Monday, February 9, 2015

*Tent on Wheels ON WATER* A Day at Sea

My sweet, romantic RDB woke me up at 6am the first day of our vacation to go to the uppermost decks of Serenity and watch the sunrise. (And no, I'm not being sarcastic.  Reeeally.  But my tray of room service coffee hadn't even arrived yet! )  ;-)

We weren't the only ones who were up early and enjoying the morning sun (and coffee!).  We got back to the room and RDB's mom was out on the balcony.  She had the sweetest smile on her face and gave me the biggest hug ever while whispering a 'thanks' in my ear.  Have I mentioned that I love my in-laws?

Sea Days can be their own adventure - it's not just about the ports of call, its about the journey to get there!  Carnival Magic had lots to do onboard - from the water park to the ropes course, shopping talks and the art auction, to just wandering around on the Promenade and enjoying the ocean views.  There are so many surprising things to do and discover.

Speaking of surprises (see what I did there?), we had another treat in store for the anniversary couple.  Carnival's Fun Shops let you buy gifts to be delivered on the ship during the cruise, and we purchased the Anniversary room decor and cake package.  You can see the decor in our Stateroom review, but the delivery of the cake was so much fun (my Mom just happened to be in the hallway and caught these awesome photos).

A&R, RDB and me went to brunch in the Southern Lights dinning room.  We were assigned to the Northern Lights for our evening meals, so it was a nice treat to get to see the other MDR.  What's amazing about the Southern Lights is the aft view from floor to ceiling windows.  As we were chugging along down to Costa Maya, all you could see was the amazing navy-teal-aqua-blue waters of the Gulf.  We were seated with two other couples - one first time cruisers, the other long time veteran cruisers - and really enjoyed the opportunity to share stories and experiences. (In other words: don't avoid being seated at a table for more-than-two: you can meet some great people on the ship this way!)

After brunch, RDB and I made our way around the Promenade (deck 5) and a few of the other outside spaces, enjoying the ocean views and finding solitary sitting areas.

We weren't the only ones finding unique areas to hang out in - A&R, Sis, Mom and Aunt J all made their way up to the Serenity Adults Only Retreat and enjoyed the loungers and hammocks in a kid-free zone.

Of course, doing all that walking (and lounging) makes you thirsty, so RDB and I headed down to the RedFrog Pub.  It's part of the FunShip 2.0 up-grades, and can I tell you - it's worth all the hype!  ThirtyFrog Red is the beer crafted specifically for Carnival's RedFrog Pub - and RDB and I really enjoyed it's smooth flavor and creamy frothiness.  The snacks in the pub are an extra cost ($3.33) but I had heard such great things about the coconut shrimp I wanted to give them a try.  Again, totally worth the small up-charge - they were awesome! Our bartender, Karoarie, suggested mixing two of the Jamaican hot sauces together (rather than the sauce the shrimp came with) and he was spot on! it was delicious!

Later in the day, we had a meet-n-greet with our Facebook group. Thanks to the magic that is the internet, we "knew" about 200 other cruisers on the ship (Hi ya'll!! Thanks for reading!!)  LMK was the Cruise Director of our Facebook group and organized a meet-n-greet for the first sea day, and other Facebook members had set up a Slot Pull, Door Decorating and Mardi Gras Costume Contests, and a Hometown Gift Swap.  Who the heck could ever say that this group is boring?!  We had a great time meeting people 'in person' - even the infamous Sid was there!

Mom and Aunt J participated in the Mardi Gras Costume Contest - and Aunt J took home second place!

RDB and I took the opportunity to enjoy our first fruity frozen drink with an umbrella (drunk in honor of my work girlfriends!)  It's hard to tell, but that's a Miami Vice - half strawberry daiquiri and half pina-colada.  The bar tenders have been known to call this drink a "pain in the ass" but it's reeeeally good.  

After the Meet-n-Greet it was back to the staterooms to get ready for our formal dinner and hang out on the balcony/verandah a little more. I mean, how could you not love this view?

It's not often that you get to dress up and go to dinner, and I gotta say - there were a lot of fine looking people walking the ship that evening.  Call me biased if you will, but I think we were the best looking out of the whole bunch.

It was our first experience in the MDR, as well, since we had spent the first night on the ship in the Prime Steakhouse.  We ended up with a pager (Your Time Dinning option) since there was eight of us, and only a few tables large enough to fit that sized group.  Not to worry, we stepped into one of the lines for formal photos and let the photographer instruct us to "Hug your hunny-bunny" while we waited for our table to be ready.

The wait wasn't too long, but it was worth it - we were seated at one of the main tables right in the middle of the dining room, with Michael and Ed as our servers (we'd realize later on how hard they must  have worked to get that prestigious center spot in the MDR).

Michael working his charms on Aunt J
Ed, who was a master at napkin folding

Dinner was delightful - the food, again, just amazing and plated so beautifully.  That evening we started our cruise tradition of answering the question: "What was the best part of today?"  It was great to hear everyone's different responses, and as the week went on, it became one of my favorite parts of the day.  If you're traveling with family, and spend most of the day apart - rejoining for a meal at dinner - I'd really recommend you make this one of your cruise traditions, too.

I couldn't find any information on where the tradition of the waitstaff dancing during dinner came from (if you know - leave it in the comments!) but sure enough, we got to catch a few shows during our week on the Magic.  The first night, That's Amore, will forever be remembered as one of the most hilarious nights of our cruise....

If you'll look closely in the bottom photo, the Maitre'd (in all black, left side) has his eye on one of the waiters at the top of the stairs.  A&R noticed this while sitting at the table - he was definitely giving someone the stink-eye for not singing and smiling.  I caught it in the photo, but it's doesn't do it justice.  We didn't realize it until we got back to our staterooms and RDB downloaded his sister's photos for the day - that she had captured it, too.  Only she got it on video!!  We just about died laughing as we replayed it over and again the next few days.

("So, where's the video?" you're thinking.  ;-)  I'll post it separately here in just a bit.  Once I get off my hubby's computer and he has a chance to upload it to his YouTube account.  Come back for it - trust me, it'll be worth it.  You can find it here.)

We started the day with smiles and ended in laughter.  That's a great first day in my book.

Flickr is being bratty about uploading the 375+ photos for this day.  I'll post that link here when it finally finishes the album. 

And THANKS! btw - to all of you who've dropped over from various Facebook links and CruiseCritic (*gasp*! I said those two in the same sentence!)  It's been a pleasure to have you "traveling along!"  Stay turned for a few more days of fabulous photos and Fun Times!


  1. Just getting around to your blog. It is great. When I unexpectedly came across my name in this one, I had a great laugh. And so did the rest of my crew. My wife, being from Mexico, didn't understand the infamous tag you gave me. When I explained it meant being famous but not always for good reasons, she totally agreed with it. Looking forward to all your writing.
    The Infamous Sid

    1. Sid- I'm honored that you'd stop by and post! But then, with no profile picture, and posting anonymously, Maybe I'm not so sure you're real.... ;-)