Carnival Paradise: A Much Needed Vacation

I haven’t been writing much- and I haven’t been training much either. I’m not sure what’s been going on with me, but I haven’t felt very inspired to write or run lately. I guess I’ve just been going through a funk. I’m hoping that going on our cruise we just got back from got me out of my funk. This last week has been amazing and I can’t believe it came to an end already- but here’s some details of my trip!

The trip didn’t start out very well- upon arriving to port around 11:30 I realized I had forgotten my passport at home. I was hoping they wouldn’t need it for me to get on board, but it turns out they did. Thus ensued one of the most tense three hours of my life while I waited for my boyfriend to drive back home and grab the passport for me- he barely made it and we boarded at 3:45…the ship left at 4. Once on board, it was much less strenuous. We had our first drink-the special of the day which was a berry flavored drink that was actually pretty strong!

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Middle brother and I on the first day!
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Youngest brother and I

Soon after boarding we were sent to our muster stations to listen to the mandatory safety briefing. It’s still boring- especially now that I’ve done it about five times. Nevertheless, I’m sure in the event of a true emergency there would be some idiot who hadn’t paid attention messing everything up.

Sunday

The first full day on board was a sea day. I got up early and ran 4 miles in the gym on board. I barely made it through- I still hate treadmills, even when I have the ocean view in front of me.

After my 4 mile run
After my 4 mile run

After that I went up on deck and secured some chairs for my family. We laid out until about 1pm, grabbing food from the buffet for lunch and cooling down in the pool every once in a while. Despite some reports from previous cruisers of the pool being overcrowded and smelling of urine (luckily it did not on my cruise!) I didn’t experience any of this. It was a bit crowded later in the day, but I was still able to take a dip to cool off. We took showers and naps before dinner and then headed up to eat. This was also formal night so I had an official picture taken of me and my brothers. I intended to buy it for my mom but she saw it first and purchased it herself! After dinner my family sat by the pizza bar and played cards- our family game is Phase 10. It’s a pretty brutal game with us- there’s no love in cards! When I arrived back to our room there was a gift card to the spa from our room steward with a “Happy Birthday” note! I thought that was very nice of Carnival, as I hadn’t ever received anything like this from a cruise line before.

Blue Margarita was the drink special on the first sea day.
Blue Margarita was the drink special on the first sea day.

Monday

Today was the day we spent in the Cayman Islands. We decided against an official cruise excursion and instead just hailed a taxi to Seven Mile Beach- in my opinion one of the most beautiful beaches in the islands. There we rented some snorkel gear and got some food and buckets of beer to relax and lay out on the beach with. We saw some pretty cool stuff under the water- some tropical fish, coral and even some stingrays! Halfway through the day though my phone was trying to update and then shut itself off- and then it wouldn’t turn back on. I tried to let it charge in the room but it still wasn’t responsive. So essentially I lost all the pictures I took in the Cayman Islands. Which sucks because we had some good ones! We were only in the islands until 3 pm, so after we got back on board we took another nap before dinner and then headed down to eat. I said I was going to work out after dinner-but that didn’t happen. Oh well, it’s vacation!

After dinner I went up to the spa intending to book a pedicure or manicure for the following day with my gift card- but I was informed the appointments were all filled. This irritated me a bit as I couldn’t imagine how many people had booked nail appointments while we were in Mexico. However, after I tweeted a message to Carnival cruise lines, they cleared up the issue and booked me an appointment on Wednesday instead. The power of social media!

Twitter conversation with Carnival
Twitter conversation with Carnival

Tuesday

We arrived in Cozumel around 10am. Honestly, this port is a little tired for me. I’ve been here on almost every single cruise vacation, so I kind of feel like I’ve done most of the excursions they offer and the ones I haven’t done are ones I’m not very interested in anyway. This time we just walked around the shops. We purchased a few t-shirts and I got my picture taken with a FOTO SHARK. The reason I thought this was so amusing was because it was essentially spanglish- FOTO in Spanish and SHARK in English. Weird things amuse me sometimes. 😉

FOTO SHARK!
FOTO SHARK!

After that we got back on board, which was really nice because there was hardly anyone on deck so we had the entire pool to ourselves! We relaxed before going to dinner that night. I couldn’t believe it was almost the end of our vacation! That night, they had a Mexican Fiesta up on deck with Latin music and Mexican food at the buffet. We went out and listened to some of the music but it wasn’t really music we knew how to dance to, so we ended up at the buffet and going back to play cards with my family again.

Wednesday

This was the final day of the cruise and a sea day! We arrived up on deck early again and secured some chairs by the pool. After having breakfast and lounging around for a bit, some people in front of me came back with a really good looking drink called a Mango Swirl- so I ordered some of those. They were so good we had seconds- and this was all before noon! It’s 5 o’clock somewhere! Most of today we just lounged by the pool and had drinks. Around 2 pm I went inside because, despite the copious amounts of sunscreen I had been putting on, I still ended up slightly burned. After taking yet another nap, we went to our final dinner aboard the ship. We enjoyed multiple appetizers, a main course and a final dessert before heading to the back of the ship to play another game of cards. Finally we all retired to our rooms to pack for disembarkation the following day.

The Mango Swirl drink
The Mango Swirl drink
I'm pretty sure this is a gorilla. The towel animals are the best!
I’m pretty sure this is a gorilla. The towel animals are the best!

I’m not sure what happened- something I ate must have disagreed with me- but I became violently ill around 3 am the following morning. My sleep wasn’t that great as a result. We woke up to get ready around 7 am Thursday morning. Because we had carried all of our luggage on board, we were able to disembark fairly quickly.

It’s always amazing to me how vacations work- it seems as if they take forever to get here, but in the blink of an eye it’s over. I’m sad to see my family go (I typically only see them once a year), but happy that we got to spend an amazing week together! Thanks for an amazing vacation once again Carnival!

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