Sunday, June 17, 2012

May 2012 - Carnival Pride - Part 4 - The End

Chris – 6/1/12 – Day 6 of the Cruise – Freeport, Bahamas

This was our 4th trip to Freeport and my 5th. There isn't much to do right off the ship and you need to book an excursion or take a cab to Port Lucaya for anything good. We planned on taking advantage of people getting off the ship and getting a spot in Serenity. Mother Nature was not as accommodating. Shortly after we woke up we heard Jaime come over the speaker and mention liquid sunshine. We left our towels and went up to Lido for a small breakfast. 

It was pouring! Haven't really experienced rain like this on a cruise before so I guess we were due and if it's going to rain on a port day, may as well be Freeport. 

Since we knew we wouldn't get any sun, we headed back to the room to grab some cash and check out the shops since we didn't get a chance in Nassau. 

Waste of time. We were back on board 15 minutes later. 

We took our books back up to Serenity and I decided to finally try something I had read about on CC, make my own frap. I grabbed a cup and put a few ounces of coffee in it, then went to the soft serve machine. I filled the rest of the cup with chocolate yogurt (didn't realize it was yogurt and not ice cream at the time ). Stirred it up a bit and YUM!!! I'm going to do this all the time on the Breeze. So simple, yet so good!

We spotted Lauren and Chris in the covered area of Serenity and sat with them until the days first Trivia Challenge on the Lido stage. Fortunately the deck cover was closed but there were still a few spots that were leaking onto tables. We grabbed pencil and paper and set up at some lounge chairs in front of the stage. I got 16 of 20 and ended up tied for first (really wanted to earn that ship on a stick) so there was a bonus question. I honestly can't even remember the question, just that the answer was cricket. I heard someone shout out the answer and just repeated it to Bruce for the win. The other guy didn't know it either so I didn't feel bad. FINALLY!!! 

We were pleasantly surprised to see our seats still available in Serenity and relaxed there with a turkey and cheese sandwich from the Deli (surprisingly good). 

Started pulling out of Freeport right on time and I took some photos despite the rain because it really is a beautiful sail away. 

Since we didn't eat in the MDR the previous 2 nights I promised Cass she could get all dolled up and we'd do the second formal night. 

We had the 3rd round of Super Trivia at 4 so she went to the room to get a jump start on getting ready. I went to the Perfect Game sports bar and lost a quick $20 in video poker. We went to Raphael’s a little before 4 and had to part ways since we were on different teams.

Now the guys were up about 31 going into today but Friday was all about the ladies. We got some of the most ridiculous questions imaginable and the girls (with the help of their Google searches) got a quick 10 points on us. They continued to close the gap and thankfully our History buff Dave, helped us out as they were within 11. We got the last 9 points to get it back to 20 but I knew something was going to be up the last day so I wasn't as confident as I had been. 

Some random ship shots - David's Steakhouse...

Made my first drink back in the room and then went to Sports Trivia in the Piano Bar. Talk about obscure questions. I think I only got 11 right and came no where near winning. Went back to the room to get ready for dinner and fortunately had no wait tonight (it sounded like the Steak House was a popular choice this evening)

In place of the Didja Ever Escargo (due to the world wide shortage.....or so I'm told because I'd never touch that stuff) Cass started with the Ceviche marinated in lime juice (which we said was much better than snails)

Her main dish was the Chateaubriand with sauce Bearnaise. I had the Flat Iron Steak (looks like I should've ordered 2). Both were very good and I honestly wasn't that hungry so it worked out well. 

Chateaubriand (ordered Medium-well)

Flat Iron Steak (ordered well done)

I skipped dessert while she had the Diet New York Cheesecake. Sorry no picture for some reason.

Back to the room to get ready for the rest of the evening and found Froggy McNasty waiting for us. (I don't expect anyone to get that reference as it's from a punk band that even Cass hates) 

Bonus points to anyone that knows the band ;)

Our Let It Ride table was empty so we decided to kill some time with video poker in the sports bar (if you're wondering why we spend so much time in there instead of at slots at the casino, it's because there's no smoking in the sports bar). 

Chris and Lauren found us and since it was about a half hour before the first new comedian (they swapped in Nassau but there had been no comedy the previous 2 nights) we went down to Butterflies early. It was a good thing too because it was already crowded and the only seat for 4 we could find was off to the side. The first comedian, Jim Brick, was very funny. It was almost more improv than anything because he mainly just made fun of certain members of the audience (and why I refuse to sit up front for any comedy show). 

