Cruising 101: Day 2 At Sea

August 6, 2013 by Michelle

I have received a complimentary cruise in exchange for sharing my honest views of my experience aboard the Carnival Valor

Today on the Carnival Valor, we spent out day at sea.  The good news is that the day was beautiful – filled with sun and a nice breeze.  There was absolutely none of the rain that plagued our visit to San Juan.  That said, whether it had rained or not, we would have had plenty to do.

Cruising 101 What to Do during a day at sea

As promised yesterday, the wee ones were allowed to order room service breakfast, and they thought it was the coolest thing ever.  When the knock came at the 7:15 on our door, Little Miss raced to answer it, and Mister Man claimed the privilege of signing for their food.  They enjoyed a nice early breakfast filled with croissant, bagel, cereal, citrus, fruit, yogurt, and more.  The wee ones were even able to eat it on our balcony, which was an amazing treat.

Room service on the balcony

After breakfast, once everyone was dressed and ready to face the day, we headed up to the Lido deck for the promised game of mini-golf.  We found my parents at Rosie’s Restaurant sipping on some coffee, and they joined us.  Mini-golf is another of the complimentary activities aboard the Carnival Valor.  Simply show your Sign and Sail card at the towel hut, and you are provided with clubs and balls.  Climbing through the sports deck and up to the mini-golf course is an easy trek.

Once up there, we found a fun nine hole golf course.  The holes are small and more are par 2 with a couple par 3s, but that’s perfectly fine for a little entertainment.  The only downfall is that it’s fairly windy being so high on the ship, but we weren’t keeping score anyway, so no one minded too much when the wind pushed our balls away from the hole.  Again.  It was definitely a surreal feeling to be playing mini-golf with the ocean as our backdrop.

mini golf on the Carnival Valor

After mini-golf, we headed to the Washington Restaurant for the at sea brunch that is offered from 8:30 until 1pm on the day at sea.  We had ordered Little Miss’s dairy free options the day before, so again it was easy as can be for brunch.  The Eggs Benedict with salmon were amazing, and my mom raved about the huevos rancheros, while Mister Man enjoyed both the French toast and the corned beef hash.

The real “winner” of the meal, however, was Little Miss who ordered cereal without milk, the bagel breakfast that included smoked salmon (though she skipped the cream cheese), and a broiled salmon fillet.  Either my child is burning more energy than I thought she was spending all day outside running around and swimming or this girl is going through a growth spurt.  I’ve never seen her eat this much, but she loves it all.  Yes, this is all her food.  And she ate it all, too.

It's all you can eat on cruise ships

As soon as we finished brunch, the wee ones wanted to head to Camp Carnival again.  It’s quickly becoming one of their favorite places aboard the ship.  Elton – the magician from last night who had made foam balls appear and disappear at will – was performing, followed by knee dodgeball (which came to an early end when the boys played a little too rough), and then various games. Little Miss was eager to renew the acquaintance of the two boys she had played air hockey with the previous day who had spoken only Spanish (and her Spanish immersion school proves its worth to her), as well as the opportunity to potentially play some video games.

I picked them up at 1:45, and they were still playing a ball game.  Little Miss proudly announced that she had won the game for the girls both times it was played.  The game involved having balls thrown from a center player to children ringing the circle around him with kids getting “out” if they missed catching the ball or anticipated it being thrown to them when it wasn’t.  Little Miss was the last girl standing, and she was inordinately proud of herself.

Mister Man, on the other hand, enjoyed Camp Carnival, but he was more concerned about whether or not I had brought the promised chocolates for Jelena, once of the workers at Camp Carnival who celebrated her birthday today. Only after I presented him with the two squares of chocolate that I had miraculously remembered to bring with me was he ready to leave with the cup he had earned today, along with the t-shirts they had colored.

Finally, we were able to relax by the pool and swim.  At sea, the pools are very full, but the wee ones still had space to swim and had a blast hanging out and meeting other kids.  There were also plenty of activities and games and fun competitions poolside for adults and kids alike.  Though the music was somewhat loud (every time it was quiet for a second or two, cheers erupted, so I know I wasn’t the only one wishing the volume was a touch lower), it was a fun atmosphere with plenty of smiles all around.

Little Miss could only swim for so long before her attention was once again diverted.  She dragged me back up to the mini-golf, where we played another four rounds of the nine hole course.  Although I’m pretty sure I beat her overall, she managed to capture 3 holes in one to my… zero.  I still blame the wind, which was even heavier this afternoon than it was this morning when we played.  It didn’t stop her from having a blast, and she’s starting to develop some serious putting skills.

At that point, it was time to shower and change for dinner, the elegant evening aboard ship.  My husband and I headed to the steakhouse where we enjoyed a lovely two hour quiet, formal dinner that left us both stuffed and happy (more on this experience later).  My parents took the wee ones to have pizza, which they enjoyed – as even Little Miss was able to have a cheeseless pizza made special for her.

Reminder card for steakhouse dinner aboard the Carnival Valor

We met up at the comedy club for our first show of the cruise, even though the wee ones were again flagging.  They managed to hang in there and enjoy the performance, with Mister Man even getting up on stage during the improve segment and hamming it up.  Little Miss wouldn’t go anywhere near the stage, but she enjoyed the show.  Mister Man, of course, thought it was the best thing ever.

Even so, by the time 8pm rolled around, the wee ones were dead exhausted.  I am in my stateroom with them sound asleep as my husband heads to the casino to enjoy another late evening of poker.  Tomorrow will be another fun filled day with Carnival Cruise Lines as we land in Barbados.  This is – so far – the only port where we’ve signed up for an excursion, and I can’t wait to see the wee ones’ faces as they see the 110 foot Jolly Roger we’ll be sailing.

Miss the rest of my Cruising 101 series?  Check out the other editions:
Why cruise?
Before you go
What to pack
Dining with allergies
Day 1: St Thomas

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