Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cruise 2K8 Review: Day 1, 2 and 3

WARNING: This is going to be a LONG one!

I have to say this was probably the best vacation I have ever had. Everything travel wise went pretty smoothly. Our flights were on time. We did have to get up super early to be at the airport a little after 5 am for our 7 am flight. But we ended up getting the seats in the very front of the plane so it felt like first class- so much leg room! We got to Tampa early and had to wait for the port to open at 10 am. But we didn’t have to wait around long for embarkation after that though. The Carnival Legend was a little bit smaller than the Glory we sailed on last year. The only thing bad about that was the ship did sway a lot once we were out at sea. I could feel us moving almost all the time except the last day when we were in the calm waters of the Gulf of Mexico . The ship even made a lot of weird noises that I had never heard on a cruise. But the waiters said it was normal, so I tried not to worry too much. That first day, we just ate lunch, had a few drinks, and got acclimated to the ship (which wasn’t too hard because the ship wasn’t as big as last year’s).

The next day- our first day at sea, I soaked up the sun and read my book by the pool. It was very relaxing. We had breakfast in the dining room and I got to have my Eggs Benedict. (I do have to say I think Briggs in Raleigh has them beat). The waiters at breakfast weren’t the best. It took them forever to do anything, but the food was good, so it was worth it. We could only make it to the dining room for breakfast a few times. Mostly we just got room service because we had to be ready to get off the ship so early almost every day!

Lunch at the buffet on the Lido deck the day before was not my favorite. So for the rest of the trip, I mostly stuck to the burgers at the grill or pizza up there. We did eat lunch in the dining room that day and it was ok. It was 3-course and the sushi appetizer and the dessert were good, but my sandwich was not what I was expecting (some kind of shrimp salad, not actual shrimp). The sushi at the sushi bar was also really good.

Dinner every night was pretty good. (Monday and Friday were formal nights- I missed Friday due to too much tequila in Cozumel that day!) But I did have wonderful food all week! I had crab cakes, pork loin, filet mignon, shrimp, crab legs, the BEST Caesar salad ever, the BEST macaroni and cheese EVER, cr√®me brulee, souffl√©, and we even had birthday cake twice (once for mine and Brooklyn’s B-day and once for Roger’s B-day).

Our first island was Grand Cayman- mine and B’s birthday! We got off the ship early (like 7 am!) and took a taxi to 7 mile beach (Royal Palms). We walked up and down the beach a little while. It was so pretty. The sand is white and fine and the water is so clear. We saw some interesting things in the water while walking down the beach: a jellyfish (EEK!), a big crab, and a bra (someone must have had a wild night!). We walked back to Royal Palms and hung out in the water and enjoyed the almost deserted beach for about an hour or so.

Then we took a taxi to Margaritaville. They had some shops here so we strolled around and looked at stuff. We went in this diamond shop and looked at the most beautiful diamonds. They were Hearts on Fire, and they were stunning. The one I fell in love with was about 2 karats, flawless, and cost about $40,000 (without the setting)! I tried some rum cake (the coconut one was good), but I didn’t want to buy any and have to carry it around on our excursion. They also had these caged parrots there that kept squawking “Hello, Hello”. I finally went up to them and said “Hello”. The parrot said “Hello”. I said “How are you?”, and the parrot said “I’m fine!” (I totally wasn’t expecting that!). It was so funny. Margaritaville also had a waterslide so we spent a while having fun on that. We HAD to get some Margaritas here! The souvenir glass one was $20! So I opted for the smaller one which was still $11! We had lunch here too and the bill for the 4 of us was over $120 (we only had 1 drink each, nachos, a quesadilla, and a burger so that was a lot!).

Then we met our ride for our Jet Ski excursion. It was just our group (me, Brooklyn , Kevin, and Kristin) and a family of 4 from our ship (a mom, dad, teenage girl, and boy about 8-10 years old). When the guy was driving us out to the beach club to get on the jet skis we found out gas is about $8/gollon on the island (and you thought it was expensive here)! We had booked our excursion through and it was probably my one of my favorites. The jet skis were really nice. Kristin and I rode together. The little boy was scared I think, so we kept having to stop to wait on them to catch up because they were going so slow. We rode across the ocean to this natural sandbar they call “ Stingray City ”. There were already a lot of other boats and people out there. I wasn’t scared at first, but then I saw how big they were and how they weren’t scared of us at all and I freaked out. I was holding onto Kristin because I didn’t want to put my feet down and I ended up getting back on the Jet Ski for most of our time there. Our guide got the rays to come up to us by feeding them. He then let people in our group hold one and gave us all back rubs (he picked it up and it flopped on our back–yes I even did it!). A few of us (yes- me too), kissed the Stingray which was supposed to bring us 7 years of good luck. He even showed us his stinger (yes it was big, but he didn’t seem scared at all). He said they were southern stingrays, not the aggressive bull stingrays that killed the Crocodile Hunter. But the little boy with us was FREAKING out over the stingrays. It sounded like someone was trying to kill him. And the funny thing was the parents didn’t even really care that much- they were too into the stingrays!

After Stingray City we rode the jet skis out to Rum Point which is this quaint, secluded beach spot. We relaxed in the hammocks a while and looked around, but we were worried about getting to the ship on time (because our ride back was going to take over 1 hour) so we headed back across the ocean. (I wished we would have had a mudslide at Rum Point because I hear it is their signature drink). The waves were really rough on the trip back and I was holding on to the Jet Ski for dear life. In fact I was holding on so hard it rubbed the skin raw on my left leg. It hurt so bad, but it was worth it and we all made it back on time! It was a GREAT excursion!

That night was my birthday. Kristin had got me and Brooklyn each our own birthday cake which was a great surprise. And Stephanie decorated our rooms so there was no doubt it was our birthday! I already told you about how I prepared for karaoke that night. Let me tell you, after that I was DRUNK! I didn’t get a picture of the sting ray towel animal that night because I apparently messed it up by falling all over the bed and I called the pursers desk to ask where I might find this hot guy that I had seen on the ship’s TV channel earlier that day who worked for Carnival (they thought it was the most hilarious question they ever heard). It was all a blur, but luckily I didn’t have to get off the boat until 11am the next day (thank you itinerary change!).

Pictures from the first Days 1-3:

Hint: Don't click "Download this video", just use the arrows at the bottom

Coming up next: Honduras and Belize

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