Saturday, January 17, 2015

Lissie & Lilly: Cruise Day 2 - Fun Day on the Sea

Today is the second day of our fantastic cruise aboard the Carnival Triumph! We spent the whole day on the sea traveling away from the Port of Galveston across the Gulf of Mexico. 

There are several options of breakfast, a Continental breakfast in the buffet hall, several cafes served breakfast, and for those who like to get dressed up first thing in the morning, a fantastic brunch in the Paris dining room! 
Lilly: Isn't this a wonderful way to start the morning? I love brunch!
Lissie: Because you can wake up late enough that you still get breakfast but will beat the lunch crowd. Pass me another cinnamon roll please!
Lilly: You know, even though we're in the Paris dining room, it looks almost exactly like our London dining room. I wonder why brunch is here and not in the London dining room?
Lissie: Because it's blasphemous to serve a croissant anywhere else on the boat!

Lissie: Grab the fork Lilly! Pasta papparadelle with shrimp, scallops, and calamari on it's way!
Lilly: Ooo, I feel bad for eating our Big Person's food Lissie.
Lissie: Why? She's too seasick to eat it. I'd feel worse for wasting food.
Lilly: I suppose you're right. Do you think she'll be ok? She could barely walk back to the cabin.
Lissie: Oh she'll be fine after she takes some medicine. It's a good thing we don't have a vestibulocochlear system or we'd feel motion sick too, and then this pasta would really go to waste.
Lilly: Hahaha! You're right Lissie! Can you imagine a doll getting seasick?
Lissie: And yet I can imagine this pasta going down into my cloth body very well. 
(I was very very very motion sick this morning. The boat, which had gone rather smoothly yesterday evening, sped up throughout the night and the waves were larger as we traveled further into the Gulf of Mexico. All this resulted in very noticeable rocking of the ship. I managed to walk to brunch, but couldn't eat anything and had to return to our room and take motion sickness pills, which didn't kick in until an hour or 2 later. They're pretty amazing because I felt the rocking and swaying, and my mind was telling me I should be feeling nauseous and queasy right now, but I didn't, as if there was a disconnect between what I knew ought to be rationally true, and what I actually felt.)

Lilly: I can't see over all the people in front. We're too short.
Lissie: You've got to thing creatively! As they say, when in the Rome Theater, do as the Romans do.
Lilly: What do the Romans do?
Lissie: They pillage and conquer!
Lilly: I'm pretty certain that's not allowed on a cruise ship. Oh good! Our Big Person is back! She can give us a boost. I don't want to miss the talk about the on shore excursions.

Lilly: How how how did I let you talk me into this Lissie? 
Lissie: Oh don't pretend Lilly. After all, who can resist a good ol' "Men's Hairiest Chest Contest"? 
Lilly: Of all the shows and activities on board, we're out here watching once respectable gentlemen bare their chests.
Lissie: Not their chest, their chest hair. Woah! Look at this next contestant! Bet he doesn't even need a coat in the winter.
Lilly: Ack! I don't know if I want to see! ... Goodness! He's practically half bear!

There are about 12 floors to the ship, and the gym is near the very top on the 11th floor, right at the head of the ship, facing forward. It's an incredible and smart location for it because all the machines face the sea and you feel like a swashbuckling hero as you jog, but you soon realize you're not as fantastic as your imagination would like to think because you can't manage to keep your balance so well with the boat shifting on the waves beneath your feet.
Lissie: And I can't believe you talked me into coming to the gym!
Lilly: Think of all that bread and pasta we ate at brunch! It's all starchy calories and we've got to burn it off or else we won't have room for afternoon tea.
Lissie: Who comes on a cruise to exercise??? Why do they even have a gym here?
Lilly: Some people actually like to live a long, healthy life Lissie. Besides, there's a great view in front of us! It's such a nice idea to have the gym at the top level in the front of the ship. I feel like we're on the lookout, and we'll be able to see things first from here.
Lissie: Nothing to see but ocean and oil rigs.

Lilly: Lissie! Are you alright?
Lissie: Ughhhhh.... Stitch in cloth body.... too.... much.... brunch....
Lilly: ...Why does it sound like you're trying to get out of exercising?

