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Pre-Trip Blog and Review: Carnival Dream 2/15/14 – Western Caribbean


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Western Caribbean 2/15/14 - 2/22/14




Hello Everybody, I am so excited as my wife and I will board the Carnival Dream on Saturday. This cruise has been named; “Because the Price Was Right Cruise.” I’ll get to more on that a little later in our journey. In case we have not met, let me start out with a little information about us.


I’m Kenyon and I will be your tour guide for this adventure. I am 32 years old and a Support Center Manager for a large Global Business Process Outsourcing company. My travel companion is my wonderful wife of almost 2 ½ years. Cynthia is 24 years old and works as a daytime Nanny to two beautiful children; a 6 year old girl and a 3 year old boy. Also, Cynthia is the owner of CK Healthworks, a health and beauty products company.


We are from Leesburg, GA. (Hometown to Luke Bryan, Buster Posey, and Phillip Phillips, if you know any of those guys) Leesburg is a small country town outside Albany, GA. We are in the heart of Southwest Georgia and about three hours southwest of Atlanta.


Here is a picture of us on our last Carnival Cruise:




This will be my second review on Cruise Critic. I truly enjoyed completing my first trip review on the Enchantment of the Seas. It was our first cruise on Royal Caribbean and it’s a good review if you are looking for comparisons between our Carnival and Royal Caribbean experiences. It can be found, HERE.


About the Pre-Cruise Blog


I wanted to do something different this time around and I thought that it might be helpful to share some of the planning that takes place for one of our cruises. Since I booked the cruise, I have been making some notes that may read more like a journal or blog. I have tried to narrow these down to the most important life events and planning details for the trip. This has been a fun way for me to pass the time and countdown the cruise. For my readers, I hope gives you some planning ideas and a little look into our lives. Now, I understand that some readers don’t like to read all the pre-trip information so; I will try (if possible) to make it easy for you to skip to the review portion of the trip.


About the Review


When I started looking for reviews, I noticed that there are not a lot of recent reviews for the Dream. There are even fewer that have pictures. My goal is to provide a detailed review with pictures (that’s if I don’t get all caught up in too many moments). This will not be a “Live” review as we use our cruising time to unplug from all our electronic devices (except cameras). However, once we return, I will start the trip review portion of the report. I am a very visual person, so I like pictures and my hope is that I will be able to provide a lot of pictures and commentary. On our last cruise we took over 400 pictures and still did not capture everything. Please be patient with me as I will not be able to post the entire review all at once but I will try to at least post all of one day at a time. In addition, I will attempt to share differences in experiences based on feedback from Cynthia. This will especially be seen with the dining portion of the cruise as she has a number of food allergies that forces her to be on a restrictive dietary plan. I know that this is going to be so much fun! I hope you will come along for the ride and that I don’t bore you to death.


Carnival Dream – The Ship


As I was researching for our first cruise that we sailed last February, I spent a good bit of time on Cruise Critic just reading reviews on different ships and I came across a review that just absolutely sold me on the Dream. Carnival, you need to send Alicia (italianfemmy) a commission check or something. I am sure that my review will not be as great as hers, especially the pictures but I am going to do my best. Here is a link to her review:




Now let’s talk about the Dream a little bit! The Dream was built in 2009 as the first ship in Carnival’s Dream Class of Ships. It was once the largest ship in the fleet but currently ranks 3rd largest behind the Carnival Breeze (1st) and the Carnival Magic (2nd). The Carnival Dream is 1004 feet in length and has a gross tonnage of 128,250 She can carry 3646 passengers for 24 hours for fun each and every day. There is 1367 crew onboard the ship. The Carnival Dream is currently based in Port Canaveral and runs week long cruises to the Western and Eastern Caribbean. In April 2014, she will change her homeport to New Orleans and the Carnival Sunshine will homeport in Port Canaveral.


Fun Fact: Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked was partially filmed on the Carnival Dream. The Cruise Line reports that it mostly happened on open decks and within the ship's outdoor recreation areas. Ports on the Dream's Western Caribbean itinerary, including Belize and Costa Maya, provided a backdrop for some of the scenes.


Carnival Dream – The Itinerary


We are super excited to be sailing the Western Caribbean. This is our first cruise that is not to The Bahamas. Our Ports of Call are Cozumel, Mexico, Belize, Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan, and Costa Maya, Mexico.




Here is our port schedule:




What I get for saying no cruising in 2014:


I kept telling Cynthia to really enjoy our last cruise because we are going to try (keyword) not to spend any cruise money in 2014 but that we would go big in 2015. Her response was, “Don’t say that cause you never know what might happen”. She was O so correct! We arrived home from our 10/7/13 sailing on the Enchantment of the Seas and I had a letter in the mail from Carnival. We had received past guest and VIFP promotions before and they were not all that great of a deal and were quickly tossed into the shred pile. So, this letter was not a top priority on the list as I went through the mail and I just laid it back into the pile. The next day, I went looking for another piece of mail and saw the Carnival letter again. This time I wanted to see what it had to say as I was already having cruise withdrawals. I was quite surprised when I saw that I was part of a limited time VIFP Exclusive Offer.


Select winter sailings from December 1st – February 28th could receive the following rates:


Interior Stateroom - $15 per person per day

Ocean View Stateroom - $20 per person per day

Balcony Stateroom - $25 per person per day


I thought about it and started thinking that we have a weekend conference in Tampa in January. We could potentially take that whole week off and combine with a cruise. I found the perfect cruise that matched our schedule on the Carnival Paradise. The cruise starts on Saturday and ends on Thursday. The conference starts Thursday evening and goes through Saturday. It seemed like a perfect match. I thought about it most the day and that night I started to wonder about specials on the Carnival Dream. We really wanted to sail the Dream especially after Cynthia’s aunt raved about her trip back in April. It would be a little more difficult for us to accomplish once she moved to New Orleans. I was guessing there were not any specials since there was none for the Sunshine or the Breeze. I was wrong, again! I was using my iPad and I could not see the deck plan from my browser. I had a funny feeling that these prices would not be there much longer so I was smart and put the reservation on a 24 hour hold. As soon as I woke up the next morning I checked the deck plan and thought that the room was in a good location. I was ready to book. I brought the cruise up again and found that all the discounts were gone. The same type stateroom just a few doors down the hall was now $699 per person. I was so happy that I placed a hold on my reservation and I immediately completed the transaction.


