Normally, our vacations are accompanied by delicious meals at some of the best restaurants in the world, and a great deal of walking, but this time we have other plans: this is one of our family’s favorite days of the year, and we will be spending it in my home state of Maine. Our family has many traditions, and one of our favorites is going to the seaside to watch the sun set and the stars rise. It is also our tradition to go lobster-hunting, and we are going to do so on a day that is normally a day off—on a day when the weather is supposed to be gorgeous and the seaside restaurants will be open.
Growing up in the city, you probably never had an opportunity to see the ocean, and even if you did, it would have been at the beach, and you know how crowded that can get. For a lot of people, the ocean is a destination that is just too far away, and they never get to see it. So, what’s the point? For me, the ocean is a symbol of freedom. It’s a place where you can escape to, or just feel as though you’ve been on vacation, for an entire day. There’s no worry about bills, or where to get food, or how much money to spend. The ocean is just there.
Every year I visit my favorite coastal Maine lobsterman, Robert, for a day of chowder and lobster. This year, his friend, Mike, who is visiting from Rhode Island, stopped by. We talked about the weather, lobsters, and a little Maine history. He has lived in Maine for twenty years, and is the fifth generation of his family to make a living from fishing.
I said in yesterday’s travel report that I was weary, but I didn’t anticipate sleeping for 14 hours. I suppose it’s surprising I didn’t pass out the whole first sea day due to fatigue and the ship’s rolling that lulls you to sleep.
But friends had asked me to watch the dawn with them in the Havana region, and I didn’t want to miss out. The Havana Suites, by the way, are fantastic. They allowed me to peek inside. It’s lovely.
Guests staying in Havana cabins get unique access to the Havana Retreat area. This section was first featured on Carnival Vista and was a huge hit.
Until November of this year, the area was reserved for Havana guests during the day and then accessible to the general public after 7 p.m. However, it was ultimately agreed that the area should be reserved for Havana visitors alone (which makes sense, given that they are paying a premium price and a big appeal is this area).
I wasn’t meant to be there, therefore technically I wasn’t supposed to be there.
I went down to Ocean Plaza for brunch after spending some time with my pals. Many people go to the buffet for breakfast, and I have to believe that they are totally ignorant of this little, less congested mini-buffet. Sure, it’s a limited variety, but there’s certain to be something you’ll like.
I ended up going with a very basic meat and cheese platter. What’s great about this location, as with so many others on board, is that you can sit inside or take your meal out onto the deck, where there’s plenty of seats.
Then it was time for a Fire and Ice Pedicure ($75) in the spa, which I had been looking forward to.
I freely confess that I would not have been caught dead having a pedicure until a few years ago. But, on a cruise on the Carnival Sunrise in September 2019, I gave them a go and realized, much later in life, that they aren’t just for the women. They’re only given to me after I’ve completed a long run, but I consider them a wonderful little reward for me.
The crew members are all wearing masks, as I previously said. In the spa, I observed that the staff personnel assisting me with my treatments were double-masked, presumably since the contact is so much more intimate than, say, buying a drink at the bar.
With my feet lookin’ their very best, I headed to Guy’s Pig & Anchor Bar-B-Que for lunch. I’d show you pics, but I completely forgot to take them. And if I’m being honest, it wasn’t the best meal. It wasn’t bad, it just wasn’t as good as usual. Maybe I should have stuck with my always-dependable Guy’s Burger Joint.
Next up, I headed to the Liquid Lounge where Brand Ambassador John Heald was doing a public Q&A session with Carnival Cruise Line President Christine Duffy.
I expected a lot of their conversation to be about procedures and how they were created, but it turned out to be much more fascinating and intimate than that. Both told tales of what was going on behind the scenes at Carnival and in their personal lives during the closure. As usual, Heald was the charming host whom everyone adored, while Duffy appeared to flourish in the relaxed atmosphere created by the session.
READ MORE: DINNER MENU: Chibang Chinese & Mexican Restaurant on Mardi Gras
For a drink, I went to the SkyBox Sports Bar. The bartender on duty found out to have previously worked on the Carnival Panorama out of Long Beach.
This area has been converted into the Heroes Tribute Bar on that ship, as you may remember. I had a cocktail that I really liked in Heroes, and the bartender was able to replicate it here as well.
It’s called the Space Age, and the “secret” ingredient is Tang, which was always promoted as the drink of choice for astronauts. Tito’s (my fave) vodka, Tang syrup, agave, orange juice, lemon juice, and a Tang-sugar rim make up the Space Age.
After relaxing with my drink for a while, I went down to Deck 5 to film my Cruise News Today episode on their balcony, as suggested by my pals. Working while enjoying the company of friends and, of course, looking out at the ocean are two of the best ways to spend the time aboard a ship.
After that, it was time for supper in the Main Dining Room. I took a few photos of doors that had been adorned along the route. This seems to be more frequent on Carnival than on other cruise companies. I recall seeing a handful on my previous Norwegian Cruise Line vacation, but they weren’t quite as bright, vivid, or entertaining as the ones I’m seeing this week.
Let’s do that now, since I don’t believe I showed you how the menu appears on your phone after you’ve scanned the QR code yesterday.
As you can see, the breads are on top (as I previously stated, communal bread baskets are no longer a thing, which I like). If you put a basket of bread in front of me, I’ll eat it all. If you put a slice of bread in front of me, I’ll be more likely to resist!).
For me, it was a night of ups and downs in terms of food. That meant shrimp cocktail first, followed by prime rib and lobster.
It seems that word got out that it was my birthday because, in addition to the crème brûlée I ordered, a second dessert – a small birthday cake — arrived at the table.
As if that wasn’t enough, when I returned to the cabin, there was another birthday cake – this one less edible — waiting for me on my bed.
I did go inside the theater for a few minutes to see the juggling, but that was about all the nightlife I could handle.
I swear, once myself and the other party-poopers have crashed out, I’m going to drink some more coffee and find out what goes on around this ship. But, since we’re going to Amber Cove tomorrow, which I’m really looking forward to, it’s lights-out tonight.
Don’t miss my travel report for the day of embarkation: Day 1 of the Carnival Horizon trip report: Carnival Cruising is Back!
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