Occupation:Computer Information Systems Analyst
Number of Cruises: First Cruise
Cruise Line: Carnival
Ship: Carnival Jubilee
Sailing Date: April 15th, 2002
Itinerary: Grand Cayman, Cozumel
– Whew, a 3am wake up call for a 6:15am flight to start our trip to Tampa! Next time, we will definitely go to the port city the night before so that we will be well rested for the cruise! Got to Tampa around 11:40am. We had purchased an airport transfer, so there was a Carnival Representative waiting for us at the entrance to Baggage Claim. Our Bus was waiting at the exit closest to where we got our luggage. Within 30 minutes we arrived to the port where the Jubilee was waiting docked for us. Did not tip the driver, since the transfer we purchased included the driver’s tip, but I did tip the porter $2.00 for each bag we checked onto the Jubilee. Around 12:45pm we passed through the Security checkpoint with no problem, but saw a photographer with 2 big bags of film arguing with the guards and police. Turns out the guy had been hired to photograph a couple of weddings in Cozumel and he did not want his film to be x-rayed in fear that it might be ruined. Security said no x-ray, no film, so the guy finally relented, but not without a huge argument. Next, we waited in line for 20 minutes to get our sign/sail card and room assignment. 5 minutes later they called our group for boarding, where we waited in line to have our picture taken and stored on the sign/sail card. At 1:15pm we were onboard the Jubilee and went immediately to our room. In the main dining rooms and on the Lido Deck, a Welcome Aboard Lunch Buffet was served until 3:30pm, and the food was excellent! After that we enjoyed the “drink of the day” until the Lifeboat Drill around 4:00pm. We set sail around 4:20pm. My wife and I met a couple from North Carolina and conversed with them while finishing our second drink of the day on the Lido Deck. Around 5:00pm we went to our cabin to nap until our 8:00pm dinner seating. It turns out we were really tired from our early start and slept until 9:05pm. We rushed upstairs to the Bordeaux Dining Room and the Head Waiter said we could eat, but they only had main entrees left. That was fine with us. The food was delicious, we both had steak and dessert. The highlight of our trip was meeting our dining room table companions, Rob and Vivian (mid-50’s) from Cleveland, Ohio, and Edgar and Stella (late-50’s) from Toronto, Ontario. We’ll be lifelong friends and will probably schedule another cruise together in the future. After dinner, we played Bingo and watched a comedy show in the Atlantis Lounge at 10:30pm. The comedy show was PG rated and was very good. I heard the same comedian performed an R rated show at 12:00am in the Terraces on the Groves and he was pretty nasty. We crashed at 11:45pm.
April 16 – Fun Day at Sea! We slept until 11:00am. Went to the Shore Excursion desk to schedule the Stingray City Tour for Wednesday morning at 7:30am in Grand Cayman. We ate a slice of pizza to tie us over until our 1:30pm Lunch seating in the dining room. It was a beautiful weather day, 89 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We got the “drink of the day” and walked around the ship to get familiar with the surroundings. Lunch (filet of fish) in the dining room was outstanding. Spent the rest of the day on the deck getting some sun and drinking another “drink of the day.” The 24-hour pizza and softserve ice cream was a real treat between lunch and dinner. Caught a nap until the Captain’s Party at 7:15pm. Dressed up for formal night. My wife wore a black evening gown she borrowed from her sister-in-law. She was beautiful. I wore a navy blazer and slacks, white dress shirt, a red tie, and black shoes. We took a picture together and bought it for $20.00. The Captain and the rest of the Jubilee’s crew were introduced at the Captain’s Party, which provided free drinks and snacks and lasted until 7:55pm. Dinner at 8:00pm was fabulous. We had prime rib and the waiters, bus boys, and Maitre D’ all sang a song in Italian for us. Except for the Cruise Director and the Hotel Manager, who were Americans, the rest of the crew were from several different countries (Hungary, Indonesia, Croatia, Italy, India, England, Slovakia, Russia, Japan, Korea, etc.). The service of the waiter, bus boy, etc. was nothing short of tremendous. We had a Croatian Waiter, Slovakian Bus Boy, Hungarian Head Waiter, Croatian Maitre D’ and an Indonesian Cabin Steward. The 10:30pm show was a “Broadway” musical that was excellent, great singing and dancing. Went to bed at 11:45pm to get ready for the early morning 7:30am Stingray City Tour in the Grand Cayman. The cabin steward left a “Stingray” towel for us.
