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A Million Little Pieces Of My Mind

Western Caribbean

By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 4/15/2024
Page Views: 1797
Topics: #Cruise #CarnivalLegend #WesternCaribbean #Travel
Describes the Cilwa-Manion-Kinder families cruise to the Western Carribean on the Carnival Legend.
The Carnival Legend

Our First Cruise!

In honor of our oldest daughter's impending wedding, Michael and I and much of our extended family made a cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Carnival ship Legend in May of 2007.

Dorothy's prospective in-laws, the Kinders, are experienced cruisers and, with them, we chose the Carnival Legend as the vessel of this, the first cruise for most of us, due to a combination of its price, availability, kid-friendly atmosphere, and destinations. In addition to its home port of Tampa (which, oddly, is considered to be part of the "Western Caribbean"), the Legend will be visiting Grand Cayman, Cozumel, Belize, and Costa Maya—all places I've never been. So I was very excited to be making the trip.

(Tampa I was less excited about, as I have lived there on more than one occasion. Still, it will afford an opportunity to visit some relatives and rest up for the flight to Arizona after getting off the boat. Excuse me, "ship.")

The links below will take you to the details of our cruise!

Peril's of Paul's Grandson

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 12/27/2006
Page Views: 1474
Topics: #Humor #Movies #Cruise
Zach is worried that our upcoming family cruise will be spoiled by a rogue wave.

Neither Michael nor I have ever been on a cruise. My ex-wife, Mary, went on one when she was a kid, with her parents. And Dorothy has been on several with her fiancé's parents, which is where she got the idea. And, of course, my grandson Zachary, who is only seven, has never been on one. And, last night, he confessed that he was reluctant to go on this one. It wasn't easy to get him to tell us why, but after some gentle prodding he confessed that he was worried the ship would be hit by a rogue wave and turned upside-down.

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The Flight To Tampa

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/12/2007
Page Views: 1167
Topics: #Cruise #WesternCaribbean #SaltLakeCity #CarnivalLegend
We fly to Tampa to begin our first family cruise vacation!

Karen, who arranged this whole trip, had been unable to print the boarding passes at home: A pass was printed for each of us traveling from Phoenix to Salt Lake City, the first leg of our journey; but there was no pass and no explanation for the second leg, Salt Lake City to Tampa. So we tried to print a fresh set at the airport.

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All Aboard!

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/13/2007
Page Views: 1199
Topics: #Cruise #CarnivalLegend #WesternCaribbean
We board the Carnival Legend to begin our first family cruise vacation!

At the door we were made to show our ship ticket book and photo ID. Once inside the building, a very utilitarian affair, we were led to an escalator and then to a long queue of other passengers. The line moved fairly quickly, however. Again we showed our photo IDs and ticket books, and also a debit or credit card. We were then given a "Sale & Sign Card". This, we were told, would work as a boarding pass, room key, on-board credit card, and passport when we in port. It would also help save the environment, finance the space program, and bring about world peace. I may have exaggerated that last part. What the agent said was that it was our "fun" card. And who's to say what constitutes "fun" for any particular person?

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First Day at Sea

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/14/2007
Page Views: 1144
Topics: #Cruise #WesternCaribbean #CarnivalLegend
We spend our first day about our cruise ship in the Western Caribbean.

The ship contains a number of Wi-Fi hotspots, but our stateroom doesn't happen to be in one of them. The Holmes Library is one, of course; I haven't gone hunting for any others because this is located near our room and suits my purposes: Quiet, good quality chair, handy electrical outlet.

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Grand Cayman

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/15/2007
Page Views: 1153
Topics: #Cruise #WesternCaribbean #CarnivalLegend #GrandCayman
We visit Grand Cayman island in the Western Caribbean, on the third day of our cruise.

