We arrived in LA, found our transportation and made our way to Long Beach, home of the famous Queen Mary and the Howard Hughes-inspired Spruce Goose. We leisurely arrived to be confronted by a sea of humanity, all queuing up to pre-board the Carnival Splendor, a modern-day cruise ship which towering above everything else as she sat proudly in the secluded dock.
We were given a Loading Pass #8 and informed that we would be boarding at 12:30 a wait of about 90 minutes. No worries, so we had a bit of a walk around, checked out the Queen Mary, had a read and anxiously awaited the announcement for us to board. Four hours later, after customs had discovered drugs on the ship, we finally made
our way aboard
Made our way to our room, and boy-oh-boy, it was a beauty. Knowing what we had paid for this entire trip, we were kind of expecting a ‘Grumpy-like’ existence, but instead we found a perfect cabin, complete with outdoor private balcony with deck chairs, bathroom, couch, TV, fridge, safe, cupboards and air-conditioning . And not only that, but a chilled bottle of champagne, a welcome platter of chocolate strawberries and macaroons, and a Cheshire-cat smiling cabin steward called “Attack” all upon arrival.
Unpacked and made our way to lunch (at 4:00). Food wasn’t too bad, as well as the $7.50 cocktails and ‘$24 for four Budweisers with ice and you can take them back to the room if you want to Sir’ beers.
Thus far we have both been pretty overwhelmed with the experience, especially considering the cost of the whole trip. There is no expense spared. Really don’t know how the cruise company make their money. You can eat 24-7 if you want too (and judging by some of the passengers on board – that is the sole intention of their trip). There’s a whole conglomerate of people on board….from honeymoon couples ( and their inebriated bridal parties), to a wave of truant schoolkids, bewildered teenagers, middle aged workers, retired old farts (including one guy with his portable oxygen tank – go figure), and then there are the normal people – the retired principals. All two of us. At least the beers are relatively cheap (for a cruise ship) at $6 a pop.
Currently I am gazing out the window as I type. I can see Mexico in the distance. Unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be), they have had to change our itinerary. Apparently Mazatlan (our first port of call) has been experiencing some minor trouble lately – a small case of drug lords murdering one another, common-place robberies in all the streets and aggravated burglaries on previous guests and staff from the boat. Nothing like schoolies on the Gold Coast but we have no say in the matter. Instead we’ll spend 2 days in Cabo San Lucas instead of one, then one day in Puerto Vallarta.
I know you will all want to know how this ‘cruise novice’ is coping so here are my observations to date:
• Despite there being over 3000 people on board, it doesn’t feel like it. Everyone seems to have found their favourite nooks and crannies to curl up in or their favourite bars to drink in, including us.
• I now know that I could have packed my old bridesmaids dresses for the elegant formal night- certainly felt VERY under-dressed despite a good black pant and silky shirt
• Our room is really comfortable and not at all claustrophobic
• Beware the cruise –spa- staff. I have 2 bruises on my back from over-zealous masseuse trying to get the stress-balls out of my shoulders. (Gee it felt good though!)
• LOVE the adults only zones on board- nice touch
• We are proof that you can be on a cruise and NOT go near a buffet
• Have played ’trivia’ and tempted to play bingo tomorrow!!!
• I’ve NEVER ever felt like ‘Twiggy’ and I sure do here.
• The fashion police could make many many arrests (mainly focussing on inappropriate cruise-wear)