on regular batteries and I took so many pics that I had to change them 3 times.

*don't laugh* Dark Colored Doggie Poo Disposal bags - (For Women Only) Those little provided bags are thin paper.

3 Plug Outlet - Charged multiple electronics

First Aid Kit - I also added the single packs of headache/pain meds, sinus meds, Pepto tablets, Tums and cold/flu meds to the kits.

Conditioner - I used the provided shampoo and body wash, but between the salt air/water and the wind, my hair needed conditioning.

Insulated Coffee Mug - This saved DH from having to make multiple trips to the beverage station.

Refillable Wide-Mouth Sports Bottle - Also to avoid trips to the beverage station (didn't want to leave my lounge chair unoccupied).

Small Notebook and Pen - I didn't end up using it for taking notes, but used it for keeping score while playing cards.

18 16.9oz Bottles of Soda - 6 each for the 3 of us.

Small Battery Operated Alarm Clock

Mints and Gum

Hand Sanitizer

Chapstick with SPF

Plenty of Sunscreen

Assorted Sizes Ziplock Bags

And... A well packed toiletries bag

 

Did Not Used (but would still pack in the future):

Disposable Poncho - We got lucky and it didn't rain while we were in port

Small Flashlight - Didn't end up getting up in the middle of the night

Travel Size Detergent - Surprisingly, we did spill any food or drinks on ourselves.

Stain Stick - same as above

Drink Mixes - We found the water, tea, lemonade and coffee provided on the ship to be enough.

Highlighter - Didn't highlight anything on the Fun Times. Not being on a schedule was more enjoyable.

Tablet/eReader - Never found time to read

Duct Tape (wrapped around a card to take up less space)

Safety Pins

Mini Sewing Kit

Small Nail Kit

Ear Plugs

Binoculars

 

Up next... Embarkation

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Embarkation Day

 

We arrived at Capital Parking at 11am. They have rates of $3.99 per day and I used a promotional code to get a day free. We ended up paying $21 total. They provided transportation to the cruise terminal and dropped us off right in front. The ride from the parking lot to the port was about 5 mins.

 

The porters picked up our checked luggage, we tipped them $5 for three suitcases and then we headed to the door. The person at the door checked our boarding pass and passports (DH had a passport, DD and I had passport cards) and we headed inside.

 

The first stop was the line to set up and receive our Sail and Sign card. We had ours set up for cash and there was no one in line ahead of us, so it only took about 5 mins to be called and receive our cards. We had received $130 OBC from price drops and I had called a week before to add another $100 credit, so they didn't require that we add any more. Sis and her family went through the long credit card line, but it still only took them about 15 mins to get through.

 

Cash line on the right, Credit Card line on the left (Cash line was as long as CC line 10 mins later):

IMG_0001.jpg

 

I took a pic of the Paradise outside the window while waiting on sis

IMG_0002.jpg

 

Getting closer

IMG_0003.jpg

 

Up the stairs to the gangway

IMG_0005.jpg

 

Almost there

IMG_0006.jpg

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Can't wait to hear about your vacation!! I liked your used and not used list!! I always pack highlighters too, but last time I didn't use them. I guess it depends who you sail with, my mom and I use them, my dad and I don't, and last cruise it was just my dad and myself.

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Great Start!!

I'm sailing on PARADISE in 115 days and I am anxious to see some great pics of the ship!

 

Thanks. Since you've been on some of the newer ships, I'm not sure how you would like Paradise... although I see that you've been on some other Fantasy class ships, so I assume they are very similar. I thought the Paradise was just the right size for a first cruise as I did not feel overwhelmed by it.

 

Nice job ..

 

Thank you.

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Can't wait to hear about your vacation!! I liked your used and not used list!! I always pack highlighters too, but last time I didn't use them. I guess it depends who you sail with, my mom and I use them, my dad and I don't, and last cruise it was just my dad and myself.

 

Thank you. I may have over-packed :o, but since we drove, I didn't have to worry about baggage fees. I went by the saying "I'd rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it".

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Awwww :) Cant wait to read more!

 

Sailed the Paradise many times while she was out here on the West and lots of good memories!

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

As you can see by the time stamps on the pics, from the time we parked our car until we stepped on the ship was about 45 minutes. Overall, I found the embarkation process to be very easy.

 

DH ended up boarding before me, so I snapped a pic of him going through the door

IMG_0007.jpg

 

Our first view of the atrium/lobby area on deck 7 (this is also where you will disembark from).