We got a couple drinks (any drink over $10 gets a stamp for a 'match play' card from the casino, the same ones you get for the Carnival Classics anywhere on the ship), and went back to the casino until the late comedy show. We played Let It Ride for a bit (while I was at the table a woman won a BMW at the slots!!!) but Cass wasn't feeling it so she cashed in some receipts and we went to Roulette to play our cards. She did well and decided to try her luck at the table. While she waited to get her own colored chips she plopped down a $5 chip on 27 (my favorite number) which I told her was silly.......

BAZINGA!!! 27 hits and she won a quick $175 and was as giddy as a school girl at a Twilight convention. I grabbed the winnings and cashed out while she played with the rest of her chips.

I saw Mike over at the Tower of Cash which is relatively new and it looked pretty easy . I put in $9 and made it to the last ring 6 times (if you hit the last ring you can win $1000 or $500 and an iPad). Me and that machine were not done yet. 

We went back to Butterflies Lounge 20 minutes before the last show and wow, standing room only. We were fortunate and good a good spot at the back with a drink rail that we could lean on.

Larry Omaha was the 2nd comedian tonight.........................................................

Sorry, I was taught that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. He wasn't funny. He wasn't crude or f bombing all over the place to make some people uncomfortable. He just wasn't funny. Kind of disappointing but whatever, they can't all be good.

We hung around in the casino for a bit (stupid Tower of Cash ) before calling it a night around 1:30. 

Chris – 6/2/12 – Day 7 of the Cruise – Day at Sea

This day is always bittersweet. You know it's the last day on board but you don't want to be down and let it ruin 1/7th of the vacation.

We slept in till around 9 and went to Lido for breakfast. We never hit the MDR for breakfast because what's the point? It's basically the same food without the masses of people. We never had a problem finding a spot to sit and eat so it wasn't a big deal to us. We could tell that today was going to be bright and sunny and the Serenity area was already packed. Glad to say virtually no chair hogs. I'm assuming the few chairs that had just towels belonged to those in the pool or hot tub. 

Still a little too early to sun for us so I stopped in the gift shop and got my 2 bottles of Captain Morgan Private Stock. We noticed a Sci-Fi Trivia in the Fun Times and thought I might do ok. Jaime walked by us and Bruce gave her a hard time for not announcing trivia. She was on the intercom a few minutes later and gave us all a shout out which I'm sure most of the people on the ship thought was weird. I didn't do so good on the trivia (I guess I'm not a big a dork as I thought ).

Went back to the room and then made our way to the top deck that we love. Deserted once again. 
More people ended up finding their way up there closer to noon but it was still pretty quiet. 

I was quite surprised to see our very own CD, Jaime, come up there for some quiet sunning time. It was nice to know that she at least gets a half hour during the day to relax. We actually ran into her an hour later and she came up to us and introduced herself. I was kind of sad that we didn't have a chance to interact with her more because she seems like a really nice lady and is probably my 2nd favorite CD so far (Karl with a K #1).

We went to the Lido grill for lunch and contemplated doing The Hunt is On game. Last year only 2 couples did it and we could've easily won our ship on a stick but we found a good table and decided we'd be spectators for this one. So this game is pretty funny to watch, it's kind of a PG rated The Quest with teams of 2. 

Chris from the entertainment staff was hosting and when he saw me he asked why we weren't playing. I said there wasn't enough cross dressing to get me interested... :P

Cass wanted to do the final slot tournament of the week but since finals were set for 10 minutes before the final round of Super Trivia, I passed. Her machine was not all. 

In fact it was so bad that Bunnie (Casino Host) laughed when she saw her score. Bunnie had been a dealer, a great dealer in fact, on our 2010 Pride cruise. We had said hi to her earlier in the week and were always greeted with a smile whenever she saw us. So feeling bad for Cass, Bunnie hailed a waiter and told him that we could order anything we wanted from the bar. I wasn't quite ready for a drink but who am I to turn down free booze?  I started off right with a Mai Tai, and Cass opted for the mixology winner drink of the cruise.. pretty good she said, but was a little lax on the alcohol, ha.

I put another $5 into The Tower of Cash and got close 3 more times.

My white whale 

So it was finally time for our 4th and final round of Super Trivia. We had a decent lead of 20 but I know there's always some sort of bonus the last day (I was expecting every roll to be doubled like on the Liberty). 

We got our first 3 questions right and the ladies could only get points from free rolls. Before I knew it we upped our lead to 40. It didn't get any better for them and by the time all was said and done, we had won by a resounding 49 points. 

