Sunday, December 12, 2021

Carnival Magic Cruise Review - December 12, 2021

 Carnival Magic Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Magic,  Dream class @ 128,000 tons.
Sailing:  December 12, 2021 - 7 day cruise - Sailing out of Port Canaveral, Florida
Captain:  Rosario Arena
Cruise Director: Gary
Ports: Port Canaveral, FL - Amber Cove, Dominican Republic / St. Thomas, USVI / San Juan, Puerto Rico / Grand Turk, Turks and Caicos Islands, BOT

I am sailing as a solo but with Florida cruise friends.  This is my 7th cruise on the Carnival Magic, my 91st Carnival cruise, and my 169th cruise overall.

Day One -- Sunday --  December 12th, 2021 -- Port Canaveral  — Embarkation   
The day began early at the Florida Villa. It’s a fairly easy drive to Port Canaveral, but I have a 10:00 am Check-in time so I was away about 6:45 am. This was my third time driving to this port. I arrived on Merritt Island about 9:15 and made a stop at Walgreen’s for coke’s and a break as has become my routine. I was soon at Cruisetime Parking & Shuttle ($74 for 7-days) and soon on a shuttle to the ship. I carried my rolling duffle bag as usual and was through Security, then Health Screening, and lastly the Carnival Agent in good order. My timing was perfect at all stations but had a wait of 45 minutes (not a problem at all) in the VIP lounge due to a long debarkation of the previous cruise. We boarded at 11:15 am and I dropped my bag at the cabin by 11:30 am. I have a Balcony Cabin on deck 8. I went to the Mongolian Grill on Deck 10 Lido Marketplace for lunch, a very hardy Stir-fry bowl (photo) then had a slice of Elderflower cake for dessert. Very nice. After lunch, I got my Sign & Sail card from the cabin and went to my muster station E-4 for easy check-in. Then to the Red Frog Pub for Happy Hour. They do the Plastic-pitcher system for the Fishbowl (as does the Vista) so I ordered a Jamaican Sunrise. I then ran into my Cruise friends in the Ocean Plaza who had boarded and gone straight to Pig & Anchor. We then all went back to Red Frog for Happy Hour. Sweet. Following ‘Happy Hour’ it was back to the cabin to unpack and a little rest. The cabin is very nice with a lot of storage areas. Very comfortable especially for a solo. Sail away was very nice from my balcony, I was on the ‘best’ side for once. Nice sailing by the Disney Fantasy, the MSC Meraviglia, and the Odyssey of the Seas on our way out to sea. We have five for dinner this cruise and a nice table for us in the Southern Lights Dining Room (MDR) at the 6:00 pm seating. Tonight I ordered the Roasted Tomato Soup, the Sweet & Sour Breaded Shrimp, and a nice Broiled Strip Loin Steak, with a Fruit plate for dessert. After dinner, I enjoyed a nice cocktail prepared by Vasko at the Alchemy Bar. Also popped in for a bit of karaoke before retiring for the evening. It was an easy and enjoyable embarkation day on the Carnival Magic.

Day Two -- Monday -- December 13th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I had a nice casual morning enjoying the sea view and fresh air. I had a very light breakfast from Ocean Plaza this morning, Oatmeal and Danish with milk. The seas were rolling today and more so as the day went along, at least you feel as though you’re on a ship at sea. I met the girls for the Diamond Luncheon on deck 4 of the Southern Lights Dining room. The Captain and senior staff greeted the Diamond guests as we entered and the Captain later welcomed everyone. I would guess there were 90+ in attendance. The same menu as all other Diamond Luncheons on any Carnival ships. I ordered the Fresh Tomato & Greens salad, the Premium Strip Steak, and the Tres Leches for dessert. All very good. A nice surprise was Alan my cocktail server from the Vista cruise in October, he kept the Carnival Cosmopolitan cocktails refreshed and did a special roadie just as he did in October…thanks Carnival. It was time for trivia for Team Keloray, we didn’t sweep up all the prizes as we did the last cruise, but we had FUN. Some cabin and balcony time before our 6:00 pm elegant night dinner. Very mixed attire this evening in the very full MDR, we are sailing with over 3000 guests so approaching full ships soon. For dinner, I ordered the Sicilian Meatball Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara (as a starter), the Slow Cooked Prime Rib entree, and the Vanilla Creme Brûlée for dessert. It was good. Flick was the production show in the theater tonight, but we had a comedy night attending three shows, two PG and one R, in the Punchliner Comedy Club. Ronnie Bullard (2) and Al Romero were the comedians. Between shows I did my $25 free play at the Roulette wheel…no luck tonight, but no loss either. We finished the night with Watermelon Cocktails in the Steakhouse Bar (photo above). It was a FUN sea day and a FUN evening on the Carnival Magic.

Day Three -- Tuesday -- December 14th, 2021 -- Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

Rolling and rocking seas continued overnight, but I slept very well. We arrived at Amber Cove by 9:00 am and docked next to the Nieuw Amsterdam. Cloudy in port, but that tends to change. I went to Lido deck and the Blue Iguana for my Breakfast. I had the Breakfast Taco with eggs, one Arepas, and watermelon. I’ve missed that breakfast…also still called Huevos Rancheros on signage on Magic. After breakfast I went ashore for a short walkabout, we were just here a week ago, but did remember to get my passport stamped this trip. The Girls and I had a Deli lunch, so I had half a Reuben and half of a BLT, with fries, Sandwiches were good, but fries not as good as Guy’s. We did 1:00 and 1:30 Trivia then Red Frog Pub for Happy Hour. What a deal for a Pitcher of Jamaican Sunset. Some more Trivia, but again several second places and no prizes. Dinner comes early when you have first seating. It was Linguini night so I ordered the Wedge Salad, the combined Meatball, and Linguini as a starter, the Strip Steak entree, and Bitter & Blanc for dessert. It was an enjoyable dinner. It was entertainment night this evening, we started in the Ocean Plaza with Beats Bunnyman as good of a soloist guitarist as I’ve heard on Carnival since Will Marion…then Acoustic Jams with Lisette and Tyler in the Lobby area. Also good. We attended the 9:30 production show of Country Road in the Showtime Theater, it was entertaining and enjoyable especially if you have Texas roots. The Girls had a brief stop in the Casino and I retired for the evening. It was a FUN day on the Carnival Magic.

Day Four -- Wednesday -- December 15th, 2021 -- St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Wind and choppy seas continued overnight, but I slept well I like the rocking. I had a light early breakfast in the Ocean Plaza then had a walkabout the ship. Cabin time until we docked at Havensight Cruise Pier. After walking around the Havensight shops our group of five took the basic 2+ hour Island Tour with Raymond’s Tours. It was cloudy with occasional rain but we did fine. Always nice to visit Mountaintop and enjoy the wonderful view (photo left) and have a Banana Daiquiri. We returned to the ship where all had Guy’s Burgers other than myself, I had Pizza and another BLT from the Deli. Time for the final Trivia of the day before R&R in the cabin. I went to the Alchemy Bar and had a very nice cocktail prepared by FJ, it was Absinthe based with fruit, very nice. I was able to catch Lisette & Tyler in the Ocean Plaza. It was what she called her Jazz Set and I was thoroughly impressed…she did four of my favorites from my personal Torch Music collection including Edith Piaf’s La Vie En Rose. I just listened to it on the drive to the cruise and I enjoyed her version better than Edith Piaf’s original. Tonight I met the group at La Cucina del Capitano for dinner. I ordered Il Capitano’s Signature Arancini, Il Capitano’s Favorite Insalata, the Grande Braciola Di Maiale (Grilled Tomahawk Pork Chop) entree with sides of Spaghetti with Captain’s Tomato Sauce & Gnocchi All Romana. It was all very good I would order the same again. For dessert, I had the Crostata Di Melt Con Crema Al Caramello (a flaky Apple Tart with Almond Ice Creme) which was nice. A nice enjoyable meal. After dinner, I had a Christmas project to work on…not easy as the Wifi on the Magic has not been on par with Breeze, Mardi Gras, or even the Freedom…slow and spotty. It was an interesting eclectic day in St. Thomas and on the Carnival Magic.

