We’re ba-ack!

From the honeymoon, that is.

It was lovely.  Honestly, this post will probably be pretty light on text, because, well, we didn’t DO much.  And it was glorious. 

Since we love driving and road trips, and saving money, we decided to road trip it to and from the honeymoon cruise.  So…Kansas City to New Orleans.  A 14 hour drive, if you were to do it straight through.  But that’s no fun.

We left early on Friday morning and drove through the day until we arrived in Memphis just in time for dinner.  It was when we sat down here I realized, “Ahh, vacation!” for the first time.

We went to Bosco’s, a brewery/pub type place.  Tim relaxed with a beer.

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The beer was awesome.  The food (we got individual pizzas) was just so-so. 

 

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We stayed the night in northern Mississippi, and drove from there to New Orleans (about 6 more hours) on Saturday morning.  Our cruise was on the Carnival Triumph to Progreso and Cozumel, Mexico.

Embarkation was kind of a clusterfuck, frankly.  We sat in traffic to get parking at the Port of New Orleans for at least an hour.  Once we parked, it was long line after long line after long line in the heat to get everything checked in and secured and whatnot.  I get that it’s necessary and all, but it was a pretty big buzzkill.  We also got a notice that because of the oil spill, we’d be leaving at 9 pm rather than 4 pm, which would have been nice to know beforehand so we didn’t have to get up at the asscrack of dawn to get there on time.  But, alas.

Eventually we made it through and got on the boat and took  pictures.  New Orleans!

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After all the travel hectic-ness, I needed a drink.

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With an umbrella, naturally. 

One of the nice things about Carnival was their beverage policy.  Although the cruise did not include the cost of soda or alcohol, they allow each guest to carry on (not check) a 12 pack of soda and a bottle of wine (not hard liquor).  We each carried on soda, so we didn’t pay for that all week, and a bottle of wine, which contributed to two fun, boozy nights.  We did end up buying a few mixed drinks, but the prices were reasonable (about $5 for an Absolut vodka/tonic, about $7 for a fancy mixed drink or top shelf booze) and the drinks were STRONG. 

Here is a montage of what we did pretty much the entire trip.

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Read and laze.  Yes, I got sunburned.  I swear to you, it was accidental—no joke, Tim and I used an entire spray can of SPF 30 the first day on the boat and we both got burned anyway.  I’d brought two cans, but the aerosol thingamajig was not working in the second one, and the store on the boat was closed, so we spent our second day in the shade!

Our first port was Progreso, Mexico.  We didn’t get off the boat for very long—we just browsed around a duty-free shopping area near the dock.  Nothing too exciting. 

Progreso is not the most scenic.

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The second port was Cozumel, which I don’t have any pictures of.  We did debark that day and take a snorkeling tour, which was fantastic.  I’d never snorkeled before, but it was so much fun!   Definitely the highlight of the trip.

A few random photos inside the boat.   The lobby:

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The barstools that made us crave Reese’s:

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Our stateroom:

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Assorted towel creatures:

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And the ONE picture we got together on the whole honeymoon:

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My impatient debarkation face:

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All in all, we enjoyed cruising.  While we decided we’d probably both go on a cruise again, we’d probably not go with Carnival.  Here are the pros and cons, in my opinion.

Pros:

  • Service was great.  Our stateroom steward and dining room waitress were both very nice and helpful, and all the other Carnival employees were perfectly attentive and polite.  They were really a highlight of the trip—anything we needed or wanted, they would get it for us.
  • The boat was very clean and well-staffed. 
  • Cozumel was a beautiful port.  We didn’t see enough of Progreso to judge it fairly!
  • The drinks we ordered at the various bars were all really good and made strong.
  • I really liked the breakfasts on board, especially in the main dining room!  The omelets I had were great, and I liked generally that the portion sizes were fairly small so you didn’t overeat too much.
  • We really loved the excursion we booked in Cozumel through Carnival.
  • They show movies outdoors at night, and we really enjoyed (re)watching the most recent Harry Potter movie with a bottle of wine on our last night!

Cons:

  • My biggest issue was the food.  We agreed that the Lido deck (buffet style area) was about one click up from college dorm food, and the main dining room was maybe two clicks up.  We had a few things that we really liked (Tim had lamb he said was great, I had a few good pasta and fruit dishes), but everything else was pretty unremarkable or just kind of bad.  But, we recognize you get what you pay for, and we were on a budget. 
  • There was one show we wanted to see the entire cruise—a comedian—and the lounge was packed, standing room only, when we showed up 20 minutes early.
  • SMOKING.  It seemed like everyone on the boat had a cigarette dangling from their mouth or fingers the whole time.  It was really annoying.  If there were non-smoking areas on the boat, they weren’t enforced.
  • I did not like being constantly hounded by photographers to take cheesy posed photos.  We said “no thanks” every time, but it was a little annoying after awhile.

Anyway, just my opinion, take it with a grain of salt!

After we debarked, we set out to explore New Orleans for the day, mostly with our stomachs.  Our first stop was for beignets and coffee at the iconic Cafe du Monde.

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We split an order of beignets and whoa, they were good.  (But, you know, it’s pretty hard to screw up fried dough coated in sugar.)

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We walked around the French Quarter for awhile.  It was HOT!

