The Waffle House Chronicles...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Carnival Triumph

Sorry for the hiatus, I’ve been both busy and gone the past couple of weeks. At least now I have something to write about…interesting to me at least and hopefully to you as well. I wasn’t kidding about Facebook though so if you get a chance set it up.

Basically the week before last was mostly just spent getting ready for our trip, a Carnival Cruise to the Eastern Caribbean aboard the Carnvial Triumph vessel. It included some pre-bowling for league and going out to watch the Packers (stupid NFL network.) Also we got to watch Lola (another boxer) for a day which was a great time! Even got out for some Red Robin for Dean’s birthday! Friday came and I merely had to make it until noon before I could leave work! Got done, ran some errands and was ready to go! We got to the airport (thanks Jess’ parents) and met up with Riz and Barry. We shared flights. First to Chicago (and Burrito Beach & Dunkin Donuts) and then to Miami (which we ended up getting in late.) Missed the free shuttle but some cabbie (who happened to be about 7’5” and 300lbs) gave us a ride to the hotel and almost got into a fight with some dude in a Camero (until the cabbie got out of the car and the Camero guy backed off.) Got to bed late.

Saturday- This was boat day. We met up for breakfast. Then I took a self-guided tour of Miami near the airport on foot. No good coffee to be found anywhere (bought a gas station Starbucks Frappe). We got on the shuttle to the Port of Miami to board. Boarding went smoothly taking under an hour. Soon we were enjoying food in the dining room! Spent the afternoon in the hot tub, on the waterslide and doing some exploration. Jess, Riz and I have been on this boat before so it was all good! We set sail around 5 and had out first of our several course dinners. All was well except we looked forward to free melting cake which was about 95% melted and not really cake at all. I ordered it every night hoping it would get better (and technically it might have, I had one that was only maybe 90% melted) but it was the largest disappointment of the week…which tells you just how much fun the trip was! We hit some game shows and trivia and Tracy won the first trophy of the trip and some of us even rocked a dance class (and there’s now officially a term coined called the Mark Shimmy, which isn’t a good thing) and closed out with the welcome aboard show and comedian and well, I’ve seen both before and both were exactly the same. Oh well.

Sunday- We didn’t get much time to rest as our first destination was Half Moon Cay, a private island in the Bahamas. We toured the boat some more and got off the boat onto a smaller boat and to the island. Most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to! Swimming, sunning, more swimming, beach combing, eating, swimming, sunning…a perfect day for the beach! Can’t remember what else we did although that night there were more games and Tracy got up on stage and won another trophy! Two before anyone else had one…although Beth followed suit with another. I even went to another dance class and still sucked! Spent the rest of the night partying and hitting the piano bar! Stayed up late!

Monday- I love the days at sea. Basically they have tons of activities. I mean I played lots of trivia, I was in a cribbage tournament, we played some euchre, and you just relax and eat and have fun…all for free! We even participated in and won the Amazing Race and the trophies were flowing! Things on the Islands cost money. That night was the first formal night, proceeded by the Captain’s Party which is an all you can drink 45 minute party. And drink we did. It made dinner that night a lot of fun! We played a game or two after that and all crashed out.

Tuesday- St. Thomas day! Wasn’t sure what our tour of St. Thomas would be like…turned out to be arguably the most fun day. First things first though, I had to get a workout in, basically needed to detox the body and try to jump-start the metabolism. Crazy tour with a wacky guide! Started out with some shopping (I only bought a Mtn. Dew.) Then to the top of the mountain for an outstanding view of the ocean and sea. This is one of the top 10 beaches in the world, but we went to a different beautiful beach (wasn’t the best for swimming but was picturesque) that we hung out at. Then the highlight, some parasailing. Jess and I went up together. 600 feet of rope left us 400 feet above the ocean.

Awesome! Got back for dinner and then we saw this crazy magician guy (who is outstanding) do some crazy stuff. Called it another early night.

Wednesday we got up early as we visited Puerto Rico. We rented a car and stuffed 8 into a crappy Dodge Caravan. We headed to the rainforest. Vegetation-wise it was as expected (vines and stuff) but we didn’t see much in the way of wildlife (some enormous snails were about it.) Of course it rained the entire time in the “rain” forest which is probably why we didn’t see any birds or insects. We did get to swim in a waterfall which was awesome! Then a hike to almost the top of the mountain to an observation deck. Pimp. On the way back we hit a real Taco Bell! It was nuts, they had a 3 meat crunchwrap but it had shredded beef and chicken and then ham…nothing that the US carries. I was impressed! Got back to port and walked around old San Juan until it was time to go. Riz once again disappointed by not hot tubbing with us but the rest of us had fun. Past guest party and then dinner as usual, then game night made for a really fun evening. Oh yeah and we saw the world’s 2nd worst practicing comedian as well…not good (I can’t remember the 1st worst but it was way back in Madison.)

