Category Archives: Carnival Breeze

Spongebob in Monaco

On September 6, 2012, Ivan and I had the buffet breakfast.  The boat was in Monaco which is the prettiest port.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I got off the boat at 9:30 am. 

We wanted to get a small car to rent (like a golf cart), but it didn’t look like the company had any (it’s by Stars & Bars).  We walked to the one right by the cruise ship.  This company had a big red car with 4 seats for more money.  Andres and Caroline came off the ship and wanted to rent a car as well.

The 4 seater was a lot more powerful.  We thought that we’d make a lap and come back for Andres and Caroline.  I noticed Mark and Clare walking and Ivan told them to jump in.  We drove around with the music pumping out, and Ivan talking corners like he was on the formula one track! (which in actual fact he really was!)

We drove by the other rental place and they had more cars.  Mark and Clare jumped out to rent one.  We told them we’d be back to see if we could find Andres and Caroline.  There wasn’t a sign of them – so either they didn’t get a car or they had already taken off.  We thought it was weird since we would probably see them pass by. 

Ivan drove us to where Mark and Clare were renting the car.  We took off towards the Monte Carlo Casino hoping that we’d see Andres and Caroline since Ivan told them they should head there.

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Ivan brought along the iPod and the speakers.  He pumped up the music and we drove around the city pissing off all the locals with our music.

At one point, we lost Mark and Clare since we went down a part we weren’t supposed to or it was a bus lane.  Monaco is really small so we thought we might find them again. 

We did find them a few minutes later.

I drove for awhile so Ivan could navigate us around (I’m not that great with maps). 

Ivan started driving again.  He started driving down a small street which I think was only meant for pedestrians, but of course Ivan didn’t care.  A car was coming right at us.  He was backing up.  We went one way and though Mark would follow suit, but he didn’t.  We lost them once again.

Ivan drove us around more.  We chilled and took some pictures near the heliport.

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We drove by the palace and saw the Scottish couple walking around.  

We took a couple of pictures at a nice park area.

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Later on, we found Mark and Clare again.  Their car was really low on gas which wasn’t enough for half a day like they bought.  We drove to the car rental place.  They told the lady about it.  Ivan mentioned that they should get a refund since it didn’t last the whole time and they got some money back.

Mark and Clare joined us in our car.  Ivan asked if they went to the palace and they said no.  Ivan dropped us off, so we went up there to take pictures.  You can’t park right by the palace for safety reasons – the French police go mental.  We saw the guard marching outside the palace. 

We ran into Andres and Caroline.  They had parked the car since they didn’t know how to get to the palace.  I’m sure they were given a map, but maybe they didn’t check it out.

We hopped in and went to a great place for a picture that Mark and Clare didn’t go to.  Monaco is just gorgeous.  I love the view of the marina and all the boats. 

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It was almost time for us to board the boat.  Mark and Clare jumped out before the rental car place to take some pictures.  We said bye.  Ivan and I returned the car. 

We went to Stars and Bars to try to use the free wi-fi.  It was pretty slow though. 

We boarded the Carnival Breeze at 1:30 pm.  It was packed everywhere for lunch since it was the last day and everybody wanted to stuff their faces before leaving the cruise ship.  Lil Dave went to meet up with his monkey friends at the monkey buffet.

I told Ivan the Italian place looked really quiet.  So, we had lunch at Cucina del Capitaco which is free for lunch and dinner you have to pay a fee.  You can pick your pasta, sauce and ingredients.  Ivan and I got red clam sauce with pasta and shrimp.  It was delicious with the red clam sauce.

We went to listen to Timmy Pierce at the pool – he has a great voice.

We checked out the Art Auction for the champagne but the free champagne was already all gone.

Ivan and I went next door to the Thrill Theater.  We didn’t know that you could pay a fee of $14.95 for unlimited rides for the whole cruise per person.  If we had known we would have purchased it.  We went on Spongebob and Mumble’s Wild Ride for $7.95 per person.  We had to put on 3D glasses – it was big enough to go over my eyeglasses.  It was 4D with water spraying at you and things poking you.  We really enjoyed it.

It was time to chill in the jacuzzi for awhile. 

Later on, we got ready for the show.  Ivan went to see the show Latin Nights.  I was late and only caught the end of it.  He thought it was a great show.

Ivan and I each had the crab cake for a starter which was tasty. Most of our meals on Carnival are very tasty.. every now and then a dish isn’t the best. I had the vegetarian Indian meal for my main course which was delectable.

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For dessert, we shared the diet apple pie which was pretty tasty also!!

We took pictures with our tablemates. 

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We had lots of fun with Mark, Clare, Andres and Caroline.

Some of the couples went to the casino.  Ivan and I were tired so we headed off to bed.  We put in our ear plugs since tomorrow we knew there would be announcements really early in the morning to leave the ship.

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Hungover Brits

Ivan and I woke up early on September 5, 2012 at 8:45 am for some reason.  I was so hungover.  Today was our last Sea Day.  We watched the funny morning show with the cruise director Butch and Calvyn.

Lil Dave went to play with his monkey friends. 

We went to get brunch at the Punchliner’s Comedy Brunch.  Ivan had the tomato soup for a starter.  We each got the eggs benedict with salmon.  I wanted to eat, but I felt nauseous so I didn’t end up finishing my brunch…still no big deal-its not as if we are paying for it! (well we are coz we are paying for the cruise – but we are not paying for each individual food item!)

