After extensive research on which cruise to take and when, we decided on the Carnival Elation. We did this for three main reasons: it was inexpensive, the dates were good for us, and Betty thought that there was a Guy Fieri Burger Joint on the ship. (There wasn't.) There was also 24 hour pizza and ice cream, which sealed the deal for me.
But like any Tanory trip, getting to our vacation destination was an adventure onto itself. For starters, when we arrived in New Orleans we waited in line for 30 minutes to be allowed into the Carnival parking garage. After listening to me complain for half an hour about it, Betty got out of the car and immediately broke out in a huge smile. Apparently I was waiting behind people who were parked on the street. They must have been waiting for someone who was disembarking from the ship. There were literally four cars between me and the Carnival parking garage, and I sat behind them like a doofus for half an hour. Fortunately for my pride, twenty other cars had done the same thing.
When we got into the parking garage, a porter took our luggage and directed us where to park. I gave him a tip, but when I looked at him I didn't know what to say. "Thank you," probably would have done it. Instead, I said, "Boom!"
Needless to say, our luggage didn't arrive at our room until after dinner that night. "Boom!" also became my unofficial catchphrase of the trip.
As soon as we got on the ship we started to explore. We found ping pong tables, a life-sized chess board, pools with a giant water slide, several old people, and lots and lots of food. For our first act of cruise vacationing, we ate Mongolian BBQ (chicken / beef stir fry with Thai sauce) from one of the many buffets.
We took part in a spa raffle, and because the spa raffle took place in the gym, technically I can say that we hit the gym on the ship. It was the only time we made our way to the gym the entire trip. We then played putt putt on the deck of the ship, where Betty beat me with an amazing hole in one. (She totally cheated. Not really. Well, probably.)
Every night we ate a sit down dinner at one of the ship's restaurants. We had assigned seating, so on our first night we met our dinner mates, Mike and Laura. It was their 22 year anniversary, and they were in the middle of buying a house and trying to get the paperwork done on their smart phones before they left the US's cellphone service area. They somehow managed to stay extremely calm throughout the whole ordeal, but I was a nervous wreck for them! When I get stressed I tend to eat, and so it worked out well for me that we were already at dinner. I ate spring rolls, lasagna and cheese cake, then some of Betty's spinach dip and pork chops. For dessert Betty got Carnival's special warm chocolate melting cake with ice cream and milk, which became her dessert of choice for the remainder of the cruise.
After dinner we went back to the room and I turned on the TV for a few minutes. Most of the channels showed things that were happening on the ship: upcoming events, a video feed from the water slide, and pre-taped messages from the ship's staff. It was at this point that I saw our ship's "shopping expert," Jay, talking about a coupon book that had all kinds of great coupons in it that we could use in Mexico. Betty and I debated whether to get it.
There were a lot of activities on the cruise ship, and that night we went to a trivia contest. The main prize of the contest was the very same $25 coupon book that our shopping expert Jay had told us about on TV. Betty turned to me, and in full Napoleon Dynamite mode whispered, "I want that." I was picked to go up on stage and compete in a four round Jeopardy-style contest, and ended up winning the whole thing by dominating the "children's music and video" categories in two separate rounds. I don't mean to brag, but you need to bring your A game if you think you're going to guess songs from Lion King and Pinocchio in three notes or less before me. I won the coupon book for Betty, and it had coupons for a free heart necklace, tote bag, pearl earrings and other items at Port Maya in Cozumel. We ended up using the coupons in that book to do a scavenger hunt in Mexico. I even won a trophy in the shape of the cruise ship.