Carnival Splendor Again: First Sea Day

Previously: Embarkation Day.

On Monday morning, a sea day, I woke up before Mike, and as soon as I saw the early hour I had a plan: "Morning Trivia!"

How great would it be to slip down to the big theatre, win the 9 a.m. trivia contest, get a ship on a stick, then tiptoe back into the room where Mike would (let's face it) surely still be asleep, then wait for him to wake up to his surprise?

Plus, then we'd have a ship on a stick, and we wouldn't be pining over getting one from Carnival Splendor, which might lead to missing valuable thalassotherapy pool and aroma steam room time in order to play trivia.

(Don't get me wrong: we're mad about trivia. And as I've said on other trip reports, as fun as it is to win, if you're with a good group of people, winning doesn't really matter. It's just fun to play and discuss the new things you learn, etc. But this cruise was supposed to be all about the spaaaaaa... and as much as winning doesn't matter, it's hard not to want to collect a s-o-a-s from every ship.)

A photo I took of the edge of the stage while waiting:

Carnival Splendor - Edge of Stage

Yesterday we'd told Simon (Chocolate Thunder) how glad we were to encounter new trivia questions because getting the same ones puts you in a dilemma as to whether it's fair to compete. It's still a touchy issue, I think. Simon felt that, hey, if you know it, you know it, and it doesn't matter if you learned it on the last cruise. Yeah, but then you hear stories of people who cruise with the same lines/hosts/whatever all the time and know all of the answers and win all of the prizes, which doesn't sound like it's fun to play or very sporting to claim a prize over.

At this trivia session, run by... Patty, I think? (We had two female social hosts: one from Brazil, and one from Michigan who wore stripper heels. This was the Brazilian.) Anyway, at this session two questions from the last cruise popped up. Whatever your moral position is on staying in a game if the questions (even if only two) are the same, let me tell you: in my case, it doesn't matter. Why? Because those were the two questions that absolutely stumped me.

I guess this proves the popular point in pedagogy that you can't just be told an answer to something and be expected to have learned it? Still, you'd think I'd have an inkling. But no, nothing at all. Of all twenty questions, only those two plus one other stumped me, and the other one I was 99.5% close on. (Alas, that's not 100%.)

I don't usually share any cruise trivia questions when off the ship, not even the ones leading to anecdotes of triumph or irony, but I'm going to make an exception for not one but two today. I don't know why. Blame it on summer break. Plus, it's not like I'm posting a list of questions and answers. (Which I totally could do: I save all the answer sheets for my scrapbook. Sick, huh?) I figure that if you've waded through this much rambling from me, you deserve this.

So, it was pretty big group in the theatre for trivia. I'd say fortyish people? Fifty? Most were in small groups. When it came time to rattle off answers, a family of four (two parents, two adult children) that had been very vocal in their responses and were clearly doing well, were the only ones who shouted a response to "How many bones are in the human body?"

One thing that bugged me about that question was that I seemed to recall that the answer could vary. But, I didn't really know why, plus I knew there was a "commonly accepted" answer, so the question was fair.

206? 208? 209? 207? I just knew that one of these was right, but which one? Argh! Have to pick something... okay... um. um. um. 207!

Well, the answer was... 206. Dang! Still, have to be happy to have been close.

The family of four got this one right. Now here's the bizarre part: after they shouted out the correct answer, everyone was gasping and whispering. Patty joined in from the stage, "How did you know that?!"

"I'm a doctor," the father answered.

"Ahhh," came the knowing sound from everyone else.

Huh? Sure, I ballsed up the answer (off by one number is still wrong), but c'mon, it's not arcane knowledge from lost library of Merlin. It's one of those things you learn in school. I felt foolish for not remembering. People, you scare me sometimes.

Now here's the other question I'll reveal: "What is the only Disney character to promote a food product?"

I wrote down "Donald Duck orange juice." Yes, correct. The doctor-family wrote "Peter Pan peanut butter." Nope. It's a good answer, especially since (as I see on Wikipedia) the Disney artwork for Peter Pan is now used for the peanut butter.

But! The question said "Disney character." Peter Pan isn't really a Disney character - no more so than Winnie the Pooh. Peter Pan was created by J.M. Barrie when Walt Disney himself was still in diapers. He's not like Goofy, Mickey, Pluto, Minnie... or Donald. I know you could make a case for changing the definition of "Disney character," but that doesn't really fit the spirit of trivia. (Just like apparently I could make a case for 207 bones being in the human body.)

Well, the doctor-family wasn't happy, but Patty ruled that the answer was Donald Duck. (Probably more out of wanting to stick to the answer sheet than any executive decision on what constitutes a "Disney character.")

So, of course it came down to a tie. 17 out of 20 for me, and 17 out of 20 for the doctor-family.

No sooner was the tie announced when the mother of the family shouted out, "We should get a half-point for the Peter Pan peanut butter!" Wow. Well, then I should get... quadruple points for playing by myself? It's not even like they lost. I didn't care for these people very much.

I thought there might be a tiebreaker question, but Patty had medallions for both of us. The adult son from the family and I had to mount the stage and have them put over our necks, end-of-Star Wars style, and say our names and where we were from.

Darn, another medallion! No surprise for Mike. But I was glad I went, if only to make that poor family suffer the injustice of a tie. Ha! (But the spa was looking better than ever.)

I forgot I was wearing the medallion when I got in the elevator, so I wasn't prepared for all the questions by the other passengers. (Ah, day one of a cruise!) "What kind of trivia questions?" one asked. That's how I started hosting a quick trivia game in the elevator. We had to hold the door on one floor so one person could answer, and everyone kept asking for more questions. It was fun, more fun than the actual trivia game, and if Carnival is interested in an elevator trivia hostess...?

