Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Carnival Magic May 2017

Last week we cruised on the Carnival Magic out of Port Canaveral. We drove down on Friday and stayed at the America’s Best Value Inn ($121 which includes parking our car and the shuttle to and from the ship). The shuttle picked us up at 9am and got us to the port by 10:15.

Our Captain was Antonio Marchetti, Hotel Director was Carlos Santos de Melo and the Cruise Director was Eversen Bevelle. We were in cabin 9204 and Dyanna and Earl were in cabin 2202. Our cabin steward was Suarzo. Our dining room table was 590 and our servers were Efraim, Zeno, and Ni. The internet cost me $136 for the week with unlimited wifi.

Embarkation 5/13/17:

It was so organized and smooth to get on the ship. At 10am, we went through security and then they checked us in right away. We boarded the ship around 11am. Our cabin was ready so we dropped stuff off and went straight to the Lido deck for lunch. We got in line at the Mongolian Grill since the line was short. After Dyanna and Earl finished lunch, we brought their stuff to our room. Then we had a bucket of beer ($27) before the muster drill. Our drill was in the showroom and was quick and easy. After that, we went and had another bucket of beer but it was so noisy, we left. We went back towards our room and found one suitcase at someone else’s door. Then we met our cabin steward and told him to look for the other suitcase. After unpacking Don’s suitcase, we walked around the ship and had one more bucket of beer. Dyanna texted me that our other suitcase was at our room so we went back and unpacked. Then we went and had a snack on the Lido deck before going back to the room and taking a nap. At 8:15 we had dinner and then went to bed.

Sea Day 5/14/17:

We had a wonderful sea day brunch where I had my steak and eggs. After that, we walked on the track for an hour before I went to the slot pull. The slot pull took about 3 hours! At first it was limited to about 60 people but she ended up opening it up to 94 people at $21 each. Then they had to go to guest services to put $1974 on her card and then back to put the money in the machine. The machine would only hold $1000 at a time. When it was all over, we all split the credits which was $16 each. After that we went to the pasta bar for lunch and then rested until it was time to get ready for the Captain’s cocktail party. I loved showing the captain a picture we took with him on the Dream in 2012. We also met DiMa, the housekeeping manager and Monica, the HR director.  After that we had more cocktails and listened to music until dinner. For dinner we had prime rib and lobster tails. At 10:15 we went to the show, Country Roads. Near the end, the dancers went around and grabbed people to dance in the aisles and one got us to do this!

Grand Turk 5/15/17:

We got off the ship at 8am and was in our beach chairs by 8:15. Even though it was overcast, we had a great time in the water. We noticed more colorful fish in the water than the previous times we were here snorkeling. We came back to the ship around 11am and after cleaning up, we had lunch. Then we sat out on the deck and relaxed before taking a nap in our cabin. At 5pm, I went to a Cruise Critic meet and mingle which was nice.

San Juan 5/16/17:

In the morning, we left a bag of laundry for our cabin steward. We got off the ship around 1:30 and walked to Castillo San Cristóbal and showed the kids the dungeon. Then we walked to the other fort but the kids were hot and tired so we didn’t go there. We walked around town and stopped at a place for mallorcas (which were like cheese sandwiches) and very good. We ended up walking about 7 miles but the kids were hot, tired, and cranky but we weren’t. We laughed that they needed a nap! We sat on the deck and relaxed until dinner time. The dining room crew sent us a bottle of wine which was really nice.

St. Kitts 5/17/17:

We got off the ship around 10:30 and walked around town. Don found the artist who turns her prints into postcards. He buys some from her every time we come to this island. We bought some beer to rehydrate because it was cheaper than soda. Soda was $2 each and the Carib beer was 3 for $5 so we bought the beer. We went back to the ship for lunch and relaxed on the deck until dinner. We brought our bottle of wine to dinner and shared it.

St. Maarten 5/18/17

We got off the ship around 8am and took the water taxi to the beach. We got our chairs in front of Caribbean Blend by 8:30am (2 chairs and umbrella for $15). At 9:30, we went up and said hi to Sue. Then we spent the day playing at the beach and drinking beer ($10 for a bucket of 5 Coronas). My friend, Suzette from Caribbean Blend gave me a dress as a present! About 3pm, we headed back to the ship. Even though we all put on sunscreen, we all got burned! We ate a sandwich from the deli and then took a nap until dinner. Don was freezing but I think he got dehydrated.

