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NWACruiser

Our "Legend"ary Panama Canal Cruise October 2019

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Introduction

We are T and C from Arkansas.  We have cruised nine times on Carnival and once on Norwegian.  Other than one Alaskan cruise, we have mostly cruised to  the Bahamas or Caribbean.  We were looking to take a nice cruise to somewhere we have not been before.  We saw an option to do a complete Panama Canal transit and decided we should do it. 

 

We planned to take this cruise as one of those "this should be interesting to say the least" cruises.  What we liked about the trip had a lot to do with the ship. We have sailed on the Legend before in Alaska.  The review for that trip is:

We had a great time on that cruise, and really enjoyed the Legend.  There were a few options to take for the cruise.   We had the option to do the reverse trip (Tampa to Long Beach) on the Miracle. It was scheduled to leave Tampa September 29 and scheduled to  arrive in Long Beach on October 12.  The Legend was leaving San Pedro on October 12 and scheduled to arrive in Tampa October 27.  Given everything, we decided on the Legend.

 

The cruise would leave out of San Pedro, CA.  It would port at Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Quetzal (Guatemala), Puntarenas (Costa Rica), cruise the entire Panama Canal, Cartagena and Santa Marta (Colombia) and Grand Cayman.  Grand Cayman would be the only port we have been to.  We had a lot of planning to do for this one.  

 

We booked a balcony cabin for the cruise.  We have booked balcony cabins, inside cabins, and porthole cabins on cruises before.  For the transit, we decided the balcony was a must.  

 

During the cruise, I took over 6000 photos and several videos.  I have thinned it down quite a bit since.  There will be a lot of photos during the review.

 

We also cruise Carnival because we like the product.  I am not going state Carnival is the best cruise line, nor am I going to trash other cruise lines.  I plan on giving an honest review of the cruise.  Please respect my opinions and not troll this review with negativity.  

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Planning

C's sister and husband also decided to join us on the cruise.     Since we were visiting many new ports, we had a lot of research to do.  It came down to the following things we wanted to do.

  • Antigua, Guatemala, a Unesco World Heritage site.
  • The arch at Cabo.
  • Video the canal crossing.
  • Crocodiles at Tarcoles River.
  • Cartagena tour.
  • Beach day.
  • The Queen Mary.

We planned to go out to LA a day early.  We booked a cabin at the Queen Mary in Long Beach. Then we had to come up with tours on the cruise.  We picked a tour to Antigua.  It would be nearly eight hours long.  It would give us a chance to walk around Antigua and have lunch.  We chose a river tour for the crocodiles.  

 

We did struggle to come up with the other tours.  Several weeks before we were going on the cruise, we had not finalized the excursions.  We finally decided on an adults-only resort in Cabo, a beach tour at Santa Marta, and we would figure out the other ports when we get there.  

 

I pondered on what type of camera to use for the canal, and how would I be able to secure it during the trip.  I decided against making a video, hoping Carnival would do one.

 

We were all set for the cruise and everything from here out will be smooth sailing..  or we thought.

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Pre-Cruise Adventures

Everything was all set to go and we were getting anxious for the cruise.  Then the fun began. 

 

C got a case of bronchitis.  She was having trouble getting over it, and was wondering if she was going to be able to make it. 

 

I checked our flights and saw a minor issue.  My flight to Minneapolis was changed.  When they changed the flight, they rescheduled me through Atlanta.  Which was fine, but the flight from Atlanta went to Minneapolis, not LA.  I  was scheduled to arrive in Minneapolis 2 hours after the connection to LA departed.  I called the airline up, and with a lot of patience and understanding, we were able to get the flights scheduled properly and we were going through Minneapolis and would be able to make the connection to LAX.

 

C's bronchitis was not getting better, and we were days from the cruise.  She went to a different doctor, got new medications and was assured she could still do the cruise.  

 

The weekend before we departed to LA, Mother Nature decided that the ship was going to meet us at the house instead.  We had 10 inches of rain in just over 24 hours.  Fortunately, we did not have any water problems.  

