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MisterOJ2

Five fantastic days on the Fantasy

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I just got back yesterday from a little 5-day cruise on the Fantasy out of Mobile and thought I'd do a small review. If anyone has any specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them.

 

Just as an overview, my wife and I booked this sort of "last minute" to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We normally cruise with our two daughters, but we left them behind on this one. We also normally take 7-day cruises nowadays. We'd never been on one of Carnival's smaller ships with the shorter itineraries before and really didn't know what to expect. But, it wound up being super fun and we basically loved everything about it.

 

The Ship

Not gonna lie, I was a little worried about being on the oldest ship in the fleet. We've taken four cruises on the Dream and one of the Conquest; and each one was a 7-day itinerary. I thought there was a really good chance that I would be disappointed with the Fantasy by comparison. Plot twist: I wasn't at all! My wife and I both really loved the ship. I said on multiple occasions that I couldn't believe how nice and well maintained it was. If I hadn't known any better, I would have never known it was the oldest ship Carnival is still using. With one exception - when we were walking back to the port in Cozumel, from the outside, the ship did look old and kinda tired. But, as soon as we were back on board - that was all forgotten.

 

Yeah, there wasn't a Mongolian Wok, Pasta Bella, Tandoor or sea day barbecue. And while we like having those on the other ships, we didn't really miss them. Maybe because we were just on the ship for 5 days. But I normally never really bother eating at the Deli when there's other options. This past trip, I did take advantage of the deli and I was glad I did, because I really enjoyed it. We loved how easy the ship was to get around. We had a cabin on Deck 7 and barely had to use the elevators at all since everything was basically on four floors and we never had to go up or down more than three decks.

 

The layout of the ship was more or less great with just a couple minor complaints. One being that the smell of smoke was really heavy throughout most of Deck 9. There was some really comfortable, nice seating where we would have spent a lot of time reading if not for the constant smell of smoke. And we missed the extra seating they have on the Dream that overlooks the atrium. It would have been nice to be able to sit on Deck 8 and overlook the atrium like you can on some of the bigger ships, instead of being standing room only. And the way the aft lounge where they had comedy just seemed weirdly laid out. It seemed like they could have made a much better use of the space and gotten more seating in there (which was needed) if the room was arranged differently. It was odd that there seemed to be so much wasted space in there.

 

But other things were much nicer - like the big, roomy library and the piano bar that felt like it's own area instead of being just stuck next to the comedy club.

 

The Food

Since we booked only a couple months out, we were waitlisted for early dining and given Your Time Dining instead. When we got our room keys, we saw that we were still listed as YTD and went to see if we could get it changed. It was no problem at all and the maitre' d accommodated us. We were at a large round table with four other couples, one of which we really got along with and enjoyed talking with each night at dinner. The others at the table were fine too, but often showed up as much as a half hour late to dinner. The dining room staff was fantastic at dealing with that, however. Our serving team was very efficient and never really stopped or slowed down our service because some people would show up late to dinner.

 

Dinners in the MDR were very good, as usual. I didn't think the food was any different than on other cruises I have been on. Because it was so convenient in the mornings, we had breakfast four of the five mornings in the MDR. We really enjoyed that versus having breakfast at the buffet. It was so much nicer and more relaxed. On the Dream, we would make a point to hit the sea day brunch once, but most days just ate at the lido out of convenience. 

 

Lunchtime around the Lido didn't seem any more or less crowded than on the Dream. On the first sea day, there was a long line at Guy's and the Blue Iguana.  So we wound up just getting a small snack from the buffet and then going back to the cabin to order room service, which was a nice treat as always. 

 

Embarkation/Debarkation

We'd never been to the port at Mobile, so weren't sure what to expect. It was super easy getting on though. By far the easiest we have ever experienced in 11 cruises. My best friend from college lives there, so he drove us to the port and just dropped us off. We had a 12:30 appointment time for boarding, but arrived at the port around 12:15. Literally 20 minutes after getting out of my friend's car, we were standing on the Lido deck getting lunch. It was amazing. I've never had such an easy and quick embarkation.

