We've been home a week now and I finally (kinda) have time to write a review. I am so thankful for all the reviews I have read, I wanted to give back a little.DH & I are from Columbia, SC. On 4/10/12, we started our vacation off wrong by oversleeping! I think neither of us could sleep the night before like it was Christmas Eve. We had a flight out of Charlotte at 7:50 am. We had plans for someone to pick us up & drive us to Charlotte at 4 am. We still left around 4:30 am, a little rushed but we made our flight fine. We had a 45 minute layover in Dallas, then our last leg to San Diego. From the airport, we just grabbed a taxi that took us to our hotel, Andaz by Hyatt, right in the gaslamp quarter. We loved the hotel. Cleanliness & location is most important to us. Andaz was this plus more. The hotel let us check in early (around noon vs 3 pm check-in time). We dropped off our luggage then walked about 2 blocks to Enterprise car rental, where we were to pick up a vehicle and drive the More
San Diego 59 mile scenic drive. The drive took about 4 hours with stops and was a lot of fun. I had printed directions & if you pay real close attention, there are signs with pelicans that mark the route. We made several short stops for photo ops & eventually a long stop at Seaside Village, where I purchased a Christmas Ornament with "San Diego" on it (a tradition in all cities we visit). The man in the store recommended a place for dinner for us right there in Seaside Village called Harbor House. It had a nice view & the food hit the spot. After dinner, we started a hunt for a piece of luggage & our soda of choice (diet mountain dew) to take on the cruise with us. Of course we could have brought them from home but it would have costed $200 for the luggage plus it would have been overweight. We figured a cheap piece of luggage & the sodas at Wal-mart, no problem. Well, it was a problem. Diet Mountain Dew is almost impossible to find in San Diego. We settled for some Diet 7-up. Then we stopped in Target for the luggage and found individual bottled diet mountain dew. We cleaned their shelves, every one of them. A small thing, but one of those little things that matter to us. So, we had a huge piece of luggage filled with Diet Mountain Dew & Diet 7-up. We dropped the luggage at our hotel, returned our rental at Hard Rock Hotel (where they offer 24 hour return service), bought Hard Rock T-shirts for our boys (ages 16 & 20), another tradition, then walked back to our hotel. Time for bed, it's been a long day!
4/11/12- Today, we walked to Little Italy, where we had a coffee in front of Starbucks. Then, we walked to Horton Plaza & did a little shopping. This was a very neat 3/4 story open air mall. We had lunch at their food court on the rooftop. It started to drizzle so we walked through Gaslamp Quarter back to our hotel, where we relaxed until time to get ready for dinner. Before dinner, we had a cocktail at our hotels wine bar, then headed to Hard Rock for a drink, then a drink at a bar I can't remember the name of, then a drink at Croces. See a pattern? The live music started up just before time for our dinner reservations I had made months ago at The Merk, inside The Keating Hotel, just a block up from our hotel. First, we sat at the wrong restaurant. I thought it was odd the hostess didn't have my reservation but sat us anyway. I knew we were in the wrong place when I saw the menu, but after we had ordered drinks. We apologized and our waitress pointed us in the directions of our restaurant. All of the businesses are close together and it is hard to tell where you are. So we went one door down to The Merk, confirmed it was indeed the Merk, ordered drinks and looked at the menu. This does not look like the menu I saw months ago when making reservations. My DH inquired about that and the waitress told us they had just changed to a bistro about 2 weeks ago. We were in the mood for good italian so we apologized again and our waitress suggested an Italian restaurant right across the street. 3 Times a charm. It was very good, especially the lobster ravioli. Top notch restaurant. Too bad I can't remember the name of it. It started with a "M" and is across from "The Merk". We had plans to go to the Shout House Dueling Piano Bar after dinner. Needless to say, we both had too much to drink already so we called it a night.