IMG_0008.jpg

 

IMG_0009.jpg

 

We headed up to the Lido buffet (Paris Restaurant) located on deck 10 Aft. We met up with my Mom and her BF who had arrived earlier and had gotten a table for our group.

 

We set down our carry-ons and I decided to try the Mongolian Wok since I had heard so much about it. I got mine with the Tai Barbecue sauce and was not impressed. Sis tried the Szechuan (sp?) and said it was much better. It was also less spicy even though the posted sign said the opposite.

 

The announcement came at 12:30 that the rooms were ready, so we grabbed our bags and headed down. We were booked in room M134 which is a category 6C (oceanview) room located on Main deck (deck 5). I had originally booked a 4C (interior) room, but was able to upgrade for only $100 more total. I also decorated the door :p.

IMG_0135.jpg

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Thanks for the review and photos, can't wait to see the rest. I'm glad someone in my party packed a sewing kit as it was a lifesaver on formal/elegant/Captain's night!!!

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

DH thought I was crazy for taking so many pics, so I took one of him in the room. Our room had the two twins made king and one upper.

IMG_0015.jpg

 

The upper folds up against the wall. There was a little black button on the left that you had to push to lower it. TV was a small flatscreen in a mounted box.

IMG_0014.jpg

 

Hallway with closet area (bathroom across from closet)

IMG_0011.jpg

 

Vanity (you can see the bathroom door in the mirror as well as the little black button on the upper)

IMG_0012.jpg

 

My mom had a surprise waiting for us in the room.

IMG_0019.jpg

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I subscribed, looking forward to reading the rest of your review, especially through the eyes of a first-time cruiser. We will be cruising with first-timers in November!

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

Now for the bathroom. The toilet was scary. The suction was crazy. It was also very loud and we could hear when our neighbor flushed.

IMG_0016.jpg

 

The shower was a good size. The shower curtain is cloth. Unfortunately, our water pressure sucked! Both mom and sis said theirs was great over on the starboard side.

IMG_0017.jpg

 

Shampoo and Body Wash are provided in dispensers in the shower. As I stated in my "used" list, I brought my own conditioner.

IMG_0018.jpg

 

The cabinet over the sink was huge and my stuff only took up about a third of the space.

IMG_0020.jpg

 

Here's what we got in the gift basket. Some shampoo and conditioner, two samples of toothpaste with two packets each and some Listerine breath strips.

IMG_0021.jpg

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I subscribed, looking forward to reading the rest of your review, especially through the eyes of a first-time cruiser. We will be cruising with first-timers in November!

 

Thanks. My mom and her BF have cruised many times before. Sis and her DH went on one small 3 day cruise that they won but didn't enjoy since it was during a hurricane. I can tell you from a viewpoint of a first timer sailing with a seasoned cruiser (mom) to not try and get your friends to do certain things at certain times. All I heard was "you need to go to this" or "make sure you're here at this time". The least enjoyable part of our cruise was someone else trying to put us on a schedule.

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

Some more pics from around the ship...

 

Bar and piano in the atrium

IMG_0024.jpg

 

Glass elevators

IMG_0025.jpg

 

Gym located on deck 12

IMG_0026.jpg

 

IMG_0027.jpg

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

The pool was already crowded at 2:30pm. DD was the only one of the three of us to actually go in the pool and hot tubs.

IMG_0028.jpg

 

Judging by the number of people in the pool, I think the towels on the chairs were theirs.

IMG_0029.jpg

 

Pool Stage

IMG_0035.jpg

 

Whale Tail

IMG_0030.jpg

 

IMG_0032.jpg

Edited by Gemynii

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

View of the Port of Tampa

IMG_0031.jpg

 

Pool, hot tub and kiddie pool located on deck 11 Aft

IMG_0033.jpg

 

The basketball court is also located on deck 11 Aft

IMG_0034.jpg

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

The announcement for the muster drill came at 3pm. We were in zone 3, so we headed to the Leonardo Lounge located on deck 9.

IMG_0039.jpg

 

Mom's BF fell asleep, so she had some fun and sis and I snapped pics to use for blackmail later.

IMG_0036.jpg

 

After the demonstration on how to use the lifejackets and what to do in case of emergency, we headed to our lifeboat station located on Lido deck 10.

