Freedom Cruise: Carnival Splendor

This is part 2 of Sisters Travel Adventures: Freedom Cruise Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor

Susan and I walk arrive at the pier and head to the check-in area. No lines. We are checked-in and have our Sail & Sign cards. It is an amazing feat that the dock and cruise workers go through every turnover day, unloading the 3000 plus passengers, making the ship ready to greet a new set of 3000 plus passengers. Sometimes it runs smoothly and sometimes it doesn’t. Still it is a marvel that they can turn the ship over the way they do. This was the easiest and smoothest boarding we have ever had.

We wheel our luggage onto the gang planks and onto the ship. We have arrived. Home base for the next 9 days. That’s another thing I love about cruises is that you travel around but your cabin is home, you only have to settle in once. No unpacking, repacking, moving from one place to another. Just unpack and go have fun. Get off ship, explore, and get back on ship. A floating hotel that takes you from destination to destination. I am so excited to have the three sea days at the beginning of the trip. I love sea days!

We always find our cabin and check it out before we do anything else. We have splurged on this cruise and have a balcony cabin. Usually we just get an inside cabin to save money to be able to go on another cruise. After all we don’t actually hang out in our cabins much but it might be nice this once to enjoy a balcony.

Our cabin is on deck 8 the Veranda Deck. Above us is the Lido Deck. Convenient for going up on deck but it could be noisy. It is also near an elevator convenient for getting about ship but again it could be traffic and noisy.

The Carnival Splendor layout is similar as some of the other Carnival ships but with some differences. www.carnival.com/cruise-ships/carnival-splendor

Cabins on the ships now are double the size of the cabins we had back in the 70’s! In those cabins there was no room to move. Our cabin is spacious. The usual twin bed set up. I choose the bed by the window. In addition to the twin beds there is a couch. We have never had a couch in our room before. The bathroom is bigger than on the Destiny and certainly much bigger than the bathrooms on the original Carnival ships the Mardi Gras and the Carnival in which most of the bathrooms you could pee, shower and wash your hands at the same time! We have come a long way from those days!

 

Since we rolled our luggage on with us this time we unpack and settle ourselves into our temporary home.

Time to head out to the lido restaurant for some lunch, to explore the ship and to enjoy the festivities of sail off. I am so looking forward to sailing down the Hudson River!

Our first drink – As we await for the ship to set sail and begin our journey!

The horn blows and the ship is eased out of the berth and turned to head down the Hudson River. It seems everyone is out on deck to enjoy these spectacular views. This is an experience not to be missed! New York City is a wonderful magical experience. The sights are truly impressive and magnificent. This is something that you have to experience to really understand as you cruise by the 9/11 Memorial and the Statue of Liberty. Emotions arise from within.

We have early dinner seating again. Going to dinner in the dining room is one of the highlights of cruising for us. Many people opt now to not go to the dining room for dinner. Instead they choose to eat at the Lido Restaurant or one of the other deck dining options. This a way to meet some other guest on board and hopefully make some new friends! Our dinner companions are all women most of them from NYC and all of them repeat cruises.

Our dinner staff have all been with the cruise line for many years. They are very good at taking care of the passengers. Susan loves our waiter. Every night they have a conversation about his family and his life. Dinner every night is so much fun. Each night the dining staff sing and dance as well as serve.

Conversation flows with all the women. Several of the women are surprised when they find out that after the main show that Susan often returns to the cabin and goes to bed and I go alone to the piano bar. One of the women is determined to get my sister out at night to the lounges dancing. Susan is not too happy about it. She does stay up late sometimes and goes to the comedy club. She loves that! I don’t! So we just have different interests.

I often schedule a massage for the first night of a trip to get me into a relaxed state physically as well as mentally. This time I have opted to have my hair done. I have scheduled a cut and color. I will be a new person for the rest of this cruise. I place my trust in Marco the hairstylist hands. And I wait for the results. It is short but not too short, almost a reddish tone that I will have to get used to. A big change but I like it. After all it is just hair, it will grow and I will most likely change the style and color again.

Waking up at sea is heaven. Being on the water is comfortable and soothing to me. It is natural for me to feel the water beneath me. I feel more balanced and centered on the ocean then I do on land. The sun has risen over the horizon. Seeing and feeling the ocean I am at peace. I am at home where I belong. For most people traveling- being on a cruise is a vacation away from home. Being on the ocean is a homecoming for me. When I leave and return to the place I live, it is like going away someplace for a long time. It is my land base until I can return home to the sea.

I always wake up before Susan. I am an early riser. I have tea brought to the room and enjoy the view of the ocean, meditating and journaling. It is my normal routine that I will adjust somewhat on the trip. The Fun Times has arrived and I peruse it to see if there are any activities or events I want to participate in.

