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LittleMissMagic

LittleMissMagic's 2014 8-Day Carnival BREEZE S.Caribbean Cruise - A Photo Review!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014 - Fun Day at Sea

 

We had set our wake up call and were up early, ready to fight for deck chairs. And then Max remembered.... he didn't want to risk getting a sunburn the day before he had to scuba dive. A sunburn would be really uncomfortable with a wet suit and scuba gear. Me... I wanted to get my tan on because I was sick of people mistaking me for Casper. But Max's logic did make sense, so we decided to refrain from laying out in the sun and instead do other things on the ship.

 

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The free drink is really the only thing you get as a red VIFP member. No more welcome back party for people who have completed less than 5 cruises (or have less than 25 cruise points). I guess I can't complain too much... I did get a free cabin. :D

 

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Don't let the dirty window fool you. It was quite sunny outside.

 

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We did appreciate the pivoting television. Not only could you angle it towards the bed, but you could still store things behind the TV.

 

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After eating breakfast in the Lido buffet, Max and I started our day outside on the Promenade deck. Though he didn't want to lay out on the sun, he did agree to the cantilevered hot tubs. After finding one that wasn't packed with people, it turned out to be just luke warm. Perhaps that is why it had turned into a kiddie pool with three children splashing about in it.

 

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We went to the atrium bar for bubble-less Diet Cokes.

 

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Then went back to the stateroom and decided to clean up and then eat sushi for lunch.

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Max loves sushi, so it didn't matter that the sushi was an additional charge because it was worth it to him. The sushi at Wasabi on the Norwegian Epic was also an additional charge, but I found their prices more reasonable at $2-4 per roll. The prices at Bonsai Sushi are comparable to those at your neighborhood sushi bar.... that is if you live in a rather affordable location such as Upstate South Carolina.

 

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I loved Bonsai's logo design. It was simple and clean.

 

We both ordered the miso soup. Well, they brought mine out long before Max's. Max was getting frustrated because he thought they had forgotten his soup. It turned out that they just brought him his after his sushi. Weird. Service there wasn't the best and we had more bubble-less Diet Cokes.

 

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Max loved his sushi rolls, though. That made him much happier.

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I ordered the Bento Box.

 

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The presentation was nice, but I wasn't a big fan. The California roll was rather dry (I don't like California rolls too much to begin with), and I didn't really like the salad. I should have gotten the sushi boat instead.... it came in a boat. Whyyy did I pass up that opportunity?

 

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Max loved it, though. He asked if we could come back, and I told him yes, probably. He wanted to go there for dinner one night. Sure, Max!

 

We never made it back.... there were too many other options like the C-Side BBQ and Seaday Brunch to check out that we never returned. Max enjoyed the sushi, though, and I enjoyed the graphics.

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I wanted to like him. He looked like he was going to be a good DJ, and he might start out with a great song. And then he'd kill it. Not only was he terrible at blending songs and leading one into another, but he would play a popular song that would get everyone onto the dance floor, and then he would kill the vibe by playing some crappy slow song or a song that no one knew. He didn't understand how to create a mood and maintain it, and I don't think he was up-to-date on what songs are popular right now and what songs people like to dance to.

 

Omg, so right! Carnival DJs have been like that for years. Don't they need to know how to blend songs on the beat before they can graduate DJ school? :D

 

And I hear you on the piano bar also. We were on the Legend once and the piano lady was really bad. One of the guys in our group stood up and yelled 'you're horrible!' She didn't hear him, but the bar staff was grinning. lol

 

Great review - and great photos. Looking forward to more. :)

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After lunch, we went shopping. Max was looking for a dive watch and finally settled on this G-Shock.

 

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We then wandered over to Hasbro the Game Show. The first round for the cruise was at 3:15.

 

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This is where they take Hasbro board games and make them life-size. Audience members are selected to participate. Therefore, kids are jumping up and down like mad. Luckily, Max and I chose seats in the balcony, so we didn't have to worry about crazed attention-seeking audience members surrounding us and just got to enjoy the show.

