Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Our Carnival Liberty 2.0 [Party Cruise WOOOO!] Vacation, Part 8

For our first full day at sea on Monday, Steve and I planned on getting up a bit early. I wanted to work out and darnit, we wanted one of those big comfy chairs on the Serenity Deck!

I was at the gym a bit before 7:15 and it was definitely not as crowded as it had been the day before at around 8 - there were actually a few treadmills available when I arrived. That said, those few were taken within ten minutes of my arrival.

We arrived on the Serenity deck right at 8 AM...and ALL of the big comfy clamshell chairs - specifically the ones with the covers - were taken! By bags, though, not people. Now, the couches, most of the lounge chairs, and a couple of the round chairs that don't have the covers were available but we wanted one of those clamshell chairs.

We set ourselves up on one of the couches and yes, I was one of "those people" who doesn't stand for long-time chair hogging. Within 10-15 minutes of our arrival the occupants of two of the chairs had returned...but after we waited 40 minutes and the third chair still only had a single beach bag "holding" it, I approached a crew member and asked him about removing it. He had been cleaning the deck when we arrived and had been within twenty feet of us most of that time, so when I explained how long we had waited and that not a single person had approached the chair he removed the bag to the nearby towel station.

Needless to say, at about 9 AM the woman who had been "holding" the chair with her single beach bag finally returned. She wasn't happy about the situation but thankfully didn't cause too much of a scene. Honestly I'm guessing she put that bag on the chair before 6 AM or possibly even the night before, due to something we experienced later in the week (I'll get into that on my final sea day review, promise), and I refuse(d) to feel bad about asserting my right to that 30 minute rule ::shrug::

Steve enjoying our hard-won chair! We even brought pillows up from our room. Darn right we enjoyed every moment we spent in that thing! haha

Now, for breakfast first Steve went to get a plate of food from the buffet, then I did. That way there was always someone in our chair. We're not big buffet people but I will say that the French toast was good, as were the croissants. We also had other random items like cheese, cereal, etc. The chocolate muffins were kind of dry/bleh and the scrambled eggs were honestly disgusting. They *looked* like scrambled eggs but *tasted* like hard-boiled eggs. Something was wrong there, though I'm not quite sure what.

As for the general chair-hogging scene...I don't know if it was just because we were up there pretty early, but even as "late" as about 9:30 AM there were still chairs available here and there on the Lido deck (like, around the pool - though more so on the levels that are stepped up rather than the ones right next to the pool). There was a lot of chair hogging but it wasn't like there wasn't a single chair available, if you catch my drift. The Serenity wasn't even *that* bad - there were still several lounges available as late as 10/10:30 AM, though all the best chairs were taken...haha

Luckily for the woman sitting on the lounge chair next to our clamshell chair, we had somewhere to be at 12:30...a Cruise Critic roll call cocktail party! I'm not even kidding you, the MOMENT we showed any signs of packing up our stuff this person was on the edge of her seat waiting to grab "our" chair. I don't mean to say she wasn't polite about it or anything...we just got a bit of a kick over it.

Our cocktail party was a bit early for my taste, and held in the Stage Lounge. Gosh I wish they'd schedule these outside/in a place that has inside-outside access if they're going to do them in the middle of the day like this! That said it really was a blast. We had an extremely active Cruise Critic roll call (as I think I mentioned before) and I got to meet several of the people I'd been chatting with for months, which was great. Service was really good, as well.

Post-cocktail party (it ended at 2:30 and honestly still wasn't long enough! so much fun) we went back to our room to crack open one of the bottles of wine we'd brought on board and enjoy our balcony for a bit, before heading back up to the Lido for a bite to eat and some Bingo.

This is the first time I'd had a balcony room since my Princess Alaska cruise in May 2008...I'd forgotten how amazing it was...sigh.

Bingo was at 3:15 so we ran up and were able to snag chairs right by the pool in order to participate. Now, I don't play bingo at home but I had *so* much fun with it on my Alaska cruise that I wanted to give it a go again. just wasn't the same. Probably because there isn't much else to do on an Alaska cruise, or maybe because Princess puts a lot of focus on their Bingo activity. Sad.

Anyway, so Steve bought our Bingo card and I grabbed another Guy's Burger. YUM! I have to say (because I meant to mention this in my recap of our first day, and forgot) these burgers are just amazing...but WOW are they messy! Though it was nice that both times I had one (around 2:30 on embarkation day and at a few minutes after 3 on the first sea day) I didn't really have to wait. Maybe a 10 minute wait that first time and less than 3 minutes this time. Though to be honest it maaaay have been because I was eating at such odd times, haha.