Day Five — Thursday --  December 16th, 2021 -- San Juan, Puerto Rico

Smoother seas overnight, but still rolling and I slept well. We arrived early in San Juan well before schedule, but they didn't debark until 8:00 am. Debark will go much better today, when we arrived at 11:30 in St. Thomas everyone got off the ship at once and overwhelmed the port facilities. I had a casual morning and took advantage of guests debarking to have a specialty Omelet with Bacon, Potatoes, and Grapefruit. I went off the ship by 11:00 am and headed for old town, I walked across the peninsula within sight of El Morrow Castle but not to it. Nice breeze and park with a view to rest and enjoy the view. I was basically in the Arts District area awaiting a particular craft beer tavern to open at noon, but alas it was closed today. I ended up enjoying some local beer near the old chapel and watched the tourists and the pigeons. The weather was pleasant and very slight rain but just enough to keep it fairly cool. Afterward an ice creme on the walk back to the ship, I was back onboard an hour+ before schedule. I saw the girls playing trivia in the Ocean Plaza so joined in a game before heading up to my cabin to clean up and watch the Breeze sail away. 6:00 dinner came quickly, tonight I ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms, Moroccan Pumpkin Harira Soup, Four Season Salad, the Filet Mignon entree, and the Key Lim Mousse for dessert. It was all very good. After dinner I went to the Ocean Plaza for one set of Acoustic Jams with Lisette & Taylor, then one set of Real Country with the Magic Rockband, followed by an 80s set. It was a FUN day in San Juan and on the Carnival Magic.

Day Six — Friday -- December 17th, 2021 -- Grand Turk Island, British Overseas Territories

Rolling seas continue and I slept well overnight. We don’t arrive at Grand Turk until midday so I tried to sleep as long as possible. I skipped breakfast and had cabin/balcony time all morning until guests began their debark at noon. With everyone trying to get off the ship and to the beach I went with a friend to Cucina de Capitano for a nice quiet lunch. I had the Caesar Salad, Bread, a Pasta Bowl (linguini, cherry tomatoes, sausage, and bolognese sauce), and small Lasagna. It was very good. We then left the ship to walk through the port area and the Beach area up to Jack’s Shack. They were very busy but we were able to get a table near the bar as some were returning to the ship, so my usual day plan for here was working well; however, there was a huge line for cocktails from the bar. We were patient and had a simple order of Turks Head beer and found a friendly employee who helped us out. Jack and the family were all there working away too. (photo left) The bar became less crowded and we had our Janet’s Mojito cocktail order and enjoyed watching the dogs, the guests, the employees, the beach view, and more. After a final round of beer, we began our casual barefoot walk along the surf enjoying the sunset. Most guests are off the beach by now so a very enjoyable walk back to the pier. We spoke with some musicians from the Magic Rock Band along the way. We were back on board just after 5:15 so time to clean up for 6:00 pm dinner. Tonight I ordered: Vine Ripened Tomatoes and Chopped Lettuce, Wild Rice, Gruyere and Country Chicken Soup, the Broiled Strip Loin Steak entree, and Praline Cake for dessert. It was good. Afterward, we took fresh food to our friend's cabin who is a bit under the weather today. I always like checking out the Lido Marketplace so easy to do. After dinner, it was to the Ocean Plaza and we were lucky to score two seats at the Alchemy Bar. Lisette & Tyler were just finishing their last set, then it was the Magic Rock Band for two sets. We did recieve a big wave from the stage from the guys we spoke to on the beach earlier.   FJ prepared me two different Absinthe based cocktails that I enjoyed very much. Nice to visit with new Alchemy friends as well. I retired about 11:00ish. It was a very good day walking the beach and on the Carnival Magic.

Day Seven — Saturday --  December 18th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Still rolling seas but they rock me to sleep so I’ve been happy all cruise. I had a lazy morning then met friends for a light breakfast at the Lido Marketplace. I did a walkabout the ship then worked on end-of-the-year finances, but again the internet sucks on the Magic, not sure if it’s outdated equipment, too many users, or what, but it’s not as good as Breeze, Vista, Mardi Gras, or Freedom that I have sailed since October. I had my first Guy’s Burger for lunch, then met the girls for Christmas Trivia. Very difficult questions IMHO. I went to the Spotlight Lounge for the VIFP party @ 3:45 pm. It was packed but more manageable than in the theater, with plenty of cocktail servers too. The usual: Carnival movie, Captain’s remarks, then some Awards…there was entertainment too. There were 88 Diamond and 480 Platinum guests on board. I took away a cocktail to enjoy on my balcony…it was perfect evening weather and the seas seems to be calmer too. I do like a balcony. The final dinner of the cruise tonight was good. I ordered: Cobb Salad, Steak Ale Cheddar Soup, The Penne Mariscos pasta as a starter, the Broiled Strip Loin Steak entree, and Baked Alaska as a dessert. Of course, the waiters sang their traditional farewell songs. After dinner, we made it to the Showtime Theater for the production show America Rocks (photo above). It featured the Breeze Production Singers, Dancers, and the Breeze Rock Band. An entertaining show, but not a great show by any means. Following that we heard a set by Lissette and Tyler in the Ocean Plaza. I requested LeVie En Rose and she sang it for us, one of my all time favorites. It was a very nice final sea day on the Carnival Breeze.


Debarkation — Sunday — December 19th, 2021  — Port Canaveral, FL

Calmer seas overnight and I slept well but woke very early.  We were entering the channel by 4:30 am.  Interesting to see the huge cruise ships enter and dock in the early morning.  I finished packing then went to the Lido Marketplace for a nice breakfast. My group was ready early and by the time we reached the Diamond area we were able to just debark the ship.  Short wait for parking shuttle, but soon on the road.  Home by 10:15 am.  Amazing easy by having a place in Florida.


Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruises
Traveling with Friends and making New Friends

LeVie En Rose sung by Lissette
Barefoot walk along the beach surf in Grand Cayman
Dinner at Cucina de Capitano
Mongolian Grill, Guys Burgers, & the Deli

Magic Rock Band
San Juan Port Day 

Sunday, December 5, 2021

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review - 4 December 2021

MSC Meraviglia Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship:  MSC Meraviglia, first of its own MSC class @ 176,000 tons.
Sailing:  December 28, 2021 - 4 day cruise - Sailing out of Port Canaveral
Captain:  Masimiliano Rossi
Cruise Director: Sarah Rossi
Ports: Port Canaveral, FL - Nassau Bahamas - Ocean Cay, Bahamas - Port Canaveral

I am sailing solo on a Travel Agent Familiarization (FAM) cruise.  This is my 5th cruise on the MSC Meraviglia, my 14th MSC cruise, and my 168th cruise overall.

