Recently my husband and I went on a seven day cruise through the Western Caribbean. We left from Port Canaveral and traveled to Cozumel, Belize City, Costa Maya, and Nassau. We had a fantastic time and came home very relaxed.
We sailed on Carnival and they offer two wine packages. Yes, the wines are marked up compared to your local stores, but there is a significant savings compared to buying bottles of wine throughout the week. The markup is less than you will pay at most restaurants and we found it to be reasonable. Carnival does allow one bottle of wine or champagne to be brought on per adult. But with all the opportunities to eat and enjoy yourself on a cruise, two bottles can go quickly. We found the wine package to be an excellent accompaniment to our vacation.
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Once you determine which wine package is right for you, they will hand you a receipt. At the first dinner, your waiter will hand you five wine coupons. The coupons can be used through out the ship, not just during dinner service. The wines are listed on the back of each coupon and you just let the waiter know which wine you would like. Don’t feel rushed to enjoy your bottle; the waiters will save any remaining wine for the next evening’s dinner.
Now our favorite part of the cruise ship experience, at least on the ship, was dinner. We had wonderful wine, fantastic food, and were lucky enough to share the table with an awesome couple from up state New York. My husband and I enjoyed their company and had a great time watching a comedic waiter at the table next to us all week. We all swapped excursion details, show highlights, and any ‘secrets’ we all learned along the way. Some people are nervous about assigned dining. We have found that it’s an excellent way to enhance the experience; you should try it at least once, even as ‘anytime’ dining gains in popularity.
Another dinner option was dining in the Emerald Steakhouse. It is an additional $30 per person, but you get a full steakhouse experience. It was very quiet and the food was excellent and plentiful. The Emerald dining room also hosted a cooking demonstration of their lobster bisque, surf and turf of filet and shrimp, and chocolate melting cake. The demonstration was geared for the viewers to be able to do the recipes at home.
The cruise also offered a wine and cheese pairing class on two of the at sea days. That is a great opportunity for cruisers that are unsure of how to pair wine and food.
Like most others vacations, room service is always a fantastic option too! We tried that a few mornings when we felt like relaxing in the room.
Over the course of the next week, I will be writing about other aspects of our cruise experience. We had a great time and I am looking forward to sharing the experience with you!