Hence, this is why we have named this cruise, “Because the Price Was Right Cruise.”




Here is where I get you caught up with all the major activities up until this point.


The first thing that I did after booking was checked on Faster to the Fun (FTTF) and I was so disappointed to find that it was sold out. I made a mental note to check the site often to see if any becomes available. We used FTTF back in February on the Ecstasy and found it to be a great value. While I was there I did some quick browsing for excursions and really had no ideas for what to expect.


I checked out the Cruise Critic’s Carnival Dream Roll Call section and there was already a thread going so I introduced myself and started chatting with others in the group. Also, there was a secret facebook group for the cruise and I was happy to join that as well. It’s 125 Days until sailing!


116 days before sailing: I have an on-site visit from one of my customers to keep me busy all week. I did have time to check out one of my favorite websites www(dot)cruise(nospace)fish(dot)net. I use the finder to see how full the site thinks that the ship is sailing. Currently, it has sitting at about 45% full. This gives me a good indication that there could be more availability for FTTF to become open so, I will step up my watch to make sure that I give myself chance to grab it.

112 days before sailing: I have confirmed my suspicions that our checking account has be fraudulently accessed and since it’s a Saturday nothing can be done until Monday morning. Until then, these thieves can run a muck charging all sorts of stuff. The bank confirmed that my debit card number and security code was the information that was being use. Since I had the card in my possession, the bank feels that someone I personally handed the card to so that a store transaction could be completed stole my information. A bunch of paperwork and about a week later, I receive all our money back and things got back to normal when my new debit card arrived.


107 days before sailing: Happy Halloween! Well, it did not start out so happy. We made an early morning trip to the ER as my Dad had an accident messing with something that he had no business messing with and cut his foot wide open. Being a diabetic we don’t take chances of any type when it comes to major cuts. Cynthia, Mom, and I had a great time handing out potato chips to all the neighborhood children.


106 days before sailing: One of the children that Cynthia keeps has an ear infection and now Cynthia is sick and in bed all weekend. I took excellent care of her.


103 days before sailing: My stalking of Carnival’s website finally paid off as I found that FTTF was available for purchase. I made a deal with a person on our cruise facebook page that if I saw it available that I would ping her and if she saw it, then she would ping me. I swooped in, purchased mine (11 remaining), and alerted the other person as promised. These went quick because when I checked the next morning they were all sold out. To the people reading this from my roll call and facebook group, sorry that I did not spread the news. For those that are on our facebook page, if you were keeping up with everything on the page, you should have been able to figure it out. I said it on the page without saying it…if you know what I mean.

100 days before sailing: The weather took to a sudden change and I got really sick. A double ear infection, a major sinus infection, and a stomach bug makes one not feel really good. Cynthia is taking really great care of me.


98 Days before sailing: Since I am supposed to be on bed rest for the weekend… I thought that it would be a good time to fully start my excursions research. Cynthia and I love the beach, but I think we want to look for something more cultural during this trip for one of the excursions. I am thinking maybe 3 beach trips and one Mayan Ruin trip.

After my research, here is what I am thinking so far:


Cozumel, Mexico – I looked at most of the all-inclusive beach resorts. The one that I currently like the most is Mr. Sanchos. It seems to be a nice place to relax and be able to swim. We are not in to snorkeling. All we need is mat to lie on and we will be great. Also, I saw the little cabana beds that look awesome. I have always wanted to use one of those. It seems super romantic.


Belize – I believe that this is going to be our Mayan Ruins day. I selected the Altuna Ha Mayan Site. Research for this was much easier as some of the nice people on our roll call had already been looking into this and had posted some websites on our facebook page. Since we now had FTTF, this might be a good time to do a private excursion. I checked all the links and did a little research. I found that the prices were cheaper than Carnival’s but I did not like the reviews. I don’t think we are going to chance it on this port. My current favorite is Altun Ha Mayan Site & River Wallace through Carnival.


Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan – From all that I have been reading, it seems that the Dream misses this port quite frequently during the winter as the ship has to back in and the winds are too strong. So, that makes me nervous about scheduling an actual excursion. I have heard a lot of great things about Victor Bodden and I am thinking about doing a tour with them. I am just not sure about their refund policy, if I have to pay the whole thing, a deposit, or do I pay when we met the driver. If we don’t go on a tour, I am thinking that we can get off and enjoy the beach that is next to the ship, go back to the ship for a while and then come back again later in the day.


Costa Maya, Mexico – I have not completed all my research on Costa Maya, so I have no clue of what we will want to do. We only have a very short time in port and I am almost wondering if it’s even worth getting off the ship. I will have to figure that out soon.


96 days to sailing: Happy Veterans Day! I am so proud to come from such a long family history of Veterans. Thanks to all the men and women that are currently or have served this country.


92 days to sailing: One of the options that I am thinking about for pre-cruise travel includes an overnight stay. We normally book the Radisson Resort by the Port. I checked the price for the Park and Cruise Only Package and it was $155 plus tax. I typically wait until about 1 ½ - 2 months before sailing to make my reservation as I find the price drops. I am not sure what the price will do this time as I was reminded that the night I need the room for is Valentine’s Day. I have a feeling it’s not going to get much lower than the current rate. Last year, we sailed so that Valentine’s was during our trip so the rate was only $109 plus tax. In October, we paid $135 plus tax. It’s still a tremendous value since parking at the port is very expensive.


