Friday, November 18, 2016

In Cruise Limbo- Part 1

November 17, 2016
What a Nightmare

Chris and I are sailing on our 9th cruise in less than a month with the kids for a Christmas "Sail-abration" to the Caribbean. We have had this cruise booked for over 21 months. We found an incredible deal way back in the day and decided to go ahead and book this cruise not knowing if our 2 separate school calendars would match up or if we would be able to go at all. BUT... thus began our cruise booking fever!

Image result for i have no cruise control

April 2015
When we booked this cruise it was a 5 day sailing out of Galveston on the Carnival Liberty sailing to Progresso and Cozumel, Mexico. We had not been on a 5 day cruise and again we scored an incredibly good deal so we were excited to book another cruise.

August 2015
Within 4 months of booking we got a notification from Carnival stating that our 5 day sailing would now be a 6 day sailing at no cost to us! SCORE! The itinerary was now changed to the ports of 1- Costa Maya, Mexico 2- Belize and 3- Cozumel, Mexico. Chris and I had never sailed to Costa Maya so we immediately were excited.

We sat on this booking for well over a year and as the final payment date came and went we were still ecstatic with joy for yet another cruise and an opportunity to once again sail with our kids. This would be our 2nd cruise with the kids but 1st without help, as we cruised on the #TriumphantThanksgiving on the Carnival Triumph in November 2015 with my parents and sister. The kids have been talking about this cruise for months and we were finalizing all the details leading up to the 5-6 weeks before the sailing.

Late October 2016- Carnival Liberty mechanical issues
On October 27th we noticed the Carnival Liberty making the local Houston news for arriving late into the Port of Galveston due to "ship issues". I looked it up and there was not a definite answer as to why the ship was not sailing at full speed but the previous 2 sailings (Oct- 22nd and Oct. 27th) both arrived late back into the port of Galveston . The October 27th sailing of the Liberty arrived back into Galveston at 6PM instead of the usual 7AM on October 31st. The Halloween sailing on the Liberty had embarkation times of 7-10PM and passengers boarded the ship thinking the cruise would still take place however, during the night mechanical crews discovered the Liberty had deeper issues that originally thought and the October 31st sailing was cancelled. Passengers were able to spend the night but asked to disembark by 10AM on November 1st.

Early November- More Liberty cruises cancelled and itineraries changed
Naturally this sparked some interest from me as I was wondering what could be wrong with the Liberty. Over the next few days Carnival Cruise Lines announced it would be shortening the remaining November cruises on the Liberty out of Galveston and offering compensation for passengers aboard these sailings. In fact, the school secretary at my school was scheduled on the November 5th sailing and was informed just hours before embarkation time (which was once again late embarkation times of 6-10PM)  that the cruise was in fact cancelled. This late cancellation notice is just unacceptable and disappointing for CCL. This was so disappointing because I have advocated for Carnival (and cruising in general) for YEARS with teachers and friends and I felt so bad for Mrs. Rachel.

November 11th (36 days prior to sailing)- Now it is PERSONAL 
I arrive at school on Friday, November 11th and go through my usual routine of checking emails and checking off my to-do list. I see an email from Carnival so I read through it and as I am reading I am saying "no no no". Of course Natalie is in my room and curious as to what is going on. The letter states that our cruise is still going to happen but will now be on the Carnival Valor instead of the Carnival Liberty.

Naturally I start to panic and called CCL to speak to a representative. At this point the decision was only a few hours old and all of the 3 people I talked to had NO IDEA what was going on. I was on hold for nearly and hour with a simple "don't worry Mrs. Davis, we will take care of it". I decided to let it go and TRY not to worry about it. Easier said that done... I had a cruise in 36 days and a separate booking on the Liberty for September 2017. 

