Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Carnival Splendor--Take 2

This is my (Jake's) journal entry from our most recent cruise.  It was a 7 day, 8 night cruise that went to Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta.  It was aboard the Carnival Splendor, same ship as the "fire cruise".  This will be a long entry, followed by more long entries.  Enjoy:

It is currently Monday morning (July 30) of our cruise aboard the Carnival Splendor.  There is something much more quiet about this one at 6:30 am than our last attempt of a cruise on this exact same ship.  The difference is the fact that I am the only one out and about, in November of 2010 everyone aboard the Splendor was standing at their muster station, inhaling smoke that was coming from the engine room, and eagerly awaiting the call (which never happened by the way) to abandon ship! 

This cruise from where I am writing this beautiful story actually began in November of 2010.  That is when we came aboard the Carnival Splendor for the first time, it was an attempt at a family reunion.  As several of you know, that was the same time said ship decided that the engines had had enough and they didn’t want to work anymore (yes, we were on “that cruise”).  Unfortunately for us, it happened on the very first morning at 6:00.  I will not get into details about that one, because I already wrote a 17 page essay on the matter, which you can find on our family blog,, and look in the November or December file in the 2010 category on the right hand side of the webpage.

The nice thing about that “cruise” was that they reimbursed us for it, and they gave us vouchers for another cruise with Carnival for the same rate.  It took us until the vouchers just about expired to take them up on their generous offer, which is where we are today.  For reasons very unknown to me, and as fate would have it, we are aboard the EXACT same ship, going to the EXACT same ports of call we were supposed to go to (minus Mazatlan), and the EXACT same room (just kidding about the room, but that’s all I could think of). 

Now, the journal portion begins.  On Friday (July 27, 2012) afternoon we drove up to Denver where Grant and Shalie were super generous and decided that they wouldn’t mind taking on three extra kids for a week, thank you so much you guys!  We got in at about 8:30 that night and put the kids to bed (who were SUPER excited to be with their cousins, so excited I don’t think they slept for more than 4 hours!), then we just sat around and talked until it was our bedtime.  On Saturday Emily and Shalie went into IKEA for some girl time, while Grant and I took the 6 kiddos to the neighborhood swimming pool.

This pool is the nicest neighborhood pool I have ever seen, and coming from ABQ where lifeguards won’t let you swim in a pool, it was so nice to feel like I could actually enjoy my kids a little bit in the pool!  Plus, they even let Ethan wear floaties (unheard of in ABQ public pools), so he was content as well.  Later that day, Grant, the older 3 boys and I went to Bass Pro Shops in order to escape it all for a couple of hours.  A great time was had by all, then we had to return.  Upon arrival, the ladies went and had their toenails done, we had dinner, watched some Olympics, and went to bed to wake up at “the butt-crack of dawn” to catch our flight to LAX. 

We arrived at LAX, met up with our favorite travelling buddies (Gary and Becky, Madison and Emma) and hopped into our shuttle that was taking us to the Carnival Splendor.  Gary was talking about how he was going to put on his “nasty persona” (because being “nice” gets you nothing in life when it comes to dealing with companies, so remember that when you go return something to Target or Wal-Mart without a receipt), to try and get some credit aboard the ship, he is very bitter about the way that Carnival treated us after the disaster of Nov 2010.  He has very valid points, as his work revolves around making companies better in treating their guests.  It truly is a blast to travel with Gary and Becky because you never know when the “nasty” Gary is going to come out, and it is fun to sit a few feet back and observe the “master” in action.

Day 1

We arrived at the Cruise Terminal a couple of hours early which was nice because unlike Nov 2010 there was no line to go through.  We registered with no hiccups, we were put into Zone 2 for boarding the ship.  This is where we spent an additional 3 hours of line waiting in 2010, yesterday was a very different experience, still inefficient, but a lot better.  I was taking pictures of the lines when a security guard came to me and said, “Sir, you need to delete that photo!”  I didn’t understand why, he just pointed to a TV screen where it said something about carrying firearms is illegal at this point of the security process.  I said I didn’t see anything, and he replied it is illegal to take a picture of the security point.  Oh!  That makes sense, camera=firearm.  Well, I obliged, I held up the camera so he could see me actually delete the picture, he was satisfied and moved on.  I did see the TV five minutes later where it said that “photography was not permitted at this point”, I am such a jerk, plus a law breaker! Here is a picture of the line for security (you can't see any security devices so I am pretty sure that I am safe to put this one up).

Nothing extraordinary happened for the remainder of the boarding process.  We were welcomed aboard the ship, went to the Lido Deck (oh the memories!) and had a buffet style lunch.  Now, in Nov 2010 this happened to be the only meal I had that was not infused with some sort of canned meat product.  So far so good.  It has been really strange to walk around the ship seeing all of the places that bring back so many memories.  “This is where I sat and studied for hours!” “Look, that is where we sat when it all began.”  “This is where we got together as a family and had discussions.” Etc, etc, etc. 

I made it to dinner.  This is already better than 2010, where I got a migraine right when dinner started and decided to lay down in the dark room instead of go to dinner.  What an experience, being able to sit in the restaurant, with lights, and eating food that has been cooked!  It was really good, I had the salmon.  After dinner there wasn’t much happening.  We went to go talk to the Guest Services about our credit, where they had no record of us having an on-board credit last time (which we did have), so they told us the only way we could do that would be to talk to the travel agent that set up the last cruise.  I think that good customer service would have been to say, “oh, you were on THAT cruise, yeah, we’ll put the credit back for you.”  That would have been too easy, even after they verified we indeed WERE on THAT cruise.  Whatever, I am done cruising Carnival, just like I am done purchasing Dodge vehicles.

We then proceeded to bed where we watched some Olympics, then we watched the Planet of the Apes movie and fell asleep.  Unfortunately for me, I inherited my father’s capability of sleeping—I can sleep anywhere, but I cannot sleep past 6:00 am, which is what brought me to where I am now…in the casino, all alone with my laptop typing away! In Emily’s words, “You are such a nerd!”


Rebecca said...

Jake- you're hilarious.

Grant and Shalie Morgan said...

Did you win any money at the casino this time??!!! I had so much fun with your kids, I can't wait to watch them again someday!

Zane and Cami said...

Keep them coming Jake!! This is great. Wish we were there with you!

The Child Family said...

So did Nasty Gary every come out?
Carnival is TERRIBLE!!! I've never used them, but I never will thanks to your experiences :)
Congrats on the salmon instead of a migraine :)
I think our family is full of nerds, it just took us awhile to figure it out ;)
can't wait to see the rest of your cruise :)- no I didn't need a :) at that point, but I figured I'd put one at the end of every other statement, so why not keep it going, right?