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Our Fantastical Journey: Carnival Fantasy Review & PICS/December 8th, 2012 sailing


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Yes! We did it! We sailed twice in one year on Carnival Fantasy! We returned a week ago and have been busy little elves trying to get busy with Christmas shopping and preparation and nursing my suddenly sick self and havent had a chance to get this review written. Finally, I have a moment today to get some of it written. Please be patient with me, though, while I get this written between family activities and sneezing. I cant stop sneezing.


Back in March, the Andrew and I had a discussion almost immediately after debarkation in March about sailing again. He was already missing the camaraderie of meeting new people and having someone to talk to on a daily basis....other than the cat. We thought it to be an impossible dream to sail again so soon after our most recent voyage but things fell into place and he booked the 7 day (Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay & Nassau) cruise out of Charleston as a birthday present for meeeee!


We booked Early Saver at $489.00 pp in a porthole cabin (R-1). I must say that Early Saver, in the end, turned out to be quite beneficial but with all the crazy car breakdowns and medical nonsense that happened in the months prior to the cruise, we were in constant fear of having to cancel and losing our deposits. If it wasnt for our luck with positive things happening and luck on our side, we never would have sailed and probably would have cancelled.


We ended up with two price drops during the time between booking and sailing. One drop was down to $369.00 pp and then another occurred right before sailing to an unbelievable $299.00 pp. We ended up with $260.00 OBC and some magical fees that showed up when we boarded in the amount of $11.86 pp.


But let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Let's start from the beginning and work our way to the end. After all, that is the natural progression of a review right? Just to let you know my review style so you can have the option of reading and not reading; If you like a short and concise review without pictures then this review is definitely not your speed. I write about our silly experiences and throw in really random pics along the way. TONS of pics. Although I promise not to subject you to all 978 pictures that were taken. That's just plain torture.


Our Cruise Critic roll call was the most active one that I had been involved in. We "met" so many wonderful people online that had tons of information. There was a group of girls that became fast friends on a social networking page and dubbed ourselves the Fantasy Girls. These girls made me laugh hysterically every day and made the anticipation fo the cruise much easier to endure. I believe we have formed a lifelong friendship and I am proud to call them my sistahs! Whoop whoop ladies! There was also a social networking page for our sailing in general and this too made the time pass quickly. We shared pics of the day and exchanged information of our plans. I felt I already knew most of them before we boarded.


The Fantasy Girls had planned a pre-cruise Meet & Greet at a local Charleston restaurant, DD Pecker's Wing Shack. When I finally met these girls in person, it was like I had known them all my life. The owner of the restaurant stopped by our table and asked us how we had met I told him "I met these people on the internet. I dont know any of them". I think he thought I was lying. In a way, I was....because I really do know them.


Edited by All4fun&fun4all
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That night, after Fantasy Girl fun time, I went home and worked on finalizing our smuggling methods/vessels and last minute packing. I wont be sharing our smuggling methods on here for obvious reasons (we got busted in March) but all 4 methods worked this time which kind of made up for our failed attempt in March with the water bottles. Lesson learned...dont broadcast rum smuggling techniques. We then fell asleep (sort of) with visions of DOD's dancing in our heads.


The next morning we awoke, had some leftover chicken wings and awaited the arrival of COJO1956 and her husband who agreed, so generously, to pick us up from our home and (if they still liked us) would bring us back home at the end of the cruise. We waited on the front porch filled with excitement.


Here I am all ready to roll




And the Andrew already having a beer. OHHHH Andrew!




We left Hollywood, SC at approximately 10:30am and headed for the port i hopes that we would be onboard by 11:00am. As we were crossing the connector to the downtown area we caught our first glimpse from a different vantage point for a change.


Can you see it?




Here it is as we were turning into the crazy maze headed to the parking area. Home sweet home.




