Thursday, April 19, 2018

Carnival Elation April 2018

Last week we took a cruise to Bermuda with our daughter and son-in-law. We left out of Jacksonville, FL. Our captain was Nicola Iaccarino (we sailed with him in 2016 when he was first promoted to Captain), the Hotel Director was Lyubomir Georgiev, and the Cruise Director was Kevin Donuhue. We had a table for 4 (table 352) in the Inspiration dining room at 6pm. Our cabin was R18.

Day 1 Embarkation 4/7/18

We spent the night at the Magnolia Inn ($82) but I didn’t sleep well. The phone message light started blinking in the middle night and kept me up all night. We left about 9am and went to Jacksonville. First, we stopped at the post office across from the Busch Brewery. Then we took a self-guided tour of the brewery. Then we went to the port at 11:15 and got on the ship. The parking was $17 per day. We dropped our stuff in the cabin and had lunch on the Lido deck. Then we sat at the Red Frog bar and had a couple buckets of bear ($26) before the Muster drill. After the drill we sat at the bar where our Facebook group met up. Then we went to dinner at 6pm and the food was good but the service was very slow. After dinner, we went to bed.

Day 2 At Sea 4/8/28

I got up at 4:30am and sat up on deck 11 with Dyanna and Earl. We went to the dining room for sea day brunch and the service was so slow. It almost took 2 hours to get our steak and eggs. Then we sat by the pool for about an hour before we had to go to the luncheon with the Captain. I was surprised that he recognized me from 2 years ago, but he said he had just been promoted to Captain then. After that we went to a Slot Pull arranged by our Facebook group. 37 of us pooled $20 together and played a machine. Then we split the winnings. We all got back $15 and we had fun. After that we went to afternoon tea. By then it was time to get ready for formal night after dinner. Last we went to the comedy show and the comedian, Al Ernst,  was fabulous! We went to the 8:30 show and 9:30 show. Then we had pizza before going to bed.

Day 3 Half Moon Cay 4/9/18

We went to the Mikado Lounge about 7:45 and they put us on the tender.  We got to the beach at 8:30 and were the first ones in the water. The water was still kind of cool so we only spent about 3 hours at the beach. Then we returned to the ship for lunch and relaxed by the pool. My daughter happened to save this very old man’s life in the hot tub. He had a hard time getting in and his wife, an officer, and my daughter helped him in. The officer told the wife to get help when the husband was getting out. So, the wife got out to go get someone and my daughter was also getting out but she turned to tell the man goodbye and he was slipping under the water. She grabbed him up as best as she could and called for help. It took 4 men to help get him out! He should not have gotten into that hot tub in the first place! Then we took a nap before dinner. After dinner we went to a show featuring a mental magician.

Day 4 At Sea 4/10/18

We sent off a bag of laundry and finally met our cabin stewards.  All I seemed to do was visit the feeding trough all day long! We had our sea day brunch where we had steak and eggs. Then we sat on the deck and read until it was time for lunch. After lunch we went to the art auction but didn’t see any art we really liked. So, we went to have a snack. Dyanna and Earl sat with us and we talked until dinner time. After dinner we went to the comedy show again to see Al Ernst. The first show was a repeat of the first night, but the second show was all new material and he was still hilarious! When we got back to our room, only half of our laundry was returned. I called the cabin steward and he said he would bring the rest of it in the morning.

Day 5 Bermuda 4/11/18

We ate a big breakfast and then watched as we pulled into the port at the Royal Naval Dockyard. The local time is an hour later than ship’s time, but we got off the ship around 11am. There was an 80% chance of rain, but it only rained once. Don read that it is important to say, “Good morning/afternoon/evening. How are you?” as a form of politeness. Then we immediately went to the Visitor Information Center across from the ferry and bought a 2-day bus/ferry pass ($19/day or $31.50/2days). We walked to the front of the National Museum to the bus stop and took the #8 bus to Hamilton. When we got to Hamilton, we went to the Post Office and mailed two letters. Don found decks of cards with stamps on them, so we bought them too ($8/each). Then we bought t-shirts (4/8.95 each) and magnets at a store across from Gosling’s Rum. After buying t-shirts, we ended up buying 2 bottles of rum ($38) that was sent to the ship. After that, we went to the bus terminal and took the #7 bus towards Barnes Corner where we got off and caught another #7 bus back to the Dockyard. The bus was so crowded we had to stand and Dyanna and I could barely reach the hand loops. Eventually seats became open, so we finally got a seat the rest of the way. We aren’t used to driving on the left, so it was kind of exciting for us. We returned to the ship and had dinner. After resting, we went back out to the Dockyard around 6pm but all of the stores had closed at 5pm and it was pretty much dead. I felt bad for all the crew members who were just getting off the ship to explore and everything was closed. We tried to go to the show at 7:15 but it was so crowded that we couldn’t get a seat in order to see the stage, so we went to our cabin to rest and relax.