Day One -- Sunday --  December 5th, 2021 -- Port Canaveral  — Embarkation  
The day began early at the Florida Villa. It’s a fairly easy drive to Port Canaveral, but I have a 10:00 am Check-in Time so I was away about 6:45 am. This was only my second time driving to this port. I arrived at Cruisetime Parking & Shuttle ($40) on Merritt Island about 9:30 and as soon on a shuttle to the ship. I carried my rolling duffle as usual and was through Security, then Health Screening, and lastly the MSC Agent. My timing was perfect at all stations and I was in my cabin with my bag by 10:45 am. Amazing. I have a Balcony Cabin on deck 11, very comfortable for a solo cruiser. I unpacked and set up my cabin, an easy task for a short 4-day cruise. I went to the Market Place Buffet on Deck 15 for lunch. You have to show your Sail&Sign card to enter and they take your temperature as well. The staff serves you your food selections some of which are pre-plated so you do get a tray for your visit to the food stations. I had Roast Beef for the Carving Station with Mashed Potatoes, Broccoli, a Green Salad, a Cole Slaw salad, and a selection of small desserts. It was a very good lunch. I had cabin time to learn the WiFi system and the MSC for Me application then a walk about the ship in the afternoon. The layout has come back to me...they have a new Tex-Mex restaurant on the Promenade and a secondary buffet area and Dining Room are not open...only major changes I see. Of course, we are only sailing with 800 guests and they say that is up from 600 last cruise. Very empty so no lines anywhere nor waiting for an elevator. Now is the time to cruise on MSC! I did have a Pilsner Urquell beer from the Theater Bar on the lower promenade on deck 6...they didn't have any at the Pub. Boat Drill is different, you watch it on the TV then dial in a code on the phone from your cabin. You do have to go to your assembly area, but only to have your card scanned…then it’s completed. Better than Carnival's new procedure as you learn more yet just as easy.  The great thing was that on the elevator returning from my muster station there were two great friends from Scotland on it.  A great reunion for several decks. Wow!!  I did register my credit card at a kiosk for use on your S&S card...something unique to MSC that should be done on your first day.  We had a reception for the TA’s in our group in the Sky Lounge on Deck 18, wine & beer were served and we met Christina & the Events Manager.  I excused myself from our scheduled dinner and went to then Waves Restaurant in order to see my favorite head waiter (photo).  I had Julius as a waiter for 40 days on my B2B2B2B on the Meraviglia in Fall of 2019 before the pandemic.  It was great seeing him again as well as our previous Maitre’D Mario.  I had a great meal, it was a Spanish theme so I took the three items from that menu: Spanish Delights (Chorizo, Manchego cheese, Roasted red bell peppers, Olives, and Grilled Mushrooms), the Rollo de Cochinillo y Patatas Bravas entree (primarily roasted pig & potatoes), and the Crema Catalana dessert.  I also had the Bay Scallop Ceviche.  All were excellent as was the service of course.  I intended to meet my friends at the Silent Disco @ 11:00 pm but I closed my eyes when in the cabin and fell asleep.  It was a great embark day on the MSC Meraviglia.
Day Two -- Monday --  December 6th, 2021 -- Nassau, Bahamas 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well.  I went to breakfast in the Waves Restaurant and ordered Eggs Benedict with sides of Potatoes and Bacon, all were very good.  My Travel Agent seminar began at 9:00 am in the Business Conference Center on Deck 5.  It was interesting, time for me to start some new MSC group sailings.  I had a nice lunch in the Marketplace, no problems with the staff serving, they are efficient and you can ask for more or less of any item you choose. I had a lovely Salad, Roasted Chicken, Ratatouille, Potatoes, and a couple of the assorted mini desserts.  The afternoon session was good, the pricing structure of MSC fares have been streamlined and needed it.  My personal BDM was the presenter and it was nice to meet her.  We were taken on a nice tour of the Yacht Club at 5:00 pm.  It is much larger and improved since the Divina.  Very private area and basically a Boutique Hotel within a Cruise ship.  A beautiful Private lounge, Private Pool area, and Dining Room. Very nice.  I had a bottle of Prosecco and Cookies delivered so I relaxed on the balcony and enjoyed my own private sail away party from Nassau.  I then had a very nice evening, I went to Butcher’s Cut steak house for the best steak I have had in many years.  I ordered the Hearts of Palm Salad (with Avocado), the Filet Mignon, and the Cheesecake with Strawberries for dessert.  The four steak sauces were great and was the service.  I was very pleased.  I went to the Broadway Theater for the production show Meraviglio Amor, it was fantastic!  All in Italian.  I recognized several of the feature singers from 2019 and the new opera male lead was excellent. The final number was Con Te Partiro and it was Amazing!  A lot of activities on the ship and so easy to do a walk about with so few guests.  I returned to the cabin to rest and update this blog.  It was a good day and GREAT evening on the MSC Meraviglia.

Day Three -- Tuesday -- December 7th, 2021 -- Ocean Cay Marine Reserve,  Bahamas
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We arrived at Ocean Cay by 9:00 am but I’m no longer a beach nor beach games person so it not rushing anything this morning. I went to the Marketplace for breakfast at about 10:00 am. They have bacon and both scrambled and fried eggs available on the buffet. They decorated much of the ship for Christmas overnight...nice.  I did business work on the internet most of the morning then went for my first Pizza of the cruise for a late lunch. MSC is famous for the best Pizza at Sea and it was…Pepperoni and a Side Salad. I went to the island in the late afternoon and swam at the Lighthouse Beach. It was very nice and reminded me of Grand Turk. I didn’t tour the island, but I did go to the Lighthouse Bar, promoted as a ‘Hemingway Style’ bar. The architecture was a Key West or southern plantation shutter style with one photo of Hemingway, but there were NO Hemingway era drinks other than perhaps a Mojito. No live music when I was there. Good location for the sundown though. After sundown, a nice walk back to the ship, and I needed the exercise. I had dinner in the Waves Restaurant, with Julian of course. I ordered the Grilled Maryland Crab Cakes, Eleonor Salad, Breaded Chicken Kyiv, and the Tapioca for dessert. The crab cakes were amazing. Made a new friend, Prudence from South Africa, who is a Restaurant Manager and she and Julian convinced me to go ashore for the Party. I did go ashore at the right time to receive a lei and walk to the Village Bar in time to get a cocktail and see the beginning of the Junkanoo Parade. Small parade but nice, they had only one Indian but three female dancers and the musicians. It was worth seeing for sure. The Village Bar had live music and was nice. I saw my Scottish friends and made new friends then walked down to the beach for the Lighthouse light show and the Beach Party. It was very interesting. I made it back on board in time for the feature rock band, Off The Record’s show Uptown Funk in the Carousel Theater. They are a great band and a great show in a great venue. Maybe the best band at sea, but I’d love to see the Seagles in this venue. Sharing photos with friends before retiring. It was a most interesting day at Ocean Cay and on the MSC Meriviglia. 
Day Four -- Wednesday --  December 8th, 2021 -- Ocean Cay Marine Reserve,  Bahamas
We were docked overnight and I slept very well, best on a ship in a while. I went to breakfast in the Waves Restaurant and again had Eggs Benedict with Bacon and Potatoes. I did have my Hot Milk and Danish this morning as well as a nice fruit plate. Pru came by for her cruise story. I spent the entire morning updating this blog and working online…not planning on going ashore today. I did have some balcony time before going to lunch on the Lido deck: A Salad, Carved Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, & Snow Peas. The afternoon was cabin time, but busy not even time for the TV. I do appreciate that MSC has more television channels including sports and movies than most other cruises lines. I went to the theater for the production show WAY featuring different styles of primarily American Classic music (click on photo and check out the dancers in the background). Not as good as Meraviglio Amor but certainly worth seeing the feature dancers and singers. I then went to dinner in the Wave Restaurant and it was Italian night. As starters I ordered: the Venetian Pasta & Bean Soup, Sicilian style Arancini, and the Tri-Color Salad. My two entrees were: Lasagna Bolognese and Chicken Breast Parmigiana with Limoncello Cake for dessert…all Italian and all good. I went to the Carousel Theater at 10:30 for the 80s Disco show by Off the Record … they were good. I retired follow as it’s an early day tomorrow. An easy day for me on the MSC Meraviglia.