We arrived at the port right around 10:50am or so. The paths were clearly marked along the way and we showed our boarding passes, birth certificates/passports and picture I.D. We proceeded forward to a luggage tent-ish type area and then moved forward to the area where they would eventually take payment for parking or acknowledge your handicapped parking status. We were told to pull up to this area and turn off our vehicles. And we waited. As we waited we noticed that taxi cabs and hotel shuttles were moving along right past us on their own special route. We were allowed to get out of our vehicles and stretch our legs and use the porta potties that they have set up if they are needed.


We were stopped right in front of the Rice Plantation facade




Here is COJO1956's husband



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COJO1956 and I waiting




At 11:30am they told us to crank up our vehicles where we proceeded forward to the parking payment area.




We were directed to park in the warehouse closest to the shuttle loading area and stood in a short line awaiting our turn to board the shuttle that brings you directly to the terminal itself.


Shuttle to terminal




No seat for the Andrew




Here again, even with the limitations that Charleston faces the embarkation process moved swiftly. We went through the security scanners, pulled into the secondary area where they again shook our water but not our 6 pack of bottled sodas and asked if we were using a credit card to secure our payment or cash. We were using cash and were directed to a separate line and since there was no other people in line we walked directly to the check in counter.


The lovely lady took our information and we were also able to put cash on the sail and sign account right there at check in! No need to stand in line once we get onboard. This was a fantastic idea! We put $200.00 on the Andrew's account and I had the 260.00 OBC on my account. We were given our GOLD sail and sign cards even though we werent due to turn gold until the middle of our cruise. We had read previously that this is how it would work but I was still worried that we would end up with red. We then made our way to get our embarkation picture and then up a flight of stairs for the sail and sign picture, up the gangplank (I love the sound my suitcase makes rolling up those planks) and then DING!!!! We are onboard.


Immediately I was struck with the beauty of the atrium, all gussied up for the holidays. I had never been on a cruise at a time when it was decorated and couldnt wait to see what it would look like.





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We made a commitment, even though we were on Riviera deck this time, to take the stairs the majority of the time. We started right away and hauled our carry on luggage up to lido deck (home base) for our traditional first DOD of the cruise. We were on lido with drink in hand by noon. Not bad.


Can you tell we are sooooo excited




Not even 10 minutes after getting settled I heard our call sign of "MARCO" and I answered with "POLO". It was some folks from roll call, Sheilaeliando and her crazy crew! These folks were a blast to be around and ran into them often.


Fun group of folks and lifelong friends




I knew that I wanted to try the Mongolian Wok this time for some wok-y goodness and the Andrew told me that I should probably head on over there and get some before they get super busy. I got the Szechuan because I am accustomed to spicy food. This stuff was a bit too spicy for me but dang those shrimps were good. I passed the remaining noodle and broccoli mix to the Andrew and he polished it off.




After a delicious lunchy, I spotted my Fantasy Girls and we took our first of many photos of the trip. I love these ladies!




Around 12:30 or so, the rooms were available and we could drop off our carry on's. Two pieces of our luggage were already there and I unpacked what was there. We were still waiting for one of our pieces of luggage which had me concerned about a potential trip to the naughty room.


I climbed the stairs back to lido deck (ow ow ow) and let the Andrew know of our progress. Sheila introduced us to Gnomeo






We also ran into our bestest buddy Pinkfloydfan



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It was also time for the Andrew to get his first bucket o beer. Newsflash on the buckets of beer: If you order a bucket of Fosters beer, they will brink FOUR to you iced in TWO buckets. The cost for this is $28.75 which is a better value simply because each beer is 750ml and is a bit stronger than say, Budweiser. You can then take one of your buckets of beer down to your cabin to have for later. Our room steward kept these buckets on ice in addition to other ice vessels. Pretty cool huh?




Speaking of our steward, his name was Ryan and he and his crew did a fantastic job of keeping things straight and ice filled. He introduced himself on one of my runs to the cabin before muster and he gave me a run down of how we arent supposed to have any candles in the room and no smoking and other things that I sort of spaced out on. Sorry Ryan. I showed him our cooler and asked if he would keep it and the ice bucket full of ice. He did so everyday. Great guy and couldnt ask for a better steward. Service was spot on.