Day 6 Bermuda 4/12/18

We ate breakfast at 7am and got off the ship by 8:15. We caught the #7 bus at 8:50 (ship’s time) which was 9:50 local time to Horseshoe Bay Beach. It was absolutely beautiful! We walked along the trails and took lots of pictures. Then we went up to the road and caught another #7 bus to Hamilton. We told Dyanna and Earl that we would meet them at the ferry to catch the 1:30 (local time) back to Hamilton. We walked around and found a Fitness Fair where I took a jeopardy quiz and won a heat/ice pack. We bought a bottle of ginger beer which was really tasty. We also found a grocery store that had a hot food buffet (sold by the pound) and the food looked really good. Dyanna and Earl took the noon ferry and we took the 1:30 ferry. Then we walked around the dockyard before returning to the ship to eat. After cleaning up, we watched the ship
leave at 5pm. After dinner we went to the comedy show to hear Kelly Terranova and he was okay but not as good as Al Ernst.

Day 7 At Sea 4/13/18

After breakfast we sat out on the deck under shade and read all morning. At 11, we went to a seminar about Thomas Kinkade. Then we went to lunch and after that returned to the deck to read some more. At 2pm, I went to the cruise critic meet up which was nice and about 20 people showed up along with Kevin, the cruise director and I think the hotel director and a singer. Then I returned to the deck and read until it was time to get ready for dinner. We had cocktails before dinner and went to the dining room since it was formal night. The service was much better this time and we were able to go to the 7:30 comedy show to see Dwight Slade. At 8:30 we saw Kelly Terranova again.

Day 8 At Sea 4/14/18

After a sea day brunch, we sat on the deck and enjoyed the fresh air. Service was very slow! At noon we had lunch and then we packed up our room. At 2:30, we went to the Q&A with Keving (the cruise director) and his colleagues. After that. we walked around until it was time to dress for dinner and the Platinum/Diamond party in the Mikado lounge. There were hundreds of people there downstairs and upstairs. At first, we had trouble getting a drink so I ordered 2 vodka on the rocks so Don could get his drinks. Then they started bringing him drinks and finally brought me 2 Bud Lites. By then it was dinner time and we went to the dining room. After dinner, we went to bed and watched American Ninja Warrior (there are no network channels on the TV).

Day 9 Debarkation 4/15/18

Getting off the ship went very smoothly! We went to breakfast at 6am with our suitcases. The elevators by our room in the front were not operational for guests so we got on the back elevators straight to the Lido deck. We parked our suitcases on the side and had breakfast. At 6:45, we jad to take the elevator down one floor and walked to the other end of the ship to the Mikado Lounge deck 9. We didn’t wait too long and even though they said to meet at 7:45, at 7:30 they put us on the forward elevators and took us right off the ship. We were in our car and on the road by 7:50.

Things I’ve Learned:

1.     We don’t like slow service even if the food is good.
2.     The food on the Lido deck has almost the same things as the menu in the dining room except for cold soups.
3.     There is no walking track on this ship.
4.     The water at Half Moon Cay was cooler than we expected.
5.     Bermuda is a very clean island.
6.     Everything in Bermuda pretty much shuts down around 5pm.
7.     The buses are packed around 4pm with school kids and people going home from work so you have to stand.
8.     Things weren’t as expensive in Bermuda as we expected.
9.     There is only one KFC in Bermuda and we saw it in Hamilton.
10.  It’s illegal to smoke in public areas in Bermuda
11.  We enjoyed the comedy show by Al Ernst.
12.  Don likes vodka on the rocks with olives better than a martini.

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