4/12/12- We headed to Horton Plaza, where we would catch The Old Town Trolley to Balboa Park/San Diego Zoo. It was chilly but sunny. 60-70 degrees is chilly for us from SC. We were a little early so we grabbed coffee from Panera Bread. The trolley was right on time & it was really neat & fun to get to see & hear about the city. We got off at the Balboa Park/Zoo stop. If we would have stayed on, the ride would be about 2 hours for the entire tour. We would see the other half of the tour when we leave the zoo. We had to walk a good ways to the zoo. They dropped us off at Balboa Park & we couldn't figure out where the zoo was. Finally asked someone. The zoo was very crowded & we had to get in line for tickets even though I had already purchased & printed the tickets online. The layout of the zoo was confusing & again, crowded so it was a tiring but fun day at the zoo. After the zoo, we headed back to our trolley stop at Balboa Park. We had to wait a few minutes for the next trolley & since it was near the last stop of the day, the next 2 trolleys were full but they seem to know this will happen so they had another one on the way already. We got to see the rest of the city tour. We had to get off at one stop to validate our tickets, then hop right back on. We were dropped back off at Horton Plaza. We walked back to Andaz Hotel and got ready for dinner. We had dinner reservations at Katsuya next door to our hotel. It was a hip & chic place with good japanese food but not hibachi. After dinner, we went to Shout House, which was really cool. It was very lively and they were playing great music. Then we went to the rooftop of our own hotel for a night cap. We had a view of Petco Stadium lights from there.
4/13/12-Embarkation Day- Andaz has complimentary transportation to the port, but it is on a first come, first serve basis. But last night, we just asked the valet about it and they went ahead and reserved for us & my DH gave him a nice tip. Exactly as scheduled at 11:30 am, the bell hop had our luggage ready & the valet had our transportation ready to go to the port. The vehicle was a nice Ford Expedition. The driver drove us to the port & check-in was the smoothest process we had ever experienced. Except, we didn't get our luggage until about an hour after the muster drill, which is a first for us. Plus we sailed about an hour late because it took longer for them to get all the luggage on the ship because it is 15 days long. I guess I'm not the only one that can't pack light. As soon as we got our luggage, we unpacked and hurried up to Lido deck for dirty bananas (our favorite Carnival drink) & sail away. Then we got ready for dinner. We had late assigned dinner @ 8:15pm. We were sat at a 4 person table & had no dinner mates the first night. After dinner, we browsed the shops & called it a night.
4/14/12-First day at sea- We slept in & woke up to it being COLD & WINDY! I expected it to be chilly the first couple of days from reading the message boards. We had breakfast, then went to the spa hottub to try to help my back. I think I had a pinched nerve or something. I even thought about doing accupuncture in the spa & inquired about it. The girl told me it would be helpful but I never tried it. After the hottub, we went back to our cabin and rested the rest of the day. Ordered in lunch & an in cabin movie. We took a LONG nap, then got ready for dinner. My back is feeling better now but DH hardly ate anything because he was feeling a little sea sick. This is a first for him after 14 cruises. I should note this was our first Pacific cruise. We had only done Carribbean cruises prior to this. We called it a night after dinner because DH wasn't feeling great. Hoping to have lots of sunshine and less rocking tomorrow.
4/15/12-2nd Day at Sea- Grabbed breakfast on lido deck. The wind had settled & the ship was not rocking as much. Went to the gym for an hour, then we grabbed 2 lounge chairs on lido. It was still chilly but warmer. When the sun came out, it was great. We enjoyed the hottub a little. At 1:30, we got lunch and took it to our cabin. Puchased another in cabin movie & napped til dinner time. Ahhh loving the naps so far. It's formal night, so that means pumpkin soup (our favorite Carnival food item). Our dinner mates showed up tonight for the first time. They were cool. Carnival really does a great job of matching folks up, if it is true what I hear, that they match people up by age, etc. After dinner, we went to the 10 pm comedy show. It was funny. Then we went to the Dancin' dance club, where they were having a 50' & 60's night (this is more like my Dads music so I still relate to it). The club is 2 stories and pretty neat. We were having so much fun, we missed the 11 pm comedy show. Around midnight, we headed to our cabin for another movie, which neither of us made it through before falling asleep. We are not old but we sure are acting like it on this cruise. DH is 40 & I am 36, btw.
