Well, I went, I'm back and the withdrawals are seriously crazy. What an AMAZING time was had aboard the Carnival Spirit! Carnival provided the ultimate mini-vacation experience with a gorgeously appointed ship, superb food, super staff and a great team to work with - yes, really, it was work ;) In only a few short days I had the opportunity to meet and hang with some brilliant people and although there's no way words can express the awesomeness it was, the following run down should give you some idea of what you can expect cruising with Carnival.
|Opera house and Harbour Bridge views with Shannan Ponton and Cameron Daddo - yes lucky girl!|
The Carnival Spirit can only be described as magnificent! It can hold over 2500 passengers and is worked by 900 crew. They've seriously thought of everything that could ever be desired on a cruising holiday and there were bars, kids' club rooms (catering for varying age groups), restaurants, entertainment areas and so much more. Of course, I was quick to find my favourite space, The Serenity Bar - a place where over 18s could escape to unwind and simply enjoy the sun setting over the ocean.
You'll know that we recently went away as a family, well, this is the first time in many moons that I've had some 'me' time. Recent trips away from home for the Ride To Conquer Cancer rides (my last one is next week so please help me reach my $2500 goal and donate here) have been driven with a purpose and frantically physical. Although we had a choc-a-block itinerary on the Carnival, I didn't realise just how much I was in need of some time for me, alone, to recharge and interact with others. It certainly hit me the moment I stepped onto the deck and I'm telling you the instant relaxation was bliss!
Please don't for a moment think I spent a bludgy few days doing nothing. It was full on. But full on of a very awesome kind. The fabulous Shannan Ponton ran a heap of fitness sessions and let me tell you he is a task master on a cruise ship as much as he is on The Biggest Loser. He's also a great bloke and I had the privilege of spending some time with him to discover what makes him tick. Keep an eye out for the interview, coming here soon!
|Heaps of activity and exercise means this really *was* a work trip (squats with baby Max - Shannon's son)|
In order to keep things brief ... and not make you too jealous ;) here's a quick round up of the wonderful world of Carnival Cruising and some snaps of the fantastic time all of us onboard had.
Checking into my room, I was amazed at how spacious the cabin was. You really couldn't need or want for anything more. As I was in the State Room on the 6th level, I was lucky enough to have breath taking ocean views from the balcony. And yes, that's when I first had thoughts of becoming a stowaway ;)
|Life is a ship, I could totally live on one! It has the lot! Even my personal concierge Novi.|
If you've never been on a cruise before, the Muster Drill can seem like a surreal experience. It's a safety drill held soon after boarding and while it seems ominous to practice emergency procedures, it really gives you a great deal of confidence in the experience and expertise of the staff. These guys have thousands of excited people moving to precise locations around the ship like clockwork!
|Officially boarding, driving up to the ship, "on deck" and Muster drill|
Food and fine dining
There is absolutely no way that you could go hungry on a Carnival Cruise. Something is available for everyone. Fancy a fine dining restaurant dinner, but feel like a buffet breakfast? No problem. Amongst the range of restaurants and eating areas all tastes and preferences are more than well catered for. You know how much I love my food and I was seriously blown away by the range, freshness and deliciousness of every morsel.
Feast your eyes on this smorgasbord of sushi and seafood and delicious desserts! I'm sure my mouth is just watering now as I type and reminisce about the fine dining and vast array of food choices.
There truly were so many things to do on this amazing ship but my all time fave was the fantastic deepest, steepest and fastest waterslide at sea - the"Green Thunder" - check it out!!
"Her name was Lola she was a showgirl!" Yes. Once upon a time I wanted to be a showgirl and with a backstage pass, I was able to live that dream for a few minutes. We had such an amazing time. There were over 200 costumes and so many sequins and beads everywhere!!! So beautiful.
|The best boy band on the Pacific Ocean - Manilla Vanilla|
|Another dream of mine fulfilled, singing up on stage ... even when I don't know how to sing!|
Fitness and Style
I do try to pack light (yeah, hello, right 20.5kgs later!) and brought a mix of simple pieces for casual look cruising around the boat ... and then of course I threw in some dressier numbers for heading out to dinner and fine dining.
Fun, of course, needs to be balanced with some work and there were some great workouts on board the Carnival!
Check out Shannon spinning it at spin class - just what I needed to ramp up prep for my final RTCC ride next weekend in Adelaide. Such a good choice of tunes too, it really got our hearts racing! As we know how important stretching is, here's Cassie and I doing some yoga stretches!
|Spin class with Shannan Ponton and Fitness Food And Style|
Yet another fabulous workout session, this time it was with the ship's personal trainer Alex. We worked up a mighty decent sweat but look, we still managed to pull some smiles afterwards!
Our last hurrah at the Serenity Bar was one of THE highlights of my adventure. It really was the ultimate combination, just think sunset ... drinks with new friends, relaxing AND some supercool entertainment provided by Cameron Daddo who had the entire audience in the palm of his hands. Swoon much?
|Memories of the last night. Why over so soon?|
I'll forever remember the crew of awesome people I was lucky enough to meet ... and it was truly a bitter sweet moment saying goodbye to the amazing Soph and Lena from Pulse, Lizza Gebilagin from Womens Fitness Magazine, Angela Saurine from Escape, Cassie Mendoza-Jones a Nutritionist representing Fitness First, Gemma Garkut Online Editor for New Idea, Sam the amazing photographer and the beautiful Helen Frost from Ogilvy PR (editorial manager), Cameron Daddo from Smooth FM, Shannan Ponton PT from The Biggest Loser and the beautiful Jennifer Vandekreeke, Director Carnival Cruise Lines Australia.