By: Paul S. Cilwa Viewed: 2/21/2020
Occurred: 5/14/2007
Topics/Keywords: #Cruise #WesternCaribbean #CarnivalLegend Page Views: 2838
We spend our first day about our cruise ship in the Western Caribbean.

I awoke early in the morning on this, our first full day at sea, well aware that I had not written a blog entry for yesterday. I had intended to do it last evening, but Michael decided to use his laptop and I fell asleep.

So, while he slept in, I wrote up our adventures of yesterday and set out to look for the Internet Café, for the purpose of posting my blog entry.

I knew the Internet Café was located on the third deck, forward; but it took me a little while to find it, as it wasn't labeled "Internet Café". Instead, it is called "The Holmes Library" and is decorated with faux book spines lining faux shelves. All done in maroon leather (which I assume is also faux) and oak (which may be oak, or pine, or Fiberglas for all I know). It contains a number of carrels, one of which is empty for plugging in a laptop. The others contain actual computers.

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.

When you try to connect to the Internet, a screen comes up offering three "payment plans". The first is, simply, 75 cents a minute. The second is a pre-paid 100 minutes at 55 cents a minute. That's $55 for a little over an hour-and-a-half connect time. The third would be of use only if I intended to stay on line for the duration of the cruise, which is not what I intend. If I wanted to be online 24/7 I could have stayed at home and saved a lot of money.

I chose the $55 plan.

Once that transaction was accomplished, I had no problem getting online, though the connection was quite slow—about the same as phone connections used to be. And I had no trouble uploading the photos I intended to use in my blog entry. However, my new blog design actually stores the articles in a database, which means the database must be uploaded in its entirety each time it changes. It is now about 4 megabytes in size, and I was unable to upload it successfully. Each time I tried—and I tried three times—five minutes would pass, at which time I would receive an error message telling me that the upload failed.

I am writing this on the night of the 14th, and I will try one more time to upload the database when I'm done. If that fails again, I will try to upload from an Internet Café in Grand Cayman, where, hopefully, the connection is more reliable.

By the time I got back from this adventure, Michael was awake and we were both more than ready for breakfast, which we had near the amidships pool. It was buffet-style and, of course, "all you can eat"—something which Michael always takes as a personal challenge. I had scrambled eggs (made from real eggs, thank goodness), pancakes, Danish, fruit, and about a pound of bacon. Anyone who eats more than that, is dining excessively, if you ask me. I just happen to eat the ideal and perfect amount for everyone.

The time, by the way, was now about 11 am.. So, in an hour, we went back for lunch (Chinese food, mostly).

Michael and Karen went shopping on "Rodeo Drive", a mini-mall of high-end shops, where Karen tried on a pair of earrings originally priced at $14,000 (but marked down, as Karen hastened to point out, to "only" $6,000). As they say, if you have to ask, you can't afford them.

Zachary and Cailey spent the day at Camp Carnival, a kid's thing. Both had hesitated before going; and Zach made Karen promise to rake him out in time for dinner. But when dinner time came, neither he nor Cailey wanted to leave. Today was "formal night" on the ship and the Camp Carnival kids were formal, too. They looked so precious and earnest in their suits and dresses, and got to dance in a kid's ballroom that threw their video images up against an entire wall so they could watch themselves.

Not being a shopper, I strolled along the deck and watched a—school? pod? congress?—of dolphins racing the ship. Karen and Zach happened to spot me through a glass door and joined me just in time to see the marine mammals make a few final leaps

Michael and I then managed to spend an hour in the pool, where we met newlyweds Matthew and Danielle. Matthew is the first person I ever met who can out-talk Michael. In about five minutes, we had learned that Matthew has traveled the world but there's no place like the Ozarks, where he was born and bred and now lives; Matthew has also been to Mexico and Tulum and convinced me he'd been to every other place he mentioned. He's a computer programmer and Danielle, who was unable to get a word in and finally left, has just graduated with two degrees, one in Child Psychology and the other in Child Development; she's ten years younger than he is and he is damned lucky to have married her.