We saw the Mind Magic Seminar which was Rakesh teaching magic tricks.  Ivan knows how to do lots of magic tricks, so we decided to do something else.

We sat on the one swing chair outside of the Red Frog Pub.  Ivan and I read our books.  I was really getting into my book Guilty Wives by David Ellis and James Patterson.  I was looking out at the water, but it was making me nauseous.  I was feeling so crappy.

It was time for the pool.  I brought along my pink floppy hat which I bought in Hvar, Croatia. 

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We saw the Miss Carnival Breeze where a girl dresses up a guy in clothes from people around the pool.  it was okay.  Then, there were more pool games like diving in the pool for spoons.  Ivan went to have Indian food for lunch from the tandoori which was delicious as always!

We walked around and ended up at the Ocean Plaza.  Ivan played the Carnival trivia and won a gold ship on a stick. 

I got a Guy’s burger while Ivan went to the Disco Dance Class.  We thought the dance class would be with Butch, but it was with Amy and a boring host.  Butch is funny since he really gets into dancing and he looks like Lee Evans.  It’s always fun to watch him dance around.

It was Tea Time.  We had a scone, macaron and strawberries with our tea. 

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Since we didn’t get much sleep last night, we went to the room for a nap at 4:30 pm.  We took a long 2 1/2 hour nap.  Lil Dave was there telling us that he went swimming because of a dare and he said it was alright. 

We got ready and went to check out The Brits show at 8 pm.  The show was really good, but we miss the band with the live music.  There was great singing and dancing to British songs like The Beatles, Rolling Stone, The Who and Tom Jones. 

It was time for dinner late at 8:45 pm. 

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Everybody was all dressed up since it was the last Elegant Night.  I had the salmon and apple salad and the escargots since I’ve never tried it before.  The escargots reminded me of seafood or mushrooms and tasted good.  I also tried the osso bucco which I’ve never had before.. actually never knew what it was. 

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The osso bucco which was very tender and tasty.  Ivan and I shared the chocolate melting cake.  I was so stuffed from so much food.  We chatted with Mark, Clare, Andres and Caroline.  The British couple left to do the 3D theatre.  We chatted with Andres and Caroline.  We were tired so we said good night.

Ivan used the internet while I worked on the blog.

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Dancing Octopus

On September 4, 2012, the Carnival Breeze was docked in Livorno.  The weather was overcast.  Typical…

Ivan and I decided to check out Livorno rather than go all the way into Florence which is what most people do. We got the free bus to the centre of the city.

We walked around, but there doesn’t seem to be much to see….I guess that’s why everyone goes to Florence!

Lunch was at a place near a bridge called Otto Risso. 

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Ivan and I shared gnocchetti pesti e noci (pesto gnocchi with nuts) and polpo cacciuccati (octopus molasses) which was lovely with a white wine.  At the end, we tried a lovely ponce alla livornese (coffee with a liquor punch and a lemon peel).

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It started showering at the end of the meal.  We started walking back to the centre.

We got back on the cruise ship at 3:40 pm.  I played the 80’s trivia which I was alright at.  Ivan headed back to the room while I played.

We chilled in the room and then relaxed in the jacuzzi. Carnival Breeze has plenty of Jacuzzi’s – on the pool deck, on the adults only part, and also on deck 5 jutting out over the side of the ship.

Ivan and I went to dinner with our tablemates.  We knew that we found a cool table since 4 out of the 6 people liked to have a good time and drink…always a good sign! 

We left dinner early to catch the 9:45 comedy show.  Chas Elstner was on first who I’ve seen somewhere before.  He was just okay.  Then, Al Katz come on next who was just terrible.

It was time to check out the Blue Iguana’s Mexican Fiesta on the pool deck.  Not much was going on there though.

So, we went to find the English couple and French/Latin couple.  We knew that it would be a good day to party since our last sea day was tomorrow.

We found them outside at the Red Frog Pub playing dominos and drinking a fishbowl.  Well, Andres was trying to teach Caroline, Marc and Clare how to play.  Clare look confused and didn’t seem like she wanted to learn.  Ivan didn’t think it was a game to play while you were drinking.. but maybe a game if you’re an old man.  Ivan and I grabbed an espresso and came back.  Nothing like a shot of caffeine to start off a night!

We talked and Ivan did a few magic tricks.  A young British couple Clare knew joined us – the girl’s name was Jennifer. Her parents obviously have really good taste in names!

It was time to dance.  We headed to the Liquid Nightclub which was packed with people.  The Latin/French couple were tired and wanted to sleep.  I told Andres he should get an espresso, but he thought it would affect him too much since he doesn’t drink it often.  Ivan told them they should stay since it was our last day to party.  Andres said they’d buy one more drink and stay awhile.  I knew that they’d be here for awhile.  It’s always one more drink and then I’ll go.. but it just makes you buzzed or drunk and want to dance more.

I said hi to the pretty French Canadian girls that we dined with one night at the bad location in the restaurant.  I keep seeing them around the ship.

We danced for awhile.  At first, the music was good fun pop music like Black Eyed Peas but then it turned into crappy ghetto hip hop (bump n grind crap) music which Ivan and I hate.  I was telling Clare that the music sucked and she agreed.  She asked me what kind of music did I want.  I said garage and drum n’ bass.  Clare went to talk to the DJ and she started pointing to me.  She told me to tell him.. so I went over there and said the music was bad and I wanted to hear some garage or drum n’ bass and he wasn’t going for that.  I said well, maybe something upbeat like YMCA and he laughed and said no.  According to Carnival 2.0 these DJs are trained to learn how to read the crowd and play what they think they want.  I think he was reading the crowd wrong and just playing what he wanted.

