Thursday, April 28, 2016

Family cruise: Random memories and things we'd change

Random memories:

*Andrea:  Old lady comedian. 
There were two comedians on the ship--a man and a woman. Andrew and I went to the woman's PG show. It was hilarious. She was a middle aged woman who dressed up as an old lady and she cracked us up.

*Andrew:  Driving in our taxi in Cozumel and hearing people speak Spanish took me back to my mission.

*Whitney: Shopping in Cozumel.
Before the cruise, we had a yard sale. The girls helped work it and got to keep the money for souvenirs. They had fun shopping at all the touristy places right at the port in Cozumel. Whit bought a new wallet and a fan. Caroline got a travel neck pillow, fan, a pen, and a stuffed animal dolphin.

This is an "Oxygen Bar."
I have no idea what that means.
I thought they looked ridiculous.
But they did have a cool gun that shot bubble rings!

*Drew:  The sweet curly mustache on our crew member in Key West's snorkeling boat.
I wish I would have taken a picture of that, too! I think it was the craziest mustache I've ever seen in real life. 

*Whit:  How Mom failed on her dolphin trick.
Ha! That was hilarious! So, there were two different tricks where you had to swim out into the middle of the lagoon and the dolphin would come out to you. On the first one, we had to lay on our bellies and your feet HAD to be flexed or the dolphin couldn't push you on the boogie board. This was FIRMLY emphasized.

For the second trick, you were supposed to just float upright in the water, with your legs dangling down and the dolphin would swim up to you with his fins out of the water and you would hold on to them. I was one of the first ones to take my turn and didn't understand. I laid down in the water on my belly again, but tried to have my legs dangling down. Oops. Poor dolphin was so confused. He went ahead and pushed me like I was a boogie board, even though I was only in my life jacket. It was hilarious. Out of the ten people in our group, I was the ONLY one that failed. :( But it ended up working to my advantage because they sent me out for a second try. Woot! (And I did it right that time!)

*Drew:  There weren't many crazy college kids on the ship, but our next door neighbors were some of them. We had to call security on them one night because they were being so loud.

*Andi:  Our tablemates that we scared off.
So, we had four dinners on the ship. We like to eat in the sit-down restaurant for dinner. They have assigned seating. The first night we showed up and had the table all to ourselves. The second night, another family came to join us. They were a married couple with three kids, a few years older than our kids. They sat down and didn't say a word to us THE ENTIRE NIGHT. Awkward! 

There are photographers who come around the dining room throughout the evening. When the parents were posing for their picture, the dad pretended (?) to be throwing gang signs. Andrew jokingly said, "Um, we need new table mates." 

And we never saw them again.


In the dinner restaurant, they have a kid's menu with all the traditional kid's menu fare:  chicken nuggets, spaghetti, pizza. Every night, Caroline would order an appetizer of french fries from the kid's menu. But that girl loves her meat and would then order a steak or a pork loin or some other hunk of meat for her main course. For dessert, she would sometimes order from the kid's, sometimes the adult menu. Our favorite item on the kid's menu was ASSORTED COOKIES. I don't know why we thought that sounded so funny. Every night, we would pretend we were ordering assorted cookies from each other and we would talk in a British accent when we did. One night, Whit actually did order them.

They were not the fancy assorted cookies we were envisioning.

It was just a couple of plain-looking chocolate chip cookies.

What a let down.

There's our ship in the background:
Carnival Fantasy 

Warm chocolate melting cake! 

Cruise elegant night 

Sunset at Cozumel 

C and I went to the towel folding demo 

*Drew: Checking in our luggage at the beginning of the cruise.
We are not first time cruisers, but in our haste to get on the boat, we somehow missed the step where you check in your luggage. I didn't mind. When you check it, it shows up in your room sometime on that first afternoon/evening. I was happy to have all our stuff with us.

But it also meant that we had to lug ALL our suitcases around with us on the ship until our room was ready--an hour or two after we boarded.

We looked pretty ridiculous. Andrew felt like he was one of the Beverly Hillbillies.

If we could go back and do it again, I would have packed a separate bag with swimsuits and sunscreen so that the kids could swim right when we got on, but we wouldn't need ALL of our suitcases.

Imagine lugging all of those suitcases around!

