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Royal “allures” carnival girl: A comparison story.

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The title does not tell the whole story!

Seven Stunning Sunsets, Six First Time Memories,Five Fabulous Shows, Four Hard Rock Restaurants, Three Sea Days Exploring, Two Stumbling Bums and a Partridge in a Pear Tree, would not fit in the title line.

 

So follow along with me to hear the whole tale!

I will be taking my first RCL cruise aboard the Allure in just over two weeks. As I will have my nose to the grindstone for most of the remaining days, and only a few days off to dream and scheme, I wanted to get a jump on my review.

 

A little about us:

My husband and I took our first cruise on the Carnival Elation in 2001. I had seen every episode of The Love Boat and thought it would be a Romantic way to spend our 10th anniversary. My husband, however, was not sold on the idea. You see, he was in the Navy and had no desire to spend his first real vacation on another ship. It was a lot of money for a young enlisted couple but I was convinced it would be a trip of a lifetime and did not relent. After some begging and pleading, and some tears, he reluctantly agreed.

 

We both were elated (see what I did there) once we boarded the ship. “This is awesome! It’s nothing like my previous [cruises]” he exclaimed. His excitement was palpable. I,however, started feeling queasy and having second thoughts before we even left port. With copious amounts of Dramamine I was able to barely tolerate the first two sea days. We still thoroughly enjoyed the pampering and glamour of 2001 Carnival cruising. Fancy dinners, dressing up, and live music were all much more elegant events than the current Carnival style.

 

We pulled into Puerto Vallarta on the fourth day and had a wonderful tour, good food and some authentic Margaritas. That evening I was feeling queasier than ever, even with the meds. I didn’t dwell on it as we would be getting off the boat in Cabo the next morning. Come sunrise, my tummy was making some mysterious and very concerning sounds.

 

I flashed back to those fabulous Margaritas. We had been so careful not to drink the water but didn't consider the ice! Was this Montezuma exacting his revenge? Hubby in his infinite Navy wisdom, told me a trick he'd learned during his many foreign port visits. The medical officers on board his previous duty station had told them that if you accidentally drink the water, then have a shot or two of alcohol to kill the bacteria. Challenge accepted!

 

So we decided to go on what was actually called at the time, the “Booze Cruise” which now has the more politically correct title of “Deluxe Sail and Snorkel”. Off we went to enjoy our day snorkeling and sailing around “El Arco” and the waters of Cabo. After getting out of the water, the booze was free-flowing and I challenged the hubby to a drinking contest (in order to kill the bacteria of course). Stupid me! Here is a 10 year member of the Navy's drinking team versus a stay-at-home mom of two: who do you think wins?

 

Disclaimer! I have only been told this part of the story as I have no recollection of it.

We wandered around town and had some more drinks. Apparently I picked a fight at Cabo Wabo, having something to do about hair. I honestly don’t remember. By the time we reached the dock to re-board the ship I was buying up all the cheap trinkets and loudly declaring “Bienvenidos!Welcome to Mexico!” to everyone, including the Cabo locals! Hubby practically carried me to our cabin and dropped me on the bed where I passed right out for a few hours.

 

The next thing I remember I was running to the bathroom to deposit the contents of my stomach…and I swear…everything I ate for the previous three years. An hour later I emerged from the shower and wondered how, and when, I had gotten braids in my hair. The next 72 hours were spent in bed, running to the toilet or laying down in the shower (yes I was curled up in a ball in that tiny shower). It honestly is all a blur. My poor hubby was great; fetching me water,crackers, and anything else I requested and faithfully sitting by my side watching the TV. Back in 2001 ships did not have the technology for anything other than the deck cam and the movie channel,which played the same two movies on a loop the entire cruise. He watched “Dungeons and Dragons” and “Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragons” so many times that he dubbed the latter “Squatting Tiger Pooping Dragon”. To this day it’s still a running title!

 

Note: for anyone asking why hubby didn’t get sick. A) He was a sailor and had his “sea legs”. B)He has a cast iron stomach and could probably drink a cup of bacteria laden water and only be a little more gassy than usual.

I emerged from my deathbed on the last sea day and managed to wander around the ship a little and reflect on what had happened to me. The seasickness, the Montezuma’s Revenge, the massive amounts of alcohol and the fact that I couldn’t keep any meds down was a near lethal combination. Looking back, I probably should have ended up in the medical center, but our young minds thought it might cost a gazillion dollars that we didn’t have.

 

It wasn’t long before I was back in bed and the next day I couldn't get off the ship fast enough. It took another four days before I started to feel like myself again and I declared that“I AM NEVER TAKING ANOTHER CRUISE! EVER!”

 

 

Next up: The year that changed my mind…and my life.

