21 June 2011

And We're Off - Boat Time Craziness

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With one gigantic ear-busting blow of the horn we were officially on our cruise! Now, between five cameras I have nearly 400 pictures of this vacation. I am not going to post them all...but organizing them was tough. So I have decided to post them in three main groupings. Activities on boat, activities off boat, and food. Today's post is all about activities on the boat. Really the focus is on the pictures, but if you want some commentary to give color...I'll do my best.
How do I describe entertainment on the boat? Cheesy fabulous? Ghettolicious with a touch of do-me-right? This Asian rock group covered some of my favorite hits from the 70s and 80s almost every day for hours. There were probably 5 main bands on board, from steel drum to crooning piano.The boat had a water slide - which was actually quite impressive for being on a boat. Sun tan lotion. We clearly needed a lot of it for our mayonnaise white skin.In many ways this vacation was chosen because we all need a freakin' break. We spent a lot of time like this - lounging on chairs, reading, listening to ipods, and soaking up sun amidst laughter and dirty jokes. When not in the sun, you might have found some of us in the pools. This was probably the most disappointing part of our Carnival cruise. The pools were tiny, filled with salt water, and kind of gross. I always imagined huge pools all along the deck. But there was actually more space dedicated to hot tubs than pools, which can someone EXPLAIN THAT TO ME????Another way to enjoy the outside was to run on the track or just cruise the decks to look at the amazing blue Caribbean water. Or how about 9 holes of miniature golf to pass the time? We tend to get a little crazy when the camera comes out. This is my mom disappointed by the amount of obscene gestures and comments we were making about balls during our game. That's what you get when you have three boys mom.But outdoors wasn't the only place to have fun. Imagine an indoor world full of games, shows, songs and dancing. For example, some times we'd just get crazy with a few games of pool.Or slow it down with some Ticket to Ride. I am proud to say I am the clear winner of this vacation. I believe I won 75% of all games played. I choo choo choose myself as the awesomest.Sometimes playing the penny slots was the best bet for an evening of fun. Michelle learned to gamble for the first time ever on a boat! Dad was so proud.She was amazing and earned $6 on slots. Who ever wins on slots???? What she really wanted though was those 90,000 pennies. Come on Beeps, don't get greedy. When Shell pointed at the 90,000 when we told her she had had enough, that might have been a Caitlin favorite moment of the trip.Some brothers weren't as lucky as Shell with their gambling. WHY MEEEE????What does one do at night on a Carnival ship? Well, there is the big screen TV outside with movies and NBA finals.There's 80s night dancing!!!!There were a million opportunities to have your picture taken amongst cheesy backdrops and then you can pay $11.99 for a print. Sometimes it was just elegant night - an opportunity to get all dressed up and take your own pictures in your sexy outfits. I can't tell you how fun it was to watch people get dressed up in their skimpy dresses and suits and prance around for the evening like they were at the adult prom. We looked very trashy, and yet not.We went to lots of comedy shows, dancing and singing shows, game shows, and whatever other shows they had to offer on the ship. I give the entertainment a solid 2 thumbs up for its efforts. I was surprised at how busy and entertained we were on the ship at all times.But sometimes the most enjoyable thing to do was to just go back to your cabin and relax and nap.
But eventually we'd get the itch to get off that boat and go out exploring at the ports. But that, my friends, is another post.

20 June 2011

Pre-Cruise Essentials

Seriously, what "visitors to Fort Lauderdale" post could begin without a mandatory trip to Dona Raquel to eat Mexican food goodness? It is essential when new people come to town...because it is just so darn delicious. There were tacos and burritos and quesadillas to the extreme like Vanilla Ice.Devin went burrito and was mad satisfied.Me? I went classic tacos. I love the garnishing of this plate, with cucumber and these mild onions to eat when switching between meat. Now that is classy stuff. My al pastor and chorizo tacos hit the spot as they always do.It was another successful trip, and gentle on our pocket books as well. We had to limit spending because a major trip was on its way in just a few days. I was glad that Shell and Devin were able to come on Wednesday (the same day Caitlin took Max out to Idaho) so that I wasn't alone. We had a blast and mostly just tried to emotionally prepare for what was about to become of us.One way that we passed the time on a budget was by playing Balance Ball Wars. Caitlin used to play this with her roommates back in the day and man is it good times. The game? Simple...just balance as long as you can on the ball. No feet or body part can touch the ground nor your arms on the ball. Devin was relatively successful for his first few attempts.Until he freakin' ate it big and tumbled to the ground. That is the way it is with Balance Ball Wars...you have to face the inevitable pain that will come with losing your balance.I am well acquainted with this pain and it was normal for me to go rump first into the couch. At least we have carpet now. Hard wood floors really upped the danger level of this game back in NYC.But Shell was the ultimate winner. She was able to balance for 3 minutes and 57 seconds while I was only able to maintain for 2 and 55. Devin was a close third with 2 and 48. After a while we took it to the next level by going stomach balance only. This is infinitely more difficult to do and much more dangerous as you risk facial rug burns. Beeps squoze her abs for dear life.I wish that I were making these faces on purpose, but that is how my face looks when I'm concentrating so hard. Its like I'm trying to squeeze out a big poop but am only slamming into roadblocks.And, as mentioned, the face plant. I was the ultimate winner on stomach with a less impressive 7 seconds.Later on Friday Stephen flew in and we headed out to Sky Line Chili. Who knew that a place like this could ever become a real chain? The concept? Take cheap spaghetti noodles and then put chili on top of them. But its real, and its here in Fort Lauderdale.Proud of his heart stopping pile, Devin spares a smile. Devin knows all about this from Kentucky where chains like Sky Line are plentiful.
Me's enjoyed my bucket of cheese as well - it went straight to the gut and has remained there to this very day.The next day we went to South Beach. Now, you may not know this, but Devin is a real artist when it comes to photography. Not only did he capture this amazing beach scene with gorgeous water and two brothers playing Pro Kadima on the beach - but he got some topless boobies in the picture. Luckily, I was able to edit them out. Pervert Devin. How dare you?
Back to Pro Kadima (quit thinking about those boobs people), Stephoin shows that he didn't need a family weight chart to get himself ready for the cruise. Weight loss and weight lifting? Wow. Taking himself to a place where we brothers rarely go - to goodlookingville.
Shell always looks good, so we won't even go there. Also, she wants peace (presumably in the Middle East...but possibly anywhere). And we got ourselves some delicious pizza at Espris on Lincoln Road and did some last minute shopping at Penguin. I got Max a cute t-shirt on sale - I was already missing that kid so much after only a few days.The next morning we were exhausted from all our partying. We needed a vacation. Yes, a vacation from our partying. So we decided to take a cruise. Everyone had flown in and we were ready to rumble. Pam was there. Dave was there. Mike was there. Caitlin was back. The only person we were missing was Bree who is newly engaged to Mike but not in time to include on the trip. She was missed.Before we could leave, Devin had to give Shell an anniversary gift for their 7 year. Apparently copper is the gift for that year, so she got this cool copper vase made in Mexico. That wasn't the only gift - he later gave her a necklace from Tiffany's on the boat...but I don't have pictures f that. The Mulcock women are spoiled. And finally we were there! Our transportation came on time and before I knew it we were boarding our ship!!! This was a first time cruise for everyone in the family, so we had no idea what to expect. You can see the excitement, fear and joy in Beeps' eyes, can't you.Bye bye Miami...more on what would await our family as we hit open waters.