Thursday we headed to Grand Turk. I guess the only cool stuff to do on Grand Turk revolves around scuba diving and that’s a lot better when there isn’t a cruise ship there (or two like there was that day.) I spent the morning however playing trivia and then I snuck into a Q&A session with Rusty Wallace. Yes Rusty Wallace was on our cruise for a fan club gathering with about 300 of his biggest fans. We got to the island and we checked out the Margaritaville. It was huge and right on the beach. We tried the ocean at the beach but there was too much coral and crap, it was best to go in the pool. Plus once we started hanging out at the pool (with Dean, Beth and Barry) well then Rusty came. And he sat on a stool drinking beer and hanging with the buddies he brought with. Oh to be rich and famous and be able to do that any or every week. Got back on board and finally got to hot tub with the Riz. I did get 2nd place in the largest splash contest going mostly for style points with my rockin’ belly flop. That night was formal night #2. It was fun and we got lots of photos taken! We then played games late into the night.

Friday was another fun day at sea. Started off with a workout and breakfast. Then some US trivia (which I won) and then various other games (Name that Tune and another win, some brain teaser and tv theme song stuff up Riz’s alley) and then we had tea time and played euchre…even pulled off two consecutive loaners! I need to play more euchre. Then we rested up and got ready for our last supper. It was sad but fun. Lots of games that night, I got on Game Show Mania and won! So did Beth. Jess won Who Wants to be a Millionaire (we won’t mention a loyal blog reader being the 1st one eliminated.) We got hosed in a game called “It’s in the bag” but it was fun. We left and played games for one last time. It was fun but it was sad.

Saturday was a cluster. Nothing went smooth. Took forever to get debarkation approval and we forced our way off the boat about. Then the trip through customs and to the airport was smooth. But then it took us over an hour to get checked in and then another 15 minutes to check our luggage. We had basically 20 minutes to go before our plane loaded. Riz gave us a tip to go through security in a different gate so that took 10 instead of 20 minutes and then we were on a terminal that was out at a train which took time. Had enough time to buy some cheetos and a Coke and board. Ride was good. Got to Chicago and had a latte. Then we were waiting and they were offering a $250 credit to get on a flight that was 2.5 hours later. Passed with the weather getting crappy. But then they found a flight that was 58 minutes later (instead of 2.5 hours) and it was apparent our flight wasn’t going to leave on time anyways. We jumped at it and got approved and it worked out well, we were on a less crowded flight that left 18 minutes later than our original with $250 vouchers in hand. Got to Madison as the snow started, had supper, went home and enjoyed home life.

Sunday was a regroup day, groceries, Packers, TV and pizza.

Good things:
6 trophies for the household…and 4 medals
Rusty Wallace is a genuinely cool guy
A great time with some of my best friends in the world
Perfect weather for the most part, record crappy weather in Wisconsin
Travel vouchers

Bad things:
Only once did I hot tub with the Riz.
Chocolate melting cake was bad
All the crazy foods I tried (lobster, oysters, other sea foods) were all as bad as I thought they’d be
Didn’t win the cribbage tournament

If you’ve found my site by researching Carnival Cruises and have any cruising questions please let me know. I can tell you what’s good and what’s bad about everything! We've got almost 1000 pics and I wish I could tell you a story and share all of them with you but alas neither of us have time like that!



  • Well recapped trip, I might have to rely on it when I get to those days on my blog. I'm just wondering if Taco Hat Guy (even a mention) was left out on purpose?

    By Anonymous Riz, at 12/11/2007 7:55 AM  

  • Sounds like you had a good time. I am totally jealous.

    Ohh I like todays word verification: fznubkn

    By Blogger Hez, at 12/11/2007 12:35 PM  

  • Who the hell is Rusty Wallace? IS he the guy in the Bannana hammock with his ass facing the camera?

    p.s. Lobster is really about eating melted butter (don't let anyone tell you otherwise) and Oysters are really about eating Hollandaise (i.e. Oysters Rockafellar)

    By Anonymous kelson, at 12/11/2007 6:43 PM  

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