It went by in a flash, but it was easily one of the best weeks of my life. There’s always this enveloping feeling of happiness and rightness and peace when I’m on a cruise ship, as if it’s where I’m meant to be all along. So much happened this week: lots of laughs and adventures and afternoon naps and time in the sunshine. I wanted to be outside and in the sun as much as possible, since so much of my life is spent inside. Usually, when I recap my cruises, I only talk about my time spent in the ports of call and leave out everything that happens on the ship itself but this time around, I’m going to do a daily recap of everything I did.
Let’s jump right into my first day of my cruise: Monday!
Check-in was a breeze. It probably took us no longer than 30 minutes from the time our driver dropped us off in front of the port until we were on the ship. Sometimes, it can take an hour or more but we got there as early as possible to avoid delays (and we just wanted to be on the ship already!). When we were checked in, we were informed our rooms were ready for us so once we were on the ship, we headed straight to our room.
We had the perfect room that was right next to the elevator and in the middle of the ship. It was in the perfect location! Our room was very similar to the room layout we had on our first cruise, so it was spacious enough. We unpacked and then headed out to the lido deck to have lunch.
Lunch was good, but what was the best was buying my first mango swirl of the cruise! It was just as delicious as I remember.
A little after 4pm, the ship began to leave Tampa. I wrote down in my Notes app on my iPhone how I was feeling at that moment in time, because I wanted to capture the essence of my thoughts as they were happening: “It’s hard to describe my feelings right now. Excitement for what lies ahead. A little anxiety, which is normal for me. Nothing debilitating but there. And just complete happiness about being on a cruise again. I’m just so, so happy and at peace and in my element on a cruise ship.”
We were able to snag a great spot on Serenity and were able to watch Tampa grow tinier and tinier as we began our travels to Grand Cayman. We would be sailing for a day and a half before seeing land again, but I wasn’t sad to see it all go. My phone was on airplane mode, I was stretched out on a deck chair with my Kindle in hand, and I was ready for my vacation to start.
We stayed out on the Serenity deck until 6:30 and were able to watch as we passed under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. Such a great landmark! We got ready for dinner pretty quickly, so we tried to go to the top deck to play a game of putt-putt golf but it was so windy and just not fun at all, so we quit after one hole. Actually, not even one hole. After about two putts, we realized it was impossible to play at all so we handed in our clubs and found a window seat inside, where we could people watch and listen to music while waiting for our dining time.
At dinner, we were seated with 4 other couples and at first, I was really, really upset at who we were seated with. They didn’t seem very friendly and I was the youngest one there by at least 25 years so I felt out of place. I was very unhappy with Carnival’s selection of who to seat us with! Where were all the young people at?!
HOO BOY, was I wrong! This group was the best, friendliest, funniest group I have ever been seated with. I was always excited to come to dinner for what new antics would lay in store for us. At this dinner, we mostly talked about our cruising experience (one of the couples has been on 14 cruises!) and life at home. There were some really hilarious moments, such as when the wife of one couple opened her purse to set out hot sauce, cayenne pepper, and garlic pepper for her husband and her to season their food with. Their own pantry in her purse, it seems!
We also quickly learned that one of our tablemates, Z., is not a fan of his food touching each other on his plate. At all. Every night, we would watch in amusement as he received his dinner plate and then would spend time pushing each food on his plate to its own section so it wasn’t touching. When someone remarked that food usually ends up touching anyway, he shot back with, “They can touch at the end, but it doesn’t mean they have to hold hands on the way there!” Touché, Z., touché.
Everyone was also shocked when they found out we were mother and daughter. They were convinced we were sisters or friends and our nicknames became the “Sisters” anyway. Ha! (Although, I later learned everyone at the table thought I was still in high school. SO.)
Our first dinner turned out to be such a fun time and I quickly reversed my opinion that the dinners were going to be awful. After dinner, we headed over to the Normandie Lounge, where most of the shows aboard would be held. This was the “Welcome Aboard” show, which would give us a taste of everything that would be happening entertainment-wise while we were on the ship.
Oh, man. This show was so cheesy. The outfits were horrible, the dancing wasn’t very good, and it was just very hard to watch. I remember someone talking about how cheesy Carnival cruises are and I never agreed with her until I saw this show. Luckily, we only had to endure the dancing and singing for a short time before the cruise director (seriously, the most goofy man I have ever seen! I adored him!) came on to talk about what would be happening this week. There wasn’t any new information, but once he was done, the comedians came on to give short teaser performances to entice us to see their shows. I was crying from laughter and couldn’t wait to see their whole shows!
After that show, we walked over to the Queen Mary Lounge where the Punchliner Comedy Club would be held every night. On this night, it was the adults-only comedy and the male comic. It was pretty good, though he mostly picked on people from the audience. It was all in good fun, though, and everyone was a good sport about it. The comedy was tamer than I imagined and it was just a really fun time.
It was a little after midnight by then and it had been a busy, busy day for us so we were ready to get to our room, into our PJ’s, and off to dreamland. A relaxing day at sea awaited us in the morning!