**Travelers Tip** - The Radisson has a second option that is a Park, Cruise, and Breakfast package. It’s typically about $10 per person more than the Park and Cruise Only package. We tried this on our first cruise and we were not all that impressed for the money. For breakfast, there is a nice family restaurant, Zachary’s, next to the hotel and a McDonald’s across the street. On our last cruise we walked to Zachary’s.


90 days to sailing: Let the 90 day countdown begin!


88 days to sailing: It suddenly hits me that I booked this trip completely online. This is the first time that I have done this but by doing so I totally forgot to talk with someone about Cynthia’s dietary needs. I called Carnival, made my IVR selection and then was given a message about high call volumes. I thought that I might be on hold for a bit but in under a minute a very nice lady answered my call and was able to note the booking and asked that we follow-up on the first day of the cruise with the dining staff. It got me to thinking about what other cruisers had experienced so I posted a thread on Cruise Critic asking. Here’s the link:




86 days to sailing: I found out last night that one of my friends that recently moved to Jacksonville was leaving out tomorrow on his first cruise in 20 years. Finding this out really made my Post Cruise Depression kick into high gear. He is going out on the Carnival Fascination for a 4 day Bahamas cruise. It was great to message with him a minute and give him some tips for the trip. I was looking for a JAXPort webcam so that I could see the ship sail off but it appears that they do not have one in port.


79 days to sailing: Happy Thanksgiving! We had a nice day with both sides of the family and friends. It was nice to have a day where I did not have to work.


65 days to sailing: Nothing says let’s get ready for a cruise more than an Upper GI Endoscopy. Cynthia did just fine and is resting while I type. We should know all the results in 7-10 business days. A bit of good news, I just got the call that my new glasses are ready to be picked up.


62 days to sailing: It’s a bittersweet day. It’s bitter because I have learned this morning that a longtime family friend has lost his battle to cancer. It’s sweet because his middle daughter gave birth to healthy twin boys a few hours after his death. I know without a doubt those boys will help the family to heal. I am sure Poppy is looking over them.


61 days to sailing: I just found out on Facebook that one of my friends is on the Carnival Ecstasy this week. Her sister has been posting some pictures on Facebook in The Bahamas so I hope she had a Free WiFi connection because I would hate to see her phone bill.


60 days to sailing: The excitement is building but at the same time I am starting to feel overwhelmed. Normally by now, I would have booked everything except the pre-cruise hotel. My hope is that over the next two weeks that I will get all the excursions locked down. All of this fades as we learned that my Mom’s best friend of 25 years has passed away this ending her 2 week long fight in serious condition from what still is “stumping” the team of doctors assigned to her care.


59 days to sailing: I have recently learned on our facebook group the way Victor Bodden Tours work and I have been thinking about booking the “Best of Rotan Private Tour” for a few days now. I was awoken about 2:30 AM this morning for a work issue and since I had a bit of time to waste while I waited for an e-mail, I decided to look into it further. Before I left their website I filled out a form to see if there was availability for our day in Rotan. Within a few minutes I was sent a confirmation with the information that I provided. By 1 PM EST, I had received confirmation of availability. I responded back the e-mail to confirm our reservation and within a very short period of time I received my final confirmation with detail instructions on what to do when we arrived at port. So far, I am very impressed with Victor Bodden Tours.

58 days to sailing: It’s less than a week before Christmas so, it’s very busy. Cynthia, my Mom, and I are getting ready to make a little road trip to see our extended family. Dad has not been feeling like traveling so he decided to stay home since we were going to be gone just a few days. Everyone’s work schedule did not work out this year so we won’t get to see each other on Christmas, but we are going to spend the weekend and have Christmas a little early this year. We got off on to a late start, thanks work, but we made good time and we were at our destination around 10:00 PM.


57 days to sailing: We stayed up way too late catching up with our family so, it was nice to sleep in this morning for the first time in quite some time. We started the day with a lazy morning and then met the rest of our family for some shopping. If you know this picture then you will know where we shopped.




Today is a special day as Brayden (my cousin’s little boy) turns 7 years old. Instead of mailing the birthday gifts we brought them with us and he was so excited to open some gifts on his actual birthday. Afterwards, we headed for dinner, where they were so nice to sing a little song for his birthday.




That night we built a fire and roasted some marshmallows for s’mores.

56 days to sailing: We started the day by going to the movies to see A Madea Christmas. It was a good movie and it did keep us laughing. It’s not a movie for small children (Brayden stayed with his Papa). I could have done with a little less cursing and sex talk but I realize that they have to appeal to the masses. We had lunch at Jason’s Deli (I wish we had one at home) and it was great as usual. This afternoon we had our traditional cookie making and decorating time.


55 days to sailing: It was time for family Christmas Dinner and for Brayden to open his gifts from us. We had a great time as always and Brayden loved all his gifts. It’s beginning to become a little sad now because we need to pack so that we could come back home. We loaded up the car and then spent about another 30 minutes visiting and playing with Brayden and his toys before we decided that we needed to get on the road. We loaded up in the car and I went to crank it and it would not turn over. I thought it was a fluke at first so I waited a minute and tried again but I was out of luck. Of course, we forgot to put the jumper cables back in the car after we used them on Mom’s truck the other week. My Aunt and I went looking around in their garage with no luck. She went and asked a few neighbors with no luck. My cousin drove me up to Walmart to get a set of jumper cables. After putting them on and giving it a minute to charge up, the car cranked on up. We had enough gas to get us home so we did not stop the whole 5 hours home.


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54 days to sailing: Even though I was on PTO, I still had to get up early and turn in all my weekly reports for work. After that, I tried to crank up my car and it cranked up with no issues. I drove down to Auto Zone to see if they could check out the battery and the alternator but as I suspected, it was raining a bit too hard for them to look at it. Mom and I got all dressed up and I escorted her to her best friend’s funeral. The rain brought some cooler weather and I tried to get Mom to bring a jacket but she did not listen. The service was just wonderful. Here is a picture of the two as twins back in 2007.