I tried to not think about it over the weekend and started to compare the Valor and Liberty. These 2 are "sister ships" and are both in the Conquest class of ships. They are VERY similar and both have the new CCL Fun Ship 2.0 upgrades which include Guy's Burger Bar, Blue Iguana Cantina and Red Frog Rum Bar, all of which we LOVE. Chris and I sailed on the Carnival Conquest (a Conquest class ship) 2 times and LOVE the layout of this ship so we are excited to sail on the Valor in a few short weeks.

November 14th- Booking is GONE 
I see on Monday morning, as I am once again doing my morning routine, that our booking for the Carnival Liberty/ Valor is now COMPLETELY gone in the CCL My Cruise Manager system. In fact, BOTH bookings (December 2016 AND September 2017) are gone. Once again, I panic and call CCL. I did not receive an email stating they were going to closing the bookings and felt I needed (AND DESERVED) some answers. Keep in mind it is well past final payment date and this cruise is completely paid for and most of the details have been finalized. Once again, the CCL rep assured me that they were going to fix all of the issues and to not worry. But keep in mind they are correcting issues for 4K people PER SAILING PER SHIP (from now until April 2018). That is a LOT of issues to correct. However, after speaking to a manager of the resolutions department I was told that "all sailings on BOTH ships from December 15, 2016 through April 30, 2017 would get $50/ pp on-board credit AND 25% off a 2-5 day Carnival cruise in the future. This seemed like a generous compensation and I felt a little bit better about the whole situation. I do not feel we need or deserve compensation, as I just wanted it resolved, but I was happy they were in fact "taking care of us". 

Of course, y'all know me... I was still worried with anticipation and anxiety. I then noticed on our sailing specific Facebook (roll call) page that many passengers had now gotten a stateroom assignment for the Valor and we had not. Yep.. you guessed it! I called CCL again! I went through 4 different people before reaching a knowledgeable person and someone who understood my frustration. Again they told me to sit tight and let it all "pan out". However, this manager told me that no compensation would be given at this point BUT it was noted on my account that we had been upgraded to a 6J stateroom (of course, if CCL is locked out of the booking too then how did this get noted to my account?).  I did not know what that was so looked it up after the phone call and it is a "SCENIC OCEAN-VIEW" stateroom. The Carnival Valor only has 3 staterooms in this category that accommodate 4 passengers so this seems unpromising but it made me feel better that they are trying. She told me that the booking should "magically" reappear in My Cruise Manager program online by THE END OF THE MONTH (ARE YOU KIDDING ME)! She then called me back a few hours later telling me I may have to manually enter the booking number into the My Cruise Manager. At this point I am more confused, anxious and MADDER than ever!

This is a 4G interior cabin (what we booked back in April 2015)
We had this stateroom category when we sailed the Triumph in 2015.
IT IS TIGHT! Plus Chris and I developed bruises from bumping our heads on the bunk beds.
The kids... they LOVED the bunk beds (Luke did fall out though) 

These are both 6J Scenic Ocean-view cabins on Valor/ Freedom
LOTS more space and we have never sailed in an ocean-view, let alone a Floor-to-ceiling window style! I am trying to NOT get excited thinking we will get this cabin! 
November 18th- Now we sit and wait 
At this point my booking (along with hundreds of thousands of others), shore excursions, FunShop purchases, check-in times and every other detail is floating somewhere in cyberspace and I just have to trust that Carnival will take care of it all.

Image result for patience in a virture

I have no idea how this will turn out... but HE does! I am just going to give it to Him. I am hoping and praying it will all be resolved quickly and efficiently. We have saved up for this cruise and have been planning and talking about it with the kids for months and practically since we got off the Triumph nearly 1 year ago. 

But "don't worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own"- Matthew 6:34. 

For any of my followers who are also sailing on the Liberty/ Valor and are concerned about it all.. give it to Him! Thank you ALL for following along! I will keep you updated with the outcome! We set sail in 29 days and could not be more excited and more needing of a vacation! 

This 1st part rings true today... KEEP CALM and CRUISE ON! 

In ALL things...

