Sunday, December 12, 2010

Carnival Dream 12/4/10

(Here is a short break from education!)

015Last week we cruised on the Carnival Dream. We went to Nassau, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. Here is my journal about our week on the ship. To see more pictures, click here.


We left on the Carnival Dream today. Embarkation went very smoothly. We arrived at the port by 10:30 on the shuttle and left our car behind at the Hampton Inn. I only hope that it is still there when we return. We were on the ship by 11am and eating lunch. While waiting for our cabin to open, we stopped for a bucket of bear (4 for $21.54). Our muster drill station was in the Encore Lounge and we didn’t need our life jackets but it was really hot in the lounge. After the drill we went up to the Lido Aft Bar but I didn’t see any of my cruise critic friends and we just watched our ship leave out of the Florida. It is always fascinating to watch us pull out of the port as the sun is setting.

Dinner was at 6 and we sat with 2 other very nice couples. Mike and Jan are from Minnesota and Don and Melissa are from the Villages in Florida (but originally from TN- Nashville area). After dinner we walked around the ship and enjoyed the music.

I am surprised how run down this fairly new ship looks already and the service has really gone downhill. We had always loved cruising on Carnival but now we are rethinking this. I think because the economy is down that they have had so many cutbacks that it is affecting the running of the ship. As a Platinum guest, I should be treated special when I am in line for things but basically I’m ignored and treated like any other guest. The stationery that they give Platinum guests used to be nice shiny paper and now it is cheap regular paper. Our cabin steward never did turn down our bed last night which is the first time that has ever happened. As we walked around the ship we saw lots of rust and disrepair. I’m wondering if we will see more ship breakdowns in the future. We are hoping we will not be sorry we booked this ship as a back to back because now we feel stuck on this ship where the service is not very good and it is looking in rough shape.

Day 1 Nassau009

It was a really nice day. I was on the Lido deck and played on my computer before going back to the cabin to get my knitting and book. About 8am, Don joined me but I had already had an everything omelet. At 9am, we decided to go eat in the dining room so I had a second breakfast of French Toast (thank goodness it was a very small portion). I am trying to use the stairs in order to burn these extra calories I’m consuming but I’m not sure it is helping. I do know my calves are really sore and they say no pain no gain, so it must be helping! After breakfast we walked around the track and then used the coed sauna before finally laying under an umbrella until lunch time. After lunch we sat around the pool under an umbrella again so I did get some knitting done. We also went to a trivia game and walked around the ship. The Captain’s celebration was at 5pm and we met the Captain. We have sailed with him and the hotel director Pierre before. At dinner another new couple, Bruce and Pat joined us. We really have a great mix at dinner. We went to the “Get Ready” show after dinner and I was pleasantly surprised because it was better than I expected. We have been to so many shows that were the same thing but this one was different. The sets were different than we had seen and the dancers and singers were really good in this show. We will probably go to more after seeing this. Then we walked around the deck after the show but it was pretty windy so we ended up back in our room for the night.

Day 2 Sea Day008

Another day in Paradise. Today we went to the Chef’s cooking demo which included big sample of the mushroom cappuccino, spinach salad with mushrooms, a chicken dish, and tiramisu. I also entered the slot tournament but didn’t even get a huge score. During the day the top of my right foot became so painful that I could hardly walk on it. At first I thought I might have a stress fracture but later when my left toes started cramping, I hoped it was just cramping. In the afternoon we went to the sauna and then I elevated my foot and took some aspirin so by dinner time, it was feeling much better. At dinner there were just four of us (Mike and Jan from Minnesota) and we had a nice evening. It ended with the juggling show in the encore theater which was very entertaining.

Day 3 St. Thomas001

It was a relaxing day. Since it was overcast and showery, we did not go to the beach or snorkel. Instead, we walked around the mall right near the ship and then came back to the ship for lunch. After lunch we walked around the shops some more and found a cute bar that had a bucket of beers for $10 so we had a couple of buckets before coming back to the ship for dinner. The show was called Dancing in the Street which involved break dancing and some acrobatics which I enjoyed.

Day 4 St. Maarten008

Since it was still overcast and showery, we didn’t go to the beach like we usually do. We decided to take a tour around the island. Near the ships were lots of taxis and the posted rates were $90 for 1-2 people so we asked a cab driver to take us. He tried to talk us into going with a bigger crowd for less money but we didn’t want other people with us so he tried to find someone else to do it. Don and I both got a bad feeling about this like we would be ripped off so we told him to forget about it. So, we took the water taxi into town ($6 all day long) and found a cab driver (Ramona) who took us on a private tour for $80. We had a wonderful time and she said she even preferred private tours because they were easier. After the tour we found our favorite bar on the beach called Caribbean Blend and had a bucket of coronas for $12. While we were there, Mike and Jan came by and joined us for a little while. Then we walked around town before coming back for a couple of beers. We ended up having the last 2 coronas they had. Then we took the water taxi back to the ship and met up with Don and Melissa. At 5pm, we got back on the ship and it was already dark. I think that is the latest we have ever returned to a ship because when we went out to look where we were after our showers, we were already moving away from the dock. We didn’t go to the show because I was exhausted so we had an early night.

Day 5 At Sea004

We had a relaxing day and really didn’t do much at all. I entered the slot tournament again but had another really low score. I did get to finish knitting my second sock and I was really happy about that. Dinner was really nice again and it was formal night. We also had our laundry done today.

Day 6 At Sea004

Today was the last full day on the ship. We went to the sauna again and that was nice. It was nice that it was coed and Don and I could go in together because I don’t like being alone in there by myself. The ship was really rocking today. In fact, for the first time, I saw barf bags available at each elevator. We packed our bags pretty early in the day and it was fast and easy because we know we will just be switching cabins. We didn’t even have to put our luggage outside of our cabin because our cabin steward would be coming in the morning to move them to our new cabin. After dinner, we stood around and had a nice visit with Bruce and Pat (from Maryland).

Day 7 Debarkation

We were up around 6am to gather our last stuff together and the cabin steward arrived at 6:30am to move our luggage. Then we spent most of the morning on the Lido deck waiting until 9:30 when we would meet the group of back to back cruisers and find out what we needed to do. At that time, Winston (a crew member) took us off the ship as a group and through customs. Then we went back up the escalator and back on the ship. This process took about 5 minutes.

All in all it was a nice cruise and turned out to be much better than it started which is a relief. It makes us not so anxious about the next week.

crossposted on The Life of Loonyhiker by Pat Hensley

Posted on the Successful Teaching Blog by loonyhiker (successfulteaching at gmail dot com).


Sioux Roslawski said...

Pat---I've never been on a cruise, so it was marvelous to hear your account of your trip, since you are obviously a seasoned cruiser. Thanks for sharing...

Skipz said...

I'm sorry to hear they're not meeting their own standards!!!!