Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Welcome to the Lido deck of the Carnival Paradise!
Here's what it looked like at night...very purty.
Other than watching the "Love Boat" back in the day, I wasn't quite sure what to expect from my first cruise. I mean, Lola Falana and Charo weren't even on our ship (not even a Fun Ship Freddy sighting). Thankfully, my friend Andrew and his sister had been on a couple of them in the past, so Oscar and I were in good hands.
Our good hands were also often occupied by a variety of beverages, which the eager staff offers you every three minutes (drinks are not included, which I'm sure they hope you forget after your first one)...
Since we managed to get on very early, we had time to walk around the massive ship (drinks in hand) before the crowds took over. There are a variety of outdoor decks around the ship for fresh air and scenery enjoyment.
Before leaving the dock, we were able to get a great look at the Queen Mary parked next door.
The inside of the ship had this massive common area that rose up about seven floors all around you. It was like being inside a floating mall, but with a piano bar and duty free stores.
I was pretty impressed with the nice variety of architecture inside the ship (which I'll cover in a seperate post this week). It wasn't as tacky as I had envisioned, which was a nice surprise (I was thinking it would have the decor of a Motel 6, with coastal paintings and brightly patterned bedspreads). The rooms were tastefully deocrated with very comfy beds and nice bathrooms (with good water pressure to boot).
They also left us creative towel animal arrangments each night on the bed, complete with wee chocolates.
We were given a tour of the spa facilities which, as lovely as they all sounded, were a bit out of our price range. However, Oscar was treated to a free sample of the warm stone massage as we were leaving the spa...
Contrary to his expression, he left that chair more relaxed than he has been in months.
There was plenty to do on the ship...from putt putt golf, swimming, gambling (which we took full advantage of), a gym (which we took no advantage of), and, of course...all the food you could fit in your pie-hole 24/7. Our server in the formal dining room, Olga, took a liking to Oscar from the first night, so she did her best to keep him well-fed and happy.
We lucked out and got great dinner companions at our assigned table in the dining room. Thankfully we didn't scare them away with the first night of dinner conversation and, believe it or not, they came back the next two nights and even went out with us the final night for adult beverages and a little gambling.
There were over 2,000 people on the boat, a good portion of them bombed out of their unfortunate-fitting swimwear for most of the daylight hours. One hammered woman in particular had a bikini bottom that always looked like a twisted postage stamp fighting desperately to claw its way out of the crevice of a gigantic ham.
My eyes....MY EYES!
Part of me wishes I had my camera then and the other part (the nightmare side of my brain) is thankful that I didn't.
We got to spend a day on Catalina Island (which I'll also cover in a seperate post this week), which was really nice and relaxing. It was cool to see our ship waiting patiently in the background for our (hopeful) return.
A fun time was definitely had by all.
More to details to come...