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You guys, I have a confession to make.  Our second gastronomic adventure of the day MIGHT be my #1 highlight of the entire honeymoon.  (Um, except spending lots of time with my husband.  Right.  Tim > ham sandwich.)

For lunch, we visited the John Besh (who is kind of a total hottie, and OMG did I just say hottie?) restaurant Luke.  (There is a dotty thing over the U, but I am too tired to figure that one out.)  I am 99% certain this was the best meal of my life.

I ordered the Croque Madame.  In normal terms, a ham sandwich with Emmentaler cheese and a fried egg on top.  With French fries.

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You guys, I cannot even explain this sandwich.  It was out of control good.  Everything.  The egg, the ham, the bread, the cheese…to die for.  I mashed up the yolk so the whole sandwich was nice and eggy and ate it with a knife and fork.  It was obvious the ham was not just HAM, but…god, I don’t know.  Made from a golden pig, or something. 

Tim liked it, too.  He got cochon au lait, which was basically some kind of pulled pork and ham sandwich with cherry mustard, Emmentaler cheese and cornichons.  I tried a little and it was also from the same gilded pig that made my sandwich.

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We spent the afternoon exploring the garden district (no pictures, because I was driving) and then set out for our final gigantic decadent meal of the day at Emeril Lagasse’s NOLA.

28975_861971051100_15908788_46920072_3742017_n 28975_861971240720_15908788_46920075_3395408_nMy meal was just okay.  Tim raved about his, though, and we both loved dessert there.

On Friday, we drove through to Tim’s parents’ house in southern MO, stayed there for the night, and drove the last few hours home this morning.  It feels good to be back, although I’m flying to Fort Lauderdale for work Wednesday through Sunday!

In other news, I went to my favorite running store today and bought the running shoes I hope will solve my problems—neutral, wide width, half size larger New Balances.  They feel like clouds on my feet.  Cross your fingers that these will be “the one.”

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Can you believe marathon training starts officially in a WEEK?  Not me.  I’ve missed regular running and racing with all the wedding mania that’s been going on the last two months!  I’m working on finding and registering for some races in June and July to keep me occupied—we’ll see how it goes!

Did I miss anything big?  What happened in the blog world last week?

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13 Responses

  1. Welcome back! It looks like you had a wonderfully restful honeymoon.
    I hope your new shoes finally work for you.
    I’m glad you’re back; I’ve missed your posts this week.

  2. That stinks that you didn’t like things about the ship. I’m never sailed out of New Orleans. It looks like you had fun! Some cruise lines aren’t for some people. Ya’ll might enjoy the more upscale lines more.

  3. It looks like you has a wonderful honeymoon! I went on a Carnival cruise when I was 17 (with the family) and had a great time.

  4. The one and only cruise I’ve been on was on Royal Carribbean to the Bahamas and Key West. It was awesome. Glad you and Tim had fun on your honeymoon, and that you made it home safely. Hope the new shoes work for you!

  5. Why thank you, I think I’m a hottie too!!

    Not really, just Tim. I’m a bit more pro-Carnival than Brie, I think. I would cruise it again, or I would upgrade. Nothing wrong with it, it generally met or exceeded my expectations. For a longer cruise like the one we took, I think it’s a great value. For a shorter trip in the future, we might splurge and pay a little more per night.

  6. You’re from KC?! I had no idea! I went to KU so I lived in Lawrence for the last few years and I have tons of family in the KC area – I’m actually here now for a baptism! Anyway, back to your post – It made me so excited for my honeymoon in just over 2 weeks!!

  7. Welcome back! I’m SO jealous you got to go to John Besh’s restaurant – I love him!!

  8. Welcome back! Glad you had fun. Beignets at Cafe du Monde are the absolute BEST THING EVER. With a good creamy cup of coffee too.. Mm. I’m starving now!

  9. We love roadtrips too 🙂 So fun!

    I’m a travel agent so when you go to plan your next vacation (cruise,whatever) let me know…I kind of felt bad that you picked the ship out of NOLA but that was probably the simplest for you to get to! 🙂

    Oh and suntan lotion, we have similiar skin I think, I’m pretty fair and pale too 🙂 I swear by Arbonne’s sunscreen SPF 30, usually I have to use SPF 50+ in any other brand, but this stuff WORKS. My entire office uses it also, we never burn, amazing!

    Welcome home!!

  10. Looks like a nice honeymoon 🙂 I’ve never been on a cruise before, I’m scared I would get sea sick. I have heard the food on cruises is actually good but it probably depends on the one you go on like you said.

    I just saw on twitter you are changing to self hosted, are you going to be fit bride still, or a new name?

  11. Looks like you had a decent time! I can’t wait for our honeymoon! 😀

  12. While I may disagree with you on Carnival’s food (we thoroughly enjoyed ours on the Legend last month; maybe my standards are low), I definitely concur with the smoking abhorrence! I forget that people smoke, and couldn’t get over the clouds of smoke that we had to walk through on the decks. It REEKED!

  13. Hey Brie, I really enjoy reading your blog. I wanted you to know I think some cruise ships have non-smoking cruises(not sure which ones though) . I don’t like the smoking either and I was going to check into that the next time my husband and I take a cruise.

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