I decided to make some Egg Nog Cakes and they turned out great. They were gluten free for Cynthia and my Mom even liked them. Here is some of the finished product.



53 days until sailing: It’s Christmas Eve! I spent most of the day working but after lunch we went out and started finishing up all of our Christmas shopping. But the first order of business was to get my car looked at. The nice folks at Auto Zone hooked the car up to the machine and said that the battery and the alternator were perfectly fine. I am firm believer that God allows things like this to happen for a reason. After finishing the shopping and gift wrapping, headed out to have Christmas with Cynthia’s Mom, Step Dad, Sister, and Step Brother. After leaving their house we still had more shopping to finish so we decided to try Walmart. It was busy but we were able to quickly get what we needed and found the shortest line we could find. Since it looked like the Photo area at Walmart was closed, I needed to stop by CVS to make some prints of a few pictures that I was using to make a few Christmas gifts. There were two machines and only one of them would read my SD Card. On top of that, it seemed everybody had the same idea. Cynthia decided to say in the car since I was only going to be a few minutes but it turned into 45 minutes.


52 days until sailing: Merry Christmas!!! Cynthia and I have had a wonderful Christmas. I got up this morning and made Cynthia some Gluten Free Egg Nog French Toast with some powdered sugar. We helped my Mom with all the cooking and let me tell you we had a feast. We were all so full that we did not have desert. I am having a hard time typing I am so full.

Today was the day that we broke the news to my family that we were going on another cruise. I don’t know what my family has against cruising other than they think it’s really expensive. They cannot believe that we went on 2 cruises this year and that the money could have been better spent in other ways. I have explained to them the following:


  • The only way that I can truly get away from my work is by going international.

  • The company will not pay the international charges so; all the electronic devices can be shut off.

  • Cruising is the cheapest way to go international. It’s extremely helpful in budgeting as we can put down a small deposit and then make as small or large of payments as we would like up to the final payment date.

  • Cruising, in our personal opinion, is cheaper than driving down to the beach for a week. By the time you add up, travel down and back, hotel, food, and entertainment most of the time you would spend more money this way.


  • We don’t take a lot of trips each year other than the cruises. The only other trips we take are business related or to Alabama to visit family.


  • My parents have some health issues and Cynthia and I do a lot to help them including allowing them to live with us. Cruising is our time to get away from everybody that we know and focus on ourselves.


  • My Mom’s one and only cruise was years ago on her senior graduation trip. I have tried to explain to her that from what I can tell, cruising is much better now and cheaper than what she remembers back in the early 1970’s.

For this particular cruise, I explained in a little bit of detail that the only reason we are taking this cruise is because of a huge discount that made it very affordable for us and that it was cheaper than all of our previous cruises with different ports and a longer stay on the ship. It seemed to do over fairly well but only time will tell.


Later that afternoon, we went to a friend’s house and met up with Cynthia’s family. Cynthia’s sister, Julie, is spending some time with us while she is on a school break.


51 days to cruising: I am going a little stir crazy for a cruise. I checked the rates for the Radisson Resort at the Port for our pre-cruise hotel and it’s still $155 for the Park and Cruise Package. Prepaid Parking at the port is $120 for the length of the cruise. Checking out the Cruise Fish website, I find that it estimates that the ship is about 65% full.


I started doing a little research this morning on Costa Maya as it’s the port that I have no clue about. I have learned that’s quite a nice port with lots of things to do in the port area. I am thinking that we might just do a bit of shopping, relax in the pools, and maybe check out the Hard Rock Café that I think I saw in some pictures. I really need to make a decision on Cozumel and if I want to do the all-inclusive package or not. I have done further research and I think that I am ready to make a decision.


50 days to cruising: I am starting to really think about our first logistical challenge…getting to the port. Our other cruises have left port on a Monday so it was very easy to finish packing on Saturday, leisurely drive down to port on Sunday, and be ready to board on Monday. The Dream leaves on a Saturday. Cynthia and I have to work that day so we can have all of the next week off. I don’t know why but I am so torn over when to leave for the port. I discuss this further on Cruise Critic:



49 days to cruising: I wanted to get up super early this morning to see what time the Dream came into port this morning. One thing that I started doing on my last cruise that I hope that I can do again this cruise is to see the ship come into port. For me, that just built the excitement and made me even more ready to cruise. With our tight schedule, I don’t know if I can make it work this trip but I am going to try. I started the morning by being a, “Roll Call Stalker”. For those of you that are not familiar with this term, it simply means that you look at other similar roll calls for excursion ideas. After this, I went over to the Carnival Forums to check out the roll call over there and it’s quite pitiful. I think everyone over there is on the Cruise Critic Roll Call so I did not even bother posting. Also, I started getting organized a bit, with my Cruise Information Spreadsheet. I’ll talk about it more a little later once it gets completed.


47 days to cruising: I logged into my Carnival MasterCard website so that I could do some monthly budget planning and thought that I would take a look at my “FunShip” points. I was a little disappointed because I did not have enough points for the Pre-Paid Gratuities and I was just short of having $100 on-board credit. I started doing some looking around and I found something interesting. A $10 Photo Credit is only 1,000 points. I know that Cynthia and I are going to want a few pictures so I could easily get more for my money this way than 7,200 points for $50 On-Board Credit or 12,500 points for $100 On-Board Credit. I am going to check with Cynthia, but this sounds like a good plan to me. Later in the day, I talked with Cynthia and she is on-board with this idea. So, I still need to make a few purchases so I will make them on card and then I will get as much photo credit as I can get.

It’s been 10 business days since Cynthia underwent her Upper GI Endoscopy and as I expected there has been no follow-up call from the doctor’s office. Cynthia placed a call to them this afternoon to get the results. I am happy to share that all the biopsies that were checking for Celiac and Crohn’s Diseases have come back normal. The tests did confirm an intolerance or sensitivity to gluten, lactose, and one of her medications. She should avoid these items to keep her symptoms down. We have a follow-up next month and more test may be ran. Of course, we will bring this to Carnival’s attention and I am sure that they will be very accommodating as they were on our previous cruise.