Ok, he did start playing some fun music.. so I was happy.  But, you would think he would notice that more people dance to the pop music than the bad hip hop music. 

I was drunk and started doing my usual craziness and hitting people’s butts (I blame the hitting people’s butts on my friend Jerry who would love to hit girls butts really hard).  Ivan and I were having fun dancing around with everybody. 

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The music was jumping around to all sorts of music like Latin. 

I noticed some of the playlist productions cast (the singers and dancers in the main shows) in the nightclub.  The Asian gay guy was really dancing like he was auditioning for a play.  I told Mark  that he was one of the cast (he didn’t know since Clare and he hasn’t been to the shows).  He dared me to go start dancing all crazy next to him.  I was going to, but then one of the other production cast members grabbed the Asian guy and left.

The Liquid Nightclub has a drink that comes in a disco ball.  Ivan bought one – we drank it and he went to drop it off in the room. 

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I’m glad Andres and Caroline stayed and danced with us.  It looks like they were drunk and having fun.

The music turned to slow music which meant the DJ wanted everybody to leave…either that or he was just feeling all romantic (somehow I think it’s the former reason…).

We said good night to everybody and went to our room at 3:30 pm.  Ivan was ready to dance more.  We ordered some free food from room service and then went to sleep around 5 am. Always nice to leave a nightclub, have a very short walk back to your room, and then have free room service on tap!

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St. Peter’s Cooking Class

On September 3, 2012, the Carnival Breeze was in Civitavecchia, Italy.  Today was Ivan’s birthday.  Lil Dave gave Ivan his birthday gift (which actually wasn’t bananas!) and said happy birthday and he was off to meet the monkey lads.

We had the breakfast buffet on the ship.  The weather looked nice outside.

We took the train in Civitavecchia to Rome.  Unfortunately, Ivan ran to find a seat.. but it was so crowded there was no way we could both move.  I was on a stair for a long time reading my Stephen King book (Thank goodness I didn’t forget my book).  I thought we’d be on the train and I’d be able to work on the blog on my laptop.  It must have been rush hour (with people going to work) plus people from the cruise ships (one had just debarked). 

We got a taxi to Cooking Classes in Rome place… we were running late.  The class had 11 people in it – a mix of Americans, English and Australians. 

Our teacher was an Italian man named Andrea who looked like Roger Federer.  The kitchen was small but somehow we all fit inside.  The menu for today was deep fried pizzas with 3 different ingredients, fettucine boscaiola, chicken cacciatora, roasted tomatoes and traditional tiramisu.

Andrea would show us how to do something (like chop tomatoes) and then ask for a volunteer or two to do it.  I was chopping tomatoes with an American guy. Ivan was peeling a bunch of potatoes with a guy.

It was raining hard outside – I’m glad we were inside.

Later, we got to make pizza dough and knead it. 

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The class also made pasta dough and got to cut it as well.  We’re definitely going to make our own pasta back home. 

I got to fry pizza dough for the fried pizzas.

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The fried pizzas were really tasty with lovely fresh ingredients on top.

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The pasta and chicken cacciatore were tasty.

The tiramisu was decorated with our names.

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How cute!!

During dessert, Ivan really liked his and I said you should eat more since it’s your birthday.  Andrea heard this and came out with birthday tiramisu cakes and we all sang happy birthday to him.

It was a fun class.  I love cooking classes since you get to make new things and then eat it afterwards.  We went with the wine pairing for 20 euros per person.

The food was very tasty.  I definitely recommend this fun cooking class.  If you’re planning on booking it, do it early since this cooking class gets booked up fast.  The cooking class does e-mail you the recipes from the class.

We walked around Rome… a lovely city that we’ve been to a few times, but still haven’t seen all the sights. 

No matter how many times we got to St. Peter’s Basilica.. it’s still beautiful.

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I posted some postcards at the Vatican.  It started showering.

We got the train back to Civitavecchia.  We were back on the cruise ship at 6:30 pm.

It was time for dinner at the Blush Restaurant.  I asked Ken the singing maitr’d to sing a song for Ivan and wish him a happy birthday.  He said he’d sing a song the next day since a lot of people eat dinner in Rome since everybody gets to board the boat late at 8:30 pm.  Ivan was busy talking dinner and I talked to one of the waiters.  I told him it’s Ivan’s birthday and could he get a candle in his dessert.  The waiter said we already know it’s his birthday.  I said How? He said we just know.  I said Oh it must have been Ken.  He said we just know.

Ken announced Happy Birthday to Ivan at table 733. 

A cake came out with a candle on top and we sang Happy Birthday to Ivan and then he blew out the candle. 

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The cake was good that Ivan was given.  We ordered an apple pie which tasted great.

After dinner, we went to the Red Frog Pub with the English couple and the Latin/French couple. 

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It was a fun night of listening to the singing of Timmy Pearce (he sings modern songs with a backing track), drinking and chatting. 

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We got the fish bowl which has lots of alcohol in it.  Ivan did a few magic tricks as well.  Mark (the muscular English guy) was really drunk and kept high-5ing people.  It was really funny.  It made me think of the status update I wrote about Why do you get the incredible urge to wave at people at the port or a passing boat when you’re on a cruise ship?  My friend said it’s like a high-5, you can’t resist it.  The Latin/French couple said good-night.