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Hurry I can't wait for your sequel!:confused:

 

You know what they say...."never say never" and don't forget to sign up with Crown & Anchor so you can get credit for this one on your next cruise.....I know it's coming.....

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Story To Be Continued After This Commercial Break:

 

Here are some things that I would like to cover once I start my live review. Please let me know what else you would like to read about as we go.

 

 

I totally understand some things are like apples to oranges and there are many variables from ship to ship and even one cruise to the next. All opinions are solely my own, although I will throw in other’s thoughts and comments from time to time. I will give an honest unbiased review to the best of my ability

 

 

Pre-Cruise CCL Vs. RCL

  • · Pricing
  • · Website
  • · Options
  • · Scheduling
  • · Cruise critic

 

 

Arrival and Embarkation

  • · Fort Lauderdale
  • · Rodeway Inn & Suites
  • · Transportation
  • · Embarkation

 

The Ship CCL vs RCL

  • · Cabin- size, a/c, storage and service
  • · Food- quality, availability, service, coffee(NOW THIS IS IMPORTANT)
  • · Entertainment- scheduling, quality andavailability
  • · Staff- energy, availability, sincerity
  • · Drink package
  • · Sea Days

Things that can’t compare- This is the space holder for things,activities and areas that are on the Allure that have nothing to compare to on CCL .

 

 

Ports

  • · Saint Martin-Golden Eagle Sailaway
  • · San Juan
  • · Labadee
  • · Ft. Lauderdale- Post cruise

NOW BACK TO YOUR REGULARLY SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING

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Hurry I can't wait for your sequel!:confused:

 

You know what they say...."never say never" and don't forget to sign up with Crown & Anchor so you can get credit for this one on your next cruise.....I know it's coming.....

 

Already done...and already scoping out the next one. Of course I always have my next adventure in mind.

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OP, I’m looking forward to your review. I might add your signature is quite impressive. I swore I’d never step foot on Oasis, and when she was two years old we sailed on her. After 5 minutes or less on board I was sold.

 

We might have been on your sailing, was it August 27th?

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CHAPTER 2: The year that changed my mind and my life.

 

Warning: This part of the story does not carry with it my usual satire and you may even need a tissue. Feel free to skip to the live review starting September 29. However, it is important to me to tell this part of the story. I promise it will be the only part of this voyage that isn’t filled with fun facts, fabulous information, happy memories and possibly/probably a few drunken tall tales once the cruise begins.

 

I never felt the need to take any grand adventures or big risks. After all, we were a military family and every move, every new duty station, was already more of an adventure than I was comfortable with. By nature, I am not a risk taker and do not like to do things outside of my comfort zone. Although initially excited, that first cruise was a big step for me and of course it BOMBED!

 

After the cruise from Hell, I recovered and went on with daily life, cemented on the idea that I was meant to stay, not only on dry land, but also in my nice cozy, safe lifestyle.

 

Really there isn’t much to tell in the ten years that followed. We changed duty stations every couple of years, our kids turned into teenagers, hubby grew in his career and I held down the fort while he was deployed. We enjoyed all the necessities, and a few luxuries, but never another real vacation. I was to scared to spend the money on another catastrophe.

 

In the meantime, my parents had discovered a new zest for life and a new hobby: cruising. Most of my adult life I lived far away from my parents but I regularly spent hours on the phone with my mom. Once she found a love for the sea, she wanted to share it with everyone…all the time. Pretty much every conversation was how great the food is, how you get “one stop” for entertainment, gambling and shopping. She would coo over how relaxing a cruise is and how it made my parents feel like kids again. I would roll my eyes as she droned on about how I should give it another shot and how I can’t judge a whole industry on one incident that was “pretty much your own doing”. Mom never nagged me to make her a grandparent (maybe cuz I made her one at 44 and by this time she had 13 grandkids) but now I kind of know how those childless children feel. She nagged me relentlessly to take a cruise with her. I always mumbled a “No. It cost too much” or “The Seasickness” or “Too much time away from the kids” (who were old enough to take care of themselves).

 

During one of our visits home, I sat facing her at the table were she implored me to go on this fancy ship with a fancy cabin and a… BUTLER! Her face was radiant as she lamented how great it would be for her and I to get pampered while my dad and hubby went scuba diving (like me, mom was not adventurous and scuba was not our idea of a good time). She would pay for everything; flights, scuba qualifications for hubby, cabin, tips, spa treatments and even a night at the steakhouse (this made me begin to crack a little).

 

Seeing the look on her face as she practically begged me to go…I caved. I gave hubby the look that said “be quiet, it’s done!” and it was decided that we would cruise with them in five months’ time. She was so over the moon that within five minutes (not exaggerating) mom had booked flights, cruise, pre-cruise scuba certifications and hotel.