So yeah, Bingo was $20 for three games but honestly they went SO quickly. They were offering the cash craze things for $5 but we didn't buy any...thankfully, because the very next night they were giving them away for free when you bought a Bingo card.

Anyway, I'm also not big on the idea of this round of Bingo being on the Lido deck...Mainly because it was hot, the sun was pounding down on us (the only shady spots where you could see the screen were at the edges of the Red Frog and Blue Iguana bars), and I'm just not the BIGGEST fan of the noise level right around the center area/main pool of the Lido. I'm not sure if they held Bingo out here during the day at any other point throughout the week, but if they did...we didn't go.

Phew. More to come about the first formal night, so stay tuned :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Our Carnival Liberty 2.0 [Party Cruise WOOOO!] Vacation, Part 7

Okay, I wanted to throw in the last couple pictures I took of HMC:

I love going to the Caribbean in May, I've decided (well, mid-May). The flowers are always in bloom and gorgeous!

The Oasis! We *really really really* wanted to rent this for the day, but we couldn't find enough people to split the $1400 cost with us (you can have up to 12 people, and all alcohol is included!). boooooo. ;)

(If you can't tell, as a whole we enjoyed HMC...I just think that Carnival doesn't really know how to handle the days they spend at this island, especially not with a ship of the Liberty's size - I don't know if a smaller ship would make it easier, or what.

I will say that when we arrived back at the little shopping/port area the store was closed. I had been in there earlier in the day and when I opened the door and they said they were closed I was super disappointed. I wanted a Half Moon Cay shot glass, and you can ONLY get them on HMC. One of the employees remembered me from earlier in the day and asked me if all I was getting was a shot glass; I said yes and that I already knew which one I wanted, so she let me come in and buy it. To be honest that was one of very few times that we experienced a Carnival employee truly going out of their way for us, but it was still really cool of her and I was very happy to get my HMC shot glass! [I collect them])

Because of our late departure from HMC, and because of how long we had to wait on the tender before we could get back on the Liberty, getting ready for dinner was a rush job this night. We actually showed up a good 15-20 minutes late...oops! Thankfully when we had arrived back in our rooms there were cards waiting for us with our new dinner assignment - we were all in the Golden Dining Room and all at the same table! Finally. ::rolls eyes::

One thing I was worried about on our first night was that they didn't have the French bread that my husband was so enamored with on our last Carnival cruise! Thankfully they had it this night and it was just as good

This night I couldn't decide between the chicken quesadillas and the french onion soup for an appetizer, so I got both! Unfortunately the quesadillas were so good (as always, I love those things) that I chowed down on them before I could get a picture. The French onion soup was better than I remember it being on our Carnival Dream cruise at the end of 2010, but still not as good as I make at home... ;)

My husband and my friend Rachel both had the sushi sampler and were very impressed...which is saying something as Rachel and her husband lived near San Fransisco for many years, so they know good sushi! Weirdly enough, though, there were no chopsticks to be had. They didn't come with the sushi plate and when Rachel asked our waiter for them he pretty much looked at her like she was crazy. Sigh. Who eats sushi with a fork, really? haha

For dinner I wasn't too keen on most of the menu so I got the comfort food item again - the meatloaf, this time. Now, I'd seen some people ranting on this very board about how awful the meatloaf was, so I have to admit that I was a bit concerned...but honestly...and I swear I'm not trying to be rude...I'm wondering if those who didn't like it were expecting something like mom's homemade meatloaf? Because this was more of a Bavarian-style meatloaf with a gravy, which I've had before. So though it wasn't quite what I was expecting (it being the "comfort food" menu item made me and surely others think it would be homestyle meatloaf that's more loosely packed and comes topped with a bunch of chilli sauce or ketchup) it was actually very good. IF you know what Bavarian meatloaf is, what it's supposed to look and taste like, etc.

Long story short: while I can understand people not liking the meatloaf, just because it's different from what you're used to doesn't mean it's bad, right?

Now, I didn't order a soda with my meal but Rachel and Josh did, and they didn't receive said sodas until we were almost done with our entrees! Thankfully this was the only night that happened but I don't really understand how it took so long to get a soda. It's not like they ordered some complicated mixed drink. Ah well.

