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MITSUGIRLY sails off into the HORIZON-review & pictorial

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22 hours ago, mjrcruiser said:

OMG I love, love, love your reviews!!  I'm so glad I saw this today!  I can't wait to read everything!!  We are taking the same cruise in May! 😁 

 

 

Thank you so much. I appreciate it and glad you are here. I hope you have a wonderful cruise in May.

 

21 hours ago, bunnyette said:

Great review so far...so glad to see you.  Sounds like Sakari is trying to leave the nest, my niece is around the same age.  They want to assert their independence even though I think secretly they would like to come on activities.

 

Aww, thanks! Yea, Sakari is growing up quickly and in that pre-teen stage now. She is starting to see the kids club as a "baby club". She can't wait to get to the "teen club". Ugh....

 

 

17 hours ago, watermelonqueen99 said:

Loving your review as always! Can't believe how grown Sakari looks!

 

 

Thanks and yep, she's getting big and growing so fast!

 

6 hours ago, Jenjer said:

Thanks for the info its our first Carnival cruise so I have never seen them before and just thought they where locals dressed up to get tips. 

 

No problem. I know some of the other cruise lines do the same thing as well...just a heads up.

🙂

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DECEMBER 20: THURSDAY: ARUBA!!

 

I had a hard time sleeping last night and didn't fall asleep until 4:30am only to swear that I had just laid my head down and the alarm went off at 6:30am. Port day consisted of a time from 8-4pm so it was time to rise and shine! Thank goodness it was going to be a lazy day at the beach...and by lazy for me, I mean lots of snorkeling and swimming of course.

 

We woke up to Trixie and Cookie hanging out on the t.v., which probably meant that I was being scolded for staying up too late last night.

 

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We headed upstairs for breakfast and I jumped in line for the Blue Iguana Cantina breakfast burritos.

 

 

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YUMMY! I really wish they had other options for the tortilla shell other than wheat or jalapeno. Some of us would prefer just a regular shell.

 

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Everyone gathered their things in the room after breakfast and we were released onto the island a few minutes after 8am.

 

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Of course we stopped for pictures!

 

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They always have the prettiest costumes here! Sakari loves them! Especially the "bird feathers"

 

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Since we are sharing ship photographers pictures, I'm going to share one that came up on my phone of Kendra with the elephant towel animal the night before. I'm not sure if she purchased it or not.

 

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So what did we have planned for today? I absolutely LOVE Aruba! We have been doing (almost) 2 week vacations here over the last 2 summers and pretty much have been everywhere and done everything. There's so many beaches and things to do and everything here is right up our alley! But what do you do when you've pretty much done it all? Well, we head back to one of our favorite beaches (that's fairly close to the port).

 

I personally love Boca Catalina, which is the next beach over from Arashi. Arashi is very beautiful. Think of white powdered sand, gorgeous water, decent snorkeling, and a beach restaurant with drinks and food. They do have restrooms, but will charge $1 to use them (unless you are buying food and drinks). We have personally not had to pay to use them yet. Boca Catalina is a beach that is very small, up on a hill with a small entrance to the water but great snorkeling. However, no restrooms or vendors here...which is why we come here a lot when vacationing because we bring our own drinks/food.

 

Since we were with extended family, Arashi was the plan with a snorkel excursion over toward Boca Catalina and maybe a little past since the last time we were there in August, the starfishes were EVERYWHERE....hundreds.

 

Also, we have a dear friend that lives in Aruba (originally from the US) and we couldn't wait to see her once we got in to port. She usually works on the days the cruise ships are in and we knew we'd find her at the port somewhere. We had talked just prior to us cruising and she knew to expect us. Sakari just loves her to death and couldn't wait to see her again!

 

We were off the ship and....she was no where. My heart was broken. The hubby went back inside to see if he could find her but no luck. We decided to go ahead and stand in line for a taxi. Now Aruba has a weird law that they will not allow more than 5 passengers in a taxi or car. This means that large families are pretty much screwed and forced to take more than 1 vehicle. It doesn't matter if it's a taxi van either. Only 5 people! I find this ridiculous and have no idea why they have this rule.

 

A couple in front of us (2 people) ask if we were willing to share a cab with them and I miscalculated the amount of people and told them that we already had a group going. When it was our turn...of course we were denied for having 5 1/2 people. 😞  Now I wish we would have shared the cab with them and split the cost.

 

We zoomed off to Arashi and Kendra came a little bit after us.

 

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We rented chairs and found a palapa for shade for those light skinned people in my family that don't worship the sun like Sakari and I.

 

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The water felt a little cooler than the other ports we were in. I'm not sure why. But we quickly got use to it and then it wasn't a problem the rest of the day.

 

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Kendra and I decided immediately to go snorkeling. Time was wasting and we had a plan. We would go down the beach at Arashi and into the water and head left. We would snorkel the area, where all the excursions bring people on the boats to, for a while and then swim on over to Boca Catalina. Then we were planning on going a little past Boca Catalina (toward Tres Trapi) and see if the starfish were still around in the area.

 

So, we assigned the kids to the hubby and off we went.