4/16/12-3rd Day at Sea (Man Overboard Day)- Today, we slept in late, skipped breakfast & went to Lido deck for 2 lounge chairs in hopes that the 2 chilly days at sea are over and done with. It still started off chilly but eventually the sun came out & it warmed up. The captain had made his normal noon announcement and told us that we had passed "the point of no return" meaning that we were closer to Hawaii than the west coast & some time after that, we heard "Bravo Bravo Port Side" & the horn blew. I looked at DH with a puzzled look on my face & he returned the puzzled look. I started to see a few crew members scramble around and the passengers gathering at the railings. DH was just sipping his dirty banana when I said "Uh, something is going on". We both got up and went to the railings & within 10 seconds heard someone say that someone had gone overboard. Stu (the cruise director) came on the speakers and confirmed that someone had gone overboard & that we were going to turn around and go back about a mile or 2, where they believe this person is. So, we indeed went back. Once we reached the spot, we watched as the crew lowered a boat & struggled to get it unhooked from the ship, causing them to almost go under theirselves. It was frightening to watch. We watched as they went almost directly to the passenger overboard, rescued him and returned him alive. It was truly amazing. There are several rumors as to his injuries & how he went overboard but I do not know first hand. I googled it and found an article and 2 videos of the rescue, just yesterday. After the man was rescued, there was a great applaud for the rescue team for their efforts. We had a really late lunch, then headed to our cabin for a while. I called home to let everyone know what happened in case it hit the news & no telling if they would have the story twisted. Next thing you know, my family would think our ship had sunk (or sank?). We also went to the internet cafe to communicate with our boys. We went to the hypnotist show before dinner. It was okay. We have seen so many hypnotist shows that they just all seem the same. After dinner, we peaked in the piano bar for a little bit, then called it a night.
4/17/12-I woke up at 6:30 am excited about being in Hawaii tomorrow! We got breakfast in the dining room for the first time on this cruise. We just prefer the buffet breakfast, but usually do the dining room breakfast at least once. It was a great oppurtunity to meet folks. After breakfast, we went to Lido deck to find some sun & we found it! Finally, it eventually got HOT today! We stayed out in it for 5 hours, we were so excited. Then we got ready for a casual dinner, skipping the dining room tonight. At 8:30 pm, we went to see the gender game, it was cute. Then we played bingo, then watched the Love Game (always a hoot). Then we went for pizza & ice cream for our cabin. Hilo, HI tomorrow!
4/18/12-Hilo, HI- Helllooo, Hawaii! Tina (from Big Island Tours/Aina Tours) was right on time meeting us at the pier for our private tour. We had arranged this probably a year ago because I wanted to see as much of Hawaii as possible, I couldn't stand to do a group tour. I couldn't have other people slowing me down. We agreed on an itenerary ahead of time via e-mail, an amount and how many hours we would tour. First stop was Hilo Coffee Mill, where we had a coffee, took pictures of the chicken & bought some espresso for DH's boss. Next stop, Volcano National Park. I can't remember all the points we went to here. Here's what I remember..Lava tubes (neat), Jagger Museum (neat), Steam Vents (neat) & The Crater (can't remember the name of it). DH thought we would see live lava flowing but nope. After VNP, we went to Macadamia Nut Factory. The parking lot smelled soo good. I got some chocolate covered nuts & we had lunch here. Deli sandwiches & ice cream with mac nuts. Yum. They had a nice garden we walked through then we headed to Akaka & Kahuna Falls. Both beautiful but Akaka Falls was breathtaking! We walked through lush rainforests. Tina drove us through town, along the shore, Banyan Drive & eventually we went to Rainbow Falls. No rainbow because it was too cloudy but still beautiful. Then, Tina took us to the airport because I wanted a fresh flower lei for tomorrows luau. There were so many to choose from & they were fairly priced. We bought one for me and DH. Then we drove through Liliokalani (sp?) Gardens, a Japanese style garden. Our last stop was Richardson Beach, which was a beautiful black sand beach. We even saw a couple of big turtles bobbing in the water. We then headed back to our ship just in time to make a call home before boarding for sail away to Maui. We got ready for dinner on Lido. Ship sails away at 7 pm. We got on board around 6:30 pm. A mentionable about this tour. In our e-mail correspondence, they recommended Hilo Coffee Mill & Macadamia Nut Factory, which I originally said I did not want to do because I thought it was a waste of time and we would not be able to see the other things I wanted to see. I am so glad we stopped at both, they were memorable stops.
