We started out our vacation by staying at the Hyatt in Garden Grove. I had won a free night in a sweepstakes and this was the nearest hotel that I could get for free. We went to check in and were told it was too early, however, I did manage to get upgraded to a suite for free. What a great start to our trip. Monday morning we drove to Long Beach, we arrived about 10:30. We parked in the parking garage and went to find out our cabin assignments as we had both booked guarantees. I got upgraded 1 category and my friend got upgraded 5 categories. Don't know how they figure this stuff out. This was my 8th cruise with Carnival and her second. Oh well just happy to go. We tagged our luggage, and proceeded to walk to the check in area. As we were walking out of the parking garage I noticed a gentlemen travelling solo and asked him if he was Kent from this board. He was. How great is that to find people before you ever get on board.
We found a porter and checked in. We then proceeded to early check in on the Queen Mary. There was no one in line so we got done rather quickly. When we got our sail and sign cards I looked at the dinner seating and realized they had goofed. My friend got early 6:15 which is what we all requested and I got late 8:30. This is the second time in 3 months they have screwed up my dining arrangements. Oh well, not to worry it gets fixed later. As we were leaving the Queen Mary and walking towards the dome we saw Andrea and her son Curtis. We have been lucky finding fellow CC members before boarding. We agreed to meet up with them later. We got in line at the dome. We boarded right around 12:30. We dropped off our carry ons and found our rooms were ready.
We went to Lido deck for burgers and the first bucket of beers. We then walked around and got our bearings. We went to see the maitre d' to find out about switching my dining time so we could all be together and this was accomplished. However I was still a little miffed as we had told our PVP when we booked and I had called a second time to reconfirm this. Because of this we were seated at a table for four instead of a larger table. We also got relegated to a table near the kitchen. Oh well as I said before just happy to be there. We also went to the Travel Talk which was at 3:45.
Now comes the wonderful life boat drill. The last 3 I have done before this were very painless. This one was awful. No one would be quiet and listen to directions so it took longer than expected. The people with 5:45 dinner barely had time to change for dinner. We felt rushed with the 6:15. We went to dinner and it was very good, although I cannot remember what I had. My friend had the lobster which used to be on formal night but was the first night this time. We went to the Welcome aboard show which was good. The comedian was Geechy Guy. I thought he was really funny. Before the show they had horseraces and Bingo. You can now buy package bingo. You pay for all sessions up front and save 20%. I did this and went to all five sessions so it was only $80.00 instead of $100.00. Sorry to say I didn't win at all. I lost about $50.00 in the casino. It had been a long day so I took a showered at midnight and went to bed.
Day 2 Catalina. We got up and went to breakfast. The teenage girls slept in and got ready for the tender. We had breakfast in the dining room. We both had eggs benedict. It is good, but like others have said sometimes a little congealed. We then went to Lido deck and got hot chocolate for the girls. We took this back to them and then went to the tender line. We just wondered around Catalina and shopped. After we got back on board we decided a jacuzzi would be good. My friend never made it but the girls were there when I got there. I also found out about the Corona sail-a-way party and bought a bucket of Coronas. We let the girls have one each.
Tonight was the Captains cocktail and formal night. We went to the Captains party and had several glasses of champagne. I gave one to my daughter and the waitress asked how I had drank it so fast. I explained I had given it to my daughter and she asked if she was 21, I said no, and she just laughed and gave me another. We went to dinner and then decided we would go to the show. Well we never got to the show until the end because I was winning at roulette. I won back the money I had lost on Monday and earlier that evening. I was actually even. There was also a Beatles set in the Chinatown lounge. I am a total Beatles freak, so told everyone I was going alone if necessary. I met a nice man there named Mick who was English and he was great. We danced and had a good time. I invited him to meet up with my other friends to see Geechy Guys late night show. Very hilarious. I bought the CD. After this I recall going to the cabin and falling fast asleep. Tomorrow is Ensenada and the Scenic Gold Coast tour.