Last but not least, I wasn't too interested in any of the nightly dessert offerings and therefore ordered the infamous warm chocolate melting cake! This time I was smart enough to ask for double ice cream, though, which definitely helped with the richness of this dessert...

We actually stopped back at our room before "going out" for the night and found another great towel animal by Noel!

And this is where I will also take a moment to mention that he was probably the best room steward I've *ever* had. I mean, the room stewards have always taken the time to learn at least my last name (you know, calling me 'Miss Whatever'), I've had some good towel animals, they've always been polite and pleasant...but Noel seriously went above and beyond. He stopped my husband in the hall outside our room to introduce himself at about 4 PM on our first day, and later that night when I called to ask for a bucket of ice he called me by name and had the ice in our room within a minute, literally (on our last cruise, the first time we called for a bucket of ice it was several hours before it showed up). After that, there were always *two* full buckets of ice in our room.

Not only that, but he *always* said hello and called us by name. Every. Single. Time. that he saw us. Anytime we asked for something, it was there within a couple minutes at most. He was honestly just awesome and I can't say enough good things about him!

Now, as you can see from the pictures below, we ended up at Alchemy again! No surprises there...and the great thing was, because of the staggered meal times and whatnot, there were very few times we weren't able to find seats at the bar...and even when we couldn't, usually someone would leave within 20 minutes and we were able to belly up! Also, the bartenders always recognized us after just the first night. Even when we were just walking by and not stopping, they would say hello! (Well, if they weren't crazy busy mixing drinks, but obviously it didn't hurt our feelings if they outright didn't see us...haha)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Our Carnival Liberty 2.0 [Party Cruise WOOOO!] Vacation, Part 6

So we *finally* arrived in HMC, and at this point it was about ten to one. There were already people in line to get back on the boat! Of course if I'd been first off the Liberty and sitting on the beach for a couple hours I suppose it would have been a good time for me to get back on the ship

I think this was the chapel where people can get married...or it was just a little chapel on the island:

The Pirate Ship bar. I hate that this one came out blurry, but what can you do...I took it while walking. Honestly it was *very* loud around this bar alllll day. We sat far enough away to not be bothered, but as much as we like to have a good time it was just a bit much. You're on a beautiful semi-private island, people! Do we really need to be playing "Party Rock" at near-deafening levels?:p

We walked pretty far down the beach - I want to say we were near cabana #13. We found a spot that had plenty of empty chairs stacked under a tree, but close enough to the sun that we could move in and out of the shade as needed. It was also right near a path that cut back to the "road" that you can walk along to go to the buffet lunch, far enough away from the pirate ship that the loud music didn't bother us, and far enough away from the crowded part of the beach as well...perfect spot, IMO!

Views from where we sat:

It was a beautiful day...bit of a breeze, hot but not completely unbearable, and actually very comfortable in the shade. I was shocked that the water was so chilly! I mean it wasn't awful or anything but it definitely took a bit of getting used to.

Now, having been to Disney's private island I do have to say this - while, beach-wise, the two are pretty darn similar (as in, same pretty white sand, clean, blah blah blah)...and while I obviously much preferred the fact that we could DOCK at Castaway Cay (I hate tendering period but it was just a hot mess on HMC, gotta say)...the water at HMC is actually much nicer. Mainly because at Castaway Cay you've got the family beach which has the slightly nicer swimming area, then the adult beach that is obviously way more comfortable for those of us without kids but is kind of...rocky/coral-y when you get in the water.

A quick word on the "BBQ lunch" - yuck. Seriously though, this was the one time I was just outright disappointed and almost disgusted with the food on this cruise. I understand that facilities on HMC are very limited and all, but I'm pretty sure half of the stuff they served was a health hazard. I worked in the food industry for many years and I guarantee you that my cheeseburger (which I only took a few bites of) had been sitting out for at least 45 minutes, if not more. And the potato salad...well, let's just say that I poked at the potatoes with the serving spoon and they were spongy. Considering the amount of mayo in said salad, I deemed it not safe, didn't eat it, and refused to let Steve eat it also.

That said, the coleslaw and especially the cous cous were VERY good. But the brownies were about as dry and gross as my cheeseburger and the chocolate chip cookies were beginning to go stale. Sigh.