One of the areas of the trip that Cynthia and I have been considering is purchasing the Cloud 9 Spa Pass. I understand that it’s $250 for a couple. That equals to about $18 pp/day. I don’t know if that’s worth it or not. I was lucky enough to find a detailed review of the Cloud 9 Spa on Cruise Critic today. Here is the review:




I like to break things down so, if we spend 60 minutes per person in the spa each day we will have spent 420 minutes per person in the spa for a total of 840 minutes of usage. If I have done my math correctly, that should equal out to $3.36 pp/minute. What I don’t want to happen is that we spend this money on the spa and then that’s all we do on the trip. I am sure there are going to be lots and lots of things happening that we will not want to miss and I don’t want to assume that we will use it an hour per day and then don’t and the money spent me a waste. We are going to have to chew on this one for a little while longer.

46 days to sailing: Happy New Year’s Eve! I have been hard at work today as I have a project that goes live tomorrow. So, I will have to work for a bit tomorrow, but hopefully not too long. I am about to take a break from work and make a last run to Walmart for the year. I want to get in before all the partying gets started.


Earlier today, I ran across a Cruise Critic post about cruisers reporting that the 1/4/14 sailing being delayed. Here is the post:




At this point in time, I believe that this may be a one-time deal and it really does not concern me. This is something that I will keep an eye on to see what these cruisers experience.

The trip to Walmart was a success and the rest of the night went as planned. Made an awesome dinner then topped it off with a glass of local wine, watched some football, and then watched the ball drop.




Cynthia actually stayed up this year. I believe it was because Julie was with us and they were having some sister time together while I watched football.


45 days to sailing: Happy New Year!!!!! I cannot believe that we only have a month and a half before we board the Dream. I checked the Cruise Fish website this morning and it estimates that the ship is 56% full. This is down from when I last checked so, I don’t know if that’s because the TA’s have released their unsold blocks or what, but I am sure that Carnival will do its best to sail full. While I had to work a little longer than I originally thought; I was still able to have fun day a nice day with family. It was a kind of sad evening as we had to take Julie back home.


Today, I have started a weight loss challenge. I want to see how many pounds that I can lose before the cruise. I would like to be at 280 or under. This would put me down 30 pounds. It’s time that this vicious cycle of obesity is broken in my family. I am sure that Cynthia will be real supportive and I look forward to the journey.


44 days to sailing: It seems that 2014 has brought some type of sinus or ear infection to me. The way that the weather has been changing around here, I am not surprised. It’s time to load up on some Vitamin C and knock this thing out.


42 days to sailing: Checking Cruise Critic today, it seems that the Dream was delayed today. It’s being reported that work was completed to the backup generator. I am still not worried about this, but it’s something that I will keep a watch out for in the future.


41 days to sailing: I am feeling a good bit better today, but I am still trying to knock out this sinus infection. I called the Radission Resort by the Port to make my reservations for the pre-cruise stay. I was lucky enough to receive a very nice lady that worked locally and she was able to get my reservation set up as well as our shuttle reservations. I could not believe that they still had 10:30 AM slots available so, I grabbed two of them up. It was a good time for us to make a decision on our excursions. We have made our final decisions and made the necessary reservations for those that needed to be reserved. It feels so good to get that off our back. Here is what we have planned:

Cozumel, Mexico
– We will have our first beach day at Paradise Beach. I am sure we will stop for a tad bit of shopping. I am recently learning that Mexico is the best source for Pure Vanilla. I would like to stop and pick up a bottle. I need to research this a little further as there are some Vanilla that contains a chemical that’s not safe, so I will be sure to gather that information.

– We really would like to have done the Altun Ha Mayan Site & River Wallace tour through Carnival, but after serious discussions with Cynthia, we had some concerns and instead have decided on the Altun Ha & Belize City Tour

Mahogany Bay, Isla Roatan
– This has to be the excursion that I am looking forward to the most. I have booked for us “The Best of Roatan” Private Tour through Victor Bodden Tours. One or our stops will be Monkey Business. After the tour, we will check out the port and I am sure we will attempt to get some beach time in at the port.

Costa Maya, Mexico
– Absolutely nothing! I am sure that we will roam the port some and it looks like they have some swimming areas, good food to eat, and some shopping. In one video I watched it looked like there was an area where you could watch the people while they completed their dolphin excursion. We love dolphins so, that will be great to see. It’s a short port day so we won’t venture off too far.

36 days to sailing: I have been so busy at work that I have not had too much time to think about the cruise other than jumping on our roll call and facebook page for a few minutes. Tonight, I decided to log in to my booking and happened to see that FTTF was available. There were three spots remaining. I quickly alerted our facebook page and roll call.

34 days to sailing: I woke up this morning realizing that if we had stayed with our original plan that we would currently be on the Carnival Paradise this morning. With everything going on right now at work, it would not have been a good time to be on a cruise. It all worked out and the Dream is right where we belong.


32 days to sailing: Thanks to Cruise Critic member Crzicriter for bringing to our roll call’s attention the 110% price match on all excursions. I submitted a rebate form for about $38 in OBC for our Belize excursion.


31 days before sailing: I received an e-mail today that my price match had been approved. I checked my cruise documents but, there was no OBC listed. I will have to keep a check on that. Also, I received an e-mail from Victor Bodden Tours with more information about my tour. I am impressed with this company so far, I hope it continues.


30 days to sailing: 30 Days!!!! We are all packed and the car is ready head south to Florida. However, we’ll need to take a southwestern angle around the turnpike as our destination is Tampa, FL. Cynthia and I will be attending conference for the company in which she sales their health and beauty products.