Day 3, Ensenada. We booked the scenic Gold Coast tour. It was very relaxing. It is basically a drive along the coast with a couple of stops for drinks and picture taking. If you want something more energetic this is not the tour for you. I was glad it was very relaxing as I went on the cruise for some rest. After the tour you can either go back to the ship, or the bus driver will let you off in the shopping area. We did the shopping. I asked the tour guide where the best place was to get Kahlua and Tequila and he told me where the grocery store was. I got a litre of Kahlua for $7.40 and a litre of Tequila with a smaller .375 bottle for just over $12.00. The liquor stores were charging about $10.00 for the kahlua and $15.00 for the tequila. We went to Papas and Beer, but they wouldn't let anyone under 18 in so I took the teens across the street and my other friends went in for a drink. We bought the normal souvenirs, t-shirts, shotglasses, an extra bag to carry back all the stuff. After we were done we went back to the ship. I put my bag on the belt and picked it up. I didn't even see the table to turn over the liquor and just kept going. No one stopped me at all. We got rid of our stuff and went back outside to the flea market by the pier. I bought a cute little thing that resembles a holster but instead of being for a gun it is for a bottle or can of beer. Thought my husband would get a kick out of that.
We got ready for dinner and again I don't remember what I had specifically but it was good. We went to the variety show which was good. They had another comedian Merl, who I know I have seen before. He was very funny and we also went to the late night show with him as well. If you are offended easily do not go to the midnight show. He is very raunchy. After this I went to bed. Next day is the sea day.
Day 4 - Day at sea. I slept in this morning and never made it to breakfast. I went to the casino and played some nickel slots. I ended up $20.00 ahead. I then went and played Win a cruise Bingo, unfortunately I didn't win. I stayed for the disembarkation talk. After this I went to lunch in the dining room because they were having fish and chips which was fantastic. After lunch we entered the slot tournament. Unfortunately didn't win this either. I think I went to the casino for a little while after this. I got real lucky at roulette a couple of times. I was even by the end of Wednesday and I think I only ended up losing about $30.00 total for the entire cruise. We went to the Newlywed not so Newlywed game. This always cracks me up even when I know the punchline. I played bingo again, lost, again. Oh well it was still fun. I did the galley tour which was very interesting. It is amazing what they do with watermelon and cheese.
We had dinner in the dining room and I had a great appetizer with black beans and chicken in a wrap. It was fantastic. We went to the show, but it was a little too weird for us so we left early and went back to the casino. I played the last bingo game. We watched the Carnival Legends show which was all the people from Karaoke who were wonderful. I had some chips left and cashed them in and then turned in because the next day was debarkation. It was over too quickly. The ship seemed in very good shape to me. They had put in a lot of new carpet. I noticed this especially in the elevator, as it had a new carpet smell. The glue smelled pretty fresh. The pool and jacuzzis were clean and the decks were kept clean the entire trip. They were painting the outside of the ship when we were docked in Ensenada.
The cabins are typical of fantasy class. We had an inside, which was identical to the outside we had on the Elation. Two beds a vanity area with a chair and a little table you could move wherever you wanted it. Plenty of closet space. One was open and had hangers there was another closed with hangers and one closed with shelves. The staff was great. Never had bad service at all. The showroom is good. Just be careful of sitting behind the poles. They do block your line of vision. The casino had plenty of blackjack tables, 3 card poker and roulette wheels (2). The dining room was also done very nicely, no loud colors in there.
Debarkation. Well, needless to say, very painful. We knew ahead of time we would be the last color called. I asked everyone if they wanted to try to carry everything off and they all voted no. Turned out it wouldn't have been that hard. We got called off around 11:15 am. I was fine with this as I always have reading material. The nice part was it was very easy to find the luggage. There wasn't much left at this point. We got all the luggage and made it to the truck without a porter. This is why I know we could have carried it all off. Oh well, live and learn. We had a fabulous trip. Thanks to Kent, Andrea, Curtis, and all the other wonderful people we met on this cruise. Hope everyone else had as good a time as we did.