After Jason took the bar exam the first time in February, we were planning to book a trip for our wedding anniversary. Time got away from us, and we had a few other commitments already this spring, so we opted to put vacation off.
But do you know how many times we’ve put off a vacation as a couple in the last few years? SO many times. After we found out Jason didn’t pass the first time (SO close), and then his car died, and he had to stop working to prepare for the exam all over again, I knew no matter what, WE needed a vacation post-exam.
So about a month before Jason was to re-take the bar, we decided to book a quick cruise to Mexico. That really is the beauty of living in Florida – and we don’t take advantage enough. We originally thought about a few days in St. Augustine again (P.S. that was the last trip Jason and I took just the two of us), or Key West. But in the end, a cruise won out because it included EVERYTHING, we could uber to the Port of Tampa (which means no paying to park our car for four days), and it was fairly inexpensive.
We found a Carnival cruise that left Tampa the day after Jason took the bar, and came back on Monday morning. It was the only cruise we found that left on a Thursday. It was meant to be.
Our cruise to Cozumel, was the first time we’ve actually ever sailed out of Tampa Bay. I’m always a little nervous before a trip, but I was impressed with the customer service, and staff at Carnival, out of Tampa. They put my mind at ease, and whatever nerves I had while waiting to board were gone pretty much immediately, which was a nice feeling. We have mainly sailed out of Miami or Port Canaveral, on both Carnival, and other cruise lines, and sometimes the local customer service isn’t always the best.
We sailed on the Carnival Paradise. I’ve had several friends sail this ship, and everyone has told us the ship is old. And while it is an older ship, honestly, I think cruising is what you make of it, no matter the size, as there are always a ton of activities to do once you’re on-board. My only real complaint on the age, is that our room only had one outlet, so doing my hair was kind of annoying (which is why there is a lack of photos of yours truly, because my hair was pretty much up at all times), since we were sharing the one outlet with two phones to charge, and my hair “tools” – but if that’s the worst of it, I think we were doing just fine. The Paradise now sails to Cuba, so there’s a chance we’d sail this ship again.
Our cruise to Cozumel, was the first cruise we’ve been on together since our honeymoon. We’ve sailed with friends, and family since then, but not just the two of us since 2011. We ate, we drank, we napped, and read (I read this book – very good). We played Scrabble like old people in the library, live trivia, and had a blast just being together. We went to the gym, and played bingo; dorky couple stuff, but dorky stuff we love to do together, and never do much anymore.
While you can pay for wifi, or even just a few simple apps (Facebook, Insta, etc, etc), while on a Carnival ship, we did not do that. We wanted to truly check out, and connect with each other. It was ah-mazing.
We decided to attend the Chef’s Table; a multi-course dinner with a tour of the galley, hosted by the ship’s Executive Chef. As a food blogger, I have been lucky enough to attend similar events in Tampa Bay. As wife to Jason, this was the first time we’ve done anything like this as a couple, and we both enjoyed it so much. It was worth the splurge, and attention we received (and food we ate!)
We also received a custom menu, and a group photo with the Executive Chef. They were small details, but nice touches. I’ve always been a fan of the little details. I guess it’s the event planner in me.
Overall, I think a four-day cruise was exactly what we needed to reconnect as a couple. We came home to a Tropical Storm (Oh, Tampa), but the weather was perfect while we were away, at least.