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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Western Caribbean Cruise: Tampa and Sea Day

Since it's well into February perhaps it's time to start posting about our vacation from end of Dec./beginning of Jan. haha :)

If you have been a follower for awhile you know we had a great time cruising around the Southern Caribbean with Eric's brother and his wife in February 2012. Well, it was recently time for another cruise! Eric and I took a 7 day cruise over New Year's with my parents around the Western Caribbean. None of us had been to any of the islands on the Carnival Legend's itinerary and it left out of Tampa (an easy drive from my parent's home) so it was the perfect choice for us.

I'll be blogging about our vacation in a series of posts
Here's where we sailed:

Day 1: Depart Tampa
Day 2: Fun Day at Sea
Day 3 (New Year's Day): Cozumel
Day 4: Belize City
Day 5: Roatan, Mahogany Bay, Honduras
Day 6: Grand Cayman
Day 7: Fun Day at Sea

My parents had not been on a cruise in a very long time and were a little hesitant about going on Carnival since it is one of the more budget lines but decided to give it a go especially after our accounts of the molten chocolate lava cake.

Cruising is an affordable way to see a variety of islands/places in a short amount of time and eat delicious food from wonderful chefs. The rooms (unless you pay out the wazoo) and pools aren't like staying at a five star hotel, but that's not why we go on a cruise.

On December 30th, we arrived at Port of Tampa a little after noon. We handed over our check bags and carried a few things with us, got all checked in with ID cards etc. and headed up to have lunch in the Unicorn Cafe (buffet/station style dining). This is where we had breakfast and lunch most days.

We were able to go drop our stuff off at our rooms and explore the ship some before the muster drill.

It was actually a chilly day (for FL) with only a high of about 58 and windy so we were ready for warmer weather! Don't use Eric's short sleeved shirt as any indication of the temp. We set sail at about 4pm. On our last cruise we didn't set sail until after 8pm and it was quite dark so it was nice to enjoy the sunny views as we left port and headed out toward the Gulf.

You can see the cruise ship that sailed off right before us going under the bridge.

We did the Your Time Dining so that we would not be locked into either 6 or 8:30 every night. We had some issues with the My Time Dining on Royal Caribbean but had no problem on Carnival. You don't set your time ahead of time at all... you just show up and wait in line (no more than 15 min) and then are seated usually in the same section every night if they are able.

Other than the poor lighting for photography, the dining in Truffles was wonderful.

I had fish, veggies and some rich and creamy mac and cheese. Eric had pesto chicken and veggies over pasta.

And molten chocolate lava cake of course! Mmm... wish I had some right now.

Back in the room later we found our towel animals... a seal for my parents!

And some sort of cute unidentifiable animal for us. If anyone can figure it out let me know!

The next day was an at sea day on our way to Mexico. It was also New Year's Eve. We spent time relaxing in the sun and reading and playing cards and Citadels.. the ship had a great game room called the Trump Card Room.

This was the area to lounge if you were without children... adults only area.

It was a "formal night" so we got all dressed up for the night.

Here are some food pics from dinner... we always tried to get different things since there were about 5-6 new specials each night and try each others. They also had about 5 main dishes that were always on the menu too... so tons to choose from!

New Year's Eve was also the night of the Chick Fil A Bowl Clemson vs. LSU game so we headed to the sports bar to watch. There were actually several other Clemson fans there.

During halftime we grabbed a few more photos near one of the staircases.

Me with Dado... not to be confused with Dabo who was leading our Tigers to a victory. It was definitely a nail biting heart attack inducing game and I hated not being able to text with my Clemson friends during the game BUT we were so so ecstatic with a Clemson victory! 

It made for a wonderful NYE.

Well that and this adorable elephant :)

More cruise fun to come!

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