Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Cruising and Valuable Lessons Learned

I'm back from my 3-night cruise on the Carnival Fascination from Miami, FL to Nassau, Bahamas.

Here are a few things I learned this weekend:

- I will not go on another Carnival cruise

- I will cruise again, only this time on one of the ships I originally wanted to go on, a Royal Caribbean Voyager class ship.

- Cruising alone is not much fun unless you are Pamela Anderson and really outgoing, neither of which describes me. I will take someone with me on any future cruises, even if I have to kidnap someone.

- Green Iguanas spit when it's mating season and you are trying to get a picture from too close up, but... it's not poison spit.

- I will not return to the Bahamas on a cruise.

- I will only return to the Bahamas if it's to stay at Atlantis. It looks very cool and very good for kids too.

So, as you can see the cruise was a valuable learning experience. It was good for the most part. Not particularly exciting though. There's not a lot to do on that ship besides eating and drinking. Neither of those really appeals to me. The food is not good enough to eat constantly. The drinks were also weak and too sweet. The bed was nice, very cozy sheets. The room was small, but not too bad. The biggest problem was that the public places smelled like urine. I'm serious. It was really gross. That's definately why I will not go on another Carnival cruise ship again. They are old and they obviously don't care much about keeping them up. The lack of things to do is also a big problem. They have a lot of cheesy games and activities planned. LOTS of bingo.

Saturday was the day in Nassau. It's not that great. Really not my style. Very geared towards shopping. The only thing I got was a present for Sarah which I can't talk about here yet cause she hasn't seen it yet. I'll tell everyone about it once she's seen it. I hope she likes it.

Saturday started out with my massage. It was decent. It was a massage and facial combo. The facial part was much nicer. She didn't seem to know what she was doing really with the massage. I will probably not get a massage on a ship again. There are much better ways to spend money on a good boat. Then I headed off to the island. It was around noon, so I didn't want to head to the beach yet and get burnt. I found lunch at Twin Brothers. It wasn't very good, it was expensive and the waitress forgot about me. After that I walked over to the Ardastra Gardens and Zoo. That was cool. They had some interesting animals. I was trying to get a picture of this huge iguana's head. I couldn't get the camera to focus right. The iguana got sick of me being that close and spit on me. Seriously, it was funny. He shook his head a couple times, geared up and spit at me.

After that adventure I walked back and tried to make my way to the beach on Paradise Island. FYI, if you want to get to PI quickly, don't take the ferry unless you get there just as they are about to leave. A taxi would be much quicker. They sit around until the boat is overloaded with people before they leave. Once I managed to get to PI it was a whole other thing trying to find the beach. I managed to end up on the Atlantis property. That was a big whoops! I don't think I was supposed to be there. But no one seemed to notice that I didn't have a bracelet on. It's a very cool looking hotel. They have great looking pools and water slides and seperate pools for different ages. It's great. I would really like to go back. It will definately be on the option list for a honeymoon, if one ever happens. :)

Anyway... I finally found the beach and most of it was private Atlantis beach. Once I walked really far down the uncomfortable-to-walk-on white sand beach I found the public beach. I also found a guy renting out jet skis. He coerced me into renting one for a half hour. Luckily I didn't have enough money on me so he rented it to me for $40 instead of the list price of $60. That was actually A LOT of fun. Jet skiing on the ocean is quite a bit different from jet skiing on the Schuylkill.

After that I was totally soaked, so I had to get back to the ship to change. I was going to walk all the way back but then I saw that they were loading up one last ferry. So I ran down to chatch it. The captain was a total jerk to me because I had some sand on my bag. He was whining about getting the ship dirty. Stupid ferry guys. Once I got back to the ship I got a shower and got changed to go find some dinner. That proved far more difficult than I had expected. The area near the docks shuts down in the evening. Nothing was open except Senor Frogs. But the food there turned out to be pretty good. It was Mexican. I had tortilla soup and veggie fajitas. It was good. I also got a completely non-alcoholic iced tea, which came in a big plastic souvenir cup. On the way back to the ship I emptied the melted ice down a rain water drain. From behind me some guy yells "Hey, that's alcohol abuse, I saw that!" I yelled back that it was just water abuse and ended up walking back to the boats with he and his friend. They were on the Carnival Celebration though, not my ship. The other problem was that the cute one was married. Oh well. So, I just went back to my boat and watched Mr. and Mrs. Smith.

Sunday I slept in late, which was great. I went and got lunch and had a great conversation with a couple from Chicago about other cruises and vacations and such. The wife was telling me that there was definately a lot more to do on Royal Caribbean cruises than on the Carnival cruises. She thinks that I would enjoy a Royal Caribbean cruise a lot more. I think so too. Since it was my birthday I decided to do a little shopping after lunch. Everything on the ship is duty free and also discounted (supposedly) from US retail prices. Most of the stuff I agree on the discounted part, but I'm not so sure about the alcohol. It didn't seem that much cheaper to me. But, I also don't buy much alcohol, so maybe I'm wrong. Anyway, I looked around and found a very pretty Hot Diamonds necklace for myself. Hot Diamonds is a company that puts very very tiny little diamonds into sterling silver jewelry. I like it a lot and it's pretty inexpensive. My necklace was only $78. It was a lovely present purchased with the ship board credit that my mom gave me. I took a picture of it on me that I'll probably put up on Flickr.

Not much else happened on Sunday. The Steelers won the AFC Championship, so that's very exciting. GO STEELERS!!! Hey, at least they are still from PA. The Eagles aren't worth rooting for at this point. I watched Bewitched, which was eh. Dinner was also eh. They brought out Baked Alaska for dessert, which was terrible, and then they wouldn't take orders for dessert from the regular menu until they got done with this horrible cheesy dance number. I almost got up and walked away, but I had to get the taste of the Baked Alaska out of mouth. After that I walked around the deck, took some pictures and then went to bed. I had to get up really early so that I could get into the Early Bird line to get off the boat. If you could carry your own luggage you could get off the boat at 7:00am. Otherwise you had to wait until after 8:30am and after your tag color was called. Since I was in the basement of the ship basically, I figured it'd be a while till my number got called. My luggage wasn't that hard to handle, I hadn't taken much. So, I just got up at 6:00am and got off early. I was back at my dad's house by noon on Monday, so it worked out well.

Today I just relaxed around the house, did laundry, and now I'm going to go pack up. I'm heading back to Philly tomorrow for hopefully a week or two. When exactly tomorrow I leave is entirely dependent on the Adelphia cable guy. We've been having problems here at Turk's house with the cable going in and out. It'll go out for hours at a time, which is a big pain in the neck, especially if Turk is trying to work from home. We've tried several different things, including getting a new modem, none of which have helped. So, tomorrow comes the cable guy, hopefully he can figure something out. Hopefully he also comes really early in the morning so I can head out nice and early. Wish me luck!

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