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"Good Things on the Horizon" a cruisin USA "Long and Lengthy" Cruise Novella

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We wanted to get there as early as possible. Got ourselves started, down for a quick breakfast(the most important meal of the day), and off the ship. I told Mary Ann that we’re now “Jamericans” as I had heard a tour bus driver describe us. Although the cruise area parking lot was the same as when we were here last, we were anxious to see how the construction had come out since the last time we were here.

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We got a cab, and took the short ride over to the resort. When signed up at the front area, got our wristbands. We just walked the grounds a bit. Lots of nooks and crannys to hang. It was just as we’d remembered. We found a place close to the bar, and camped out. Last time we were here, the bartender would make Mary Ann’s son in law drink a shot before he could get his cocktails. He didn’t make it to dinner that night, but he did have a GREAT time…hehe. This place has a black cat which thinks it owns the place coming and going as it pleases. Guess it’s good for rodent control….hehe. The sun beating down was hot, but the clouds would roll in giving us some shade too! After a couple of cocktails, we got in the pool, and roamed around. A HUGE pool it was!! After a couple more cocktails, we decided it’d be a good time to have lunch. The buffet was enormous and had lots of choices. FILLED my plate. Had a great lunch in the covered open seating area. Went back to lay in the sun. Before we knew it, it was time to leave. Gathered our belongings, and caught a cab at the hotel entrance.

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We had the driver drop us off in the downtown area to check out the shops before heading back onto the ship. We knew enough to stay away from the straw market. The shopping area that used to be behind the Burger King was totally different now. Not tourist shops for sure. We did find another gated community that did carry all the trinkets. Mary Ann looked for Ollie, and found him a cool little Jamaica outfit. One store we looked in. I saw a “One Love” t shirt that I liked. $25.00! Didn’t like it that much. The lady at the counter said how much did I think I should pay for the shirt? $12.00 was my reply. She motioned me over. I thought I was going to get the shirt. Instead, she just shows me the shirts that are $12.00 that I’m not interested in. Off we go! I’d go find that shirt somewhere else(but they were nowhere else to be found).  did eventually get a t shirt, and a couple of lighters. We made the short walk back to the ship. We ended up at Margaritaville. They were still working on it when we were here last time. Lots of little shops there too. Checked out the booths in the cruise parking lot, before getting into line to get back aboard.  Sure felt good to get back. That was a LOT of walking!!

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Got to check out the COVE balconies as we boarded....... Always wanted to try one of these. Sooooo close to the water!

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Posted (edited)

We could see all the folks heading back to the ship right from our balcony. Pretty soon, we see the engines of the ship making the white water. We can see where we just had been at the Margaritaville complex. Soon after that we are pulling away from the pier. Goodbye Ocho Rios….sniff, sniff.

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Edited by cruisin USA

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Posted (edited)

    That feeling came over me once again. The next time we’d see land would be when we were docked in Miami…sigh. We still had more trip, and we weren’t going to waste it. First on the list????? The Skyride!! Hadn’t been on it yet, and we figured it would be a good time to try. There was a line of about 15 people when we walked up. 2 by 2 they would mount the skycycles and head off around the outer area of the ship. Mary Ann said she would take the Blue, which was the inside skycyle. Then she realized that when they came back they had switch positions. Our time came. She took the inside. I lowered myself onto the seat. The pedals were much to close. I really had to scrunch up to get my feet on them. The ride operator tells me to put my feet down. I do, and he increase the span, so that my legs fit in easier, except now, it’s too far….sigh. Mary Ann, who had told me not to jump away from her, did exactly that to me. She was gone leaving me to catch up. Picture if your seat was too high on your bike and you couldn’t reach when the pedals reached their lowest point. It would be hard to get the bike to move very fast, and that’s exactly what happened to me. Couldn’t reach the farthest point of the pedals, so I couldn’t make them turn optimimley. I did get it going, but Mary Ann had quite a lead. We get to the very back of the course where we are going to go around the bend. All of the sudden, I hit a downhill area going around that bend, and can coast all the way across to where the skyride comes forward. I’m now on the inside, I come around the bend coming forward. And then I hit the WIND TUNNEL. Blowing me back hard of course. Facing a terrible head wind. I had to pump my ass off to get the thing to even move. Didn’t expect it to be this HARD!! Took me quite a bit longer to come back up, that it did going back. I still beat Mary Ann though, who was now on the outside car. We got off the ride(I could feel the burn), and headed back to the room for a cocktail. We were really ready for one after that. A couple of people must have been watching us, cause I got asked how it was up there?

