Cruise Highlights

Friends and coworkers keep asking how our cruise was, and my answer is generally along the lines of “meh”. However, the more I think about it the more I realize that that answer really isn’t fair. The vacation itself was actually very nice and relaxing and I had a wonderful time. The ambivalent feeling I have is really because I wanted the cruise to be something special. Instead, I came away thinking that I would have enjoyed a resort more.

As always, the devil is in the details. First, there’s the money. For an “all-inclusive” deal, Carnival sure spent a whole lot of energy trying to nickel-and-dime their guests. From the “Soda Card” I bought to the photo prints they offered for sale to the threat of fees if you lost any towels to the very over-priced bar drinks, it was difficult to not spend additional money.

Next, there’s the issue of time in ports. There simply not enough of it. The truth is, I’m sure there are many people who really enjoy the ship-board activities: drinking, hanging out by the pool, gambling at what passes for a casino and, well, eating. But I’m not really one of them. Well, except for the eating part. Then, when we finally get to a port and can leave the ship, we have to be back in time for the ship to leave port by 3 or 4 PM. I’d much rather leave at around sunset. I think those extra three hours in port would be very handy.

There are other things, like the food selections available at certain times of the day or even the specific foods unavailable during regular meals in the dining room, but I think that’s enough negativity. After all, I really did enjoy my vacation. My favorite parts were driving a 6-speed Jeep Wrangler around Cozumel and watching flying fish jump out of the wake from the ship and re-enter the ocean tens of yards away. (Look closely at the last shot below and you can see one of them.)

Here are some of the highlights from the pictures I took. (More can be found on my photo album site.)

Oh, and about the Canon 18-200 mm IS lens for which this trip was the real test? The results are mixed. I love the versatility of the lens and had no trouble with focus accuracy or speed. However, there was quite a bit of vignetting and pincushioning in a lot of the images. It was the only lens I took on this trip, so all of the images above were shot with it. The question I have yet to fully answer for myself is whether I am happier with this lens than I would have been with a compact super-zoom camera like the upcoming Canon 200SX IS. I think the answer is yes, but I’m just not certain. Without these two issues, the answer would be a definitive yes. Now, I think I’ll have to take another look at that camera when it comes out, along with its competitors.

The other result of this lens test is that I am that much more interested in the Canon 70-200 f/2.8.

PS: If you haven’t stopped by my photo blog in a while, please do so. Thanks!


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  1. #1 by martymankins on March 26, 2009 - 11:21 am

    Sounds like I need to do some research on what “all-inclusive” means before I ever book a cruise. I don’t want the pressure of worrying about having the expectation of spending extra when i think it’s included.

    For me, that means a true open bar (or at least knowing the daily limit) and enjoying time on the deck without worrying about my towel flying off into the ocean.

    Your photos turned out great.


    • #2 by Ren on March 28, 2009 - 8:08 pm

      @martymankins – To be fair, I knew in advance that alcohol was not included. As I was traveling with my extended family, it wasn’t as big a deal. Had I been traveling with my group of friends, we would almost certainly have bitten the bullet and bought drinks at least one night.


  2. #3 by Senior on May 15, 2009 - 4:54 pm

    In reviewing some of Chuck Lorre’s old Vanity cards from Dharma and Greg, I found this one: within which is an explanation of Weltschmerz, which has some relation to your disapointment with the cruise.
    Love always…


    • #4 by Ren on May 16, 2009 - 1:32 pm

      Senior – It could also be a result of the fact that we spent a similar amount the previous year for spring break and had a much better experience. And it wasn’t due to the lack of family being with us — on the contrary, I’m confident that we would have had an even better time in that case.

      Oh, and I am completely discounting any negative experience attributable to Marci’s torn ACL.


  1. Macro Monday #45 « Renagerie

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