4/19/12-Maui, HI- We got off the ship as soon as we could & got in line for the rental cars. We had to wait about 10 minutes for a shuttle to take us to Thrifty to get our car rental. Not too long there & we were on our way to Kapalua Golf Club, where I had made DH a tee time for 10 am. It was a nice 40 minute drive to the course. DH was fitted for clubs & shoes and was paired with a couple from Chicago and a member of the club. It was so cold & windy to me even though it was 80 degrees because of the elevation of the course. I am not a golfer but thought I would enjoy the views and riding along. The views were very nice but I regretted it was so windy. Finished up around 2:30 pm, changed for the Feast at Lele luau & headed to Lahaina, where I was so happy to be warm. We parked the vehicle in the luau parking lot for $10, then walked about a mile down Front St. to Hard Rock Cafe to get t-shirts and we were so hungry, we had lunch there too, even though our luau was in a couple hours. We walked along Front St to find Christmas ornament. Front St. was very neat & quaint shopping area with unique shops. Then we went to our luau. It was a beautiful setting with the beach in the background & sunset. We had the best seats! Front row, center. The sunset was gorgeous. The entertainment- awesome! The food was different & a little fancy but SO much of it that we found plenty to eat. Plus we were still full from lunch. Oh, and it's not buffet style, which is one of the reasons I chose this one. I cannot describe how much we enjoyed this luau. It was so romantic & perfect. We were sat at a table alone. After the luau, we returned the car rental & caught the shuttle back to the ship with about 50 minutes to spare before sail-away. I did so much worrying about whether we would make it back to the ship on time. Would we have to leave the luau early? Would the shuttle run this late? I asked many times and was always assured it was ok. Straight to our cabins & bed we went. Another long day tomorrow!
4/20/12-Honolulu, HI- We ported about an hour early. I could tell from our balcony that this island was much busier & touristy. The street was so busy with cars. We got off early (I also did much worrying about making it to Pearl Harbor for our tour time, since they ask that you get there an hour early but luckily we ported early)& got a taxi to Pearl Harbor. I had reserved tickets online. Aloha Tower was pretty at the pier. When we got to Pearl Harbor (about $30 taxi one way), we learned that all the tickets for the day were gone. I am so glad we made reservations. There were so many people upset about this. It was only 9:30 am but I had done my research and knew that they go fast. We paid $3 per bag to store because you can't take bags in. Another thing people were upset about. Again, I did my research. We checked in & they told us where to meet 10 minutes before our tour time. I also paid $18 online when reserving the tickets for the headsets. They were a neat way to waste time before our tour time of the USS Arizona Memorial. Jamie Lee Curtis does the commentary & it was great knowledge. Right on time, we were beginning our tour in the theatre room, where we sat & watched a moving video that lasts about 15 minutes. Then we exited the theatre & boarded a vessel driven by US Navy to the USS Arizona Memorial. A very good experience. After the memorial, we finished our headset tour, then got another taxi to Hard Rock Cafe (about $50, in traffic), got the boys t-shirts, then walked about 4 blocks to Duke Statue. My son was able to see us on the live web cam there. We layed on Waikiki beach for a while. It was a crowded beach, nice for people watching but no drink service so we didn't stay too long. Got another taxi to Ala Moana Center & went straight to their food court (I had heard their food court was great) and got lunch. We both got food from The Chicken Company (because they had soul food, something we were missing from home I guess) & we also got some cookies from another place. There were so many places to choose from in the food court. After lunch, we walked almost the entire 4 levels of the mall. Then we got a taxi to House Without A Key, where we did not have reservations (they wouldn't take them over the phone). It is in a hotel called Halekani (sp?). This is one area I misunderstood the message boards. It wasn't what I had expected. We asked for a table outside but there were none available. Well, we were outside but with a roof over us and couldn't see the sunset unless we got up. It was a nice & elegant setting but the menu was difficult to order from & I think it just wasn't what I had expected. But we had a couple frozen drinks that were very good and made the best of it. After dinner, we got one last taxi to the cruise ship a bit earlier than we had to. Good, because we have a early day tomorrow. I forgot to mention before we sat at House Without A Key, we walked onto the public beach area. They wouldn't let us walk onto the beach through the hotel because that was for guests only but the valet guy showed us the way to public beach & we caught a view of Diamond Head. Honolulu reminds me of a tropical New York. Very busy with tall buildings and high end shops but also very pretty.