Edited by cruisin USA

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Posted (edited)

  Got back to the cabin and out on the balcony. Jamaica was fading as the sun set. Picked up our Fun Times to see what was going on tonight. Vintage Pop was the Playlist Production. No Comedy tonight. It was Electric White Night. Good thing I brought a white shirt!! Got a quick nap in before it was time to get ready for dinner.

 

 

 

Got ready, and headed down to the Java Blue Café for our seating assignment, then down to the dining room. There were TONS of people wearing white all over the ship!  Rizzulini was our waiter once again. Hurray!! Menus handed out, I decided on Shrimp Cocktail, Mushroom Soup, Mixed Green Salad, and Short Ribs that you could cut with a fork. Mary Ann had Shrimp Cocktail, Salad, Appetizer, and a and a huge slice of Beef Lasagna. We decided to skip dessert tonight. We finished up, and just headed out. No waiter show tonight, but again, we were a little earlier than usual. We had plenty of time to go back to the room.

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Edited by cruisin USA

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There, on the bed was a towel rabbit, our invitation to the VIP Platinum/Diamond party, and our last edition of Fun Times for this trip.....sigh.  I looked it over. Debarkation presentation in the Showroom(I’d just catch it on TV]. Holiday Show(we’d been so good at avoiding these kind of things..hehe), No Playlist production, but there was comedy, and there was an ‘80s Trivia Contest in the Atrium. Food for thought.

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We had some time to kill before the Vintage Pop show. We once again, went to the casino bar. There were a couple of guys there that we’d see every day at that bar. They had their own stools, and were as close to ‘bar regulars” as you can get on a ship. We had said our hellos to them a couple of times this cruise while we were sitting there. Didn’t see my craps buddy, but there were people playing. We started to head to the show. Saw the quarter pusher along the way. Have you ever gone by one, and wished that there's be a big enough wave hit the ship to make all that money fall out?(even just a small wave for a couple of hundred?)

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Posted (edited)

Got there a little early to get our usual seats. Vintage Pop is a show that gives a Vintage twist to comtemporary songs. Loved the LIVE band playing the songs, along with the ALWAYS GREAT singing, choreography, and costumes. Can’t go wrong with Playlist show. Except that they are not very long. “Always leave your audience wanting more”, and that’s exactly what they do. Mike comes out once again after the show, and says that the party is moving to the atrium.

 

 

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Edited by cruisin USA

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We go up to our coveted observation spot on Deck 5. The atrium is filled with people wearing white. Some people are carrying light “batons” The music is pumping. Everyone is having a good time. I see Mike down in the bar area. Mike comes on the microphone, and is getting the party started. He ends up picking Donny out of the crowd. He goes up the stairs to carry on the interview. Next thing you know, he renames Donny "Mickey". Cut to "Oh Mickey, You're so Fine" blaring across the PA? Sure he enjoyed the attention, being that he was cruising alone. The party carries on. People dancing. The atrium is full. I can't help but think this is a LOT better than a windy deck party!!! Near the end, they have a balloon drop. Lots of balloons coming down and people popping them. The Tornado starts showing graphics of fireworks going up to the ceiling. That, with the effect of the balloons popping was as close to a fireworks show as you’re going to get on Carnival. The popping kept going on. I didn’t see any more balloons. Are the balloon popping sounds taped?? Probably. But the effect is stellar!! The party is about over. We “Exit, Stage Right” away. We stopped in the piano bar. Gregor was playing the tunes tonight. We stayed for a couple songs. Back to the atrium, and down the steps to hit the casino.