 Debarkation — Thursday --  December 9th, 2021 -- Port Canaveral
Smooth seas overnight. I woke about 6:00 am as we were entering the outer channel.  I then went to the Marketplace for breakfast.  Huge line to roll off express debarkation @ 7:30 am, but once started went quickly, no diamond express.  Shuttle for parking was ready and waiting.  I left the parking lot at 8:30 and arrive at the Villa in Pasco County at 11:00 am.  Very easy overall.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruise
The Ship itself…A Beautiful Wonder.
Meraviglio Amor
Butcher’s Cut Steak House
Night Beach Party & Light show on Ocean Cay
Uptown Funk Show

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Carnival Freedom 11/28/21 Cruise Review

Carnival Freedom Cruise Review

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Freedom, a Conquest Class ship sailing out of Miami
Sailing:  November 28, 2021 - 6 day cruise
Captain: Mario Imbimbo
Cruise Director: T.J. Partida - FunSquad: James
Ports: Miami, FL - Nassau Bahamas - Princess Cays, Bahamas - Amber Cove, Dominican Republic

I am sailing solo with good cruise friends.  This is my 7th cruise on the Carnival Freedom, my 90th Carnival cruise, and my 167th cruise overall.

Days Zero -- Friday - Saturday --  November 26-27th, 2021 -- Travel
The dear wife and I left the Ranch in Texas on the day following Thanksgiving  to travel to our Villa in Florida.  First stop was the Walgreen’s Pharmacy in Gatesville, Texas to get a Rapid Antigen test for this cruise.  The next 16 hours were spent driving to Pasco County Florida arriving there at 5:45 am on Saturday morning.  Thankfully an uneventful but very long drive.

Day One -- Sunday --  November 28th, 2021 -- Port of Miami  Embarkation
The day began early at the Florida Villa.  I’m sailing with cruise friends and left by 5:00 am to pick them up in St. Petersburg area. Although I have sailed from Miami many times this is the first time I have driven to the port.  It was a nice drive, my first time to drive over the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and cross ‘Alligator Alley’.  By 10:00 am we were at Premier Cruise Parking: located on the 7th level of a Downtown Miami Parking Garage.  Soon we were shuttled to the port arriving by 10:30 am.  Security and check-in went smoothly and the ship was boarding guests  by the time we finished the process so we went directly onto the ship.  I dropped my roll-on duffle bag at my cabin on Lido Deck and was eating a Stir-fry from the Mongolian Grill by 11:30 am.  Sweet.  I also had a sample plate of BBQ from the BBQ location above the Lido Marketplace aft.  Time for the easy Muster Drill check-in.  You do it on Deck 4 at the actual life boat locations.   I was station A.   Now it’s time to visit the Red Frog Pub’s Happy Hour.  On Freedom you can order a Fish Bowel size drink without having to purchase the that’s what I did ordering a Jamaican Sunrise.  The FUN begins.  I ordered a second to take back to the cabin for some cabin time and a nap.  I began receiving messages on my phone from the Parking Company…it seems my car was running in the Parking Garage.  I do have a new vehicle less than two weeks old with all types of features including turning off the engine when idling.  I know it wasn’t running when we unloaded, but suspect it may have been in idle mode and not actually turned off.  We were close to 3:30 sail away but I was able to get my KeyFob to a shuttle driver just before we sailed.  Hopefully crisis diverted, we’ll know upon return.  Security escorted me off and back on so that made it easy for me…Thanks Carnival.  My friends and I met at the Alchemy Bar for an aperitif about 6:00 pm.  A nice and large Alchemy, but seemed so slow after experiencing the very busy Breeze and Mardi Gras Alchemy Bars.  We made dinner reservations on the HUB for dining and we had a very nice table in the center of the room.  I ordered the Roasted Tomato Soup, the Sweet & Sour Breaded Shrimp, and two wonderful Broiled Strip Loin Steaks, with a Fruit plate for dessert. It was very good and the steak was surprisingly very tender.  The Freedom Band plays in the lobby area beginning at 8:00 ish so we had perfect timing and great seats to listen to their set.  Good, but not comparable to the Breeze Band.  I retired to the Cabin for needed rest, the Girls were headed to the Piano Bar and explore the ship. My first day impression is Freedom is a step-back in time…Examples: they still print out the photos, RFP fish bowls, the Muster Drill outside, old style Mongolian Grill (that I love!), and more.  Basically the same as when I first sailed the inaugural Freedom Cruise many years ago.  It was a very different embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Two -- Monday --  November 29th, 2021 -- Nassau, Bahamas 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well…we were docked at the Nassau pier by the time I was awake. I met the girls at Blue Iguana for breakfast. They still have the Huevos Rancheros sign so another ‘throwback’. I had my usual Breakfast Taco, Arepas, Salsas, and Watermelon. The Carnival Magic is docked next to us and I look forward to sailing on her in two weeks. There are six ships docked in total. The Girls are going to Atlantis today and I’m staying closer to the ship. I do have a balcony cabin this cruise so I enjoyed the early morning breeze and nice weather while doing some work online. About 10:30 I decided to go ashore just to get some exercise by walking. We are the closest ship to shore and we are sailing at 50% capacity (if that) so it was easy to debark and get into downtown Nassau. I was able to complete an important business call so was free to explore the rest of the day. Some businesses remain closed but most are open. Some restaurants ask for proof of vaccination. The new Straw Market looks good as do several public parks…they do seem to be improving the area. I walked to the just-opened Margaritaville Resort located just beyond the old British Colonial Hotel. (photo above) It’s very nice, I saw the Fins Up Water Park, Changes in Latitude Bar, Gift shop, and more. Since I walked this far I decided to walk the length of Junkanoo Beach to Fish Fry. I stopped at Goldie’s Conch House my favorite place for seafood in Nassau. I had the Red Snapper fried fish plate…it was great. The Kalik Superior beers were very good too. I was back on the ship by 2:30. One of the girls had a minor accident and they returned early. After a short nap, I did have dinner with them in the Lido Marketplace about 6:30 pm. Tonight I had a Mixed Salad, the Sea Bass entree and Chicken entree, a stuffed Potato, and the Mushroom Bisque Soup. For dessert a warm Apple Cobbler and a small piece of Coconut Pie. A very good meal. I did a short walk about the ship…lots of activities but just mot many guests out and about. I retired early, I’m still recovering from the long drive, It was a very nice day in Nassau.  