I had a work issue this morning even though I was supposed to be on PTO and we left 2 hours late which really made for a long and rushed trip down. It all worked out perfectly, we even got to see this sight:




Our hotel is really close to the port and we need to walk over a bridge to the Convention Center and from the bridge you could see a portion of the port.


The weight loss challenge is going great! I am down 13 pounds in 15 days and I could not be more excited. I am going to have a tough job of keeping that weight off in Tampa, but I am up to the challenge.


28 days to sailing: On our way to conference this morning and I got really excited because there was a ship in port. I could hardly see it. We got a bit of a late start so; I did not stop for pictures. When we came back through at lunch time and I got these pictures.






I am not sure which Royal Caribbean ship it was but, I believe it was Brilliance of the Seas.

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27 days to sailing: Before we left town this morning, I wanted to get some pictures of the area. I knew from my research that the Carnival Legend would be in port this morning so, Cynthia and I walked over to the bridge and this is what we saw:



As we were walking we could see another ship that I thought might be a Royal Caribbean ship.



Upon further walking and investigation we found:



This is the NCL Dawn. When we came back to the hotel from our walk we met a lot of people awaiting pickup to go to the port and we wished them all a great a safe trip. This really got us super excited for the trip so we decided make a slight detour before we left Tampa to ride by the port Just in case we ever sailed out of Tampa then we would know what to expect. LOL.


We did not realize until we came around to the end of the cruise terminals that there was a third ship in port today.



It's the HAL Ryndam.


Our GPS messed up a little bit so we had to turn around and Cynthia captured what I think has to be my favorite picture of the group. I could see this in my rear view mirror and I knew it would be a great picture but in all that traffic I was not about to turn around just for a picture so, thanks GPS.



We made it back home all safe and sound and now we can focus on the cruise.


25 days to sailing: The next 25 days are going to be super busy, so I cannot wait to count them down. Our goal for packing is that we are going to do some each of the next three weekends so we do not rush and pack at the last minute. We will see how that goes.

I checked my cruise documents this morning and I still don’t see the OBC for the excursion guarantee so, I may need to call Carnival in the next day or so to find out if there is an issue. In the meantime, I posted on my roll call to see if anyone has experienced the same issue.


I checked Cruise Fish this morning and they estimate that the ship is 77% full.


I no longer needed to call Carnival for the OBC as someone on Cruise Critic pointed out that the e-mail says to print the e-mail as the OBC will not be available until check-in.

22 days to sailing: I am in full planning an organization mode now. I checked out a site that I learned about earlier in the planning process but had not checked it out. This is a great site to know which ships are going to be in port with you and how many total people are on board. Google CruiseTT, once on the site click ports and then choose your destination.

While we have a busy weekend, but we’ll carve out some time to start organizing to see what we have and what we need for the trip. Also, I will be taking my clothes to the dry cleaners well in advance so that they can be picked up and checked. I don’t want any further formal night disasters.


Our Cruise Critic group is busy deciding on what type of Meet & Greet that we want to hold. I cannot wait to meet some of the people that I have been talking with as they all sound nice.

19 days to sailing: The weekend was so busy that we did not get a chance to get organized so that we could get ready to pack. We are now officially behind on our packing schedule, but luckily we no longer have to go out of town this weekend so I hope that we can make some of that time up this weekend.


A few FTTF’s were released yesterday and within a matter of a couple of hours if that, it was sold out again.

18 days to sailing: I was awoken early this morning as my Mom fell and messed her toe up fairly badly. I got her all bandaged up and on her way to work this morning. A few hours later she decided that she might should seek medical attention and found out that she has a cracked toe along with a few cuts around the nail. It looks quite gross and she is on bed rest until Monday.


We are bracing for the coldest weather that we have had in Southwest Georgia in quite some time. The weather man said that “S” word that we don’t hear very often at all in this part of the country…Snow! I know it’s nothing compared to our northern friends, but it’s so exciting.

17 days until sailing: I woke up at 3:30 AM to find that everything had iced over and that there was a very small amount of snow on the ground. Back to bed I went but I awoke again at 5:30 AM with more snow on the ground. It was such a pretty sight. I was thankful that I worked from home and nobody from my family had to get out in that mess.



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I have a big decision to make. I checked my Carnival MasterCard and was surprised to find out that I have enough points for the $100 OBC. Now, I am really thinking do I take that or get $120 in CruiseCash Photo. We loved most of the professional pictures that was taken on our last Carnival Cruise and could have easily spent $300 in pictures. Also, I am keeping in my mind that we are looking for a Spa Pass and the OBC plus the OBC that I already have would pay for a little over have the pass. It could almost pay for all the prepaid gratuities.

16 days until sailing: This evening, I finally made a few minutes to complete something that I normally complete at day 30….Online Check In We are all setup and I have our cruise documents saved.

I need to make a decision on how to redeem my FunPoints as I found that in the help section today: “You need to redeem them up to 15 days before sailing. I talked with Cynthia and we agreed that the $100 OBC is the best decision. So, I went in and redeemed them and I am just awaiting confirmation.

15 days until sailing: It’s 30 days into my weight loss challenge and I am excited to find out how much more weight that I have lost. I am down a total of 19 pounds in 30 days. I am quite pleased with this number, but I need to step up my exercise if I am going to get the last 11 pounds before the trip.


I am up late tonight as Cynthia had the opportunity to get some extra babysitting in tonight. Yeah, for extra cruise money but, I cannot sleep until she gets home. I am going to try to get up early in the morning to see what time the Dream comes into port.


14 days until sailing: Two Weeks, 13 days before leaving for port and 9 business days

It’s about 4:30 AM, and I am up checking MarineTraffic for the current position of the Dream. It looks like she is off the coast of Florida a good piece heading into Port Canaveral. Since I have had only a couple hours of sleep, I am going to head back to bed for a bit and check back a little later.


