|View from cabin 7270|
I was determined to see a sunrise or sunset at least once on this trip, but it hasn’t happened yet. I missed the sunrise this morning as I actually slept in a little, but that was partly because my husband rolled in late this morning. Well, not as late as some of the other members of our group, but at 1:30 am he finished up the poker game in his uncle’s cabin and returned to ours. The rest of the group decided to go off in search of the Mexican buffet not realizing that it had ended at 1 am and their only food option was pizza. In all honesty, I don’t think they really cared at all.
Everyone is starting to settle into their own on the cruise and finding things to do on their own by looking at the Fun Times, Carnival’sdaily newspaper that details the activities of the day. By the time we got up to have breakfast, many had already gone off and started their day at the pool, gym, and everywhere in between. Our breakfast choices included the main dining room and the buffet and sometimes it is just easier to get your own food and go so that is what we did.
I could see that there were many people like me trying to find a quiet place to sit and relax, maybe to read a book or to do nothing at all. Down on deck five, the Promenade deck, there is an area called Kaleidoscope Boulevard adjacent to the casino where there are lots of cushy seats and tables and people like to sit and relax. The only negative to this area is that since it is next to the casino, the cigarette smoke can be overwhelming. I was shocked at the sheer number of smokers on this cruise and the smoke permeated everything I was wearing as well as my hair.
If you are going to sit and relax in this area, you are close to Creams Café where you can get coffee, tea, maybe a cupcake, a slice of cake, or how about a very fancy chocolate covered strawberry? I did hear people muttering about having to pay for their coffee or snack, but this is the trend among the contemporary cruise lines these days and I don’t expect to see this change in the near future. Prices were reasonable with everything under $5.00 including one chocolate strawberry for $1.25. Visiting Creams Café is optional, just as is everything else on the ship.
Maybe you would rather sit out on the pool deck and swim in the pool, catch some sun, and maybe join one of the many activities in the fresh air on the open deck. On Friday at 1:30 pm there was the Hairy Chest Contest and yes, I chose to skip that one! Today there was the Groove for St. Jude at 1 pm where you donate $10 and get a t-shirt and wristband and participate in a dance event. Afterwards was the Deck Olympics, which we watched a little of as our son decided he was going to participate. Five males vs. five females doing extremely odd things to win a small trophy, but hey — they had fun!
Nothing was better than our huge balcony that we created thanks to our cabin steward, Aldrin. Three of our cabins were ocean suites that were next to each other and the two other cabins were grand suites farther down the hall. By opening up the partitions between the cabins, we enjoyed the luxury of one huge balcony and could have everyone sit and relax out on our big balcony. We shared drinks, stories, laughs, and even a few sightings. Yes, rumor has it that whales and dolphins were seen although these sightings cannot be confirmed. I did take several pictures of something we spotted although I can’t make out what it was that I saw personally. I’ll have those pictures posted to the Travel Shop Girl FaceBook page soon and would love to hear what you think it is that is in the picture.
Whether we were enjoying a pint of Carnival’s special brew, Thirsty Frog Red, a glass of wine or champagne, or just water, sitting out there on the balcony and admiring the view with family is something I won’t soon forget. Everyone had a chance to relax and forget about work and their problems back at home and we could simply relax and enjoy our time together. My hope is that we can do this again sometime in the not so distant future. If you’ve ever thought of traveling with your extended family and thought it might be too difficult or too painful, consider a cruise. You can travel together without being on top of each other 24/7. I highly recommend cruising to begin with, but I also recommend it for large family groups such as ours.
|Platinum dining room entrance on deck three|
For dinner we all headed back to the Platinum dining room once again for dinner. Each of the dining rooms has two levels and we were seated on the lower level, deck three. Finding the dining room every night proved to be quite the task as you couldn’t walk down from our deck, Empress deck 7, down to three, but had to walk across and then down. Once there we could make our way to our reserved table and all was well, but someone was always late to dinner because of difficulties finding the dining room. One of the complaints I heard repeatedly from within my group as well as from others was the size of the print on the little fold out map of the ship as well as the map located on each floor by the elevators. No one could read it, which might explain why everyone kept getting lost.
|Zucchini and Eggplant Parmigiana|
Looking over the menu in the main dining room, I discovered that my choices were somewhat limited. Our first night I made the mistake of ordering the Indian entree, which turned out to be a little Indian and a whole lot of leftovers from the kitchen. Tonight I ordered the Fatoush Salad (arugula, mint, and vegetable salad garnished with feta cheese and sesame crusted flat bread), which was surprisingly salty and inedible. It could be worse… really. Frog legs were on the menu as the appetizer and yes, my son ordered those! For my entree I chose the zucchini and eggplant parmigiana, which had one fried piece of eggplant and a tower of eggplant and zucchini that had been cooked, but not well seasoned and was squeezed together with gobs and gobs of mozzarella, which I scraped off my dish. For dessert there were many options including Carnival’s famous Warm Chocolate Melting Cake. If you haven’t tried it, think of an undercooked brownie that is kind of gooey in the middle and that’s what it is.
Next time we will conclude our cruise with our final morning onboard before disembarkation. Then we will look at the accommodations onboard, dining, and more.