We went to the Liquid Nightclub with the English couple Mark and Clare.  Nobody was really there though (Ivan thinks it was only entertainment staff there besides us).  Ivan and I said good night and went to bed.

 

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Sardinia

On September 2, 2012, Ivan and I had breakfast at the buffet.  We met outside for a tour outside of the cruise ship.  We were in Olbia, Italy. 

Lil Dave was hanging with his monkey friends on the boat.  They were going to race boats at the monkey pool.  Lil Dave was happy to be on his monkey vacation from The Daily Dave blog.

We went on tour with 22 people through Sardinia.  It was an overcast day.  We looked like we were the youngest in the tour group.  The tour guide was a man named Mario.

Our first stop was Porto Rotondo in the Casbah area at the marina. 

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There was lots of boats and plants.  We saw a church service in progress. 

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Right outside the church there was a cool bell tower.  Also, on the ground there were profiles of the popes in the marble floor.  It looked really cool.. not sure who is who though, but I’ll tell you one thing they all had big noses.

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We drove more and got to stop for the panoramic view.  It was a shame about the weather because this would have been beautiful with blue skies and a sunny day. 

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Our next stop was Porto Cervo.  We walked around with Mario for 10 minutes and then we got some free time.  Porto Cervo is filled with expensive stores like Prada, Louis Vuitton, Bulgari and Versace… but we also saw some cute boutique shops.  A few people were walking their cute dogs.

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There were a lot of interesting art pieces around the village.

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Ivan and I each had a scoop of gelato on a cone.

It was on to the next destination which was Baja Sardinia (Sardinia Bay).  We stopped by the Holy San Antonio Church where Mario sang All Come All Ye Faithful in Italian – he has a lovely voice. 

Mario talked earlier of the most famous Italian song Mama.  He sang it beautifully to the tour group on the bus.  Somehow, the bus left without two people.  Good thing somebody was paying attention.. because I surely had no clue who was really on this tour.  Luckily, the bus went back and Mario and some people went looking for them.  Somebody saw them near the bus. 

Our last stop on the tour was Palau.  It was another gorgeous panoramic shot. 

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Mario even said that he felt bad showing us these beautiful places with such bad weather.  The driver drove us through Palau and then we drove back to Olbia.

It was time to head back to the cruise ship.

Ivan and I had a late lunch on the Carnival Breeze.  I had a lovely burger with sautéed onions, banana peppers and bbq sauce with their oh so tasty seasoned french fries from Guy’s Burger Joint while Ivan got stuff from the Tandoori (Indian food) and the buffet.

We went on the fun water slides a few times and then read our books in the jacuzzi.

Later, we decided to hit the buffet instead of going to the restaurant since we had a late lunch.

Ivan and I had some tasty food at the buffet.. we had sushi, seafood chowder and tilapia.

We were so knackered (tired) that we watched an episode of Beaver Falls and then called it an early night.

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Pizza Tunnels

On September 1, 2012, Ivan, Lil Dave and I had the big breakfast burrito in the Red Iguana Mexican place. It was so very tasty and big.

We got off the cruise ship at 9:30 am. It was completely overcast and gloomy out. We wore jeans and rain jackets and went into the city.

It was time to see the Il Tunnel Borbonico which are tunnels.  The tour was in English that Ivan pre-booked.  It was only us in the tour which was really cool.  This was made in the 17th century as a military passage connecting the Royal Palace to Morelli street.  It was also used for a bomb shelter during World War II.  It was supposedly the most bombed city in the war (This sounds so familiar since we’ve heard it before on other tours for other cities that we’re bombed during the war – wonder which city was ACTUALLY the most bombed city during the war).  It was really cavernous and huge down there.  We’ve been to the Cuchi Tunnels in Vietnam? and those were even hard for me to walk in without bending over (I’m under 5 foot).

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There was lots of old cars there since in the 1940’s to the 1970’s the police placed stolen or illegal cars here. 

Ivan found out today that you can actually do rafting underneath the tunnels.  Too bad that nobody was doing it today.  It’s something you do have to book ahead.  That would have been fun.

We did see parts of water tanks and the old electricity system on the wall.

Over by the old toilets, the lady played a air raid siren.. I think she should have played it longer for effect.

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It is sad to think that people lived down here during the war.  It was really spacious, but I’m sure it was quite depressing.

It was a really cool place.  Unfortunately, we couldn’t take pictures because of copyright.  They said they would send us pictures to our email for free (but still haven’t gotten them and it’s been two weeks after).  I would definitely recommend seeing the tunnels.. it’s really worth the 10 euros per person.  When you’re filling out the form to get the pictures via email you also get a ticket that lasts for the rest of the year.  Our friendly tour guide said we should talk about us online like Tripadvisor or Twitter since they don’t advertise.  She even told me that it’s weird that she works that and she can’t even take photos of where she works.  If I worked there, I would sneak a few in.  I don’t know her name but she was very passionate about the tunnels maybe since she doesn’t do that many tours. 

It was warm out so we probably shouldn’t have worn jeans.  It was a little cooler in the tunnels though.

We went back to the Carnival Breeze to change and relax for a bit.  I worked on some art stuff and the blog while Ivan used the internet.  Lil Dave came back to the room.  He’s been playing some silly monkey trivia games with his friends. 

Ivan and I went back into Naples to do our own self-guided pizza tour.  Naples is where pizza was created.  We wanted to try a few places eating a slice of pizza at each one. 