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     It was pretty slow tonight aboard ship. The craps table was being shut down. Geez. I remember thinking that most people have lost their money by now...sigh. Worked our way aft, past the Art gallery, the Skybox Sports Bar, and the Limelight lounge, which at this time of night was the Disco. You could smell the heat coming out the door. We stopped at the Havana bar where they were just finishing off for the night. Another long day. It was time to go to bed, but first a slice of pizza. I dropped Mary Ann off at the cabin and went up, the line was long. Took me 15 minutes but I got it. At some point I realized that I hadn’t seen any pizza deliveries at all on this trip,(let alone a moped), Took the pizza back to the room, and ate on the balcony to the sound of the crashing waves. This time tomorrow, we’d be packed, and enjoying our last night aboard this wonderful ship. Pushed that feeling back, as I hit the hay.

 

Authors note.......That finishes it for tonight....More tomorrow

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Posted (edited)

Authors note........In my haste to put up day 5, I inadvertantly forgot to put up the main dining room menu for the night....Given the detail I wish to present I just have to post it before moving forward.

 

Here it is, and then I will continue on with the review.

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Edited by cruisin USA

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Posted (edited)

Day 6-All GOOD things……..

 

 

 

 

Woke up to see my chocolate milk on my nightstand. The last time this trip..sigh.  Mary Ann was out on the balcony on her Ipad. It was partly cloudy, and a little cool. Not the best, but again, compared to home, and this wonderful aft view. We talked over our plans for the day as she sipped her coffee, and I enjoyed my chocolate milk. There were 3 things that had to get done. 1st….We had to get our disembarkment excursion. This trip, our plane was leaving Ft. Lauderdale  at 4pm. Getting off the ship by 9:30am leaves LOTS of time inbetween. NO fun sitting at an airport all day. On our last cruise, aboard the Splendor, our flight left at 8pm! Carnival offered a couple of day excursions.(We had done one before when they were using the Big Bus for city tours). Good way to kill some time, especially since they guard your bags while you tour the city), As I was saying, on last year’s cruise we did the South Beach tour. LOVED it even better than the Big Bus! When we got off the ship we had to find the excursion bus, let them load our luggage into the hatch.(They assured us that the hatches wouldn’t be opened again till we were dropped off at the airport, which was true, and a GREAT way to do it), and just wait for the bus to load up. We got a tour of South Beach for roughly an hour, then the guide announces that we will be getting off here, and having an hour and a half of free time in South Beach, They dropped us there right off on Ocean Blvd!! Said the bus would be here when it was time to meet. No problem. Mary Ann and I had been here before. We had pre- cruised here once. A fun VIBRANT area with lots of touristy things to do. We walked out to the beach. A little hard walking through the sand compared to level pavement. Made our way back to the boardwalk. Although it was pretty early, this place was bustling. Rent a Bikes everywhere. Yoga in the park(er….not this early..lol). We roamed a bit, and found a little outdoor café(there were plenty) with a breakfast special. DELICIOUS!! We had such a good time last time, we were going to do it again!! The Carnival Excursion desk would be open from 11-1pm. The 2nd thing we had to do was go to the internet café to print out our boarding passes for our Delta flight. Delta flyers may check in up to 24hrs before your flight so we had to do that any time after 4. The 3rd on our MUST do agenda was the VIP party!! Free Cocktails!!! Yeah!!!! Free Appetizers!!! Meh. Aside from these 3 things, we had our last day to WHOOP it up!!! With that outline in place, we got ourselves ready, and headed out for the day….The very first thing on our agenda?....Where to eat?

 

 

 

 

We’d already done the dining room brunch. We were tempted to sign up for the Dr. Seuss brunch, but A) It’s a little early(for me) and B) We had already planned to do it with our group aboard the Breeze(FF2)  a couple of months from now. We’d been in the buffet enough. It was between Cucina del Capitano, Pig N Anchor or Jiji’s Kitchen. We ruled out Cucina del Capitano. We had tried it for lunch before on the Breeze. Just not in the mood for Italian today. We’d also had done BBQ(when Pig and Anchor was “C Day BBQ”. Although we had Teppanyaki already, I guess curiousity was what drove us to try Jiji’s Kitchen. We made our way back to the rear elevators and headed up to the entrances of Cucina and Jiji’s which are right across from each other. Walked right in, and were quickly seated. We got our menus pretty quickly.