I think he'll be damned lucky to make it through his honeymoon.

I wasn't going to go formal on this trip, not even on "formal night"—it isn't a requirement; just a suggestion. But Joe and Kathy wanted formal pictures of us all on the ship; so Joe loaned me a suit that fit me perfectly, and I wore the black dress shirt Karen and Mary had given me for my birthday. (I wore the dressy shirt my son John and his girlfriend, Rachel, had given me on my first day, specifically to impress anyone I might hope to impress, like if John Kerry or Ellen Degeneres might just happen to be on board. But, so far, I haven't spotted them.)

Mary, Michael and Karen cleaned up real good. Mary, Paul and Karen, to the manor born. The Captain introduced his crew by name and gender.

Michael bought a black suit just before leaving Mesa, with a royal blue shirt and a tie I insisted looked good with it. He was stunning, as were Mary and Karen as we attended the Captain's Cocktail Party—one of the few times free drinks are served. It was here that the captain and crew of the ship presented themselves to the passengers. The captain, an Italian, for some reason felt compelled to announce the gender of each officer. "Our blah blah office is Lieutenant Blah-Blah—she is a woman. Our blah-blah blah officer is Lieutenant Blah-Blah—he is a man." Although there was one female officer for whom the clarification was helpful, I didn't really see the point. But I guess for Italians this is useful information.

The chef wound up getting the most applause. He was a man, in case you were wondering.

We went directly to the Truffles Restaurant for our dinner. Our waiter was the same as last night; and remembered everyone's name, except he continued to call Michael "Mike" as he had the previous night (and Michael continued to correct him). He also calls Cailey "Kelly" though I suspect it's his accent rather than getting her name wrong. His name is Romanian, spelled "Hendkie" but pronounced "Hanky". So I call him "Mr. Hanky" and hope to heavens he is not a fan of South Park.

Dinner was, again, exquisite. I had spaghetti carbonara; Michael had prime rib and two orders of lobster tail. For desert we each had cherries jubilee.

Afterwards, we waited in line to have our formal pictures taken. This was clearly intended to justify the getting-all-dressed-up-bit. Here's the photo; if you drag your mouse across the faces you can identify the various suspects in our little adventure.

Frank Kinder, Dorothy's intended Paul S. Cilwa, your blogger Michael Manion, your blogger's husband Dorothy Elizabeth Cilwa: Will She or Won't She? Mary Cilwa, your blogger's ex-wife and current friend Joe Kinder, Frank's Dad Karen Cilwa, the bride-to-be's sister Kathy Kinder, Frank's mom Zachary Cilwa, your blogger's grandson Cailey Kinder, Dorothy and Frank's daughter and your blogger's granddaughter

After the photo shoot, Mary, Karen, Dottie, Zach, Cailey, Michael and I attended a stage show, a musical revue called "Take Two" which presented the music of a number of films with dance and musical skits. It featured songs from The Wiz (cleverly matched with screen shots of The Wizard of Oz), James Bond theme songs, and movie love songs. The kids were too sleepy to see it through, but Zachary assured me as he left with Cailey, Karen and Dottie that he really liked it.

By the time it was over, we were definitely ready for bed. And bed was ready for us; not only was it turned down, but one of our towels was folded into the form of a rabbit. I hated to disturb the arrangement, but I was definitely ready to hit the sheets.

Except that Karen has developed a taste for room service, and talked Michael into trying it, as though the one thing he needed was yet another way of obtaining food. Since I couldn't go to sleep till the eating was over, I decided to go to the Holmes Library to type this as he was on the phone ordering cheesecake and gods know what else.

So as soon as I finish this, I'll be returning to the room to go to sleep (maybe after a short soak in the Jacuzzi, first).

If there's enough room in there for me to get in.