 

Now...disclaimer...I had no idea that my camera setting was not put on the underwater setting before entering the water. The last setting I must have had it on was the "miniature" (tilt shift) setting. This makes the color of things boost with bright colors and it blurs around the edges of the pictures to promote a "weird" picture. Well, all my pictures in the beginning would be a weird greenish-blue with blur. So...here you have it...

 

Banded butterfly fish

 

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Hey at least on this setting the close ups were working this time around unlike when we went scuba diving.

 

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Then we came across a rather large French Angelfish. This fish swam right beside us and stayed with us for a while. It was odd that it was getting so close and not scared at all. At first I thought maybe we were close to some eggs or something but she swam with us for quite some time. Either way, it was pretty cool.

 

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Sea Urchin trying to be incognito but he didn't fool me.

 

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I know it's hard to see...but I spotted a smooth spotted trunk-fish. These little guys are just so adorable. Their fins "flutter" back and forth and you would think this would make them slow but it doesn't. He wouldn't let me get too close to him and scurried off quickly each time I tried. I guess he didn't get the memo from the Angelfish that fish are friends not food.

 

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This was some blue colored coral and it's always my favorite color to find (along with purple). You don't always see this color. But, my camera settings would mess up the coloring for my pic darnit.

 

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Christmas tree feather dusters...my favorites!!!

 

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At this point, we started seeing a lot of fins in the water...and they weren't attached to fish either. We had reached the area where everyone comes to snorkel off the boats anchored here. Then I noticed it...my camera settings. I had a Charlie Brown Auuuggghhhh moment and quickly changed the settings.

 

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Evil devil...(fire worm).

 

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There were so many schools of fish this day. Everywhere we looked they were around. There really wasn't anything too interesting or out of the ordinary during this snorkeling adventure.

 

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We had been snorkeling for what seemed like a very long time. We had went pretty far. We came up to assess the situation and noticed we were not even close to Boca Catalina yet. Ugh!

 

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I seriously did not think it was this far. I thought around the bend and over a little. I knew it was the next beach up from Arashi. But obviously there's a few houses before that that I hadn't accounted for. At this point, we decided it was just too far to continue on. Not really too far for us to swim, but too far to continue since we are on a limited time frame in Aruba and we had stuck the hubby with all 3 kids...2 of which would probably never listen to him if needed.

 

I made the executive decision to swim toward shore and walk the street back and off we went.

 

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Pelicans were diving all around us. I love to watch them circle and dive into the water.

 

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Blue head wrasse

 

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Parrot fish

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A swarm of wee wittle fish

 

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A regular feather duster worm hiding in the rocks.

 

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Kendra managed to snorkel all the way up to the shore and over the very close rocks in the water.

 

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We made it out of the water, gathered our equipment and headed to the road for our long journey back...bare footed in the heat.

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Although it was very sunny and a balmy 84 degrees, Arbua is known for being windy and windy it was, which felt awesome. We really didn't get too hot on the way back and even the sidewalk didn't burn our feet.

 

It was such a long swim over to where we were but such a quick walk back. Seriously...I thought it would take awhile and we were probably back over to Arashi within 10 minutes or so.

 

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Sakari had morphed into a mermaid and was showing off for everyone on the beach.

 

 

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Looking over toward the lighthouse

 

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She's not as light as she use to be daddy!

 

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This usually occurs at some point on the cruise and today would be the day...however, B got smart this time. He was going to let the girls bury him and make sure the sand wasn't going to get in his mouth or eyes this time around. AND he was going to be able to breathe.

 

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Kendra was getting hungry and went up and got food. It looked so good that we decided we'd do the same.

 

IT.WAS.SO.CROWDED.AT.THIS.TIME!!! We stood in line for a while and then ordered. They told us to "go do something and come back in about 15 minutes". Well, we decided to go over and just sit at one of the tables. Then the crowd got "crowdier" and before long...you couldn't even see the area you pick up your food. 15 minutes had come and gone a long time ago and you couldn't even make it up to the counter. I was in fear that people were probably grabbing other peoples food because they only had a limited option, which meant everyone orders almost the same thing. I slithered my way around the crowd just in time to grab our order before someone else did and slithered my way back out quickly.

 

So pricing:  Can's of pop is $2. If you want a bottle it's $3. Chicken strips (which is crispy like KFC) is $10 for a basket and to add fries is $5 more. The shrimp basket is $15 (which includes fries with it) but if you only want shrimp...it's still $15.

 

Oh...and chairs are $7 each but if you wanted 2 chairs and an umbrella, it would cost you $30-40. They told us it's normally $40 but would give it to us for $30. So, who knows. It would be the first time we have ever rented any there because when we rent a home in Aruba, they usually have chairs for us to take and use at the beaches.

 

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It was a lot of food and very filling. I know the seagulls just love us every time we come to the beach. The kids have so much fun feeding them and seeing just how close they can get to them.

 

Scuba girl...

 

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Kendra and Kambriah started walking the beach in search of sea glass. I had already collected quite a bit and now she wanted some.

 

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Notice she was starting to get a little red...I tried to tell her...even though it feels so good outside and not too hot, you will get burned in this sun! She said "but it don't even feel hot. I could lay out in this all day with no problems" Well no, no you can't. 😉

 

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Aruba's famous divi divi trees. They always lean toward the Southwest, due to the winds that blow across the island from the northeast.

