Review: (photos) Christmas on Carnival Valor

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#1
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
My husband and I have cruised with Royal Caribbean twice. We didn't have plans on switching, but this year the dates we had available and the ports/prices of RC just didn't match up, so we decided to try Carnival. We found a cruise that fit our schedule and our price range for the holidays.

We drove from Texas to Miami (cheaper than flying and we are not strangers to the long stretch of I-10) We arrived in Miami the night before departure and stayed at La Quinta Airport North. You can leave your car at the hotel and take a shuttle to the port. Much easier than fighting the traffic and finding parking at the port! The shuttle dropped us off right by the door, a porter was there before we even opened the doors to help with our luggage, and within 5 minutes we were in line to check in. My mother is in a wheelchair, so they lead us to a line on the side where we were quickly taken care of. Through the detectors, up the elevator, waited in line maybe 5 minutes to have our pictures taken and room keys printed and then up another elevator and onto the ship! SO EASY, SO FAST! I have never gotten on a cruise ship that quickly, I was REALLY impressed with the Port of Miami! From the time we stepped foot out of the shuttle and onto the ship was less than 30 minutes!

Anyway, here are some pictures:

This was taken somewhere along I-10.


A view of Miami from the ship.


View from the other side of the ship.


Watching some football on the big screen while we wait. (I'm a HUGE football fan, and it was killing me to miss 2 Texans games!)


We decided to explore the ship while waiting for our sail away!
The water slide.


Ceiling near the casino area.
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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
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December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
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#2
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012


Our balcony. It was really salty, I mean I know it will always be a little salty - but I've never had a balcony this dirty, they finally cleaned it when we were in San Juan.


our room.

Our luggage arrived within an hour of boarding!

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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#3
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Back outside for some exploration:

I love the big round chairs ^, and the hammocks!

view from the hammock.


Finally on the move, and we have followers.


Good Bye Miami
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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#4
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
(my pictures are a little fuzzy because I used the quick upload setting on photobucket so it wouldn't take all day to get my 700 pictures online. lol)

Day 2: Waking up in the Bahamas:

Our view from breakfast (which is terrible by the way, RC definitely has them beat in the food department.)


We were among the first guests off the ship. There weren't too many early risers on this cruise!




We booked a fishing charter outside of Carnival, so we went to the sea wall to meet them. The sun shining down.


We were catching fish within 15 minutes of boarding the boat, and it was 2 and 3 at a time! Great fishing trip.

Just a few of their fish. They caught quite a few Wahoo and Tuna.
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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
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Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#5
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
A BIG Thank You to Chubaso Charters. I highly recommend them! They know exactly what they are doing, and you will have a great time! I enjoyed it and I didn't even fish, I was just taking the pictures. lol


A few random shots of Nassau.
After fishing we did a little shopping in the straw market before getting back on the ship. We were going to get some lunch go back out for sightseeing, but after taking showers we napped instead. I guess the sun and fishing took its tole, but it's vacation - we can do what ever we want.




My husband brought our Texan Gnome on the trip, and he was getting to know our first towel animal. lol
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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#6
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Day 3: Sea Day

Mostly just more exploring of the boat, swimming, and relaxing in the sun.

There was a beautiful rainbow just before the rain started...

Rain clears a deck QUICK!


My husband found the giant bottles of liquor! lol


The sun came back out.



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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#7
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Day 4: La Romana, Dominican Republic





We took the bus to Altos De Chavon Village. It cost us $5 to ride the bus there with a mini tour through the resort. Carnival's excursion costs $46 for a 3 hour tour of the place. It doesn't take that long to see everything. We walked the whole place, took pictures and even sat down to eat in less than 2 hours, so we had time to do other things!






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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#8
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012










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- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#9
Toronto
3,242 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Thanks for the great review! May I ask how much the fishing excursion was for the 2 of you? Also, how long was it. I did a fishing excursion like this a few years ago when I was in Cuba and it was so much fun. I've been wanting to do it off of a cruise but the cruise lines charge a lot.
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#10
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
After we were done at the village we took a bus back to the port and hopped on another one to the city. It was ridiculous there! They drop you off in the middle of a shopping area, there are tables set up everywhere and the locals are all begging you to look at their items, but everyone pretty much has the same thing. It was worse than anything I've seen even in Mexican border towns! My dad found himself a shirt (he tries to pick up a t-shirt from each stop) My husband bought a few souvenirs, and I was just ready to get the hell out of there! I DO NOT RECOMMEND taking the bus into town. This may be where you want to take an excursion and pay the money to visit a different area..


We had dinner reservations at Scarlett's Steakhouse that night, so as soon as we got back on board we took showers and got ready.
(They didn't enforce dress code on this ship. If I would've known that I would have gone with my jeans and flip flops on too! There were people in both the restaurant and the dining room wearing shorts, flip flops and t-shirts! - don't get me wrong, I don't care, but when I come to make my reservation and you look me up and down with a sneer on your face and then fully explain the dress code to me you DAMN well better enforce it!)



The food wasn't that good. At one point we were served something that I'm not even sure was food. It looked and smelled like something died in a bowl and they added broth to it. Gross. The only thing that was good was the steak, and it was pretty good! The cheescake wasn't all that great either.




after dinner Jon relaxed in the jacuzzi while I chilled in one of the chairs playing with my camera. I haven't had it too long, so still playing around with settings to figure it all out.