It’s now about 6:00 AM, the Dream is now in the West Turning Basin and backing into port. My guess is she came in around 5:30 AM. I will try again next week. Maybe I won’t have such a late night and I will be able to track her better.


We have finally begun organizing everything for the trip, which has made our small area very cluttered. It’s a small price to pay and that will just make us want to get packing done a little more quickly. J I went to a local shop to get the 100% DEET repellent, but they had not started carrying it yet as it’s not quite in season here. The lady was nice enough to order us some and to make sure it arrives before we leave for port. We made what I hope to be our first and only run to Walmart for items that we needed to replenish for the trip. I needed some water shoes and I could not believe that they did not have any out as they normally have them year around. We will try K-Mart as I think that’s where I got the last pair.

We made it back home in time to see the Dream sail away this afternoon. I just love the Port Canaveral Web Cam.


I connected our laptop to the TV and then full screened the video. That made it seem so much better. I think Cynthia and I both had goose bumps and was filed with excitement knowing that would be us in just 2 short weeks.

13 days until sailing: Between all the Super Bowl activities, we were able to get a little more organization to all the packing madness. It makes me feel happy as we are back on track. This week, the main focus will be figuring out the game plan of what I am wearing and making sure that anything that needs to be taken to the dry cleaners is dropped off and that the correct clothing is returned. A lesson learned from our last cruise.

12 days until sailing: This is going to be a crazy first part of the week as I need to work from the office on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Also, on Tuesday night I have a dinner party. I know I can count those days out for doing cruise related activities.

10 days until sailing: Yesterday was a long but great day in the office. We were able to get everything taken care of in one day in the office instead of two days. I was sure happy about that because it was storming like crazy this morning and I can focus on some packing.


Today, I learned of an app from our facebook group called Waze. It's a free app for your smartphone, iPad, etc… It's navigation with social networking so you can see and even ask other drivers what's going on in the road ahead. It has a group feature that we are trying to get working so we can all use it for our travel down to the port. Thanks, Mommycarlo for the app suggestion.

This afternoon and evening was productive as I was able to get most of my clothing together and I managed to make it to the dry cleaners before they closed. I can pick them back up tomorrow after 4 PM.

I ordered Cynthia a little pre-cruise surprise. I was getting a little concerned that it might not arrive in time, but I am in luck as it arrived in the mail today. My little surprise is starting to shape up nicely.

9 days until sailing: I woke up this morning doing the single digit dance. A check on Cruise Fish shows that our sailing is now 92% full. Now, is the time that I start checking the weather and for now it looks like we are going to have a beautiful sail away from Port Canaveral.

I called Verizon this morning as they are my mobile phone carrier and spoke with a very nice lady that assisted me to ensure that our phones are all set up to make/receive calls in the event of an emergency. Normally, we keep our phones off and in the safe, but this trip I think we will take one of our phones into port just in case of an emergency. Verizon will check to make sure your phone is compatible to make calls internationally and to have this set up is free unless we decide to use the phone while traveling.




This afternoon, I was able to pick my clothes up from the cleaners so, we are on track to get packing 99% completed this weekend.


Tonight, I started making my cruise binder. This is an idea that I was given to our roll call by gamma5. It’s a 3 ring binder with plastic sheet protectors. I am putting important documents, like pre-cruise hotel reservations, boarding pass, OBC confirmations, and Independent Shore Excursion information. Also, I will add other items like the FunTimes to the binder once on board the ship.

8 days until sailing: I woke up with a little extra pep in my step this morning. I know that the next three days are going to be critical to getting ready for the cruise so that I am not running around at the last minute.

This time next week, I will be on vacation! The goal is to be 95% ready so that all I need to do is load the car and do a few minor things while Cynthia is at work. As soon as she comes home from work, we will be ready to make the drive to the port.

We did not get quite as much done on the packing and cleaning done tonight but we will kick it into high gear tomorrow.


7 days until sailing: It’s a very early morning as I started tracking the Dream about 4:30 AM. A little after 5:30 AM and the Dream made her way into port. I have my game plan for next week, now let’s see if I can make it happen.


We received great news this morning that helps our travel situation. Cynthia worked some extra hours today and in return she is off on Friday. Therefore, we can leave Friday morning without any issues.

We have all the errands completed and this afternoon is focused on getting packed and preparing the house for travel. We got a lot done, but we still have a lot to do this afternoon. The race is on…

6 days until sailing: I am very this morning to get up and launch this blog and review on Cruise Critic. The plan for today is quite simple. Worship service this morning and then packing this afternoon. I will be back later today with an update.

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So glad you're from Georgia! We're from TN and can't wait to get on the ship! Entering the signature drink contest called the "Georgia Bulldawg". You guys have got to come cheer me on (4:30 on Lido deck on Sunday..I think). Vote for Kim!


Hey Kim! Good Luck in the Signature Drink Contest. We just might have to check it out. I don't think the words great and Georgia Dawgs should be in the same sentence. LOL Just kidding, most all my friends are UGA fans or alum so they are my second favorite team. Actually, I have been to more Georgia games than Tennessee. :eek: Shhhh...don't tell anybody.


Great start!

Going on the dream in August




Thanks so much Kathy!

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We had a wonderful morning of Worship and we came home to some good ole home cooking that my Mom cooked.


This afternoon and evening as been devoted to packing, cleaning, and preparing the house for travel. I think we put a fairly good dent in each of these. The car is now cleaned out, all it needs is a quick vacuum. I have almost all my clothes folded or hanging in one location. We both kept finding things that needed to be washed so, we are working on our 3rd load of clothes. :eek:


Cynthia was busy trying clothes on to make her final decisions. This included checking with me to see if I had something that matched. Especially for our formal night pictures. I think we got all of that settled.


We are trying to settle down a bit so we can get some sleep. We both are going to have a loooooonnnnnggggg and I am sure slow 4 day work week starting tomorrow.