 

Getting off was a little longer, but still considerably easier than on larger ships.  It took maybe a little more than half an hour from the time we walked out of our cabin with our bags until we were outside at the area where we were picked up.

 

Ports

The main reason we chose this cruise was because we would celebrate our anniversary on board and it went to two of our favorite ports - Costa Maya and Cozumel. We booked our favorite beach days at each port - Maya Chan at Costa Maya and Nachi Cocum at Cozumel. They were both awesome. Maya Chan was a little bit too awesome, because I wound up drinking so much there on Monday that I couldn't stomach any alcohol at all on Tuesday at Nachi Cocom. But, they kept the bottled waters and Cokes coming at Nachi and it was a great day there.

 

One bummer was how bad the sargasso was in Costa Maya. We were warned up front by the folks at Maya Chan, but it was really awful. We still had a great day at Maya Chan, but spent most of it just drinking in and by their new pool, which was awesome. Cozumel was practically dead the day we were there. There were only three ships in port that we saw. It was nice being able to get around so easily, but it was also weird. We've never been there on an off day like that. Nachi Cocom was maybe half full.

 

Entertainment/Staff

Our cruise director was Paullie. He was young and even if he hadn't said it at some point - it was pretty obvious this was his first contract as a cruise director. He wasn't bad by any means. He had a lot of energy and was fun. You could just tell he was kinda green. I think once he gets used to the new job, he will be a really good cruise director. He did an awesome job with the music trivia/singalong sessions in the atrium each evening.

 

We also really loved the piano bar performer on this cruise - T.A. Williams. He was awesome. Unfortunately we didn't go into the piano bar until the last night. We stayed and closed it down that night though, despite the fact that we normally try to go to bed early before debarkation. He was just that good. I hope to run into him again sometime on another cruise.

 

The rest of the staff was all fine, and about what we've come to expect on our other cruises. Our steward did a good job keeping our room clean. Everyone out and about on the ship was friendly and helpful as always. We have no complaints at all about the service.

 

Other observations

We were really surprised at how much younger and more energetic the crowd seemed on the Fantasy. I guess it was because it was a shorter cruise. But, we never felt like it was a booze cruise. Sure, people were drinking. But we never saw anyone getting out of hand or obnoxious. Folks were just having fun. And I guess for the same reason, it seemed like everyone we saw either had a blue or red card. I only noticed one other gold card and one older couple with a platinum card the entire cruise. Which was fine and probably had a lot to do with the energy on board. 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, MisterOJ2 said:

 

 

One bummer was how bad the sargasso was in Costa Maya. We were warned up front by the folks at Maya Chan, but it was really awful. We still had a great day at Maya Chan, but spent most of it just drinking in and by their new pool, which was awesome. Cozumel was practically dead the day we were there. There were only three ships in port that we saw. It was nice being able to get around so easily, but it was also weird. We've never been there on an off day like that. Nachi Cocom was maybe half full.

 

 

 

 

How bad was it? other beach clubs have been affected too?   I saw photo of Krazy Lobster and it wasn't TOO bad..   

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31 minutes ago, mook1525 said:

How bad was it? other beach clubs have been affected too?   I saw photo of Krazy Lobster and it wasn't TOO bad..   

 

It's affecting EVERYTHING at Costa Maya. Right now, anyway. It probably depends on the day. Maybe some days are worse than others, I don't know. I think I saw the same photo you're talking about just before we left. It was a lot worse than that. On Monday it was basically impossible to get into the water without trudging through a ton of the stuff.  

 

On both our sea days, anytime you looked out at the water, you could see a ton of it just floating out in the open water. It was crazy. Luckily, none of it seems to wash up at Cozumel. I guess it just winds up on the mainland for some reason.

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Thanks for your review!  We just booked the Fantasy for next July for our cruise with the kids and grands.  