 

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Edited by mitsugirly

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We had told our taxi to pick us up around 2:30pm. We wanted to get back a little in hopes that we would run into our friend at the port. One of the workers at Arashi called a cab for us and when he pulled up, it happened to be our same driver...only this time, there was no problem putting all 6 of us in the van for the return back to the port.

 

Off we went and we were pulling back up into the turn around area at the port and we noticed our Aruba friend walking across the parking lot. We rolled down the windows and was yelling. At first she couldn't tell who was in the van and gave a friendly "hello" wave...and then the minute that I opened the door after the van stopped, Sakari jumped out and went running into her arms. We were so happy to catch up with her and see her...I mean it's been a whole 3 months since we had seen her last. 😉

 

This is what happens when the wind is against your back and you have long hair and it's beach hair to boot!

 

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We got smart and turned around facing the wind...ok, now I can see.

 

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Sakari got an update on her tortoise our friend gave her last time we were here but at the last minute we didn't have all the paperwork needed to transport it back to the states (next time) and she sends Sakari pictures of her all the time. She was the size of a quarter when we were there months ago and now she fits in the palm of your hand. Sakari named her Leah and all she does is talk about Leah back home.

 

Unfortunately, we had to say our goodbyes with our promise to return again soon to stay on the island and visit with her and hang out. We had originally talked about coming for another land vacation for Christmas here and staying at a house next to our friends. But, Christmas time is outrageous to stay in Aruba and that's how we ended up on a cruise instead. Last time we were there she gave us a guided personal tour of the places we shouldn't adventure to on our own (the National Park and along the treacherous terrain of that area and beaches) and we had a fabulous time all day visiting the park, swimming, going through the multiple caves...and of course searching for that cactus with the flowers that you can eat.

 

Back to the ship we went.

 

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Back on the ship and straight to the shower we went. We made it out just in time to watch us pulling out of port. Goodbye Aruba...until next time. We'll miss you.

 

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There is a tree in the middle of the water (I'm assuming on a sand bar but it's under water)

 

Do you see it?

 

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One thing I like about getting your pop at the bar at the pool area is that they will give you a can of pop and a glass of ice.

 

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Sakari decided to head to the kids club ONLY because they were having "free time" which meant that she could create things...things with rubber bands...things that she could wear. So, she was only there from 4:15-5pm and then signed herself out and back to the room.

 

We decided we wanted dinner early tonight and the great thing about having the Carnival Hub App is that you can request a table from your phone. It will pop up when it is time to head there. If you go to the dining room and request a table they will put you in the system and give you a beeper. You can only go so far with that beeper and not the entire ship. With the phone app, you can be anywhere and they will notify you.

 

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The lights in the dining room change at times and it's real pretty.

 

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Dinner

 

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This cold soup is DA BOMB! They seem to have a different kind each night and they are amazing! My favorite is the strawberry.

 

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They came around with some drinks to buy (while I was in the restroom I might add) and the hubby decided we needed a drink. They were YUMMY! They came in a souvenir cup.

 

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CHEERS!!!

 

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DESERTS

 

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One of my favorite things about cruising is locking my cell phone in the safe and being unplugged for a week not having to carry it around.  This Carnival hub app looks quite useful though.

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Now this time at the dining room, the messed up our order x2. Eventually, it was corrected and the food was good.

 

After dinner, Sakari wanted to go find her a lanyard to use for her keycard instead of carrying it all the time...then, of course, she had to find her ship ornament to add to her collection of about 20+ ships now.

 

She decided she just wanted to go back to the room and draw on her phone so we told her we were heading to the casino for a little bit and we would come back to the room to grab her for the 80's deck party. 

 

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Off to the casino we went and had a little bit of luck here and there and I ended up walking out $86 richer than I walked in with.

 

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Around 10:00 pm we headed back to the room only to find her stripped down and fast asleep. Hmmm, should we wake her? How fun would she actually be if she's half asleep? Yea, I guess we'll leave her and it will be an adult night. I texted Kendra and told her to COME ON! (She LOVES the 80s) 

 

 

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We danced and had a great time! Mike the CD is awesome and gets the crowd pumped up! He came dressed up as....none other than Richard Simmons. They handed out glow sticks and wands. I made sure to collect a few for Sakari since she was missing out. 

 

We shook all night long....and waited on Kendra to arrive.

 

 

 

And then we started something...without Kendra because she still hadn't shown up.

 

 

 

Then it was time for some footloose. Now Kendra has taught me this dance and we do it when we go out dancing...it's such a fast paced song and there's a little bit of foot slapping and I can tell you that the dance we do has a lot more to it than the way they had us doing it this night. I just realized I was so busy trying to learn the way they did it that my video was pointing toward the floor once the dance started. LOL  But eventually there were a few of us that were able to catch on and do the dance. The hubby gave up on this dance after a while.  Meanwhile...Kendra is laying in bed not able to move from her sunburn....and missing it all.

 

 

 

 

Then came....THE THRILLER! Now I was on NCL once and they had actual classes that you could go to, to teach you this dance, and then on their 80's night, everyone did the dance and it was so awesome! This time, they taught us on the deck step by step. It was fun and hilarious but we caught on. Even the hubby was having fun. Still no Kendra. Don't worry, I was sending her updates on everything she was missing out on. I mean I might as well rub it in right?

