One of the perks of staying onboard the Queen Mary is early check-in for the cruise right from the Queen Mary ship. Between the hours of 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. we could bring all of our bags to the Engine Room of the Queen Mary and everything would be taken care of. Well, we were still running around the QM and really weren’t in any big hurry because we were enjoying what we were doing and, quite frankly, we were already there ... at the Port. There was a certain relaxation to Embarkation day that came with already being at the Port.
11:15 we decided to take advantage of this perk and hauled our luggage
to the Engine Room. The process was simple, but what surprised us was
the number of people checking in. Clearly we hadn’t seen that many
people staying over on the Queen Mary. What we later learned was that
all early arrivals to the Carnival Paradise were sent to the Queen Mary
for check in. Perks for everyone!
We were given Zone 4
and decided to wander around the Engine Room and associated Museum for
awhile before heading over to the Paradise.
We had checked two small bags and a
garment bag. We really did pack light, but like I said before, even
packing light can still create a few pieces of luggage. With part of the
load gone we made our way to the embarking area with our carry-ons.
Here is where I have a question. I know Carnival allows a 12-pack of
soda per person, a bottle of wine per person, and bottled water to be
carried on the ship with the rest of your carry-on items ... how do you
do that? LOL! Kudos to you who do. We thought about bringing soda, but
never got organized enough (or maybe we were just lazy) to do it. Let me
tell you, while embarking the ship, I’m glad we didn’t have those extra
We were led through the white dome which once
housed the Spruce Goose (Howard Hughes’ heavy transport flying boat -
plane). The authority at the entrance reminded us we were entering a
Federal Building - so no photos allowed and she was pretty serious about
this! One thing I found interesting is we weren’t asked to fill out a
health form this trip. Moving through all the check points in the dome
we were led to a photo moment. Pretty much mandatory because you weren’t
allowed to bypass the people as they posed in the adobe Mexico facade
for their first official Carnival Portrait. *SNAP*
next stop was another mandatory photo. Only this was more fun because it
was our official Security photo for our Sign & Sail card. *DING*
Woo Hoo! Just a little bit farther and we are cruising!
next photo moment was on the gangway and this one could easily be
bypassed. But, I would suggest stopping for this one because the
Carnival Paradise poses as a lovely real backdrop for your Sail Away
we learned later is that the first ‘mandatory’ photo op (with the adobe
Mexico facade) produced an 8X10 image promoting the words ‘Long Beach’
for a price of about $21. The second photo op produced a 5X7 image with
‘Sail Away’ printed on it for around $12. We even got a deal when
purchasing this image with a photo portfolio including a Carnival stock
photo of the Paradise for a total of $16. Just a heads up for you all.
onboard (12:30, not bad at all) we were thrown into a flurry of
activity ... all of which kept us hanging out in the Paradise Atrium for
awhile. Fine by me, the Atrium is quite beautiful.
to Guest Services to add cash to our account (so it’s not such a shock
the last day). Then over to the Shore Excursion desk to add our names to
the Behind the Fun Tour list and to sign up for our Ensenada excursion.
We were really lax about excursions this trip. Usually we plan well
ahead. But, we chose just to sign up once on board for whatever we felt
like doing. I had heard that excursion prices were higher once on board
the ship. So, I compared the prices of the excursions offered online
with what was being offered on board ... and in the end I found that
while some prices remained the same, there was a $1 to $5 increase per
person for many of the offerings. How’s that for an experiment?
the Atrium Bar seemed to be calling us over. How handy that it was just
right there! So, what did we get? Remember how we chose not to bring
any soda on board? Yes, that decision cost us, because we bought Soda
Cards! For $29.70 each (including tip) we could drink all of the soda
and juices from the bar we could possibly consume during the next four
days. Yes, we are big partyers!
My International Encounter
hung out at the Atrium Bar for a bit because it was close to 1:30 and
the cabins would all be ready. Besides it was fun watching everyone
embark on the ship! It was here I had my first International encounter.
One of the bar associates was getting drinks and he opened up a can of
soda using another can to pop the top off! Impressive! So, I said to
him, “Wow, you just used that can to open the tab!” Caught off guard he replied, “Hmmm?” I repeated, “I was impressed by how you opened that can of soda with the other can.”
paused and realized I didn’t understand a word he just said to me. Now
there is a point when you are talking with someone from another country
(or another part of the U.S. for that matter) where you decide to either
just nod and smile OR invest the time to get through the accent
differences and actually communicate.
I chose the latter.
Him: “t sv mmm nnnnls.”
Me: Pause “What?”
Him: “t sv mmmm nnnnls.”
Me: Even longer pause. “What?”
Him: “It saves my nails.”
“Oh, it saves your nails!” And
he and I had a great laugh together. I would find out later that the
Carnival Paradise hosts 70 different nationalities and as hard as it is
for us sometimes to get through the different accents ... they have an
equally hard time understanding our various English accents, as well.
All I can say is that I’m glad I didn’t choose to just nod and smile.
Well, I see it’s about 1:30 ... time to go check out our Cabin!
But, before I go ... let’s have one last look at the Queen Mary!