Glad to see the positive review on Mobile.  It will be our 16th cruise overall, 12th on Carnival, but our first time on the Fantasy and first time out of Mobile.  We've been sailing the larger ships lately, but I think it will be nice to sail on a smaller ship again.  It sure will be easier to keep track of everybody.  

 

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Thanks for the review!  We're going next month and following the same resort itinerary.  I'm hopeful the seaweed is not bad but am prepared to make the game day decision.  Was there an Alchemy bar?

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24 minutes ago, Party All July said:

Thanks for the review!  We're going next month and following the same resort itinerary.  I'm hopeful the seaweed is not bad but am prepared to make the game day decision.  Was there an Alchemy bar?

 

No Alchemy Bar on the Fantasy. Which was a bit of a bummer. We usually like to get at least one drink from the Alchemy Bar when we're on a ship that has one.

 

If you already have Maya Chan booked, I would suggest you keep the reservation even if the seaweed is bad that day. I can't imagine it being any worse than it was for us, and we still had a great time there. We just didn't get in the ocean. The food, drinks, pool and the awesome staff made the cost of admission more than worth it. Even if we couldn't really get in the ocean.

 

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54 minutes ago, MisterOJ2 said:

No Alchemy Bar on the Fantasy. Which was a bit of a bummer. We usually like to get at least one drink from the Alchemy Bar when we're on a ship that has one.

 

No Alchemy Bar, but the Majestic Bar at the back of deck 9 (just outside the comedy club lounge) makes some great drinks, and the women tending bar there are fantastic! I wish I could remember their names now but they served us on both our December 2016 and May 2018 cruises, and said they've been there for years. They're kind of a kick to listen to when they're in a mood, too. 😄

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1 hour ago, Butterbean1000 said:

Sargasso -sea weed?

Yup; actually sargassum. 

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Hi, thanks for the review. My next cruise this November is on the Fantasy. Can't wait!

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Posted (edited)
On 6/21/2019 at 12:50 PM, MisterOJ2 said:

 

No Alchemy Bar on the Fantasy. Which was a bit of a bummer. We usually like to get at least one drink from the Alchemy Bar when we're on a ship that has one.

 

If you already have Maya Chan booked, I would suggest you keep the reservation even if the seaweed is bad that day. I can't imagine it being any worse than it was for us, and we still had a great time there. We just didn't get in the ocean. The food, drinks, pool and the awesome staff made the cost of admission more than worth it. Even if we couldn't really get in the ocean.

 

 

Edited by KdoubleA

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On 6/21/2019 at 10:18 AM, MisterOJ2 said:

I just got back yesterday from a little 5-day cruise on the Fantasy out of Mobile and thought I'd do a small review. If anyone has any specific questions, I'd be glad to answer them.

 

Just as an overview, my wife and I booked this sort of "last minute" to celebrate our 20th wedding anniversary. We normally cruise with our two daughters, but we left them behind on this one. We also normally take 7-day cruises nowadays. We'd never been on one of Carnival's smaller ships with the shorter itineraries before and really didn't know what to expect. But, it wound up being super fun and we basically loved everything about it.

 

The Ship

Not gonna lie, I was a little worried about being on the oldest ship in the fleet. We've taken four cruises on the Dream and one of the Conquest; and each one was a 7-day itinerary. I thought there was a really good chance that I would be disappointed with the Fantasy by comparison. Plot twist: I wasn't at all! My wife and I both really loved the ship. I said on multiple occasions that I couldn't believe how nice and well maintained it was. If I hadn't known any better, I would have never known it was the oldest ship Carnival is still using. With one exception - when we were walking back to the port in Cozumel, from the outside, the ship did look old and kinda tired. But, as soon as we were back on board - that was all forgotten.