 

 

 

Then I watched Lorilei run upstairs with the guns...I knew they were about to shoot something and started filming only to catch the end of it.

 

 

 

 

The deck party was over with by 11:30 pm, but they were having an after party at Ocean Plaza and it was a live band singing 80's songs. They were pretty good. Richard, I mean Mike made his appearance and then off he went.

 

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They didn't play long and then it was all over. I guess the fun was coming to an end and we headed back to the room.

 

Our towel animal for the night.

 

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I have to say, this is the FIRST CRUISE that I have ever been able to keep my towel animals. I see people post pictures of them all together at the end of the cruise and I always wonder how they manage to keep them. My room stewards have always confiscated them every day. It's like they think they're gonna run out of towels on the cruise or something. But this time...I got to keep all of them but the first 2 I think it was.

 

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we have 2 of the shot glasses. they came around just as we were finishing dinner. sounded good yeah, let's have a couple. They didn't state 'til after we downed the shots (just okay) that we had to pay for the glasses as well. so whatever, fine....ended up like $13 each? something stupid like that. 

 

to be fair though, they are nice shot glasses.

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9 hours ago, mitsugirly said:

Now this time at the dining room, the messed up our order x2. Eventually, it was corrected and the food was good.

 

After dinner, Sakari wanted to go find her a lanyard to use for her keycard instead of carrying it all the time...then, of course, she had to find her ship ornament to add to her collection of about 20+ ships now.

 

She decided she just wanted to go back to the room and draw on her phone so we told her we were heading to the casino for a little bit and we would come back to the room to grab her for the 80's deck party. 

 

PC220818%20copy-L.jpg

 

Off to the casino we went and had a little bit of luck here and there and I ended up walking out $86 richer than I walked in with.

 

IMG_7038%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

Around 10:00 pm we headed back to the room only to find her stripped down and fast asleep. Hmmm, should we wake her? How fun would she actually be if she's half asleep? Yea, I guess we'll leave her and it will be an adult night. I texted Kendra and told her to COME ON! (She LOVES the 80s) 

 

 

IMG_7049%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

PC200518%20copy-L.jpg

 

 

We danced and had a great time! Mike the CD is awesome and gets the crowd pumped up! He came dressed up as....none other than Richard Simmons. They handed out glow sticks and wands. I made sure to collect a few for Sakari since she was missing out. 

 

We shook all night long....and waited on Kendra to arrive.

 

 

 

And then we started something...without Kendra because she still hadn't shown up.

 

 

 

Then it was time for some footloose. Now Kendra has taught me this dance and we do it when we go out dancing...it's such a fast paced song and there's a little bit of foot slapping and I can tell you that the dance we do has a lot more to it than the way they had us doing it this night. I just realized I was so busy trying to learn the way they did it that my video was pointing toward the floor once the dance started. LOL  But eventually there were a few of us that were able to catch on and do the dance. The hubby gave up on this dance after a while.  Meanwhile...Kendra is laying in bed not able to move from her sunburn....and missing it all.

 

 

 

 

Then came....THE THRILLER! Now I was on NCL once and they had actual classes that you could go to, to teach you this dance, and then on their 80's night, everyone did the dance and it was so awesome! This time, they taught us on the deck step by step. It was fun and hilarious but we caught on. Even the hubby was having fun. Still no Kendra. Don't worry, I was sending her updates on everything she was missing out on. I mean I might as well rub it in right?

 

 

 

Then I watched Lorilei run upstairs with the guns...I knew they were about to shoot something and started filming only to catch the end of it.

 

 

 

 

The deck party was over with by 11:30 pm, but they were having an after party at Ocean Plaza and it was a live band singing 80's songs. They were pretty good. Richard, I mean Mike made his appearance and then off he went.

 

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They didn't play long and then it was all over. I guess the fun was coming to an end and we headed back to the room.

 

Our towel animal for the night.

 

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I have to say, this is the FIRST CRUISE that I have ever been able to keep my towel animals. I see people post pictures of them all together at the end of the cruise and I always wonder how they manage to keep them. My room stewards have always confiscated them every day. It's like they think they're gonna run out of towels on the cruise or something. But this time...I got to keep all of them but the first 2 I think it was.

 

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Just loving this review  Three weeks from today we will getting on the Conquest.  Bring it on.  80's Party looks like a BLAST

 

 

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Aruba is our favorite vacation destination. Loved reading your review and seeing the pics. There is really good snorkeling on that end of the island where you were. We have always stayed at Bucuti & Tara but have thought about renting a house near where you were.

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13 hours ago, splash_in_the_water said:

we have 2 of the shot glasses. they came around just as we were finishing dinner. sounded good yeah, let's have a couple. They didn't state 'til after we downed the shots (just okay) that we had to pay for the glasses as well. so whatever, fine....ended up like $13 each? something stupid like that. 

 

to be fair though, they are nice shot glasses.

 

Ours was $19 something with gratuities included. We will get use of the glasses so I guess I'm ok with it. We thought the drink was pretty good and I was feeling warm and fuzzy all over within minutes.

