So … a bit about the awesome vacation that I just two days ago returned from!
My wife and I took a seven day cruise on the Carnival Dream out of Port Canaveral down to the Western Caribbean (Mexico, Belize, Honduras, Mexico – Pt. 2). It was a bit different than our last cruise of 3 years ago – bigger boat (almost twice as many passengers as the Carnival Legend!), bigger port (though a farther drive for us from Tampa) – but easily just as much fun … I won’t get into playing favorites because both were pretty great trips!
…was pretty awesome! We ended up splurging for a room up on the spa deck (#12), which is the highest deck with guest rooms on the ship and also considerably smaller than any of the main areas, so for the most part it was a little bit quieter and secluded. Plus, it was literally right around the corner from the gym & spa, which made it a little easier to actually go on a regular basis! Also, for whatever reason, we kind of had two bathrooms in our room – or at least two showers & sinks, anyways, which made it a lot easier for us both to get ready at the same time!!!
I still hardly believe it myself, but I actually exercised multiple times throughout the course of this trip!!! It kind of became our morning routine to get up and knock out 30 minutes on the elliptical down in the gym before laying around in the spa and then proceeding to gorge ourselves on food the rest of the day. …but hey, those 330 calories burned still … helped, I’m sure! 😯
Albeit a little intimidating for a guy who A) knows nothing about this kind of stuff, and B) is a guy, having access to some of the spa amenities as part of our room package was another nice way to relax away from all of the hustle bustle of the rest of the ship – it’s nice to know a place where there’s typically only half a dozen people present at the same at the same time that you are! 😀
I used the Thalassotherapy Pool (basically a giant hot tub with mineral salts and revitalizing blah blah blah) pretty much every day after my workout, and then worked my way over to the saunas to lay around a little more, though some of the more intense steam rooms were a bit much for me. Unfortunately, we didn’t end up having enough money to do any of the massages or anything – we’d really been looking forward to doing a couple’s massage – but we did do this Mud Room Therapy which involved green mud and covering each other in it and I’ll stop now… 😉
Another particularly interesting thing that we did this week was drink – there was a lot of wine consumed by the both of us, but at least we got something at least partially educational out of it by attending a wine tasting & pairing seminar that one of the wine stewards hosted. I think we’ve both been curious about wine for a while, but we never really know what to buy and typically just end up sticking to the one or two kinds that we know for sure that we both like, so this was super interesting to not only get a chance to sample five different types of wine, but also see just how dramatically different wine can taste depending on the foods that you’re eating with it – a simple bite of cheese or fish changed a bitter wine into something much more desirable, which we both found kind of fascinating! It ultimately encouraged us to buy two different bottles in the dining room to have with our meals, plus we had actually brought two bottles with us, so yeah, it’s safe to say that we did a fair amount of drinking on this trip, but at least this time it was sophisticated drinking… 😉
More alcohol! Honestly, neither of us really drink martinis, but this seemed kinda neat anyways and we figured what better way to find out if we like martinis than by drinking eight of them in one sitting?! Our bartender was amazing, as dully noted in the photo below as he pours four different drinks at the same time! They are mini glasses, mind you, and we each had about half of each one, which we figured worked out to about two full-sized drinks a piece, but I myself was still a bit tipsy making my way to the dining room after that! I think my own personal favorites were the Spicy Chipolte, followed by the Sea Blue, which should be numbers 2 & 8 in the picture below…
Bond, James Bond
And what goes better with martinis than a little James Bond?! One of the nights they had a Bond marathon on the 22′ big screen out by the main pool, so after dinner and all of the other festivities I convinced Sara to sit out with me and watch Goldfinger for a little bit. Awesome way to spend an evening, if I do say so myself!
I remember hearing the announcement not too long ago that Carnival had chosen George Lopez as the sort of celebrity sponsor of the new comedy clubs on their ships, so I was pretty curious to see how it all turned out. Apparently there’s sort of a bad stigma that comedians who work the cruise ship circuit get, though I’ve never really noticed any difference in “quality” myself on either of the two cruises that I’ve personally been on.
We only made it to two shows this cruise – their schedule was kind of confusing because when we first heard them boasting about “20 shows this week,” I guess I just assumed that it translated to shows every night, when in fact they did 3 shows a night on select nights at the beginning and end of the cruise, and sadly, the shows that we ended up going to were only 30-40 minutes long. They also did a “Comedy Brunch” that was basically a teaser to get you to come to the full show that night, but even those only featured maybe 5-10 minutes of material during your meal.
I detail this out only because it was actually a lot of fun and I would’ve liked more! Of the two shows that we hit, one was kinda so-so but the other was absolutely hilarious – it was a lot of improv acts with some comedians and some of the entertainment staff, and they just really went all out and it was pretty great. As opposed to my wife wanting to see all of the stage shows just about every night, I think next time I’d make more of an effort to get over to the comedy club because this really was a hidden gem and the place was packed to show it!
From sunrise to sunset, I think they speak for themselves… 😉
Rest & Relaxation
In summary, I guess you could say that all in all it was a very lazy vacation – lots of laying around, napping, relaxing, very little schedule-following, and generally just a chance to take a break from reality for a while and instead focus a little more time on each other, and also a little dedicated time to really and truly unwind, which frankly has felt long overdue!!! We actually didn’t go on a single shore excursion and really only even got off the boat in two of our four ports of call, and even those were just to wander around and shop for souvenirs for maybe an hour each time. We spent a lot of time laying around on the Serenity Deck (adults only!) and even just a lot of time laying around our stateroom, and it was great. 🙂
Things we didn’t do that we would’ve liked to – I wanted to spend just a little time losing money in the casino, as mentioned above – massage!, we would’ve liked to fit in a dinner at the steak house, oddly enough never quite made it on the water slides right outside our own deck, and even a nice and quiet shore excursion involving a beach, maybe some snorkeling right off said beach would’ve been nice. I definitely wouldn’t want to do too much because I can’t tell you how valuable all of that nothing time was for my sanity in hindsight, but I suppose that just gives us another excuse to go back again!
More Photos Here…