 

 

 

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Edited by cruisin USA

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It took quite awhile for someone to come take our order. I went with Chicken Scechzuan Style with Lo Mein Noodles, Onions and Peapods. Mary Ann also went with Chicken Lo Mein, but with BBQ Thai. The cooks were putting bowl after bowl after bowl out for the servers to take out. It was pretty busy, and we had to wait much longer than we wanted(we only had one more day of vaction left!). Finally, lunch came. It was good, however,...... note to self about eating in the specialty restaurants on the last day….

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Posted (edited)

 We headed down to the excursion desk(now refered to as "Carnival Adventures". We were a couple people back in line. Not too bad, but when we got up to our turn, we found out that the South Beach excursion had SOLD OUT!!....sigh. We looked over the choices left. Everglades or Best of Miami. We went with the Best of Miami, and hoped for the best. We would just have to see.

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Edited by cruisin USA

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Posted (edited)

While we were in the atrium area we thought we’d check the shops just to see if there was anything new we might want. We have a LOT of Carnival Logo stuff. We looked around for a bit. Nothing was that appealing, but we did find the Sundries tucked inconspicuously in one of the stores.

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Edited by cruisin USA

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We didn’t buy anything. Like I said, we’ve got lots of Carnival stuff. We decided to go check out the Serenity Deck. Between being back in the Havana suites and our beautifully Serene balcony, we didn’t see much need to come up here this cruise. Just like the newer ships. Placed up in front of the ship. Highest deck. With the wind it was hardly what you would call serene. The plexiglass windows helped, but in my opinion you can’t beat the Serenity deck on the Spirit class ships. In back, and not windy. Much more serene. We did a round just to get some pictures.

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I asked Mary Ann if there was anything we missed? We knew were down to short supplies(alcohol) in our cabin. We wouldn’t be ordering any room service, and it was cocktail time, so we headed down to the Pig N Anchor seeing that we hadn’t stopped there this trip aside from when it was mostly closed off. We had passed by it every night when we were getting our dinner seating assignments. There were a few at the bar. Nobody was in the seating area. I noticed the small bandstand in the back. This would be GREAT had it been up while WE were cruising……sigh. Fun people at the bar. We ordered another round, and headed off. We still had some last minute things that we needed to do.

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We stepped out onto the deck. Pig N Anchor has a cool outdoor area. They have a outside stand that they use on sea days. Nice seating. Beautiful View. There was another Carnival ship off in the distance. Heading back to Miami just like us. We sat a minute and just enjoyed the sunshine. It would be setting soon enough. The Ocean plaza area is really nice. Wish we would have come here more during this trip.(How many times have I said that before?...hehe). It was time to get our boarding passes at the internet cafe.

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Posted (edited)

Back to the Atrium Deck 1 to visit the Internet café. We were done within a couple of minutes!! The internet, I will reiterate was the best that we’ve had on ANY ship ever. A couple of years ago on the Glory, I wasted well over an hour on our last day trying to check into Spirit….double sigh. We ended up stopping a little while in the casino. Sure wish there would have been video poker machines built into the bar, like Vegas. We would have spent a LOT more time there. As it was Mary Ann wanted to try her machine. I went over to the craps table. It was pretty busy. I played for awhile, but it was getting time to get to the VIP party

Edited by cruisin USA

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Before I go into our VIP party, I would like to mention something that I wasn’t sure I would cover in this review. But in the interest of detail. I would like to point something out. The layout of the theater. This rooms was VERSATILE!! From the round overhead lights that would change color, to all the effects(lasers, smoke ,Strobe lights, and confetti droppers) across the entire ceiling to the all those seats(main floor) that weren’t secured down, the tile floor, the bar in the back, to the incredible sound system…..This was supposed to the DISCO of the ship!! With the Limelight acting as the Comedy Club/Multi-purpose area. Made sense. But they are using the Limelight lounge as the disco too, along with being the comedy club, etc. Something must have happened……

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In this picture, you can see the ring of light scaffolding that would be directly above the dance floor.

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