 

4 hours ago, billfish said:

Just loving this review  Three weeks from today we will getting on the Conquest.  Bring it on.  80's Party looks like a BLAST

 

I always love the 80's party and glad they have them on Carnival.

 

1 hour ago, jenseib said:

it looks like a lot of fun at the 80s night!  I love 80s music still!!!!!

 

My favorite all time favorite music is the 80s.

 

1 hour ago, IronScott said:

Aruba is our favorite vacation destination. Loved reading your review and seeing the pics. There is really good snorkeling on that end of the island where you were. We have always stayed at Bucuti & Tara but have thought about renting a house near where you were.

 

I personally love the snorkeling at Mangel Halto. It's amazing out there.

 

We stayed at a private home, located in Noord on Safir in this super nice neighborhood. It was a $1.5 million dollar home with a private pool in the back yard and backed up to the desert. We loved it so much and will rent there again in the future. It was super close to Arashi. We've also rented a condo in Noord (closer to Eagle beach) and it was lovely little place with only a few condos there that surround a small pool and hot tub. It was cute and quiet. Then we've also stayed at the Tropicana, which had an awesome pool (several) with waterfalls and water slides (resort) on Eagle Beach. We can't wait to go back to Aruba!

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So on with this review so that I can finish. I have all the pictures uploaded and ready to go.

 

So now we had 2 sea days going back. I really love the cruises that are jam packed full of ports and very little sea days (which is why leaving from Puerto Rico is my favorite). We love to stay active and on the go all the time. But, since this was an 8 day cruise, that meant a total of 3 sea days...and the next 2 coming up.

 

We woke up around 10:30 am on Friday and planned on trying to find plenty of things to do to keep us occupied today.

 

Trixie and Cookie had made use of the glow lights I brought home from the party the night before. Sakari got a kick out of them.

 

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We headed off to the buffet for breakfast and I went straight for the omelette station. It wasn't crowded at all and I was shocked since it was a sea day and everyone was on board. Maybe everyone else had just already ate breakfast earlier.

 

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After breakfast we headed out to the pool area and they were having the "not so hairy chest" contest (at least in my opinion). They picked 3 ladies from the audience to be judges. The guys were being judged on their "hairiness" and "muscles and firmness" and I think ability to "woo" their judges by dancing and shaking their bods. I know a lot of people don't like this competition and say it's degrading or what ever the reason, but it's kinda hilarious to me. I like to cut loose and laughter is a great thing no matter who you are and these things do get funny.

 

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Sakari decided she wanted to swim while everyone's attention was on the contest and games.

 

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Even though it felt like we had just ate, Kendra had been up since very early this morning (remember she came back from Aruba and pretty much hibernated in her room nursing a sunburn and not wanting to move). So, she wanted to go to the noodle/pasta bar upstairs. It is only offered certain days and only certain times. It was already 2 pm and they closed at 2:30 pm. She talked me into going. The hubby stated he was just going to stay put in his nice comfy chair and would be there waiting until I returned. He said he wasn't hungry yet.

 

Off I went.

 

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Now this is free during these lunch hours but in the evenings, it's an additional charge, and it's an Italian restaurant. So enjoy it while you can for free...

 

 

You get a menu and you check off everything you want on it.

 

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The food was good but I still felt like I had just finished breakfast and wasn't able to eat it all. I took the rest of my noodles back to the hubby with me and he ate the rest ("I thought you wasn't hungry?").

 

 

Edited by mitsugirly

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20 minutes ago, mitsugirly said:

I personally love the snorkeling at Mangel Halto. It's amazing out there.

 

We stayed at a private home, located in Noord on Safir in this super nice neighborhood. It was a $1.5 million dollar home with a private pool in the back yard and backed up to the desert. We loved it so much and will rent there again in the future. It was super close to Arashi. We've also rented a condo in Noord (closer to Eagle beach) and it was lovely little place with only a few condos there that surround a small pool and hot tub. It was cute and quiet. Then we've also stayed at the Tropicana, which had an awesome pool (several) with waterfalls and water slides (resort) on Eagle Beach. We can't wait to go back to Aruba!

 

We did Mangel Halto and I enjoyed it but my wife didn’t. A little too rough that day out by the reef and breakers. We did get to see a small-ish barracuda (probably 16-20 inches). It just hung around the trees and kept swimming back and forth. It was cool. Baby Beach was good as well but the Noord area was the best. Your pics are much better than the video I got.

 

Noord is where we would look to rent. Some super nice houses there for good rates. We are trying to get others to join us since most of them are way bigger than two people need. We love that area but also love Eagle Beach as well. Bucuti is incredible for peace and quiet and their beach area is beautiful but we’d like to try something different.

 

Aruba is so different from many of the other Caribbean destinations. It’s really not geared toward partiers and children, at least compared to places like Cozumel, Jamaica, DR, etc. We love the variety and safety of the island. Also, there are so many good restaurants, I can’t imagine doing an AI and not experiencing the local food. Grocery stores are very reasonable as well.

 

It’s interesting to read the viewpoint from a cruiser perspective, even though you are a regular Aruba visitor. We’ve always watched the cruise ships come in and leave but never knew what all they did. We did eat one night this summer downtown after a cruise ship arrived and it was crazy busy.