I tried to sneakily hang the medallion next to the one from the day before, but they clanged, which woke Mike up enough to say, "Where'd the other medallion come from?"

Otherwise, he slept through all of my comings and goings in and out from the balcony - for socks, for a jacket, for the camera. I was trying to read Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter out there, but it was a mite cold.

What did wake Mike up was the knock on the door from room service. Huh? Room service?

The waiter had a tray with several plates of chocolate-dipped strawberries. He handed me one.

A Blurry Gift for Us

The card is blurry, but it says, "A Gift for You" with "John Heald" written on the line. How nice! We'd asked if he could help with a table for two, so this was really above and beyond. I know John gets a lot of criticism from people who think people just use him for requests or gifts, but John says to please ask him for help with tables-for-two (or anything), and the gifts are all his idea. We certainly didn't expect this generosity.

Gift from John Heald - Tuxedo Chocolate Strawberries

Okay, we didn't expect the strawberries. After getting the first medallion, we kind of joked, "Well, maybe John Heald will send us a ship on a stick." That's what he did the first time we cruised Carnival Spirit (and had a table request), but we didn't expect it... but it would be nice. :) Oh well, guess if we really wanted a Splendor s-o-a-s, we'd have to swing by another trivia game... assuming they'd ever stop giving out medallions!

Because we were still making posts on Funville Forums at this point (Why have I become so lazy about taking notes these last few cruises?), I can recall that we had a good lunch:

Carnival Splendor - Plenty of Lunch

The Tandoor's vegetarian selection was, as it would be every single day, the dry paneer tikka with acrid chickpeas, and that disappointed me anew every time (It's Indian food! It's supposed to be a vegetarian delight!), but it's not like I could go hungry. In the photo above you see I visited the burrito station, grabbed both iced tea and hot chocolate, and had two pieces of dessert on stand-by. Mike's plate is piled with Indian with a gyro from today's Taste of Nations, "Mediterranean."

(The worst thing about taking photos of our buffet choices is that it leads to comments from anonymous losers along the lines of, "That's y ur so fat!" Yeah, I'm fat, but I'm also wasteful. I get two desserts because I want to try both, not because I plan to eat all of both. Use the right perjorative for the occasion, buster!)

Afterward we visited the Shore Excursion desk because the tickets for Todos Santos said that closed-toe shoes were required, while the catalog said no such thing. I had only sandals. The SE people assured us that it wouldn't be an issue. The bad news was that only seven tickets had been sold since yesterday for the Todos Santos tour. We needed 20 in order for it to happen.

You know how people do things on a cruise they wouldn't do at home? Drink into oblivion by noon each day? Wear big hats and mismatched prints? Have sex with near-strangers?

Well, we became spammers.

We started by speaking loudly and excitedly about Todos Santos whenever passing groups of people. Then, Mike ran back to the SE desk to grab a few TS brochures, which we then carefully placed in the most public areas of the ship. Then we crossed our fingers.

So it was a bit ironic when, as we walked down the hall to our room, we could see there was something in our mailbox and we started grousing. Were people putting their empty bottles in our mailbox?! Trash!

But wait, it was...

Carnival Splendor - Mike with Surprise

A bottle of Italian champagne (Santero Brut) and... and... YES... a ship on a stick! Thank you, John Heald!

As I wrote that night in the Funville Forums, "So, the pressure to get a trophy is off, and maybe everyone can feel free to go to trivia without these two nerds keenly showing up and offering unsolicited feedback (I'm telling you, no one has even proven that Anne Boleyn had six fingers), and/or we can be humbled a little less frequently, especially on sports questions."

Carnival Splendor - Ship on a Stick - Just Focus on My Cabin

The beauty of that shimmering plastic!

You know, I think I'll just let my FF post take over reporting most of the rest of the day:

"Now it's late afternoon which means... that's right, Mike is having his nap. (I wish the same could be said for the crying baby next door, but the soundproofing is mostly good.) We just did a full session in the thalasso pool and the thermal suite. Watched a few more people try to sneak into the facilities - I don't think the word is out that the spa has gone to a key card system. Nearly fell asleep on the heated tile loungers with the ocean view. One of the reasons (or justifications?) we booked this cruise was to see if the thermal suite might help me finally get rid of the lingering wheeze from last month's pneumonia. Can't say if it's helping yet, but as Mike's "ashy" arm has started to peel, the humidity is restoring our crusty desert skin. I'm sure we'll go back after dinner tonight."

(The meal in the steakhouse was as beautiful as before.)

Mike wrote:

"Back from another long soak in the thalasso tub after a delicious dinner in The Pinnacle Steakhouse. Was funny seeing the same hostess there from our Steakhouse dinners on Carnival Spirit at New Year. She seemed genuinely amazed to see us again. The meal was an incredible as I remembered from Spirit.

"We've tried some more to work out how to upload photos here - it doesn't seem to be possible without paying for wifi, so we might be limited to text updates -- unless Cabo somehow has some free or affordable wifi we can pick up from the ship or the port. I guess all we have to do is locate a Starbucks. :)

"Off to the evening show in a little while."

(Then later, also from Mike:)

"The end of another day. The show was a bit "meh" - As much as I love Carnival Splendor, Spirit does have better shows. This 'The Beat' show had too many similar songs, not as much chemistry between the singers, and I had trouble staying interested, although it did pick up a bit in the middle third. The comedy guy at 11:45, Russ Nagel, was funny so that made up for it. All in all a great day."

"Time for bed. Cabo in the morning. So far there's no 'Sorry, we didn't sell enough tickets to your tour' message, so it looks like we'll get to go to Todos Santos."

Carnival Splendor - Towel Animal - Puppy

24 June 2011 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)