IMG_0041.jpg

 

View of Channelside from lifeboat station 12

IMG_0040.jpg

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

After the muster drill, it was time to grab a DOD. For embarkation day, it's the Funship Special. I thought it was yummy.

Photo07141606.jpg

 

Bon Voyage!

Photo07141623.jpg

 

People were so happy to sail away, they were dancing on the deck.

Photo07141648.jpg

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Subscribing!

 

Can't wait until our Paradise cruise.

Edited by ata1976

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

After sail away, we headed back to the room to try and unpack some. This was waiting when we got there. Umm... not quite sure what it is.

IMG_0042.jpg

 

Pic of the window in our room.

IMG_0043.jpg

 

The single outlet located next to the vanity.

IMG_0044.jpg

 

At 6:15pm, we were almost to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, so we went up to watch.

IMG_0046.jpg

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

As you can see by the time stamps on the pics, from the time we parked our car until we stepped on the ship was about 45 minutes. Overall, I found the embarkation process to be very easy.

 

DH ended up boarding before me, so I snapped a pic of him going through the door

IMG_0007.jpg

 

Our first view of the atrium/lobby area on deck 7 (this is also where you will disembark from).

IMG_0008.jpg

 

IMG_0009.jpg

 

We headed up to the Lido buffet (Paris Restaurant) located on deck 10 Aft. We met up with my Mom and her BF who had arrived earlier and had gotten a table for our group.

 

We set down our carry-ons and I decided to try the Mongolian Wok since I had heard so much about it. I got mine with the Tai Barbecue sauce and was not impressed. Sis tried the Szechuan (sp?) and said it was much better. It was also less spicy even though the posted sign said the opposite.

 

The announcement came at 12:30 that the rooms were ready, so we grabbed our bags and headed down. We were booked in room M134 which is a category 6C (oceanview) room located on Main deck (deck 5). I had originally booked a 4C (interior) room, but was able to upgrade for only $100 more total. I also decorated the door :p.

IMG_0135.jpg

 

Glad you had a great time, nice door decorations! Flip-flops are southern girls ruby slippers!, lol

Can't wait for more!

Happy Sailing,

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Glad you had a great time, nice door decorations! Flip-flops are southern girls ruby slippers!, lol

Can't wait for more!

Happy Sailing,

 

Thanks. I did have a great time. Vera remembers you and your family and said "Hi". She said that a lot of people knew her on sight before she served them and I said that you had made her famous in your review. She was pleasantly surprised by this news.

 

I wore the heck out of my flip flops! I wore them most of the time, especially when my feet started to swell a bit.

 

That reminds me that I forgot something on my "Useful Items" list. I packed some Diurex water pills... just in case. Thank goodness I had them.

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

Almost to the Sunshine Skyway.

IMG_0050.jpg

 

The front of the ship had no problem clearing.

IMG_0052.jpg

 

I was standing under the whale tail and started to get nervous at this point.

IMG_0053.jpg

 

OMG! DH was standing back on deck 11 Aft and he said it looked like it was going to hit. He thought I was crazy to stand under the whale tail.

IMG_0054.jpg

 

That was really close.

IMG_0055.jpg

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

View of Serenity on deck 9 Aft from deck 11 Aft. We never did go there.

IMG_0057.jpg

 

Smoking area on deck 11 Aft starboard side.

IMG_0062.jpg

 

Random pic

IMG_0061.jpg

 

We had an escort out of Tampa Bay.

IMG_0063.jpg

 

There was a cool little island with a lighthouse that we spotted as we were leaving the bay.

IMG_0065.jpg

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Love it so far... 1st time cruiser in Sept. TY for the list!!!:)

 

 

Okay... I'm going to try to get this review done as quick as I can. I know how nice it is not to have to wait weeks for a review to be finished. Keep in mind that this is the first time I've done this and I still feel like I'm rocking and swaying, so bear with me.

 

I'm currently uploading all my pics, so I'll get started with listing some stuff that I found very useful while at sea and other stuff that I didn't use at all...

 

Useful Items:

 

Bonine! - I got the one a day chewable kind. DH and DD didn't need them, but I definitely experienced some queasiness.

Fabreeze - Came in handy when those small bathrooms were not so fresh.

Binder Clips - Used to hold the towel to the chair on our first sea day (which was extremely windy) and to keep papers left in our room together.

Empty Foldable Bag - Packed flat in our suitcase and used to carry off our souvenirs.

Pop-up Hamper - Obviously used for dirty laundry. We kept it hidden away in the closet.