This is where I was actually disappointed. Only the team captain got a prize. That seems pretty crappy to me as there were several guys that had shown up for all 4 rounds. I gave the bottle of champagne to our History buff Dave and the ship on a stick to our new friend Chris. The bragging rights for the next 6 months was enough of a prize for me.

We stayed for 80's trivia and me and Lauren ended up with a 5 way tie for first. There was a 5 question bonus round and one guy got 4 points while me and Lauren actually tied for 2nd with only 2. We then had a bonus question for 2nd and it was very close but the crowd sided with her because.......well she's quite pretty. I couldn't fault them becuase I would've done the same thing.

Now we hadn't seen anything earlier in the week about the Fun Farewell Party (this has been a "cruising secret" for years - a very unadvertised cocktail party on the last day of a cruise with free drinks, but ships have been putting by the wayside evidently) but there was something in the Fun Times called 'Farewell Set with Showband' at 5pm. I wasn't sure what this was but it was the closest thing and figured they just changed the name. Nope.  They have in fact cancelled the Fun Farewell Party and free drinks that go along with it. I won't lie, it's pretty disappointing.

So we made our way down to the Sushi bar and I grabbed us all seats since I don't do seafood.

As Lauren is going for one of the sauces, the entire side tray collapses and everything goes everywhere. It was rather funny from where I was but as Cass and Lauren were right there, they were a little more startled. We parted ways to get ready for dinner and meet up with them for a table for four at 6:45.

All week we had been asked if we wanted to sit together with another couple instead of waiting so we figured we'd have no problem with a table for 4. Wrong, another long wait and we were finally seated around 7:10. 

I was ready and waiting for some Bacon Macaroni and Cheese (or b.m.c. as they call it.. with chicken)!!!! Cass got the Crabcake app and a small portion of the BMC. I skipped an app and got the regular sized BMC. 

Small Portion

Full Size - didn't seem much bigger

As you can see, my portion wasn't much bigger than the smaller on but that's OK because I forgot how filling it is and it kept me from over eating. 

But this is the one time I have to complain about the food and I hate that it was the BMC. It wasn't cold, but it wasn't exactly warm. Seriously, 15 seconds in the microwave and it would've been fine. A little let down for one of my favorite dishes but again, the only complaint in a weeks worth of MDR meals.

After dinner we went to the casino for our final night of fun. We had all agreed that we didn't feel like going to any of the comedy shows so we waited for some other people to sit at Let It Ride. As soon as we sat down Cass caught a full house and was up a quick $240! She tucked aside her week's buy in and just played out the rest. I was having fun playing but kept hearing the Tower of Cash taunt me. I cashed in a few chips and put more money into that thing than I care to admit. After my final $5, I conceded my loss.

Tower of Cash makes me pout 

By this point it was almost 11 and we knew we had to shower and finish packing before getting up early. So we said our farewells and Cass and Lauren were sad to say goodbye to each other. I know it won't be too long until we see them again.

We made sure we had everything filled out for the following morning (customs form, room service for breakfast) before turning in.

I'm usually pretty sad this time of the cruise but knowing what was coming the following week was a real boon to the post cruise blues (baby Vasher!). 

Chris – 6/3/12 – Sunday – Debarkation

We always do self-assist debarkation on the Pride. It gets us off the ship much faster and isn't that much of a hassle. We had pretty much everything packed the night before and put out our room service tag for 6:30 delivery. We knew from experience that they are overrun with room service that morning so not to rely on it as a wake up call. We got up at 6:30 and the food was delivered 10 minutes later. We ate while finishing packing and double checking that we didn't forget anything (or pack our Sail and Sign cards ).

I checked our box outside the room and our Sail and Sign bill had been delivered. We spent just over $400 for the whole week. But we had the $100 in OBC so our bill was a little over $300. Not too shabby.

We usually hang out on deck 3 near Raphael's for debarkation but since we were out of our room a little earlier we decided to shoot for deck 2 (the deck you debark from). Found a nice little bench right by the staircase outside of Starry Nights lounge. 

They were right on time with starting debarking and we were planned for 9:15. They called our deck at 9 and we went straight out. Customs was incredibly quick, we've never had anyone check anything at customs but we're always honest on our forms. I was pulling out of the parking lot at 9:15 and we were home by 9:40.

... and, well.. that's that!  Sadly, just like every cruise, good things must come to an end... but I think we'll be back shortly with another recap from 2011... everyone likes a love story don't they??   Stay Tuned!

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