Our first stop was the pizzeria called L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele that was used in the movie Eat Pray Love.  There was a big crowd outside with people waiting for their number to be called.  Ivan grabbed a number.  It was rainy out.  Ivan noticed that people had take-away boxes.  Ivan is always the one to save some time.. he thought that we should just get a pizza take-away.  It was weird that there were lots of people STILL waiting for their pizza inside the small restaurant inside. 

There were only two options of pizza here:  margherita and marinara – one with cheese and one without (Why oh why would you get it without cheese?!).  We went for the margherita.  We saved a lot of time by getting our pizza to go.

We picked a spot that had a cover so we wouldn’t get wet from the rain.  The pizza had a lot of tomato making it more wet (which is definitely a Napoli pizza trait) and not enough cheese. 

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The cheese, tomato and bread were delicious.  Ivan and I agreed that it needed more cheese.  I gave it 8 out of 10 while Ivan scored the same.

The next stop was Pizzeria Sorbillo Antonio egigi Napoli (wheew what a name!).  It was weird seeing an Asian taking out the pizzas at this place.  The oven was right near the entrance.  We got the funghi pizza which came with mozzarella, mushroom and pomodoro (tomato). 

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This pizza was a bit ordinary.  I thought the cheese was good.  We both agreed that the bread tasted great.  I gave it 6 out of 10 while Ivan gave it 5 out of 10.  There was a guy playing music on a tambour. 

It was time for a break from all the pizza.. so we decided to check out the sights.

We checked out the Sansevero Chapel.  The most famous marble statue is The Veiled Christ. 

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It’s amazing how the sculptor made the marble look very thin like a veil.  There was another cool statue where the marble looks exactly like rope.  It’s amazing the work these artists make.. the artists these days just pale in comparison compared to these artists.

Our last pizza stop was Di Matteo.  We tried to go here earlier in the day, but it was way too busy probably since it was lunch time.  Ivan was right to say that we should come back later.  Ex-President Bill Clinton has visited here.

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We got the pizza sampler which was divided into four – one with no cheese or sauce, but with mushrooms, anchovies, eggplant, olives (asked for artichokes, but I guess they ran out – took the olives off since we don’t like olives).  The bread was okay, the tomato sauce was alright and the toppings and cheese were good.  We had our slice of pizza with a glass of white wine.  I gave it 5 out of 10 while Ivan gave it 4 out of 10. 

The best pizza of the day was the Eat Pray Love pizza at L’Antica Pizzeria Da Michele. Naples is known for their use of tomato making the pizza more wet. It’s different.. but as long as the tomatoes are tasty it’s good. Also, they don’t use much cheese… so, I guess that leaves you concentrating on the toppings and flavors. 

Watch a video of me reviewing the pizza at Di Matteo:

Check out the two other video reviews: L’Antica Pizzeria da Michele and Pizzeria Sorbillo Antonio egigi Napoli.

At the port, we bought some banana vermouth and a red wine.  The bags are checked at the port with the Italians and they don’t care what you bring on.  Usually, Carnival is very strict.. but this port had the gangway at Level 3 and they didn’t have a machine to check bags – plus they didn’t check what were the contents of the bag. 

We went back on the Carnival Breeze right before 6 pm. 

Ivan and I used the internet and I worked on the blog as well. 

It was time for some entertainment.  We saw Richard Griffin who’s a comedy magician – he wasn’t that funny and his tricks were the same ol’ stuff you see.

We went to dinner and chatted with our tablemates.

Credits: Il Tunnel Borbonico picture and The Veiled Christ picture

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Mount Etna & Taormina

On September 1, 2012, we were already in Messina. 

We met the tour bus going to Mount Etna and Taormina.  The group was 8 people from the Carnival Breeze cruise ship – but it wasn’t a privately booked excursion (there are Carnival excursions you can book on the cruise ship).  We were the youngest people in the group.  Our tour guide was a man named Claudio.

Claudio told us some history about Italy.  The Sicilians felt separated from the rest of Italy.  They would go to head of families to get help or protection which is the start of the mafia.  It used to be really bad from 1960’s to the early 1990’s. 

Ivan and I didn’t have a chance to grab any breakfast since we were rushing.  The group stopped at a honey and olive oil place called Oro d’ Etna.  We were glad to have stopped here since there were free samples of the flavored honeys & olive oils.  I liked the berries honey and the onion olive oil.  We also got to try almond wine.

Mount Etna erupts every now and then which is good so that it doesn’t build up pressure and erupt a lot at once.  It erupted recently 3 weeks ago.  You know that an eruption is coming from the black smoke coming from the volcano and ash may come out. 

Our next stop was Mount Etna’s Silvestri Crater.  We got to walk around for 30 minutes. 

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To go to the main craters, you can take the cable car that goes up to 8,500 feet then a jeep (4×4) to 10,000 feet where the main craters are located.  Too bad we couldn’t do that since it’s a long trip.

We started driving towards Taormina.  I was looking forward to lunch.  We stopped by and saw a great view of Isla de la Bella which means Beautiful Island which was really beautiful.

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The group stopped at Taormina where we had 2 hours for lunch and sight seeing.  Ivan and I went to find the restaurant that Claudio recommended.  It was a warm day out.  We went to Grandluca.  Ivan and I shared the regionale pizza (tuna and onion) and the pasta con le sarde.  The regionale had way too much cheese and not enough tuna and onion. 