Post It Notes - To leave notes for each other in the room.

Snorkeling Gear (Mask & Snorkel only) - For excursions in both ports.

AA Batteries - Our camera runs on regular batteries and I took so many pics that I had to change them 3 times.

*don't laugh* Dark Colored Doggie Poo Disposal bags - (For Women Only) Those little provided bags are thin paper.

3 Plug Outlet - Charged multiple electronics

First Aid Kit - I also added the single packs of headache/pain meds, sinus meds, Pepto tablets, Tums and cold/flu meds to the kits.

Conditioner - I used the provided shampoo and body wash, but between the salt air/water and the wind, my hair needed conditioning.

Insulated Coffee Mug - This saved DH from having to make multiple trips to the beverage station.

Refillable Wide-Mouth Sports Bottle - Also to avoid trips to the beverage station (didn't want to leave my lounge chair unoccupied).

Small Notebook and Pen - I didn't end up using it for taking notes, but used it for keeping score while playing cards.

18 16.9oz Bottles of Soda - 6 each for the 3 of us.

Small Battery Operated Alarm Clock

Mints and Gum

Hand Sanitizer

Chapstick with SPF

Plenty of Sunscreen

Assorted Sizes Ziplock Bags

And... A well packed toiletries bag

 

Did Not Used (but would still pack in the future):

Disposable Poncho - We got lucky and it didn't rain while we were in port

Small Flashlight - Didn't end up getting up in the middle of the night

Travel Size Detergent - Surprisingly, we did spill any food or drinks on ourselves.

Stain Stick - same as above

Drink Mixes - We found the water, tea, lemonade and coffee provided on the ship to be enough.

Highlighter - Didn't highlight anything on the Fun Times. Not being on a schedule was more enjoyable.

Tablet/eReader - Never found time to read

Duct Tape (wrapped around a card to take up less space)

Safety Pins

Mini Sewing Kit

Small Nail Kit

Ear Plugs

Binoculars

 

Up next... Embarkation

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

I managed to drag DH over to the rail for a pic. Geez, worst pic ever. I couldn't have looked more frumpy. DD took the pic, so I blame her :p.

IMG_0069.jpg

 

Next, we went to see what the view was like from the front of the ship.

IMG_0070.jpg

 

I thought this pic was cool with the three ships out in the distance.

IMG_0072.jpg

 

I think there may have been a wedding on the ship and there was a group taking photos out on the sports deck.

IMG_0074.jpg

 

Since it was already 7:30pm, we decided to eat at the buffet. On our way there, we saw that security had been called to take care of a situation.

IMG_0075.jpg

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Great review! Thanks. Keep it coming!

 

I love this photo! (quoted below). You know why? Because, for the most part, all the seats are full!

 

Any time I walk up to the bar it is always filled out like this;

 

person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT.

 

And that really irritates my GF and I when we just want a drink at the bar...together...as a couple.

Embarkation Day Cont.

 

Some more pics from around the ship...

 

Bar and piano in the atrium

IMG_0024.jpg

Edited by rajones007

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Love it so far... 1st time cruiser in Sept. TY for the list!!!:)

 

Thanks and you're welcome. I looked at so many lists before our cruise. Just remember that everyone's needs are different, so what may have been useful for one may not be for another. I hope you have a great trip!

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Great review! Thanks. Keep it coming!

 

I love this photo! (quoted below). You know why? Because, for the most part, all the seats are full!

 

Any time I walk up to the bar it is always filled out like this;

 

person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT, person, person, EMPTY SEAT.

 

And that really irritates my GF and I when we just want a drink at the bar...together...as a couple.

 

Yep... and it was the same way at the United Stated bar next to the casino. DH and I would often end up with one of us sitting and the other standing. Only about 8 seats of the bar was considered a smoking section, so we would have to lean over one another to use the ashtray.

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

I tried a variety of foods from the buffet. The beef was okay. The lasagna was good even though the meat had the texture and flavor of deviled ham.

IMG_0076.jpg

 

There was rain visible on the horizon, but we didn't sail into any.

IMG_0077.jpg

 

The sunset was beautiful.

IMG_0078.jpg

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Embarkation Day Cont.

 

Some pics of the atrium lit up. I had to turn my flash off and for some reason, pics blur when I do that, so I apologize for the quality.

IMG_0079.jpg

 

IMG_0080.jpg

 

IMG_0083.jpg

 

And the wall art just off the elevator on Main deck.

