A Fifteen-Year-Old Girl Who Shot Herself At A Gun Place A Most Pimped Cruise! – How I Learned to Love Long Lines, Open My Wallet & Get With the Program

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A Most Pimped Cruise! – How I Learned to Love Long Lines, Open My Wallet & Get With the Program

set up – While on many cruises, we have never had a “Drive Port” experience. Throwing everything but the dog into an SUV—bypassing the hassle and inconvenience of airports, airlines, and connections—seemed like a good idea. From Memphis, the logical choice was to sail Carnival’s Triumph from New Orleans to the Eastern Caribbean. (7 days – July 24th to 31st)

board the ship – Our online printout shows boarding time from 12:30pm to 2:30pm and the boat departs at 4:00pm. So we lined up at 12:20pm to be unloaded and parked at the pier. After parking and getting out of the car, we stood in line for about 45 minutes in the midsummer 95 degree heat and humidity of New Orleans – outside. (Which logistical genius arranged for that little bit of torture?) It took 80 minutes from mooring to boarding—during which time, long lines and multiple switchbacks were the norm.

We were told at the parking/unloading point that yes we could drag our own luggage on board if we wanted to. But, just before entering the air-conditioned terminal, we were picked out of the crowd by Colonel Klink and told that our three bags were oversized and had to be checked in. He points to a small “carry-on luggage must go here or we’ll stab your mom” warning sign with a size-test container just big enough to hold a medium-sized lunch box. I was thinking, “They have overhead luggage on cruise ships now? So why isn’t that sign put back in the unloading point?”

dormitory – After boarding, we were directed to the ocean view cabin on deck one. The cabins are very spacious and very comfortable – larger than most on most ships – which the Carnival is known for. It makes sense that we decided not to splurge on a balcony cabin. The overall ambiance of the boat appears spacious.

Our housekeeper was Jorge from Peru – a very gracious guy who seemed eager to please – as did most of the staff.

Bon voyage gifts, fruit baskets, wine and more from the hotel manager and our local business development manager await in our cottage. They are greatly appreciated and consumed quickly.

leave – 5pm Noticing that the gangway was retracted but we hadn’t sailed yet, the captain’s announcement explained that due to the weather – Tropical Depression Bonnie – and heavy traffic on the estuary, the sailing would be postponed until 3am on Sunday. However, we are sure that the ship will still arrive at port on time. Indeed.

meal – Even though we formally requested a large table of eight or more, we were seated in a box for four. The booths were snug and comfortable, but this was still a disappointment for us – we were on a boat to meet people. The head waiter was apologetic and said he would try to remedy the situation but didn’t. It’s understandable that most people would like to reserve a table just for their family and friends, especially during the summer months when traveling with children. my theory?They probably booked a big table for us initially…then they saw me tripping and stumbling up the gangway in lime green Vampires suck! vest with “bite me” Tattooed on my jugular vein. I’m sure they decided at the time that it was best to isolate us from the other diners.

Food ranges from average to very very good. The biggest improvement in Carnival’s catering service is the presentation. The offerings in the main restaurant are stylish and delicious. However, in actual taste, most of the dishes were about half a star away, not worthy of this nickname. A few exceptions: Chilled avocado soup, Mongolian steak salad, New Zealand lamb chops, and chocolate soufflé are all to die for.

The fish dishes, while spiced and elegantly presented, were consistently dry and overcooked. Thinking it might be because there was only frozen and not fresh, I started testing. As Atlantis Aquarium security looked the other way, I scooped up a rare triggerfish…sneaked it back into my camera bag…handed it in fifteen minutes before dinner Cook on board. Yes, dry and overcooked.

Just when I was about to give up on the issue of the fish being cooked, a silver lining appeared. On deck five…just around the corner from the casino…sushi carts! But even here, the delicacies are tweaked to suit Southern tastes. Chicken Fried Tuna’ Cado Rolls are great!

entertainment – We’ve been on most of the shows, and most of them are good, especially the big production shows. Carnival is one of the few cruise lines that still uses full live orchestras instead of recorded tracks for these complex programs. The sound quality in all venues is excellent. The stage effects and machinery, such as the hydraulically operated stage sections and the (barely invisible) cable lifts that allow the performers to “fly”, are effective and not overused. All venues have good site lines. Fog machines, strobe lights, and laser flashes were used sparingly and not excessively. Well, maybe the smoke machine doesn’t add much to the bingo game…the caller is new and can’t find the close button.

This Big Easy Show One of the best production shows I’ve seen on a cruise ship…and this is from a guy who has been an entertainer on a ship for 12 years. Clearly crafted for a primarily New Orleans-centric audience, my first thought was “This is a cheap shot — like playing the Stars and Stripes at a VFW convention — that warrants a standing ovation.” But as the show unfolded the music The choices, acting, costumes and special effects are all excellent. A very pleasant experience.

comedian -Todd Justice started off strong, but started losing us halfway through the show. Todd had been looking at his watch—a surefire motivation killer. It’s not a good idea unless it’s part of the behavior. It is not.

magic – The big production/optical illusion type magic show in the main showroom is a bit repetitive, but ok. The Venezia Lounge has put on an up-close magic show. Although we arrived 20 minutes early, there were no vacancies. There was already only standing room, with many people sitting on the floor. This show needs to be in a bigger venue. We didn’t stay.