 

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Our cruise director, Pete, aka "Peaches," was the host of the show. I actually think that the two entertainment crew members who introduced the show were more energetic in those 90 seconds than he ever was throughout the entire show. He also didn't do a good job picking children. Sure, they had to answer Scattergories questions to be picked for a game which required hand-eye coordination, so the qualifier didn't really help for the actual game, but Pete seemed to be successful in choosing the least athletic kids in the audience to play Connect 4 basketball. After one full circulation of shots, there were only two balls on the board. It took forever. Pete even said something about "the longest game of Connect 4 basketball ever."

 

I mean.... look at the final board!

 

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The worst thing was that the grown-up couldn't even manage to get a basketball on the board. The only kid that was any good at the game was the little boy on the winning team named Zachary. I believe he made 80% of the shots on the board.

 

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For Simon Flash, they needed adults or bigger kids to wear the blocks, but a smaller kid to be the team captain and press the button when his or her team was in order. The problem with that is that if your kid really stinks at pressing that clicker, they might click too soon when no one is lined up and disqualify the team or not press it soon enough and miss out on the win.

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I believe that Zachary's athleticism paid off in the end because he coincidentally won the Monopoly jackpot. All of the winning contestants get to choose a Monopoly bank card, and after the games, they put their card in the machine to see how much money they won. The person with the most money wins. After watching two game shows, I believe that winning has absolutely nothing to do with which card you pick and absolutely everything to do with whether or not you are chosen to win. The grand prize is a collection of Hasbro games, but everyone who is on a winning team walks away with something.

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May I ask how much you paid for the g-shock? Thanks for your review.

 

The sale price was $89. We were told that because there is limited space in the store, they only have the G-Shocks on display when they are outside on the sale table - you won't find them in a display case inside the store.

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We decided to check out the Red Frog Pub which was similar to O'Sheehan's on the Epic. They had a food menu, and we thought that the food was complimentary, but we had overlooked the $3.33 price at the top of the menu. That's not a bad price, but it's not a lot of food, either. We each ordered the Caribbean Sliders.

 

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I took a picture of the drink menu because the layout was all over the place. There is no sub-heading for the first section of drinks. The second section of drinks includes a description to the side, while the third has the description underneath. The text architecture is well-established and consistent, but the layout is not. Max thought it was an attempt to hide the prices and get you to purchase something more expensive than you were intending. I thought it was bad design.

 

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The onion rings were not good. I'd suggest trying to substitute for something else like fries or chips.

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We went back to the room to get ready for the Captain's Celebration.

 

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I was disappointed to find that the Captain's Celebration was a total bust. It was poorly attended - most likely because bartenders were not circulating with free champagne. Not only that, but the Captain was taking pictures in the atrium so there was no place for dancing.

 

I've only cruised with Carnival three times since 2007, and it's crazy the amount of changes I've seen in just seven years. Back in 2007 on the Carnival Imagination, I remember them passing out complimentary champagne not just on formal night, but also on boarding day. In 2010 before the 2.0 upgrades and changes to the VIFP Club, as second-time guests we were invited to a welcome back party with complimentary cocktails. Now in 2014, all you get is a ticket redeemable for a cocktail at breakfast, brunch, or lunch in the main dining room. I'm not really all that bitter about the lack of a welcome back party for Red VIFP members, but I do think that the lack of complimentary champagne seriously deteriorates the mood and attendance for the Captain's Celebration.

 

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Empty!

 

Max and I quickly moved on to the Ovation theater for the evening show, Motor City.

 

Photography is not permitted during the show, but I did snap a photo of the set beforehand, as well as the pre-show.

 

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I enjoyed the pre-show and thought that it did a good job of creating a fun mood in the theater for the show. They brought several audience members to the stage and dressed them up. Most notably the three gentlemen as the Supremes.

 

Over the years, I've seen my fair share of Motown-inspired stage shows. I actually didn't think that the new productions are as bad as some people make them out to be. I liked that the entire cast was capable of singing and dancing. There were two vocalists who were significantly better than the others, and I wished that they would have featured them a bit more. While the sets are electronic and changed only with the LED screen and moving risers and stage parts, I found the costuming to be much improved. Max actually leaned over to me once and said that he really liked one of the dresses.

 

Is it Broadway-quality? Definitely not. Disney-quality? Nope. But I don't think it's terrible entertainment and the double-talented cast makes it more entertaining. Max said that he would rather watch that than Legends in Concert.

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It was another slow night in the dining room. We didn't order wine tonight which we thought would speed us up, but service was even slower.