IMG_0086.jpg

 

 

We were really tired since we woke up really early, so we were back in our room by 9:10pm. We set the sleep timer on the TV and watched it until we fell asleep.

 

 

Next up... 1st Sea Day.

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1st Sea Day

 

We woke up at about 7:30am to the ship rocking. My tummy was not too happy, but luckily, I didn't get physically ill. We got ready and headed up to the buffet for breakfast. I opted for 1/2 a bagel with cream cheese and a green apple while DH loaded up his plate and DD grabbed a couple boxes of cereal without milk.

 

View of pool from smoking section of Lido deck (starboard).

IMG_0087.jpg

 

The area around the pool was already starting to fill up by 9:15am.

IMG_0088.jpg

 

There were still some chairs available, but most were "occupied".

IMG_0089.jpg

 

The water was beautiful, but very choppy. The wind was crazy and the binder clips I brought came in handy to hold the towels down.

IMG_0090.jpg

 

IMG_0093.jpg

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Great Review. Can't wait to see more. Sailing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is always exciting

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1st Sea Day Cont.

 

By 10:15am, pretty much all the chairs were taken.

IMG_0099.jpg

 

It was getting hot, so we each got a smoothie. The raspberry peach was really good. DD didn't care for the strawberry pina colada, but she liked the simply strawberry that DH got. DH said that in the 15 mins it took to get the drinks, several people tried to take our chairs :p.

IMG_0100.jpg

 

Ahhh... this is the life.

IMG_0103.jpg

 

At noon, we decided to give up our chairs and head to lunch. As soon as we stood up, there was a group of 3 there to take them.

 

Around the pool:

IMG_0107.jpg

 

After lunch, I snapped a pic of the Master Mixologist Contest that was going on.

IMG_0108.jpg

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Great Review. Can't wait to see more. Sailing under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge is always exciting

 

Thank you.

 

It was quite exciting. I had to keep telling myself that they've sailed under it many times and wouldn't let it hit, but that didn't stop me from remembering when the old Skyway was hit by a barge and crashed down :eek:.

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1st Sea Day Cont.

 

Spent some more time on the upper decks enjoying the view.

IMG_0109.jpg

 

DD (left) and one of my nieces had another smoothie.

IMG_0110.jpg

 

A pic of the wake:

IMG_0111.jpg

 

Sis had won some money at the casino, so she talked me into going down there. I put $5 into one slot machine and lost it. Sis matched my $5 on a different machine and we lost that money, too. I was ready to go at that point, but sis wanted to play another game. I sat down at one of the machines where smoking is permitted and, since you have to play to smoke there, I put the 4 ones I had into the machine. On the 2nd spin, I got the "Bonus Round" and ended up winning 15 free spins. During the free spins, I was given 10 free spins twice. By the time the machine finished spinning, I had won $48. I cashed out and did a happy dance.

IMG_0112.jpg

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1st Sea Day Cont.

 

After leaving the casino, we went out to the casino bar where they were doing karaoke. Here are a couple of minute videos.

th_MVI_0113.jpg th_MVI_0115.jpg

 

After karaoke, we headed to our rooms to get ready for cruise elegant night in the dining room. I thought DD looked beautiful all dressed up. So did my niece.

IMG_0118.jpg

 

The lobster tail was very good... I ordered two. DH had the lobster and the steak which was excellent. DH was not turned away for wearing a polo shirt and khakis.

IMG_0119.jpg

 

After dinner, we went to the family comedy show in the Queen Mary Lounge deck 9 Aft. I had a Tirimisu Martini which was very tasty.

IMG_0122.jpg

Edited by Gemynii

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1st Sea Day Cont.

 

This cute little guy was waiting in our room when we got back from dinner.

IMG_0123.jpg

 

We went back up on deck and got to experience another beautiful sunset.

IMG_0124.jpg

 

Can you see the whale tail in the clouds?

IMG_0125.jpg

 

We spent some time on the Lido deck and I snapped a shot of the deck all lit up. My flash was off again for this, so it's blurred.

IMG_0134.jpg

 

 

We went to the adult comedy show that night. The Queen Mary Lounge was packed, so I was stuck sitting next to my mom and her BF. I found it hilarious, but I felt weird clapping with mom sitting there. I felt like I should appear shocked or something. Awkward! Afterwards, we all went to our rooms to try and get some sleep before our early port day.

 

 

Up next... Grand Cayman

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