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!