 

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So everything else was going to be smooth.  SIL was driving home from Tuscon when a suicidal deer ran in front of her.  The car was pretty messed up.  

 

It seemed like everything was trying to mess with us before the cruise. But none of us was going to be stopped.   

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Finally, its Departure Day

We made it to departure day, finally.  We had early flights, and with only a few hours sleep, we headed to XNA to get on the plane.  Check in went smooth and we went through security with ease and were at the gate, about an hour before boarding time.  

 

The first flight went smooth right up to landing in Minneapolis.  The wind was blowing across the runway, making the landing a little rough.  Once inside the airport, we had to go to another terminal to get the next flight.  The only way to get there is walking.  Since C was not very energetic, I had to handle the carry-on luggage for both.  We made our connection in time, but had about 10 minutes before boarding the plane.  
 

The flight to LAX went smooth (except the takeoff).  We had a nice breakfast on the plane.

 

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C had the quiche.

 


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I had the oatmeal.

 

The flight made it to LAX without any incident and we had made it to California finally...

 

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Long Beach and the Queen Mary

Since C's sister and hubby (J and J) were going to arrive later, we caught the Super Shuttle to go to Long Beach.  We met another couple who was on the cruise during the shuttle.  They were staying in San Pedro.  They took the four of us to our respective hotels with a nice tour of the area's wonderful freeways!

 

We were dropped off at the Queen Mary and proceeded to check-in.  Unfortunately we were a little early for check-in.  The bellhop would hold our luggage allowing us to spend the day freely.

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It was time for lunch, and start the trip the right way

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Mai-tai lunch!

 

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Reuben was excellent.

 

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C had the burger.  The chips were home made.  They were scrumptious!

 

After lunch, we found a spot to relax and enjoy the view from the ship

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The Inspiration was in port today.

 

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We were finally able to check in!

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Our pre-cruise cabin!

 

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J and J finally made it to the Queen Mary.  They did not have a great ride on the Super Shuttle. 

 

We had dinner on the ship and thought about going to the Dark Harbour festival.

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Instead we relaxed on the ship before the big day tomorrow!

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The Queen Mary was a little expensive, but well worth it.  The crew of the ship were friendly and tried to accommodate everyone.  We did not do any tours.  It was easy enough to tour it on your own.  The cabin was comfortable, but not roomy.  The food was excellent and the service was great.  Dark Harbour was not loud and did not disturb us in any way (other than it took up the parking lot!)

 

It was one of the better hotels we have stayed at.  I would recommend staying there.

 

It is also very convenient if you are sailing out of Long Beach.  The cruise port is a five minute walk across the parking lot from the Queen Mary.  We were sailing out of San Pedro, which was a 20 minute ride to the port.

Edited by NWACruiser

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Embarkation Day

Embarkation day is finally here.  We checked out of the Queen Mary and were going to head to San Pedro for embarkation.  J ordered a Lyft to pick the four of us up.  When the Lyft arrived, I wasn't sure we would fit.  Houdini was able to load us all into the car, pack most of the luggage into the trunk, and stuffed the rest on top of the car.  I wished we had a photo of it!

 

We got to the port, and went through the embarkation process.  We had reached platinum on this cruise, and normally, were in the third group to embark.  This cruise was mostly platinum's and we were going to embark in smaller groups.  J and J were gold and had to wait a little longer.  Forty minutes after arrival, we embarked the Carnival Legend!

 

One perk of being platinum is to get to the cabin right after embarkation.  This cruise, no one would get to the cabins until later.  Therefore, we headed to the Lido deck for lunch.  Once J and J embarked, they met us there.  I had to do a Guy's burger for lunch!

 

After lunch, we went to the  MDR to get the four of us assigned to the same table.  I had emailed the Maitre D to arrange this, but our sign and sail cards did not match.  He had already taken care of it!

 

Afterwards, we were able to head to the cabin!

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Cabin 6194 -- Port Side!

 

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We made it!  Smooth sailing from here on!