 

Yeah, there wasn't a Mongolian Wok, Pasta Bella, Tandoor or sea day barbecue. And while we like having those on the other ships, we didn't really miss them. Maybe because we were just on the ship for 5 days. But I normally never really bother eating at the Deli when there's other options. This past trip, I did take advantage of the deli and I was glad I did, because I really enjoyed it. We loved how easy the ship was to get around. We had a cabin on Deck 7 and barely had to use the elevators at all since everything was basically on four floors and we never had to go up or down more than three decks.

 

The layout of the ship was more or less great with just a couple minor complaints. One being that the smell of smoke was really heavy throughout most of Deck 9. There was some really comfortable, nice seating where we would have spent a lot of time reading if not for the constant smell of smoke. And we missed the extra seating they have on the Dream that overlooks the atrium. It would have been nice to be able to sit on Deck 8 and overlook the atrium like you can on some of the bigger ships, instead of being standing room only. And the way the aft lounge where they had comedy just seemed weirdly laid out. It seemed like they could have made a much better use of the space and gotten more seating in there (which was needed) if the room was arranged differently. It was odd that there seemed to be so much wasted space in there.

 

But other things were much nicer - like the big, roomy library and the piano bar that felt like it's own area instead of being just stuck next to the comedy club.

 

The Food

Since we booked only a couple months out, we were waitlisted for early dining and given Your Time Dining instead. When we got our room keys, we saw that we were still listed as YTD and went to see if we could get it changed. It was no problem at all and the maitre' d accommodated us. We were at a large round table with four other couples, one of which we really got along with and enjoyed talking with each night at dinner. The others at the table were fine too, but often showed up as much as a half hour late to dinner. The dining room staff was fantastic at dealing with that, however. Our serving team was very efficient and never really stopped or slowed down our service because some people would show up late to dinner.

 

Dinners in the MDR were very good, as usual. I didn't think the food was any different than on other cruises I have been on. Because it was so convenient in the mornings, we had breakfast four of the five mornings in the MDR. We really enjoyed that versus having breakfast at the buffet. It was so much nicer and more relaxed. On the Dream, we would make a point to hit the sea day brunch once, but most days just ate at the lido out of convenience. 

 

Lunchtime around the Lido didn't seem any more or less crowded than on the Dream. On the first sea day, there was a long line at Guy's and the Blue Iguana.  So we wound up just getting a small snack from the buffet and then going back to the cabin to order room service, which was a nice treat as always. 

 

Embarkation/Debarkation

We'd never been to the port at Mobile, so weren't sure what to expect. It was super easy getting on though. By far the easiest we have ever experienced in 11 cruises. My best friend from college lives there, so he drove us to the port and just dropped us off. We had a 12:30 appointment time for boarding, but arrived at the port around 12:15. Literally 20 minutes after getting out of my friend's car, we were standing on the Lido deck getting lunch. It was amazing. I've never had such an easy and quick embarkation.

 

Getting off was a little longer, but still considerably easier than on larger ships.  It took maybe a little more than half an hour from the time we walked out of our cabin with our bags until we were outside at the area where we were picked up.

 

Ports

The main reason we chose this cruise was because we would celebrate our anniversary on board and it went to two of our favorite ports - Costa Maya and Cozumel. We booked our favorite beach days at each port - Maya Chan at Costa Maya and Nachi Cocum at Cozumel. They were both awesome. Maya Chan was a little bit too awesome, because I wound up drinking so much there on Monday that I couldn't stomach any alcohol at all on Tuesday at Nachi Cocom. But, they kept the bottled waters and Cokes coming at Nachi and it was a great day there.

 

One bummer was how bad the sargasso was in Costa Maya. We were warned up front by the folks at Maya Chan, but it was really awful. We still had a great day at Maya Chan, but spent most of it just drinking in and by their new pool, which was awesome. Cozumel was practically dead the day we were there. There were only three ships in port that we saw. It was nice being able to get around so easily, but it was also weird. We've never been there on an off day like that. Nachi Cocom was maybe half full.

