at the Water's Edge

Living life and learning all I can along the way!

Summer Vacation Part 2: The Cruise Ship & Life On Board

If you've never been on a cruise, I'll tell you that it's a very different sort of vacation than anything else I've done.  Last week I went on my second cruise.  The first time I was twelve.  So, needless to say, this experience was a bit different, but every bit as much fun as I recalled having as a kid.  This time around, we did a 7-Day Western Caribbean cruise through Carnival, leaving out of Tampa, FL and stopping at four ports along the way: Cozumel, Mexico; Belize City, Belize; Isla Roatan, Honduras; and Grand Cayman.  I did far less laying by the pool and reading my book than I expected, but that's okay, because we were busy having fun!  Here's a breakdown of our experiences on the cruise ship itself.  I'll follow up with a subsequent post about the different ports we visited:

The Carnival Legend
We were on the Carnival Legend cruise ship for our trip, which holds about 2,100 passengers, plus crew members.  It didn't take long to realize that our ship had a theme.  The decor was pretty ornate, and all around the ship was decorated with artwork depicting various legends, stories and myths. 

We were on the 5th deck out of I think 11 total.  We stayed in room 5211, which was actually a decent sized room and had a balcony with a nice view of the Caribbean or whatever happened to be outside!  

We really had great weather and a very smooth ride around the Caribbean, too.  There were only one or two nights where we could really feel the ship rocking.  The ship contained multiple pools, bars, restaurants/food areas, a theater, a comedy club, a game room and much more!  My favorite area was the Serenity, adult-only poolside deck.  They also had more comfortable lounge chairs and giant hammocks.  

The service on board was great, and we always enjoyed coming back to our room in the evening to some different sort of animal made out of rolled up and folded towels.  Some were cute, some were, well, interesting.


The Food
The food on board was decent, but the main dining restaurant, Truffles, was kind of hit or miss with me for dinner.  Each night you are given a different menu with food options for starters, main course and dessert.  There are a few options that are available all week, then a few that are exclusive to that night.  The first cruise elegant night (where you have to dress up a little more for dinner) was my favorite dinner there -- lobster!  I also enjoyed the fried shrimp which somehow turned up on the menu three different nights under three different titles.  The most interesting new thing I tried was a chilled strawberry bisque.  I've always been leery of trying cold soups, because the concept just seems strange to me, but this one tasted like a melted smoothie--yum!  We ate at Truffles for one lunch, and I had delicious vegetable fajitas!  We never made it there for breakfast, but it probably would have been good.  

They also have a steakhouse on board called Golden Fleece (none of us could quite remember how that legend went, so we'll have to look that up!), which we went to one night.  The other food is all included in the cost of the cruise, but for an extra I think $35 you can have a good selection of steak and seafood at the steakhouse.  I had the surf & turf, which was delicious.  Tom got cheesecake for dessert.  It was the largest piece of cheesecake I have ever seen.  The thing stood about 6 inches tall!  He made a good dent, but didn't quite finish it.  

There's always food available on a cruise ship, if you know where to find it.  Up on deck 9, the Lido Deck, there was the Unicorn Cafe which housed a multitude of buffet style food for breakfast, lunch, I believe dinner (though we never ate there) and late night snacking.  They had all different styles of food, some of which changed from day to day.  My favorite was the Chopsticks Chinese food buffet, which had some delicious chicken dishes, fried rice, noodles and won-tons.  

And, finally, there's room service, which also comes free of charge (er, it was rolled up into the mass sum already paid for the cruise).  We only did room service a couple of times for breakfast, which was nice because we could eat it out on our balcony.  It was also fast and easy for days when we had a schedule to stick to.  The breakfast orders work in an interesting way: there's a form you fill out with what you want and you hang it on your door at night, specifying at which time you would like it delivered.  The interesting thing is that if you happen to go to the late night comedy show and get back to your room after other people have already filled out their breakfast orders you can see what they requested. And, um, make changes.  My dad and his girlfriend happened to occupy the room next to ours.  After a brief survey of their breakfast order which consisted of cereal, milk and yogurt, we decided to have a little fun.  We added an order for 2 chocolate milks and an order of strawberry jelly.  Because, you know, everybody likes to have strawberry jelly with their cereal!  I wasn't sure they'd actually deliver it, but they did.  Needless to say, they were very confused in the morning when their cereal came with chocolate milk and they discovered a side of strawberry jelly but no toast or anything to put it on!

The Activities

Each evening we received in our rooms a schedule of the following day, listing any relevant arrival and departure times from the various ports and listing out all of the various activities that were available to participate in on the ship that day.  There were game shows, trivia games, bingo, competitions, karaoke, comedy shows, sing & dance shows and more!  Our favorites were the various games, competitions and trivia.  The honeymooners (that'd be my brother & his new wife who were on the cruise with us) do trivia on a weekly basis at a local bar, so we joined them for most of the trivia games we could get to.  They had all sorts of trivia games: decades trivia, music trivia, movie trivia, food trivia, etc. but most importantly was the Super Duper Trivia competition that went on throughout the week.  It was a series of 4 competitions, with accumulating scores for each team.  We started off rather poorly, but did much better at the other 3.  I'm afraid I wasn't a whole lot of help, but I knew a couple of answers.  By the last day of Super Duper Trivia we earned our way up to 2nd place overall and took 1st place for that game.  For the winners of various games and competitions on board, they were handing out "trophies" that consisted of a "solid gold plastic Ship on a Stick" as well as medals.  It became our goal to collect as many of these things as possible.  By the last Super Duper Trivia, we had collectively won the following: 5 Ship on a Stick Trophies, 3 Medals, and 1 Bottle of Champagne (plus a dice key chain, which my brother won in the casino).

Tom and I won a couple of medals on our own by participating in the "Giant Tower Competition".  We had no idea what this was, but it was the day we were in Cozumel and we didn't have any excursions planned, so we decided to check it out.  As it turns out, most people had already left the boat and Tom and I were the only ones that showed up!  All it really was was a giant game of Jenga, with pieces about three times the normal size.  We played along with our crew member host, Dan the Man from Ohio, and collectively built the tower up to almost my height!  In the end, Dan made the tower fall, but said it was the tallest tower he'd ever seen.  Since there's no winner in Jenga, just a loser, Tom and I were both honored as victors with medals.

We went to some of the Showtime activities, and some were better than others.  There were a total of 4 comedians who had shows on board, and we went to the comedy shows every night there was one offered. Some of the people were funnier than others, but it was entertaining!  Overall, there were tons of activities to do on board -- we picked and chose the ones we thought we'd like best, then spent the remainder of the time playing cards or hanging out in our rooms or by the pool.  It was a wonderful, fun and relaxing trip!

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Hi there! My name is Dana and I live in West Michigan with my husband, Tom and our dog Copernicus. I created this space as a place to share the things I learn along this journey I call life. I work in marketing and I'm a sort of Jane of All Trades, interested in all things nature, gardening, cooking, exploring and learning new things. This blog is a conglomeration of my interests, hobbies, life and life lessons. Thanks for stopping by!