 

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Late arrivals embarking the ship!

 

Our first piece of luggage arrived shortly after and we were able to unpack it before muster drill.  Muster drill went smooth.  We headed up to the Lido deck for the sail away party!

 

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Jen was a great Cruise Director!  She remembered us from the Alaska cruise!

 

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Andrea and Kimberley from the Show Team

 

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Mike was a very "funnel" guy!

 

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Fun Squad and DJ's pumping up the crowd.

 

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The ship was going to leave a little later than normal, and we had some time to relax before leaving LA.  Our other luggage arrived right after the party and we were able to unpack before we set sail!

 

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The Legend was finally departing LA and is on the way to Tampa!

 

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Heading out of the port.

 

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The USS Iowa.

 

I do not use a cell phone, internet, or any other connection to the outside world.  As we sail away, I set my phone to airplane mode and disconnect.  Unfortunately, as I was doing this, I got a message from a co-worker.  It was not good news.  A young man that I have been working one-on-one with for the past year and a half was involved in a traffic accident today.  He did not survive.  I got a hold of a manager and he confirmed this.  BK was a great co-worker, friend and was part of my work family.  He and I were close and made a great team.  It was news I hated to hear, as I was going off line.  It was better to find out now, than when I returned in two weeks.  He will always be a part of my work family and I miss him a lot!  RIP BK.

 

I made a pact to myself I would not let it ruin my trip.  

 

After getting out of the port, we headed down to the MDR for dinner.  We met a great MDR team that day. Rocky, Minguel, and Pracha were a lot of fun!  We had a great two weeks in the MDR because of them!

 

At dinner, we toasted BK!

 

 After dinner, we wandered around the ship to see what is going on during the cruise.  We were both tired, and made it an earlier than usual night.  By that, I mean we did not close the ship

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It was a beautiful night to be sailing!

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Great start to your review and nice pics.  The QM is a wonderful per cruise stay option, we loved it when we did before our Splendor cruise.  

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Sea Day #1

It was a beautiful day to be at sea.  We went to the MDR for brunch.  Today was the first of seven sea days.  It would be a good day to relax and enjoy the ship.  

 

The social media group for the cruise held an Ice Cream Social on the Lido deck.  We brought strawberry topping for the event.

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Social Media Group's Ice Cream Social was a hit!

 

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After the social, we headed to the Follies Theater for BINGO!

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Gerry the Bingo Master!

 

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We have a Bingo!

After Bingo, I went to the Colossus Lounge to watch the 50's and 60's Dance Class.

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The Atrium was decorated for Halloween

 

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Dance! Dance! Dance!

 

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Jennifer leading the class.

 

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Kimberley gives a lot of energy.

 

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She made this dress for the cruise.

 

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Andrea showing her moves!

 

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Dinner was in the MDR, as usual.  After dinner, we went to the Variety Show in the Follies Theater.  Jeff Taveggia was the entertainer.  He is a juggler and put on a good show!  After the show, we headed into the Red Frog Pub to the Hot Shots! band.  The Red Frog Pub has beer brewed on ship.  We had to sample it!  I had a wheat and C had the ale.  Both were delicious.

 

After the pub closed, we headed to the Lido deck to see if anything was going on.  It was a little slow.  We decided to try the Pizza Pirate.  While we were enjoying the pizza, we met a young lady working there.  She was keeping the tables clear and had a few minutes to talk.  Her name was Karmala.  She remembered our names during the rest of the cruise.  I find that amazing!

 

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After pizza it was time to call it a night.

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Cabo San Lucas

Sailing into Cabo completed one of my plans for the trip.

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Approaching Land's End.

 

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Almost there...

 

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Cabo!

 

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Getting ready to go around the rocks.

 

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Escort services.

 

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The arch.

 

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Closer view of it.

We made the trip around the arch and started to head to the port. Cabo is a tender port, though.  imageproxy.php?img=&key=6ee4bfcebcfde1cbAfter going around the arch, we headed to the Lido deck for a quick breakfast, before we headed out to our tour.

