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Pamela Lupo

Age: 33

Occupation:Rocket Scientist

Number of Cruises: 2

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Celebration

Sailing Date: May 1st, 2003

Itinerary: Western Caribbean

We planned to leave home around 11am, and stop to get lunch on the way. What actually happened was that we left home at 11:45, stopped at Kai’s daycare (swim trunks), two stores (1st store – PullUps, 2nd store – swim diapers), and ate Wendy’s in the car.

In Galveston, we opted to park at the Dolphin parking, which had a direct shuttle to the terminal. That way, we wouldn’t have to split up and leave someone with the luggage at the port terminal. It worked out really well. Once at the terminal, a porter picked up our luggage and took us to get our cabin assignment. Since we had booked two cabins last-minute, we had to get the “guarantee” and didn’t know where we would be. We were assigned U22 and U18. Sounded ok – like they were fairly close together.

We waited in line to go through the metal detectors, then to check in. There was a little glitch with Pam’s card because it was missing. The guy had to go onto the ship and get a new one, so we waited… While waiting, Pam decided to nurse the baby. Unfortunately, the spot she chose was soon surrounded by hordes of teenage boys. Hopefully they didn’t notice. Well, at least she didn’t see them taking any pictures.

Finally, the card arrives and we are ready to get on board. Smile for the embarkation picture! Then they scan the cards and find a problem with Gage’s. Oh well, fix it at the Purser sometime tomorrow… I thought these cards were supposed to make things easier? First order of business – buying Pam an unlimited soda card. Her mission for the rest of the cruise was to drink $23 worth of Diet Coke! It wasn’t easy, but she did it!

On to the boat, pull out the map to find our cabins. Upper deck – what a deal! They upgraded us two decks from the cabin we paid for! We head down the hall toward the front of the ship…still going…still going…Ah, here it is. But wait, it’s on the outside! And U18 and U22 are right next to each other. Congratulations to us, we won the cabin lottery – two window cabins for the price of one inside cabin! Awesome! U22 becomes our home base – U18 becomes our luggage storage area, and “smelly” room (great for using the toilet, and for storage of poopy diapers J). Kai loves sitting in the picture window and looking out the window.

We unpack and then head to the lifeboat drill. We hunt down our room steward, Jose, for a kid and a baby lifejacket. Kai is not excited about placing this orange monstrosity over his head, but goes along when he sees all the adults in the hallways wearing them. Pam discovers that holding a baby while wearing a life jacket is quite a workout for the triceps and hands the baby off to Chris. At our “muster station”, Gage and Kai are given bracelets to wear throughout the trip that say “Muster Station A” so that they will be brought to the right place if we are separated. Great idea, but what are the odds of our kids actually wearing these things?

Back to the cabin, finish unpacking. The boat leaves port and we wave goodbye to Galveston. Then on to the Camp Carnival orientation meeting. Is it time for dinner yet? Somehow, we missed the embarkation lunch. Must have been while we were waiting for Pam’s new card in the terminal… There must be something to eat on the boat, but dang if we know where it is! Oh well, it can’t be that long until 6:15! So, we wander the ship for a few minutes and head to the Vista Dining Room. Hmmm, not open yet. Open, open, open! Finally the doors open. There is a small set of stairs here, Pam grabs the front of the stroller (Gage is asleep) to carry up the stairs, but unfortunately, Chris chose the same moment to let go. So, the stroller flops backwards onto the ground. Gage is such a trooper, he doesn’t even stir even though the lady behind us gasped like a severed head had fallen in her lap