 

BTW, if you haven’t tried it, Yemanja (downtown) is our new favorite restaurant. It is outstanding.

 

Thanks again! Enjoying your review.

Edited by IronScott

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After lunch, we (and by "we" I mean Sakari) was begging to go back to the Sky Course to ride the cars and do the ropes course. She just loved this...more this time than before.

 

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They started with the skyride. I decided to sit this one out and wanted to get pictures of them.

 

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I guess Sakari didn't realize the first time she went on here that the outside cart hits a dip and goes really fast around the corner and leaves the other cart behind. At first they looked like they were racing and then after daddy "left her in the dust"...she slowed way down.

 

 

 

 

No worries though...once you go around the corner, the other car catches up and gets it's own hill.

 

 

 

 

Sakari would catch up with daddy and they had a great time.

 

 

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Of course she had to do the ropes course again and went around and around until we had to tell her times up. LOL She got so comfortable that she was doing poses.

 

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I couldn't believe just how great the weather was on this cruise and the seas were so calm and I didn't feel any rocking at all this time....NONE! This would be the very first cruise I never felt any movement or got that "fake drunkenness" feeling.

 

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We absolutely love going to the 4d theater. I love anything like that. They have different shows each day and they do repeat so you have a chance to see them all.

 

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You do have the option of purchasing tickets at any time. You can come to the theater and use their kiosk or at the counter when they are open or even use your phone app. We did not do that prior to coming and would find out that the shows were sold out. They would not be playing the one we wanted anymore today. HOWEVER...the guy was so nice and not only had our family, Kendra's family but another family that wanted to see this. They said once the current one was finished, they'd run in real quick and reset it up and give us our own show by adding an extra time for us. WOO HOO! We were excited.

 

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So sad your report is half over! What's your next cruise? Bad, I'm already thinking about your next TR.  In 2019 we are on Breeze and then Freedom.  That weather looks just incredible, especially in those shots on the upper decks by the skybridge.  Just wow.

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After the movie, I knew that they were  having a Christmas party in the atrium and I wanted to make sure that I didn't miss it.

 

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Once we arrived, we would notice everyone dressed up in ugly Christmas sweaters!! They were hilarious and I loved it. I was so sad that I didn't know anything about this contest and wished that I did because I know Kendra and I would have made something for this occasion!

 

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Two couples showed up with the same "1-piece" shirt. LOL

 

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Creepy sweater with the grinch on it and legs hanging....LOL

 

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There were even people with shirts and skirts that lit up.

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Now I seriously couldn't figure out what these Eeyore outfits were supposed to be about. What did it have to do with Christmas or an ugly sweater? There was actually a group of them.

 

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At one point Lorilei came and passed out Christmas Santa Hats. Everyone had them and it just set the mood!

 

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Everyone started singing Christmas songs

 

 

 

They had a parade of ugly sweaters.

 

 

 

 

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Then it was time for Santa's grand entrance....

 

 

 

 

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It was a great time and it made me realize just how much fun it is to cruise at Christmas. It's an entirely different experience and I had really missed it since it had been a while since we did some Christmas cruises.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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After the party, we split up from Kendra. She wanted to take Kam to the Build A Bear, which Sakari now feels too old for it, and Kendra had mentioned wanting to go to the Spiderman 3D movie later.

 

We headed back to the theater, purchased our tickets and was excited to see another 3D movie.

 

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Now as I mentioned before, you can get your pop refills there for free but snacks will have to be purchased. They do not have any "regular" popcorn but you can buy bags.

 

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The theater is pretty huge and has plenty of seating.

 

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The movie was pretty good and Kendra was telling me that it hadn't even been released in theaters yet. I believe that I had read (prior to the cruise) that they do have new movies that haven't been released yet on the ship. The other one that they were showing was Atlantis and a few others.

 

Kendra never did show up and would later say "I didn't know you were going"...um, but it was your idea Kendra! LOL

Edited by mitsugirly

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The movie was pretty long (I want to say over 2 hours) and it was time for dinner.

 

We decided to just head to the buffet because that's where Sakari wanted to go.

 

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The hubby went to the deli to try out the meatball sandwiches that Kendra had said were so good. He agreed.

 

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Sakari wanted to go back to the room for some reason and we said we'd just head to the casino for a little action.

 

I actually did pretty good.

 

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I always play the slots as everyone knows. I did awesome and was way ahead. This was a good cruise with the slots. I played for the first 5 days on just spending $20 the first day and winning enough to continue to play the entire week. Well tonight, I was definitely ahead.

 

The hubby usually plays slots too but he has been learning how to play cards as well. Kendra's fiance is a big card player and has shown him a few things. However, he would decide to play Russian Roulette...only it wasn't in Russia and there were no guns involved. So roulette it was! He was doing pretty good. He did a $50 buy in and walked away that night with $288. Not big time but not bad at all.

 

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Time for a new comedian show. The old ones got off the ship at one of the ports and a new one got on.

 

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He was funny and spot on with his comments. We liked him. Kendra and I would decide to get a 4 for $20 special on shots. They were yummy.

 

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After the comedy club, we stopped for our nightly ice cream cone.

 

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We headed back to the room to check on Sakari and found our towel animal for the night.

