Summer of 2015 Kickoff: Miracle on the Mexican Riviera, Day 7: Day at Sea

Friday, May 22, Day 7: Day at Sea

This morning it was cold and windy and we set our clocks back to Pacific Daylight Savings Time. Too cold to be outside, the passengers were inside the ship and every place was crowded. This is the problem with West Coast cruises – you can lose a couple of days of pool time getting to/from warmer climates. I’ve had warmer cruises in May but this seems to be a cooler year.

Coffee and continental breakfast arrived at 7:30 a.m. but it was too cold/windy to sit out on the balcony. Bummer! Who wants to eat breakfast inside the cabin? But we ate our breakfast anyway and started packing at around 9 a.m. There were a lot of things we wanted to catch on our last night of the cruise so it was good to get the packing out of the way.

At 10:00 a.m. we headed for the Main Dining Room for brunch at sea. This time we were seated in a low-ceiling area near the window. We preferred the more open space on our previous brunch. After we ordered, we heard a drum banging, banging, banging. So, of course, the woman with the little boy banging on a small drum were seated next to us. 🙂

We had our waiter track down the bar server and ordered two Bloody Marys.

BLOODY MARY BAR
Have the bartender whip you up a unique creation or create your own special drink from the menu items below. And who says you have to stick with vodka? Try it with rum, gin, or tequila for a “Bloody María.”

Garnishes: sea salt – black pepper – horseradish – lemon – lime – celery – olives – pepperoncinis – worcestershire sauce – tabasco sauce® – tabasco (jalapeño, chipotle & habanero) – cholula hot sauce (red, orange, green), melinda’s habanero xxxtra hot sauce – valentina hot sauce.

Available table side, or walk up to our fully-appointed bar. Regular bar prices apply.

IMG_5707But, thankfully, she was a thoughtful parent and she took the drum away from him and had him sit on the other side of her so he wouldn’t disturb us. We heard a European accent so we weren’t surprised that a European might be more thoughtful than some American parents.

Rich ordered the Flamin’ Tomato Soup and the Mac n Cheese with Fried Chicken.

Flamin’ tomatoes soup: Grilled tomatoes, puréed into a smooth soup that’s smoky, rich and bold.

Mac n’ cheese: The only thing cheesier than the jokes on this menu is our mac n’ cheese. And it’s up to you to tell us what you want mixed in: fried chicken, steak or applewood-smoked bacon.

IMG_5706Flaming Tomato Soup

IMG_5711Mac n Cheese with Fried Chicken

I ordered the fruit plate and Huevos Rancheros.

Fresh fruit platter with cottage cheese (or plain): You have to be healthy sometimes. Maybe today’s that day.

Chef’s favorite:
Huevos rancheros: Delicious chicken quesadilla, topped with fried eggs, manchego cheese, and mucho más Mexican flavors and other words you wouldn’t understand.

IMG_5705Lame Fruit Plate

IMG_5710Huevos Rancheros

Out of the bread basket, Rich chose some kind of yellow cake thingie and I tried a muffin. I bit into it and OMG – it tasted like coffee and was simply amazing!! I grabbed another one but by the time I thought to take a photo, it was almost gone. 🙂

IMG_5712Coffee Muffin

The Huevos Rancheros, not something I’m usually drawn to, were awesome! Rich took a bite and said that if there had been one more brunch at sea, he’d have ordered these.

After brunch we toured the ship, took some photos, checked out the Alchemy Bar for later and  stopped in at the library, hoping to find a book to read on the last day. I’d expected one of the shops to sell books but the only books were Dr. Seuss books – not exactly what I was looking for. I found a Nora Roberts book and we checked out the Bar Menu and tried out some of the seating in the Alchemy Bar.

IMG_5713Alchemy Bar Menu

IMG_5715Rich relaxing in the Alchemy Bar

We then made our way past the Atrium and on to the cabin to relax. The ship was very crowded.

