San Juan to St. Thomas

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 The Skyride cable car is just a block or two from where our ship docked in St. Thomas. There is a bar and restaurant on top where the views can be enjoyed. Lauren introduced me to a drink there called a Bushwacker that tastes like a milkshake…..so good! But I found out why it is called Bushwacker. 

Carnival Cruises now has an internet package rather than paying by the minute. Unfortunately the internet is so weak and slow that it took at least 10 minutes to upload the picture above. But, it is better than the nothing I had on previous cruises.

Our ship, the Carnival Triumph is the one in the picture. It’s half again as large as any we have been on before. In the past, we lucked out and always had one of the Spirit class sister ships so after five cruises I had finally learned my way around. I will never learn my way on this ship. For one thing, I have a terrible sense of direction inside of buildings. I still cannot figure out Aft from Port from Broadside to Starboard. None of it makes sense. A commenter on my last post asked if I needed a GPS. I never thought of that but it would be a very good idea. Carnival could make money by renting them out for the cruise.

The sea has been so smooth that I can hardly tell we are moving. Lauren however is not faring so well. She has been sick twice but that is always after she has been bar hopping late at night so that may have something to do with it.  These ships have at least 10 bars on them and it seems Lauren is about the only person in them each night.  There are no young people on this ship which is very, very unusual.  We did see one young handsome man the first night out, who it appeared was traveling with his father.  He was eyeing Lauren pretty good but their paths have not crossed again. She has had a stalker though who follows her everywhere, sits down nearby, and just stares. Lauren is about to throw him overboard.

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This blurry photo is of Madiana from Bali who is our sweet cabin steward. Carnival Cruises has 24 ships and my math reckons they employ over 1600 cabin stewards. Why is this significant? Because Madiana was the steward for Steve and I on our last cruise and it was on a different ship over a year ago to Hawaii. Madiana has a wife and 3 children in Bali and sees them every 6 months between contracts. 

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Our cabin with balcony. This ship is older than the Carnival ships we have been on before and not nearly as glitzy with the decor. But the beds are comfortable, it’s clean, and the food is way too good as usual. 

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We were docked beside the Carnival ship Liberty in two ports so far. Ours is on the left.

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A ship of two tails. ? A tale of two ships? Whatever. 

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Plenty of deck stairs and several swimming pools and hot tubs. I don’ know how many pools. Am not sure if I’m seeing the same one over and over.

We have been to three ports since St. Thomas and I took many pictures as I got off the ship each time.   I wanted you to see a bit of the ship first. Oh, the above picture was taken in St. Kitts, my least favorite port so far.

Also, I didn’t bring my good Nikon because my pack mule stayed in Colorado so my pictures are all taken with my little Lumix making for some blown out skies.

Never Say Never

Between September and December of 2014 Steve and I took three cruises: One from Los Angeles to Australia, another from Australia to New Zealand, and the final one from Los Angeles to Hawaii and back. By the time the Hawaii cruise ended we had been on a ship for 53 days total and I told Steve that I never wanted to take another cruise again.  He said “Oh yes we will.”  Never say never or else you will be proven wrong!

But three things finally changed my mind for me: 1) Carnival Cruises made an offer I could not resist 2) My daughter Lauren has not had a real vacation in about 8 years and desperately needs to just relax a while 3) Although not particularly interested in going to the Caribbean, I spent the last three winters in a row south of the US and am craving some heat and humidity.

Steve and I have been on seven cruises, however our reason was to have an inexpensive way to visit the various destinations and not for the sake of cruising.  This trip will be more for relaxing and the cruise experience. Lauren and I have not booked any shore excursions and will play it by ear as to what we will do, if anything, on each island.

As I mentioned in my post Waiting, this cruise is costing less than 1/2 the normal price. When you look at the bottom of this page at the Categories list of all the places we have been in the past six years you might think we are well off. Not so and far from it. I think anyone can do what we have done with planning, thriftiness, a strong desire, and sometimes a little luck.  Where there is a will, there IS a way.

36 hours to departure!

 

 

 

Bon Voyage

Monday 22 September – I uploaded this post the same time as the Puerto Vallarta post but it never appeared on the blog.  Here it is now, better late than never.

Monday, 1 September – It is so nice to know we have no responsibilities for 3 weeks. The cabin steward appears twice a day to clean, make our beds,  straighten up, and leave the next days Fun Times that outlines all the activities and schedules for the following day.  When we boarded and arrived in our cabin we were met with a basket of fruit, wine, and cheese goodies; plus a plate of chocolate covered strawberries courtesy of our special friend from Houston.  Thank you again Tessa!

This Carnival trip is a bit different from others as it has more international cruisers, hardly any children, and more seniors.  It makes for a quieter experience as some of the Carnival cruises are a bit hectic and loud.  And because of having so many other countries represented, we are served more international foods and best of all –  strong coffee from a special machine that grinds the beans and brews the coffee as we pour.

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Departing Long Beach, California

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Almost everyone has seen the red tail on the Carnival ships.  The red glassed part looks down upon a steak and seafood restaurant.

P1000409The glitzy main lobby/atrium is seven stories high and has glass elevators.

P1000411The third deck reminds me of the cruise ships from many years ago.  Back in the olden days the military often sent soldiers and families overseas via ship and we twice crossed the Atlantic where the decks looked like this but with smaller port holes. I would love to have this flooring in our house.  It is a textured hickory color with black rubber between the planks.  You know it would be easy maintenance if it can withstand all that it goes through at sea.

Carnival 3This is the first time I have seen these rounded sun loungers and they are absolutely wonderful.  It is quite hot as of today but you can sit outside and stay shaded in them.

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You can see here how small our interior room is.  It’s not much wider than the king bed but worth the $1200 savings not having upgraded to a balcony room. Steve is getting ready to go to the gym which he has been doing each afternoon.  I’m still thinking about it.

DSC 5616We have a Rodeo Drive, a curvy hallway with shops. Most of the merchandise is rather expensive but from past experience I knew that after a few days the $10 items would be put out.  I needed a watch and so here is my big $10 splurge + no tax.  It tells time and the numbers are big enough to see without glasses.

The ship just passed Cabo San Lucas and tomorrow morning we will be in Puerto Vallarta for a stay of 12 hours.  Our visits to PV have always been in the winter so I am curious how hot and humid PV will feel. There is a wifi kiosk right off the ship in PV and hopefully I can post this.