October 26 – November 3
Tarditas et procrastinatio odiosa est.
Delay and procrastination are troublesome. Cicero
That’s the long and the short of it; I procrastinated – my cruise tale never got put onto my website. Oh, I thought about it. I thought about it at Thanksgiving. I thought about it at New Year’s. I thought about it as I entered a new semester at the college. But that’s as much as I did – think about it. The fact that I did not write about our cruise is by no means a silent way of saying we had a miserable time; quite the opposite, we had a spectacular time.
We called this our “Cruise-iversary” since our very first cruise was on Halloween 2009. This was our Carnival Platinum cruise and we were celebrating it with good friends who introduced us to cruising, Penny, Bill and Carolyn. Excellent itinerary, Grand Cayman, Roatan, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel. Belize was the only port that was entirely new to us. We had been scheduled to go there once before, but there were tender problems and we had to go to Costa Maya instead.
Did I Ever Tell You About My Affliction? (Perhaps you suffer from a similar disorder)
Just kidding — in fact, this year we have been on quite a number of cruises. Like many others we were trying for Platinum status with Carnival before the year ended and the new loyalty program was initiated.
This affliction is easily cured by a relaxing cruise —
Shall we begin the treatment…..
As mentioned in other pages, we live near Lake Ontario in New York. Each time we travel, I also check the prices out of Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo. It’s always a “slot pull” as to which one will have the
cheapest most economical flights!! On this occasion, Jet Blue won with a flight out of Buffalo, NY. Many of our friends do this kind of flight and include the night-before hotel stay as part of the vacation. So we selected a hotel in Buffalo with program for “Stay, Park, & Fly.” Days Inn Hotel – pretty good deal, we had dinner the night before in the hotel restaurant, free breakfast the next morning and then took advantage of the free shuttle to the airport provided by the hotel.
Tampa – Here We Are
The best part about cruising out of Tampa for us is the chance to meet up with good friends and also visit with our daughter, Hope, and her family. Went down a few days early so that we could attend a really neat Halloween party given by Penny and Bill.
Our grandson E.J. was there; the perfect opportunity for him to re-educate his grandfather in the secrets of Angry Bird (Star Wars). It’s a simple game — why is it so difficult in proportion to your age???? But E.J. is patient with his grandfather and the lessons continue.
Penny, Bill, and Carolyn were sailing with us, so after the party ended, everyone was busy with bags and last minute details. Penny and Bill have a great system set up, not uncommon to other cruisers – set out the bags the night before and have only the carry-on to worry about the next morning. But the best part of their plan…..the next morning is sweetened up with
One of My Favorite Pastimes – Whale-tail Watching
I love the port in Tampa. It’s as busy and confusing as other ports, but it has a wonderful feeling to it. The Tampa Aquarium and Channelside shopping are some of the great places to visit downtown.
So nice of our friends to find room in their vehicles for all our luggage and such. In no time at all, we were at the port where our friends have a dear friend who is a porter. He secured all of our bags, tagged them, and off they went to baggage-land.
One thing I did notice was the orange tag FFTF (Faster to the Fun). This same tag is put on luggage for Platinum and Diamond members along with those who purchase it ahead of time. The reason I even post the picture here is because I have seen people mention on Cruise Critic that the porter didn’t do it, and they suggested people keep an eye on the porter to make sure the tag is done. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but here’s what the tag looks like.
The Greatest Sound in the World (….DING….as your S&S card is put in the machine)
What’s the first place everyone heads to once they’re onboard?
Well that depends on the individual – some are hungry (to the Lido for food), some in need of sunshine (to the Lido for the pool), some in need of adult libation (to the nearest bar), and some just wandering around lost (…..been there, done that). Our choice for first stop? Food
If a cruiser were not in the mood for such beverages, now is the time to wander about the ship and check-out the Excursions Desk, the Customer Service Desk (add money to Sail & Sign [S&S], or credit card), Main Dining Room (check with Maitre de for table location). Your table number will be printed on your S&S card.