We are seated at Table 149, which is a large, round table for ten. Seems like we’re here first. Alejandro, our head waiter, introduces himself and Gilbert. Kai orders some chicken nuggets. Did I mention that we’re starving? Well, unfortunately, Alejandro decides to take the order of the next table before ours. In our food-deprived state, this does not start our relationship with Alejandro on the right foot! Ah, food finally arrives, and Alejandro throws in an extra steak in a lame attempt to get back on our good side! Gage wakes up (of course) when the food arrives, so Pam goes on the hunt for a high chair, and ends up asking the Maitre ‘d. Of course, this gets Alejandro in trouble and now he doesn’t like us either. Uh oh, this guy is handling our food, better be nice! Ok, Alejandro, let’s declare a truce – you don’t spit in our food, we’ll leave you a nice tip. Ok, that’s settled, whew! Meanwhile, Gage is quite unhappy so we give him a roll to gnaw on. Thankfully, he didn’t choke and he actually developed quite a taste for bread. And Kai develops a taste for ice cream, which Gilbert brings him by the bowlful for the rest of the trip! By the way, the other six people never show up so all meals are eaten with us on one side of an enormous table. Do we smell or something?

After dinner, we headed to the Family party. Kai had a great time doing the Limbo, Hokie Kokie (not Pokie!) and popping balloons by sitting on them! Then we went to Game Show Night (wonder whose idea that was?) which turned out to be a real snore. Literally – Kai and Gage both fell asleep. So, we took them down to the Camp Carnival babysitting and we hit the casino. We played blackjack for a while, Pam was winning. Then we moved to the “Let It Ride” table where Chris lost all of his money and Pam got a couple of good hands, including a full house which paid big! So, we left while we were ahead, gathered up the kids, carried them across the whole ship, and went to sleep. Ah, it’s been a good day!

Today is our first “Fun Day at Sea!”. Our day starts with the breakfast buffet on the Lido deck. Diet? What diet? After feasting on eggs and pancakes, Chris took Kai down to Camp Carnival for the morning activities while Pam and Gage headed to Morning Trivia. Unfortunately, for some reason, the ship roster had Kai listed as a one year old and Chris had to haul Kai back and forth across the boat twice to get his birth certificate. So, he missed Pam’s awesome performace and the awarding of the “ship on a stick” trophy. The highlight of the game was question #13 – what part of the human body expands to eight times it’s normal size when excited? It’s a five-letter word that starts with P, but not what you think. J We took a walk around the deck and happened to see the Jubilee on her way back to Galveston. Hey there Sister Ship!

After some pool time, we picked up Kai and went to lunch in the dining room. After another adventure with Alejandro, we decided to eat lunch at the buffet from now on… After lunch, we took Kai and Gage to the kiddie pool. It was really shallow, but the motion of the ship was causing the water to slosh back and forth sometimes. Unfortunately, Kai got caught in one of the sloshes and his head got wet. Well, that was it for him in the pool the rest of the trip! Ah, three-year-olds. We did take Gage in, and he had a great time. It wasn’t as much fun for us though because the water was freezing! Eek!

At 3:30 it was time for cookies and ice cream. Thank goodness – it’s no good to be off your diet if there aren’t any cookies around! Kai seemed to be having a good time. I’m not sure he had enough ice cream on this trip.

Tonight was formal night, so we passed on dinner with Alejandro for dinner at the Lido buffet. Not sure if that was a good idea, can’t say I even remember what the food was! But, we got to sit at the pool and play ping pong until dinnertime, so it was worth it! Tonight was the first show – Standing Room Only – a selection of songs from Broadway shows. It was very good, but Kai fell asleep again. Guess the sugar high wore off. Time for bed for everyone…

Port day – Cozomel
We arrived in Cozumel at about 8am. After getting ready, packing, and breakfast, we headed off the ship at a bright and early 10:30am. We weren’t sure what we could do since we didn’t have car seats for the kids. But we did have a mission – to find dental Kenilog for Barbara and a new strap for Chris’ sunglasses. Happy to report that both missions were successful, and Pam actually got to speak a few words of Spanish. At the t-shirt shop, Gage decided that he HAD to set foot on Mexican soil, so he extricated himself from the stroller and proceeded to crawl around on the shop floor. We did notice eventually – I think it was the shopkeeper’s laughter that clued us in. Kai got a shirt with an elephant. Ok, who’s surprised that he picked that one?