 

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Sakari had made a drawing of one of her beanie boos. (She's really into collecting these things and I remember when Kendra was in this stage with the beanie babies).

 

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There really wasn't much more to do so we decided to call it a night and just watch some t.v., drink some wine and head to bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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December 22, Saturday: Another sea day.

 

We woke up to Trixie and Cookie hanging out with Sakari's choice beanie boos that she brought with her. She's so grown up but yet still hanging on to that kid in her by collecting these things and believing that there's actually an elf and deer that randomly moves around the house during Christmas watching her. I'm pretty sure this will be the last year of this and Santa and it saddens me. 

 

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We headed out to breakfast and my choice was the burrito bar.

 

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Then we just pretty much hung out for a while and Sakari found out that we would not be heading to any more beaches or ports so she "needed" to go swimming again of course.

 

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I really didn't feel like swimming so the hubby stayed behind and watched her swim from his comfortable seat above and I headed off to take pictures of the ship and do a little bit of shopping.

 

They were having the 2 for $20 tee sale and I picked me up a couple of shirts and also stopped to get a little charm Sakari was wanting for her necklace. I did this without her knowing and it ended up being a Christmas present.

 

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When I returned, Sakari had ask her dad if she could go to the back of the ship and get in the whirlpool. I noticed her when I was in that area taking pictures for my review.

 

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I sat there for a while observing her interactions and actions with the other adults in the whirlpool. I wanted to see for myself is she was behaving and acting proper and not causing problems. She just sat there quietly for such a long time...no splashing or disturbing the others. I was proud of her for being so grown up acting.

 

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It was lunch time and we met up with Kendra and the crew and decided to try out the Mongolian Wok. This is located upper aft deck 11 and it is on the opposite side of the Italian restaurant. This is also a free place to eat at during certain days and times for lunch. In the evenings, it becomes a pay restaurant.

 

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It's the same as the Italian restaurant. They give you a slip of paper with everything on it and you pick what you want.

 

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I have to say that it definitely isn't as good as the Italian place and actually not as good as some of the Asian restaurants we go to here at home. Kendra did not like it at all.

 

We would later stop by the buffet area for some ice cream of course.

 

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Just seeing my baby walk from the other side of the ship, by herself, looking all grown up just brings a tear to my eye.

 

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I honestly don't remember much of what else we did during the day. I'm guessing it consisted of a lot of packing. lol

 

The next set of pictures and memory consisted of dinner. See how cruises just seem to revolve around food? No wonder we always gain weight with every cruise.

 

So I pulled out my phone and used the app to make a reservation. I was told 5-10 minutes. Sakari did not want to go and wanted to go to free play at the kids club at 7 pm. So, party of 2 it was. 

 

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Now I just want to bring this up for those of you that use the app to make reservations and do My time dining.

 

Notice the description below with the times and wait times and so on. Well take a good look at the "location" (5 mid).

 

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However, it's not located on 5 but in fact located at 3 Aft!! It was such a major mix up the first times we did this and we kept ending up at the wrong dining room. They really need to change this.

 

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I really love their baked onion soup. It's just so yummy and I always try to get it now when we cruise.

 

 

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The hubby got the flatbread as a starter.

 

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This was the Cinnamon Pumpkin Cheese Pie. It was a main course. I questioned it with the waiter. It just seemed odd to be a main course. I had no idea what it was, how filling it would be or what my feeling would be about eating it for dinner. But I ordered it anyhow. 

 

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But I would also order the penne shrimp and bacon...just to be on the safe side.

 

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I'm happy to report the pumpkin dinner was excellent!

 

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I also love their bacon mac and cheese. It's so yummy and I could eat just it for dinner if given the option.

 

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We were stuffed at this point and decided dessert was just not an option tonight.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I had actually been packing throughout the day. I didn't want any last minute packing to be done like it has in the past. Kendra, being the procrastinator and slow-late-to-everything person that she is...actually packed the day before. You go girl! There's hope for you yet!

 

I headed down to pick up our luggage tags. I find this weird since I have always had them delivered to our rooms with the other cruise line. But, I guess this is a good thing since you can get the right amount you need AND pick your own time according to when you need to get off the ship.

 

We found only 2 choices: Early or Late. Ok, well that's easy enough. We would pick late.

 

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At some point, we headed back to the casino to play a little bit and we needed to cash in our winnings by the end of the night.

 

Now I have not been on any cruises where I did ANY good on the last day. I would swear they reset these things to gulp up everyone's money on the last night. HOWEVER...I did awesome! I also played several machines that I hadn't played the entire cruise and they were all hitting.

 

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Woo hoo! I hit on the second push:  $112.95

 

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I knew I didn't want to push my luck too much and decided it was time to cash out and walk away with my winnings from the night. I checked on the hubby and he was up somewhat but not a whole lot. Ok, time to cash in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Back to the room to get Sakari and she was doing her norm...pictures of her husky.

 

 

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Carnival always gives us drink coupons to use. We each get one. They can only be used on the last night.

 

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Sakari always loves getting these grown up looking drinks (for her).

 

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We hung out watching the Christmas movie they had playing on the big screen.