April 17 – Arranged for a 6:00am wake-up call, but the ship’s telephone computer did not work and we did not get a call. Luckily, the ship made enough noise to wake us up when the engines were reversed to slow us down so we could anchor offshore. We ate breakfast in the dining room, which was very good. We waited in the Atlantis Lounge for our Stingray City Tour group to be taken to the Grand Cayman Island via a tender boat. Our tender left around 7:45am. I took pictures of all the cruise ships (I counted 5) anchored, which was an awesome scene. Once on Grand Cayman we waited for our tour guide near a “Stingray City Tour #102” sign. Finally, our tour guide arrived and we walked down the street a couple of blocks to where several shuttle buses were waiting on us. The 15-minute shuttle bus ride took us to a marina, where we took a 20-minute tender boat ride out to Stingray City. There were 2 boats there before us. The stingrays were everywhere! We spent 2 hours frolicking with the stingrays in 3 to 4 foot deep water. I took pictures with the underwater camera, while my wife fed, petted, and danced with the stingrays. What a great experience! We got back to the pier at Grand Cayman around 11:15am, where we decided to stop and have a margarita and an appetizer at the Hard Rock café. Our bill was $29 in Cayman currency, $36 in U.S. currency. The U.S. dollar is weak compared to the Cayman dollar. Some friends we met from Seattle ate at the “Landmark Authentic British Pub & Eatery,” which was located a block and a half from the Hard Rock café. They ordered the same thing we did and their bill was only $12 in U.S. currency. We went back to the ship around 1:00pm. We set sail around 2:20pm and it was funny watching a boat pull alongside the moving Jubilee and drop off about 10 stragglers. My wife napped, while I went to the Cozumel Shopping talk given by our cruise director at 3:00pm. I joined my wife in the cabin around 4:15pm and we napped until 6:45pm. My wife had Beef Wellington and I had a Shrimp Pasta bowl for dinner, both were just great! The waiters danced a Caribbean Congo line with trays on their heads, which was very entertaining. We enjoyed conversation with our dinner companions until 10:00pm. We watched a comedy show at 10:30pm, which was very good. Before retiring for the evening, we arranged to share a taxi and spend the day together in Cozumel at Park Chankanaab with our dinner companions, Rob, Vivian, Edgar, and Stella. The cabin steward left a “Praying Rabbit” towel for us.
April 18 – We slept until 9:00am and met our dining room companions for breakfast at 9:30am. After breakfast, I picked up our Stingray City Tour video from the purser’s desk and we all watched the video together. We rented our snorkel gear for $24.00 while watching our video (bring your own snorkel gear if you got it). Around 10:30am we all headed to Park Chankanaab. What a great park! They have a miniature Mayan ruins walking path, a botanical garden where you might run into a few iguanas, restrooms, showers, dolphin encounters, sea lion shows, 2 restaurants, beach huts with 2 chairs, and the best snorkel beach I have ever seen. We stayed until the park closed at 6:00pm CDT (7:00pm EDT ship time). After we got back to the ship and showered, we went to downtown Cozumel on a taxi ride we split ($3.00 apiece including tip) with a couple we met while walking off the Jubilee gangway toward Cozumel. We ate Mexican food at “Pancho’s Backyard” which was fabulous. We drank the strongest margaritas we had ever drunk in our lives that were made with 151 proof Tequila 1800. Two of those and somebody would have had to wheelbarrow us back to the ship. After some shopping, we went back to the ship in time to watch the talent show at 10:30pm, then retired for the evening.
April 19 – Another Fun day at Sea! We slept late and ate lunch (pizza and ice cream) on the Lido Deck. After that we went to the pool with the slide and made like kids the rest of the day. I bet we went down the slide 50 times. After that my wife got a facial for $25.00 including tip, while I spent the rest of the time before dinner in conversation with our many friends we had met during our days on the cruise. We had prime rib for dinner, along with some turkey and dressing. Again the food was great! The waiters did the “Macarena” tonight which was very entertaining. We also tipped our waiters, bus boy, and cabin steward tonight. We tipped a little more than the “Carnival” recommended amount because we just felt the service was better than any fancy restaurant we had ever been to. We exchanged addresses and phone numbers with our dinner companions. After more pleasant conversation with our tablemates, we went to the 10:30pm “Hollywood” show in the Atlantis Lounge. What another great show, just tremendous! We retired to our room at 11:45pm where we packed our bags and had them outside the door by 12:15am for the porters to take to the baggage compartment. The cabin steward left a “Bulldog” towel for us.
– Going home day. Met our tablemates for breakfast in the dining room at 8:15am. After that we
completed our carry-on packing then met our tablemates for one last conversation before we said
goodbye. Our bag tag color was called in the 3rd group and sadly we were on our way back to the real
world. We will definitely cruise again. We were worried about getting seasick, but we were both
fine. We are already planning a possible cruise with our “Travel Agent” dinner companions Rob
and Vivian in February 2003.