Escape to the Caribbean

posted at 6:15 pm on December 4, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Last night, the First Mate and I arrived home after a week on the Caribbean sea. We took a cruise with Carnival with stops in Grand Cayman and Jamaica, with five nights at sea out of Miami.  As one might expect, we had a terrific time, met interesting people, and — most importantly — got a real chance to relax.   I didn’t take notes (because I was relaxing!) so giving a detailed account of the trip will be difficult.  However, I can give a pretty good overview of the cruise, the stops, and the fun.

The Ship

The Carnival Destiny is an impressively huge ship. In five days, we didn’t find all of the Destiny’s secrets, but we enjoyed everything we found.  Despite its size, though, we could feel the motion of the ship when we sailed through strong winds — which was almost the entire cruise.  I’ve been on boats most of my life and never felt queasy, but on this trip, I had to put a motion-sickness patch behind my ear on Tuesday and replace it on Friday to keep from being sick.  In fact, I’m still feeling a little dizzy today as my balance tries to adjust to being on dry land.

Our cabin was roomier than I anticipated, although it was still smaller than an average hotel room.  I selected a balcony berth, which was my best choice.  There’s nothing like reading with an unobstructed view of the ocean and a fresh breeze cooling the air.  I got a chance to take a few seascape photos, which you’ll see at the end of the slideshow below.

Food

Food was plentiful on ship, and accessible at all times.  Buffets had a reasonable variety of choices, but we didn’t spend too much time at them.  We spent most of our dinners at our assigned table in the Galaxy dining room, where the food was very good and the service very good as well.  The wait staff entertained us each night with a different act — singing or dancing, including a conga line one night.  (No, I didn’t join them, but several passengers did.)

On the final night, we ate dinner with the chef for a special treat — and what a treat it was.  We had a private tour of the galley with twelve other guests, followed by a seven-course meal with as much wine as we could drink.  The courses included Chilean sea bass, filet mignon, beef carpaccio, calamari, and a final course that I could only describe as DessertHenge.  It was a fabulous way to spend our last night at sea.

Grand Cayman and Jamaica

Our excursions on both islands were worth the time and money we spent on them.  We took the Jeep 4×4 tour on Grand Cayman and got a good look at the island, followed by lunch on the beach and 90 minutes to soak up the sun.  The tour on Jamaica’s Prospect Plantation was even more interesting, especially — I kid you not — the camels.  The plantation brought in five camels as a tourist attraction, and we had a picture or two taken with them.  The tour guides were charming and funny, and the lush growth gave us lots of opportunity for pictures.  Dolphin Cove was a tourist trap but pleasant enough, with another generous beach barbecue lunch.

So did anything go wrong?

Only one thing went seriously wrong, and it wasn’t on ship.  The cruise line printed out our boarding passes and luggage tags for the trip home, a one-stop flight from Miami to Minneapolis on US Airways.  Unfortunately, our luggage wasn’t ready to end its vacation, and it wasn’t at the airport when we got home.  We heard that the luggage should arrive here tonight, so we will eventually get our souvenirs, but we’ll see.

If you have a chance to take a cruise, I’d recommend the Carnival Destiny.  We will recall this vacation very fondly for years to come.

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Glad you had a well-deserved great time, Captain & First Mate.

itsnotaboutme on December 4, 2011 at 6:19 PM

We went on a Carnival Cruise in the Caribbean two years ago and we too had a fantastic experience. Glad you had a great time, Ed! Welcome back :)

beatcanvas on December 4, 2011 at 6:20 PM

Gosh darn it, Ed – next time you’re in Miami, give me a call!

SWLiP on December 4, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Sounds like fun, Ed. Welcome back!

PatMac on December 4, 2011 at 6:21 PM

OK, fine . . . . I’m jealous.
Mission accomplished. : )

listens2glenn on December 4, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Wow Ed. Nice trip.

Electrongod on December 4, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Glad you had fun, Ed. Welcome back. Hopefully there isn’t too much snow up near you, yet.

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Jamaica has an interesting history, next time check out Dunn’s River Falls if in Ocho Rios and Negril is another part of island to see. I’ve heard Port Antonio in Eastern Jamaica is also really nice spot.

The reason they speak English in Jamaica(well a laid back form of it) is that originally the Spanish controlled it. Why Ocho Rios has a spanish name. When Cromwell lead England his “Western Design Foreign Policy” focused on the Carribean and against the “Evil Empire” of Spain.