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We met in the Follies Theater to await the tenders.   Once our group was called, we headed out to the tender.

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This is where we tendered into.

 

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On port, we had to wait for shuttles to meet us.  J & J got ahead of us and caught a different shuttle.  Cabo had suffered from the remnants of a hurricane the day before.  There was a lot of flooded streets.  The locals were working hard to clean up.  We had to drive around a lot of storm damage to get to the resort.

 

Once there, we had a great day to relax.

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Breathless was a nice resort.  They had a nice infinity pool and beach.  The staff was very friendly.  The drinks were OK, but not great.  The food was very good.

 

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The Legend was anchored off shore.

 

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Not sure what that is???

 

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Water aerobics.

 

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The beach is nearby.  There are a lot of steps down to the beach though.

 

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During lunch, a strong afternoon storm came in and dampened everyone's spirits...  for a little bit.  Afterwards the sun was back out and everyone was back to having fun.

 

We loaded up the buses and headed back to the port.  

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These are popular places.

 

 

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I love that sign!

 

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Everyone was having a good time.

 

After getting back on ship, it was time for a shower and get ready for dinner.  We were able to watch the Legend leave the port.

 

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Edited by NWACruiser

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Enjoying your review!  We will be on the Legend doing a partial Panama Canal transit in a few months.

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Loving your review. I’ve been looking for a good Panama Canal review and they have been hard to come by; we’ll be on the Miracle from San Diego to Miami in Feb so this is great timing. 

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Comedy Club and Motor City Show

Dinner in the MDR as usual preceded the evening's fare.  The highlight is the Motor City Production Show.  The cast gets to interact with passengers during the pre-show.  

 

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Reiss, Jordan, Jacob

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Then the show begins!

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Edited by NWACruiser

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Keep posting! I love the pictures and the descriptions! Hope to make this trip one day.

 

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After the show, we went to see Al Katz in the comedy club.  Then it was time to retire for the night.

 

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Edited by NWACruiser

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Throwback Sea Day

Journeys cruises have a special sea day that called Throwback Sea Day.  They schedule activities that were done back in the 1980's.  They even publish the Carnival Capers.

Carnival Capers.pdfCarnival Capers.pdf

 

It was a beautiful day to be sailing.  The skies were clear and the seas were calm.

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We went to the Lido for breakfast.  Jenniffer, the egg lady, fixed our eggs:  C has an omelette and I have 2 eggs over hard.  I also get bacon, potatoes, and grits. 

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The bacon "Nazi" must have like me.  I only asked for two slices.

 

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A visitor came to the cabin this morning.  After breakfast, I finished tied for second in the putting contest.  

 

We headed up to the frog racing and ping pong ball stuffing

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Made a stop at the Red Frog Rum Bar before the fun began.

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Frog sales were starting.

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Chelsea, Oscar, and Stephania were pushing frog sales.

 

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The object of the game is to stuff as many ping pong balls into your swim trunks in 90 seconds.

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Cram as many as possible.

 

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Be sure to count all ping pong balls

 

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Count the balls and throw them back in.

 

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She tried to show her stuff.

 

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I don't think I want to go next!

 

Frog racing was next.

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I am second from the end.

 

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J gets to race her frog.

 

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Mom and son celebrate the win.

 

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The finalists are ready

 

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It was a photo finish.

 

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The race was rerun.

 

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Finally we have a clear winner!

 

Next up was the knobby knees contest.

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Afterwards we headed to the Follies Theater for horse racing and bingo.

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Cristina was the race master.

 

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Steph moved the horses.

 

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Roll of the dice to move the horse.

 

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That one was DOA.

 

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The winner!

 

Bingo Time

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Nicky was the ball girl.

 

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Gerry was the emcee.

 

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Tonight is the first formal night. It is also the Captain's Gala Party.

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Hot Shots! and Emerald Trio performed.

 

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C, J, and J enjoying appetizers

 

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The Captain

 

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Dinner in the MDR and the first night of dancing.

