Christine and I on "dress up" night on the Carnival Ecstasy
I've always heard the old adage that you'll "need a vacation from your vacation" and now I know what they mean! Man, I'm so tired right now after spending about a week traveling to the port in Galveston, Texas, being on a five-day cruise with some of the most entertaining and fun people I've ever been around, and then returning home sunburned with a couple of cuts on my face (I'll explain in a minute!) and completely wiped out! I think Christine and I went to bed at 10:30pm last night and didn't wake up until after 9:30am this morning. WHEW!
But it was such an amazing week and I am so glad we had this opportunity. There were about 35 people from our group on board the Carnival Ecstasy and this was our second time on this particular ship--the first time was 13 years ago on our honeymoon when we cruised down to the Bahamas. This time was WAY better because we had people to enjoy the experience with and we kinda knew what to expect because of the prior experience. I've got nearly 200 pictures from the cruise, so CLICK HERE to see them posted as a set on my Flickr page.
From the time we got on the ship until we stepped off, it was nonstop luxury. People were constantly at your beckoning call and anything you needed was provided for you to make sure you enjoyed your cruise. I was so impressed that we had the chance to meet people on the staff from over 50 different countries around the world. What a cultural melting pot this was and they were very well-trained to treat the guests with the highest respect. I was quite impressed (and that's not easy to do since my standard for service is generally pretty high having worked in customer service for most of my life!).
Although it was vacation time, I did manage to get in a little workout time in the Spa area where they had elliptical machines and even some weights. But the ceilings were so low it was impossible to lift anything above your head unless you were sitting down. It wasn't a big deal because I didn't exercise every single day on the trip. This WAS a vacation, ya know? :D
In Cozumel, Mexico, Christine and I did the horseback through the Mayan ruins excursion and it was, er, um...painful to say the least. They should have warned us that we'd need a cup before hopping up on those horses. OUCH! Add to that the major sunburn I got and the fact that they gave away free beer and regular soda, but not water and diet soda, and it wasn't such a fun time. But I'll know better for the next one.
Okay, about the bandages, here's the deal. It was the last night of the cruise and I was up on the stage singing some karaoke of the Run DMC hit from the late 1980s called "You Be Illin'." Yes, I know a white dude rapping a song like that is kinda weird, but stay with me here. In the middle of the song, the CD started to skip and the karaoke lady was ready for me to step off the stage. I told her that I didn't need the lyrics or the music and that I'd rap the last verse on my own. And so I did!
When I was finished, everyone was clapping and I was so excited I jumped off the stage and my face landed right into the TV stand. A very SHARP one at that! Little did I know I had just cut my face open above my eyebrow and on the bridge of my nose and was bleeding profusely. I could tell something was wrong when everyone started gasping, but I was totally oblivious because I wasn't in pain at all. Everyone was passing me napkins and ice to stop the bleeding and the karaoke lady kept looking over at me to see if I was okay. I even got up on stage one more time to sing "Stayin' Alive" by the Bee Gees before the night was over. But I crawled off the front of the stage this time. LOL! I bet nobody there will ever forget that night of the cruise! By the way, those cuts are already healing up very nicely. There may be some small scars. Battle wounds of some good times. ;)
Our stop in Progreso was cool because the beaches there are so beautiful and the stuff you can get as souvenirs there were about half the price of what they were in Cozumel. I loved being able to barter with these vendors and you could tell they do this all day everyday for a living. But if you hold out long enough, then they'll sell you the merchandise at the price you want to pay. NEVER pay the asking price. NEVER.
In Cozumel, we saw this heavy Sterling Silver cat pendant with personality and Christine was having a hissy fit over it. They wanted $125 for it and I declined. He then offered $100 and I declined again. I countered with an offer for $50 and he then said $55. We bought it! It was a pin in the store, but they took it down the road to their workshop and transformed it into a pendant in about 30 minutes. Christine LOVED it and it's a very complimentary piece to just about everything she wears now. :)
Dinnertime was always a real treat! Not only did you get to experience some of the best fine dining you could possibly imagine, but the entertainment portion had us all going each and every night. That's Ailsa from the UK whooping it up with Becky laughing and enjoying themselves. Like I said, it was loads of fun and I only wish that more of you could have been there to join in on the festivities!
Actually, you CAN join us in January 2009 for another cruise that we'll be announcing in May or June, so be looking for details about it. You'll be surprised how affordable this is and I am working on getting some special guests in the world of livin' la vida low-carb to join us next time. Start saving now because you WON'T want to miss this chance to mingle with your fellow low-carbers and have a most excellent time! See more photos and memories from the 2008 cruise in this thread at my "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Discussion" forum. ENJOY!