Day Three -- Tuesday -- November 30th, 2021 -- Princess Cay. Bahamas

Smooth seas overnight and I slept well. We arrived at Princess Cay very early and the tendering ashore began very early. My friends and I are staying on the ship today, I’m no longer a beach nor beach games person…most guests went, but many stayed on the Freedom. I joined my friends for breakfast in the Lido Marketplace and of the few passengers on board, they were all there. I had an omelet and potatoes, bacon, grapefruit, and sweet bread. We spent most of the day in the Lobby playing various games of Trivia. The three of us are a good team with a mixture of knowledge, we were in the running on most games and won several. James on the entertainment staff (FUN Crew) did a great job. He was personable and made it FUN. We broke for lunch at Guy’s Burgers about 3:30 pm, My first Guy’s in several cruises and since they don’t always have plain meat patties prepared they grilled mine fresh and I was able to get them to add onions while on the hot grill…getting closer and closer to a proper Oklahoma Onion Fried Hamburger. The burgers were very good!! It was back to the Lobby for a final Trivia game on Music where we medaled in the music game. Only slight help from me on that one…the girls were very good. I enjoyed a very beautiful sunset from the balcony. It was very enjoyable watching the sunset over the water and the interesting cloud formations. Cabin time until dinner in the Chic restaurant. The Maitre’D was very accommodating with our table request. The Girls had Cesar Salad, Shrimp Cocktail, and Bitter & Blanc, I had just a single entree they prepared for me combining the Linguini and Meatball appetizer. They did it in the kitchen so it was served ‘hot’ and excellent. Thank you, Chef & Waiter. I went to the casino for my Diamond $25 free play, they asked if I wanted table games (Chips) or Slots (on Card)…I asked ‘What about Cash?’… they said sure…perhaps not as Fun, but still $25 ahead. Super! I listened to the excellent String Trio, Stellaria tonight. (photo left) I enjoyed their Hotel California tune. I retired by 10:00 pm, the girls did some shopping, and perhaps Comedy Club. It was very nice. It was a FUN day onboard the Carnival Freedom. I woke in the night to the sound of waves and the sea, I had accidentally left my balcony door ajar. It was very nice!

Day Five -- Wednesday --  November 17th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea

Rolling seas overnight and I slept very well. I was up very early and enjoyed the sounds of the sea from my very comfortable bed as the sun rose early this morning. Also, an occasional Christmas song comes on the system since it’s December…I leave my ship's TV on the Map Chanel with music. A cabin on the Lido deck is very convenient to the Lido Marketplace so I ordered a nice omelet from the omelet station (no line) and took it to the Blue Iguana for various Salsas. It was great. The weather is very nice and I watched guests arrive on deck and claim their lounge chairs for the day. I had Cabin Time until the Diamond Luncheon held in the deck 4 areas of the Posh Dining Room. The Captain went from table to table to say hello. He knew all about my friends' accident, surprised her and me. We met a nice Diamond couple who have been sitting near us in the Chic dining room and decorating their booth each night with a Christmas theme. The Diamond Luncheon menu was the same as always, today I ordered the Fresh Tomato & Greens salad, the Premium Strip Steak, and the Tres Leches for dessert. All very good. The Carnival Cosmopolitan cocktails were nice too. The Alchemy Bar opened at 2:00 pm and we spent some quality time there with Alaiksandr. He prepared a very nice absinthe cocktail that I found to be unique and enjoyable. Met new Alchemy friends we met up with later in the Red Frog Bar for a Corn-hole Tournament. We made the semi-finals, but fell short in the finals…FUN though. We had dinner in the Chic MDR again tonight. I ordered the Baked Onion Soup Lasagna Bolognese, the Cornmeal Crusted Chicken Breast, and the Praline Cake for dessert. It was very good. We said hello to the friends we made today, both the Diamond’s and Alchemy/RedFrog family that was seated next to us…small world today. After dinner, I considered retiring but went to the Victoriana Theater for the production show 80’s to the Max (photo above). It was a very good show and I was very glad I went. After the show, I stayed in the lobby to see the final set of the Freedom Rock Band. It was a long, FUN, and busy day on the Carnival Freedom.

Day Five -- Thursday -- December 2nd, 2021 -- Amber Cove,  Dominican Republic

Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I didn’t even wake in the night and worked on my laptop as usual. We were entering Amber Cove when I woke and I was able to watch the Carnival Magic sail in and dock next to us. Taking it easy this morning and met the Girls for breakfast in the Posh dining room. We had a nice table located aft with a view. I took the opportunity to have my Lumberjack breakfast: Three fried eggs over easy, Toast, Bacon, Ham, Hash Browns, and Pancakes. Also Grapefruit, Tomato Juice, and Milk. A very nice hearty breakfast/brunch. I did a quick walk-around Amber Cove, I needed that after the nice breakfast. Trivia began at 1:00 pm in the Lobby with James and our team cleaned up in every game we played. Sweet. The Red Frog Pub had Happy Hour today @ 1:30 pm so time for a Fish Bowl of Jamaican Breeze. Helps one think during trivia. Some clever items and games today. We went to the Deli for lunch, between us we covered the sandwich bases: Rubens, BLT, and Buffalo Chicken, I really enjoyed Sail-away from my balcony this was about 4:00 pm and the weather was perfect and the seas so blue (photo).  It was nap and cabin time the rest of the late afternoon/early evening for me. We had dinner a little later this evening, it’s nice to have Anytime Dining IMHO. Tonight I ordered the Stuffed Mushrooms, Green Wedge Salad, and the Filet Mignon entree with Grand Marnier Souffle for dessert. A nice meal. The Girls went to the Casino this evening, I retired early as I had some work to do including checking in for my MSC cruise in two days. It was a FUN day in Amber Cove and on the Carnival Freedom.

