Friday, January 12, 2018

Day 4: La Romana on the Carnival Vista

Sleeping in? On a port day? Yes, it's true! Usually, on a port day, we are up and ready to go, dive bags on our backs, ready to debark the ship and head to the dive shop as soon as we are able. As I mentioned in my last blog, we had no specific plans for La Romana. From what I was able to determine, the diving wasn't that good locally and there were no specific tours or excursions that sounded appealing. We'd just play it by ear and see how it would go. 


Welcome to La Romana



We were scheduled to dock at 9 am, and since I enjoy watching the process, I ordered our now-standard coffee and pastries for 8:30. We could watch everything from our balcony, have first breakfast and formulate a plan for the day. Cindy actually brought along some study materials for her last class she had to take. She was perfectly happy to study for a few hours in the morning while I sat on the balcony reading something on my Kindle. 

The cruise terminal is located in an industrial area, so I knew if we wanted to get off the ship it would be limited pretty much to the shops in the terminal area only. Fine with me, I'm flexible.

I watched our ship approach the pier and noted the line handling crew standing by, ready to secure the lines to the bollards. We actually backed into our spot, a somewhat common occurrence. Whew, it's definitely hot out here today! Well, maybe since our a/c is turned down nice and low it just feels hot. No, it's hot! The heat and humidity reminded me of summer in SE Texas, so it was really nothing unusual. Besides, we're in the Caribbean! What other kind of weather would be here?

Below is a screenshot I captured from Google Earth that will give you a good idea of where we docked and should give you a better feel for where I took some of the following photos. Note that the cruise ship on the Google Earth photo also backed into the same place we did.  


La Romana cruise terminal
image captured from Google Earth


Even from our Deck 7 balcony, I had an amazing view of the cruise terminal. The view got even better when we headed up to Lido for lunch, but more on that later. We were in no hurry to get off the ship, so I filled my tumbler with ice water and sipped on that while enjoying the view. The following few photos are looking basically east.


The terminal from our balcony




Looking forward (right)




Looking aft (left)


I had fun watching our fellow passengers as they walked down the pier, heading to whatever excursion or outing they had planned. Some were walking with a purpose, passing others who chose a more sedate pace. Some had backpacks or totes with them, while others didn't seem to be carrying anything.


Have fun, y'all!


First breakfast was good for a start, but lunch on Lido was sounding better and better. Being a port day, I knew lines wouldn't be too long at the most popular venues. That meant one thing: Guy's Burgers! You'd think being on a cruise ship, I wouldn't get excited over a mere cheeseburger, but hey, I love a tasty burger. Besides, I haven't had a Guy's Burger yet on this cruise.


A "Pig Patty" burger


We both took our time, savoring each bite, and watching those still on board enjoy their day as well. Once we finished lunch, we'd take a leisurely stroll off the ship and check out the vendors in the terminal area. If we saw something at a good price, we'd consider it. Otherwise, we'd take a look around and get back on the ship. There are an ice cream dispenser and a pool on Lido calling to me. No big deal, one way or the other.

A short walk from the ship brought us to the tourist area at the terminal. We passed several of our fellow passengers, heading back to the ship. Several were covered head to toe in mud! The only clean part on them was where their sunglasses were. We asked this group of four what they had been doing and they answered enthusiastically they had been "mudding" in ATVs. They related how much fun they had, which made us both want to do something like this the next time we cruised.

As we entered the shopping area we noticed that many vendors were present, offering a multitude of items for sale. Everything from shot glasses to t-shirts to hand-painted items was for sale. I happened to see a gentleman with dive gear in the area, and stopped to ask how the diving was. "Fantastic!" he replied. Great, so much for research.

We made the rounds of all the vendors, and actually found a few things worth a second look. One booth sold hand-painted shirts, and Cindy picked out a colorful shirt that will certainly look good on her. We also found a hand-painted wooden plate that had this beautiful sea fan painted on it. The price was right so we bought that as well.



Sea fan on a wood plate


This plate now resides on our fireplace mantel, alongside a wood Angelfish we got in Belize a few years ago. We shopped a little more, then decided to return to the ship. That ice cream wasn't going to eat itself. Nor were the chocolate chip cookies.

We walked past this large statue, and naturally I wanted a photo of it. Both of us posed with it, and we took several photos.

Interesting statue


Is it just me, or does this statue seem to have a Brazilian? Click on the photo for a larger view and tell me what you think.

I'm not the only one who takes many photos. Carnival has photographers constantly taking photos of the passengers, at dinner, on Lido, and at every port. As you get off the ship, they'll stop you on the gangway and have you pose for pictures. We usually just say "no, thank you" and keep walking. I realize they are just doing their job, so I don't hold it against them. As we made our way back to the ship, I saw two of the Carnival photographers waiting for more people to pass by. Bringing up my camera, I imitated their spiel about posing for a photo. Both immediately jumped into the act and posed nicely for me.

Smile!


