We have an office-wide shutdown in Vimeo from Christmas eve to New Year’s every year. It’s a great time to go on a vacation without actually using up any vacation days 😉 [PS: only the ones in states will understand my pain :P] Usually, we use this time to visit our family back in India – but since that wasn’t our plan for Dec 2016 we thought of checking off an item on our bucket list – Take a luxury cruise!
So we booked the Carnival Splendor for a 8-day cruise to the South Caribbean Islands – since the Caribbean Islands are the best places to go to escape the weird, cold & nasty winter’s on the northeast, isn’t it?
The Itinerary: We sailed from 26th of December, 2016 to 3rd of January, 2017 from the port of Miami. Visited – Grand Turk, La Romana, Aruba and Curacao (details on each of them coming soon!)
The Ship: 952 length in feet with a capacity of 3000+, Carnival Splendor turned out to be the best first cruise experience that we could have asked for! It has 13 deck plans – we stayed on the 9th deck stateroom. The room was well equipped, spacious-enough and comfortable. The housekeeping staff did an amazing job every day! Each day our next day itinerary and events schedule would be left for us in our own little mailbox outside the room – how cute is that?! 🙂
The Food: Omg! We had sooooo many options for food – it was the best part!! The 9th deck had a buffet area known as Lido – where we would be served breakfast in the morning till noon, then the lunch buffets and followed by early dinner buffet for those who didn’t want to go for a sit down option. The variety at the Lido buffet ranged from – the mouth-watering Indian food from Tandoor, the chef’s specials which included different cuisines everyday, the spicy noodles from Mongolian Wok, the fancy Burrito Bar, 24-hours Pizza Pirate and Swirls, the most amazing Grilled Cheese at the Deli, the meaty BBQ and the yummylicious desserts – almost 10 varieties of them everyday! Dinner was a proper three course meal served at the Gold Pearl Restaurant which had port of call specialities on the menu, elegant cruise dining days, special meal on new year’s eve and the bestest of all – the Carnival Melting Chocolate Cake – it’s the best I’ve ever had! [PS. I managed to find a recipe for it – so hopefully will be trying it out soon 😉 ] On sea days – we had two additional options Taste Bar – samples from the Carnival’s best and Seaday Brunch – the most delicious reason to eventually get out of bed!
The Fun: I’m not sure where to start about the fun options that the ship had to offer! Since, it was our very first cruise – we were over over overwhelmed- seriously! So I’m just going to mention them from the lowest to the topmost deck. On deck, 3, 4, 5 we had this amazing and really huge Auditorium where we played life-size Hasbro games, Clue, BINGO and witnessed one of the most amazing musical show. On deck 5, we had the punchliner comedy club where we saw some great stand up comedy shows, the cool lounge where we played games like hunger games/harry potter Trivia, Trivial Pursuit, etc, the all-lit casino, an all red nightclub, a gaming zone and the Art Gallery where we attended our very first Art Auction – yep! On deck 9, we had a dive-in movie theatre which showed some amazing movies every night, 2 decent size swimming pools, 3 jacuzzis and an open deck. Deck 11, was the spa deck – with the super fancy Cloud 9 spa, the Carnival twister slide, the water splash park and the adult-only retreat Serenity. Deck 12 was reserved for a jogging track, basketball court and mini-golf. Yes, all that was just on one ship. It was like a small town on the water.
The Favorites: This particular section is dedicated to the things that we loved doing on the cruise – and here by ‘we’ I mostly mean ‘me’ 😛 Watching Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children in the dive-in theatre, dressing up for the elegant cruise nights, getting pictures clicked by the dozen of photographer’s on the cruise and then tossing them into trash next day, participating in the bean bag toss tournament, reaching the semi-finals of our very first bocce tournament, winning $150 in Bingo, attending the epic rock show by playlist productions, the various adult-only game shows, the numerous stand up comedies, playing mini-golf middle of the sea, acquiring the miniature of the cruise by winning the fact or fiction trivia, the balloon drop, dancing on new year’s eve at the open Lido deck party (sneak preview here), playing coin pusher and winning tshirts at the casino, attending the super informative 101 art connoisseur seminar , our very first art auction, participating in all the raffles with the hope to win at least one, attending the detox session and taking the BMR test, all the food, playing alley roller and air hockey in the game arcade, sitting for hours in the jacuzzi overlooking the beautiful sea! I’m sure I’m missing out a bunch of stuff. We had a lot of first time experiences aboard the cruise, making it really special!
Thank you Carnival Splendor for filling our 8 days with brilliance, grandeur and, well… splendor!