4/21/12-Kona,HI- We ported at 8 am. Well, tendered, or whatever it's called. This is the only port we booked an excursion through Carnival because when I tried to book directly through Captain Zodiac, the lady on the phone told me it might be best since we tender here so we won't have to worry about missing our tour. It was more expensive but worth it. Very worth it. We heard later that many people did not get to tender til 2 1/2 hours after we did. Our snorkel tour was great! The boat ride was very bumpy but so much fun! And I was afraid of being afraid. But I was not. Our driver took us straight to dolphins, which I had never seen in the natural setting (other than Sea World). He explained that the dolphin were sleeping. I didn't care. Dolphins are dolphins! We were on our way to our snorkel site, where the Captain Cook monument is, Keoholuka Bay (Now I know I spelled that wrong). The reef was so awesome & we saw lots of colorful fish. This was only the 2nd time I had ever snorkeled and the first time was at Trunk Bay off St. John which is supposed to be in the top 10 snorkel spots in the country I believe? But this spot definately beat it out. My parents bought us an underwater camera for Christmas, which we got our first use out of. DH took lots of pics. I eventually got really cold so we got back on the boat, where they had snacks & drinks ready for us. I couldn't stop shivering I was so cold! It was very warm. I just got chilled to the bone! As we were leaving the site, we saw spinner dolphins! People were snorkeling right around them. We stopped at several spots on the way back such as sea arches, a sea cave & a rock formation that looks like the shape of a woman, which they believe to be Pele? who was the first Queen of Hawaii. I think that's the story. When we got back, we tried to get a taxi to a beach we wanted to go to but the taxi driver didn't know where it was. So plan B was to talk to a beach that we couldn't find! Plan C was to take a taxi to a beach just past Kona Reef Condos going right from the pier about a mile down on the right. Someone from the message board recommended it. It was a tiny but nice place to relax. We even saw several turtles bobbing in the water, coming very close to shore. About 2:45, we started walking back to the ship. It was a long walk but we stopped at a couple shops along the way. There were many restaurants & shops along the half hour walk. We decided to try to let the tender line go down some before standing in it (DH's idea that I didn't agree to). I was right because it just got longer. To waste time, we went into the ABC store right there and ended up cleaning their shelves of Diet Mountain Dew to take back on the ship plus a couple little souveniers. When we got on the ship, we got ready for dinner. Then bedtime. Real early day tomorrow in Kauai!
4/22/12-Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai, HI- We ported around 7 am and got off the ship as early as we could. Got in line for the Thrifty car rental shuttle, waited about 15 minutes for the shuttle to arrive, then we were on our way to Thrifty to get our rental. We got in the Blue Chip line, which is supposed to be speedier but that line was much longer than the regular line. Soon enough though, we were on our way to Waimea Canyon. I had programmed the trip on the GPS we brought. The drive is so beautiful & it took us about 3 hours with stops at most of the lookout points. We went all the way to the top and then made stops on the way back down. Someone from the boards recommmended this and it was a good idea because we beat most of the tours doing the opposite. Afterwards, we headed back to Thrifty to return the car & I almost left my camera! That would have been so bad! But as soon as we realized it, they had already moved the rental but someone had put it in the lost & found, shew! We caught the shuttle to go back to the ship. But first the driver had to drop a few people at the airport, which was real close. We were the only 2 left on the shuttle so the driver struck up conversation with us. We told him were were going to Duke's for lunch and he offered to take us right to it! Very nice fella and DH left him a nice tip. Dukes is located just about less than a mile from the ship (you can see the ship from here) and located next to Marriott on Kalapaki Beach. We had to wait about 15 minutes to be seated so we sat on the grassy area behind the beach & watched folks race paddle boats. Very family friendly beach. At Duke's, we had Chicken Quesadillas, Nachos, Fish & Chips, Cheeseburger & Fries AND HULA PIE! People aren't joking about Hula Pie! We were so stuffed. The food was awesome! We also had 2 lava flows each. Tastes like a Miami Vice to me. Yum. Then we walked back to the ship and sat on the balcony for sail away. We got ready to try to make the 7 pm "Jazz Hot" show on the ship. Well, the show got cancelled because the ship was rocking so much and it was unsafe for the dancers. So we just browsed the photos on the ship, got a drink at the casino bar & came back to our cabin. We ordered a couple sandwiches & a movie then went to bed.
