SERENITY NOW

Hi everyone.  This is Marie and it is very unusual for me to be writing this blog.  Dianne does a great job and I feel like a duck out of water; however because Dianne told me write it, I will do my best.  I had won a cruise back in September and asked Dianne if I could take my husband Chuck with me instead of her because I felt he needed a break from work.  She was fine with it and so Chuck and I took off for Galveston on Saturday, March 5th, the day before the cruise on Sunday.  After a brief visit with Dianne and Jim in Iola, we stayed overnight in the Houston area because we wanted to stay close to the port.  Sunday morning we started toward Galveston and since Dianne and I are still playing the Albertson’s Monopoly game, Chuck and I stopped at the store near the port to buy Ramen noodles and cash in on game tickets.  Two days before I left town, I dropped off a huge load of 45 flats of noodles to Mission Metroplex in Arlington, TX.  They were so excited to see the donations and told me these go like hotcakes.  All the kids love them as an after school snack or even dinner.  So Chuck and I crammed some in the back seat of the truck and headed toward the port.

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The Carnival magic is a beautiful ship that mainly sails to Caribbean ports.  The Magic had just come out of dry dock and was boasting of two new restaurants, Guy Fierri’s Burgers and the Blue Iguana Cantina.  Soon, the Magic will be going to Miami, Florida and the Carnival Breeze would be entering the port of Galveston and exchanging itineraries.

We entered on the third floor, and took the stairs to the 12th deck to view the port of Galveston and downtown.  Before going to our room, Chuck definitely wanted to eat at Guy’s Burgers and so we enjoyed a very good burger cooked on a flattop that was extra clean and new and the burgers tasted delicious.  People were soon crowding the burger line and we were thankful we had gotten our lunch when we had.

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So now it was off to check on our room which would be a small inside cabin, however free, and comfortable enough for us both.  Our luggage had been delivered and as we entered, we both noticed an odd smell but could not identify it yet.  As we were putting away our hanging clothes, Chuck opened the closet and there it was; old, dirty, stinky work shoes.

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Chuck closed the door quickly but not before the smell permeated the room.  Suddenly I remembered an episode of the best sitcom (in my opinion) that ever existed; Seinfeld.

Setting:  The front of a restaurant in NYC.  The valet pulls up in front of the restaurant in Jerry’s car, a Saab, whereupon Jerry tips the valet and Elaine and Jerry get in the front seat.  Immediately Jerry notices a foul smell.  Elaine agrees but they are confused as to what and where it came from.  They both agree it is B.O. (body odor from the valet).  Jerry tries unsuccessfully to rid the smell throughout the episode by spending quite a lot of money on various services to eliminate the “beast”.  Much to no avail, Jerry is defeated.  He has to sell the car.  Well that’s another story and I will end my memory there.

Back to the closet:  We called the steward, Gilberto, and he was very apologetic.  The room had been occupied by a worker at dry dock and inadvertently he missed cleaning the closet.  We decided to leave for a while so the steward could clean the closet and air freshen the room.  That was the glitch and it was smooth sailing from there on.

The ship sailed at 7:00pm that day and we decided to eat at the Pizza Pirate that night.  Our burger earlier was very filling and we weren’t that hungry.  But the Pizza was delicious as always and perfect for a snack. They have the usual pepperoni, but I enjoy the mushroom(fungi), prosciutto and arugula, or the four cheese.

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The winds had picked up and it was very cool.  I had brought a thick sweater just in case but Chuck did not have anything else but “Cabana wear”; another Seinfeld episode that I will spare you from.  We managed to stay on deck for a while that evening until we decided to check out the casino.  I mean I am a SlotSister.  It was pretty dead there which I thought was strange.  I played a little bit and then headed back to the cabin, which was in much better condition than earlier.

The next morning, we got up at 6:00 am because Chuck rises early every morning for work and being the good wife that I am I get up with him.  We decided to get ready for the day and eat breakfast in the Southern Lights restaurant where dinner is served every night.  Instead of the Lido buffet that has plenty of choices, we enjoy the restaurant where it is a lovely setting, delicious food, and a chance to sit at a large table where one can meet people from all over the states.  That morning, we met Wayne and Carol, two retirees who love to travel in an RV so much that they sold their home and live in their very large RV traveling all over the U.S. and cruising when they feel like it.  They had just come from Livingston, TX, where they volunteered at an RV retirement community, which is similar to an assisted living center only you live in your trailer.  Meals, housecleaning, entertainment, church services and medical services are provided for a low $1,000.00 a month.  What a deal!  I should check into that, except I need a trailer.

