Monday, January 2, 2017

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Valor- Sea Day #1

Give Me Liberty or Give Me Valor
Splish, Splash
Sunday, December 18, 2016

What an amazing day of rest, relaxation and independence. We were able to enjoy the beautiful open waters of the Gulf of Mexico, rest and relax on our own and parade throughout the ship all while watching our kids have the time of their lives.


We had a good but long night as the waters were rough getting out of Galveston Bay and into the Gulf of Mexico. Since we were at the very front of the ship we seemed to feel the bashing/ hitting of the large waves onto the side of the ship more than we usually do, plus it made the closets and doors shake. Our bed was facing the starboard side of the ship which meant the swaying was front to back and not side to side which allowed me personally to sleep better. Well... until poor Luke woke up screaming. "Natalie, get off of me. Quit touching me! Mommy, she is touching me". Poor Natalie had moved her body to be perpendicular to Luke's and she was pushing him with her feet. I moved her back and all was well. 

Chris woke up before 7AM to go jogging while I tired to catch more ZZZZs. By the time Chris got back from jogging the kids were wide awake and enjoying the sites of the ocean from our floor to ceiling windows. We all got dressed and ready and headed to Rosie's Restaurant on Lido deck for the breakfast buffet. The kids got random items from the buffet while Chris waited to make him and I omelets. Tip- the Mongolian Wok on the Valor turns into an omelet station in the morning plus the starboard side of the buffet also has an omelet station.  I tried out a breakfast burrito from Blue Iguana and NONE of this was disappointing. The food options for breakfast and lunch were particularly SUPERB on this ship! So much so, in fact, that we didn't even eat the SeaDay brunch or any meals in the MDR other than dinner! We were highly impressed with the eating options. 

Our morning view from our scenic window! 

We THINK this was the Carnival Freedom sailing in the distance but it left ON TIME from Galveston so we are unsure! The only other option would be the Carnival Triumph out of NOLA!

The kids LOVED the window and often didn't want to leave! 

The temperature was lower than last night but still kinda hot for sleeping (70.1 F)

Time for Breakfast! 

After breakfast we walked to the aft of the ship to enjoy viewing the wake and the cool Gulf breeze. Then we wandered down to the promenade and the FunShops to get some toiletries we forgot (Its always something I swear). Then we went into the Theater for the Cruise Director morning show. This cruise director, Lee, was a brand new young "punk" who was only on his 3rd week on the job and this was his very 1st Carnival position and gig. He grew on me but he is definitely not on my favorites list. We went back to the room as the kids were just enamored with the window and looking at the open ocean. They both swore they saw dolphins. Natalie got hungry so she wanted to go to the buffet (on our deck) to get some food. We decided to let her go by herself but after 10 minutes of no return I got worried and left to go look for her and found her outside our room. I have always been a helicopter mom but I was proud she was able to manage this on her own.

Happy Sea Day #1 from the empty Lido deck! 

A completely empty deck at 9AM! 

This was the AFT adults only pool on the Lido deck at 9AM.
It was completely empty! 

The always present ugly statue! 

Carnival whale-tail! 

This is my home... I LOVE the aft and wake! 

We then went to Camp Ocean (the kids club) for the daily activities. We got there at 9:50AM for a 10AM opening and we were in line about 10 people deep. We waited until about 10:20AM just to drop them off and that was mainly because lots of people did not complete their registration on embarkation day. Tip- Again, if you have kids be sure to fill out the registration online ahead of time but then complete it early on embarkation day. Although, I do feel Carnival could organize this a little better by creating 2 lines on this 1st SeaDay. Nonetheless, the kids were dropped off and we were enjoying a cocktail at the Adult Only Serenity Deck by 10:30AM. Unfortunately, I dropped my very first drink all over my lounge chair but we still had a great few hours of absolutely NOTHING and that is exactly what our tired teacher bodies needed. 

This is my happy place! 

After a few hours of lounging around and the sun beating down on our fair skinned bodies we decided to go and get the kids for lunch. We all enjoyed our favorites and the kids went to town eating their weight in food as this became the motto for them on this sailing. Natalie LOVED Guy's Burgers (That's MY girl) and Luke loved all of the fresh fruit on the buffet. As we were leaving the buffet area a woman said "Oh my gosh Chris Davis, is that you?". Chris looked and didn't recognize her but she kept saying "Oh you look the same. Are these your kids?" It turns out it was a family from our home church of Bethel Baptist Church in Norman, OK. In fact, Angela and I sang together in the praise team and their son was our ring bearer in our wedding! 11 years later and my Luke is the age Brooks was when he was in our wedding! It truly is a small world and it is crazy how time flies. We saw the Smith Family many more times throughout the cruise but we never remembered to take a picture with Brooks

Me and Brooks in 2006- he's a little bigger now! 

12:30PM- The pool deck filled up fast! 

Then we went to change so the kids could swim in the pools. They each enjoyed the hot tub and slide and practically became prunes they swam so long. Chris and I watched from our Lido deck chairs and they each were content with the hot tub and walking to and from the water-slide. We got out around 3 so we could get ready for the Dr. Seuss Parade and Story time. We had experienced this on the Triumph and our kids LOVED it. Tip- If you have kids, CHECK THIS OUT! The Dr. Seuss characters Cat in the Hat, Thing 1, Thing 2, Sam I Am and even the Grinch on this sailing all came to meet in the aft of the ship and then parade through the ship to the forward in the theater for Storybook time. The cruise director, Lee, did a TREMENDOUS job of narrating the Cat in the Hat for Storybook time and our kids LOVED it! 