Cromwell’s men lost a battle somewhere and they so feared going back to Cromwell in defeat they went to Jamaica instead. At Runaway Bay, an hour or so West of Ocho Rios, they chased the Spanish off to good(who Fled to Cuba) and they’ve spoke English ever since.

Hope you stocked up on Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.

jp on December 4, 2011 at 6:22 PM

How was the ganja?

Mark1971 on December 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM

So happy for you two! Sounds like a great time.

conservative pilgrim on December 4, 2011 at 6:23 PM

It is better to lose your luggage at the end of the trip than at the beginning. Assuming you do get it back…Welcome back, Ed. Looks like you had a wonderful trip.

d1carter on December 4, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Glad you had a good time. I prefer Norwegian Cruise Lines as it’s much more casual when dining

SouthernGent on December 4, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Welcome home to snow and cold.

gophergirl on December 4, 2011 at 6:26 PM

The ‘mall’ inside the ship looked a little gaudy for me but the outside shots were gorgeous! Judging by the smiles both you and the first mate were sporting, it looks like you both had a wonderful time. Glad you could both enjoy your downtime Ed.

Dawnsblood on December 4, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Glad you had a nice time. What was the weather like?

Blake on December 4, 2011 at 6:28 PM

Now you and Newt have something in common. We are fighting for our Country and you are cruising.

suzyk on December 4, 2011 at 6:32 PM

Welcome back Ed. My first cruise was on Carnival, doing a Mexican riviera cruise and that was enough for me. I nicknamed it the “motel 6 cruise line”. I mainly cruise Holland America now. They are pricier but the ship ambiance is worth it. And you are right to get a balcony state room. That is the only way to cruise.

I was on a Caribbean cruise last december. We did the Holiday cruise on the Prinsendam. The winds were really strong then, and we were not able to port at many of the islands that had tender boats instead of a dock berth. I didn’t mind because as I said in the thread before you left home, I spent most of my cruise sleeping and napping. Cruising is a wonderful way to decompress from our frantic lives at home and work.

I am glad you had fun. How much were the ship’s internet charges?

karenhasfreedom on December 4, 2011 at 6:35 PM

Welcome back.

unclesmrgol on December 4, 2011 at 6:36 PM

Checking out your photo stream on Flickr!

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 6:39 PM

I’m glad you and the Mrs. had a good trip…

… Welcome back and thanks for the pics.

Seven Percent Solution on December 4, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Flickr tells me you use the Canon T2i. Great camera. I used that for quite a while before I went to the 5D.

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 6:39 PM

Ed I hate to be a tattle-tale, but Allah has been misbehaving in your absence. He’s been posting things about zombies, robots, flatulence–oh wait; he does that when you’re here. Never mind.

radjah shelduck on December 4, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Mmmm. Warm sunshine!

AshleyTKing on December 4, 2011 at 6:42 PM

Ed, I just watched the slide show. I really liked the picture of you and the first mate for “formal night”. Her outfit is beautiful and your vest matched her dress. Well done. You need to put that photograph in frames and give them to your kids. Better yet, put one up on your wall at home. It is a very flattering picture of you as a couple. We are glad to see the First Mate looking lovely and healthy.

karenhasfreedom on December 4, 2011 at 6:44 PM

Very nice. Looks like you guys had a great time. The just get rewarded.

Vince on December 4, 2011 at 6:44 PM

I played the Grand Cayman golf course…

Interesting little course. :)

golfmann on December 4, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Chilean sea bass and filet mignon? I’m so jealous Ed. How many pounds did you put on? I’m hoping to take a Carribean Cruise some day, friends and relatives have always enjoyed their voyages.

Welcome back on board the USS HotAir. No boarding pass required.

fogw on December 4, 2011 at 6:45 PM

Good for you! We cruised to the Western Caribbean during Thanksgiving week aboard Royal Caribbean’s Mariner of the Seas.

aunursa on December 4, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Wow, Ed. First Italy, now this. You go on vacation almost as much as Obama. Ba dum-bum. Thank you. Try the veal…

joejm65 on December 4, 2011 at 6:46 PM

I’d get this lens for your rebel:

http://www.amazon.com/Canon-50mm-1-8-Camera-Lens/dp/B00007E7JU/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1323042367&sr=8-1

100 bucks. Cheap construction but phenomenal optics at certain settings. Great for portraits and family stuff.

Oh and low light too

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 6:46 PM

Chilean sea bass

Also known as Patagonian Toothfish. Markets began advertising it as Chilean Sea Bass because it wouldn’t sell under it’s previous name, lol

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Glad you enjoyed “Ochi”, Ed-spent a week there a decade ago with some friends. Agreed that the dolphin place is tourist-trappy, but when we were there we got to pose for pictures with some giant parrots!

