Sunday 5/22: We left the house about 8:00am to reach Galveston about 1:00pm. We had a 2:30pm boarding time, so we left with time enough to drop our luggage with the porter, park the car ($70!) and get the shuttle back to the cruise terminal. By the time we got back to the terminal, the line was unreal. I could feel my skin tightening up at the thought of waiting in that line. We walked down to the Starbucks but there was a big line there as well. We ended up at a seafood restaurant called Fisherman’s Wharf next to the terminal. He had an Shiner Bach, and I had a Ruby Red. This is a martini with grapefruit juice and simple syrup. It was so good, I had a second. Exactly what I needed to knock the edge off and prepare me for waiting in line. (If you can’t tell, I despise waiting. I have very little patience, so queuing up never goes well for me.) I had been dreading the boarding process because it was an absolute fiasco last time. It took three hours just to get on to the boat. So, this time, I waited until 2:30 before I even left the table to get in line. It could not have gone better. We were on the boat in about 20 minutes. The lines were long, but moved swiftly. Good job Carnival!
We had noticed an issue with the shower draining so we called the steward and said he’d send the plumber.
We went for our first onboard run Monday morning. The track on this ship is 7 laps to a mile, so a little larger than the last on the Carnival Freedom at 9 laps to a mile. Hubs came to run with me, and for whatever reason, if he sets off with me I speed up. It’s not something I do consciously, so I’m often not aware of it. On top of that, on one side of this tiny track the wind pushes you forward, but as soon as you finish the curve, the wind is in your face pushing you back. This happens 7 times each mile. I made less than 3 miles, and it was rough. But, it was a run, and that is always a good thing.
Later in the day, we were sitting in the room. I was on the edge of the bed watching tv, and hubs was considering a nap when we heard someone trying to get in the door. We figured it was the plumber, and maybe he was having a hard time getting in the door. We heard some more commotion and were looking at each other about to try to go to the door and figure out what was up. I could hear a woman’s voice and she was griping at someone about not opening the door. Just then, our door opened and in stumbled this random woman calling to someone named Anthony. Her head was tilted down as she was coming in so I could see she didn’t belong and had maybe a 2 second lead on her when she finally looked up. She looked at me, realized she was in the wrong room, and stumbled back out. Our room steward had let her in and he stood there and apologized. She didn’t say a word about being in the wrong room, so just turned around and headed back out. Everything in the rooms happens in close quarters, because the rooms are small, especially in the door way. It was funny at the time, maybe less so later. Surely, the steward would just let anyone in the room simply because they were trying to get in?
Tuesday 5/24: Key West, Fl
We adore Key West. On our last cruise, we liked it so well, we decided to just spend the whole week there. Unfortunately, we didn’t book early enough, so we just decided to cruise again.
We had breakfast and again did not rush to get off the boat. We let most of the folks clear out and got off about 11:00am. We walked to the CVS for water and goggles, then headed to Le Bistro for lunch. Their tag line is “Breakfast and Lunch in the Garden”. We had some sangria and rum punch while we waited. Delicious. He had a Croque Monsieur and I had a rather large cheeseburger. Food wasn’t bad, but we could have found better. The waiter was super nice.
We next went in search of the Seascape Inn to attempt to make reservations for next year. It’s a small bed and breakfast very close to Hemingway’s home. It’s got 6 private rooms, two with balconies. Bike rental out front on a pretty property. Unfortunately they would not allow us to make reservations as they had not set the prices yet. This seemed a little odd to me. We were instructed to email them with dates and they would contact us with pricing. If it was me, is have said “Yes ma’am” and taken a deposit. I will be emailing as soon as we get home. I expect it to be about $200 a night. If it’s much more than that however, we may elect to stay at the Westin. There’s a lovely pool in the courtyard that I neglected to take a picture of. Le Sigh.
Off we went to Hemingway’s house. I love this property. Admission is $13.00 per person.
There are 53 cats on the property, all descendants of Hemingway’s original poly dactyl cat, Snow White. The cats are free to come and go as they please, and most stay. They’ve got plenty to eat, good medical care, and the yard is a positive cat haven. It’s full of plants large and small, plenty of shady spots to hunt from or sleep in. They are so used to people coming in and out, they won’t respond even if you make smooching noises. Ha!
There is a little spot where you can get married on the property. If I had it to do again (and the funds of course) I would have gotten married here. No question. It is just lovely. We decided we’d come back in 50 years and get married again. We will see you there in 2065.
We walked around some more and found an ice cream parlor called Flamingo Crossing on Duval St. He elected to have his mint chocolate chip in a bowl to keep from getting sticky hands. (Hubs is a very neat person, spotlessly clean most of the time.) I threw caution to the wind and had a large waffle cone with several scoops of Cuban coffee flavor. I neglected to take a picture as it was hot out and time is of the essence when you are holding an ice cream cone in southern Florida. I endeavored to keep the ice cream under control, and at first things went well. Soon enough though, the dripping started. Napkins were everywhere and I made a mess of myself. It occurred to me that most of the things I set off to do in life happen this way. Under control at the start, a total mess in the middle, but absolutely worth it in the end. Go to this parlor and get the big messy cone. #yolo
We walked some more towards Mile 0, the southernmost tip of the U.S., but ended up turning around and heading back to the ship before we made it there.
We got back on board, took a nap, ate some dinner, then rented Deadpool from our room. I actually really enjoyed this movie. Can you tell that surprised me a little? It is both vulgar and violent, but it is also funny, even if the humor was more geared toward 13 year old sexually frustrated males at times. Ryan Reynolds was excellent, and you care for his character immediately, even if he is a dick. I recommend you watch it, if you aren’t easily offended and if your children are nowhere in sight. And I do mean nowhere near.