 

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We found the menu tonight much more interesting, though. Max and I both ordered the alligator fritters as an appetizer, and they were really good.

 

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Service tonight may have been slower because they took the time to "entertain" us. Probably about ten minutes before the entertainment, the lights in the dining room turn an obnoxious orange color (I think it's supposed to be blush, but it did not appear that way in our corner). Then all of a sudden, they started blasting music. You should have seen the look on Max's face! It was the closest I've ever seen him come to side-eyeing Chloe...

 

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He was not used to the strange custom of being entertained by your dining room staff. They started singing to us, and I wish we were in a location where we could have actually seen what was going on.

 

For entrees, Max and I both ordered lobster. Max went ahead and ordered two.

 

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The dessert menu didn't interest us and we were sick of being in the dining room (by this time, it was around 10 PM), so we left without ordering.

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I think now is a good time to post. I started following a little while ago and alerted our roll call about your review. We will be boarding the Breeze on May 4 and I could not be more excited about this cruise. I am not entirely sure why, maybe it has to do with the fact that I have gone so long without cruising.

 

Anyway, as it has been told over and over again. Your pictures are fabulous! and your writing style is very entertaining. Can't wait to her how the rest of your cruise develops.

 

question, I noticed Max had a full suit on formal night. What were most people wearing? I don't feel like wearing a suit, but I also don't want to feel out of place. Thinking nice pants and a polo might work.... :confused:

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I think now is a good time to post. I started following a little while ago and alerted our roll call about your review. We will be boarding the Breeze on May 4 and I could not be more excited about this cruise. I am not entirely sure why, maybe it has to do with the fact that I have gone so long without cruising.

 

Anyway, as it has been told over and over again. Your pictures are fabulous! and your writing style is very entertaining. Can't wait to her how the rest of your cruise develops.

 

question, I noticed Max had a full suit on formal night. What were most people wearing? I don't feel like wearing a suit, but I also don't want to feel out of place. Thinking nice pants and a polo might work.... :confused:

 

Hey, Gambee! I'm a huge fan of your Over-the-Top reviews and was excited to see that you're also sailing the Breeze!

 

It's funny you ask - Max was actually wearing a full suit because he couldn't locate his blazer which I had initially suggested he wear. I had him dress to match my formality, and I was wearing a cocktail dress. He was worrying to me that he would be the only one dressed up, but I assured him he wouldn't. Luckily for us, as soon as we left the room, four other men in suits passed and he breathed a sigh of relief!

 

While there were other men wearing suits, it definitely wasn't the majority. I would break it down to 5% men in tuxedos, 25% in suits, and the remainder less formal either with a blazer and pants, dress shirt and pants, or some other collared shirt and pants. You definitely won't look out of place if you aren't wearing a suit.

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Hey, Gambee! I'm a huge fan of your Over-the-Top reviews and was excited to see that you're also sailing the Breeze!

 

It's funny you ask - Max was actually wearing a full suit because he couldn't locate his blazer which I had initially suggested he wear. I had him dress to match my formality, and I was wearing a cocktail dress. He was worrying to me that he would be the only one dressed up, but I assured him he wouldn't. Luckily for us, as soon as we left the room, four other men in suits passed and he breathed a sigh of relief!

 

While there were other men wearing suits, it definitely wasn't the majority. I would break it down to 5% men in tuxedos, 25% in suits, and the remainder less formal either with a blazer and pants, dress shirt and pants, or some other collared shirt and pants. You definitely won't look out of place if you aren't wearing a suit.

 

Thank you kindly Victoria :)

 

Keep up the great work!

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Hi all!

 

Loving your review & can hardly wait to sail on the Breeze for the 2nd time on the same cruise as gambee.:D

 

All your pictures are lovely but those sushi ones are calling my name & I don't even like the stuff!;)

 

Was Taylor Pete's assistant? She was very bubbly on our cruise, him not so much.

 

Carry on & thanks.

 

~ Jo ~ :)

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Monday, March 17, 2014 - Grand Turk

 

We had an early morning because of our scuba excursion in Grand Turk. We were scheduled to arrive at 7:00 AM but were warned that the gangway would close shortly after around 7:30 AM due to another ship coming into port. They suggested that everyone with excursions at or before 8:30 AM be prepared to exit the ship before the gangway closed to be sure that we didn't miss our excursion. However, we didn't make it off the ship before the closing of the gangway.

