Friday, February 13, 2015

*Tent on Wheels ON WATER* A Last Day at Sea

Someone was up early enough to catch our last sunrise at sea....

Wasn't me.  I was sleeping in.  Glorious, wonderful (wine induced) sleeping in! The one thing I didn't think to put in my Justin Case was some kind of sleep aide.  Rich was snoring so loud sleeping so well the first few nights, that I couldn't stay asleep - some kind of PM might have been helpful.  But by the last night, with the few thousand stairs at Uxmal, and a few glasses of wine after dinner, I slept like a dream.  When room service brought our tray of coffee and danishes, I was still, delightfully, lazying in bed.

Some of our group made their way up to Lido to enjoy the loungers and the sun, as well as the movies playing in the Sea Side Theatre that morning.

Mom, RDB and I spent an hour listening to the future cruise talk in the Comedy Club.  If you've never attended one, you're not missing much.  For the most part, the hostess tries to sell you on the merits of the Carnival credit card - which isn't nearly as good a deal in points/cash back as my Fidelity Rewards American Express.  My biggest take-away from the talk was all the shifting of ships that will take place over the next year and a half - Galveston will get the Freedom, the Breeze and the Liberty, and the Magic will head to Florida for a bit.  (And BTW - if any of the Beards are reading this: bring back the Future Cruise Certificates!!)

We made our way up to Lido for lunch - only to realize the Chocolate Buffet was scheduled to begin at noon.  For most of the cruise, you didn't feel like you were on a ship with 3600 other passengers - except for this moment.  The lines for the Chocolate Buffet were wrapped all-the-way-around the Lido Marketplace.  So, we ditched that idea and grabbed hamburgers at the grill.  (They were awesome, btw - wish we had found them earlier in the cruise like Sis and BNDN!)

There was one thing on this cruise that I knew, for certain, that I wanted to attend - Afternoon Tea on one of the Sea Days.  We'd missed it on the first Sea Day because of the Facebook meet-n-greet, so I was not going to miss it today!

Aunt J had spa appointments booked for most of the afternoon and Mom had taken off for the last Art Auction around 1pm.  Tea was scheduled for 3pm, so about quarter till, on our way to the Southern Lights dining room, we stopped by the conference center where the art action was taking place, and I went to retrieve Mom.

She was all the way at the front of the auction house, seated right in the center. I sneaked in beside her and said it was time for tea, if she was still interested?  She looked at me and whispered: I have to stay - I bought something!!  Later that evening, I went back to the conference center with her for her shipping appointment, and they had her art on display.  Two very beautiful pieces! That's my V.I.P.!!

As for the rest of us? We were off to Tea! (Well, minus BNDN - he went to work out on the fitness equipment on the Sports and Spa deck.)

It was exactly what I had imagined, and more!  Beautiful, simple white linens and place settings, an assortment of finger sandwiches and little cakes and pastries, and of course, a fine selection of teas.  We each received our own little silver tea pot, so we could brew our selections. (Just a note - you place the tea bag in the little pot, so that the servers can refill your hot water to brew more tea.... learned something new!)  The chocolate macaroon in the bottom right was the absolute best treat I had had all week - even beating out the Warm Chocolate Melting Cake!  There was no defined time for this activity, so we could have stayed for as long as they let us - but after about half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, we had enjoyed a few cups of teas, a second round of the treats, and we were off to other adventures.

Sis and BNDN, RDB and me wandered back to the aft Lido deck and found a bar to have one last Miami Vice, a Rum and Coke, and a Pirate Punch (minus the umbrella and fruit!)  As we enjoyed our drinks, we noticed that the wind was starting to turn chill - we were getting closer back in to Galveston and the February winter weather we had left behind.  It wasn't long before we saw people huddling up with their pool towels wrapped about their shoulders or jackets starting to appear on the upper decks.

RDB and I played a round of mini-golf, but I didn't get any pictures.  I did get a headache though - beware of the mini-Whaletail on the first hole!

All too soon, it was time for our last dinner in the Northern Lights MDR, with our servers singing "Leaving on a Fun Ship" to us as a way to say goodbye.

Even though I indulged in the macaroons at Tea, it didn't mean that I wasn't going to enjoy one last WCMC (and two scoops of buttered-pecan ice cream!)  Until next cruise, this'll be the last one!

We were disembarking the traditional way - allowing Carnival to take our luggage down to the dock for us in Galveston - so everything had to be out of our rooms by 11:30 that evening.  The three rooms that Ihar was servicing all had Group 1 tags - but Sis and BNDN had Group 15.  Their steward, Willie, heard them say that we all had Group 1 passes, and in no time, he had swapped theirs out so that we could all have our luggage grouped together.  Being the night before Valentines, we each had a heart shaped 'towel animal' left on our beds.  So many reasons why we loved the incredible service we received on our trip with Carnival.

One last sunset and we'd find ourselves waking up in the port of Galveston, with this cruise a sweet memory.  It was over all to soon; we were having to kiss this sweet, celebratory adventure goodbye:

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