We headed to our cabin, where we emptied our suitcases and hung our clothes. It’s amazing how much room there is in the cabin when you consider the drawers and shelves. On this cruise, we have what is called a “French Door” cabin. Just slightly more expensive than a regular interior cabin, but there is a door that can be opened — no balcony, mind you; but at least you get fresh air if you want it. We have written about this type of cabin in the Christmas cruise on the Legend and again you should realize that crew members do work outside your window on occasion during port days. Another VERY important piece of advice would be to select a cabin that is in-between lifeboats – it changes the view entirely. But if you book later and can’t get one, any French door cabin will do if you are looking for just the fresh air.
The view is great in-between lifeboats. Each morning you can see what the weather is like, you can view the port or watch the docking taking place, so many things and those two lifeboats just don’t cause a problem in our opinion (not when you’re paying for an interior cabin!!).
Do You Decorate Your Door?
I must admit I have a passion for it. I’m not that good, I’ve seen so many lavish doorways and they are beautiful. But in my case it’s just a way of passing time before the cruise (and a way for John to find the cabin–sshhh, you didn’t hear me say that.)
I like to change the theme around on every cruise, but this one was very basic and very simple.
This was our stateroom steward Nengah (pronounced “Nin-ja”). Like others before him, he was excellent. He always had a smile on his face, was there when you needed him and answered any request as quickly as he could. We enjoy talking with the crew and Nengah was no exception.
We wandered around the ship for awhile and checked out the casino. It’s always great to see new machines. While we were walking through the casino we meet the managers who were off duty. They were so nice and spent time talking with us when I’m sure they had things they needed to do.
Okay, next up on our cruise was the Muster Drill. Not a painful process but after this was done we were able to get underway and the Sail Away Party began. Whooooop–Whoooop!!
Dinner at the Golden Fleece Steakhouse
Oh my, my– this is such a great experience. We were so happy that Penny, Bill, and Carolyn wanted to do this. This was not to be the only visit we made to the steakhouse, it is really that good–makes you want to come back. The views are spectacular from the steakhouse on the Legend and I found myself popping out of the chair on many occasions to take a photo. The restaurant is technically in the base of the whale tail which is surrounded by red windows.
The moment this picture was taken, we were passing under the Sunshine Skyway. The closeness of the bridge to the funnel causes many ooooohs and aahhhs from cruisers. The next picture was taken because I was fascinated by the red glow in the dining room and when I looked up there was a reflection of people at the railing out by the edge of the ship taking photos. They weren’t looking down into the restaurant, but they gave an eerie ghost-like illusion.
The following photo is absolutely stunning, the Carnival Legend passing under the Sunshine Skyway. It reflects the reality as to why only certain size ships can use Tampa as a port.
How to End a Perfect Embarkation Day
I have no idea! I’m not sure we ever officially “end” a perfect day on a cruise. But on this particular occasion, we spent time in the Casino with our favorite drink in hand, laughing and talking, losing and winning, but just all around good fun! There is no better sleep than on a ship – just ask my husband, the Chief. Many people choose to go to the Welcome Aboard Party, the Comedy Shows, and other activities. You’ll not be disappointed, nor will you go to bed really, really early!!!
Ooops – Someone Just Asked About Chief & Mrs. Bos’n
Yes, indeed, we brought our furry little friends with us. But not until they had decided on their Halloween costumes. Boats wanted to go to the party as a Coast Guard Chief, but we wouldn’t let him. There will be more on that later. Here they are on Embarkation day — party, party!
