October 4, 2007
The planning for this cruise began in January 2007 when some very dear friends of ours decided they wanted to go on a cruise to experience the thrill that my wife and I always talk about. Well, nine months and hundreds of e-mails later, the cruise began with our group of a dozen adult cruisers. This makes cruise #6 for me and cruise #4 for my wife.
We all met up in Millbrook, Alabama (just north of Montgomery) and drove to the port of Mobile on Thursday morning. We arrived at the cruise terminal around 12:30, dropped off our checked luggage, paid the $60 parking fee for the four-night cruise, and proceeded to check in. The check in process was painless as the line was not long at all. After some pictures were taken we headed on board and were enjoying the buffet by 1:15.
Full from lunch we proceeded to our room (R79) and met our room steward. We chose an interior room this trip because of the low price. We didn't mind at all not having a window. As the ship prepared to leave the pier we began the required muster drill. This drill was different from any I had participated in before because we actually left the dock before the drill was over.
Sea Day: Our group spent the day hanging out by the pool, dancing on the Lido Deck, drinking, casino gambling, dancing, playing bingo, taking dance classes, napping, dancing, and enjoying the ocean view. Did I mention dancing? The show dancers on board were really good and we also enjoyed the comedians and the disco.
Cozumel: The wife and I plus four others from our group did the Deluxe Sail, Snorkel and Beach Party excursion that Carnival offers ($49 per person, 3.5 hours). We boarded the 65 ft. catamaran right at the downtown pier and sailed along the island to a snorkeling spot. We spent about thirty minutes there, and then headed to a private beach with one other catamaran group. I believe the group size per catamaran was around 40 to 60 people.
The crew began serving complimentary beer and margaritas on the way to the beach and once there we played volleyball and swam for about an hour. Finally, we sailed back to the pier while drinking, dancing, and having fun. One thing to note on this excursion is that the ride was wavy and rough so make sure you take something along for any motion sickness. We got back on the Holiday for lunch, then changed clothes to head to Carlos and Charlie's, which is located right across the street from the pier. If you have never been there and want to experience a loud and rowdy crowd, this is the place to go. We met our group there and spent the rest of the day having fun until re-boarding.
Sea Day: We did a repeat of the first sea day and really enjoyed spending time with our friends. The various pool games (relay races, synchronized swimming, and hairy chest contest) are very interesting to watch and even more fun if you are forced to participate in them. The weather was very windy so the ship did some rocking and rolling that day. Come prepared for high seas and possible sea sickness.
I checked out the kids program by talking to some parents on board. There is not a specific room for the kids program, as they use the disco floor for daytime activities and the game room for other activities. Most of the children seemed to hang out with their parents during the day and I'm not sure about the activities for kids at night. The program did not seem as extensive as other cruises I've been on, but this seems to be a good cruise for kids especially because of the miniature golf course.
The food on board was great and I recommend you try some of it all as we did. We carried one bottle of wine per person on board, we carried Diet Coke on board, we took plastic miniatures with us in our checked luggage and we bought one soda card and shared it. Alcoholic drinks are expensive on board (but remember you are on vacation). The Holiday is a great cruise ship, even though she is one of the oldest and smallest in the fleet. She has character and moves with the ocean so you definitely know you are sailing. The price and Mobile location are a great selling point for an Alabama boy who enjoys cruising.
This cruise will always stand out as a great one for me because I got to spend time with my wife and some of the best friends a person can have. Let the planning began for the next one! Any questions, shoot me an e-mail at email@example.com . It's amazing what great people you can find to talk to about cruising.