We looked around to see if there was a beach within walking distance. However, turns out it was about seven miles away, which was probably a bit far for Chris considering he was loaded like our pack-sherpa. By the way, that’s another sister ship, the Holiday, docked next to the Celebration.

So, we headed back to the ship after an exciting 30 minutes in Mexico. It actually turned out quite well – we pretty much had the whole ship to ourselves. Pam and Chris had a great time on the waterslide and in the pool, while Kai wandered around and knocked over the giant chess pieces on the floor. We decided it was in his best interest to go back to Camp, even though he pulled at our heartstrings with phrases like “Don’t you leave me here!”. But the counselors were great and had him eating goldfish and doing puzzles in no time. Chris and Pam had some relaxing sun time, and even took a nap by the pool. Before we knew it, it was time to pick up Kai and clean up for dinner. We waved goodbye to Cozumel out the window.

Our second and last “Fun Day at Sea”. Started the day with breakfast and trivia again. Pam had the most answers right, but decided she didn’t need another ship on a stick. Chris was a close second. J Then off for another fun day at the pool. Kai still wouldn’t get in the water, although he did sit on the side of the kiddie pool.

Sunday was really a day for vegging out, mostly reading and lying by the pool. We did join in a volleyball game briefly, but it wasn’t too much fun. We met a really nice lady though who was from Clear Lake and traveling without her kids. She is actually the sister of someone we know. We also ran into a guy that we know from work. Small world! We tried shuffleboard, but it wasn’t quite as exciting as we expected.

After lunch (Lido deck buffet again), we headed down to “Austin Powers Dance Class”. Chris was the star of the show, strutting his stuff on stage for the ladies. Can you show us how to do the Pony and the Fugue again? Too bad Pam didn’t have the video camera. Sigh! Later, the Camp Carnival bunch had cookie decorating. Of course, Kai just licked the frosting off his cookie and then wanted more ice cream.

We passed the Jubilee again today – these shipping lanes must be pretty narrow! Chris finally got his seafood dinner, and Pam had yummy turkey and dressing for dinner. Chicken nuggets again for Kai, and Cheerios (thanks Alejandro!) for Gage. After dinner, we got our pictures taken. Well, at least it looks like we were at a beach on this trip!

Tonight’s show is “Extreme Country”. Although it’s not exactly our genre, we have to admit that it was pretty entertaining. The margarita might have helped though. After the show, we started packing (seems like we just unpacked!) and then Pam went to check out the pictures. She stopped by the casino and lost some of her winnings on the way. Oh well! She still had enough left to buy this picture.

After packing everything up, it was time for bed. We hit some rough waters during the night and got tossed around a bit. Didn’t seem to bother Kai any though!

We docked in Galveston around 7:30. We all got up and got ready. We had to be at the Immigration line by 8:15 – which we actually were! We were in line until 9:00, and by then they were already calling people to disembark. We hadn’t had breakfast yet, so we went to the Lido deck for the breakfast buffet.

Once everyone was full, we went back to our cabin to pack up the rest of our junk (toys, potty, etc.). They announced final call to disembark while we were in the cabin, but we figured we didn’t need to hurry – they’d get us off the boat eventually! Well, we finally left around 10am and it turns out we were the last people off the boat. It worked out well though, because our luggage was sitting there ready for us. The porter took it down to the Dolphin bus, we hopped on, drove to the parking and we were done! Vacation over…

It was very interesting traveling with the kids. I must say that we got a lot of extra attention from the crew because of the baby. They all loved him! In fact, quite a few crew members told us they had babies at home that they hadn’t seen for a long time. One woman from Romania had a baby the same age, who she wouldn’t see for another six months. I can’t imagine! Also, lots of other passengers told us they had left their kids at home, but seeing Gage & Kai made them miss their kids. It was a pain to have to take the elevators all the time because of the stroller, but it was nice to have an excuse to avoid the stairs. We couldn’t really do anything in port, but it worked out great because we had the ship all to ourselves. Overall, it was an awesome family trip!

Oh, by the way, the answer to question #13 was PUPIL!

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