Sunday, December 16, 2012

Road Trip

S and I went to Myrtle Beach, SC to get some shopping done at the outlet mall. He never wants clothes and when he told me that's what he wanted for Christmas I jumped at that because it is so hard to shop for him. We did find some really good deals. After shopping we ate at Tommy Bahamas for dinner. After dinner we walked around some of the stores. On the sidewalk there was a sleigh that was painted like the Starry Night painting which happens to be one of my all time favorite Vincent Van Gogh paintings. I loved it. S made me get my picture with it, but because it was raining I couldn't actually sit in it. He wouldn't get his picture made. Guess he doesn't like Van Gogh as much as I do. :)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Thursday November 29, 2012 Carnival Fantasy Fun Day at Sea

Fun Day At Sea!!!!!
My First Full Day On A Cruise Ship!

Towel Creation "The Frog"
Today on the Carnival Fantasy is one of two “Fun Day at Sea” Day’s.  Each day you are on the ship a Fun Times Newsletter is put in your room for the next day.  This gives you a list of what the top 10 things to do for the next day, what is going on in the casino, what is going on in way of music (DJ, piano bar, karaoke, etc.), child care, shopping on board, spa specials, what is going on in way of the main entertainment, a tear out list of times (morning, afternoon and evening) for different events taking place on the ship, the other side of the tear out list is where each of the meals will be held and what is being served and also listed the daily drink special (today’s: Caribbean Breeze), a for your information list with contact information for medical, guest services, towel hut (get beach towels, golf clubs, ping pong equipment, etc.), beach towels (you better return them or you are charged for them, and if you are going to be charged for one you should just order a brand new one you can take home still in the plastic), deck chairs (use them or lose them, after 40 minutes any items left unattended will be removed and kept at the towel station.  They were a little lax on this cruise because the weather wasn’t so everyone was standing in line fighting for a chair but bet you summer time your stuff would be packed ASAP.), room service (S and I were back and forth on this, yes it is FREE! Room service is included in what you pay for your cruise.  If you are running late, or get an urge late at night and don’t feel like leaving your room they have room service 24 hours a day.  They do ask that you extend a gratuity upon RECEIVING service.  PLEASE do this.  These people that work on these ships work hard and contrary to what you think they do NOT make a lot of money, they really depend on the tips.), on air (these are the stations on the T.V. that have all the information about the ship and what is going on daily), sail and sign kiosks (get all the information you need about your card and what it has been used for, you can even print statements), smoking areas, cellular phone service (can be expensive, turned mine off and it stayed off), phoning home, Wi-Fi (on vacation, stayed away from computer, that is why the posts are coming a week late J oh and did I mention it can get costly?), help line, list of hours of operation.
S and I decided we didn’t want to do any excursions in Nassau or Freeport we were just going to look around on our own but after attended a “Fun Ashore & Fun Aboard” presentation given by the cruise director Risa (which by the way she was great) we decided it would be best if we booked something for Freeport (which we did).  The presentation we attended basically just gave the run down on things to do on the ship on some of the top excursions to do at each port of call.  S didn’t want to go at first and I am really glad I didn’t listen because, well you will just have to wait until the post on Freeport.  Later in the day after we had lunch we stopped by the pool to hang out.  It was still chilly for me unless you were directly in the sun which kept going behind clouds, so I stayed in my nice warm jacket.  Day 2 no bathing suit and no tan lines, so we stood in the back of the lido deck by the side bar and watch 6 men get judged by 3 women in a “hairy” chest contest.  It really wasn’t a hairy chest contest it was we are going to get these 6 grown men to dance across the stage for the audience and end up dancing for each of these women with their shirts off and at some point the winner is crowned.  There were a few times I couldn’t help but laugh.  A little later the cloud coverage became a little heavier, wind a little windier and some of the seats opened up so S and I grabbed a couple.  We sat outside for about an hour until I got too chilly and then we went in.
The entire ship has photographers set up with different backdrops for you to have your picture and this night happened to be Evening of Elegance so everyone had to dress up for the dining room, if they ate in the dining room.  S and I didn’t.  There were people that had huge packages of pictures over the next few days.  I know how much it was just for one of the pictures I can’t imagine how much these people spent on all of these pictures. 
Anyway after dinner we went to the show in the Universe Lounge.  It was pretty good.  It had a few good songs.  YMCA (the male Fantasy Dancers came out dressed like the Village People), Do You Believe in Life After Love by Cher (this was neat, the lead singer Jennie was dressed in a Bob Mackie type outfit and she was standing on a platform that lifted her up off the stage), Copacabana (the dancers wore cute bright little outfits) and this is to just name a few.
After the show we walked around for a bit to kill time because we wanted to go see one of the comedians.  When we got to the area where he would be performing the line was backed up so far we decided we would skip it.  We ended up going to watch some Karaoke in the Cat’s Lounge.  Bless their hearts.  That is all I can say.  Don’t get me wrong.  There were some that were really good.  We stayed here for a couple hours and then went back to the cabin to go to sleep.
Nassau Bahamas tomorrow!!!!!!!!
Hope you enjoy.

Wednesday November 28, 2012 Carnival Fantasy Leaving out of Charleston SC

Vacation Time!!!!

My First Cruise.