Day Six — Friday --  December 3rd, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea

Some rolling seas as we sailed just north of Cuba overnight and I slept well. Busy scheduling Covid test for Carnival Magic cruise and finalizing check-in for MSC Meraviglia this morning on our final day on the Freedom. Lovely weather today for all the outer deck activities today too.  I did the sea Day Brunch in the Posh MDR this morning with the girls. I ordered the Steak & Eggs with potatoes, bacon, & ham. Also, a French Toast to share. Another day for Trivia in the Lobby area, not as lucky today. Went on a walkabout on various decks looking for the Ship Coin and visiting the beautiful Steak House. The Steak house is so much larger and nicer than on the newer ships. I had a small Guy’s Burger before attending the Diamond/Platinum Party in the Theater at 4:00 pm. Similar to the same party on various ships…I do like the later start time. There are 51 Diamonds, 220 Platinums, and almost 1600 total guests. So we are sailing at 50% capacity or less. I was closer to the highest cruise day guest total than I’ve ever been sailing from Florida. No hors d’oeuvres nor Tito’s Table, but if you took the pre-fixed drinks you could have several. The Captain and Staff were introduced (photo) and some entertainment. I met the girls and other friends at Alchemy and we had dinner at the Seafood Shack. It used to be a tradition for me to eat there on last night and for the girls, they can pack and be casual. It was very good food and the weather was perfect for dining alfresco. We went to the Punchliner Comedy Club for our only comedy show of the cruise…it was meh but in fairness to the comedian a scheduled PG13 show. It’s been interesting to see guests that are ‘groupies’ of particular events or activities in Florida since there are many repeat cruisers. Many just follow the Comedians, some it is Trivia all day, of course, the loyal Piano Barbarians, the outdoor Sun Lounge Lizards, and more… It’s not just Casino addicts sailing. I retired early to do some packing preparation. It was a nice final Sea Day on the Carnival Freedom.

Debarkation — Saturday --  December 4th, 2021 -- Port of Miami
Smooth seas overnight. I woke early and had plenty of time to update this blog and finish packing.  Diamond meet time is 7:15 am in the Chic MDR on deck 3.  Some delay but we debarked about 8:15 am and went through the face-recognition procedure and was on the street waiting for the shuttle to the Parking Garage.  They came by quickly and we were soon at the parking garage, I got my keys from the supervisor at the garage and we were on our way north from Miami.  I had the girls safely in St. Petersburg by 2:30 pm and I was at the Villa in Pasco County by 3:30 pm.  A rather smooth debark and travel day.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruises
Traveling with Friends and making New Friends
Nassau Port Day (never thought would make this list)
Trivia with Friends and James
Alchemy Bar
Diamond Luncheon
Red Frog Pub Happy Hours
Mongolian Wok, the Deli, and Guy's Burgers


Saturday, November 13, 2021

Carnival Breeze Cruise Review November 13-21, 2021

Carnival Breeze Cruise Reviews

Just the Facts:
Ship:  Carnival Breeze
Sailing:  November 13-21, 2021
Captain: Isidoro Renda
Cruise Director: Erin
Ports: Galveston- Cozumel, Mexico (2) - Yucatan (Progreso), Mexico - Galveston

I am sailing another B2B. This is my 14th &15th cruises on the Carnival Breeze, my 88th-89th Carnival cruises, and my 165th &166th cruises overall.  I am sailing as a solo.  

Day One -- Saturday --  November 13th, 2021 -- Port of Galveston  Embarkation   
The day began early on Twisted Oak Ranch. I was up early and finished packing and hit the road south about 5:30 am. I drove straight through to EZ Cruise Parking arriving about 10:05 am. Glad I made reservations as they were full as the Vista was also on turnaround day today. I was shuttled over to Terminal Two and it was a bit confusing, I saw that they were allowing several noon time slots through with the 10:00 and 10:30 times. They may have been allowed as they were taking the new Rapid-antigen tests being offered on a trial basis in November. Perhaps still working out the protocols. I was through Security and Check-in and seated about 10:50 in the waiting area with only a short wait for 11:00 am boarding. I rolled my bags with me as I always do and dropped them at my cabin by 11:15 am. Relatively easy process. Sweet. I unpacked a bit then went to have a very nice Mongolian Wok Stir-fry lunch. Muster drill was next that took all of 10 minutes at B-3 in the Sapphire Dining Room. I watched the OU vs. Baylor football game this afternoon. It did not go well for my Sooners and they lost their first game of the year, 9-1 is still #1 in the Big 12. I then sat out by the Tides Bar until the sail away…it was a bit cool even in the sun so fall weather is upon us. I had cabin time then went up to the Lido Marketplace for dinner. I had the Sweet & Sour Breaded Shrimp and the Roast Beef that I had them grill for me… a very nice dinner. I went to the 
Alchemy Bar and met friends and enjoyed seeing the Alchemy team. Anca again prepared a very nice Ancalicious drink for me. The full Breeze Rock Band performed tonight and was was nice to see them all together again. Peter's (male lead singer) extended family were onboard and they were a party themselves. I retired to the cabin after their second set and my second cocktail. It was a long but very good embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Two -- Sunday --  November 14th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I do have a balcony cabin this cruise so I enjoyed the early morning peacefulness of the open sea. Very calm and warming up this morning that will become a beautiful day. I have gained 10 lbs. since we have started back cruising in July so I want to eat better on this cruise, but I’m not starting this morning. I went to the Blue Iguana for my usual breakfast: Breakfast Taco with two fried eggs (easy) garnished with Cheese & Pico de Gallo. Also an Arepa, Salsas, and watermelon. The BI crew welcomed me back and prepared my exact order when I said the usual. Nice. I enjoyed my balcony until 11:00 when I went to the Diamond Party in the Limelight Lounge. I saw several Diamond friends and still B2B’ers on board. I enjoyed several cocktails and hors d'oeuvre and I enjoy visiting with the senior staff. After the party, I went to the casino and turned my $25 free play into $35 in real money on the Roulette wheel. Sweet. I then decided to play Texas Hold’em for a couple of hours. I did well. Since I’m booked on a TA low promotional fare I do not get Shareholder OBC, but I won more than that amount this afternoon so my Alchemy Bar bill is covered for a few nights. I may have to try that again later in the cruise. Lots of guests watching the Dallas Cowboys football game on the Seaside Theater and in the Red Frog Pub and the Casino. They are enjoying it…they won. Beautiful weather so I enjoyed balcony time then went to the Deli for a great BLT sandwich with fries about 3:00 pm.  The rest of the afternoon included a long nap. .No MDR for me on this elegant night. I had that much needed cabin time until going up to the Alchemy Bar to see the Breeze Rock Band in the Ocean Plaza about 8:00 pm. Since I was fresh I actually stayed through all three sets of the Band,..I really enjoy listening to them. I also got to visit with old and new friends this evening. A FUN night at Alchemy. I actually closed down the bar then went to the casino with a long-time Diamond friend and when I briefly paused to watch the action on the Texas Hold’em table…someone asked me to join and I did. A half an hour later I walked away with a very nice pot. I cashed out most of it and went to Guest Services and paid my Ship account balance in full plus cash in pocket and positive start-up money to play again later. A very successful evening. Also the latest I have stayed up on a cruise ship in many years. It was a Fun, profitable, and interesting day on the Carnival Breeze.  
Day Three -- Monday --  November 15th, 2021 -- Cozumel Mexico -- 600th Day on Carnival
Smooth seas overnight and I slept well although briefly…I was in the cabin by 1:00 am, but it was an hour later before I had this blog updated. You can tell I was buzzed by the late-night win. I went to the Blue Iguana for my usual breakfast about 7:30 and it was busier than I thought it would be that early with guests preparing for their Cozumel day. We are following the Carnival’s Mardi Gras into Puerto Maya as we sail on the beautiful early morning. Today is also my 600th day on a Carnival ship. I was planning a slow morning but once I realized that the Breeze was well ahead of the Mardi Gras on debarking I quickly got my shore kit together and was off the ship by 9:00 am ship time. I did beat the hoards on the pier and had a taxi into San Miguel strait away. Knowing how and where to go helps.  My Cozumel HQ, Woody’s Bar & Grill, was opening as we are now off of daylight savings time and Cozumel is on Eastern Standard Time…so one hour later than Texas time. I started with a Sprite zero and updated my Accounts using Woody’s great WiFi. Nice to be back. I ordered fresh Guacamole and Pico de Gallo and enjoyed my favorite Cerveza: Bohemia Clara. I also enjoyed the LIVE music today too. I took a taxi ($8) back to the ship about 2:45 pm and enjoyed some cabin time until the sail away. My balcony faced Carnival’s new Mardi Gras so it was exciting to experience backing away from the pier with guests and crew on each ship waving and yelling to each other as we left the pier. I had dinner in the Lido Marketplace with a friend and it was my favorite menu night, I had a Beet Salad, the Linguine, and several of the small Strip Steaks. All were good too. Afterward, I enjoyed a cocktail then some Pilsner Urquell beers at the Breeze Bar with Alexsandra and friends. I then went to the Love & Marriage Show in the Ovation Theater with Erin. I had not seen one in many years, it was humorous, but the same scripted routine did over the years. Erin did a good job and the guests do love it. After visiting with friends at the Breeze Bar I did sit in on the Texas Hold’em table. Not as successful this evening, but I was playing with winnings that influenced my game. You take more chances when it’s not your $ and that’s what happened to me…Fun though. The downside is that you have to shower again before bed due to all the smoke in the casino. It was a FUN day in Cozumel and on the Carnival Breeze.
Day Four -- Tuesday --  November 16th, 2021 -- Progreso/Yucatan Mexico 

Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Caribbean Sea back into the Gulf of Mexico overnight but I slept very well. I went to the Blue Iguana for my usual breakfast…the weather is wonderful today. We were soon docked at the long Yucatan pier, but I will go into town later and will get some TA work done during the morning hours. I finalized my Mardi Gras group this morning so I went down to the pier and took the shuttle into Progreso about noon. I visited a few shops and I did buy another Guayabera shirt from the same vendor as a few weeks ago. I ended up spending most of the day at Los Henequenes. The weather was fantastic and I had a great table on the patio with a view of the beach, bridge, and plaza. I started with my favorite Mexican Cerveza: Bohemia Clara. I enjoyed Guacamole and Chips while using their WiFi. I was going to order a cocktail and the manager recommend their special mojito: a Dragon Fruit Mojito. Unbelievably good. On my second I ordered the second shot of Rum that they served on the side...that packs more punch. Later they prepared me a plate of assorted appetizers (fried) that I enjoyed with Cerveza (they just go together) that will be my dinner for the day. I finalized my visit with another Dragon Mojito and they gave me a complimentary shot of Rum on the side. Thank you and I was feeling very content. I splurged a bit and took a taxi back to the ship as the DW and I used to do when we partied in Progreso. Guests who don’t leave the ship are missing a great excursion port and one can make their own fun in Progreso…plus the great shopping and massages available in this port. Once back on board I visited with great friends who are celebrating their anniversary on board today. I loved the aft-facing cabin that their travel agent (Moi) got for them. I relaxed then went to the Alchemy Bar for a cocktail about 8:00 pm then moved to the Breeze Bar to get ready for the big event of the week in the theater. The Breeze Rock Band did their signature Eagles Tribute set to a full house in the Ovation Theater. It was fantastic…so glad many more guests were able to see it. The Band rocked it tonight. I then went to the Limelight Lounge at 10:45 for the Punchliner Comedy Clubs feature comedian Mark Sweeney. He was funny, I’ve been disappointed in the comedy shows on recent cruises, but Mark was a genuine comedic personality with a good act. It was time to hit the small themed midnight buffet (11:30-1:00 am) in the Lido Market Place, it was Italian so I enjoyed the Penne Pasta and Meatball Sub. I saw some friends at the Casino Bar and sat for a moment…the Texas Hold’em table was full with the regulars…I thought about it, but I’ve had such a great day that I passed and was soon back in the cabin. It was a fantastic day in Progreso and on the Carnival Breeze.  

Day Five -- Wednesday --  November 17th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea
Smooth seas overnight and I slept very well. I was up early and updated this blog and more. Only fruit for breakfast as I was originally considering the SeaDay Buffet today. A busy morning with an appointment for my antigen rapid test in the Limelight Lounge. It went well taking about 45 minutes from beginning to end and I was negative as expected. After the test I ordered some home tests online for possible use for my November 28th cruise, it’s the Sunday following Thanksgiving and it may be difficult to get a test. At 11:30 they had the Platinum and Diamond party in the Ovation Theater, there were a lot of guests, not that many Diamonds. They did recognize me passing 600 days on Carnival this sailing…thank you. Afterward, I had a cocktail with friends in the Breeze Bar, then went up to Cucina de Capitano for lunch. I ordered the Salad and two Pasta Bowls, one with Linguine & Tomato Sauce and a Penne with Pomodoro Sauce. Very good. After lunch, it was Cabin time for a wee nap. About 6:00 pm I went to the Alchemy Bar to catch the Acoustic set by the Breeze Band and of course have a cocktail. The band did their final set of the cruise at 7:00 pm. IMHO the second-best set they do other than The Eagles set. Afterward, I went to the Piano Bar…another venue I had not done in years. Quite FUN and I enjoyed watching guests being so involved. I can see why there are hard-core Piano Bar fans. It was a FUN final sea day at sea on the Carnival Breeze.

Day One of 2nd Cruise — Thursday --  November 18th, 2021 -- Port of Galveston
This is the beginning of the 2nd leg of B2B. They are expecting over 3600 for this 4-day cruise, the largest capacity sailing on the Breeze since the shut-down. Smooth seas overnight and I was up by 6:00 am as we were sailing into Galveston. It was a bit foggy when we came in, the fog horns were blaring. (photo left) I packed my bags then went to the Lido Marketplace for breakfast: Eggs Benedict, Sausage, Potatoes, & Milk. About 8:30 I took my hanging clothes to my new cabin on deck 2, then went to my B2B meet-up location on time for the first time by 9:00 am. We got our new cards and had our photo taken for the security system before marching down to the terminal for Customs & Border Officials. We were back on board, had our Mimosa drinks, and B2B photo taken well before 10:00 am. I went to my cabin and my bag had not been moved so I went to deck 8 and moved it down myself since the elevators were no longer busy. I did a quick cabin set-up then went to deck 10 aft to call the Ranch. All under control there. They actually boarded guests a bit early so I went to the Mongolian Grill at 11:00 am for a fantastic Stir-fry bowl and some salads. Next was Muster/safety drill in the Casino on deck 4…quick and easy. About 12:30 I met friends that I have sailed with previously at the Red Frog Pub. We enjoyed a regular (not a fishbowl) Jamaican Breeze cocktail and the RFP was packed with guests enjoying the noon-2:00 Happy Hour.  Next a stop at the Breeze Bar for a Bushwacker and watch new guests board. Yes, this is going to be a full cruise with interesting guests. I had cabin time before going to 6:00 dinner in the Blush dining room. I’m going to do set dining these four days. Tonight I ordered the Roasted Tomato Soup, the Sweet & Sour Breaded Shrimp, and two wonderful Broiled Strip Loin Steaks, with a Fruit plate for dessert. It was surprisingly better than expected.  The MDR was packed, all tables filled, in July they did not even use the upper level. No Alchemy nor other venues for me tonight, I retired early for some needed rest. It was a very nice embarkation day on the Carnival Breeze.