 

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Then headed back to the room to tag our luggage and put it outside. I laughed on the way back commenting "remember the time that I packed everything, put it outside the door, and it was collected already.... and completely forgot to leave Sakari any clothes out and she was only in her underwear?"  I will never forget this!

 

So, remember how I was so excited that our room steward allowed us to keep our collection of towel animals the entire cruise? I was preparing to lay them all out on our bed tonight and get a picture of them all together. I arrived back in the room to see that he had taken them all away and only left us with a heart! Ugh! Complete failure at this point. Darnit.

 

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Sakari worked on her drawings while I completed the process of putting the luggage out.

 

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We sat the alarm and headed for bed.

 

 

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Sunday December 23: Time to Leave.

 

Alarm woke us up, we headed for breakfast, I hate this day.

 

It was now time to do the dreaded task of checking the weather back home to see what we might be returning to.

 

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Yep, just as I expected. COLD! But hey, at least there wasn't any snow in the forecast as they had predicted prior to leaving for the cruise.

 

We hung out waiting for them to call our numbers. We were number 20. The kids were drawing to pass the time by.

 

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Kendra had a rough but fun cruise. The kids drove her nuts with the arguing. She vowed to never take them again alone. She needed a vacation now. She said the minute she got home...she was shipping them off to family. LOL

 

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Beautiful weather outside...just not as hot as it had been during the week in the Caribbean. 58 DEGREES!!! What the heck? Are you sure we returned to Miami?

 

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They called our number to get off around 9:15 am. We headed to the bathroom and then to get in line to get off. While we waited, Lorelei entertained us and we all sang Christmas songs.

 

 

 

 

 

It was only about a 10 minute wait and we were off the ship before we were doing the dread walk in the wrong direction off the ship (in my opinion because we should be heading on the ship instead).

 

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We were at the luggage area by 9:30 am

 

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There is a screen that tells you where to locate your luggage depending on your number.

 

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However, all of the luggage had came out...but Kendra was missing one. We waited and looked and searched and asked questions to the people working in the port...but no luggage. We spent 40 minutes trying to locate her luggage. FINALLY it came out on a different belt and with the last few people to get off the ship. Someone screwed up!

 

We headed to customs and there was not much of a line. We spent maybe 10 minutes from getting into line to walking out of the building. Wow, quickest process ever.

 

Outside we tried to get our Lyft driver to come get us in his Black XL but he wasn't answering. We did put in for 6 people and they summoned a van to come. When it arrived, there was NO WAY we were all fitting in it along with our luggage. We had to pull the luggage back out and order the kids back out of the van. It just wasn't going to work. Time to order 2 separate cars.

 

Ours said it would be there within 10 minutes. Kendra's said 15 minutes...then 20 minutes, then 1 hour...then 2 hours!!! WHAT THE HECK??? She was watching her guy come and go on the gps locator and circle back onto the freeway and head in the opposite direction. We wasn't sure what was going on. I felt bad and she was completely stressed at this point. She tried cancelling it and reordering one and she was having all types of issues.

 

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Our car arrived and we piled in and pulled away. I felt so bad leaving her standing there with the kids and all that luggage...wondering if she was going to make it or would be left sitting there for hours.

 

Finally I caught word that her ride showed up shortly after ours. We compared mile markers and she was right behind us thank goodness.

 

Then before long...she obviously passed us up and arrived at the airport before us and was already in line to get her boarding passes and check in her luggage.

 

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While we were standing in line to check in our luggage, I hear someone say "Are you Mitsugirly?" I had been spotted. The funny thing was, this lady was someone I talked to years ago when I was planning my trip to Bermuda and had tons of questions about the bus system and buying tickets for it. She was so helpful and nice and ended up mailing me her left over bus passes from the last time they had visited. We talked for quite some time and I was so happy to have met someone that had helped me out so much in the past. She had also just gotten off the Horizon and said they hadn't cruised in 2 years (and I believe maybe her first Carnival cruise). Well welcome back to cruising!

 

We were starved by the time we made it in the gates at the airport...so it was time for some lunch.

 

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Time to board the plane and off we went.

 

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It was an uneventful trip home with a route from Miami to Tampa with no plane change and then on to Columbus. The second half of the flight was a little delayed. We had quite a few passengers that were handicapped and the hubby helped lift one up in the seat, that couldn't walk or move himself, and we were rewarded with free booze on the way home. You can't beat that!

 

We arrived safely, but later than scheduled, back home and Kendra had a later flight. (Procrastination of booking air flight meant she didn't get the same plane as we did and also had a plane change). However, she arrived much later HOME because she was picked up at the airport and went straight to drop the kids off at their aunts before heading home. LOL She wasn't lying when she said she needed a break when she got home.

 

 

THE END....

 

 

 

 

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Hi- enjoying your review as always. I believe you do more activities in 1 day then I probably do in a week, so it's great to see everything the ship has to offer. So thank you! 

 

Did want to add 1 point for the app and ATD. The 5 midship I believe is where you go to check in or you can check in on the app. When your table is ready as you can see in picture above, it says 3 aft, table 352, which means you go to the deck 3 entrance to be seated. I learned that on my cruise in November when I ended up in the other dinning room the 1st 2 nights and the maître d walked me to the right dinning room.

 

Congrats on your winnings, I did well on the Horizon too!

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