Booking a cruise: Once I booked the cruise I printed several copies of the boarding passes and luggage tags for each person traveling.  In this case it was just S and me.  I also did not purchase travel insurance when I first booked the cruise but a couple weeks prior to leaving I received a phone call and after a lengthy conversation with the lady on the other end I thought it best to purchase it.  You never know what can happen.  Keep in mind to be air lifted off a ship is over thirty thousand dollars.  I will explain how we came about this information later.  Anyway for me personally I felt it was a good idea to be better safe than sorry.  Isn’t that why most people have some type of health, life, dental, etc. insurance in general anyway, it is for the unexpected, not the expected?

Bridge in Charleston, SC

For all future cruisers it is a good idea to be early to go ahead and drop off your luggage but be warned when they say you can’t start parking until 10:30 am (which was the case with us) they will put a sticker on the wind shield to show you have dropped off your luggage and then tell you to leave and come back at 10:30am.  The lady told us to make sure we had our photo ID, passport (we brought our birth certificates) and boarding passes (you have to print these off yourself at least with Carnival Fantasy).  We pulled out of the lot, made a right and parked in one of the marked parking spaces along the street.  We sat there for the next 30 minutes.  We finally made it back in and then we follow the road back around where they check all our documents.  We are then sent to another area where we sat for awhile.  After sitting there we finally moved in line for parking.  At this point we had to sit again and a lady went around and collected money.  We had to pay $85 dollars to park.  I remember reading on the Carnival website it was $17 dollars a day for a vehicle under 20 feet and over 20 feet it would be $40 dollars a day.  I also read it was going to be cash only.  When we got there the sign stated you could pay by cash, check, VISA, Master Card, Discover, and American Express.  I think how this works is it is charged to your Carnival account if you do not pay cash.  I honestly didn’t look into it because we paid cash.  We finally made it to the parking area and parked the truck, walked a short distance to the pickup area where vans were taking people to the ship.
We had a short ride to the ship and then arrived at an area where our bag and person had to be checked.  We had to show proof of citizenship and then we made our way to the Carnival check in counter.  We were given our “sail and sign” card which is basically our card for everything.  It’s a charge card for everything on the ship, it is the room key, and it is your pass to get off and on the ship at each port.  This little card is something you need to keep with you at all times.
We were then moved along to have our first of many tourist pictures taken.  This one was the two of us together with the ship in the background with the date and Charleston, SC printed on it.  From there we walked up stairs to have our picture taken and uploaded on to our “sail and sign” card.
Then up the winding gang plank and the arrival on the Empress Deck of the Carnival Fantasy Ship.  I was taken by the size as this was my first time on a cruise ship and I didn’t know what to expect.  People can tell you, you can see pictures and you can watch TV but until you actually see it in person you really have no idea what you are in for.  As luck would have it our Cabin was on this deck.  I was glad my first cruise was on a smaller ship.  I was able to figure out where everything was quickly and this put me at ease.  I liked that I was able to use the stairs to get everywhere.  We were unable to get in the cabins until 1:30pm and we got on the ship around 11:30am so we had a couple hours to kill.  We walked around and got some lunch.  It was kind of chilly and I had pants on over my shorts as well as my heavy sweat shirt jacket, but I thought I was going to be too warm.  I wish I would have left them on. 

Me standing by the water slide.
We went back to the Lido deck towards the cabin and stopped off at the bar and I got the drink special of the day.  It was a “Funship Special”.  It wasn’t bad.  It had rum, fruit punch, apricot brandy and vodka. 

"Funship Special" Sitting in the window of our room
   Around 3:30pm we all had to go through a Safety Briefing which I think if something happened most of the people couldn’t tell you what to do because I know about 90% of the ones around us weren’t listening.
After our safety briefing we went back to the cabin and unpacked our stuff and then decided we would go up to see the sunset. 

S taking pictures of the sunset

After we watched the sunset we had some dinner.  The entire cruise we didn’t actually eat in the formal dining rooms we ate in the cafeteria style dining area.  This area was on the Lido Deck and it was called Windows on the Sea.  There was always a salad bar, which is what I had for lunch and dinner every day and then different food selections.  Around the pool outside they had Rotisserie, Mongolian Wok (I did have some rice noodles and veggies cooked in soy sauce a couple days for lunch with a smaller salad) and Off the grill for lunch selections in addition to the cafeteria selections that changed daily inside.
After dinner we went to the Welcome Aboard Show which was a sneak peak of what was going to be offered as a way of entertainment on the cruise.  The two comedian’s did a couple jokes, the Fantasy dancers and Productions Singers performed and they had a couple other little things.  It was at this point I realized I had not taken my motion sickness medicine, which I didn’t think I would need but I was going to take because it is better to be safe than sorry.  I didn’t get sick but I could feel the ship move.  We went back to the cabin, I took one motion sickness tablet and we were in for the evening.  Each evening we got back to the room there was a new towel creation waiting for us.  I looked forward to seeing what was left for us each night.  There were two that for some reason the pictures were lost and that was of a large heart and a large flower. 

First towel creation "The Elephant"
The following pictures are some taken of the cabin.

Cabin door and one of the closet doors

Entry to our cabin and the bathroom is to the right

Moon outside our cabin window

Left side of  bathroom

Center of bathroom

Left side of bathroom (the shower)

Vanity and closets
  More to come.  Hope you enjoyed.