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The pasta was delicious with sardines, wild fennel, raisins and pine nuts. 

Later on, we tried the fresh cannolis at Roberto Lab. Pasticceria.  There were lots of postcards from many fans who loved their cannolis.  We had to try one. 

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It was simply delicious.  Before we’ve had cannolis and they weren’t fresh.  It’s so much better when it’s fresh. 

We walked around Taormina checking out the souvenir shops.  Ivan thought we should get another thing at the Roberto place.  We didn’t get another cannoli (which I wouldn’t have minded if we did!), but we did get another pastry with cream inside it which was also tasty.

We walked around some – didn’t have time to check out the theatre, but we’ve seen the one at Pompei which is probably better. 

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Taormina is a cute quaint  town. 

We drove back to Messina and stopped by the main square.  There was a church.  I saw this big religious thing and took a picture. 

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Not sure what it meant though.

Claudio drove us back to the ship.  Ivan bought a USB internet stick in Venice the other day.  It was only 9 Euros for the stick and 6 months of internet with 100 MB a day.  We weren’t sure how it was so cheap!  We used the internet.

Ivan and I went to the Past Guest Party which was alright.  We did get free appetizers and drinks.  They were passing out fruity drinks, but we asked for red wine and we did get it for free as well.  The party is pretty much an advertisement for all the boats and talking about the new Carnival 2.0.  I liked seeing the towel animals talk on the big screen.

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Ivan went to the jacuzzi and saw Mount Stromboli pass by.  I was doing art stuff and working on the blog – also Ivan didn’t tell me that the cool volcano would be passing by… Thanks Ivan!

I made a cool art piece with our nickname (like Brangelina) that Neal, Ivan’s brother, gave us.  It’s iJen!  I stuck this on our cabin door.

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We went to dinner and the boring Scottish people were the only ones there.  Ivan and I each had the study in sushi which is really small. 

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I had the French Onion soup while Ivan got the black bean soup.  We each had the tasty baked herb polenta.  We shared the fig, walnut and cinnamon cake which came with a great walnuty ice cream.

We left dinner early for the comedy show.  We saw John Lory who is so freaking funny.  We went to check out Malcolm Pitt who is a Lionel Ritchie impersonator.  He didn’t really look like him much, but he did sound like him.  It was a bit boring.. Ivan’s not really into Lionel Ritchie.

We went to the 10:45 comedy show late.  Tom Pepper was still on who is so painful to watch since he’s so boring and NOT funny.

We saw John Lory again who was once again hilarious.

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90’s Synchronized Tea Game

On August 30, 2012, Ivan and I headed to the top deck where the sports are at Sports Square.  We wanted to check out the Dodgeball.  Lil Dave had already gone to catch the Banana Toss game (not sure what that involves, but I’m sure the monkeys love it!).

The stupid football (soccer) was still going on.. so I guess the entertainment host forgot about the Dodgeball so the stupid men could play more football.

Today, was a sea day so there was lots to do on the cruise ship.

It was time for some brunch.  We headed down to the Punchliner Comedy Brunch.  The next two comedians on board were both British. 

Ivan had the tomato soup and an omelette with vegetables.  I got eggs benedict with salmon instead of ham – I had to create it myself since I confused the waiter and he brought me smoked salmon on the side. 

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We heard one of the comedians Tom Pepper who wasn’t very funny at all.  We didn’t think he’d be very good – but you never know so we’ll check him out at the comedy club tonight.

We talked to Noonan (comedy club host) who we’ve become friends with. He’s a cool guy. He’s actually a cruise director and he’s learning the Mediterranean route since he’ll be cruise director of the upcoming Carnival Sunshine.

 Ivan and I had more food later on – we tried the burritos which you can customize. 

It was time for the pool.  Ivan thought I should try to enter the Synchronized Swimming (I always tried to mimic synchronized swimming when I was a kid swimming in our pool).  But, we came too late.  It was a group of women vs. a group of men.  The groups were taken to a different area to learn their choreographed synchronized swimming routine.

We watched The Game of Love hosted by the cruise director Butch.  It’s where they find a newlywed couple, a couple married like 20 years and then the couple married the longest like 50 years.  It’s like the newlywed game where they answer a series of questions and see if their answers match up.  Butch made up some things to make it funnier.  I wanted to go on stage but Ivan didn’t want to – I think he was too scared.  It was a good show.

It was time for Tea Time.  We were sat at a table for six people.  Christa was seated next to us (we met her the other day at the Punchliner’s Comedy Brunch).  It’s funny how you run into people during the cruise ship.  Sometimes it takes awhile to remember where you met them or saw them on the ship.  We talked about traveling.  She also told us about a site called The Travellers Century where people try to visit 100 countries or more.  Ivan wants to try to do it. 

Later, we checked out the Harry Potter trivia game.  It was really hard.. I love Harry Potter, but I don’t remember EVERY little detail in all 7 books and all the movies.

We stayed for the Name the 90’s song game.  I did pretty good getting 14 out of 20 – but somebody beat me by getting 18.  

It was time to check out the rope course.  It’s where they put a harness on you that’s hooked up to a bar at the top, so you can’t fall.  But, of course it’s high and your mind tricks you since you’re afraid you’re going to fall.  If you do fall, you’re going to be hooked up still. 

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It’s still scary, but it’s fun.  I did a lot better than the last time I did this on a Carnival cruise ship.. I didn’t hold on as much.