Sad to say, the Jamaican highway system is so crappy that it’s more or less impossible for the cruise ship folks to take extended on-shore excursions after docking there. As the crow flies Ocho Rios is only about 30 miles east of the Montego Bay area, but the drive is over 2 hours. It’s also something like a 7 hour (one way) drive if you want to visit the Appleton Rum distillery. If you all really want to explore Jamaica someday, book at least a week at one of the all-inclusives. Just have someone else do the driving!

Del Dolemonte on December 4, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Ed I hate to be a tattle-tale, but Allah has been misbehaving in your absence. He’s been posting things about zombies, robots, flatulence–oh wait; he does that when you’re here. Never mind.

radjah shelduck on December 4, 2011 at 6:42 PM

That reminds me. Did anyone bother to shampoo that stain out of the carpet? What was that anyway?

CurtZHP on December 4, 2011 at 6:54 PM

If you have a chance to take a cruise, I’d recommend the Carnival Destiny. We will recall this vacation very fondly for years to come.

Mrs. Hawk and I are taking one in January to Nassau and Freeport. Can’t wait.

hawkdriver on December 4, 2011 at 6:56 PM

Mrs. Hawk and I are taking one in January to Nassau and Freeport. Can’t wait.

hawkdriver on December 4, 2011 at 6:56 PM

LOL if one didn’t know the context, one would think you are visiting Freeport and Nassau County on Long Island

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Hope you stocked up on Jamaica Blue Mountain Coffee.

jp on December 4, 2011 at 6:22 PM

That stuff ain’t cheap. The Japanese have driven the price up to $40 a pound. They buy 90% of the crop.

Del Dolemonte on December 4, 2011 at 7:00 PM

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 6:59 PM

Mrs. Hawk no like big city, Blue.

We’re taking the same vacation we took for our Honeymoon. We wanted to go to Ireland but right now it’s just oo expensive.

hawkdriver on December 4, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Ed— You really need to check out Culebra. Not accessible by cruise lines. Fly into San Juan, take a “publico” (long distance cab) to Fajardo, and then take the ferry to Culebra. Only $4.50 round trip. Jacques Cousteau himself declared that Culebra has the best coral reef in the Caribbean. Flamenco Beach on Culebra consistently ranks among the top 10 beaches in the world. This is a vacation for folks who love to skin dive and/or spearfish. You can rent a vacation home for as cheap as $150 per day. I also recommend you rent a kayak so you can go to the small islands surrounding Culebra and have the entire island to yourself. It is truly paradise in the Caribbean.

pjcomix on December 4, 2011 at 7:04 PM

hawkdriver on December 4, 2011 at 7:02 PM

Trust me, the last place you want to find yourself on a cold night is Freeport, NY.

blatantblue on December 4, 2011 at 7:04 PM

Glad you and your better half had a great time. Looks like fun.

Hog Wild on December 4, 2011 at 7:07 PM

Beautiful pics, Ed, and it looks like you and the First Mate had a great time. Been on a few cruises, but that ship looks 5-Star, and I can only imagine how good the grub was.

Welcome back, and see you bright and early tomorrow. It’s time you get back to work! ;-)

TXUS on December 4, 2011 at 7:08 PM

Thanks for sharing your photos, Captain Ed. It looks as if you and First Mate Marcia really do cherish each other.

So…You went to the Cayman Islands to stash those big bucks that you earn at HotAir, eh?

Welcome back!

onlineanalyst on December 4, 2011 at 7:09 PM

That stuff ain’t cheap. The Japanese have driven the price up to $40 a pound. They buy 90% of the crop.

Del Dolemonte on December 4, 2011 at 7:00 PM

It is however very good. Jamaican Blue Mountain is how coffee is supposed to taste, not that Starbucks swill they pass off as coffee.

sharrukin on December 4, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Did they run out of cheesecake? We took a Carnival cruise in 2006, had a good time, generally. Having spent a career in the Navy, I swore I’d never get on a cruise ship, but after our cruise, I was ready to go back to sea. We stayed in the bowels of the ship with the other discount, expendable passengers. We called our berthing area the ghetto.

WordsMatter on December 4, 2011 at 7:09 PM

Everybody was happy.

Real talk… nice front page pic.

apacalyps on December 4, 2011 at 7:10 PM

Glad you had a great time, heading on a panama canal cruise in the spring with Mr cmsinaz

cmsinaz on December 4, 2011 at 7:11 PM

Fabulous photos Ed, thanks for sharing.