Some people complain about the service and the food. It bothers Susan that anyone would complain when they are on cruise vacation. She thinks everyone should be happy and enjoy it. I agree but some people are just naturally negative in their outlook. I just ignore those people. I realize that this is how things were for us growing up. I tuned my mother’s negativity out while she took it to heart.

Nothing is perfect and nothing runs smoothly when you have thousands of people. All the staff do the best they can. My only issue this whole trip is that it seem to be a difficulty getting a cup of tea but I always do get it eventually. Knowing that this takes time I ask first thing and enjoy my food until it arrives. Eating in a restaurant and being waited on and served is a wonderful experience for me. I think most mothers who have spent years cooking and cleaning up while raising their families enjoy having someone else cook and do dishes for them.

Exploring and learning our way around the ship is what we do on the first day of the cruise. Moving around the ship is simple and complicated. To get to the dining room we must remember that we often have to go up and then down because of the galley disrupting the access directly on the lobby deck. It isn’t really a problem when we are coming down from our cabin but if we are in the atrium bar having a before dinner drink we must remember to go up and then down.

Our favorite outside deck area is the aft pool area. Here we enjoy going in the pool and hot tub, sipping on a strawberry daiquiri and soaking up some afternoon sun. Activities are going on in the main pool area.

Sometimes we go over to the main area to watch but we haven’t participated.

I have found a way to get my cup of tea! One of my favorite activities is one that seems to have lost interest from most people, Tea time. I don’t know why people are not interested. It is a wonderful experience. I love tea. The idea of having afternoon tea, with wonderful desserts sitting by the window watching the ocean and having conversation with people from many different places is enchanting. It is a throwback to the old sea cruises days. I love history and Victorian life. If I had been born in an early generation that is when I wish I had lived. It is fun when someone new stumbles into afternoon tea and becomes enchanted with this wonderful tradition.

The Atrium Bar is a great place to meet up with people and have a drink before dinner or actually anytime. Soft music, guitar or piano is the venue here. It is the hub of the ship and a great place to people watch!

I love formal night, dressing up and meeting the Captain and crew. I guess maybe it is a walking down memory lane kind of experience. A time in our early cruising when it was mandatory to dress up for dinner on formal nights. Gowns are less common, cocktail dresses more in fashion and men no longer wear tuxes just a nice suit. And too people have the option of eating on the lido deck at one of the restaurants there .I have not brought an evening gown, mostly for packing reasons really. I have brought several fancy cocktail dresses and many sundresses.

I get excited about meeting the Captain. It is disappointing how informal the meeting is. Yet too it is nice to just be able to walk up to the Captain in the lounge and introduce yourself and talk to him. Most often this is the only time I see the Captain. I have my picture taken with the Captain. Silly maybe but for me it is still a highlight of my cruise.

I do miss those dress up formal nights, dressing up in a wonderful gown waiting in line for your turn to be formally introduced to the Captain, shaking his hand, chatting with him. Then into a beautiful decorated lounge for the Captain’s cocktail party. Waiters with trays of free champagne. Then going to the dining room for a formal dinner with Flaming Alaska brought out by the waiters! It is such a notable memory that I cherish.

The evenings are when the ship really comes alive. Susan and I go to the show in the main showroom, the Spectacular Theater. The shows on Carnival are always wonderful. A smaller scale Broadway/Vegas type show. They don’t do the big shows every night now. There are three main shows and then smaller acts in the main showroom on the other evenings. Still the productions are wonderful and fun.

After the show we head to the Promenade deck to check out the music in the lounges. I love music, live music. I always hope I will find a band I really love. Susan and I have a drink in the casino ocean view area. Susan spend some time in the casino. She plays the slot machines while I listen to the band. She seems to stay pretty even, losing some but winning enough to balance it out.

Susan loves to go to the comedy show. I don’t seem to have a sense of humor because I never find comedies funny at all. We separate, Susan goes to the El Morocco club and I head to the Piano Bar. And this becomes our routine at night, except for the nights Susan goes to bed early.

I am always ending my night in the Piano Bar. Russel the piano entertainer is so fun! He has the whole audience singing and coming back night after night. He packs them in with only standing room! People walking down the hall are drawn into the excitement and buzz going on. I have become a regular and Russel even has figured out what songs I like to hear. I enjoyed the piano bar on the Destiny but this trip is awesome! Russel is absolutely the difference. He plays well but he knows how to work the crowd.

The Piano Bar has become my favorite place in the ship!! I could stay here forever!

So if you are on a Carnival Cruise ship when I am- You will most likely find me in the Piano Bar later in the evening.

This cruise took place October 2014. I continue to catch you up on our past travel adventures. I am working my way up to the present. My next installment is the cruise where I suddenly realized I should be blogging our adventures. After that you will be up to date when we head out on our next Sisters Travel Adventure, October 2016.

This is part 2 of Sisters Travel Adventures: Freedom Cruise Carnival Splendor