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The four of us for first formal night!

 

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Baked Alaska for dessert.

 

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Chocolatini

 

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Showtime!

 

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Pracha having fun!

 

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I had to get out there.

 

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Rocky in his alternate personality.

 

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Disco Minguel

 

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The cabin crew.

 

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Had a surprise when we got back to the cabin.

 

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We had a busy evening.  We went to the comedy club to see Al Katz.  Then we went to the Follies Theater for Mark Preston. He was once one of the Lettermen. He is definitely an entertainer.  Then it was back to the Comedy Club for Jeff the Fun Dude.

 

Midnight Buffet was the nightcap.

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It was a busy day and a long night.  We retired to the cabin for the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by NWACruiser

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I've sailed Miracle (twice) and Pride.  Love the Spirit-class ships.  Such a nice layout and much better space ratio than Carnival's typical layouts.

 

Booked on Legend for the final Med + TA next October.  I sincerely hope Jen Baxter is NOT the CD when we sail.  I don't think I can take 25 days of her.  Had her twice before and could not stand her, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that she'll have changed ships by then! 😲  My favorite CDs are the ones who you don't really notice and who's names I don't even remember when I disembark. 

 

Some day, I'll do a sailing that stops in Cabo.  Hopefully, a full canal transit.  Did a partial transit on HAL Zuiderdam a few years ago and took a tour on a small boat that went all the way through to the Pacific side, then a bus ride back to Colon.

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3 hours ago, NCTribeFan said:

I've sailed Miracle (twice) and Pride.  Love the Spirit-class ships.  Such a nice layout and much better space ratio than Carnival's typical layouts.

 

I quite agree. Spirit Class ships are indeed the "Goldilocks" of the fleet. Have cruised all four of them and enjoyed them all.

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7 hours ago, NCTribeFan said:

I sincerely hope Jen Baxter is NOT the CD when we sail.  I don't think I can take 25 days of her.  Had her twice before and could not stand her, so I'll keep my fingers crossed that she'll have changed ships by then! 😲  My favorite CDs are the ones who you don't really notice and who's names I don't even remember when I disembark. 

It seem there are two types of cruisers...  those that like Jen Baxter and those that don't.   😁

 

 

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13 hours ago, NWACruiser said:

It seem there are two types of cruisers...  those that like Jen Baxter and those that don't.   😁

 

 

I know!  I tend to not do a lot of the ship activities and like to spend my time relaxing.  I just found her to be incredibly irritating.  But I know a lot of people love those super high-energy ones.  They just wear me out! 😄

 

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Cool music video - thx!  Its unfortunate they all play the same ol' sordid music though - there is SO much GREAT music out there that isnt the same 30 songs everyone plays.  Ugh!  Looking forward to LOTS of music on Vista starting Saturday!!!

 

Looks like the ship is really rocking - looking at the pool video!  Splash control!  Nice video!

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Sea Day #3

It was a beautiful day to be at sea.  

 

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The weather was a little stormy and the seas were choppy.  We were on vacation!

 

Breakfast was in the MDR.  I had 2 eggs over-hard and C had eggs Benedict.

 

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We had a visitor when we returned.

 

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The wave pool was in full force
 

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Serenity had a few visitors, also.

 

We spent the day relaxing on the ship.  Before dinner, we headed to the Colossus Lounge to play cards and listen to some good music by the Musical Nomads.

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They were on the Sunshine in January.

 

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Brad and Julienne McKee

 

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Pracha posing for me.

 

We headed to the Follies Theater to see Phil Hughes.  He is a ventriloquist and funny.  We also saw him on the Sunshine.  After the show, it was the Red Frog Pub to listen to Hot Shots!

 

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The Hot Shots are:

  • Igor on drums
  • Lucas as lead singer and guitar
  • Nick on bass
  • Pheona as lead singer
  • Paolo on guitar and vocals
  • Marina on keyboards 

 

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After they finished, it was time to head to the cabin.  Guatemala was around the corner.

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Edited by NWACruiser

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