Jason58 on December 4, 2011 at 7:12 PM

In relation to the Camel Corp, let us all remember the inspiring story of Hi Jolly:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi_Jolly

theCork on December 4, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Ed you deserved every minute of enjoyment that you got, you’re definitely one of the hardest workers around the net and radio! It’s early but let me be the first to wish you and yours (and everyone else around here) a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!

tim c on December 4, 2011 at 7:14 PM

Dear Ed and Marcia~

Thanks for sharing your vacation photos… beautiful scenes. We’ve missed you terribly, so welcome Home!

Key West Reader on December 4, 2011 at 7:20 PM

Way cool!

Speakup on December 4, 2011 at 7:26 PM

Did you get a chance to holystone the deck?

Oldnuke on December 4, 2011 at 7:26 PM

That stuff ain’t cheap. The Japanese have driven the price up to $40 a pound. They buy 90% of the crop.

Del Dolemonte on December 4, 2011 at 7:00 PM

It is however very good. Jamaican Blue Mountain is how coffee is supposed to taste, not that Starbucks swill they pass off as coffee.

sharrukin on December 4, 2011 at 7:09 PM

I know, I was force-fed it for a week when I was there :-)

It’s worth every penny if you’re truly serious about your coffee drinking. Nothing else comes close.

Del Dolemonte on December 4, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Welcome back, Ed and Mrs. Ed.

Looks like you had a wonderful trip. (I’m sooooooo envious.)

GrannyDee on December 4, 2011 at 7:50 PM

fogw on December 4, 2011 at 6:45 PM

I actually weighed myself before leaving and again this morning … and I gained one pound. I was trying to be careful, though.

Ed Morrissey on December 4, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Your trip sounds wonderful Capt’n Ed,glad you could get away,
with the First Mate for R@R,and re-connection to the wifey!:)

canopfor on December 4, 2011 at 8:01 PM

Great pictures and it looks like you enjoyed beautiful weather. We’re glad you’re back but so happy you had a good time and are well rested.

Cindy Munford on December 4, 2011 at 8:03 PM

I actually weighed myself before leaving and again this morning … and I gained one pound. I was trying to be careful, though.

Ed Morrissey on December 4, 2011 at 7:55 PM

Ed Morrissey:You were doing something right,and its the fats and
sugar ya got to watch!:)

canopfor on December 4, 2011 at 8:04 PM

Ed, welcome back! I am really so happy you and the First Mate got the chance to relax.

I recommend you take your time getting back into the flow of things because Hot Air has been as crazy as ever – with candidates and their supporters bashing each other’s heads in.

You might feel like you never ever left if you visit the political threads.

LOL…

TheRightMan on December 4, 2011 at 8:41 PM

Ed, I don’t know if I could have stayed away from the buffets. But I’m certain your decision to avoid them was the key to maintaining your weight. Will power rules.

fogw on December 4, 2011 at 8:43 PM

The name sounds Irish, but damn, lose the Jimmy Buffet gear, throw on a scally and a carhart, and Ben Affleck is going to give you in a role in his next Boston Irish movie.

swamp_yankee on December 4, 2011 at 8:49 PM

Glad you had fun.

It’s better for me when you are here.

marybel on December 4, 2011 at 8:53 PM

Such a lovely couple!

Tzetzes on December 4, 2011 at 9:39 PM

Glad you had fun, Ed. Well deserved! You’re a hard working man. What’d you think of those books you said you were going to read?

ted c on December 4, 2011 at 10:28 PM

You went to the Caribbean and didn’t see any pirates? What fun was that?

Meryl Yourish on December 4, 2011 at 11:25 PM

[LIKE]
Very Much!

Kini on December 5, 2011 at 4:21 AM

pics are great! love the formal dinner pics especially….very nice

cmsinaz on December 5, 2011 at 6:09 AM

The image that is most indeliably etched in my mind from my 2006 Carnival cruise is the gentleman who created a “Bacon Mountain” on his plate one morning at breakfast. The base of the mountain was comprised of pancakes, the center was sausage and eggs, and the top was heaped with bacon(stacked pyramid style), perhaps defying the laws of physics. And over the top of the bacon, he had poured what appeared to be about a quart of syrup.

WordsMatter on December 5, 2011 at 7:21 AM

Ed, Your wife is adorable!

Winebabe on December 5, 2011 at 9:53 AM

Ed, who’s the woman holding the reins of the First Mate?

Mahdi on December 5, 2011 at 2:51 PM