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Cruise Like a Davis- Cruise Ship Facts

Lucky 13- The old, the new and the best is yet to come! 
(A #CruiseLikeaDavis recap and a look ahead)
November 2016

Chris and I began cruising back in 2006 thanks to a gift from his mom and dad for our wedding. I was very apprehensive at first... hello, have you seen Titanic or read about the real thing? But I tried it anyway and have literally NEVER looked back. They are the perfect vacation as you don't have to do ANYTHING... LITERALLY! You don't have to cook, clean, drive or navigate anywhere, choose restaurants or activities. Cruises are completely at YOUR leisure. Since 2006 Chris and I have sailed on 7 more cruises and have an additional 5 cruises booked. Like I said WE ARE ADDICTED! It truly is the best way to vacation. We do plan on adding a land vacation to our yearly vacation calendar but for now we just LOVE cruising.

Here is an extensive list of our cruises and the corresponding ship. I have also linked up all of the blogs for these sailings (at the end of the post), which have TONS of tips and tricks for each ship as well as lots and lots of pictures. Thank you all so much for following along! This blog would not be near as popular without y'all! God Bless!

Cruise Like a Davis
Cruise Ship Facts & Memories

#1- “6 Davises Storm the Caribbean”
7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise
Ship- Carnival Conquest
Date- June 2006
Departure- Galveston, TX
Route A- Jamaica, Grand Cayman, Cozumel (2+1)
Cabin #6344- standard balcony

 Embassy Suites, Houston, TX
Formal Embarkation day photo

The Carnival Conquest
Gross tonnage- 110,000 tons
Length- 953 ft
Guest Capacity- 2,980
Crew- 1,150
The beautiful Carnival Conquest 2006- Sailing the high seas

This was our 1st cruise and 1st experience with Carnival and we loved every minute of it. This was a wedding gift from Chris's parents and we traveled with them and his brother, John, and sister, D'Ann. The Carnival Conquest had not had a dry-dock in a while and did not have any upgrades.

Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- waterslide

Our traditional formal ship pictures! 
Embarkation day picture
Playa del Carmen, Mexico- 2006

#2- “Fun in the Sun”
7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise
Ship- Carnival Conquest
Date- July 2013 (booked March 2013- 4 months out)
Departure- New Orleans, LA
Route B- Roatan, Belize, Cozumel (2+1)
Cabin #8363- standard balcony

Pre-Cruise- Southern Louisiana Trip
1- Comfort Suites- Baton Rouge, LA
2- Quality Inn & Suites- Gretna, LA
(free shuttle to/ from terminal and FREE 7 day parking

The Carnival Conquest
Gross tonnage- 110,000 tons
Length- 953 ft
Guest Capacity- 2,980
Crew- 1,150
This was our 1st real vacation since Natalie was born and our 1st time to leave Luke, then 13 months, for a long period of time. The Carnival Conquest had recently come out of dry-dock and had a LOT of upgrades including the Carnival 2.0 Funship additions like Guy's Burger Joint and Blue Iguana Cantina. We loved this cruise despite it being our 2nd trip on the Conquest.
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- Guy's and Blue Iguana
It is with this cruise we started a tradition... A picture with the Captain and the cruise director. Cory Rogers remains our favorite cruise director of ALL TIME! He is amazing but unfortunately no longer with the company. 
Traditional Embarkation Ship picture

The Great Western Barrier Reef- Belize- 2013

# 3- “Somewhere Beyond the Sea
7 Day Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise 
Ship- Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas
Date- August 2014 (booked January 2014- 7 months out)
Departure- Galveston, TX
Route A- Cozumel, Grand Cayman, Falmouth (1 +2)
Cabin- “hump” balcony (purchased as guarantee)

 We drove to the Galveston terminal from our home in The Woodlands, TX the morning of. 
Quite possibly the best picture of us EVER! 
The Navigator of the Seas
Gross tonnage- 138,289 tons
Length- 1,020 ft
Guest Capacity- 3,276
Crew- 1,213

The Navigator had just come out of a dry-dock weeks before and they were still working out the kinks. The buffet and cabin areas were not ready for nearly an hour after we boarded which left a bad taste for Royal Caribbean in our mouths but we did not let it ruin our cruise. We had just lost 210 pounds combined and were in the best shape of our lives. This cruise really started the ADDICTION.
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- FlowRider and IceRink
Embarkation Day on the ship. 

