Tuesday, 12 May 2015 19:11

2007- Feb- Carnival Destiny- Our First Cruise

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I think that RSVP Vacations and Atlantis had been around for a while but we had never looked into their cruises but for some reason, in 2007, we became interested in taking a gay cruise. The problem we found was that both RSVP Vacations and Atlantis release information about their cruises about 12 months before the actual cruise and at Kaiser, where I was working at the time, they required us to put in vacation requests about 15 months in advance. Once the annual vacation bids had been done at Kaiser, it was next to impossible to get any other time off without a lot of scrambling and finding your own coverage. We finally gave up on the idea of a gay cruise in 2007 but were still interested in trying a "cruise" vacation, even if it were a "straight" cruise. 

I looked into various cruise lines. What I liked about Carnival at the time was that they had a guarantee that said you could get your money back if you went on a cruise and decided you didn't like it. We just didn't know how we would feel on a cruise and whether we would want off at the very first stop or not so this guarantee they had going at the time seemed like a pretty good idea. Carnival also seemed to have a huge selection of itineraries. 

One of the things I looked at for our first cruise was how many days the ship would be out to sea. I figured that if we got sick, we would not want to be out to sea and so I wanted a cruise that docked every day. The Carnival Destiny, which was going out of San Juan, Puerto Rico seemed to come closest to meeting that criteria, only having two days out to sea. We would have stops in St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St Lucia and Antigua. 

It was also important to me that the ship be as large as possible and that we have a balcony for fresh air. For me, vomiting is one of the worst possible experiences! I would rather have pain than vomit! I would bring a lot of hand sanitizer for our hands and disinfectant for the room just in case of norwalk virus. I would also bring ginger candy, ginger capsules, dramamine and wear a scopolamine patch! 

It was great to be able to put down a deposit on the cabin we wanted to guarantee that cabin. You could get a cabin cheaper if you let Carnival assign the cabin but I knew I wanted something in the middle of the ship to minimize movement to minimize the possibility of getting seasick. We loved being able to pay for the cruise over a period of several months and having it be refundable up to about 90 days out from our sail date. 

We had to book a flight to San Juan and this was one of the last flights we ever took with stop-overs. We were supposed to fly out of Oakland to JFK but about 30 minutes before the flight, we heard our names called and we went up to the desk. We were told the flight had been overbooked and were asked if we would take a different flight that went through Newark, New Jersey. I don't remember now why we were so agreeable- I can't remember if we were given the option or were just told this was what we had to do. Maybe the flight got there earlier. I just don't remember. 

Coming back was the bigger problem. We were booked through JFK and there was a huge snowstorm grounding many flights. We had no problem getting out of San Juan but JFK was dicey. We were on the tarmac for a while. Some passengers were in their planes, on the tarmac, for hours and many didn't take off at all. We felt very lucky when the pilot announced we had been cleared for takeoff. We just barely got out of there!!

When we first arrived in San Juan, it was fairly early in the day and we were just exhausted from the long flight and layover in Newark. We went to our hotel but they would not allow us to check in that early so we had to kill time until check in. I think we just wandered about and went and got something to eat. Compared to the Bay Area, the weather in San Juan felt like summer in the middle of winter! I loved that!!

The cruise went well. We both wore our scopolamine patches behind our ears and neither of us got sick. There were moments of nausea through the week but usually brief. I believe one of those times was actually on dry land, on one of the excursions, on one of the islands where there were a lot of curves in the road. In St. Thomas, we visited "Coral World." It was really not very impressive but the beach next to it was great. On Dominica, we visited the rain forrest and "The Emerald Pool." We visited another natural spring pool on one of the other islands as well. Milton let me have a beach day on Barbados. Milton doesn't swim and African-American so not looking to get a tan. I always appreciate his willingness to let me swim, snorkel and lay on the beach! 