Then it was MUSTAAAAAAAAAAAARD time!!!! Our muster station was A which is located in the Universe Lounge. We met here and listened to the safety briefing. I still listen to it intently because you never know.




View from our seats at the back of muster




It was pretty painless. We then went outside where we stood at our spot near the bridge and waited. It wasnt a really painful sort of waiting but everything seems much longer that you have to do when all you want to do is get back to the fun. We were right by the bridge on the port side.




Then the all clear horn sounded and it was time to sail away from Charleston. We are officially on vacation. Can you believe they let us back onboard??!!!




Later Charleston



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I have never really immersed myself in the lido deck sailaway celebrations before but this time I had been studying for. Over the last few months, I had been watching youtube videos for instructions on the proper way to Wobble and Cupid Shuffle. I did it!!!! I Wobbled at sailaway and not just from the many DOD's consumed. I found a fellow Fantasy Girl and we Wobbled together!




It was a great deal of fun and there were several opportunities to use my new found skill at professional wobbling onboard.


After all the festivities had died down on lido we went back to our caing and finished unpacking all of our stuff and had a look at our LONNNNNG porthole.


Sunset through our porthole




By the time we made it back to our cabin to prepare for dinner, all of our luggage had made it (no naughty room letter) and I decorated our door. We had cabin R-1.....all the way to the bottom and alllllll the way to the front. I want to say that this has been our favorite cabin so far. It seemed larger and the porthole itself was HUGE.


From porthole looking at door




From porthole looking at door other side




We were also at the end of a hallway with no cabins to our left or across the hall and only one cabin next door. There was a crew door right by our cabin. We didnt hear much noise from crew at all and it was cool seeing all sorts of crew members passing through. The Andrew peeked his head in here a few times and there was always a crew member there. Heh heh, busted.




Here are my porthole decorations



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My door all spiffy for the holidays




We also use the over the door shoe holder for all our extras and put it inside the closet closest to the door




We designate the higher shelves for tall boyfriend and lower ones for short little me




Having the over the door shoe holder thingy frees up space on the vanity under the mirror for our bar set up




We signed up for Anytime Dining this time around just to try it out and I have to say that going forward, this will be our dining assignment of choice. We enjoyed not having to rush off to get ready for dinner if we were having a good time and hanging out with new friends. The timing was only off on one out of the 6 nights that we dined and one night we were the only people seated in our section. Two nights I requested a table for two and only one of those two times did we have to wait to be seated. More on that later.


The first night was Cruise Casual and I went with a simple sundress while the Andrew went with dark jeans and a long sleeved polo style shirt. I wanted to try some new things this time around so that I could give a little bit different food review. I also wanted to try some desserts as well since normally I do not "do" desserts.


We noticed the line was a bit long when we first went by the dining room and decided to stop by lido and pass the time with a glass of wine here until the line died down. You can easily check the progress of the line by stepping into the atrium from lido and looking down. Usually the line was short enough by 7:15pm to make our way down there. We approached the hostess stand and gave her our cabin number. We were asked if we minded dining with others and we told them we did not mind. We were escorted to a 4 top and ate with a nice dinner couple.


This night I had:


Spring rolls and shrimp cocktail. (Loved the spring rolls)






Please forgive the blurriness of the dining pics. I swear, one day I will get it right. I borrowed my brother's camera for this sailing and really was lost while using it. You get the idea.

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I also had the Flat Iron Steak (medium rare and heavenly)




I also finally tried a dessert. The creme brulee was simply decadent. I didnt take a picture of all of our food because the Andrew said there are already so many pics of food on here already. But what I failed to realize is that taking pics of our food helps me remember what I ate from day to day. Meh.


The Andrew had:


Spring rolls (see previous pic) and the Guacamole/Salsa and chips




There really ought to be more guac and salsa. There was only enough for about 2 chips worth. He also had the Flat Iron Steak (medium rare)


He then proceeded to make a snowman out of the dinner rolls from the basket.




