Let me start off by saying, “Yes, I have been on the Disney Cruise!” That was an amazing trip almost 8 years ago when my kids were younger. At some point a character cruise just doesn’t make sense. For this trip, it was my 80 year old father-in-law Tom Nawn (Papa) and myself. Papa has been on several Carnival Cruises and is a Platinum member or as Carnival likes to call them VIFP or Very Important Fun Person!
For this trip, we were on the Carnival Paradise which traveled from Tampa to the Grand Caymans then to Cozumel Mexico. It was a 5 day cruise in all and the weather was perfect! With Papa being a Platinum VIFP he was able to upgrade to a Balcony Grand Suite and can I say, “WOW what a room!” He certainly knows how to cruise! Nothing beat cruising out of Tampa watching the sun set on our balcony having a cold beverage.
Everything you have heard about a cruise is probably true. There is always something to do on your days at sea, and you can eat anytime you want! I will admit, I spent a few nights in the casino (something that is not available on the Disney Cruise Line) and caught a few shows. The cruise director (who was not Julie from the Love Boat) was on the speaker each day talking about the days events. We were very lucky as our “sit down” dinning table was full of fun and talkative making it a pleasure to go to dinner every night. We did skip the formal dinner to watch the New England Patriots game with a great group of Patriots fans. Fortunately this was the playoff game they won against Houston.
One thing you MUST do while cruising is take advantage of the excursions. Papa and I opted for snorkeling in the Grand Caymans. Although the waves were a little rough, we arrived at the coral reef jumped off the boat and saw some amazing fish as well as a few stingrays. In Cozumel, we opted to take advantage of some of the local establishments enjoying some fine Mexican beverages. The amount of excursions you can do choose from is amazing, some of them include dune buggies on the beach, scuba diving, submarine rides and even shopping. Instantly I wished we took a longer cruise so I could have taken advantage of a few more of these trips.
One thing I really enjoyed about Carnival was the staff was extremely friendly. Our room steward, Evi, greeted us every morning by name and every time we walked by. I find this amazing as I have known my father-in-law for 27 years and still forget his first name. I am REALLY bad with names!! Our table waiter Sergio had us laughing and had me up dancing a few times during dinner. When ever we saw him outside of dinner he always made time to stop and say, “Hi!”
I do have a couple of recommendations for Carnival. First off, they do charge for internet usage. I would make wi-fi free for gold, platinum and diamond members. Heck, Disney gave free wi-fi for a long time to their DVC members. Second, add a sports bar to the boat! We watched the Patriots on a screen smaller than my picture-in-picture at home. Granted I have a 72″ tv at home so the picture-in-picture is pretty big, but I would have LOVED to watch hockey and a few other sports with some other fans. My last suggestion would be to take a page out of Disney’s book and have re-fill-able mugs for sale for soda.
I will be posting shortly with some “Gotta Have Gadgets” to take on your cruise to make it a better overall experience. This was an amazing 5 day journey. I have already talked to Papa about a cruise for next year. The day before you dock, Carnival invites you to view some of their upcoming cruises and shows some of their other boats, I will have to say they have peaked my interest. After this cruise we spent a weekend at Disney to check out the new Fantasy land as well as the new test track ride. I just maybe blogging about that soon too!
As always, for cool gadgets for trips or for your house, check out my blog at www.gottahavegadget.com and if you want to contact me feel free to send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for reading this and may you have a magical day!!