Thursday, May 9, 2013

May 2013 Cruise aboard Carnival Paradise

Several weeks back hubby and I decided to purchase a cruise for our annual family vacation. Prices where pretty good so we took the plunge to take Tyke on her 4th cruise.

It has been almost 3 years since our last voyage with the tyke and we where not sure what to expect as far as how she would endure or how much she would remember of our past trips to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. I must say it was most enjoyable as a whole.

Our adventure began at the Port of Tampa where we boarded the Carnival Paradise for 5 days of fun, food, and family time together. Previously we had sailed out of the same port on the Inspiration, Paradise's sister ship. Same basic layout. Check in was a breeze, mostly because we where taken to a special line for disabled passengers at Carnival's insistence that cut our time in half at the least. I was grateful but felt a tinge of guilt for the others who had to wait much longer.

After checking in we made our way to our cabin which was ready at noon. Cabins are small but accommodating for their purpose, a place to sleep and shower. We have been spoiled over the past couple years with spacious Las Vegas rooms and I had forgotten how small cruise ship rooms where.  After dropping our stuff off we headed to the Lido deck to have some lunch, burgers and fries which always hit the spot.

That evening and well into the next day we enjoyed the pool, Tyke made friends at camp, and I spent a little too much in the casino. Which may be why the players club delivered chocolate covered strawberries to the room our final night.Tyke said they just wanted to be my friend. She's so funny.

Our first port of call was Grand Cayman. We booked an excursion weeks in advance for a semi submersive trip which got cancelled via a letter delivered to our room shortly after we anchored. Tyke and I where not too happy about this but what can you do? We did get a refund. Went ashore anyways, walked around meandering through the streets trying to avoid the multiple people who stand on the corners like pushers asking if you want a cab. They need them in NYC where you have to basically throw yourself in front of a taxi to get one to stop. Along the path we took hubby pointed out a museum and we decided to check it out.

The National Museum in Grand Cayman is a Jewel. Hubby, Tyke, and I enjoyed learning about the history and cultures of  Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac, and Little Cayman through historical displays and video presentation. Cost is $5 for adults and children are free. Well worth it.

Enjoyed dinner with hubby once we where back on board the ship while Tyke dinned with her friends. Spent some more money in the casino while hubby who was feeling under the weather retreated to our room.

The next day we arrived in Cozumel and where elated when we did not receive another cancelled excursion letter shoved under our cabin door prior to our arrival. 

Tyke had selected our Cozumel excursion weeks before and had selected Discover Mexico. A great choice I must say. When we got to the port we where taken to a taxi that was included in the cost and whisked off to Discover Mexico, about a 2 minute ride. Our guide, Arturo, led us through an indoor gallery of artifacts representing the history and culture of many centuries of Mexico. Example below of this sand art displaying the Virgin Mary. Very nice!

 Then it was onward to the beautiful gardens where we where led down many paths of diorama style villages, pyramids, and Spanish style cathedrals. Many meticulously detailed for each historical period as well as the area of Mexico that it depicted. Along the garden path we met 2 new friends, a mule who's name escapes me and an Iguana named Mary. Both very personable.

We eventually said goodbye to our new amigos and took a taxi to Margarittaville for a bite to eat. Great food and the prices where not bad either. As an added perk, free wifi! Yes, I was able to say a quick hello to my peeps on facebook before hubby confiscated my iphone and reminded me we where on vacation.  We won't mention the mishap of a trial size cologne bottle breaking in my purse while we where waiting for our food. I wonder if the server figured out that it was I that smelled of $5 perfume. Lets hope not.
Here is Tyke having a blast at Margarittaville. Tyke would like to add that her butterfly balloon art she received was top notch.

After lunch we headed back to the ship and took a 2 hour nap. We where exausted! Later after we set sail Tyke was off to paint a volcano at camp carnival with her friends and then they headed over to the Rex club to get their groove on.

Tyke showing off her smooth moves in the dance floor.

I went back to the casino to donate some more and get some free drinks and hubby went back to the room to nap some more. Don't worry we do this every trip, it's how we stay happily married for so long. I let him nap and he lets me play the slots and we don't draw attention to each other's little addictions.

The second day at sea hubby actually got sick with a fever so he slept the whole day and I and Tyke amused ourselves by playing name that 80's song and eventually daddy arose from the dead and took Tyke to the pool for a bit before crawling back to the room sweating profusely from his fever breaking.  

The next day we arrived back in Tampa and debarkation was a breeze. Never heard my name on the intercom so I knew I wasn't getting deported back to New York. Got off the ship and went home where Tyke slept for 3 hours.

All in all, we had a wonderful time, only complaint would be no live holdem dealers on board for hubby and he was bummed. We met some really great friendly people who worked for Carnival as well as on the islands and encountered a talented iguana named Mary who could ride a donkey bareback. 

Yes, we would do it again in a heartbeat.

Monday, March 11, 2013


    If you have visited our blog before you may have noticed some changes to our look as well as the title of our blog. We have updated the style to fit Tyke's personality. As for the title, our little adventure seeker has developed into so much more; aspiring actor, future magician, world traveler, and dolphin activist too.

 We will still be taking her near and far and continue to share ideas for family friendly vacations as well as local events in the Tampa Bay area. However, more focus will be on sharing Tyke's trials and tribulations of growing up. 

About us (from our website) began as a way to share ideas on family friendly vacations, ie; hotels, resorts, cruises, etc. As time has gone on, Take the Tyke has evolved into so much more. It has become a site to share our adventures with Tyke near and far as well as share her daily trials and tribulations of being a kid.

In March of 2007, at the age of 3 months,Tyke came to live with us when we obtained permanent guardianship. She is actually our granddaughter. She calls us mom and dad and we have become her "forever family". I would not trade this for the world. Tyke is a great joy to us. It is my hope that one day when she is grown Tyke can look back at her childhood through this website and see how much she means to us, her family, and so many others who follow her on here as well as on twitter.

We invite you to follow Tyke on her adventures through childhood and beyond as she grows and soars towards her dreams for the future.

Warmest Regards,
Cynthia Parrott