Just a little FYI, we brought a glass of wine from our cabin to dinner and they didnt even bat an eye. All of the food that was served on the entire 7 day sailing came out hot...not just warm....hot! Sometimes we had to wait to eat for a moment to let the food cool. Thumbs up....wayyyy up!


After dinner, we dropped off our wine glasses in the room on our way to the Martini Tasting and found our room to be turned down with our most favorite towel animal....


....The Vagina Towel!




The Martini Tasting was being held in the Majestic Bar aft from 6:30pm until 10:30pm. For $17.00 you choose 4 out of 8 types of mini martinis.




I liked the blue one the best of all. And wouldnt ya know it...some of the Fantasy Girls (Spress0mom, ToriB and Anjanu) had already been enjoying the fun, as well as our male mascots (Pinkfloydfan, Trace911 and fromthebus)



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In all of my Carnival cruises I have never attended the Welcome Aboard Show. I decided to join my fellow FG's this time and while I wasnt really fond of the dancing and such (not my speed), I was highly entertained by the spoon game. And, Santa Claus made a holiday appearance. The Andrew spent his time on lido meeting new friends.


Spoon game with Santa








Shortly after the show I found my boyfriend and joined him for a few cocktails on lido. At this point the excitement of the day got the best of me and with the whisper of slight breezes, I felt my eyes trying to close. Off to bed we go and are gently rocked to sleep with the back and forth motion of the ship and the occasional thud fo the water slapping the hull. Heaven....just heaven. And I slept harder that night than I had in weeks.




Today was going to be a busy day. Well, as busy as a vacation day on a cruise ship can actually be. We awoke relatively early and headed to the MDR for breakfast. I was excited to have my bagel with lox and cream cheese and some bacon. The Andrew was super psyched for his favorite, Eggs Benedict with the hollendaise on the side. We were seated at a 4 top with this lovely couple.




Man, just look at the Andrew's shirt. Wooo weee!


It was a really enjoyable breakfast and good company.


We then made our way back up to lido home base to people-watch until our lunch with Fantasy Girls function. BananaAnna and her daughter stopped by our table to say hello.




And then we sat here and enjoyed each others company for a bit.





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LUNCHTIME! This was to be our first lunch experience onboard and our first experience using the free drink coupon. The coupon is included in a variety of paperwork that is in your cabin on embark day. Go through your papers! There were also the papers saying I have drink coupons waiting (which arrived at dinner on the first night...forgot to mention that) and my VIFP gold pins.


We met up with the girls around 12:15 and were seated right away for our table of 7 and service was pretty stellar. As we were waiting, Tim the magician came by and showed us some amazing illusions. I am still floored and perplexed.






Then we asked to order our free drink. We were told that they would send us a drink waiter. We waited and waited. Nobody came by. Then, the maitre d (I think it was the maitre d) stopped by to ask if everything was okay and we mentioned that we hadnt seen a drink waiter. Not 5 minutes later, our favorite server from lido deck was at our table taking our drink orders.


Here is Aliz. She is our favorite...and yes, she was summoned all the way from lido deck bar so that she could take our drink order. Eek!




We ordered the sushi (it is much better at the sushi stand) and the steak salad which was tender and delicious.




We were still a bit full from breakfast and this meal made a wonderful light alternative. The company was what made the meal though. We laughed and laughed and laughed some more.




Then it was time for my favorite cruise time tradition. The Hairy Chest Contest! The Andrew still doesnt come anywhere NEAR the stage since our 2007 cruise where I talked him into entering. I am really extra glad I didnt miss it htis year...SANTA was a contestant!!!!



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Yep, Santa




And then there was this guy. You know when you go on a cruise and there is that one group of folks that you see that participate in all the activities and do so with wreckless abandon? And every time you see them you justs gravitate towards them because you know it's where the party is at? This guy, John, was part of this group. These guys cracked me up everytime I saw them. Check this out






Best Hairy Chest Contest EVER! Unfortunately it is really unfair to be in a contest against Santa. I mean, you certainly dont want to end up on his naughty list. Yep, Santa won!