There is still a lot to get done so, tomorrow after work we are going to have to kick it into high gear. I want to start packing my suitcase at the same time I don't want my formal night stuff of get extra wrinkles.

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Good Morning Everybody! The last couple of mornings I have been waking up a lot earlier than normal so, it was great to be able to sleep in...to my normal time this morning. I have grabbed some fruit for breakfast and in a few minutes I will begin my busy day of work. Oh, the joys of working from home. :D


Just as soon as my work day is over I will quickly convert over into getting ready to cruise mode. Cynthia will be home later than normal tonight as she has an appointment after work. So, I will get the party started all by myself and then she can hop right in when she gets home. I think I will feel much better when the suitcases have items in them and they are checked off my list. :)

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Subbing, I enjoyed your other review and your level of pre-cruise detail lets me know you'll do a great post-cruise review! We're sailing sister ship, to Dream --- Breeze, in September.


That being said, the "hook" for me were the photos of Legend. I love that ship, and I hope the Aussies enjoy her as much as we did. There's just something enchanting about that whale tail!


You're giving me some great ideas for how to document this cruise, our daughter's first. All those little details add to the excitement and I want to remember the stuff she said to me about everything :) (You're also making me want to move closer to a port! LOL)

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Looking forward to the rest of your postings!! Sailing the Dream for the third time in less than 3 weeks!!!


So excited for this blog and review! We'll be sailing the same ship and itinerary exactly a month after you!


That's awesome, thanks so much. I hope y'all learn a few things. Once I get to the review portion please ask any questions that you might have and I will answer them the best that I can. I hope y'all have a great trip.

Edited by UTVolsFan4Life
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Subbing, I enjoyed your other review and your level of pre-cruise detail lets me know you'll do a great post-cruise review! We're sailing sister ship, to Dream --- Breeze, in September.


That being said, the "hook" for me were the photos of Legend. I love that ship, and I hope the Aussies enjoy her as much as we did. There's just something enchanting about that whale tail!


You're giving me some great ideas for how to document this cruise, our daughter's first. All those little details add to the excitement and I want to remember the stuff she said to me about everything :) (You're also making me want to move closer to a port! LOL)


Thank you so much. I am so glad that I could help. I have heard great things about the Breeze and if the special that I received would have been good on the Breeze then it would have been a hard decision on which one to take. I hope you have a great trip.


when you go to website and then go to Finder, how do you see the capacity of a sailing?


After you click Finder look on the left-hand side and you will see the cruise lines listed. Select the Cruise Line then select the ship. You will then see the itineraries. If you select the itinerary then it will bring you to a page that will list the dates for all the sailings and a percentage. That percentage is the percent needed to sell-out the ship. A little math will tell you what percent full the ship is sailing.

Edited by UTVolsFan4Life
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Just a tip on packing formal clothes. We always put a white trash bag between my hubby's shirts. That keeps then from wrinkling when we pack a week before we leave


Good luck with this weather and be safe




Thanks for the tip! I have a nice size suitcase but I cannot lay my formal clothes down flat. I never know how to fold them just right. Also, on a business trip one time I don't know what I did but some how I guess a hanger poked a hole through my pants. :eek:

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Just thought I would share, last October on our mediterranean cruise (12 days) I used the dry-cleaning bags to put all my husbands dress shirts and pants inside. It really worked well with the wrinkling effect.:) I just asked the dry cleaner for some, only like 5 cent a piece. And you can recycle them and use again. They are a lot lighter than garbage bags ;) Also work well for dresses too and don't take up space! Hope you have a wonderful cruise!:D

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Just thought I would share, last October on our mediterranean cruise (12 days) I used the dry-cleaning bags to put all my husbands dress shirts and pants inside. It really worked well with the wrinkling effect.:) I just asked the dry cleaner for some, only like 5 cent a piece. And you can recycle them and use again. They are a lot lighter than garbage bags ;) Also work well for dresses too and don't take up space! Hope you have a wonderful cruise!:D


Thanks for the tip. I try to leave my dry cleaned clothes on the hanger and bag that they give them back to me in so I guess I kinda already do this except I do one bag for shirts and one for pants.

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Good Morning Everybody, I am up bright-n-early this morning as I just could not sleep past 5 AM this morning.


Yesterday, was a very productive day at work. I really had a hard time keeping myself on track and focused and I have a feeling that as the week moves on the harder it will be and the longer the week will seem.


Thanks to Melissalynf for reminding me that I had not made my haircut appointment. :D I was lucky that I could get an appointment on Wednesday afternoon, so it's all good. When cruising, it's always good to make any hair, nail, spa, and car maintenance appointments a few weeks in advance.


It feels good to say that our taxes are completed and filed. That was a big check mark off the To Do List.


Last night was not as productive as we had hoped for but we did get a few minor items off the To Do List. I cannot believe that Cynthia is further a long in packing than I am. She actually has clothes in her suitcase before me. She said tonight she wants to re-look through everything to make sure she has got everything.


Also, last night, I tried to set up a surprise for Cynthia that I knew that she would love and it would just raise the excitement level for the cruise. I had some technical issues so, I will have to retry it another night provided that time allows.


Since I woke up early this morning I put the time to good use. I have completed one of our big projects for the house. I have been working on it on and off for 3 days now and it feels great to get it completed. I have one other house project that I am going to try and complete today. I think focusing on these projects has really kept my focus away from packing. So, once they are done then all I will have left to do is pack and a little clean up from the packing.


The other item that I partially completed this morning was setting up my online bill payments. Remember, the bills are still due even when your not in the country. I was able to set all but one of mine that was due while we gone. That payment website did not allow for scheduled payments so, I will need to remember to pay it before we get on the ship on Saturday.


I am getting hungry for some breakfast. A Spinach & Herbs Omelet sounds yummy this morning. Cynthia will have to leave for work soon so, I will check with her and see if she needs any help getting her breakfast or lunch together.


I hope to be back later on tonight with another update but if not I will see everyone in the morning.

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