In case you missed it, Jeff and I FINALLY took the vacation we have been anticipating for over a year now on the Carnival Dream. We went with his mom (Barbara), step-dad (Ray), grandmother (Mamaw), great-aunt and uncle (Linda and Hugh), 2 aunts (Donna and Sherrie), uncle (David), and his mom's friends (Chris, David, Valencia, and Jana). See? We are a pretty good-looking bunch!
Jeff's and my vacation officially began on Friday, April 29th. We flew down to Orlando and were picked up in an executive SUV that took us to our hotel in Cocoa Beach. Heck yeah I got spoiled by that! We spent the night at the Residence Inn that was all of one mile from the port. We couldn't tell exactly how close we were that night, but when we left the next morning we realized the cruise ship was practically parked in our back yard!
Saturday we were up early enough to take advantage of the breakfast in the hotel and then catch the shuttle to the cruise terminal. It didn't take hardly any time for us to get through check-in and we were on the boat by 11:30. We wandered around exploring, got some lunch, and enjoyed the view. You could actually see the Nasa stuff, including the shuttle on the launch pad (because the launch scheduled for that morning was postponed). Pretty cool huh? We had a spa cabin, so we got to check out all that stuff and generally just hang out before dinner.
The spa cabin was nice. It wasn't all that much different from the other cabins, except that it was a much smaller area of the ship, you were a lot higher (we were on the 11th floor, actually ABOVE the Lido deck where the food and pool and stuff are!) and there were no kids so there was no running, screaming, slamming doors, or general mayhem. It was very quiet and serene. Plus, our cabin steward was AMAZING! Her name was Sunshine and she was just the sweetest thing. We loved her! The best part about the spa cabins was that we had access to the "Thermal Suites" (a variety of steam and dry saunas of varying temperatures) and Thalassotherapy pool (basically an overgrown mineral-filled hot tub). Oh, they were wonderful! I found myself falling asleep on those heated seats more than once, and spent lots of time in the pool turning into a prune. You had to be at least 18 to use this stuff, so again no screaming kids splashing around. Plus the pool was only slightly warmer than body temperature, so you could easily spend a lot of time there. Jeff and I probably spent at least two hours every single day in the spa.
The ports were Cozumel, Belize City, Mahogany Bay Roatan (Honduras), and Costa Maya. Cozumel was not bad. We were at a little dock about a mile or so from town. It was kind of nice because ours was the only ship there, so it wasn't too crowded. We found a nice restaurant on the beach where we had lunch and were joined by several iguanas. One got surprisingly close to my feet, but he didn't lick or bite, so we didn't have any problems. Belize was an absolute waste of time. We had to take a Tender Boat for five miles to get to shore, and when we got there, there wasn't really anything there! We stayed off the boat maybe 20 minutes. We spent more time going and coming than actually off the boat. At least we can say we've been there! Roatan was my favorite because it was nothing but a beach. We wandered over, found a couple of chairs, and I was able to read and nap in the shade of a palm tree while enjoying a fruity beverage. It was a good day! Costa Maya we didn't even get off the boat! We just slept late, wandered around the ship, and napped on the deck.
The most exciting part of the trip for us happened while we were at sea! We took a behind the scenes tour where we got to see the kitchen, engine control room, dressing rooms, crew areas, and of course the bridge. We got to meet the captain and have our picture made with him, and that was really cool. Jeff thought he was hot stuff. We got all kinds of fun stuff including the pictures, some goodies, a little soap carving of a swan (how they practice for the big ice sculptures!) champagne, and some yummy treats from the kitchen including chocolate covered strawberries and almond pralines! I'd say it was a good way to spend the morning! It was definitely a fun thing to do, but not something I would do every single cruise. As is tradition, I had to take $20 and hit the slots. I rarely lose any money (usually I just break even, maybe come up a buck or two on top) but this time I won big! Ok, not huge, but I won $90 on the penny slots! Not bad if I do say so myself!
Other good things we did included dinner at the steak house which was GREAT and I got a 75 minute hot stone massage. It was wonderful! My only regret was not getting to take the yoga class. Looking back I wish I had asked the guy to just teach me a little bit even though it was just me, but maybe next time.
So yeah, that's the complete run-down of everything I did on my vacation. It was wonderful, even if I am still sort of trying to get myself together being home again. I'm looking forward to my next one, whenever that may be!