After the Hairy Chest Contest, the staff brought out the corn hole boards and a few members of roll call played a bit. Maybe by next time I will have practiced enough to participate.




Another first for me was partaking in Tea Time. And of course I could think of no one better to share a cup of tea all fancy pants style than with my fellow FG's. We arrived at Cleopatra's Lounge at the designated time of 3:30pm and the doors opened up right about 3:40pm. If you have a large group of people, you may want to be one of the firsts to enter bexcause it was sort of a mad rush to get in. We chose a seat at the large booth in the corner. In my opinion, there has to be a slightly larger venue for this. It felt a bit cramped. None-the-less, we had a blast and enjoyed each others company which was the most important part anyway. A Fantasy Girl always knows how to make a good time.


Check out the fancy tea hats!





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I didnt have a hat so Spress0mom shared hers with me




The servers came around with a box of tea to choose from and then poured your hot water in your cup for you. Then they came around with a serving tray of cucumber sammiches or a saolmon bready thingy. (technical term). I was half expecting a fancy rolling cart of petit fors but not the case here.






I chose the orange spiced tea but then realized it was decaf. It was still quite tasty.




Next the servers came around with these, um, errrr...scones? Sp good




One of the craftier FG's discussed that as a group we should each hand make a gift for a gift exchange. We decided after tea time would be a perfect opportunity to do this. We were looking for a place on promenade to exchange our gifts but all the spots were occupied with sleepy and resting cruisers. We noticed that Cat's Lounge was empty and did our gift swap here. None of the staff seemed to mind. All of the presents were so special and I will cherish them.




Wax lips



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Ooops! This is the wax lips pic




I made my way back up to home base and enjoyed a drink with my Andrew before heading to our cabin to get ready for Elegant Night dinner. At the hostess stand we were again asked if we minded sitting with others and since we were all dressed up, we figured why not share our fancy get ups with everyone. we do clean up pretty well.




We were seated at a 10 top this time with a member of our roll call, nunat919, her sister & friends.




Also, this couple who were hilarious and lovely. The Andrew had some competition with this guy around. I have no idea what he is doing in this pic. Photobomb?




I made it a point to order the pumpkin soup this time and you guys were right! It was amazing! I also had the alligator fritters which were less bready this time around.





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The Andrew had a greek salad




I also got my traditional 2 lobsters




He had the ribs which were fall off the bone and flavored just right.




I really wanted to try a dessert for this meal but there was no room in my belly. This was to be the case most nights so unfortunately I cannot say that I have yet tried the WCMC.


Then the lights started blinking. It's showtime and I looked over at the Andrew and saw the panic crossing his face. I could tell he wanted to bolt. I leaned over and asked him to just try to stay through it because it was nunat919's bday and she wanted us to stay and sing. You know what? He sorta enjoyed showtime. I know...that's just crazy right?


This guy had a bunny napkin that he paraded around with.




They were singing That's Amore and the guy we were sitting with was super into it and knew all the words.




And there was dancing



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And then, not one but TWO of our table members had birthdays






With dinner complete and our bellies full we rolled ourselves out of the MDR and made our way to my next "first" of the cruise. I wanted to try posing for a formal portrait. I always wanted to have one done and since there is no sitting fee...why not take advantage. We found a background that we liked and I tried to translate to my hard of hearing boyfriend what the photographer wanted him to do. In the end, we did end up buying one of the poses. Peopel keep asking if the tree was a real one or a fake one. I have to explain that it is a backdrop. Impressive!


I was ready to get into some comfy clothes and chill out a bit so we stopped by the cabin to refresh our drinks and get...well...comfy. Our towel animal for tonight was a lobster. I have never had a lobster towel animal before! They are, however, nearly impossible to move from the bed to a safe spot. Lobster met his demise as soon as I lifted him.




It appears that the vagina towel was getting into the spirit of the holidays as well




Music Degree was to be playing at the 21st Century Bar so we headed up there because we knew they would not disappoint.