Our traditional SHIP picture- We missed the formal option on this cruise so these will have to do.

Ocho Rios, Jamaica (at the foot of the Dunns River Falls)- 2014

#4- “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”
7 Day Eastern Caribbean Cruise 
Ship- Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas
Date- March 2015 (booked July 2014- 8 months out)
Departure- New Orleans, LA
Route C- Key West, Nassau, CoCo Cay- RC Private Island (1+2)
Cabin #8550- Interior (our 1st ever)

Quality Inn and Suites- Gretna, LA
(This time this hotel was DISGUSTING and literally made me sick... I vowed NEVER AGAIN) 

The Serenade of the Seas
Gross tonnage- 90,090 tons
Length- 962 ft
Guest Capacity- 2,490
Crew- 891

This was our first cruise to the Bahamas and we fell in love with that region. We talked a lot on our CruiseCritic group before the cruise and had a great Cabin Crawl with them. We made life-long cruising friends through this cruise. We toured all types of cabins including the ROYAL SUITE. We went all out on this cruise and we lived the life of the rich and famous (thanks to our CruiseCritic friends) and even splurged on The Chefs Table and the steakhouse. 
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- helicopter pad

Embarkation Day photo at the very front of the ship on the helicopter pad. 

Our traditional picture with the captain and the cruise director, Jenn (she was amazing too) 

Our traditional ship picture!

CoCo Cay, Bahamas- Royal Caribbean's private island- 2015

#5- Do You Believe in Magic
7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise 
Ship- Carnival Magic
Date- June 2015 (booked September 2014- 9 months out)
Departure- Galveston
Route A- Montego Bay, Jamaica- Grand Cayman- Cozumel (2+1- rerouted)
Cabin #2334- cove balcony

We drove to the Galveston terminal from our home in The Woodlands, TX the morning of departure.

 The Carnival Magic
Gross tonnage- 130,000
Length- 1,004
Guest Capacity- 3,690
Crew- 1,367 

This cruise started off "rocky"... literally, as we were rerouted and traveled through the tail ends of Tropical Storm Bill. This was the roughest seas we have ever sailed. We were locked out of our Cove Balcony for the 1st 36 hours of the cruise and Chris forgot all of his formal clothes. Needless to say it was the most memorable of our cruise to that point. The Carnival Magic did not have any of the Funship 2.0 upgrades at this point.
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- WaterWorks and Oceanside BBQ

Embarkation Day photo

With the captain and the cruise director, James (my least favorite EVER)

Our formal pictures on this cruise consisted of crazy pirate pictures and Chris in shorts!
Ahhh- the memories! 

I love these because I wore a gorgeous cocktail dress and he was in jeans and polo! 

Traditional ship picture 

Montego Bay, Jamaica- 2015 

#6- “Triumphant Thanksgiving”
4 Day Holiday Cruise
Ship- Carnival Triumph
Date- November 2015 (booked February 2015- 9 months out)
Departure- Galveston
Route- Cozumel
Cabin #6308- Interior

We drove to the Galveston cruise terminal from our home in The Woodlands, TX the day of departure. 
The absolute BEST picture EVER! Are we having fun yet? 

The Carnival Triumph
Gross tonnage- 101,509
Length- 893
Guest Capacity-2,754
Crew- 1,100

This was our 1st time to sail with the kids and we also traveled with my parents and sister, Allison. It was a Klingsick/Davis Thanksgiving cruise and began a tradition for our families. The kids LOVED the cruise despite the rough waters on the 1st seaday. The Carnival Triumph had been remodeled and had all of the Funship 2.0 upgrades. 
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- Guy's Burger Bar and Dr. Seuss Breakfast

Embarkation day picture!