 

Entertainment/Staff

Our cruise director was Paullie. He was young and even if he hadn't said it at some point - it was pretty obvious this was his first contract as a cruise director. He wasn't bad by any means. He had a lot of energy and was fun. You could just tell he was kinda green. I think once he gets used to the new job, he will be a really good cruise director. He did an awesome job with the music trivia/singalong sessions in the atrium each evening.

 

We also really loved the piano bar performer on this cruise - T.A. Williams. He was awesome. Unfortunately we didn't go into the piano bar until the last night. We stayed and closed it down that night though, despite the fact that we normally try to go to bed early before debarkation. He was just that good. I hope to run into him again sometime on another cruise.

 

The rest of the staff was all fine, and about what we've come to expect on our other cruises. Our steward did a good job keeping our room clean. Everyone out and about on the ship was friendly and helpful as always. We have no complaints at all about the service.

 

Other observations

We were really surprised at how much younger and more energetic the crowd seemed on the Fantasy. I guess it was because it was a shorter cruise. But, we never felt like it was a booze cruise. Sure, people were drinking. But we never saw anyone getting out of hand or obnoxious. Folks were just having fun. And I guess for the same reason, it seemed like everyone we saw either had a blue or red card. I only noticed one other gold card and one older couple with a platinum card the entire cruise. Which was fine and probably had a lot to do with the energy on board. 

 

 

Hello,so glad to hear that your trip went so well. Me, my daughter, her boyfriend & her best friend are all going on the exact same cruise July 22-27,2019 & we booked an interior room on the main floor that sleeps up to 5 people. We've never been on a cruise b4 & I was wondering if you or any1 else had any pics of that type of room. Thanks in advance! 🙄

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The Fantasy was our first cruise 6 years ago! We booked for December 2019 for the 5 day out of Mobile because it was the only cruise that worked for the dates we could both get off work.

 

I was afraid I might be disappointed because it was our one and only small ship cruise. But! After reading your review I'm looking forward to it more than ever!

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Do you happen to have the Fun Times from this trip? Or, can you tell me what (ish) was scheduled for the ship for the Costa Maya evening? We are trying to decide what we want to do while in port next week and the big factor is whether or not we will return to the ship for dinner. We have never missed a meal in the MDR, but with the timing of arriving into Costa Maya, we're debating staying on the beach until the evening time. What are your thoughts on this?

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13 minutes ago, sweety51901 said:

Do you happen to have the Fun Times from this trip? Or, can you tell me what (ish) was scheduled for the ship for the Costa Maya evening? We are trying to decide what we want to do while in port next week and the big factor is whether or not we will return to the ship for dinner. We have never missed a meal in the MDR, but with the timing of arriving into Costa Maya, we're debating staying on the beach until the evening time. What are your thoughts on this?

 

We stayed at the beach until about 7 pm. So, we missed dinner too. I think we wound up getting back on the ship sometime between 7:30 and 8. We don't have any of the Fun Times. We were saving them all on our desk in the room, but for some reason, our steward took them all on the last night. So, I can't really share that. I don't think there was any of the Playlist shows that night though. There was only three and they were on the second, fourth and fifth nights. I think Motown was on the second night, the British Invasion show was on the fourth night and the country show was the last night.

 

I was glad we stayed at the beach as long as we did though. We had fun and I don't really feel like we missed out on anything happening on board that night.

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Perfect. Thank you so much! There are 15 of us and only 2 in our group have been to Costa Maya. The kids range in age from 2 to 15 and 9 adults. Would you recommend this for a group like that? My biggest concern is the seaweed. My mom has the nose of a hound and I'm afraid the smell would make her sick. Is it that bad?

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Thanks for the review. We were on the Fantasy a few years ago and am going in September to Panama Canal. We like the smaller older ships, but will miss some of the newer attraction as you listed. Great to know getting on and off the ship was not so bad. We have a 12:30 check in also. Thanks again.