Our cabin was great. Carnival does a wonderful job of entertaining their guests. Our room steward did the obligatory towel animals every night. He made up our room twice a day which is typical on cruises. The food was mediocre but okay. Since I had taken microbiology as a student nurse, the buffet felt a little risky. On that cruise, we had our own hand sanitizer but that didn't do any good for cleaning everybody else's hands! I would see people coughing or sneezing into their hands and then serving themselves from the buffet. Unsupervised children were the worst, though. When at the buffet, I would always try to reach toward the back of the serving dish which had not been touched yet or had serving spoons laid across them. Eating in the dining room felt safer but Milton and i are not very social and on that ship, on that cruise, we were seated with two women through the cruise. I don't know if the ship does this intentionally- seat two men with two women? Regardless, we only ate in the dining room a couple of times because of this. It is just too awkward making conversation with strangers! 

One of my favorite things about The Destiny was it's gym. There was a large whirlpool there that was not filled with screaming kids! Adults could actually use this whirlpool and relax! They also had a steam room and a sauna on this ship. I thought other ships would have these amenities as well but in future cruises, we would find out that is not the case. 

We were in cabin 7-244. It seemed small at first but on future cruises, we would discover that Carnival and Royal Caribbean have the largest cabins for our budget. Princess and MSC were the worst. After we had been on several cruises, I would never go on a Princess or MSC ship again. Their balcony cabins are so much smaller than Carnival and Royal Caribbean and their food is much worse!! On the Destiny, we also appreciated some of the free toothpaste and other samples left in our room. Out of all the cruises we have taken, Carnival has the best bedding!! Passengers on the Destiny could purchase Carnival pillows and bedding while on the cruise and I was tempted. The worst bedding we have had on a cruise was MSC, which had lumpy pillows as if someone just stuffed old rags in a pillow case!!

Here is some video of our first cruise. It is not very high quality because of the camera I used but also because of youtube limitations on size of video at that time. That has changed since then and I might go back to the original footage and re-edite some day.... maybe... enjoy!

Read 6922 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 May 2015 18:53

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Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
My Mother- Click for more photos.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Grandview- Click for story
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
Palouse- Click for story
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
Me in first grade- Click for story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
Amber- Click to read story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
4th Grade- Click for story.
Click to read "Introduction."
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
Where I was born- Click for story.

Article

01. Introduction

03- Dads Family

03- Photos of my Father and his family

04- My Mother's Family

04- Photos of my Mom

04- Video of my Mom

04- Walling Family Reunions

04-Audio Files of My Mom

04. Billie

04. Ole

04.1. Forbidden Dreams of Love

04.2. Flames of Forbidden Love

04.3 Mom Writing Her Life Story

05- Jim Tarbert

05. Roger

1950's Grandview to Toppenish

1957-1958 1st Grade

1958-1959- Third Grade

1959- Palouse

1961- 4th Grade- Last time I wore a dress

1962- Abilene

1963- Escondido- Early 60's

1964- Darlene Marries Chuck

1964- My Beatle Haircut

1964-The Luv Please

1965 or 1966- Steve Castle

1965- In Foster Care

1966 Living with Darlene & Chuck in Seattle

1967- Juvenile Hall

1976- I Praise Thee (poem to Stanley)

1976- My Second Lover, Stanley Dunne

1976- Paul McCartney and Wings

1976-1330 Bush Street #9J

1977- 1667 Haight Street

1977- Trip to San Diego with Mary Jo

1977-1980- Tumultuous Relationship with John Perry

1978- 525 Haight Street

1979- September- Dad is Murdered

1980's- AIDS- Death and Dying

1980- Winter- First Trip to New York

1980- Word, Sound and Power

1981- Milton- Falling in Love

1982-1993 465 Waller Street

1982-1994 Computers to MacNursing

1984- 33rd Birthday

1985- Graduation from Nursing School

1985- Trip to Hawaii (Oahu)

1988- MIdnight Caller

1989- Earthquake!

1991- Aug 10th- Mom Passes Away

1991- Black Males in Oils

1991- Crack of My Life

1993- Move to Vallejo & Our First Home

1995-1. Road Trip to Washington

1995-2. Surprise Trip to Vegas

1995-3. Grandmother Rogers & Aunts Visit Darlene's

1995-4. Amber

1998- Camping at Russian River

2000 -Thoughts about Progressive Christians

2000- Resignation from John George

2001- April- Trip to Cancun

2001- Peace and Justice

2001- September 11th

2002- April-Puerto Vallarta & Blue Bay Getaway

2002- Nov 12th- My Stepfather, George McHenry Passes Away

2003- Trip to D.C. and N.Y.

