Thursday I got up when Jill did and took a cab to Dulles. I like United’s new “you printed out your boarding pass, just drop your bags off” line, it moved quickly and I was soon in the terminal (at the wrong end, but it was a quick walk). The flight was on time and I had time to get on a computer when I got to Tampa to try and get Lion King tickets (but I didn’t have enough time to wait for all 964 people in front of me), then joined the Jewells when their plane arrived from Atlanta so we could share a taxi to the port. They needed some cash for Cozumel, so we went to the mall next door to find an ATM, then went inside the nearby wine shop. The knowledgeable proprietor let us know that the $10 corkage fee was only in the dining room, and if we drank it in the cabin, there was no additional fee. So Janice and I both bought bottles, then we embarked.
We had done most of the paperwork online, so we were onboard the Carnival Inspiration fairly quickly, on the Lido deck for food and drinks. We started seeing some other edheads and band members, then went to check out our rooms. Stuart and I were rooming together, and Janice was staying with Olivia, their daughter (the rooms would have been a tight squeeze for three people, especially one being a teenager). We were next to each other at the aft end of the Empress deck and across the hall from friends Susan and Christine. I found the computers, went online and was able to take my time getting tickets, then I read for a while and soon it was time for our cocktail hour (otherwise known as the only time there’d be an open bar). We had a good time catching up, then went to dinner. Good selection of food but I still had some stomach issues and went with asparagus soup and a breaded Asian shrimp dish. I was falling asleep during dinner and didn’t fight it, just went to bed.
11 hours of sleep did wonders and I woke up Friday feeling good. I had some lunch – conch fritters and some fruit and cottage cheese, then I went up on the Verandah deck, didn’t see spots and read at the back of Lido during the afternoon. I took a break in the middle to get a haircut (just didn’t have time to do it before the cruise) but finished the one volume edition of Bone. I went back to the cabin in late afternoon and the Jewells were back, so I opened my wine – Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc 2006, very nice. I still had a glass left when the concert started. A fine show, as usual made up of all requests by the cruisers, and every song that got more than one vote made the cut between the two shows.
Highlights included “Tom Burleigh’s Dead” (one of my picks, hasn’t been played in a while) and “Schoolhouse Rock Medley”. After the show, we headed over to the forward lounge for some free drinks (it was formal night) with Mike, then up to dinner. I was feeling better, had the Caesar salad and the duck. After dinner we returned to the lounge where the concert had been for karaoke. Julie and Robbie from the band did a great version of “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers”, Olivia did 3 songs, and Mike pretty much closed out the night with a take on “Redneck Woman” (I thought security would be called). Late that night Stuart and I checked out the Gala buffet, but it wasn’t that appetizing and we didn’t get anything.
Saturday we were in Cozumel when I was awoken by banging on the door. The Jewells were off on a GPS treasure hunt and I was going with Susan and Christine to Mr. Sancho’s Beach Club, a $15 cab ride from the port. A number of people joined us, including Julie and her family, Robbie, Bob (their longtime soundman) and his wife Cathy. Buckets of beer came all day, and I tried a number of their fancy drinks (Banana Mama was the best) as well as some flautas and nachos. Quite a nice afternoon – ended up splitting a $530 tab ten ways. Robbie had rented a jeep to come, and was going out driving if anyone wanted to come. Christine, Aubra and I hopped in and we proceeded to circle the island from where we were, only stopping for gas and Starbucks.
I took a bunch of pictures of the island from the jeep
We had a little time and I wanted to get Jill something so we went around to some shops and I finally settled on some gold earrings with tanzanite. We got back to the ship just as another ship, Carnival’s Holiday, was leaving and we were treated to the ships blowing their horns at each other. I was still pretty full and had two appetizers for dinner, lobster bisque and some sushi dishes as well as a slice of cappuccino pie and a cup of cappuccino to go with it for dessert. Late that night Robbie and Mike had decided to hold an impromptu concert at the back of the Promenade deck, in the “Serenity” section (Mike renamed it the Serendipity section the next night). They’d only gotten a couple songs in before it started raining, but half the area is covered, so we all crowded under cover. Eddie soon brought his drums, and we were treated to a long set of songs, covers as well as efo and solo songs. I went to the late night Mexican buffet as I was still in the mood for some chips, cheese and guacamole, but wasn’t up too much longer.
Sunday I actually managed to get up during breakfast so I could have some eggs benedict. It was a good day for lying out, I read nearly three Peter David books with a break for lunch (a nice Reuben and milkshake) and the group picture. We had another concert before dinner, this time with the two winners of edhead karaoke (I actually entered this time, brought all the lyrics on my phone just in case). Another great show, highlights were “The Three Fine Daughters Of Farmer Brown” (with a Joe sighting of course) and “Eddie’s Concubine”. For our last dinner I went all out, starting with the escargots and salad, tearing through chateaubriand and finishing with a slice of amaretto cake and a matching amaretto on the rocks. Later on we returned the Promenade deck, but the band had had their instruments packed up with the rest of their luggage and no one was interested in doing a singalong (though a couple people tried), so it was just a big farewell party.
The next morning I was up early for some breakfast before I got off the ship. The prices for airline tickets were pretty high for morning and afternoon flights, so I’d opted for an evening flight. Faced with the prospect of burning another vacation day, I had decided to go in to my company’s Tampa office, and I got there after some confusion with the address (two streets named after MLK with numbers above 10000?). It was good as they had a problem with some software I’d written, and I polished that off and talked about some other stuff I’d done before it was time to head off to the airport. I left a little early in case rush hour was as bads as the morning, but I was there quickly and went to Casa Bacardi where I had a Cuban sandwich (at Jill’s suggestion) and a house drink. The flight home was packed and noisy but uneventful, and Jill was waiting for me outside baggage claim. She was tired and went to bed, but I stayed up a bit playing with Illa, unpacking, and going through mail.
All pictures here.