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Thank you for this review. We booked this cruise for November. We have cruised many of the other lines but this will be our first on Carnival. We prefer the small ships so I am guessing the size of the Fantasy should not be a problem. Our friends from Mississippi will be meeting us on the cruise. They have been on this cruise before so I am looking forward to seeing them.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, sweety51901 said:

Perfect. Thank you so much! There are 15 of us and only 2 in our group have been to Costa Maya. The kids range in age from 2 to 15 and 9 adults. Would you recommend this for a group like that? My biggest concern is the seaweed. My mom has the nose of a hound and I'm afraid the smell would make her sick. Is it that bad?

 

My wife is the same way. She notices EVERY smell. She didn't say much while we were there in Costa Maya, so I made a point to ask her last night. She said the only time she noticed the smell was when we were in the taxi on the way out to Maya Chan. She said once we were at the beach, she didn't really notice it anymore. But she wasn't sure if that was just because she'd gotten used to it, or if it just wasn't as bad out there. In either case, we had a great time. 

 

As far as recommendations for what to do - it's always been my impression that there's basically a couple of main options in Costa Maya. You can either hit the beach or tour the Mayan ruins. I'm not really into ruins, so we've never done that. We're more of a beach family and we have loved going to Maya Chan. If (most of) the adults in your party drink and you like the idea of an all-inclusive for the day, you really can't go wrong there. Our kids had a blast there too. There's plenty for them to do there. And if the seaweed is really bad the day you're there, they will give you the option of cancelling with a full refund. They're really good about that. It really is a seasonal thing, so it may not be a problem at all whenever you visit. If you're not into the all-inclusive thing, there's several other pay-as-you-go beach options closer to the port. I've heard good things about them, but never tried them myself.

 

I guess a third option is to just spend some time in the port area. It really is very nice. There's a lot of shops and restaurants and touristy things to do and see - like using the free pool, which looks really nice, or checking out the flamingos. 

Edited by MisterOJ2

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4 minutes ago, MisterOJ2 said:

 

My wife is the same way. She notices EVERY smell. She didn't say much while we were there in Costa Maya, so I made a point to ask her last night. She said the only time she noticed the smell was when we were in the taxi on the way out to Maya Chan. She said once we were at the beach, she didn't really notice it anymore. But she wasn't sure if that was just because she'd gotten used to it, or if it just wasn't as bad out there. In either case, we had a great time. 

 

As far as recommendations for what to do - it's always been my impression that there's basically a couple of main options in Costa Maya. You can either hit the beach or tour the Mayan ruins. I'm not really into ruins, so we've never done that. We're more of a beach family and we have loved going to Maya Chan. If (most of) the adults in your party drink and you like the idea of an all-inclusive for the day, you really can't go wrong there. Our kids had a blast there too. There's plenty for them to do there. And if the seaweed is really bad the day you're there, they will give you the option of cancelling with a full refund. They're really good about that. It really is a seasonal thing, so it may not be a problem at all whenever you visit. If you're not into the all-inclusive thing, there's several other pay-as-you-go beach options closer to the port. I've heard good things about them, but never tried them myself.

 

I guess a third option is to just spend some time in the port area. It really is very nice. There's a lot of shops and restaurants and touristy things to do and see - like using the free pool, which looks really nice, or checking out the flamingos. 

Thank you so much! I did hear back from them and Maya Chan is booked up. My dad is going to try to get discounted tickets to Lost Mayan since it closes at 5pm. Otherwise, we will most likely stay at the port area. Thank you so much for the information! I am very excited for this trip. My in-laws took us on a Disney cruise just a month ago, but we are loyal Carnival cruisers, so I'm ready to be back "home". Plus, this is my 4th time on the Fantasy. She's one of my favorite ships.

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Fantasy was our first ship 6 years ago (wish we had started this earlier but too scared I'd get seasick - I don't).   So I think it gave me a soft spot for the older and smaller ships.  

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Thank you for the review. It was very thorough and I'm going to pull this up and show it to my wife and MIL when I get home today. Cruising from Mobile in 13 days, so hopefully this will set a bar for us on our journey.

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