Calm seas overnight and I was up up early and did some reading. I had a very nice Omelette with Canadian Bacon from the Lido Marketplace this morning as we arrived early into Grand Turk. We are docked next to the Carnival Victory out of Miami and they are transferring some provisions to us this morning. Itís a beautiful day with temperature in the mid 80ís and will get warmer. Iím not in a rush to get off and pretty much had the ship to myself for a few hours. I did some more reading then went up to get a stir-fry from JiJiís grill. It was somewhat busy with crew as they are allowed to eat there on port days and itís a popular spot with crew as well as passengers. I left the ship about 1:00 pm and headed to Jackís Shack
. Friends were there so I got a lounger and hit the water strait away. Wonderful. Topher the JS
dog was doing his thing playing with some kids on the beach. I started with some Turkís Head beers and signed on to the internet for the first time since leaving Barcelona. Beautiful day, great beach, great bar, good beer, so a wonderful day.
I was actually the last cruise passenger to leave making my way back just before our 5:30 boarding time. Tonight I went to the Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse
with a friend. It was fantastic, I ordered Green Salad, Escargot, Ribeye Steak, and Fruit for dessert. The escargot was prepared individually in pastry shells and assorted seasonings....best I have ever had. After a wonderful day and meal I retired early this evening.
Rolling seas overnight, unusual that we made it across the Atlantic with smooth seas and get some bumps now that we are sailing the pseudo Caribbean. We will be sailing just off the north coast of Cuba all day today. Itís also the first day that we have had cloudy skies although itís still warm although humid. Today was the last of three Sea-day Buffets in the MDR so I went there for a nice Steak & Eggs breakfast. The Veterans events they had Monday onboard inspired me to get into my book. I finished it and Iím sorry to admit that itís one of the few I have read cover to cover in several years. The book is Dogfight to Diplomat
a memoir of Donald MacDonnell of Glengarry. He was a Spitfire pilot during the Battle of Britain and later a spy in the Soviet Union. While sailing the Carnival Legend last month I had promised Lady Glengarry that I would read it so I ordered it and I was lucky that it was delivered just a few days before leaving for this cruise. It was a very good read. I was fortunate to carry the Glengarry Chief banner for him at a ceremony in Glencoe Scotland years ago. He actually showed me his Ďspyí camera at the time. A great man. I timed lunch for just after 2:00 pm so there was not a long line at JiJiís for another good stir-fry lunch. I began a new book this afternoon and then met friends for cocktails in the Alchemy. They added a new Alchemist bartender who joined the ship from the Carnival Victory in Grand Turk, so there are new faces on board including several Carnival Beards (executives) that came aboard as well. I had dinner in JiJiís Asian Grill
this evening. JiJiís is Carnivals new premium Asian dining venue and the Carnival Sunshine is the first to have one so I did want to experience it firsthand. The food was very good. You pick from a choice of appetizers, an entree, side dishes, and a dessert. I also ordered their specialty drink, a Green Tea Martini. Lots of activity around the ship and another new comedian onboard. We also set our clocks back for the final time this evening so we are now on CST the same as our destination New Orleans and home time in Texas.
Day Fifteen--Friday--at Sea
Seas were slight overnight and weather the same as Thursday- warm, cloudy & humid. I was actually up early, didnít use our final 25 hours for additional sleep. I went up to the omelette station for another great omelette then some Canadian bacon and fruit from the Lido Marketplace. I set on deck for a while to people watch and Iíve started a new book- SOS Spirit of Survival
about the family of four from California that was on the Costa Concordia when she sank in the Mediterranean Sea in January of last year. I enjoyed lunch in the MDR for the first time today, I had a great Pasta dish and a Yankee Pot Roast. I read after lunch for most of the afternoon although they repeated the excellent Playlist Performers Musical Feature at 2:30 pm.. This afternoon turned into the only really cloudy day and brief rain of the cruise. We have been very fortunate. The 7:00 pm feature show was a New Orleans Band, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band
, that joined us in Grand Turk. It was a good, but a loud show and old-timers were bailing fairly early. Dinner was good, I ordered the Tom Ka Gai (soup), Farfalle Pasta with Turkey, Grilled Pork Steak, and Grand Manier Souffle for dessert. I had not attended any of the late functions in the Havana Bar as yet and tonight they had Havana Fusion
with Salsa Music, Mojitos & special drinks, Mombo dancing and more. I finished my book then retired. Another nice sea day.