4/23/12- 5th Day at Sea- Woke up this morning with an announcement from the captain that we had to turn back in the middle of the night and were about an hour from Honolulu because a guest needed medical attention from a hospital. He expects that we will be in San Diego on time but maybe a few hours late for Ensenada. He will keep us updated. When DH returned to our cabin from the gym, I danced and said "We're going back to Hawaii", he just looked at me weird as I kept smiling, then he said "No, we aren't" I said "Uh huh, didn't you hear?" Ha! he didn't hear the announcement in the gym. We sat on the balcony and watched as we sailed back into Honolulu. Later, we got ready for the "Jazz Hot" show that was rescheduled. It was cancelled again! So, we went to the dining room to do the "Your Time Dining". I misunderstood this whole thing and thought you could do it anytime you want but later I read about it and understand you have to set that up ahead of time. But our waiter saw us waiting and sat us at his table (our table) with 2 others who didn't have table mates that night. A nice couple from Arizona, and at the table next to us was another nice couple from Texas. We enjoyed chatting with them. After dinner, we checked out other things on the ship but not much going on so we went to bed.
4/24/12-6th Day at Sea- Today we slept in, then went for coffee. Then we headed to Lido deck and grabbed a couple chairs. It was windy and cloudy again so at about noon, we decided to get lunch and go to the cabin for, yep you guessed it, a movie and a nap. We napped til 5 pm! We got ready for dinner, went to a comedy show, then to the ships production show. It wasn't very good but I don't remember the name of it. Then we went to the 2nd comedy show. The comedians were very good! We stopped in at Dancin' dance club a couple times in between shows. They were playing good music from 70's-90's but there wasn't much of a crowd.
4/25/12-7th Day at Sea- I didn't leave the cabin today until about 7:45 pm! DH woke me up this morning after he went to the gym. He told me it was cold & windy again so we didn't even bother. DH did some work on his laptop & I communicated with family. We ordered room service & a couple dirty bananas & took a nap! We slept again til 4 pm. DH went to the gym & I took my time getting ready for "The Big Easy" production show. While I was getting ready, they announced it was cancelled because of the ships rocking. So, we REALLY took our time getting ready for dinner. We had a drink as usual at the casino bar before dinner. The bartenders & wait staff all started to get to know us here & we got to know them. OUr bartender, who we also bumped into in port at Kauai, especially. We asked her how she got into working on a cruise ship. She said the situation in her country is not good. Her folks still live there & she'd like to eventually get papers to move to US or Canada. There is war in her country and the economy is bad. Also, she doesn't get a day off for her whole contract which would be 6-7 months. At which time, she would get 2 months off. I always find the staffs stories interesting. It is formal night so we headed to dinner. This is the last night we plan to eat in the dining room so we tipped our wait staff, especially the waiter who hooked us up that one night. After dinner, we went back to the casino bar, where we met a lady from Florida & we also met the captains wife & had conversation with her. Shewas a very sweet lady and gave me the rose her husband gave her. She said she only cruises about 2 times a year and this is only her 2nd time to visit Hawaii. Her husband, Italian, Captain Volpi, has been at sea for 50 years and is retiring this September because he will be turning 67 years old and captains are required to retire at that age. She says she doesn't know how he will do with retirement. After chatting with a few people, we went for coffee. Then we went to the Dancin' club at 10 pm when they opened. It was latin night & there was quite a few people dancing. We people watched in there for over an hour & talked about how we were going to learn latin dances. Then we called it a night. Such a relaxing vacation!
