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Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Let's talk Cruises!!

Happy 2020, y'all!! I've got a million things going on, but wanted to share the amazing experience I had in December on Carnival Cruises. 

My Mom offered to pay for a cruise to the Bahamas if I'd go with her. Yes Please!! She LOVES cruising, but didn't have anyone to go with.  Also, this was our first Mother-Daughter trip. Yay! So, we started planning in late September.  I was so excited, because I've always wanted to go on a cruise!  There were lots of resources online to plan a cruise.

After looking at a few different cruise lines, Carnival is the one we decided to go with, as Mom is a member of their VIFP club.  We were given an upgrade from deck 6 to deck 10 because of her points.   We decided to go with a balcony cabin, and to purchase the Faster to the Fun package.  This allows you to board the ship earlier, and leave earlier on your return to the port.  More on that later! We also prepaid our gratuities. 

I watched a ton of videos on youtube, because I am a planner.  I like to know where I'm going and what it will be like.  Our ship was the Liberty, and there were plenty of videos there to help me get a feel for the ship and what to expect.  Our three-day cruise was scheduled for December 20-23, 2019.

Packing for the cruise was pretty easy.  Mom's got a VW bug, so we each had room for one suitcase and one carry-on in her car.  I checked the weather sites for the forecast.  It looked like it would be a bit chilly, so no bathing suit needed, and I only took one pair of shorts.  I took several pairs of leggings, a pair of black pants, two pairs of shoes, five or six shirts (I like options!) and of course, undies, bras, socks and sleepwear.  I also took a duster to throw on over the tops if it got chilly.  (And it did!)

In addition, I took a backpack to carry on deck, a lanyard, my phone and charger, camera (don't forget the batteries like I did - grrrrrr), several books for me and Mom, a hat, jewelry to dress up my outfits if needed, and my light-up Christmas necklace and buffalo check antlers for the day we disembarked.  (Christmas Eve eve! Be festive!)   And of course, toiletries and my purse.

We drove to Cocoa Beach from N. Georgia the day before our cruise.  We stayed at a Hampton Inn that was about 10 minutes from where we planned to park for the cruise.  We got there, ordered pizza and went to bed! Woke up early the next morning, and had breakfast downstairs.  Then a quick stop at Ron Jon Surf Shop for some goodies for my kiddos. 

Next, we drove to the parking lot for Park N Cruise - I'll share more about them in another post.  Mom paid for a covered spot for her car - she loves that car like it's her baby! 

After a short wait, we boarded a shuttle and headed to the terminal! After we got off the bus there, our bags were handed to the porter to be delivered to our room later that day.  We went through the various check-ins and sat in the First to the Fun seating area. We were able to board right after the Platinum and Diamond VIPF members were allowed on the ship.  We ended up boarding at 11:10 am. When they called us, we walked through the terminal and over several gangways to get on the ship.






The Liberty is HUGE!! And beautiful! Everything was decorated for Christmas. We entered through the lobby and were directed to the Lido deck, #9.  That is where most of the food places are, plus a pool, and lots of seating areas. Oh, and bars - Yes!

Mom and I decided to head to Guy's Burger Joint before it got crowded.   Yum, yum, yum, y'all!! Best burger I've had in a while! The topping bar made it easy to customize your burger your way. 






We ate inside the buffet area. (the picture above was taken in the outside but covered area by the pool deck).  We didn't purchase the Cheers package, so we only got free drinks from the buffet.  Those included unsweetened tea, (my fave, so yay!),  lemonade, coffee and water. My tip- take a big insulated mug on your cruise - the cups they provide are literally 8 or 10 oz - so small! I like to carry a drink around, so my Corksicle kept drinks cold and icy.   The little yellow cup below is what is offered at all beverage stations on the Lido deck.  If you purchase the Bottomless Bubbles or Cheers package, they will bring you a can of soda or other drink with a regular glass.




I grabbed a slice of German Chocolate cake for dessert while we waited for our cabin.  The dessert table at the buffet was insane!! So many choices - citrus buttercream cheesecake, elderflower cheesecake, peanut butter cake, cookies, pastries, ice cream and so much more!  No picture, unfortunately!

Around 12:45 or 1, we went to deck 10 and located our stateroom.  Our bags hadn't arrived, so I went back down to deck 9 and ordered a big ol' Tropical Colada.   I relaxed and enjoyed my drink by a window in one of the bars, and shared a Facebook live as we sailed out of the port.  Then I put my phone in airplane mode and got myself into vacation mode!  Yes - I unplugged for 3 full days and it was AWESOME!


Once we got out from the port, I went back to the room and met up with Mom.  After a few minutes, our bags arrived.  We got settled in, and then it was time for the muster drill.  That was my least favorite part of the entire cruise.  I get claustrophobic and there were so many people in our muster area.  It took about 35 minutes, crammed and sweaty in a huge crowd.  I was so happy when that was over, and I could go back to our stateroom!

**If you are like me, and don't know what a muster drill is, it's a safety meeting to show you how to use the life jackets.  It shows you where to go if there is an emergency, too.**

I spent some time out on the balcony enjoying the wonderful ocean view. It started raining so I headed in to get ready for our 6:00 pm dinner seating.....I'll share that, and pics of our room on my next post! Stay tuned!



Have you ever cruised?  Which line is your favorite?