The Sweet Tea Gals got to enjoy a week-long cruise this past May and boy did we have a blast! Month after month went by as we anticipated our cruise and the time finally arrived for us to get on board the tour bus that was taking us down to Mobile, Alabama to catch a cruise aboard the Carnival Ship Fantasy.
Lori, myself, and my lovely Aunt Judy were taking this cruise due to Lori’s son, Keiton, being a part of, The ShowStoppers of Southeast Missouri. The group would be performing their song and dance numbers aboard the Carnival Fantasy. This was major exciting for us!! Embarkation went smoothly and we couldn’t wait to walk up the gangplank and board the ship. Even after riding down in a coach bus all night-10 hour ride-with a bunch of teenagers-Lori and I were ready ‘to board the party bus’ or in this case, ‘party ship’.
Of course walking up that gangplank to board the ship is one of my favorite parts and this was no different-I love feeling the excitement of knowing I am about to board and be heading out to sea. This was the first cruise for Keiton and he was ready to get on the ship and check it all out.
Our cabin wasn’t ready yet, which is normal for a cruise, and we headed up to the Lido Deck. We got a table with nice cushioned chairs that overlooked the ocean, had a good breeze blowing in on us and we had time to relax and grab some food. Oh my gosh, aboard The Fantasy there was an actual Guy’s Burgers-Lori and I had to try it. Guy’s burgers and fries were really great tasting, and I believe Lori and I could have eaten Guy’s Burgers everyday! While we were waiting on our cabin we took the time to go ahead and purchase our Bottomless Bubbles Soda passes. There was already entertainment from the Fun Squad going on and the Lido Deck filled quickly as more passengers boarded.
After a couple of hours it was finally time to go find our cabin, our cabin was located on Deck 4 Rivera. We already knew that our cabin was going to be an inside one with no view, and we were pretty sure it would be small but we didn’t expect the cabin to be as small as it was. The cabin was made for up to four people with two twin beds and two Pullman Bunks up top. Keiton and I grabbed the top banks and we began to unpack. Aunt Judy, Lori, Keiton and I soon discovered our floor area could only handle one of us at a time as we tried to move around each other unpacking. The cabin also had one mirror and small desk area and a nice size closet. I had brought magnetic hooks along that we hung on the metal framing around the bathroom door and we were able to use those to hang our ship card lanyards and smaller items on those. There was no way all four of could get showered and dressed at the same time, two either went out of the cabin while two got ready or two stayed on their beds. Our biggest problem with the cabin occurred shortly after we began unpacking, my aunt and I both whacked our heads on the Pullman bunks, in fact I hit my head on the bunk so hard on our first full day that it knocked me on my rear, needless to say this comical scene sent Lori and I both into a fit of laughter, what else could you do but laugh. This was a continual problem for all four of us throughout the cruise hitting our noggin on those bunks that by the second day Lori said, “There’s another subdural hematoma”, and that became our theme. Honestly it got to be quite funny we hit our heads so much, I am not sure by the end of the cruise just who had the most bumps.
At 4:00 we headed up to the Lido Deck to join in the fun of the ships Sail Away Party! The Lido Deck on a cruise ship is the place to be during the day. It’s always hopping and the crew are so much fun! At 4:00 pm The Fantasy’s Captain got on the mike system and introduced himself, he then blew the ships horn and The Fantasy was on her way.
The crew aboard The Fantasy was typically the same people each day and they would work in the same areas, this made it easier to recognize them and know who to go to for questions. I got to know our steward and crew on our floor and crew on the Lido Deck areas and Promenade Deck. It’s a bonus getting to know their names and greet them each day, the crew staff that worked on the Lido Deck bar area and Promenade Deck bar area knew my face by the second day and would automatically get me a root beer. One of mine and Lori’s fav crew members, who worked everywhere on the ship, got to know mine and Lori’s faces and would grab us for pictures, he always had something funny to say when he saw one of us. It made the cruise experience such a nice one to know that the crew recognize you and enjoy talking to you.
Our first day onboard was one of our Fun Days at Sea. Lori, Aunt Judy and I headed up to catch the performance of The ShowStoppers of Southeast Missouri. Keiton nailed his solo and for their first performance onboard they were great!
We spent the day lounging on the Lido Deck and enjoying the view of the ocean all around us. Aunt Judy, Lori and I kept noticing passengers drinking this pretty red and white drink that not only looked good but it also looked nice and cool so we decided to find out just what the drink was. My Aunt went and asked one of the Lido Deck Crew and she ordered one. Much to our delight we three had discovered our favorite drink for the cruise, ‘Miami Vice’! Mine of course was nonalcoholic and it was a refreshing lifesaver for me and Lori-you see, when Sweet Tea Gals are traveling and the cruise you are on has the worst sweet tea ever, what are two gals supposed to do?
We were assigned to The Jubilee Dining Room and our dinner was scheduled at 8:15 each evening. It is a gorgeous dining area and we were assigned to a lovely section and our server for the week kept us on our toes. We never knew what he was going to do, on Cruise Elegant night our server was dressed as a french waiter along with the hat and painted on moustache, he even spoke with a french accent. This kind of charm and fun is what makes a cruise such a good, memorable time. The crew and servers jump in with song and dance and encouraging passengers to join along. Our cruise host had told us about her favorite dessert, Chocolate Melting Cake, and since my Aunt, Lori and I cannot turn down anything chocolate we knew we had to try it. It was delicious! It was the only dessert I had on the cruise, I never tried anything else, it was so good.
After dinner Keiton enjoyed joining in at the Karaoke Bar with the ShowStoppers and Lori and I headed to see one of the ship’s shows, we both enjoyed seeing Showtime: Motor City, it was a fun show with a lot of great tunes we knew. Headed down to our cabin for the night and after a couple more ‘subdural hematoma’s’, we were all sound asleep, worn out from the great day we had together.