Back on the ship, we dropped our purchases off in the cabin, changed into swimwear and headed up to Lido. We found a couple of prime spots on aft Lido and plopped down to relax. Well, Cindy did, while I decided to take some more photos of the port area. As you'll be able to see from these photos, it's definitely an industrial area. If you'll look back at the Google Earth photo earlier in this blog, you can match that to what you see below.




Looking generally west





Looking generally WNW




Looking north


More and more people started filtering onto Lido as they came back from their time ashore. Based on the animated conversation I overheard, it sounds like most people had a great time. After my brief photo shoot, I dropped my camera into my bag and we enjoyed soaking in the hot tub for about an hour. By now the sun was creeping towards the western horizon and sailaway time was approaching. Timing was going to be perfect for this sailaway! Not only would we have time to watch sailaway from Lido, but shortly thereafter I could get some (hopefully) good sunset photos. I take many sunset photos on our cruises, and some of them have turned out quite nicely.


Sunset approaches...


We hung out on Lido, watching the sunset, until close to 5, when we headed downstairs to our cabin to clean up for dinner. For not having a full day planned, it still went by rapidly. We'll have to seriously consider doing that ATV mudding excursion the next time we're here.

If I haven't made it abundantly clear in my previous blogs, I'll make it clear now: I love that map screen on the TV! Then again, I'm that nerd who carries his GPS with him on every flight and every cruise and downloads the track log of those trips as well.



En route to Curacao


Did you notice our current speed? See what I mean about that number seeming to pop up everywhere? Recently Cindy and I had dinner with family from out of town and what was his order number? Yep, 19!

So, what's for dinner tonight? I'm not overly hungry, so just about anything on the menu will be fine with me.


Appetizer: "Michigan Pasty"
Filled with beef and potatoes, honey mustard dip



Wow, these are good! The beef was spiced just right, and the crust was flaky. I'm a big fan of honey mustard, so seeing this as a dipping sauce made the decision to order this app easy for me. I hope they are available on the next cruise we book.


Main: "Flat Iron Steak"
Pepper, herbs, broccoli, baked potato

I ordered my steak medium, but unfortunately, it came out well done. Well done, as in needing a scalpel to cut through it. The waitstaff is always happy to please, and it would've been easy for me to send it back for one less incinerated. I had taken only a couple of bites when the head waiter asked if I wanted another steak prepared. I wasn't hungry enough to warrant the extra work for them or wasting another steak, so I politely declined and finished the baked potato. That will just leave me more room for dessert.


Cindy's main: "Beef Wellington"
Puff pastry, burgundy sauce, roasted potato, pea gratin


She thoroughly enjoyed her beef Welly and was happy to see that the puff pastry wasn't soggy or undercooked. I had a bite of her pea gratin and would love to find a recipe for something similar. 


Dessert: Boston Cream Cake


No, that wasn't a typo. It was cake and good cake at that. It tasted just like a traditional Boston cream pie. I especially enjoyed the chocolate crumble with chocolate sauce you see on the plate. 

Cindy's brother Brian and his wife Denise followed us back to our cabin so they could check out the balcony. Like us, they book interior cabins and haven't done a balcony yet. All four of us fit on the balcony, although it was just a tad crowded. Not bad, but a larger aft wrap balcony would be more suited for more than just two.

We hung out in our cabin, just visiting and catching up on family gossip until the Love & Marriage Show. Of course, we left about 15 minutes early to get good seats, and all four of us settled into what is usually a funny show. For those not familiar with this show, the CD will host the Love & Marriage Show once per cruise. He or she normally selects the most recently wed couple, the longest wed couple and something in between. He'll then bring them on stage, sitting back to back, and ask them a series of questions. Much like TV's The Newlywed Game, these questions are definitely adult in nature, so Carnival restricts minors from the show. You can just imagine how funny some of their answers (and reactions) are. 

The show was as entertaining as we expected it to be, and afterward, Cindy and I headed back to our cabin to hang out on the balcony and listen to the water rushing by the ship. It's so relaxing to just watch the stars, listen to the waves and let your mind wander.

We don't get into Curacao tomorrow until 1 pm, so we get to sleep in again. Yay!

Coming up next, I'll take y'all on another "virtual" dive when I write about our time in Curacao.

For your convenience, here are the links to the previous blogs in this series:



Until next time.....


carpe cerevisi

4 comments:

  1. Hey nice article, me and my wife will be on the Vista next year. We have been reading all of your Vista blogs and enjoyed them, we sailed on the Elation and Valor before. Keep up the writing.

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  2. Hey there, Larry! I'm glad you've been enjoying my blogs. The Vista is a nice ship, and I think you will enjoy it. I haven't been on the Elation or Valor before, but have been on some of the other Conquest-class ships.

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  3. Another good overview. Beef Wellington looks awesome! Man, and that boat is huge in the satellite photo. I mean, I know they all are big, but it really adds perspective. (I know that's not your boat, of course)

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    1. I don't know if that's actually the Vista in that photo or not. The Vista *is* huge, though. 1,055 feet long, and 133,500 tons, according to the Carnival website.

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