 

Now all our conversations would be about upcoming tours, ports, spa packages and pre/post cruise fun. I loved doing all the dreaming and scheming with her during the time “in-between”. A few months later, hubby was scuba certified and my parents were off to a “pre-cruise” cruise.

 

She wasn’t feeling great during that cruise and did not come back bragging about how wonderful it was. We new something was wrong and finally convinced her to go to the doctor, but it wasn’t good news.

 

Her first thoughts after hearing her devastating diagnosis were about our cruise together. She demanded that we NOT cancel and made us promise to continue the voyage…no matter what! We cried “nonsense” and insisted that she would make the cruise just three months away.

 

Six weeks later mom was gone!

 

As a tribute to her, we went on the cruise that she had so excitedly booked. As promised, we embarked the ship with heavy hearts. But as the smell of the salty air and the crackle of sail-away excitement overtook me, it was as if I was seeing it all though her eyes and my love for the sea was forever rooted in my soul.

 

It will always haunt me that we never got to share those precious memories together, but now I take her in my heart, and feel her with, me on every voyage.

 

Next Up:

Happier times and how I got to be a Carnival girl!

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I am enjoying your writing style and your personal stories. Your last story did bring tears to my eyes for you as well as I feel the way your mother did and want my adult children to share my love of cruising.

I applaud your ‘moral of the story’.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Chapter 3: Happier times and how I got to be aCarnival girl!

So I consider “Mom’s cruise” my first real cruise. Even through the tears that year, so much changed for the good. From this point on, I decided to embrace life, overcome my fears and partake in the Adventure (yes Adventure with a capitol A).

 

Even before that “first” cruise, I decided to get Scuba certified. Me! Boring ole me, swimming with the sharks(thanks dad) 60 feet under the surface.

 

My parents had already booked several cruises for the following year and dad decided that mom would want him to continue embracing the Adventure as well. He needed a cruise/dive partner for those trips! Lucky, lucky me! I got to go on so many cruises within the next year.

 

We drank,we dived, I zip-lined! Me! Soaring through the trees with only a tether (thanks sis), screaming profanities I never knew that I knew! We swam with the Sting Rays, climbed Dunn’s river falls,ate conch fritters and visited just about every Margaritaville in the Caribbean.

 

A year after mom was gone, my entire family of 24 (dad, my family of four, my four siblings & their spouses and 11 nieces and nephew sat the time) gathered for “Camp Grandma” in her honor. It was the first time in many years that the entire family had been together. We played! We argued! We drank! We lived! What great memories!

 

Over the next few years dad started making a new crowd of cruise/piano bar friends and no longer needed a cruise partner for his frequent trips. He really learned to go enjoy life as a bachelor!

 

Note: He is following along on this journey and some of you might recognize him from his live trip reports on Cruise Critic or his blog http://www.kokomoman.com/.

 

A couple years ago we added a new cruise addict to our family when Dad had met a new Adventure partner. At first he was hesitant to introduce her but he had no need to worry.Although very different from mom, she is a great lady with a huge heart and of course I fell in love with her. She has become a step-mom to me in all the best ways. We have had some of the most fantastic fun on several cruises with them!

 

As a result of all the trips I took with dad, I reached “gold” level with Carnival and SUPER DOUBLE PLATINUM ( yes I made that up) in the casino. I should add that I inherited a love for the slots from mom.

 

Fortunately for me, all those cruise/casino trips added up to some nice perks on Carnival so hubby and I could go on cruises closer to home. We started taking weekend trips every couple months and tried to do a longer cruise at least twice a year. Over the next couple years, I managed to get to Platinum. Every time I stepped on a Carnival ship, it felt like home!

 

NEXT UP: How Royal “Allured”me… The end of the “story” but not the end of the tale.

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I am enjoying your writing style and your personal stories. Your last story did bring tears to my eyes for you as well as I feel the way your mother did and want my adult children to share my love of cruising.

I applaud your ‘moral of the story’.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

 

Thanks for your kind words. If they haven't found the love for cruising...please share this with them. I try to get the message across as much as I can.

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Tears and a big lump for me. So sad.

 

Your mom knew you would love cruising!

 

Thank you! And yes, she always knew me best.

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Thank you to everyone following along. I promise to wrap up my "story" ASAP but that's it for now. I am going to try and carve out some time to write a little each day but don't have another day off to binge write until next week. Still to come: Story wrap- up, lessons from a crazy researcher, battle of the excursions, packing mania and, of course the actual live report in TWO WEEKS.

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My DH was deathly is our first cruise. He got food poisoning at a very elite hotel fro breakfast the morning we boarded. Love how mom has continued to lead you along to new adventures. Look forward to the rest of the story!

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Forums

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Following along. Cant wait to hear the rest of your Adventure! We also have the love of cruising and having been trying to convince my husbands parents to come with us once. Well see if it happens!

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