On the way back from lunch we stopped at the pirate ship bar and this was one of many examples throughout the day that they do not know how to staff this island for the number of people on the ship...especially at the bars. The pirate bar was definitely the worst, mainly because the bartenders there outright refused to look at you. I saw several people literally waving their arms and/or shouting to catch the bartenders' attention, and eventually we had to do the same, after standing there for over 10 minutes without a single offer for help.

Finally 3:45 rolled around, and as they had told us last tender was at 4:15 we started packing up our stuff and walking back toward the little dock area. I don't think we arrived until close to 4, and the line for the tender was absolutely ridiculous. So we bellied up to the bar, of course!

At one point while we were enjoying some drinks and waiting for the tender line to die down, my husband and my friend Rachel went to the bathrooms. Steve started using the urinal (yeah, I know, gross, but there's a point here) and suddenly a FEMALE employee walked in and started cleaning right in front of him! Honestly...***?! Then Rachel returned from her bathroom trip with stories of how she overheard employees - who knew she was in there because they saw her come in - complaining about how gross the passengers were as they cleaned the bathroom. Now, I know people can be gross, and I'm totally okay with employees having a little b*tch about it, but doing so basically right in front of one of said passengers? err, not acceptable.

Anyway, the bar did last call right about 4:15 and the bartenders started rushing to clean up. At this point the line had finally disappeared under the little archway that leads to the dock area, so we decided to jump in it. We got on a tender basically right away (we never even had to stop and wait in the line, really)...but then when our tender got out near the ship we had to sit and wait while they unloaded the one that had arrived back just before ours.

For twenty minutes.

While I suppose I have to understand the need for security - to make sure people aren't bringing live plants or whatever from the island, and also because there are apparently some "local" (i.e. not Carnival-employed) vendors there - getting back to and back ON the ship was just SUCH a mess, and I feel that there has to be a more efficient way for them to do this. Especially as we were told that if we showed up right after 4 PM to take a tender back, we wouldn't have to wait in line...when in reality it was AFTER the time that the last tender was *supposed* to leave before the line really died down at all. Yay Carnival, more misinformation!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Our Carnival Liberty 2.0 [Party Cruise WOOOO!] Vacation, Part 5

Oh hey day 2! FINALLY, I know. :)

As our May 2012 Carnival Liberty cruise pretty much had THE BEST Eastern Caribbean itinerary ever, day 2 of our cruise was...HALF MOON CAY! Now, I'd been to a cruise line island before - Disney's Castaway Cay - so I had high expectations. But at the same time I had my concerns about the whole tender thing, because the only excursion we had any desire to do was the Oasis, but we couldn't get enough people interested in splitting it with us :( . This meant that for the first time ever I'd have to deal with picking up a tender number...hence my concern.

We decided to sleep in a bit, have a leisurely breakfast in the main dining room (in the future you'll see me refer to this as the "MDR", just FYI), and then make our way to the tenders whenever we felt like it/got around to it. Of course the MDR was only open until 9:30, and I wanted to go to the gym first. I got there a bit after 8 AM and it was *super* crowded. Two or three of the treadmills weren't working (and neither were *either* of the water fountains in the gym, though the ones in the ladies' locker room were fine, thankfully) and the rest of the treadmills were taken. There was one elliptical available so I used that, but ugh...I don't really like ellipticals. Ah well. Also, any time a person got off a treadmill or elliptical there was someone else waiting to immediately take their place, the entire 30 minutes I was there.

Breakfast was good. I mean, the eggs benedict weren't the best I've ever had, but they were decent. The croissants are amazing though! And the pancakes were good as well; they seemed nice and fresh. Then again, this isn't the buffet...heh. Also, the chocolate milk may have been milk with syrup in it (from the way it looked)? If so, that's awesome.

My eggs benedict and pancakes came on the same plate though, which I found...I don't know, weird. My breakfast looked very surprised.

(Ugh, sorry for the blurry photo. My DSLR is getting old and I had some trouble with it on our cruise. Thankfully I had a secondary camera, but it was just a point-and-shoot. Blah.)

So after breakfast, back up to the room to get ready for our day on Half Moon Cay! And snap a few pictures of the island from our balcony, of course...

Just after 11 AM we went down to get our tender tickets. We'd been told that if we waited until noon-ish, we wouldn't need them, but honestly...I'm glad we didn't listen. We picked up the tickets at 11:10 on the dot and were told it would be 40 minutes, so Steve and I went down to Josh and Rachel's room to update them. We hung out for a while and then headed back up to the theater at around 11:40, not wanting to miss our number being called.

