Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Cruising ...

As I said earlier, the following pictures are from my phone.  The quality is lacking, especially in low light conditions like the dining room.  This provides some interesting pixel-y pictures in various hues for your entertainment! My attempts at photo editing with color saturation didn't really work well and I made some of them worse.  I might spend more time on that later ... and then print them out and put them in an album in 10 years time.

We left Port Canaveral on a Saturday afternoon (January 18th).  On Sunday morning we had a little meeting together in a Chamber room that Michelle had pre-arranged with the Carnival staff.  It was a highlight for sure.  The rest of the day we enjoyed at sea, with formal dining that night. You might notice that I don't have pictures of everyone this second night.  There was some dining room mix-ups and some chose to change to the later dining time.  

Keithan found out that if you order off the kids menu you get your food much faster and then you can escape!  He and Grady took advantage of that, while Rhett didn't want to miss out on escargot, even though it caused him some distress when he had to wait.  Samara was also keen on the adult menu choices, until she ordered "fried chili", thinking it was chili, not chili pepper! It was some hot entertainment :)

Mom and dad

Uncle Roy and Auntie Joanne

Kirk, Cindy and Soraya

(A green tint version of Cindy and Soraya)

Julia (adopted family member for the week) and Angela

Uncle Dale and Auntie June

Auntie Marion and Samara

Fuzzy picture of Us

Samara's "fried chili" (even ate 1/2 of it)

Samara and Annie kept the photographers busy:  They had some really cute photos taken.  Unfortunately the professional cruise photos are on the expensive side and we didn't buy any.  I saw people taking pictures of their pictures in the gallery, but I didn't try that (but now I wish I did even though I was embarrassed for those folks at the time)!

Pretty Posers

Water fun:  The kids didn't seem to mind that it was barely warm enough for water slides.  However, it didn't take too long for them to realize that the hot tubs were the best choice.  I often felt sorry for others who were attempting to enjoy them.  Whose kids were those anyway???  Did I mention that Dad was in charge of the swimming activities for the kids?  I'm not exactly complaining, as it did allow me a few minutes alone with my "I am Hutterite" book (which was a very good read in case you are interested).  And it isn't like we'll ever see those poor people who were  splashed and trampled!!  They should have a couple hot tubs for the 10 and under age group.  I should have wrote that in my feedback survey for Carnival.  Ha ha!

Jarvis - laid back supervisor
Redneck cruiser - wore jeans every day (and never went down the slide once)

Redneck sunbathers - Rhett and Daudi

Never more than a few miles from land, even if it is straight down

Next up ... ports of call.

Friday, February 28, 2014

First cruise - take 1

Where to begin ...

We've been back over a month and I need to get these memories down on digital paper before I forget.

I have held cruises in high esteem since I ever heard of them ... all you can eat food with amazing service, cabin steward who cleans your room and makes your bed, new countries and ports of call and top that with Caribbean sunshine ... what more could a person ever want in this life??  I guess you could say the bar was set high before we even set foot on the boat!

We cruised on the "beautiful Carnival Dream", as we were assured of over and over again.  And, it was an impressive ship:  2 dining rooms, multiple hot tubs and pools, water slides, mini golf course, ping pong tables, 24 hour pizza and ice-cream and 12 decks to explore.   It was amazing how quickly the kids found the quickest route from the stateroom to the ice-cream.  

The entertainment was outstanding on a few evenings - phenomenal props and costume changes and choreography in their performances.  The break dancers, aka, Fun Force were impressive.  One one evening they had a couple guys that had the most amazing core strength I have ever seen. Ever.  They were "competing" in shows of strength using poles - climbing the pole in increasing levels of difficulty.  I cannot explain it and I have no video, as per their copy write and safety laws.  I did think the volume of the Encore shows was excessive.  I even wrote that in the feedback survey!  Maybe by the time I go on my next cruise the decibels will be lower ;) 

The food was plenteous and delicious, with the exception of the desserts.  We found they looked exquisite, but the taste didn't match the presentation for the most part.  I did have the chocolate melting cake, on Michelle's recommendation, and it was for sure one of the best desserts.  At 1200 calories, it should be worth eating!!  I didn't weigh in and weigh out, so I'm not sure what the overall damage was.  The 10 times I took the stairs helped I'm sure!

Cruising with a large group was more challenging than I thought.  I had really no idea how it would be, and I did feel a little lost when I couldn't find my own family at times!  Although, sometimes I lost them on purpose.  Ha!  We practiced some good old fashioned communication skills such as, "Have you seen ??" "Oh, they are looking for you", "I think they are ....".  I will be more proactive on my next cruise so I don't waste as much precious cruise time looking for people.  Although, the more laps I made around the decks, the more calories I burned :)

 On quite a sad note, I must share that my camera broke on the first night of the cruise.  I took a few supper pictures on that first night, as you will see, and the next day my camera would not even turn on.  So, the quality of my cruise pictures are not what they could be ... sad, sad, sad.  But, I am thankful I brought along my phone so I could at least capture some of it.  With 25 plus of us cruising together, I'm hoping I'll get a few more pictures sent my way.

 All aboard!

First glimpse of the "beautiful Carnival Dream" after getting our bags from the mafia porters.

Room with a view, not a balcony.

Formal Dining

Here we all are:  It was as calm and orderly as you can imagine :)  Lots of laughs .. except from Kirk, at this moment!

To be continued .....

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

LEGOLAND continued

Unleashed in ....

Hmm ... what to do first?

photo op ... 3/100

Photo op .. 4/100

Quite a few driving skills to learn yet!

Running from the cops!

More gallows!

Proof that Samara and Rhett are crazy  ... soaking wet ride on a barely warm day!

FUNNIEST picture!

Award for 2nd place - FUNNIEST picture

Note my high score  (Phil must have been sleeping)!


Our souvenir of LEGOLAND ... picture printed on LEGO blocks.