After breakfast, we wanted to check out the Serenity Spa deck, where no children are allowed.   We relaxed on couches and hammocks and enjoyed the view, until it was time to eat again.

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Dianne and I really don’t eat every meal, since we stay up late and sleep late.  This was an entirely different cruise.  Chuck and I never went to bed past 10:00pm and never slept past 6:00am.  We never missed a meal and we explored every nook and cranny of that ship over and over again.  Chuck wears a pedometer and we racked up 14,000 steps every day.  We climbed the stairs instead of taking the elevators.  We had three stops on the trip; Jamaica, Cayman, and Cozumel.  We had excursions for every port and I can truly say we were exhausted every day.  Serenity Now.  Another Seinfeld episode.

Wednesday morning we had an early debarkation in Jamaica and were taking a tour of a coffee and pineapple plantation, Croydon Plantation.  We got on our bus and had to wait for about 45 minutes due to two passengers that were late and decided to not show.  We left without them.  The bus driver enjoyed local gospel music and it was quite good.  So I will call it the Croydon Plantation Gospel Tour, as it was an hour and a half trip to the plantation.  The plantation is located in the highlands, (the mountains) of Jamaica.  The scenery was lush and green and beautiful.  The climate was perfect.  Our tour guides were informative and the walk through the plantation was something I would recommend.  A tasty lunch was served; jerk chicken, rice, beans, and greens.  Sounds very southern and that’s ok with me.

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Thursday morning we had to take a shuttle boat from the ship to the Cayman Islands.  The coral is protected there and the cruise ships are not allowed to dock.  Our excursion that day was an amphibious bus that toured the island as well as the waters.

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It’s a bus and a boat.  Cayman waters are gorgeous.  We were allowed to feed the fish from the bus and the fish recognized it and were very excited for feeding time.

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We also went to 7 mile beach.  I think I need to rent a condo here sometime. My sweet niece Ginger and her family used to.

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By the evening the children on the ship were really revved up.  As they came out of the elevators, every button was pushed and I saw this one cute little boy run in an open elevator and look at the buttons.  He looked at me and I said, “Don’t do it.” “Don’t do it.”  He looked at me and shook his head no.  He was caught and he knew it.  I love it.

I went to the casino that night and played some.  Without Dianne here, it’s just not the same.  In fact, Chuck was sitting next to me and said, “Dianne would love this.”  By the way, I did put our WWW.Slotsisters.com sign on the cabin door.

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Dinner in the dining room every night was good and I was very careful to eat healthy.  Sometimes I did not have desert or ordered a sugar free one.

Friday was Cozumel.  Months earlier I had looked on the excursions in Cozumel through Carnival and saw an America’s Cup sailboat race.  It looked fun so I booked it.  We were taken out to the ocean where we chose which sailboat we wanted to ride.  Some chose the Stars and Stripes and some chose the North, a Canadian ship.  The Australian captain wanted to include some of us as mates and help control the sails.  Chuck was chosen as one of the “grinders” for the sails.  Little did we know that it was a very stressful and energetic job.  The race was amazing and the sailboat was fast and furious.  We had to hold on at times in order to not fall out into the ocean and at other times it was smooth as glass.  I could see Chuck working so hard as I was just enjoying the ride.  I asked later if he liked it and he said he did, but he worked so hard he didn’t get to see the race and what was going on.  Serenity Now.

The last day on Saturday was a relaxing day.  We got up as usual…..early.  I ate at Blue Iguana Cantina and had a delicious breakfast taco with an egg over medium on top.  It was very good.

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Chuck read most of the day and I played in the casino some.  My favorite slot on the magic is the Cats machine.  I won the progressive and did quite well.

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We got our luggage packed and ready to leave the next day.  I can say it was a fun trip.  Chuck enjoyed it and needed it.  However, I am ready for some more trips with my SlotSister.

 

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