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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#11
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Originally posted by Cupcrazy
Thanks for the great review! May I ask how much the fishing excursion was for the 2 of you? Also, how long was it. I did a fishing excursion like this a few years ago when I was in Cuba and it was so much fun. I've been wanting to do it off of a cruise but the cruise lines charge a lot.
Thanks.
The boat we booked holds up to 5 people, and they charge $525 for 4 hours. It's completely private, they will not mix parties. So it doesn't matter if you have 1 person, or 5 - the price is the same.
they do have smaller and larger boats, prices are all different, but if you get a group and split the cost it will be much cheaper.
http://www.chubascocharters.com/chub...d_services.htm
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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#12
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
Day 5: San Juan, Puerto Rico

Because there are no clocks in the rooms, I set the alarm on my iphone to wake us at 6am, for the 7am debarkation... well I forgot about my phones auto time change, so when we got up it was actually 5am! We didn't figure this out until we were dressed and walking to breakfast and saw the clock on the stairs! UGH But we were up for sunrise, which was gorgeous!

Sunrise








When we got off the ship we were met with a hoard of rude taxi drivers! They would take you anywhere unless you paid $30-50 for an hour tour of San Juan. I didn't want a tour, I just wanted to be dropped off at the fort so we didn't have to walk that far. We ended up having to walk all the way to El Morro, (I wouldn't have minded the walk so much, but my dad was with us and he has really bad knees and it hurts for him to walk a lot) and by the time we got there he was done walking. He sat down on a bench outside and waited for us to tour the fort! I felt so bad for him!


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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#13
Texas
241 Posts
Joined Nov 2012
I'll finish my review after the football game. GO TEXANS! lol
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June 16, 2017
- Radiance of the Seas (Vancouver, Ketchikan, Icy Strait, Juneau, Skagway, Seward)
December 18, 2016 - Carnival Sunshine (Port Canaveral, Grand Turk, San Juan, St. Kitts, St. Maarten) -
July 25, 2016 -
Carnival Liberty (Galveston, Cozumel, Progreso) - (Review)
December 20, 2015 - Carnival Magic (Galveston, Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Montego Bay) - (Review)
June 19, 2015 - Radiance of the Seas (Seward, Juneau, Skagway, Icy Strait, Ketchikan, Vancouver, BC) - (Review)
December 21, 2014
- Carnival Conquest (Miami, Nassau, St. Thomas, San Juan, Grand Turk) - 15 yr Anniversary (Review)
December 21, 2013 - Serenade of the Seas (New Orleans, Key West, Nassau, Coco Cay) - (Review)
December 23, 2012 - Carnival Valor (Miami, Nassau, La Romana, San Juan, Grand Turk) - (Review)
December 18, 2011 - Mariner of the Seas (Galveston, Honduras, Belize, Costa Maya, Cozumel)
January 23, 2005 - Rhapsody of the Seas (Galveston, Key West, Costa Maya, Cozumel) - Honeymoon
#15
Raleigh NC
24,511 Posts
Joined Oct 2007
Thanks for the review!
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Kirk


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Crystal Serenity 2-20-2019 - Perth to Cape Town
#16
Toronto
3,242 Posts
Joined Jan 2011
Originally posted by duncan449
Thanks.
The boat we booked holds up to 5 people, and they charge $525 for 4 hours. It's completely private, they will not mix parties. So it doesn't matter if you have 1 person, or 5 - the price is the same.
they do have smaller and larger boats, prices are all different, but if you get a group and split the cost it will be much cheaper.
http://www.chubascocharters.com/chub...d_services.htm

Thanks for the info! So far so good for the Texans. Up at the half
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Ft. Lauderdale, San Juan, St. Maarten, St. Kitts
#17
Boston
3,647 Posts
Joined Jan 2001
Great start~ In all my years on here I had yet to hear that they allowed shorts/flip-flops/tshirts in the Steakhouse, I have definitely seen it in the MDR but never experienced at the Steakhouse and don't remember ever reading a review that mentioned it. I would think it would be less common there since you are always greeted when you enter. Funny thing about the alarm, we have done that too and wondered why there wasn't anyone around Looking forward to the rest~
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#18
Middletown, Ohio
693 Posts
Joined Dec 2004
Enjoying your review better than the football game. We get on the Valor next Sunday
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#19
Atlanta
910 Posts
Joined Aug 2010
I've been in the steakhouse a couple times before and have never seen someone dressed down that much. Flip flops and shorts or jeans? Wow. That surprises me.
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#20
Nixa, Missouri
1,171 Posts
Joined Feb 2011
Great review so far!
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Carnival Sunshine- 2015 Grand Turk, San Juan, St Kitts, St Maarten
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Carnival Triumph- 2011 Cozumel, Belize, Roatan
Carnival Imagination- 2006 Key West, Calica
Carnival Elation- 2005 Cozumel, Calica
Carnival Conquest- 2005 Cozumel, Montego Bay, Belize, Grand Cayman
Carnival Elation- 2004 Cozumel, Progresso, Grand Cayman
Carnival Jubilee- 2003 Cozumel, Progresso
Carnival Tropicale- 2000 Cozumel, Grand Cayman



"You can shake the sand from your shoes, but not from your soul"