Day 1 – Sea Day

Today’s post is dedicated to Peanut. No… not Jeff Dunham’s Peanut… my Peanut. You see, today is Peanut’s birthday. And this is her birthday cruise. Happy Birthday Peanut!!!

She booked this cruise to be here on her birthday. She got a real good deal… I mean R.E.A.L   G.O.O.D  D.E.A.L !!!! And she was excited to explore this new ship. So, I booked it to be with her. Except… with the price of airline tickets from California to Florida going crazy… and the uncertainty because of cancellations, she had to cancel the cruise *sad face*.

So Peanut, I miss you and really do wish you were here.

Now… on to the cruise stuff.

This morning started off with the usual stuff… sleeping in late (of course) and then to the sea-day brunch. A little while back, Carnival introduced my favorite sea day brunch item… 12-hour French toast. It’s really a small loaf of bread that is fixed up sorta like regular French toast, but without slicing it up. There are a few spices added in too… maybe a little cinnamon.

I make a little hole in the “loaf” and pour in one of the two little dishes of maple syrup. Mmmmmm-mmmmmm good. After eating the center of the loaf, I pour the remaining syrup over the outsides and eat that. It all tastes so good that I’m sure there are lots of eggs and other bad things in it… and a couple million calories. So, this is the only one I’m allowing for myself this cruise.

After breakfast it was off to get a Bloody Mary. That has become a little bit of a tradition for me. And especially on ships where there’s a Pig & Anchor. Today didn’t disappoint. The “Pig & Anchor puts many of the daily essentials and something from all the food groups in the ones they make… tomato juice (of course) for vitamin C, stuffed olives from the vegetable group, a stalk of the celery from the ruffage group, Tito’s finest from the make you mellow group, and of course a few pieces of bacon from the clogged arteries food group. This is another thing I’m allowing myself to have just once this cruise.

With full tummy, and a little “tomato juice” in me it was time to go off exploring the ship. The first thing that struck me is that there is a bar everywhere. I have yet to visit them all, but it seems like this ship is truly devoted to bars and lounges for the bars. A quick check of the Carnival Hub shows that there are 13 places where you can get a frozen concoction to help you hang on.

Hummmm…The Carnival Hub. A smart cell phone and the Carnival Hub app have become almost essential on-board Carnival ships these days. Gone are the paper copies of the “Fun Times” that listed all the events of the day. Yes… it is possible to hunt down paper copies of the daily events if you must have one, but you really do have to work at it.

Add to that… any time you want to eat in almost anything but fixed time dinner, or the buffet, you must use your smartphone to request a table. AND… once you get to the restaurant, you use the cell phone to pull up the menu. Gone are the days where you can turn off your cell phone and put in the drawer as soon as you board the ship.

Yes, the ship is large, but in the end, there is little new or different on board. All the stuff previous ships had on two decks (mostly 4 &5), are now spread out on three decks. Two of the decks have all the familiar shops… Cherry on Top, Effy jewelry (yeowwww $$$$), “Fun Shops (Carnival Store, Fragrance store, and overprices stuff store) … and let’s not forget the Liquor and Tobacco store.

One deck is nearly entirely devoted to the casino. There has been a clear attempt to separate the smoking and non-smoking sections on opposite sides of the ship. It works fairly well except around the cross over in the middle where the “aromas” waft between the two sides of the ship.

There are two things missing from this ship. Gone is the Red Frog Pub… farewell old friend. The Red Frog Pub was a place I spent time on sea days writing stuff. Not to worry, have laptop-will travel. Also gone are the Park West Auctions… most would say “good riddance” and others would say, “thank you for saving me a small fortune on my sail & sign card.”

Also gone are two of my favorite events: the Hairy Chest Contest and the Master Mixologist normally held on the Lido deck. A few months ago, I was told these events were eliminated to prevent mass gatherings as part of the Cootie Bug protocol. However, if you could see the Lido deck today, it is already back to mass gathering. I suspect a lot of people would say good riddance to both of these too… especially the Hairy Chest.

No Cootie Bug protocols in progress
Pools and hot tubs in full operation.

The most obvious new thing is the Roaster Coaster. Yes, I meant “Roaster.” Peanut used to say that when she was little and since today is her birthday, I defer to her. If you are a fan of roaster coasters, then the novelty of this one makes it a must do. But as roaster coasters go, this one isn’t much. It’s just two quick laps around a little part of deck 18. It only lasts about 48 seconds. If it was free, then maybe it would be fun, but it costs way more than a frozen concoction to help me hang on, so I’ll pass on this one.

There’s a big change to the Atrium. On all previous ships the Atrium had a bar on a lower/bottom floor, a little seating area and a small stage. On the Party Grass it’s a whole new ballgame. There is a big stage and seating on three levels to watch the shows and productions that go on there. While it hasn’t replaced the main showroom, there seem to be many similar type productions in the Atrium Theater (Atrium Theater is my naming, not Carnivals. I think it’s really called, “Center Stage”. My name is better.)

This is the Atrium Theatre. (Center Stage) They reconfigure it for various performances adding or removing chairs from the floor.

One more thing before I find a hot tub and a frozen concoction to help me hang on. Contrary to popular legend, it doesn’t take a week to explore this ship. Between Day O (had to get that one in one more time) and this morning I checked out all the venues of consequence. Having said that, drinking a little liquid libation in all the bars is another thing entirely. So that is my quest for the rest of this cruise. Have one drink in all the bars. Perhaps I’ll do a write up on each one in the days to follow.

For now, I’m starting with the Blue Iguana and a visit to my friends, Sr. Patron and Don Julio.

Kokomo Man

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