HA YEAH RIGHT. They were only on tender 63 at that point, and our number was 79. I asked how much longer it would be (nicely, I swear) and was told "probably another 20-25 minutes". I didn't feel like sitting in the theater so we went and got sodas from the atrium bar and hung out there for a while. At least it gave me time to get some pictures?

So the 20-25 minutes (on top of the original 40 minutes we were told) came and went. Finally, at around 12:15, we decided we should probably suck it up and go sit in the theater. At about 12:30 (an hour and twenty minutes after we picked up our tender tickets) our number was finally called. Honestly...annoying. If they had just told me when I picked up the tender tickets that it would be that long, we would have gone up to the lido to grab a real drink or a snack or sit by the pool. Therefore, my suggestion for future cruisers going to HMC is to get up and get your tender tickets before doing anything else, even if you don't want to be on the island for the entire day.

Just to set the record straight - I didn't mind that we were late getting to HMC. I didn't even mind the long wait for the tender. I *did* very much mind the completely incorrect information, but at this point I was used to it, after what we'd been through the day before ::rolls eyes::

Stay tuned for much, much more :) (hey, we're only about halfway through day two of this cruise! what can I say...)

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Our Carnival Liberty 2.0 [Party Cruise WOOOO!] Vacation, Part 4

I swear I'm all over the place with this travelogue, and I'm sorry. I got really into writing about the issues we had with our dining and whatnot that I forgot to write up all sorts of stuff that I meant to post. Sad.

After dinner we headed straight to the Alchemy Bar. I'd heard so much about it that I just knew it had to become our choice hangout spot (we inevitably have one on every cruise...on our Disney Cruise, the adults-only coffee shop/martini bar, for example, and on our last Carnival Cruise, the piano bar). And I was right...Alchemy was definitely "it" for us! First things first, martini tastings!

Now they had a deal where if you did two tastings/tasted all eight options (tastings were $16 each instead of $17 each on the first night) you would get a full-sized martini of your favorite.

^^^ For my tasting I tried the following (from left to right):

Mint Martini - my favorite! but I'm a big mint fan.
Radical Cure - this one had lavender in it, so I wasn't too keen, but it was EXTREMELY strong, which I suppose could be fun...haha
Peach Cosmo - if you like sweet drinks and/or peach, you'd probably love this. I'm not big on either, so it was a bit much for me.
Chipotle Pineapple - I've seen others on the CC boards rant and rave about this one. It *was* very good, but again not really my thing, so the Mint Martini was by far my favorite.

^^^ This picture was actually my friend Rachel's tasting. She had the Radical Cure and the Chipotle Pineapple as well (in the middle); the other two were the Forty is the new Twenty (on the far right) and [I think] the Youthful & Bold Berritini (on the far left). I think she enjoyed those last two (Forty is... & the Youthful...) the most.

We actually ended up staying at Alchemy Bar until surprises there! haha. Steve didn't participate in the tasting outside of a few tiny sips of some of my options, but he did have a Caribbean Manhattan and, well, several other drinks.

We pretty much fell in love with Adri, Ioana, and Daniel, who were the "usual" Alchemy staff, at least for our cruise. Adri especially because she is a Game of Thrones fan and so are we. On our very first night we started calling her khaleesi (sort of like "Queen", for those of you who haven't watched the show/read the books), and as the week went on that spread out into calling her "blood of our blood"/"blood of my blood" and eventually I'm pretty sure we referred to her as "moon of our life"/"moon of my life" and possibly even our "sun and stars" more than once. Yes, she was that good! haha

Also, Steve apparently wears his sunglasses at night ::rolls eyes::

We arrived back at our room well after midnight to our first towel animal of the cruise!

I gotta admit that I was a bit disappointed in this particular towel animal. We had some *awesome* ones on our cruise on the Dream. But it turned out that our room steward Noel (gah I hope I'm spelling that right) was just getting started. He ended up being possibly the best room steward I've ever had, but more on that later!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Our Carnival Liberty 2.0 [Party Cruise WOOOO!] Vacation, Part 3

Oh hey, it's now about 5:40 PM on day 1 of our cruise and guess what...we're back in the guest services line!

Hokay, so.