Wednesday 5/25: Freeport, Bahamas
4 mile run this morning. I set out for 3, but felt really good and just kept going. Hubs started after me so I had a good pace from the start. Really nice. I managed to get a small but painful blister the day before at Key West. I had worn Hubs’ socks and they slid down into my shoe and my shoe rubbed the back of my heel. Of course, I didn’t have band aids, and the ship shops aren’t open at 5:30am. So I improvised with a bit of tissue and a breathe right strip. Totally worked!
We had a good time in port. There really isn’t much near the port. We aren’t fans of paid excursions as it looks to the casual observer like another good way to spend some money in order to stand in more lines. We shopped around a bit at the shops but didn’t find anything interesting. We decided to stop in at Fat Tuesday to have a daiquiri. They just looked so good with the ice forming on the outside of the glasses in the heat. I had a strawberry and he had a piña colada. Let me just tell you, they were so good. They were $14.70 each after tax, and worth every penny. They obviously were full of liquor. I’m no light weight and by the time I got 2/3 of the way through mine I had a nice buzz. Hubs and I sat and talked for a solid hour over those drinks. This is what vacation is about as far as I’m concerned.
I absolutely recommend having a daiquiri at Fat Tuesday. However, I can’t recommend a second one, because I don’t want to be blamed for what happens next. Ha!
As we left to get back on the ship, there was a DJ playing line dances so I hopped in for the Cupid Shuffle. I have no photographic evidence as I was wearing the camera at the time. Fail. But lots of fun.
I wore a FitBit for the duration of the cruise. I think I ended up with about 22k steps for the day. That’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 11 miles. Sweet.
Thursday 5/26: Nassau, Bahamas
3 miles run this morning. Little tired from yesterday, but it was a nice run nonetheless.
This port is a little…aggravating. When you get off the ship, you enter an area where everyone and there Mama is hollering at you to take a taxi or a horse and buggy ride, or to see their shop. This activity is restricted to an area right inside the port, but you have to pass through there to get out and walk. You have to keep saying No No No No No to get out of there. Once you get out of there and start walking towards the beach for instance, people start asking you to come in their restaurants and still others harass your husband to buy cigars. We walked down to a stretch of beach first, and the water is gorgeous, however, there was a fair amount of trash on the beach itself.
We walked some more, then decided to hit up Señor Frog’s in the hopes of getting a good strong blender drink like Fat Tuesday.
We ordered two drinks. The bill was $37.00?!! It’s ok, we are on vacation. We sat to enjoy our drinks and there was no detectable liquor in either of them. Seriously dude?!? I just paid $18.50 a piece for strawberry mix and ice? I’ve learned my lesson. I absolutely do not recommend visiting them.
We tried to find a laundrette on the ship to do some laundry, but the one on our floor was broken, and we could not locate another on the next 2 floors. We decided to send it out before we left for port. It was $15 per bag, and we had a bag each. Neither of us has ever had our laundry done before. We were kind of excited to see what it would be like. They returned our clothes all neatly folded and clean. It was nice not to have to do laundry for once, but one of my shirts came back a significantly different color and smelled burnt. I’m not sure what happened there, but overall it was pretty cool.
Friday 5/27: Sea Day
3 mile run. Sea day brunch. We each had coffee…and an espresso.
Four boat drinks. One long nap.
Dinner. Asleep again.
Saturday 5/28: Sea Day
Last day on board. I have been writing this post for a couple of days here on the ship. I must say, I am ready to get home. I’m very grateful to have been able to take this trip, but I’m also ready to get off the boat. I’ve got some super exciting new products coming to the shop, and some new equipment being delivered and I’m anxious to get to work on that. I’ve got to place some orders for inventory and get a plan together for the launch of the new goodies. In other words, my To Do list is piling up, and I’m ready to dive in.
Sunday 5/29: Back in Galveston
Up at 3:30am. I am ready to go. This is the worst part of cruising as far as I’m concerned. We thought there would be about 3,000 passengers on the ship. Turns out, there were 4,500 and all those folks have to get off the boat through the same door, with their luggage. They call passengers to disembark a deck at the time. We were on the Lido deck which is deck 10. This puts you close to the food and the action, but apparently puts you at the back of the line to get off. You just have to find a spot and wait. By this point, you know how much I love waiting. They started letting folks off about 7:45, and finally called for our deck about 9:15. You have to line up to get off the ship, then head in to customs. Customs was actually pretty quick this time. The line for shuttles to the parking log was longer. We finally made it to the car about 10:15 to depart Galveston.
A note on Food: There is a lot of food on cruise ships.
You can get pizza and frozen yogurt 24 hours a day, and there are three buffets a day, on top of burgers, tacos and burritos. Not to mention whatever else you can find in port. There is also liquor all over the place. This is all great, unless you are a person that struggles with food like I do. If you are trying to clean up your eating, get off sugar, control your portions, or eat whole, this is not the vacation I’d take. It is going to be some work to return to “normal” after this trip. I follow SwimBikeFuel if you are interested. It’s a program geared towards runners and triathletes. My husband by the way, has the metabolism of a young child. He will not have gained an ounce over the course of this trip. I’ve likely gained 5 pounds. :/ I may have to do another round of Whole30 to get things back on track. My skin and gastrointestinal system are rebelling at the rough treatment as it has been quite a while since I’ve eaten this way for more than a day.
Overall, I’m super grateful to have been able to take this trip. Hubs and I had a good time. We can’t wait to spend a week in Key West next year. We’ve made a tentative plan to attempt to go to every ice cream parlor on the island by bike. Hubs isn’t sure it’s possible. We will give it a good go anyway and I’ll try to talk him into a big drippy cone.
Have you ever cruised? Been to Key West or the Bahamas? How was it? Are you planning a new adventure now?