Monday, January 25, 2016

Running a Half Marathon then going on a cruise #CruisingCarnival

Last week my best friend Keri and I had a whirlwind 8 night girls trip. We started by staying at Hilton Bonnet Creek and running the runDisney Half Marathon. The minute we finished the race, we hopped in our cars and headed to Port Canaveral to board the Carnival Valor for 7 nights!

Going on a cruise following a race is the way to go. While we "only did the half" this time around, you could easily leave Disney World and head to the port after running any race distance. Port Canaveral is 1 hour from Disney and a very easy trip via 417 (this is a toll road so keep that in mind). After we grabbed our medals, we headed home to change and head off to the ship.
This was the only time in my 13 cruise career where I entered an empty port. We were close to being the last group on board but we got on board and headed straight for the Muster Station. I will be honest and say that the entire day, all through the race and even the trip to the port, we were nervous wrecks about not getting on the ship. Once we were on, it felt like 10,000 pounds of tension were off our shoulders! After the Muster Station, we grabbed our first Cosmo of the trip and headed to the deck for the sailing party. We even ran into a few other runners who ran the half marathon!
It was a whirlwind. We were off before we could mentally accept we were on a ship. However, I wouldn't take any of that back. It was such an amazing experience knowing we were on a cruise the same day we finished running 13.1 miles. I would do it again in a heartbeat. Obviously night one we were very tired and had an early night to bed. Since day 2 was a sea day, the only thing we had scheduled was pigging out at Sea Day Brunch.
The Carnival Valor is a beautiful ship. It holds close to 3,000 passengers and is nearly 1,000 feet. The Valor will be dry docked this spring to get the 2.0 funship makeover. However, we really enjoyed exploring the ship in its current state. It has an American theme so all of the bars, lounges and dining rooms are named after historical figures and landmarks. I was so excited to see a mural of Jackson Square (where my husband and I got married) in the lobby.
One thing I have to applaud the Valor on is their staff. I have been on 13 cruises and the Valor exceeded all of my expectations. Our Maitre d Ramesh made us feel like we were guests visiting his 1,000 foot home. I never wanted to leave. One night we dined at Scarlett's Steakhouse and they went above and beyond to ensure we had a fabulous dining experience. Our room attendant Elana (I think?) was incredible. She was on top of it the entire cruise, making sure we had fresh ice to chill our wine, politely put up with two messy girls and always left us a cute towel animal. Lastly, we were reunited with our favorite bartender named Kelvin who we met 3 years ago. Stay tuned later this week for the Carnival Cosmo recipe!
During our trip, we had two days at sea and visited four ports. I am looking forward to sharing the experience with you. In the meantime, here are highlight photos from each day.

Day 1 at Sea
(our shirts say: I like big boats and I cannot lie.....I mean, how can we not get those)

Cozumel
Due to the weather we had to change our excursion from an all inclusive beach day to an indoor activity. It was the best excursion I have done. Stay tuned to hear about Salsa & Salsa and Margarita and my new love affair for tequila.
Belize
Where Keri started her love affair with rum filled coconuts following our Zipline and Cave Tubing experience. Yes, that sign says with as much rum as you want.......
Honduras 
It was our one beautiful day - and I would love to go back to Honduras for a week. We spent our time at the Mayan Princess. A full review to come!
Costa Maya
I shall call this day "Day at sea 2.5". Clouds, rain and a hangover don't mix well. Stupid tequila.
Day 2 at Sea
Hi Ma - we got a ship on a stick........

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