*Drew, Me, and Whit: Longer excursions!
Our stays at the ports were TOO SHORT. We were in Key West from 9-2ish and our excursion was from 10-1. It felt like the kids were just getting their bearings for snorkeling when they blew their whistles to let us know that it was time to get back on the boat.

The big kids and I stopped at a couple of shops when we got off the catamaran, but felt very rushed. I wish we could have explored Key West more!

It looks like a fun place to explore.... 

Maybe I'll never know...

Cozumel was the same way. We would have loved to have stayed at our resort another hour or two. There was so much to do and not enough time to do it all.

We watched a little sea lion show. 

It was OK.
But if we knew how good the snorkeling was,
we would have skipped it to just spend that time snorkeling. 

Maybe we'll go back sometime.

*B:  Don't let sevvies into Circle C.
Ha! I don't think the parents of sevvies would be OK with that. What I should have done was register him for the 15-17 yr old club. He's so tall that he totally would have blended in with them. And no one asked for proof of birth date.

*B:  Free wifi.
Personally, I loved disconnecting from the world for the week. Teenage boys apparently do not feel the same way.

*Drew: That we didn't have to drive 12 hours to the port.
I don't know if we can sail out of Miami again. The drive down went completely smooth and it still took twelve hours. That's just a long day.

And the drive home? UGH. Don't even get me started. I-95 during spring break is just RIDICULOUS. It is packed with spring breakers as well as snow birds heading back up north for the summer. SOOOOOO SLLLLOOOOOWWWWW. And there are no good back roads to take.

Andrew actually vowed to never go to Florida over spring break again. I told him to pull over and let me drive because he's not allowed to make ban the state that has some of my fave vacation spots. I took over driving for a couple hours during the stop and go, but still don't know if he'll go back with us if that's where I want to go next year.

*W: Shorter lines
Sometimes the lines for the buffet, the burger joint, or the taco shop were LONG.

*W:  More variety at breakfast.
We loved the dinners, but by the end of the week, the breakfasts seemed monotonous. Would have been nice if they could have mixed things up a bit more.

*Drew and Caroline:  More ice cream stations and flavors.
On this ship, they only had two ice cream machines, both in the same spot on the lido deck. They had vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. On one of our previous cruises, the ship had two different spots for soft serve. We missed that.

*Andrea:  Leave chocolates on our pillows at night
On all of our previous cruises, we come back to the room at night to find towel animals, the schedule for the next day's activities, and cute little chocolates. I loved them! Carnival is cutting back on us, apparently, because no chocolates this time. Sad.

*Andrea:  Different shows on the ship
Andrew and I cruised a year and a half ago for his 40th birthday and this ship had the EXACT SAME SHOWS. And we didn't like them last time. Boo! Lame! Time to update the entertainment, Carnival.

*Andrew: Don't play "Baby Got Back" in public.
Yikes. The kids were swimming in the lido deck pool and there was a DJ out there who played Baby Got Back. Seriously???

Cover your ears, kids! 

Those are the types of things that make me want to save my pennies up to take a Disney cruise. I bet they don't play Baby Got Back on that ship! (Who has been on one? Do they?) I looked into it for this cruise and it would have cost TWICE AS MUCH to sail with Disney on an itinerary that was ONE DAY SHORTER. Hard to justify. But I might try it eventually.

*Andrea: Don't get stung while snorkeling.
At the very end of our time in the water off of Key West, I got stung on the neck by something. Our mustachioed guide said he thinks it was a fire sponge. It hurt really bad when it stung, but then it was just a minor discomfort for a couple of hours.

It left a yucky welt, too.

As you can see, our complaints sound pretty trivial. Overall, we loved sharing a fun adventure as a family. I'd love to do it again. Hopefully out of a closer port. And maybe try a different cruise line for variety. We'll see!


  1. I completely having the same debate about the Disney Cruise vs Carnival or Royal Caribbean! My vote is Disney, Dave's more leaning towards RC. You don't get the party crowd with RC, but you do get a lot of old people and almost no kids. So we're still debating.
    Ouch on your welt. Whitney looks so old in the first picture! And I love the blue sandals with your blue sweater.

  2. Looks like a lot of fun! But that sting scares me! Yikes! Glad it got better so fast. And I think it is hilarious that you scared off your table mates!

  3. First of all, I thought Whitney was YOU in the photo in her long swimsuit cover-up! The kids all look old and you two look young. I was guffawing all through this post. Love you all,
    Mom S