We enjoy sailaway, we change for dinner, we all meet in the Golden Dining Room at precisely 5:30...and are greeted by the same rude crew member who "helped" us (not) just over two hours before. She's obviously annoyed and in no uncertain terms tells us to go away and come back at 6 for dinner. At which point we give her our names and inform her that we were told to come to the dining room at 5:30 to speak with the maitre d'. And she responds, "He isn't here yet, you have to come back at 6."

Yet again I repeat that we were told by guest services to come to the dining room at 5:30. She says that she has our names, they received the email, but that we shouldn't have been told to come at 5:30 and we should just come back at six. And now I've gone from understanding but firm, to frustrated and only a bit demanding, to just downright mad.

A gentleman standing on the center level - the one that's raised up above the outer ring of the dining room - approached the rail and asked what was going on. The girl we'd been talking to started explaining that we were trying to get our dining fixed, and he also told us to come back at six. I insisted on explaining yet again that this issue never should have occurred in the first place, we checked and double-checked that we would have dining together when we linked our bookings together, we'd been given incorrect information all day and that we weren't leaving until someone gave us a solution.

And yes, I knew that the man I was talking to was the maitre d'. I've been on enough cruises and worked in the restaurant industry long enough to know that. Yet he referred to himself in the third person, saying that we would have to come back at six to talk to the maitre d', and if we did this they "may" be able to find us a table together for the first night and would "try" to get our dining situated for the rest of the cruise the next day.

Hence us ending up back at guest services uhhh-gain. Had to speak to the same girl, as well. She seemed flabbergasted that she shouldn't have sent us there at 5:30 but still only shrugged and said we'd just have to go back at six as we'd been told. So we asked to speak to a manager. Had to repeat the entire story yet again. The manager called the dining room, spoke to someone there for a minute, hung up and told us that we needed to go to the fourth floor desk for the Golden Dining Room at 6 and that yes, they *would* find us a table together and they *would* fix our dining for the rest of the week.

Needless to say, about ten minutes later we did as we were told, spoke to the maitre d' who absolutely was the same man who had told us to go away about twenty minutes earlier, and were told that "there was no way the people at the Carnival 800 number could *promise* us that two separate booking numbers would have the same table at dinner" - even if they were confirmed for the same dining time.

Funny, I've never had this problem before on any cruise line, including Carnival, and I've cruised with other people who had different rooms/booking numbers on five out of my six cruises now. And when I said as much, he then tried to blame it on the travel agent...when neither myself nor my friends booked this cruise through a TA.

They did find us a table together, though, and promised to send us a note with our new/fixed dinner assignment the following day. So we *finally* sat down to enjoy night #1's dinner. Now, usually I'm not a food porn person but I went a different route this time and took pictures of almost everything that we that I would actually remember what I ate and when. For those who don't love tons of pictures of food...err...I apologize in advance, I suppose.

First, gazpacho! I'm big on gazpacho and there's honestly nothing like homemade. This was good, but nothing special. Not bad, not amazing. Blah blah blah...haha.

Next, the braised beef brisket, which was the "comfort food" menu item for the night. The veggies that came with it were good...the brisket itself...well, it was tasty, and not overcooked or anything, but it was extremely fatty. I know that brisket is a cheaper cut of meat and all, and maybe I just got the fattiest chunk of whatever they were using, but it was bad enough (the amount of inedible fat, I mean) that I was only able eat about half of the meat that was on my plate :-/

Now, my husband had the cured salmon appetizer and it was VERY tasty; his tilapia was good as well if you are a tilapia person.

And last but not least...the creme brulee for dessert. It was decent, but again I'm really spoiled because Steve spent a year in France and makes, well, TRUE creme brulee. Some of the caramelized sugar on top wasn't even cooked enough to be the sort of shell/crust that it's supposed to be.

A couple other dinner notes - because I've seen it asked/mentioned/discussed a lot on the boards leading up to our cruise - when we were on the Liberty this past week, YES the cappucino/espresso was still included at dinner.

Also, a magician stopped by our table at one point. He showed us a trick or two, had that sort of sarcastic-bordering-on-rude humor that I can normally dig but wasn't feeling on this particular night due to our earlier travails (haha). In general I don't like to be interrupted with stuff like this when I'm eating, but this was the only night something like this happened and the magician said he was usually at/near the casino bar so I'm guessing it was just a bit of a push to get people to go check him out.

And WOW this was super long again and I'm not even done with our first day! More soon, I promise, and now that the worst is over (heh) I swear I won't be so, err, wordy.