Sea Day 5/19/17:

We went to the sea day brunch where I got my steak and eggs for breakfast and then we got a bloody mary. We also left a bag of laundry for our cabin steward. Then my daughter and I met up with a group to learn how to make guitar string charm bracelets which was a lot of fun. After that we sat around the pool and read before going to a late lunch. Since it was formal night, the kids decided to skip dinner in the dining room and go to the outdoor movie theater around the pool to see the movies: Arrival and Hidden Figures. We went to the Alchemy Bar for pre-dinner cocktails and then had dinner in the dining room. After dinner, we went to see the show Flick which was pretty good.

Sea Day 5/20/17:

After our sea day brunch, we went to look for a chair by the pool to relax and read. We had a late lunch again and then relaxed until the “Platinum and Diamond Levels” party which was nice. As a diamond level guest, we had to go on stage in the show theater and stand with the other diamond members. All day long I had people say hi and that they saw us on the stage. After the party, we went back to the room and started watching Return of the Titans (with Denzel Washington) which we have seen before. Then we went to dinner. Since they hadn’t delivered our liquor before dinner, we had to go back to the room to finish packing. Because of this, it was too late for us to go to the show. Then we had to put our suitcases in the hallway before 11pm.

Debarkation 5/21/17:

We had breakfast on the Lido deck at 5:45 and then met near the shore excursion desk at 7:15. Around 7:40, they called us to get off the ship. We found our luggage and went through customs which was quick and painless. I was surprised that we no longer need to fill out custom forms unless we are over the limits. There was chaos at the shuttle desk but we finally got on the shuttle around 8:10 and headed back to our motel where our cars were. When we left there, we headed south to visit my parents for a couple of days.

Things I Learned:
1.     For the price, I would stay at America’s Best Value again.
2.     The slot pull was fun but I probably won’t do it again if there are more than 50 people involved.
3.     We need 2 bottles of water in San Juan.
4.     We need 2 bottles of water in St. Maarten
5.     The internet was well worth the money. People had trouble with the $5 chat.
6.     I enjoyed making the bracelets and want to try making more jewelry.
7.     I really enjoyed being a part of the Facebook group.

Toss Up Game

(Today’s guest post is from Holly Jachowski with Education.com. Education.com provides thousands of teacher-approved learning resources for teachers, students, and families. In education, there is no such thing as "one size fits all," so we develop our materials to complement different teaching philosophies across subjects and grades. We strive to empower all kinds of educators through access to these resources and raise kids' confidence in learning.)

It's important to be able to add and subtract quickly and accurately, and this activity is the perfect way for your children or students to practice their math. All you need to play is a deck of playing cards, paper and a pencil. The primary focus in this game is addition, but if any one player gets too far ahead, the other players can work together to level the playing field and use subtraction to take away points from the leader.
What You Need: 

  • Deck of playing cards (with the face cards removed)
  • Paper
  • Pencil
What You Do: 

  1. Divide the cards evenly between all of the players and explain that for the purposes of this game, aces= 1.
  2. Decide how many points to play to, in order to declare a winner, and which player will be the scorekeeper. Give the scorekeeper the paper and pencil.
  3. To begin a round, players should flip over the top card of their pile and place it face up for all the other players to see. Each player should take a turn solving an equation using the numbers played. Only two numbers can be used.
  4. Players can then decide whether they want to use the result to add to their own score by creating an addition equation, or create a subtraction equation to take away points from another player.
  5. The first player to reach the set amount of points you agreed upon at the beginning of the game wins.
If you're working with older kids, you can also incorporate multiplication and division problems.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Back of the Book Blurb #61 Challenge

From Sioux's PageSioux offers this challenge.

She posts a picture and you need to imagine it as a graphic for a book. You choose the genre and book title, and then write a blurb that might appear on the back of the book.

The blurb should be 150 words or less (not including the title). The genre is wide-open.
Each blogger should include their blurb on their own blog, and link back to this post. Have fun with it. Go to the other posts and comment on the other blurbs.  You can do fancy techy things with the photo.

(Join in if you dare...! It sounds like fun! I think this would be a lot of fun to do with students especially since they would be expected to write 150 words or less!)


Samuel wanted to ask Dionne to marry him but now he was afraid to. Someone mailed him an anonymous package with old photos of him. Sure, he did zany things when he was a kid. He colored his hair rainbow colors and did lots of things for attention, but he didn’t mean any of it. Now, he was a successful stockbroker and even drove a Lamborghini. He wore 3 piece Armani suits and others saw him as a respectable guy. Yet, Dionne was always accusing him of being immature and he tried to show her that he had changed. He has loved her since they were children but she didn’t know everything about him. Now someone was blackmailing him with these pictures. If she saw them, she would never want anything to do with him. He had to take action!  It was time to snuff out the blackmailer! (148 words)