Our second full day cruising we woke up in the port of beautiful Cozumel Mexico. Keiton and Aunt Judy took off for their morning excursion as soon as passengers were able to disembark the ship. They were headed for a 4 hour Catamaran Sail and Snorkel trip which included sailing to a private beach with an Aqua Park. Lori and I stayed back on board the ship for most of the morning and planned to meet Aunt Judy and Keiton at the Cozumel Port for lunch. My brother, whom I have cruised with, stayed on board at the port-of-calls when we cruised together, and I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to do this when there is a new world and adventure waiting off the ship-that morning I understood why. I wandered around the ship while Lori was getting ready and there was no one aboard. The ship was empty of passengers, it was a strange feeling and kind of eerie at first, I saw a few crew members while I was strolling, but nothing like it had been the day before with the constant sounds of people aboard and the ship buzzing with life. Not now. I landed myself on the Lido Deck and took a seat overlooking the ocean and Cozumel and totally enjoyed my time of solitude.
When Lori was ready the Sweet Tea Gals headed out! It’s really cool seeing all of the cruise ships lined up along the docking area and it always amazes me just how big these cruise ships are, they are massive! Lori loved going through the long shop as you make your way into Cozumel. This was my third cruise and third time in Cozumel and this time round the port shop didn’t excite me, as always, there were a lot of passengers from our ship as well as other passengers from different cruise ships and it was jammed packed with people everywhere. I have decided that some of the passengers stay in this zone the whole time they are at port buying duty-free items. They don’t know what they are missing. Cozumel is beautiful! Keiton and my Aunt Judy had spent the morning doing a group excursion and Lori and I met up with them at one of the restaurants for lunch.
We had a nice afternoon shopping and eating lunch admiring the Cozumel shore line while we ate. Time to board the ship came too soon and we headed out to sea once again.
Our next Port-of-Call-Costa Maya!!
Costa Maya’s view was breath-taking from the ship. Crystal blue water, white sandy beaches and the scenery of an island. Keiton and I couldn’t wait to disembark and head off for our morning excursion and we walked the long bridge into Costa Maya together taking it all in. Costa Maya is a whole different vibe, you are greeted with this awesome scenery all around you and once in Costa Maya the residents are happily ready to give you a glimpse of their culture.
Keiton and I were headed for the Lost Mayan Kingdom Water Adventure Park. This place was so cool. Not only was it designed around the natural foliage but it was laid with sand paths that led to the many activities. Keiton loved the two zip glides the park had as well as the inner tube River Expedition, the many water slides, and the 800 ft. ZipCoaster that zig-zagged through the park. I loved lounging at the pool area. It was lovely, a round swimming pool surrounded by beach loungers and tent areas to get under out of the sun. You really felt you were on an island and not a water park. It was a fun afternoon! The one thing Keiton and I decided we didn’t get to spend enough time at was the shopping area. It was so different from Cozumel, the stores were designed like Tiki-Huts and the area was so much fun, there were not jewelers and other store employees hounding you to come in to their shop to see their wares, quite the opposite, it was a laid back atmosphere with stores we both enjoyed. In too short of time we headed back to The Fantasy and out to sea once again.
I cannot express how great it is when you have a fantastic Cruise Director on board. Life at Sea becomes one big, happy party! Aboard the Fantasy we had the best Cruise Director I have experienced. Our Cruise Director, Mikey Gibson, and his Fun Squad Crew kept the Fantasy hopping. He was great fun and we looked forward to finding out each day what Mikey was up too. One of our favorite things Lori and I did was attending a gossip session called “Q and Awesome with Mikey.” Our delightful and entertaining Cruise Director proceeded to fill all of us attending in on the latest ship gossip going on with the crew, including divulging to us who his lovely finance was when a passenger asked about the ‘wedding’ rumor. It was loads of fun. We also had a blast watching ‘The Live Morning Show’ with Mikey and the Fun Squad Crew which was broadcasted over the ships Cruise TV. The show was hilarious! There were loads of activities and fun for everyone aboard, plus the fun family themed dance, exercise, and music parties happening on the Lido Deck each day. The Fun Squad was running around handling casino games, kids activities and in the evening Mikey and The Fun Squad were found in the center of the ships hub, the atrium. These people were busy all the time!
Our last full day aboard The Fantasy was another Fun Day at Sea. At this point we had not been able to see all of the ship, yet alone, try to get in on some of the ship’s fun while we had a chance. My Aunt Judy and I enjoyed a quiet hour in the early afternoon up on Deck 11 and enjoyed sipping on our Miami Vice’s. Keiton hit the pool and spent time hanging out with his ShowStopper friends. We hit the tee-shirt sale out on the Lido Deck and some of the ship’s stores. Later on after dinner Lori, Keiton and I hung around on the Promenade Deck relaxing and enjoying the evening’s entertainment. Lori and I took some time and finally hit the ships casino and played a couple of slot machines-we are real big gamblers-20 minutes we were in and out with my slight winnings. We caught up with Aunt Judy and Keiton and we all joined in with Mikey and The Fun Squad’s “80’s Music Karaoke”. From the atrium down below all the way up to the 9th deck, the rails around the decks overlooking the atrium were full of passengers joining in and singing along with the Fantasy Fun Squad.
Our last evening aboard The Fantasy ended on just the right note as Keiton hung out in the hot tub while Aunt Judy, Lori and I sat out on the Lido Deck overlooking the beauty of the ocean and enjoying our last Miami Vice together.
Extra Pics from Our Cruise!
Farewell Carnival Fantasy-Sweet Tea Gals Enjoyed Crusin’ With You!