Tuesday, January 24, 2012

2012 Carnival Cruise Recap (LOTS of pictures!!)

We had a fantastic time on our Carnival cruise. It was a (mostly) relaxing trip! We saw some beautiful parts of the world! I’ll share a few pictures of each place we stopped. I took about 400 pictures on this trip but I tried to narrow them down for this post!

The first day was a travel day and we stayed a night in Miami Springs. Here we are at the airport:

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The hotel was old and run down but had a beautiful pool. It was actually a little chilly that night so we didn’t swim. But we did enjoy hot cocoa poolside. Smile

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The next day was embarkation day in Miami! We cruised on the Carnival Valor.

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We had our first dining experience that night. I’ve never eaten at a place where they push your chair in for you and lay the napkin on your lap. We were SO impressed with Carnival on this cruise. The crew is genuinely friendly and so helpful! We loved watching the sun set over the water each evening at dinner.

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This seems like a good place to talk about my eating on the cruise. Yeh, not so great. But I enjoyed it. My favorite food on the cruise was the warm chocolate melting cake—which I ate 3 times on the cruise. SO good. I basically ate what I wanted. I may pay for that on the scale. But I’m not going to worry about it. I enjoyed it. It was vacation—and obviously I wouldn’t eat like that the other 99% of the time I’m not on vacation. So it’s all good. We were very active, as you will see in later pictures. We did get in a run on deck—which was my favorite location for a run to date. SO beautiful. I actually forgot to take a picture of the running track though!

The first stop was in Key West, Florida. BEAUTIFUL area!

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Our excursion here was a bike tour. SUCH a great experience and a great way to get a little exercise in.

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We saw Ernest Hemingway’s home:

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Harry S. Truman’s little white house:

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Roosters roaming the streets. Did you know they’re on the endangered species list in Key West? lol

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And lots, lots more!

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We had a couple of fun days at sea. This slide was so much fun!

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Awwww I love these 2 pictures:

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And we had our elegant night! I picked up the black shawl in the $10 Fun Shop. I’m glad I did because I felt less self conscious in my dress with that!

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We purchased a couple of professional photos. Here is the one of us:


And hubby loved this picture for some reason. Winking smile We also thought this would make the perfect progress picture.


We really did feel elegant that night! It was fun!

Next stop was Grand Cayman.

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It was our favorite stop. LOVED it. I picked up this hat in the $10 Fun Shop on board. It matches my swimsuit perfectly. Smile

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We did an all inclusive beach getaway in Grand Cayman. It was the most beautiful beach I have ever seen.

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Crystal clear water. I want to go back there someday!

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After the excursion, we had time to explore a little bit. We did some shopping and mailed some postcards to our parents! Which they probably haven’t even received yet!

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The next stop was Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We didn’t enjoy this stop as much, although it was a good experience for us, no matter how uncomfortable it made us feel. I think it was just a really bad port. There were no shops anywhere. Just a chain link fence and once we went passed it, we were bombarded with people trying to sell us things. They were very pushy. I am pretty good at being polite but firm with people, hubby on the other hand is such a nice guy. I learned this about him in Jamaica. lol. He’s just too sweet. He would stop and have the conversation with these guys EACH time they tried. And then apologize that he couldn’t go on their tours. hehe. I had to take his hand and just pull him along. We ended up just going back to the port and waiting for our excursion, so we didn’t see much of Jamaica.

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A banana tree. I’d love to eat one right off of a tree sometime!

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It was a beautiful place but you could just see there was poverty there. It made us very thankful to live in the United States.

We learned a few Jamaican phrases like, “Ire man”, which means all good things. “Ya man” and “No Problem, man”. I also learned to love Bob Marley’s Three Little Birds, which we heard performed many times! “Don’t worry, about a thing. Every little thing, gonna be alight.” It’s now one of my favorite songs. Smile

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Our excursion in Jamaica was an ATV adventure. It was fun, but not worth what we paid for it. The tour guides were pretty awesome though!

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There were a group of 6 of us I think. There was some beautiful scenery!

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Each night there was a towel folded in the shape of a different animal along with dinner mints. This was my favorite:

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We spent a lot of time just lounging on beach chairs on deck. The weather was PERFECT the entire time. We really got some good luck! It was warm, sunny and there was always a nice breeze, so I don’t think I ever sweated! Gotta love my crazy ocean hair in this photo. hehe I also hate my sunglasses but I ordered them a long time ago with prescription…and I’ve always hated them but wear them anyway. So excuse the ugly sunglasses. lol

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We had fun with onboard entertainment. We watched a few shows. Some of the shows, I felt, were a little too risqué, if you will. I could have done without seeing women dance around in thongs. Just sayin’. We played Bingo for fun and Loren won $125!! We watched a professional ice carver. It was remarkable!

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And another relaxing day at sea:

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There was a Serenity deck on board for those 21 and older. There were hammocks and big round circle chairs. They were always taken! But we did get to lay in them once in a while. We enjoyed a little time in a warm hot tub under the stars one night too.

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And then it was time to disembark. Going through customs was easier than I thought it would be. I’m happy they didn’t take my Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee I picked up for a good price!!

We had a couple of hours to before we could check in. We actually were able to check in to our hotel WAY before the time posted because the people before us had checked out. So while we waited, we cruised down to South Beach and saw some fancy places down there. Hubby enjoyed seeing the cars some people drove!

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We enjoyed a delicious lunch at a place called Lime Fresh…which I hope expands some day! It was delicious and you could eat very healthy!