Smokey4U and his lovely girlfriend were there and handed me a stuffed penguin. Now, I know to you that may seem very random but on our roll call, I had discussed some crazy dreams I had been having and one was involving penguins in the Bahamas. So, penguin began having adventures.


Penguin began his time with me by ordering a Miami Vice. Penguin knows me pretty well apparently.



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Penguin also pointed out what areas at the bar were non smoking. It really is kind of silly how they have the smoking/non smoking areas laid out here. 1/4 of the bar closest to the casino is smoking while the rest is non smoking. It's sort of like corralling water with a fish net.




While we are on the subject of smoking/non smoking....this was to be my first cruise as a non smoker. I did notice how smokey the smoking side of lido was and was able to smell the smoke coming from the 21st Century Bar up the middle staircases several floors before we got there. Other than these two areas, I never encountered thick bellows of smokiness and I was actually looking for it this time.


Anyway, here is Music Degree no doubt singing a bit of Pink Floyd. They are amazing artists and sound just like whichever band it is they are covering.




This couple started dancing and I was in awe. They must dance on a regular basis because their form was top notch.




Naturally, where there is Music Degree, there is Pinkfloydfan. Here he is with the radiant alligirl78.




The last time we sailed on Fantasy, I had promised my kid that I would get him a disco ball for his room but they ran out before I could get him one. This time, I got it....well, penguin did. I blame penguin. He found the discounted version in the Electricity Nightclub. This night it was $2.00 off which was cheaper than at the 21st Century Bar. Total: $12.59




It was time to refresh our drinks again so we ran downstairs to our cabin to do so. At different points of the cruise we would come back to the cabin and find little gifts and signatures on our door. This is what we found from BananaAnna.




The scissors were so that we could customize our door so that the door handle wouldnt be hidden behind the wrapping. I bought some stickers with me to put on other folks door decorations. Yes, I find fun with the most obscure things.

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You got sponge-bobbed






We wanted to listen to more of Music Degree and went back to the 21st Century Bar. Here I ran into ilovetheislands




We hung out listening to the band and hanging with a wacky bunch of folks




Remember that fun group that I spoke about in the Hairy Chest Contest section? We spent some time with them this evening and invited them to our UN-Wedding at HMC. So much laughter...and then the great hockey debate. alligirl78 *cough*. Anyone that was in that area knows about the great hockey debated. We dont speak of it in public circles. Only speak of it in whispers.







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At the conclusion of the great hockey debate we finally decided to call it a night. We had no ports to wake up for the next day and we looked forward to sleeping in. Yeah...right.




I am not completely sure what possessed the Andrew to wake up at 6:00am all bright eyed and bushy tailed but he sure was. Since they have changed the rules about smoking in your cabin, he has to go up to lido to get his nicotine fix so early morning he would go traipsing up to deck 10 for a cigarette or two and then come back to the cabin speaking of breakfast and coffee and moving. Meh.


We went to the MDR again for breakfast. I had the Eggs Benedict this time and he had the Salmon cream cheese bagel. After breakfast, I went up to ToriB's cabin and she braided my hair for me. My braids lasted for an entire day!


I headed back to home base and ran into Smokey4U and his girlfriend chatting with the Andrew. We spent a great deal of time with this couple and have become good friends. He also uses the electronic cigarette system and has, since we have returned from the cruise, gotten the Andrew hooked. For two days now, the Andrew has been smoke free! Go Andrew. Maybe now we can sleep in on sea days!


Smokey4U & Girlfriend








At about 1 or 2pm I started to get hungry again and we didnt feel like breaking off conversations to dine in the MDR for lunch so I went to the salad bar and made a lovely salad and they had seafood fritters on the buffet because it was Caribbean day. Those were the best seafood fritters I have had. I am not even sure if it was "real" seafood but I loved em!




I ordered my first of many drinks on this sea day.




It was almost time for Fantasy Girl cheerleading of the Synchronized Swimming competition. We decided to sit poolside and I noticed this cute little baby pool. It was out of the way but I dont remember actually seeing the baby in the pool.




The ladies began the Synchronized Swimming Competiton



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