Us with the Captain and cruise director, Kirk. He was a great CD! 

The Davis/Klingsick Cruise... we may have started a tradition! 

Our ship, the Triumph, docked at Cozumel, Mexico. 

Mr. Sanchos Beach Club- Cozumel, Mexico- 2015

#7- “Not Your Granddaddy’s Cruise”
7 Day Western Caribbean Sailing
Ship- Caribbean Princess
Date- March 2016 (booked December 2015- 4 months out)
Departure- Houston, TX
Route B- Cozumel, Roatan, Belize (1+2)
Cabin- sideways inside

Traditional formal embarkation photo! 

We traveled to the Houston terminal from our home in The Woodlands, TX the morning of departure. 

The Caribbean Princess
Gross tonnage- 112,894
Length- 951
Guest Capacity- 3,142
Crew- 1,200 

This was our 1st time to sail on Princess and we loved the "complete escape" it allowed us. We did not do many excursions and just stayed on the ship. We loved the Caribbean Princess and the overall service and upscale of Princess Cruise Lines
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- Sanctuary

Embarkation Day picture.

Our traditional ship picture- Princess did not offer formal backgrounds of the ship, which I found interesting. 

 The cruise director, Lee, was interesting but in the end we liked him.
The captain did not pose for pictures.

Mahogany Bay, Roatan, Honduras- 2016

#8- “A Legendary Trip North to Alaska
7 Day Alaska Cruise 
Ship- Carnival Legend
Date- June 2016 (booked March 2015- 15 months out)
Departure- Seattle, WA
Route Alaska- Dawes Glacier, Skagway, Juneau, Ketchikan, Victoria B.C. (1 SD)
Cabin #7349- aft balcony

Pre-Cruise- North by Northwest- A trip to Seattle, WA and Vancouver, B.C.
1- Four Points by Sheraton- Vancouver, B.C., Canada
2- Embassy Suites- Lynnwood, WA (incredible stay)
We LOVED Seattle!

Depending on the election... Vancouver, B.C. may become my new home!
*JUST KIDDING... Kinda! 

Post-Cruise- Mariners Game and Safeco Field, Seattle, WA 
I have waited a LONG time to see this stadium! 

The Carnival Legend
Gross tonnage- 88,500
Length- 963 ft
Guest Capacity- 2,124
Crew- 930 

This was by far the BEST cruise EVER. We loved every minute of it and are already planning another return to Alaska. The ship was the smallest we had sailed up to that point but we never felt crowded (except at the buffet on sea-days). We loved the crew of the Carnival Legend and the entertainment staff. 
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- our aft balcony (we stayed here most days... well worth the $$)

Embarkation day picture

With all of the excitement of the cruise and Alaska's beauty we missed our traditional SHIP picture all together... bummer! I guess that means we will have to sail on the Carnival Legend once again sometime! 

Our traditional picture with the captain and cruise director, Jen. 

Ketchikan, Alaska- 2016

Dawes Glacier, Alaska- 2016 

We LOVED Alaska and we will be back... SOON!

#9- “Give me Liberty, Give me Valor”
6 Day Western Caribbean Cruise 
Ship- Carnival Valor
This was a ship change from the original Carnial Liberty as in October of 2016 the Liberty was suffering propulsion issues so had to be moved to Florida. 

Date- December 2016 (booked April 2015- 21 months out)
Departure- Galveston, TX
Route B.2- Costa Maya, Belize, Cozumel (1+1)
Cabin #9198- Deluxe Scenic Oceanview
We were upgraded to this option as our original #9260 was not available as a cabin for FOUR when the ship change happened. Carnival took care of us and were HIGHLY impressed. 