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We had an entire day to spend in Sunny Isles Beach…which was a lot closer to a nude beach than we anticipated. We went for a little walk and found ourselves staring straight at a naked man—with no shame! lol We quickly turned back around! Winking smile

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I booked one of the least expensive beach front hotels I could find for that day. It was laughable really. It was an old, one story motel right next to the Trump hotels…SO funny to look at from the beach.

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Why yes, that hut you see to the left IS our hotel. And you can’t even see the top of the Trump hotel to the right. lol. I think our hotel was shorter than the palm trees. hehe. But it worked for us. I would have loved to have stayed at a Trump Suite, which were listed for $1000 a night!

But it was the perfect end to our beach vacation.

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I picked up this bag in Key West. So cute!

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We enjoyed the beautiful beach all day and a warm, heated pool at night!
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We also spent some time looking at the stars on the beach at night. How romantic!

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The next morning we had a couple of hours before heading to the airport to fly home. Hubby got so tired of me taking pictures. lol “But we’re on VACATION”, I’d say! And he’s just so darn cute. Winking smile

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The Miami airport was a mess. It was frustrating and I was angry. And then I forgot that I had packed some delicious (and low calorie) salad dressing, I picked up at the Key Lime Pie store in Key West, in Hubby’s carry on. And at that point it was too late. Into the garbage it went. Since you cannot bring liquids on the plane. I said, “What I am I going to do with salad dressing?” But the TSA agent didn’t respond to my question. lol.

And then we had the big plane debacle, which you can read about here. So after a flight from Chicago that was diverted to Omaha, NE for a few hours—we ended up  back in Chicago. But did get a distressed rate at a FABULOUS hotel. The nicest I’ve ever stayed in. Funny thing was, we paid less for this hotel than the cheap and disgusting beach front one!!

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The most comfortable bed I have ever slept in. I wish I could have packed it into my carry on—but TSA probably would have had a problem with that. And Um, I want a sink like this one at home!!

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So we arrived home a day late to a beautiful and sunny gray and icy Iowa day. We went from this:

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(I don’t know who the woman in this photo is…but she was in the perfect beach scene with that boat in the background. I also do now know whose feet those are to the right. lol)

To this:

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Brrrrr!!! I am also reminded that I should have taken my sunglasses off once in a while and then I wouldn't have that hideous white line across my nose! lol

But a fantastic vacation. Loved every minute of it. Even the diverted plane experience was a new experience for us and will give us stories for the days to come!

We came home with awesome golden tans to show for it!

Can’t wait for our next vacation!! This really made BOTH of us want to see the world. Hubby suggested Australia next! Open-mouthed smile 

We will see!!

I hope you enjoyed the condensed version of our 2012 Carnival Cruise!


  1. That vacations looks like so much fun!! Absolutely beautiful and you look GREAT in all our pics :)

  2. Your cruise looks like so much fun!! I'm glad you and your husband had such a great trip. You do look fabulous, especially in your formal-night dress. Thanks for sharing :)

  3. I LOVED vacationing vicariously through your photos :) Sounds like you two had an amazing time :) And you look gorgeous in all the pics!

  4. Great pictures. Looks amazing. Makes me want to go some where exotic now! Love the ruffle suit top you have on in the one picture. And your new blue hat, and the leopard shirt which Mallory noted matches your head band! :) and the formal pictures are great. What a fun trip.

  5. We are going on our first cruise next month. It was good to hear your experiences. Thank you.

  6. Looks like you had a blast!!!

  7. Looks like a fabulous vacation. I'm glad you enjoyed it, you deserve it!

  8. Wow! Looks like you both had a blast.Great pictures!

  9. Looks like you had a great time. I agree with Jamaica they are very pushy.But like you said you just have to polite and walk away.

    Regarding your weight, don't stress about it.I gained 9 pounds from an all inclusive last year. Just think if you weren't consciously watching your weight you would of probably gained more. And you probably made great choices half of the time!!

  10. oh wow, looks BEAUTIFUL :)

    what a great trip that you'll remember for a lifetime! The beaches were gorgeous!! We go on the Disney cruise(with my mom, hubby and the kiddos) in December and we're looking forward to it!!! any suggestions?

  11. Oh that looks like SOOO much fun!! Glad you had a blast!

  12. I LOVE that silver dress-you looked great in it! :)


  13. I don't enjoy cruising, but you made it look and sound like so much fun I may give it another try.
    You and your hubby make such an adorable couple and you look great, love the formal dress.

  14. Looks amazing - those beaches! I love your sundress / bathing suit cover up, too. Looks so cute and comfy :)

  15. Looks like you had sooo much fun!! I absolutely love cruises!! I'm super glad you enjoyed your vacay!!

  16. It looks like you had an amazing time on the cruise! Cruising is one of our favorite vacations! You look absolutely fantastic, I especially like your formal dress!

  17. OH Alisa, what a great looking trip. You and hubby look so happy, healthy and relaxed!!!! You so needed that after the month you've had. Hope the holiday glow lasts for a while and getting back to the normal routine isn't too painful!!! Have a great Wed.

  18. Looks like a wonderful trip! You look so tan in all the photos.

  19. So fun to read about your cruise!! Looks like an amazing time!! :)

    I've been MIA in blogland and feel SO behind!! so I'm sure you'll see lots of comments from me! ;)

  20. Yay! You both look amazing! So glad you had a wonderful time!!



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