 

I think it was too early for breakfast in the Lido Buffet to be very crowded. We were able to eat quickly, and luckily for us, the gangway had reopened so that we could exit the ship. There was a Carnival representative pointing people towards their excursions which was very helpful.

 

When checking in for our excursion, we had to sign a waiver which basically said that if we get injured or die, Oasis Divers will not take responsibility. It's a little nerve-wrecking to sign your life away like that.

 

Like I said earlier, Max and I just got our scuba certifications. Just got as in the weekend before our cruise. Our open water dive for certification was pushed back one weekend due to our two weeks of snow in South Carolina (strange), and then we had to push it back another weekend because the first time we tried, Max was too sick and congested to be able to clear his ears. We were a little worried because we had already booked our scuba excursion, so we had to get certified that weekend, but everything worked out!

 

Being newly certified, we hadn't even gotten our certification cards, yet. So we brought our dive logs with us. The first guy that we spoke to was a little unsure what to do when I handed him our dive logs and pointed to the seal and the stamp which indicated that we were certified. He handed it to someone else who flipped through our logged dives and said that we were good to go.

 

After everyone else, it was just a short walk along the beach to the dive boat. They took us in the dive boat down the beach to where their dive shop is located, and along the way fitted us with fins, masks, weight belts, and whatever gear we didn't bring.

 

Max and I brought our own mask and snorkels, mouthpieces, and booties. The mouthpieces and booties turned out to be unnecessary because our regulators were already outfitted with mouthpieces, and the fins that they provided were full foot. You might want to bring your own fins because the ones that they provided were not very good. I have very small feet, and the fins that they gave me were very short, but I didn't find it to be a problem in the water. I think the others had more of an issue with the longer fins because they weren't stiff and didn't propel you very far in the water.

 

At the dive shop, we were fitted with BCs, given regulators, and had the option to rent a wet suit. All wet suits for rent were shorties - some long sleeved and some short sleeved. They took the time to make sure that everything was a good fit.

 

Our first dive at McDonald with a planned depth of 65' for 45 minutes. They told us to make sure that we did not go below the dive leader because the wall goes down to 7000 feet! We saw a shark as soon as we got in the water, but besides that, there wasn't a great deal of marine life. However, there was a really great "cool factor" of swimming under the coral arch and out into the open blue waters.

 

Being a new diver who is also pretty big, Max sucks up a lot of air. It's something that we are told will improve over time as he gets more comfortable diving. Shortly into our dive, he was already at the halfway point for his air (and I had used maybe 600 psi.... being small has its advantages). He made sure to communicate with the dive leader about how much air he had the entire time.... perhaps too much because the dive leader thought he was freaking out and told him to calm down. Max ran out of air before everyone else, and I decided to be a good dive buddy and go up with him.

 

I'll note that of the four children on our dive (I say children, but they were all between the ages of 12-16), none of them chose to do the second dive. I think the first dive rather exhausted them, and I know that two were having trouble clearing their ears.

 

We had over an hour between dives which is good. After logging our dives, I realized that based on dive tables, we reached our absolute maximum. However, our dive leaders had computers, so I was not too concerned about our residual nitrogen levels.

 

All of the aluminum tanks had around 3000 psi - some a little more and some a little less. The tank that Max was given for the second dive only had 2600 psi, but we were able to switch which really helped because I suck up much less air. In fact, even though he started with more air than me, he finished with significantly less.

 

Our second dive was at Fin Bar Reef with a planned depth of 45' for 45 minutes. This site had a fantastic amount of marine life, and we were lucky enough to spot another shark and a stingray! Max was much better about his air this time and had to go up just a few minutes before everyone else.

 

Now, I had rented a Go Pro from Borrow Lenses so that we would have a camera for diving, so I had never used it before. I just wanted to try one out before making the commitment. I was very pleased with the image quality and video quality. However, it was really different for me to not have a viewfinder... I didn't like blindly taking photos. Also, the lack of buttons was a little confusing before I read the manual.

 

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Max was quite jealous of my scuba selfie. He was mad at me for not telling him to take one!

 

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I read later that there was a better setting I could have used underwater to minimize the blue tint. I really had no idea what I was doing with the Go Pro.