4/26/12-8th Day at Sea- I did not sleep very well last night with the ships rocking. DH woke me after he went to the gym & we went for coffee. We decided to wait to hear the captains announcement about the weather before trying to lay out. It is clear but still cool. After his announcement, we decided to give it a try even though it was only 66 degrees. We layed out until about 2:45 pm. I had lunch & we both had dirty bananas. DH arranged for champagne to arrive at our cabin chilled at about 3 pm for sunset on the balcony tonight. Before sunset, we ordered PB&J sandwiches (our dinner tonight) and watched sunset with champagne. It was great! Then we got ready to go see "The Big Easy" production show again. Finally, they had it and we had seen it before so it was kind of boring to us. Then we went to a comedy show, then "The Legends" show & another comedy show. We enjoyed the latter 3 shows very much.
4/27/12-Conclusion & 9th Day at Sea- Today is the day we get ready to go home. It is bittersweet because we had the most wonderful time. This has been the best vacation ever. But on the other hand, I miss my boys & am ready to get back home. This cruise is maybe 2 days too long for us. While we really, really enjoyed the down time before & after the ports, we got a bit bored at the end. Plus, we are really disappointed in the weather & the rough seas. We have decided we will stick to Atlantic coast cruising from now on, with the exception of Alaska. So if we want to go back to Hawaii, we will fly. Some of my friends & family said How could you cruise for that long? I never thought I would be on a cruise that is too long but this one was just a tad. We slept in. We made arrangements for someone to pick us up at the airport tomorrow & we checked in for our flights. We filled out customs form & got our debarkation #1 because we are platinum members. We also checked our sail & sign spending, where we are actually doing well. Then we went for lunch. It is so cold outside! Our plans to port in Ensenada are cancelled because of the medical emergency earlier but we still have to stop there and get clearance because of "the Jones Act", which basically means if cruising from a US port, you must stop at atleast one foreign port. This is no big deal to us because we didn't have big plans in Ensenada. We were just going to stay close by & have tacos & margaritas. The captain said we can at least take a picture of Ensenada's night lights. He expected we would arrive there at around 11 pm. He also said "My wife cannot miss her flight". Captain Volpi is the best captain we have ever had. He was always out and about socializing with guests around Lido & we saw him and spoke to him a couple times at the casino bar. The first night at the casino bar, a gentlemen asked him who is driving the ship. He replied "Microsoft". That comment rubbed me the wrong way at first but he became a great captain with the rescue, the medical emergency & his personality. Oh and his wife was just lovely. We also spoke to him the night after the rescue and congratulated him and a couple crew members who were on the rescue boat. BTW, I heard that the gentlemen that went to the hospital in Honolulu is just fine. After lunch, we packed our bags. After dinner, we put our bags out and went to a final show. It was a 2 in 1 comedian show, which was the best show yet! I should note that all of the comedy shows we attended were the adult shows.
Ship- This is the most beautiful of all the ships we've sailed with Carnival or any other cruise line. Very tasteful decor & very clean.
Stateroom- Our balcony stateroom was just as we expected. DH told me to not let him talk us out of a balcony ever again because he forgot how much he liked it. Our room steward was good with no complaints.
Summary- While I would not take this itenerary again because of the weather, rough seas & length, I would not discourage anyone else to try it for theirself. I can't stress enough how much we also enjoyed the down time. Sort of like, well there is nothing else to do, so we will just rest time.
And Hawaii, it is just not to be missed! Hawaii has been my dream vacation since I was a little girl & it lived up to everything I dreamed of! Now, I should say I am very much a planner. I had 2 years to plan this trip and used every bit of it, researching the internet & reading message boards. I put thought into every detail & put it all into an app on my Iphone called TripIt. It was wonderful. I also printed the entire itenerary from TripIt, just in case. DH always gives me a hard time about how much I plan but has praised me on this trip because had it not been for my planning, many things could have not gone as smoothly.
Debarkation- Everything went very smooth & our flight seemed very long home. Less