Our stay at Grand Cayman was destined to be a short one. To start with, Michael had pre-booked an excursion called the Trolley Roger which lasts an hour. But he didn't want to go alone, and I didn't want to go at all, since I used to give that sort of tour in St. Augustine. But I did think Mary would enjoy it, and she agreed—but had neglected to pre-book it. Now, as we stopped by the concierge's desk in the morning, we learned that the Trolley Roger was booked up.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/16/2007
Page Views: 1164
Topics: #WesternCaribbean #Cruise #CarnivalLegend #Cozumel #Tulum #Kayaking #Snorkeling
We visit Cozumel, go kayacking and snorkeling and visit the Tulum archaeological site.

I had originally planned to visit the Mayan ruins of Tulum along with Michael, Mary and Karen. However, when we tried to get a ticket for Zachary (the "Camp Carnival" for kids requires they be picked up for lunch, which makes the whole kids' camp thing kind of pointless), we found they were sold out. Moreover, Dottie wanted to visit Tulum really badly. So I gave her my ticket and bought tickets for Zach and me to "clear kayak" and snorkel off the Cozumel coast.

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By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/17/2007
Page Views: 1514
Topics: #Cruise #WesternCaribbean #CarnivalLegend #Belize #Xunantunich #CaveTubing
I go cave-tubing and while the rest of the family goes ruins-touring in Belize.

Belize, which used to be called "British Honduras", is the only English-speaking country in Central America. Actually, the people there call themselves trilingual, as all citizens grow up speaking English, Spanish, and a Creole that includes snatches of Mayan and other Indian tongues on an English base. Like all the places visited by the Carnival Legend, Belize City is a tourist-centric place with a gorgeous beach and crystal blue water.

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Costa Maya

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/18/2007
Page Views: 1169
Topics: #WesternCaribbean #Cruise #CarnivalLegend #CostaMaya #Chacchoben #Travel
Our cruise itinery stops at Costa Maya.

Once upon a time, ocean voyages were prescribed to patients suffering from stress, because the pace was so slow, so relaxed. There was basically nothing to do but read or chat with other passengers, so one was forced to relax. A cruise is now the last thing you'd want to do to relieve stress, because the pace is nothing short of frantic (except during mealtime) and it must take a special kind of person to say "No! Enough!" when a dozen things are competing for your attention. If you don't want to attend a karaoke show, you might instead swim in one of the ship's three swimming pools or soak in one of the five Jacuzzis; you could watch a movie in one theatre or a Vegas-style show with live orchestra, dancers, and awesome singers in other. You can gamble in the casino or have a professional portrait taken or get a massage (these three cost extra, but the other choices I described are included). There's also ping pong, tennis, jogging, basketball, and "gimmicky" entertainments like Hairy Chest contests and Survivor-type challenges.

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Grand Gala Desert Buffet

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/18/2007 11:30:00 PM
Page Views: 1182
Topics: #WesternCaribbean #Cruise #Food #CarnivalLegend #Travel
Eating our way through the Gulf of Mexico..

I have no idea why the people who run Carnival Cruise Lines think its appropriate to stuff their passengers the way the witch stuffed Hansel and Gretel. I have no idea why people would want to be stuffed that way. And I have no idea why anyone would think it was cool to carve food into irrelevant shapes and to admire the sculptures before eating them. But I have to tell you, I was as admiring as anyone when the chefs on the Legend went all out and created a monster desert buffet with enough food to end hunger in Somalia once and for all. Michael insisted we take the 11:30 pm buffet tour, where we could admire these creations. He then mercifully let me go to sleep while he returned to the main dining hall (Truffles) to gorge himself.

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Final Day at Sea

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/19/2007
Page Views: 1116
Topics: #WesternCaribbean #Cruise #CarnivalLegend
Our final day in the Western Carribean.

The music for the second line began. I tried to read my cheat sheet, but my arm was too close to my face and I couldn't focus. Besides, it would take time to find my place in the words; and by then the orchestra would have begun the next line.

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Return To Tampa

By: Paul S. Cilwa Occurred: 5/20/2007
Page Views: 1148
Topics: #Cruise #CarnivalLegend #Tampa
Our cruise comes to a triumphant conclusion.

The seas were rough in the early morning hours of the 20th, with a 40 mph wind blowing the normally-placid waters of the Gulf into real waves. But the Legend's stabilizers held true and only a gentle rocking was felt in our Deck 1 cabin.

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