2004- Feb- Road Trip to Baha Mexico

2004- Walling Family Reunion in Spokane

2005- Christmas Poem

2005- Darlene Visit for Pride Celebration

2005- Trip to Orlando

2005-1. Europe- London

2005-2. Europe- Paris

2005-3. Europe- Venice

2005-4. Europe- Florence

2005-5. Europe- Rome

2005-6. Europe- Athens

2005-7. Knee Surgery & Tongue Biopsy

2006 Christmas Poem

2006- February 23- Times Herald

2006- Palm Springs White Party

2006- Trip to Seattle

2006-July 8th Solano Peace and Justice Coalition BBQ

2007- Feb- Carnival Destiny- Our First Cruise

2007- Tre and Casey Visit

2008- Aug 15-18 Spokane Visit

2008- Psycho Song

2009- Honored by Vallejo Gay Network

2009- Women in Oils

2010 Christmas Poem

2010- Feb. R.C. Mariner of the Seas Mexican Riviera Cruise

2010- June 24- Badlands

2010- Trip to Seattle

2010-1. Europe- Amsterdam

2010-2. Europe- Paris

2010-3. Europe- Barcelona & Sitges

2010-4. Europe- Madrid

2011-1. Feb. My Fabulous 60th Birthday Weekend

2011-2. April- L.A., Palm Springs & "The White Party"

2011-3. Poem- Girl From Medical Lake

2011-4. Old Man Dancing

2011-5. May- Misty and Alex Visit

2011-6. August- Darlene and Sean's Visit

2011-7. Alex 16-18 & Pics

2012- March- Carnival Splendor Mexican Riviera with Family

2013- Wedding

2014- Christmas Poem

2014- First Gay Cruise

2014- September Road Trip to San Diego

2015- Seasonal Affective Blues

2015- Second Gay Cruise

2015- War on Christmas poem

2015-"Badlands" and Gay Bar Etiquette

2015-September 8. Political History

2016 Do Not Speak for Gay Males

2016- April- Palm Springs RV Adventure

4/4/2016- Not Going Along to Get Along

9/4/15- Liberals vs Conservatives

Amber- Click to read story.
Click to read "Introduction."
1974- On Larkin Street- Click for story.
1982-1993 Waller Street- Click to read story.
My Dad's Family- Click for story.
Photos of Dad & His Family- Click for story.
Grandview- Click for story
My Mother- Click for more photos.
1973 "You have to be hurt..." Click to read the story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Gay Disco 70's- Click for story
5th Grade in Abilene Tx- Click for story
Darlene Marries Chuck- Click for story.
Palouse- Click for story
2005- Darlene Visits for Gay Pride- Click to read story.
Earthquake! Click to read story.
Where I was born- Click for story.
1974- First Trip to Europe- Click to read story.
Me in 3rd grade- Click for story.
Second Gay Cruise- Click for story.
2005 Darlene Visit for Gay Pride- Click for story.
1964- Luv Please- Click for story.
2001 Trip to Cancun- Click to read story.
Me in first grade- Click for story.
Summer of Love- Click to read story.
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click to read story.
2014- Road trip to San Diego- Click for story.
1958-1959- 3rd Grade- Click to read story.
1973- Psych Tech Program- Click for story.
Cockettes & Angels of Light- Click for story
1970's Promiscuity- Click for story.
4th Grade- Click for story.
Escondido 1960's- Click for story
2015- 2nd Gay Cruise- Click for story.
Women in Oils- Click for story
The Psychedelic Experience- Click to read story.
Forbidden Dreams of Love- Click for story.
Black Men in Oils- Click to read story
Beatle haircut- Click for story.
1967- Summer of Love- Click to read story.
1957-1958 1st Grade- Click to read story.
Me in my 20's in 1970's- Click for story.