His face is PRICELESS! 

Natalie LOVED it too! 

Time for some Dr. Seuss FUN! 

Luke was very excited. He said "Hey, we read this in Mrs. Sharpen's class".

They both were able to win a sign to carry in the parade by answering trivia questions about Dr. Seuss... Natalie answered both of these questions herself! 

Lee, our cruise director, did very well at this activity! 

Merry Christmas Dr. Seuss style!

After story time we made our way to Cherry on Top candy store for the kids to spend their allotted $10. They each spent about $4 and loved the candy store. We meandered to our room while eating our candy to get ready for formal night. We all got dressed up and ready but Luke just could not handle that his pants were too big so he started into a classic fit. Luckily I was able to calm him down and were able to get to the formal pictures before 5:30PM. We decided to not tour all the photo booths and only take pictures at 2 background stations. Luke did VERY WELL and I was very proud of him. I think our pictures turned out very well! 

I think this is my favorite... Good grief, they are growing up TOO fast! 


We took the kids back to the room to change before taking them to the Camp Ocean dinner at the BBQ on deck 10. Tip- This was the 1st time we have used this service and the kids loved it. The workers from Camp Ocean fed them specific kids menu items each night from 6 to 6:45PM and then took them back to Camp Ocean for nightly activities. This was an amazing service that allowed us the enjoy ourselves, and our dinner, without worrying about the kids. I would highly recommend this service to parents at least some nights of the cruise. 

After we dropped off the kids we went back to the room and got our wine we brought on board and opened it in the room to avoid the corkage fee. Tip- On Carnival all adults 21+ can bring 1 750ml bottle of wine per person FREE of charge. You must bring a corkscrew with you and open in your room but can take anywhere on the ship. We enjoy this perk and bring 2 bottles on board each sailing. We then headed towards the Atrium lobby for the Captain's speech and pictures. We waited a while but got hungry so abandoned that tradition to go to dinner as the Your Time Dining line was getting very long around 6:45PM. In hindsight, I really regret not getting a picture with the captain as it has been a tradition on other ships. 

Dinner was great and the service was not bad at all for a formal night. We were in and out of the MDR within 2 hours. The service was much better but once again the transition between the finishing of the main entree to the ordering of the desserts was terrible and inefficient. Carnival tries so hard to stay with the formal protocols of fine dining that timely service is sacrificed in the process. It took 30 minutes from the moment they took our empty entree plates to the time of getting our actual desserts. This seems common on all Carnival ships and industry wide as well. In fact, Princess was the worst. I enjoy a good formal meal as much as the next person, especially at the price I pay to cruise but this is unacceptable, especially when you add the dancing and singing into the mix. I feel that 2 people should be able to get in and out of the Main Dining Room well before 90 minutes have passed. This still was better service than what we had on the Legend but there is obviously still room for improvement. 

Since this was a 6+ day sailing we got to indulge in Lobster on the 1st formal night!

During our 30+ minute wait for our dessert we met a man who was cruising as a guest but is usually a crew member. He was a solo musician hired by Carnival who was moved last minute to the Miracle and was enjoying his last few days of freedom. He gave us excellent feedback into the life behind the "Crew Only" areas. He told us stories about his life on board and how every crew member, no matter their role, is first and foremost a safety worker. In fact, this musician was in charge of our muster station. He also shared info about Lee, the current cruise director, and James, our cruise director from the Magic, who is now in corporate training guys like Lee. He explained that Carnival is hiring lots of young newbies and kicking/ weeding out the old. Our favorite cruise director of all, Corey Rogers, recently left Carnival for reasons as such. It was a very interesting hour of conversation and we really enjoyed it! 

After dinner we went to the room to change as is custom on formal night. We changed and then laid down to rest from a large meal and before we realized it was 9:45PM and it was time to pick up the kids from Camp Ocean. Tip-10PM the Night Owls program starts. This is a $6.75/ hour service available to all kids 2-11 from 10PM to 1AM on all ships. 

Our 1st nightly towel animal of the cruise!

We picked up the kids and headed to the Lido mid-ship area for the Dive-in Movie. It was the new Star Trek movie that Chris really wanted to see. We got some blankets and popcorn and found 4 chairs together but Luke would just not have any of it. It was too loud, it was too cold, there were too many people and so on! We tried to stay but it just wasn't happening and we could tell he in particular was tired so we went back to the room. He was asleep within minutes of getting into jammies. We knew that the next day was a port day so we all went to sleep around 11:20PM. 

They were SO tired! 

It was a day of fun and relaxation but we were ready to get off the ship and tryout a new port! The kids were loving this cruise already and were excited for the upcoming days! 

Keep Calm and CRUISE ON! 

Stay tuned for our unforgettable day in Costa Maya! 

God is good... ALL the time! 

Click on a link to see our past cruising adventures:
Our Cruise Ship Experiences 2006-present

Carnival Legend- 2016

Caribbean Princess- 2016 

Carnival Triumph- 2015

Carnival Magic- 2015

Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas- 2015

Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas- 2014

Carnival Conquest- 2013

Carnival Conquest- 2006

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