No driving, no Priceline, just a three-day cruise to The Bahamas on the Carnival Sensation.

I’d been promising the girl-child a cruise for quite a while, but she didn’t have a passport and I could swear that I’d heard you need a passport or passport-card now.  But I found I was wrong and you can still cruise with a birth certificate if you’re sailing from/to the same port. 

So I booked the cruise and gave her the option of inviting a friend along – she picked her boyfriend.  Yeah … three nights in a small cabin with my daughter and her boyfriend … thank god for the Fun Ship Special:


In all fairness, he seems like a decent guy and it worked out well.  They went off and did their thing, leaving me free to relax and enjoy myself instead of worrying about her being entertained.

Other than dinner the last night and some time in the cabin, I saw very little of the two of them.

We met up at my place around 12:00 Thursday and drove over to Port Canaveral.  With much less waiting than I’ve had on previous cruises, we were onboard and, yes, I picked up my first Fun Ship Special within twenty feet of the gangway.


We left port and there’s not a lot to write about a cruise.  Pretty good food – and a lot of it.  Shows, casino, and fruity-rum drinks – which maybe they’d had too many of when they decided on the description of this show:


So Thursday night was a nice dinner – a duck appetizer served on spicy glass noodles, followed by a pork steak; a couple shows; and some time in the casino.


Friday we arrived in Nassau – the last of the arrivals as Carnival Fantasy, Disney Dream, and Norwegian Epic were already in port when we got there.


Epic is one of the ways I’m considering for a trip to London next October or April (2014).  Round-trip airfare, Orlando to London, is around $1000 – but Epic repositions between Miami and Barcelona those months.  When I checked for this year’s 4/20 sailing, it was $399 / person for an inside cabin – 11-days, Miami to Barcelona; $50 on Ryan Air from Barcelona to London; and $600 one-way from London to Orlando … even with a few hundred for taxes and fees, that’s pretty close to just airfare, but you get an 11-day cruise too.

I went into Nassau to do some shopping, including Cariloha bamboo sheets, and visit the pirate museum, while Aryn and Michael went to Atlantis on Paradise Island (formerly Hog Island, which doesn’t work as well for marketing purposes), where Aryn took advantage of the 18-year Bahamian drinking age to get somewhat plastered.

So I returned to the cabin later that day to find my daughter stumbling-drunk with her boyfriend.  Thank god for the Fun Ship Special to help me deal with that.


More food, more shows, more drinks, and more time in the casino.  Carnival actually has a player-friendly blackjack variant, called Fun 21.  The dealer has to hit on soft 17, blackjack pays 2-to-1, and the player wins a tied 21 – all of which are positive-expectations for the player.

So I played some of that and some Let It Ride.  Saturday I played both those again, along with some craps and even some roulette.  After totaling things up, I was down for the trip, but that can be attributed to heavy tipping and dealer-bets, something I find myself doing more of lately.

I’ll sit down at a table and start placing a $1 bet for the dealer alongside mine, then see how long it takes before others at the table begin doing the same thing.  Usually, at a full table, two or three others will soon be placing regular bets for the dealer.  It’s an interesting exercise.

More of the same Saturday and then home Sunday morning. 

But now I want to take a longer cruise to different ports – I’ve been to Nassau three times now – or maybe one of the all-inclusive resorts.