Chief Bos’n has grown a mustache since his last cruise on the Carnival Glory. A friend of mine at the college, Maria, took him home over a weekend so that she could work on his ‘stache. She sent an email saying that he was “having a good time” and included this photo (personally I think he was having too good of a time!!) –
If you read the FunTimes, you will see that there is more than enough to keep you occupied on a sea day. Amazing how many people have a routine — sunning by the pool all day, enjoying the sunshine on the Serenity deck, trying your hand at the slot machines or tables in the casino, nibbling on some pizza while you read a good book that you brought on your Kindle, and on and on. John likes to enjoy the Serenity deck for awhile and then a cup of coffee with a good book on his iPad. Don’t let that you fool you, he doesn’t stick with coffee all day, at some point the decision is made to switch to a more adult beverage. If you ask him “Where does Peg spend her time?” the answer comes immediately….the casino!! Yes, I do spend time in the casino; I never make a lot, but I sure have fun playing at it. However, I have to keep in mind that if I want to return to the casino that evening and play some more, I try to cut my losses and run. Yup, John would give me a little more (and has on some occasions), but that for me is like stepping up on the block in the middle of a town square and publicly proclaiming “I’m a loser; I’m a loser.” But then I guess as they say in law truth is a defense.
Brunch on a sea day is absolutely wonderful and if you haven’t done it – give it a try, at least once. The first time we went to one (on a different ship) it was the Punchliner Comedy brunch and the comedians were just so-so. But I can’t necessarily blame them.. it was on the Glory off the Canadian coast and the water was a bit rough (remnants of a tropical storm). Weren’t that many people in the dining room and there were a lot of people not feeling too perky (maybe even the comedians). On a beautiful sea day, though, the brunch is a real treat.
Another favorite of ours on a sea days is the Tea Time. Every ship has had it in different locations, on the Legend it was held at 3:30 in Truffles Dining Room. They serve some very special items, little sandwiches and pastries. Our tradition of going to tea began the first cruise we joined some new friends (Ron and Jean). The girls convinced the guys that tea was fun and full of goodies to eat, BUT…..they had to promise to hold their pinky up in the air when drinking. Well Ron and Jean were sailing on a different cruise this year, but as usual they sent us their “Tea Time Greeting.”
The “Miss You” photo has become quite the tradition for us — it’s fun if you have friends who are fellow tea people sailing on a separate cruise. Someday soon we’ll share tea again and break bread.
OOOOOO….I almost forgot.
This was the day for the Slot Tournament. I usually do enter, but not John. However, this is our Platinum trip and one of the perks is “Buy One, Get One.” So we decided to both enjoy the fun. I bought him a ticket and he bought me a ticket (awwww…ain’t true love grand). I’m amazed at the total points that some people can climb to; heaven knows, I push that button as fast as I can with everything I’ve got and …..well you know what I’m about to say. You may have even been there yourself.
Now my friend, Penny, she is a Blackjack person and GOOD at it. She enters the Blackjack tournaments and has come out the top winner several times. Sometimes in the evening we played at the BJ table with them (not a tournament). They’re good about helping us along and making suggestions. Again, I’m not particularly good at the game, but I have fun. Bill would help me and even if I lost, he would say “Well played though, well played.” It’s kind of like losing with great style and grace — I still lost, but I felt better about it. Now one thing I can say–every night I turned my chips into a single $100 chip. I brought that same $100 chip back the following night. At the end of that evening did the exact same thing. So it felt good to at least know that I was coming out even each night. When I met up with John, I found that he also had a $100 chip, plus $5. He kept bringing his same money to the casino each night.
This was the first Formal or Elegant night, which in John’s mind equates to escargot and lobster!!!! He’s willing to put on a nice shirt and tie for this one. Sometimes we have a photo taken, but knowing that Halloween would provide even better photo opportunities, we didn’t pose for any formal picture on this night. Usually after dinner, one or both of us will return to the cabin and put on more comfortable clothes. Don’t ask me why, the other clothes certainly aren’t uncomfortable, but I just like getting into casual clothes and going to the casino.
The casino host that we met on the Legend was Genefiel. She like so many others is married to another casino employee. They both were exceptionally nice as they are to all passengers. On this night, she told us “Wait until Halloween — you won’t recognize me. I’m not going to tell you what my costume is; you’ll have to figure out which one is me.”
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