Ivan and I went down the water slides a few times.  My favorite is the Twister.  Ivan really likes the Drainpipe and usually does two revolutions on it while I usually end up hitting my head and going around only once. 

It was time to chill out in the jacuzzi.  The jacuzzis are usually really hot.

We went to see the Divas show where the playlist production did many songs by divas like Christina Applegate, Beyonce, Brittany Spears, Lady Gaga and Madonna.  It was a great show – but I really do miss the live band.  I guess it would be hard to have a live band since the stage changes a lot with the big LED screens.  The LED screens are great since they can easily create scenes for the numerous shows that are performed during a cruise. 

Since we went to the show we went to dinner late.  Since I was off our pescetarian diet (since sometimes I do crave meat), I decided to get the prime rib. 

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I forgot to mention, but we always take all the stairs on our cruises.  It lets us eat a lot and not have to go to the gym for an hour which is usually pretty boring.

After dinner, we went to see the 10:45 pm comedy show.  Tom Pepper was horrible just like we predicted.  He was a man in his 50’s and old men usually aren’t that funny.  John Lory came on next and he was quite mad and so very funny.

Ivan and I love the towel animals we get when they turn down the room for the night.  Tonight, we got an elephant wearing my sunglasses with our chocolates.  

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How cute!

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Caribbean Liars Island

On August 29, 2012, we woke up and we were in Dubrovnik, Croatia.  It’s great to wake up and you’re in a whole new city and you didn’t have to do anything to get there – that’s why cruises are so cool. (That and the unlimited food of course!)

Ivan, Lil Dave and I rushed to the port in Dubrovnik.  We’ve been here before, so we wanted to go on a boat going to see the Elephanti Islands.  Ivan booked it through Adriana Cavtat and a few minutes later we were off on a boat with about 50 people on it.

Our first stop was Kolocep where we stopped for 30 minutes.  We walked around.

The boat started going to the next destination which was Sipan.  The boat only stopped here for a short time. 

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We walked around and enjoyed the sun. 

It was lunch time once we got back on the boat. 

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We got lots of fish and coleslaw (seconds and even more if we wanted).  The red wine and juice were all free as well.  We were shown how to eat a fish without the use of utensils.  The bones of the fish were thrown into the water for the birds to scoop up. 

The boat stopped at our last stop which was Lopud.  There was a beach here.  Ivan, Lil Dave and I relaxed on lounge chairs by the water. 

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Ivan and I each got a Somersby Pear Cider which is so very tasty.  We read our books while chilling out.

It was back on the boat and awhile later we were back in Dubrovnik.  We then got back on board the boat.

Lil Dave went to go find his monkey friends on the ship.

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It’s awesome having a balcony for the views and of course the lovely sunsets.

Later, we went to see the new Hasbro Game Show.  The games were really fun (like putting in basketballs to play Connect Four), but the main prize was just a big package of, yup you guessed it, Hasbro games.

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It’s not going to make me want to play – but a lot of people seemed to want to play….I guess they are desperate for a free board game!!

For dinner, we went back to the first table we had with the British couple, Latin/French couple and the Scottish couple.  At least they were all friendly and chatty (well, the Scottish were a bit quiet) – also we were all about the same age.

I started off with penne with artichokes  while Ivan got the salmon cheesecake.  Ivan got the Indian vegetarian for his main course while I got the Louisiana catfish.  It was a tasty meal.  We left diner to check out the Liars Club.

The Liars Club features three of the entertainment hosts.  We’ve seen this before on other Carnival cruise ships and it’s always funny.  We were happy to see that Calvyn was part of it.  He’s so hilarious that he could be a stand-up comedian.  The host of the show was a girl named Amy who’s 6 feet 3 inches tall so her nickname is 6-3.  Amy is the assistant cruise director.  Amy says a weird word and the three must give a definition of the word and the audience gets to decide who we think is telling the truth.  One is actually telling the right definition while the other two are lying.

Each host had a funny story.  Taylor was the beauty queen.  She would always say I’m Taylor and I’m a Beauty Queen.. each time she would say how she was in the beauty contest for Ms. Spam or Ms. Pork and tell a story related to beauty or beauty contests.

Calvyn would always give a long story about his past like getting bullied in school or working in Wendy’s. 

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He was definitely the funniest.  He puts on an act that he’s depressed.  At the end of the story, he would say thank you.  6-3 would then look confused and say Calvyn you didn’t tell us what the word means.  He’d say Oh, and then say a really short definition like a Middle Eastern leg warmer.  It was hilarious.  I would love to hear Calvyn tell jokes all day. 

The third girl was Stephanie who was the least funniest.  Her story was that she would talk about a guy she met (usually a French guy) and how the word related to sexual situations.  Only some of her stories were funny.

We wanted to check out the Mind Magic which features a good magician named Rakesh that we’ve seen before on another Carnival cruise ship.  The Mind Magic show was in the Limelight Comedy Club which is way too big to see a magician – we prefer smaller, more intimate venues.  It was already packed, so we left.

Later on, we went to the Lido deck (right by the pool) for the Red Frog’s Caribbean Party.  There was fun party music playing.  The entertainment hosts and Butch the cruise director were handing out things to people.  I wanted some so I started dancing.  I got glow sticks, beads and a whistle.  I wanted a funny straw hat, but they were only giving out only a few.  Ivan wasn’t dancing since he would rather dance to house music.

Ivan and I jumped into the jacuzzi and enjoyed the hot bubbly water.