IMG_5717Crowded Atrium Bar

We relaxed and read in the room until about 5 p.m. We got dressed and made our way to the Alchemy Bar. This is one of the new Carnival 2.0 enhancements and we’d admired it throughout the cruise. It’s designed with a modern, cool vibe – unlike the older Joe Farcus aspects of some rooms. The Alchemy Bar was often empty when we walked through it so we were happy to see other people hanging out there. We learned this was a popular place to have a drink before the Early Seating in the Main Dining Room.

We found a small table for two and perused the menu. Rich ordered the “Fiery Tropical Passion Martini” and I, of course, ordered the “40 is the New 20.”

FORTY IS THE NEW TWENTY
A martini tastefully prepared for the young…and the young at heart.
Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, Grey Goose Vodka, cranberry juice and citrus.

FIERY TROPICAL PASSION MARTINI
Feed your fever with this feisty dose of Patrón Silver Tequila,
Patrón Citrónge, spicy mango purée and fresh citrus.

Our server delivered our drinks with a tray of olives, almonds, and cheese – so delicious, we’ve tried re-creating this at home.

IMG_5721Our Cocktails/Snacks

A woman came up to us and asked me if my drink was a Cosmo. I told her it was “40 is the new 20” and that totally confused her. She walked up to the bar and asked, “What’s she drinking?” The bartender said, “40 is the new 20.” Still confused, she said, “I’ll have a Cosmo.” She did not get the cool snack tray that we did. 🙂

We sipped and snacked and watched people thundering by as they proceeded to the dining room. And this is where we made our big mistake. We should have gone to the dining room, gotten our beeper, and then ordered a drink. Because by the time everybody thundered past us, there were a lot of people ahead of us. We were given a beeper with an estimated wait time of 30 minutes.

Around 7 p.m. we were seated in a booth for 4 that we had all to ourselves. We were still underneath the low ceiling on the opposite of the ship by the ocean view windows. Our main server was excellent. The menu was not so excellent. We’ve had better food in the dining room on the Paradise, but it’s always hit and miss. But this is where we know that Carnival is not here to please us – we are not their customer. The food is more like Long John Silver’s than a real restaurant dinner.

Rich ordered Navy Bean Soup for his starter and Mahi Mahi for his entree.

navybeansoupNavy Bean Soup

MahiMahiMahi Mahi

I ordered a Crab Cake for my starter and Panko Fried Shrimp for my entree with a baked potato. For some reason, they also threw some fries on my plate, too. I did not eat them.

IMG_5725Crab Cake

IMG_5726Shrimp

The baked potato, again, was better than the potato in Nick & Nora’s. The Crab Cake was pretty good with some kind of slaw for brightness. The Shrimp was ridiculous and I couldn’t eat it.

Rich said his meal was okay.

And then, for the first time on Carnival, we had a most amazing dessert! Butter Pecan Ice Cream. Oh my goodness! They must make this themselves. It was simply awesome!!! So awesome Rich’s plate was empty before I got out the camera. I think I caught a bite or two of mine on camera.

IMG_5730Rich’s ice cream bowl

IMG_5728The last of Kathy’s ice cream

IMG_5729What’s a dessert picture without decaf – lol!

We also drank some decaf. This was the first night we’d made it to the Main Dining Room for dinner because, frankly, the menus didn’t look good all week. And it wasn’t that good – not worth sitting there for an hour or two. But the ice cream totally made this night worth it.

After dinner, we headed for the showroom – we hadn’t made it to the showroom all week but we weren’t exactly interested in the new “Playlist Productions” shows that were part of Carnival 2.0. Before this cruise, we actually thought Carnival had some of the best shows at sea. No longer. These aren’t shows. They have a couple of performers lip-synching to some bad music videos. I’d rather get on the stage and do that myself. 🙂

The music was deafening loud and I was getting a headache so we headed back to our stateroom for one last turndown and bring rocked to sleep at night.

IMG_5731Our last turndown….

IMG_5732Tonight’s towel animal was a heart… Ah…..

About Kathy

Novelist & Music Producer