It’s Time for a Vacation

Ray and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary while sailing over the Caribbean. We won a pair of tickets on board the Carnival Destiny and were thrilled to experience our first cruise. We didn’t quite know what to expect. While our cruising experience left much to be desired, and we figured we wouldn’t sail on a Carnival cruise again, we thoroughly enjoyed every minute of our port stops in Jamaica and Grand Cayman. We went floating down the river and zipping through the sky in Jamaica. We went snorkeling in the deep blue waters of Grand Cayman. These experiences alone left us hungry for more cruising.

Fast forward six years – Ray and I are ready for a big vacation. With so many people to please, we wanted to be certain that everyone had plenty to do and see. We decided on a road trip to New Orleans, exploration of the historical sites along the way, plenty of fresh beignets, and maybe an airboat ride. After a few days in the French Quarter, we will be boarding the Carnival Elation!

Photo Courtesy of Carnival
Photo Courtesy of Carnival

Yes, we are eating our words and have decided to give Carnival another chance to impress.

Why?

The Price
When you are looking at cruising during the summer, fairs can be crazy high. We are vacationing during the very week before school begins, so none of our kiddos miss anything, meaning we are sailing during peak time. Now, with nine of us, we had to book two suites – one that sleeps five, and another that sleeps four – so we had to consider that, as well. But, remember – the great thing about cruises is that they are pretty all-inclusive. Sailing out of New Orleans, instead of Galveston, will also save us a bit of change. All in all, Carnival offered the best deal for our family.

The Food
In addition to the fine dining every evening, there is plenty from which to choose. Kid-friendly options were a must for our kids who love to eat. Here is what we will be enjoying on the Elation:
– Sushi Bar
– Pizzeria

– New York-Style Deli

– Mongolian Wok

– Rotisserie

– The Grill

– Taste of Nations

– Dessert Bar

The Entertainment
I am excited for my kids to enjoy Camp Carnival. The kids clubs just look like fun! And that 115 foot Twister water slide into the pool? Yes, please!

Photo Courtesy of Carnival
Photo Courtesy of Carnival

But, that’s not all. There will be plenty for all of us to do while at sea:
– Nine-hole Mini Golf

– Ping Pong 

– Basketball Court

– Volleyball Court

– Jogging Track

– Camp Carnival

The Ports and Excursions
Now, this is what excites me most – I can not wait to snorkel in Cozumel and explore the Chichen Itza ancient ruins in Yucatan. Ray did find these activities available at a much lower rate than what Carnival is offering, so we are exploring the option of booking them outside to save some money. After all, there are nine of us and the excursions add up pretty quick!

Chichen Itza Castle, Mexico  Photo via SOMATUSCANI
Chichen Itza Castle, Mexico Photo via SOMATUSCANI

I can’t wait to share our experience with y’all, but in the meantime I’d be happy to hear your tips for cruising Carnival!

Cruisin’

There is no place like home. But boy, did we have fun on our anniversary trip!

The days we spent in the ports of call were certainly the most exciting. With zip lines and a river raft tour in Jamaica, snorkeling in Grand Cayman, and an Everglades safari in Miami, we had loads of fun! (Stay tuned for pictures of our days in port.)

The Carnival Destiny, however, left much to be desired. The ship was older; the food was good, but certainly nothing to write home about; and with only a few exceptions, our fellow cruisers were a bit on the “shady” side. I do have to say, though, that the crew took good care of us, and all-in-all Ray and I have decided we like to cruise.

 

Next time we go (on a different cruise line, I’m thinking) we’ll bring our kids along. I think they would have a ball!
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This was not a review or payment for any work done. I won this cruise, by random draw, and our fare was paid for by Walmart and Levi Strauss & Co.
A huge thanks to Walmart for this amazing experience… Ray and I were able to celebrate our 10 years of marriage in style!

 

Hello from the Middle of the Caribbean!

I have finally gotten over my fear of cruising over the deep, but gorgeous, blue waters of the Caribbean and am enjoying relaxing here on the Carnival Destiny. Ray and I are having a fabulous time as we eat, drink, and are merry!

Over the next few days I have some fabulous guest posts set up for you, as I will not be online much. I can’t wait to tell you all about our trip, complete with pictures and funny stories, but in the meantime, please make Ali, Tonya, Miranda, and Amanda feel welcome.

Hugs to my babies!!