 

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The extending pole looks like a good idea because you can really get up close to the coral...

 

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We also took video. Max had the Go Pro for the first dive and was really upset with himself because he would often forget that he was holding a camera and move his hands around. I don't think that my footage was much better... but I hope that I was at least able to splice it enough so that our video montage is somewhat entertaining....

 

Link to our Grand Turk Dive video -

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....................

I've only cruised with Carnival three times since 2007, and it's crazy the amount of changes I've seen in just seven years. .............

 

 

And imagine what we feel like reading your review and remembering what our one and only Carnival Cruise was like 14 years ago. Things change and not necessarily for the better. :cool:

 

BTW, very nice pictures and videos from the Go Pro.

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We did satisfy our sweet tooth later with the chocolate cake from room service. It is delicious!

 

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Awesome review! We will be on Breeze for 6 day in April. Your pictures are beautiful. Food looks good!:D:D Cant wait to read more. Thank you for taking the time.

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You did good with the video! I want to get a go pro after watching what everyone is able to do with theirs.... I have seen a lot of people using the pole to get more of a wide shot also....

 

Read all you reviews (stalker?) j/k. You do a great job!

 

Thanks for sharing with us!

-Jim

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And then I went home one afternoon because I needed the box to return a camera lens I had rented. I was standing in the kitchen talking to my mother and mindlessly flipping through the mail when I noticed an envelope addressed to me from Carnival Cruise Line.

 

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Free Carnival Cruise by vshingl, on Flickr

 

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Free Carnival Cruise by vshingl, on Flickr

 

 

Did I miss something? :confused: How did you get this? "Just because"?? :)

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Did I miss something? :confused: How did you get this? "Just because"?? :)

 

Yes, it was promotional thing that Carnival did, and it was completely RANDOM!!!! LOTS of people on this board received free cruises:D:D

If you log into Carnival, and look at your offers, you would see it there, if you were a lucky recipient. Unfortunately, I was not, but many were.

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I left my D7100 on the ship, but I did bring my Nikon 1 with me.

 

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They brought us back to the dive shop to unload equipment and give people a chance to purchase souvenirs. We could wait on the boat and they'd take us back to where we started, but Max and I decided to walk back along the beach.

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Before re-boarding the ship, Max and I stopped by the Margaritaville store to purchase t-shirts and shot glasses. We also had to browse through the duty free store, as Max was in awe by the over-sized liquor bottles. He had already purchased a 3-liter Crown Royal on the ship and convinced me to go halvesies with a 3-liter Bacardi... the liquor store on the ship had price match and assured us that their prices were the same or better as anywhere in port. Well, I paid $43 for that bottle of Bacardi, and it was being offered in Grand Turk for $38.... I had a feeling that was going to happen which is why I really wanted Max to wait until the end of the cruise to make these purchases.

 

Max fell in love with a 4.5-liter bottle of Grey Goose (when I say "bottle" I mean just that..... he likes the bottle.... it doesn't matter what's in it), but it was $360, and I told him that it would be a terrible investment and that he should not buy it. That's when he asked me if they had these stores at every port, and I told him yes. Well, it turns out that none of the other ports on our itinerary had duty free stores as extensive as the one in Grand Turk, so if you're looking to stock up on booze or fragrances, I'd suggest you do it then.

 

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I was wishing I had my D7100 for these shots, but the Nikon 1 did okay.... I would have loved to grab my camera and get back off the ship just to take a few pictures around the port, but our departure time was 2:30, and the line to re-board the ship was ridiculously long.

 

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The difficulty with an early afternoon departure is that everyone is trying to re-board the ship at the same time. I believe we waited ten minutes.

 

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After returning to the ship and eating lunch, Max was ready to get his tan on. We found chairs by the pool to lay out in. Unfortunately, the DJ was playing country music. Despite my southern upbringing, I absolutely despise country music. I have to say that this is the most country music I have ever heard on a cruise. Most people on the pool deck seemed to be enjoying it, as many people were singing along loudly. Eventually, I looked around to get a glimpse at those belting out, "Save a horse, ride a cowboy," and came to the realization that almost everyone else on the pool deck was completely hammered. Don't get me wrong - I don't hate a party. I just hate country music.