The Carnival Valor
Gross tonnage- 110,000
Length- 952 ft
Guest Capacity- 2,974
Crew- 1,160

This cruise was booked as a 5 day sailing for an incredibly low price of $214/pp but turned into a 6 day cruise about 3 months after we booked... another reason to book early! This was the 2nd cruise with the kids and it was AMAZING! Hardly any hiccups... but LOTS of great memories. 
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- Inside our Scenic Oceanview Cabin. 

#10- “Living the Dream”
7 Day Bahamas Cruise
Ship- Carnival Dream 
Date- March 2017 (booked April 2015- 11 months out)
Departure- New Orleans, LA
Route C- Key West, Nassau, Freeport (1+2)
Cabin #6360- Interior (sideways cabin at 174 SQFT)

The Carnival Dream
Gross tonnage- 130,000
Length- 1,004 ft
Guest Capacity- 3,652
Crew- 1,369

This is always a much needed cruise in the middle of the school year for 2 very tired teachers. This was a very exciting yet relaxing cruise. We did VERY LITTLE on most sea days. We saw Freeport, Bahamas for the 1st time and were not impressed. We also experienced one of our favorite shore excursions of all time in Key West- Shark feeding! It was a great cruise and we loved the Dream.
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- Lanai

#11- “BREEZING through summer”
7 Day Western Caribbean Cruise
Ship- Carnival Breeze
Date- July 2017 (booked May 2016- 13 months out)
Departure- Galveston, TX
Route B- Mahogany Bay, Belize, Cozumel (1+2)
Cabin #7282- Interior

The Carnival Breeze
Gross tonnage- 130,000
Length- 1,002.6 ft
Guest Capacity- 3,690
Crew- 1,386

This will be our 3rd cruise with the kids and their 1st 7 day sailing. This will be the largest and newest of the Carnival ships we have sailed on.
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship-

#12- “Sailing in 35... the Suite Life”
5 Day Western Caribbean Cruise
Ship- Carnival Valor 
Date- September 2017 (booked May 2016- 15 month out)
Departure- Galveston, TX
Route- Cozumel, Progresso (1+1)
Cabin #7262- Ocean suite  

The Carnival Valor
Gross tonnage- 110,000
Length- 952 ft
Guest Capacity- 2,974
Crew- 1,160

This is an all girls cruise with Natalie, my mom (Gigi Shirley) and my sister (Allison). We will be sailing on my 35th birthday and living it up in a SUITE! This will be my 2nd time on the Carnival Liberty and my 1st time to Progresso, Mexico.
Favorite Part/ Area of the Ship- 

#13- “Finding Pearls”
7 Day Exotic Western Caribbean Cruise
Ship- Norwegian Pearl
Date- March 2018 (booked October 2016- 17 months out)
Departure- New Orleans
Route B+1- Cozumel, Roatan, Harvest Caye Belize (NCL Private port) and Costa Maya (1+1)
Cabin #5510- OceanView  

The Norwegian Pearl
Gross tonnage- 93,530
Length- 965
Guest Capacity- 2,394
Crew- 1,099

This will be a "mid-life crisis" cruise for Chris as he will be a few weeks away from turning 40. We booked this on an incredible deal featuring a FREE unlimited drink package and FREE specialty dining package. This will be our 1st time on NCL and we really excited! This will complete our "MAJOR CRUISE LINE" sailings as we will have sailed on the BIG FOUR (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Princess and NCL). 

The next BIG ONE...
 Baltic Cruise for our 15th Anniversary in 2021 (Yep... I am planning this already). Just think... our kids will be 12 and 9 at that point... Wow, that is scary! I don't even want to think about how old we will be!

Once again, Chris and I are addicted and we just love CRUISING. It really is the BEST way to vacation. There is no cooking, cleaning or even planning (once on board) really. We LOVE land vacations and hope to see some of the GREAT cities of the world but until then we will... 


Thanks for following along! 

Thank You Lord for all these opportunities!