Ivan and I stopped to get some ice cream which is open all the time.  Ivan thought it would be funny if I put my head under it and put ice cream directly into my mouth.  I was trying to find out a good way to do this since it would be a weird angle.  Luckily, there were two girls there and I asked them to pour it in my mouth which they thought was hilarious. 

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It was fun, but messy!  I’m sure the girls tried it after we got our ice cream.. and their parents came back.  The kids would say We just saw a woman do it.  They would probably say Suuure that’s what you saw and wouldn’t believe them.

We headed back to the room to get some rest.

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Comedy, Tea & Trivia

Lil Dave was already gone on August 28, 2012. He made some monkey friends on the boat and he decided to have fun with them. He was definitely going to take advantage of having as many bananas as he wanted on the cruise ship.

Today was a Sea Day.  Ivan and I watched the morning show with the cruise director Butch and Calvyn. Calvyn is soo funny. We heard them talking about the steakhouse called Fahrenheit 555 (pronounced as five fifty-five). There was a contest to win some stuff from the store that sold things for cheap $10. I called in and got in first. Butch asked where I was from. I said I was from Las Vegas. Butch said that he’s attending UNLV. I told Calvyn that I loved him. He said it wasn’t going to work out for us (he’s gay that’s why). I said You were checking out my husband last night which he actually glanced at him when we passed by him last night.

The question was what is the name of the steakhouse. Ivan was trying to tell me the answer, but I was plugging my ears since the tv was on so loud. I said Fahrenheit 555 (five five five) and Calvyn said no and hung up on me. I was sad and Ivan was mad that I didn’t listen to him. Somebody else called in and answered correctly. Calvyn told her to pick 2 of the 3 prizes. He said that the clutch (purse) would go to me. Butch thought it was only fair since he rudely hung up on me.

Ivan and I headed to Ocean Plaza for the Mind Trivia. Ivan popped his head in and saw Butch and Calvyn doing the morning show in the Liquid Nightclub. Ivan told me that was where they were, so I popped in to say hello. The show had just finished when I got there. I met Butch and Calvyn who were both really nice. Butch said I saved them a trip to going to our room to deliver the clutch. Calvyn gave me a cherry covered chocolate that was in the shape of the mouse. it was the Calvyn Candy of the Day.

I went back to Ocean Plaza to help Ivan out with the Mind Trivia. It was a hard game with mind twisters.. too bad we didn’t win.

It was time for lunch at the Sapphire Restaurant for Punchliner’s Comedy Brunch. Ivan and I each started off with a tomato soup. Ivan got salmon fillet while I got an omelette with vegetables. The food was quite tasty. Thomas Brown came on at 12 pm. He was making fun of people in the audience. One old lady kept hitting on him. He was avoiding her though after awhile. He was only on for 10 minutes which I think is too short. It’s also a bit strange that they’re just chatting to people and moving around the restaurant.. I think it should be like the comedy club where the comedian does a bunch of jokes in one spot. It does give you an idea if the comedian is funny though and if you should check them out later.

We headed up to the pool. I rushed so I could be a judge to the Hairy Chest Competition. I did this on the last Carnival cruise I was on and it was lots of fun. The entertainment host asked if everybody was 21 because the prize for us would be champagne. I mean if you weren’t 21 would you admit it knowing that the prize was champagne? I don’t think so!

The guys came over to us dancing their moves to whatever song was being played like I’m too sexy. The three girl judges put suntan lotion on the men.

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We put tons on and didn’t really rub it in.

We got to pick the best guys to move on to the next level. The guys had to give their best pick up lines and most were really lame like How are you? Have these guys ever hit on a woman… not too sure on that one.

Again, we got to pick the next guys who would move on to the final level. The two guys got dressed up in girl’s clothing from the guests’ clothes at the pool. Then, they had to gather the most people for a conga line. I joined it and conga’d up the second deck and back down to the pool deck.

It was nice getting a free bottle of champagne for doing something so easy.

Next, we headed to Tea Time. It’s held in the Blush Restaurant. I’m not sure why it’s never so busy.. maybe people don’t really read their Fun Times which includes all the events that are occurring all around the ship. Ivan and I had some scones, macarons and strawberries… and, of course, tea. It’s always lovely since you get a nice view of the ocean.

Our next stop was the Liquid Nightclub for the Cruise Critics meetup. Ivan thought that Butch might be there. We got to meet Butch, Calvyn and Noonan (he’s the comedy show host).  Butch was really nice.  We said that we did this cruise because we’re big fans of John Heald who’s the senior cruise director and the brand ambassador of Carnival.  But, we didn’t find out until before the cruise that he wouldn’t even be on the cruise since he was having surgery for his carpal tunnel.  Ivan thought that John didn’t know until recently, but Butch told us that he knew he was going to be on this cruise a year before.  We wouldn’t have booked it if we knew John wouldn’t be on it.  It was great talking to the guys.  I felt really short since everybody was 6 foot tall or more. 

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Later, we went down all the slides a few times and then the jacuzzi to read our books.

For dinner, we had a French Canadian family who spoke English and were really nice.  But, the location was off to the side of the main dining table.. we thought it was worse than the first night. 

Ken the maitr’d sang and some of the waiters danced.

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After dinner, we saw the comedians Thomas Brown and Dwight Slade again at the Punchliner’s Comedy Club.  They did a different set to the previous night.  They were both really funny. This is one of the reasons why we love Carnival cruises so much – they have their own comedy club!

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