 

When returning to the room, Max realized that he was sunburned. I realized that I had tan lines. I was incredibly confused considering that I had taken my straps down to tan..... and that's when we realized what had happened. On the boat, we had our shirts off and got a lot more sun than we had realized. Then walking back, I put my shirt back on, and Max left his off.... which is why his chest and shoulders were burnt. At that time, neither of us had on sunscreen. I had forgotten how strong that southern Caribbean sun is!

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Victoria,

Thanks for the tip about the Grand Turk Duty-Free. Luckily, it is our last stop in June, so ww can buy anything that we didn't find already at the other ports.

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Max fell in love with a 4.5-liter bottle of Grey Goose (when I say "bottle" I mean just that..... he likes the bottle.... it doesn't matter what's in it), but it was $360, and I told him that it would be a terrible investment and that he should not buy it. That's when he asked me if they had these stores at every port, and I told him yes. Well, it turns out that none of the other ports on our itinerary had duty free stores as extensive as the one in Grand Turk, so if you're looking to stock up on booze or fragrances, I'd suggest you do it then.

 

Did it have a spout at the bottom? The one I saw a few years ago in St Thomas had a Spout near the bottom of the bottle. It was about 5 feet tall. I Love Grey Goose so I was trying to A) Figure out how to afford it at the time I was without a job and B) How do I get it back on the ship? It's kind of obvious when you come back through US Customs carrying a 5 foot tall bottle of Grey Goose. and C) where would I put it in my home, and D) does my purchase of a 5' tall bottle of Grey Goose automatically qualify me for Alcoholics Anonymous?

 

That is a bad investment though, 1 Liter of GG in most liquor stores (and this is a higher price) is close to $50 a Liter in the US. In St Thomas or St Maarten it's around $25-35 a liter.

 

But that bottle, its like a Keg at a frat party, if your frat party is more upscale and serves Martini's.

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Max and I always arrived to dinner before the doors opened. This *never* happens when I cruise with my family... we always arrive "fashionably late." It might have helped a bit that the dining room was just one floor above our stateroom.... the location was very convenient.

 

I noticed that the dining room was.... quieter. And that's when we realized that almost no one else had arrived to dinner that night. Our service was absolutely spectacular. We felt the special attention as our glasses were continuously refilled... and our Diet Cokes actually had bubbles in them!

 

Before dinner, Max had lost his temper with the bubble-less Diet Cokes. We were planning to go to Guest Services after dinner and let them know how dissatisfied we were and ask if they could remove the package from our account. However, we each had three really good Diet Cokes at dinner, and Max decided that if we continued to have good Diet Cokes at dinner, then that was worth it.

 

The appetizers were really good that night...

 

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Smoked Chicken Quesadilla

 

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Black Bean Soup

 

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"A Study in Sushi"

 

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Max's favorite sushi was the ahi tuna, so he requested another plate of sushi with just tuna.

 

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And then Max got the everyday flat iron steak as an entree. I had requested that the sushi be me entree.

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For dessert, I ordered the warm fig, date and cinnamon cake. Max was initially really skeptical, but after he tasted it, he wanted to trade.

 

The dining room staff danced for us tonight, and I won our waiter over by agreeing to dance with him. That's when I realized just how empty the dining room really was and why we were getting so much attention.

 

Our head waiter's name was Subrata, and our assistant waiter was named Myat (not positive about the spelling). We had another assistant waiter, but I don't recall his name.

 

We knew that we were getting special treatment when Subrata insisted that he take our photo outside of the dining room. He also brought a chair to set beside me where I could place my camera. That chair was there every night after!

 

I was really glad that we were lucky enough to be there on a night when the dining room was practically empty and that our dining team really stepped up our service from then on. This was the wonderful dining service that I remember from the early 2000s, and honestly, it was something that I wasn't positive Max would ever get to experience.

 

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As fabulous as ever Victoria! Your pictures are just amazing. I'm sure I say this about everyone of your reports - but you can't improve on perfection! You and Max are an adorable couple!

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After dinner, Max and I went to the Punchliner Comedy Club to watch Tom Foss's adult show. As always, it was standing room only when we arrived. However, two seats opened up shortly after, and I was grateful. Max, again, found Tom Foss hilarious. I thought his adult show was much funnier than his preview show. And he poked fun at the girl with blue hair which made me laugh. "Wait - I just freaked out the girl with blue hair?" :D

 

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