Day Two of 2nd Cruise — Friday --  November 19th, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea 
Rolling seas overnight and I slept very well although I did do my middle-of-the-night WiFi projects. After my second round of sleep, I went to the Tides Bar for Bloody Mary’s with Bi Jesh. (photo right) I did purchase a Cheers package as well so enjoyed another. We passed through a front so it was a bit rainy and cloudy in the morning before clearing for the rest of the day. There were huge lines for Omelets & just basic breakfast in the Lido Marketplace…we are sailing at capacity now. The Diamond event was at 11:00 am in the Limelight Lounge, Only about 20 Diamonds on board but there were several guests so an adequate group for Captain Renda’s introduction of Senior Staff. I enjoyed the appetizers and a cocktail. Afterward, I got my $25 Free Play chips and went to the Roulette wheel. I hit on all 5 of the $5 chips I played so took my $30 and my free play-off. I then played some Texas Hold’em but wasn’t as lucky. The Slot Pull was happening in front of me and a friend was playing…they were having fun. Busy inside the Ships with the cool weather outside. I went up to the non-smoking Casino annex to play my remaining $25 free play and turned it into $35 before losing the free play. That’s $65, the most I have won. Too bad the poker table wiped it out…but it was fun, Huge lines for Guys Burgers today so I had a late lunch from the Deli: a Buffalo Chicken Sandwich with fries. It was good but not near as good as the Big Chicken on the Mardi Gras. Sailing with a full ship is not as fun as sailing with a reduced capacity. Carnival should be in positive revenue on this ship. I had Cabin time until 6:00 pm dinner. Tonight was Elegant night and the MDR was again full. I now have table 606 a much better table location in the Blush dining room. Thank you, Natasha. Tonight I ordered the Italian Meatball Soup, Spaghetti Carbonara, Prime Rib, and Creme Brulee for dessert. After dinner, I went to the Alchemy Bar. They have new entertainers that I was able to hear in the Ocean Plaza. A definite improvement. The Breeze Band performed their Eagles Tribute set at 8:30 pm to a packed house. Almost uncomfortably crowded…the theater is better but difficult on a four-day cruise to get it scheduled. I retired soon afterward. It was a busy sea day on the Carnival Breeze.
Day Three of 2nd Cruise — Saturday --  November 20th, 2021 -- Cozumel, Mexico

Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Gulf of Mexico into the Caribbean Sea overnight but I slept very well. I woke as we were arriving in Cozumel, we are the only Carnival ship at Puerto Maya and the weather looks like rain. About 8:15 am I had a Breakfast Burrito from Blue Iguana and took it to the Tides Bar to eat with my Bloody Mary. Shortly afterward both friends and heavy rain arrived. It really poured for about 30+ minutes. About 10:00 am I left the ship with friends and shared a taxi into San Miguel. We established a meeting place to share a taxi back and I was off to do my thing. The first stop was Antonios Barber Shop for a haircut. He actually dropped the price of a haircut to $6 since the Peso is lower. I still pay the $100 pesos that actually is $5. What a deal. Then I stopped at the Church where they were having a wedding, it was nicely decorated. I made it to Woody’s and fortunately they had the OU vs. ISU football game. Still in 1st Quarter tied 7-7. The only TV with the game was in the Bar Section so my HQ was at the Bar. That worked well as they moved the entertainment inside where my usual table is located. Soon there was another downpour that lasted another 30+ minutes but did not interfere with the football game. It was fun as there were other Sooner fans watching, I enjoyed several Bohemia Claras and visiting with Nelly (above photo) and Pepe. The weather was now very nice as were the results of the game: OU 28 ISU 21. I think the friends enjoyed their day shopping. We took a shared taxi back ($160 pesos) to Costa Maya pier and the ship. It was an easy debark and return as I think most guests stayed on board due to the weather. I was at dinner as the Blush dining room opened, I have a good table with both old and new friends and a nice location. For dinner I ordered the Meatballs and Linguini as a starter and combined them, then a Strip Steak as an entree, and Bitter & Blanc as a dessert. My favorite menu night. After dinner, I had a cocktail at the Breeze Bar and retired early. It was a FUN day in Cozumel and on the Carnival Breeze.


Day Four of 2nd Cruise — Sunday -- November 21st, 2021 -- Fun Day at Sea

Rolling seas with a few bumps as we transitioned from the Caribbean Sea back into the Gulf of Mexico overnight but I slept well. I was awake early as usual so updated this blog and reviewed the late college football scores. I went to the Tides Bar for my morning Bloody Mary’s and even had a single slice of pizza for breakfast. Beautiful weather out on deck too. Friends encouraged me to play LRC left-right-center at 11:00 am in the Red Frog Pub. I have seen it mentioned in various cruise roll calls over the years but never played. It was actually fun and a good way to meet people. We played two games and I would do it again. I did a walkabout the ship and had a beer from the Casino Bar, then a very nice Mongolian Grill lunch. Cabin time in the afternoon and a short nap. I’ve been trying to schedule a rapid antigen test for my cruise one week from today out of Miami, but some kind of glitch in Walgreens website identifying the location needed, maybe because I'm at sea or maybe just not enough speed to allow me to schedule it. So glad the nice weather has continued for the guests to get a sunny day on the outer decks. I went out on Deck 11 aft and enjoyed it myself. Very nice sunset too (photo). At 6:00 pm I went to the final dinner in the Blush Dining Room. Of course, the waiters sang the “Leaving” song...corny but still enjoyable. For dinner, I ordered the Steak&Ale Cheddar Soup, the Cobb Salad, the Strip Steak entree with an extra steak, and Baked Alaska for dessert. A very good meal. After dinner, I went to the Alchemy Bar and caught the end of the final set of the Breeze Band. Then the new solo male entertainer Robbie Litt… it was good. Final goodbyes to the Alchemy Bar team and Band members as they knew I was off for the Florida season following this cruise. It was actually sweet. I have an early debarkation time in the morning…Diamonds meet at 7:15 am so I’m retiring early. It was a FUN final sea day on the Carnival Breeze.
Debarkation — Monday --  November 22, 2021 -- Port of Galveston
Smooth seas overnight. I woke very early and had plenty of time to update this blog and pack. I went up to the Lido Marketplace early and had my first omelet in many years…it was very good. Also Bacon & potatoes so a nice final breakfast onboard the ship. I finalized my packing then went to the Diamond meet area at 7:15 am. We began to debark soon after 8:00 am and I was among the first off and the first on the EZ Cruise shuttle bus. I was off the island by 8:45 am and at the Ranch at 1:00 pm. That included a stop at Buc*ees in Waller for Fuel ($2.80 gal), Candy, & a Dr Pepper. A good debarkation and travel morning for sure.

Personal HIGHLIGHTS of the Cruises
Cozumel and Progreso Port Days
Tides Bar for Bloody Mary’s
Alchemy & Breeze Bars & Bartenders
The Breeze Rock Band
Mongolian Wok
Diamond Parties
Red Frog Pub Happy Hour