The last couple of years we've considered doing a cruise, but for various reasons, didn't. About Christmas time, we decided that yes, the time had come, we were gonna give it a whirl. So on January 31, Don & I and Charles & Lou Ellen sailed away from Galveston for a 7 day cruise aboard the Carnival Conquest, headed for the Western Caribbean!!!
First, the Conquest is a fantastic ship!! It was nicer than I had imagined. And bigger (952 ft long). We sailed full, which is a good indication of popularity. I had been warned about motion sickness but it wasn't a factor in this cruise, it was all smooth sailing. And I was so relieved to find that the cabins are NOT broom-closet sized. We had an Oceanview Cabin on level 2, Main. Everything about the bed was so comfortable and you know, I am not easy to please. But the mattress, pillows, sheets, comforter and all were just perfect. I'm going to order some of their pillows. Here's a pic of an Oceanview room from the website, but ours looked exactly the same:
After Mustering (ship-talk for safety drill) we were off! It was a cold day in Galveston but we weren't worried at all. Here we are watching the sail away from the balcony of Charles & Lou Ellen's room (they were on level 8, Verandah). The white robes we were covering up with are there in every room. I could not believe that we were going on a one week vacation without our children...together! And for me & Don, it was our first time leaving the United States. My heart was doing the happy dance! Adventure, here we come...
We met lots of interesting people. Many were Texans, but there were also people from Lake Charles, other states, and even Canada. And when I say "met" I mean some we talked to, some we didn't...but they were people we'd see over and over and finally figured out their story. Here's a few:
** Dewa, our cabin steward. He did our room twice a day, replacing our wet towels, beach towels, white robes, anything we needed. He did turn-down service every night, and always filled the ice bucket!! With Carnival, you have the tips charged to your Sail & Sign card, so the steward is taken care of, but we had to give Dewa some extra cash, he was awesome!!
** Teeny-Tiny and her man. She was a young black girl, maybe 17 or 18, very short, with a prominent, uh...rear end. She was a wild thing and must have imagined she was on MTV. Both she and her guy (who wore a T-shirt that said, Just Do Me) were mentally challenged, but suffice it to say - they were not wall-flowers. There is a video somewhere buried deep on my camera card, but you must be in the circle of trust to see. ;)
** Maude and Jim. I called her Maude since she reminded me of the TV character. And his name really was Jim....we know this b/c we were in the hot tub with her and she would talk pleasantly enough to us and then turn around and growl at her husband (on the deck) and say "Jim, get in here right now!" She did this at least 3 times. Finally, Jim obeyed.
** Our best photographer, "Hy" from the first elegant night. Now, you have to know - we had no fewer than 30 people taking our picture during this cruise, but Hy is the one I'll always remember. He was a character!! Not sure where he was from, but he spoke English well. In fact, it was like listening to a comedian...he was a bit racy, but he had lightning fast delivery, so that we were like...what did he just say??? We were laughing so hard we were crying. He called Don, "James" (which is his real middle name!) and he called Charles "Francois". I bought a cute photo he took of us that night.
** Joe and his wife. We never talked to Joe, but he was the unofficial star of this cruise. He was a little man, 75 or so, with silky gray hair that he pulled back in a short ponytail, very neatly. He and his wife had been married 57 years. When he was on stage for the opening night show, the Cruise Director asked, "Joe, you've been married for 57 YEARS! What is your SECRET, to what do you owe this long and happy marriage???" And Joe, after a few seconds of careful thought, said, "She didn't die..." And there ya' go, the secret of life, marriage is a breeze...just do NOT die!!
I could go on, but you get the picture. At dinner, our first night at sea:
There was a whole lotta kissing going on....
And a lot of laughing! I was trying to hold it together, in the interest of decorum and all, but you gotta cut loose sometime. And we did. ;)
Stay tuned, more cruise stories to come.