Day Sixteen--Saturday--at Sea
Fair seas overnight in the Gulf of Mexico and I went to the MDR for a nice full breakfast this morning. I started another book, This is Your Captain Speaking
by Gavin MacLeod. We approached the Mississippi River and entered about 11:00 am, it was great entering in day light hours and get a good view of it as it had always been dark on previous cruises. Since I was on the upper open decks watching us sail upriver I decided to get a hotdog from Seadogs located on deck 11 aft, one of many lunch locations and one most forget to enjoy. We had our final Facebook Friends cocktail party in the Piano Bar at 1:00 pm and I spent the rest of the afternoon reading. I did make a Guyís Burger run followed with ice creme in the late afternoon. Resting and reading as I know tomorrow will be a busy day. The feature show this evening was Thien Fu a comedy juggler, but I stayed in the cabin and read. Final dinner was good, I ordered the Sweet Potato Soup, Prime Rib, Planko Shrimp, and Bitter & Blanc for dessert. After dinner they had a Bathrobe Farewell Party on deck, that was interesting.
Day Seventeen--Sunday--Bonus Debut Day--New Orleans
Again smooth seas overnight and I slept well. I had a nice MDR breakfast again, my final Eggs Benedict until my next cruise. I do not have to leave the ship today as I received an invitation to attend the one day Debut and Naming Ceremony event for the Carnival Sunshine in New Orleans. I do have to clear U.S. Customs though so I relaxed until they almost cleared the ship about 11:15 am. I least I was able to exchange greetings with John Heald in the lobby from deck 3 to deck 4 as he boarded the ship. Unfortunately there was a long slow line through baggage claim and customs, but I finally made it through about 12:30 pm. Once I finally cleared I just went around the corner and up the escalators to where they were preparing guests for the days ceremonies. By the time I got my new documents they began boarding the ship so I was back on about 1:15 pm. I had stowed my big bag with friends so I retrieved that and went to my new cabin, number 8289, a balcony located about mid-deck. Now for the important thing of the day other than the special ceremony: Open Bar. I made it to the Alchemy Bar by the 2:00 pm opening and had the first drink they prepared, kind of fitting. Daniel knew the Ďprogramí and started my off slow with a few Aperol Spritzers. Soon friends from the transatlantic cruise, friends in the press, event guests, and new passengers began arriving and soon a party was underway. After a few regular Alchemy Bar cocktails a few of us went up to the Havana Bar
for a late lunch. They were serving their very good Cuban Sandwiches and there was no line nearby at JiJiís Wok. After mentioning to the bar manager that although I saw their daily drink specials each day I never actually had a cocktail from the Havana Bar in my previous 16 days. He solved that with a tray of two of ALL the drink specials. We had the Havana Especial, Mojitos, Papa Doble, Cuban Iced Tea, La Buena Vida, and Daiquiri Clasico. Very interesting drinks and follow this LINK
for the drink descriptions. Dino the Sunshine Beverage Manager came by with his approval of our FUN idea. The Carnival Sunshine naming ceremony was held in the packed Liquid Lounge and all the senior Carnival Management team was in attendance. They had a very good preview of the ship for the guests, the Punchliner had four comedy shows, there was entertainment in all the venues, and they had two showings of the feature Playlist Productions show Epic Rock
. Gary Cahill did an official welcome prior to both showings in the theater. Dinner was in two open seatings in the Sunrise Restaurant. Basically the elegant night dinner was served: Prime Rib, Lobster, etc. with complementary wine. Of course a final visit to Daniel in the Alchemy Bar was on the agenda. The shows and previews, especially the Piano Bar and Red Frog Pub, went very late into the evening. They even delivered a nice BLT sandwich in the wee hours of the morning. THANK YOU Carnival for a wonderful day.
I had my final MDR full breakfast this morning and a Bloody Mary to start the day, both needed after a full FUN day on Sunday. Since I cleared customs on Sunday all I had to do this morning was walk off the ship. Very simple. I left about 9:15 am and was able to share a taxi with two Carnival Corporation beards (Miami executives). Carnival even paid for the taxi...thanks again. I had an early afternoon flight from New Orleans to DFW, then a commuter flight to Waco. I had time to begin catching up on the internet with airport Wifi, but finally arrived in Waco and made the one hour drive back to Bosque County and the ranch. Much easier than the trip to Barcelona at the beginning.