Professional Law – The funniest performance of the week was Asad, the stage hypnotist. For audience volunteers in the deep end, he gives lots of tried-and-true but still hilarious advice with some novel twists, such as… “You desperately want to kiss the person next to you, but they have a horrible bad breath”.

Assad has a very original ending. Just before dismissing the volunteers, he gave them a final piece of advice…”You won’t remember anything you did on stage tonight…until the next time you look in the mirror. Then you’ll suddenly remember everything with vivid clarity.” thing.” Of course, immediately after the performance, sadistic friends and family took the unsuspecting volunteer to the restroom to “wipe his nose.” Screams could be heard from three decks away.

atmosphere on board – With beautiful ships, great food, and a happy-go-lucky staff, Carnival remains a relentless onboard sales and promotions — as do cruise lines in all mass-market categories. The price is lower fares.

But Carnival can be a little rude at times. You don’t have to be a cruise snob to get a little frustrated when you have to walk the length of the ship countless times to find the unobstructed staircase or unattended elevator to get from one deck to the next. Six Photo Op stations.

These always seem to be in the middle of the main staircase or passageway during peak hours. One evening about a dozen such setups were evident, all at the choke point with a corresponding reserve crowd pouring into the ship’s shop… where eloquent salesmen waited!

(Biz Op – Someone could make a fortune selling Photographer Repellant. It can be sprayed on……colorless and odorless, but makes the wearer look constantly out of focus.)

Also consider that in the two hours before leaving Key West, passengers had to wait in line for an average of 30 minutes to get back to the ship…you start to see what I mean.

Why can’t CCL take a cue from the good folks at Disney? Disney has mastered in-person marketing and crowd control. Carnival executives, are you listening? Can you say fast pass?

Port and Shore Excursions – There are three stops in this itinerary.

Freeport – It’s called “Freeport” for a reason. It has absolutely nothing to do. It’s a long taxi ride from the boat to the beach and shopping area, and once you get there there’s nothing to rave about. We stayed on board.

Nassau – One mistake that can only be blamed on our own procrastination – not purchasing tickets in advance for Atlantis Aquarium and Waterpark on Paradise Island in Nassau. Unfortunately we waited until the day we arrived and everywhere we went, the shore excursion desk, the Atlantis hotel itself, the other nearby Paradise Island hotels – the story was all the same – sold out, sold out, sold out.

But instead of saying no, our determined girls let our taxi driver do whatever it took to find us passes to the water park.

Tito This person is…a fast-talking and (obviously) connected person. With a mile-wide smile, a mouth full of gold teeth, and a crank speaker with a subwoofer in the backseat of his Toyota minivan, he was an instant hit with our 18-year-olds. In the meantime, I’m testing the van doors to make sure they can be locked and unlocked from the inside.

What made me even more nervous was when I was riding through the back streets of Nassau in Oddjob’s subwoofer van, and my wife was holding hundreds of dollars in cash – counting slowly – right out in the open, letting For all to see – making sure we have enough to pay for these bootleg water park passes he’s about to score for us. (Tito made it clear he doesn’t accept plastic.)

At the same time, I was about to panic and think “My God, he’s going to drive into a back alley where we’re going to be stripped and robbed of everything…at gunpoint…and trapped. (The mugging is survivable…but I don’t have enough meds to walk back to the straw market…naked.)

After many surreptitious phone calls and a back alley rendezvous with the local underground agents, we got our passes… and Tito got our cash. Miraculously, we didn’t trigger any fraud alerts at the aquarium/water park entrance.

key west – Getting here means more shopping, and cheap or free internet and cell phone connections. You can connect via the ship’s system, but it’s an expensive way to get into the Facebook habit.

We booked a paragliding tour and it was an alarm clock. The departure point is just a short walk from the cruise ship, across the pier.

Sea Day – We had a great time on the deck, pool, water slide and JumboTron (huge outdoor video screen). Yes, Agnes, you literally lined up with the kids and slid down the giant water slide. It’s a thrill. Especially the sudden stop of the bottom sink. After three days I was normal.

Question – who decides what is displayed on the ship’s giant JumboTron? Sometimes it plays Mardi Gras commercials or shows high-profile shows like the Furry Boobs Contest — sometimes it’s a movie or a concert video — but every morning it’s tuned to a local station in Denver. (Denver?) I’ve been looking around for a giant remote.

Spa – On the last day of the cruise, my wife booked me the ultimate makeover – facial hydration and full body massage. Admittedly, it did make me look six to eight weeks younger in a matter of hours. But, like the poor victim of a hypnotist, when I looked in the mirror the next morning… staring at me was the familiar 63-year-old catcher’s mitt with ears. I screamed too.

in conclusion – All in all a good cruise and a welcome change of pace. Would I ride a Fiesta again? of course. Will I do something different next time? Yes, a couple of things. First, I insist on getting a large table in the dining room that seats eight or more – we have so much fun lying with new friends we never see again. Second, I would make sure to book two or three of my most wanted shore excursions well in advance. Finally, we need to rein in our onboard splurge a bit. Oh, and I’m also bringing a box of Photographer Repellant. – Lake

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