Lissie: But no one else is here! I don't see why we need to be so dedicated just because you learned that fat clogging arteries is a direct path to strokes and myocardial infraction.
Lilly: InFARctions Lissie, not infraction. The others will arrive when they feel the effects of the buffet kick in. We're just going to be ahead of the game. 
Lissie: Oh fine, I'll do it, but only for the scones slathered with clotted cream they're going to serve at afternoon tea.

Lissie: Ahhh... I like this machine more!
Lilly: Umph! But our legs can't reach the pedals! We're just sitting here.
Lissie: Exactly.

Lilly: Why are we hiding in front of the towels again?
Lissie: Don't make a move! Don't make a sound! No one will notice us here.
Lilly: But why are we here?
Lissie: I haven't thought that far ahead yet.

Lilly: Well I guess it's alright for now since there's no one here in the woman's locker room.
Lissie: Our Big Person needs to hurry up. I don't see why she wanted to go sit in a steam room. What's good about that? It's just alot of hot air.
Lilly: I think that's why she wanted to go. It's supposed to keep the skin soft and the heat is good for releasing musculoskeletal pain.
Lissie: Well why couldn't she bring us? I have musculoskeletal pain too!
Lilly: You have impatience and metal sleep eyes that rust.
(I tried not to be too creepy! XD I waited til everyone was out of the locker room before taking a picture!)

Lilly: It's so windy on deck! My hair is flying everywhere.
Lissie: As long as we're not flying, it's all good. Besides, all the good wind always comes to the butt of the ship.
Lilly: I don't know about the good winds, but the back of the ship is the best place to watch the sun set.

Lissie: Technically it hasn't set yet, though it's on it's way.
Lilly: Do you want to wait? 
Lissie: At least until the rain clouds come block our view again.
Lilly: Don't worry Lissie, we'll see a sunset before we go home. I'm sure of it!
Lissie: And in the mean time, we can be first in line for the buffet! Let's go!

Aside from the formal London and Paris dining rooms, there are also several less formal places to eat on the ship, including this giant buffet room, as well as bars, cafes, and cantinas all over the deck. On top of that, there's a 24 hour pizza bar and ice cream stations all over the ship. 
Lilly: We're so early they haven't even brought the food out yet. The formal dining room is nice but it's much more relaxed here.
Lissie: Maybe for you, but no one can really feel relaxed with self serving unlimited food.
Lilly: There's nothing to do here until the buffet line opens Lissie.
Lissie: Of course there is! You can always build up an appetite scaling a mermaid!

Lilly: Be careful Lissie! I don't think those mermaids are meant for scaling.
Lissie: When you're 18 inches of raw determination, everything is meant for scaling! Hup!

Lissie: Whoohoooooo! The world is my oyster! Or at least the buffet dining hall is!
Lilly: You're frighteningly close to the mermaid's decency square.
Lissie: Don't worry! Nudity in art is tasteful! And what's more tasteful than art in a buffet?

All the hallways on the floors with rooms look like this. The doors on the left lead to cabins without windows, and the ones on the right are cabins with windows, or if you're higher on the ship, cabins with balconies.
Lissie: Oooo... Has the hall to our cabin always been this long?
Lilly: You probably ate too much at dinner again. I warned you about that third plate of dessert.
Lissie: Why is everything shifting?
Lilly: Because the boat is shifting. Now hurry Lissie! There's supposed to be a fantastic performance in the Rome Theater in a few minutes. The brochure said there will be dancing and singing from all around the world!

Lilly: I'm glad our Big Person is here to hold us up or else we wouldn't be able to see the stage.
Lissie: I'm glad no pictures are allowed so she has both hands free to hold both of us up. We've got to get here earlier next time so we can sit closer to the stage.

Lissie: WOW! It's a crab tonight! Towel crab towel crab there's no crab like the towel crab! Look at it's buggy eyes!
Lilly: But our steward said it's a frog.
Lissie: ... Towel frog towel frog there's no frog like the towel frog!

Lilly: Today was really exciting but now I'm exhausted. It's so nice to sit in the sauna and just relax.
Lissie: Clearly the excitement from the Men's Hairiest Chest Contest was too much for you.
Lilly: And don't forget all the food. It feels like a cruise is one big never ending meal.
Lissie: Anyway, tomorrow is going to be even more fantastic and amazing because we dock tomorrow morning!
Lilly: That's right! Let's hurry back to our room and go to sleep so we'll have energy for our first international outing!

<<<Previous Day ☆ Next Day>>>

Rant/Thoughts: This is unrelated to AG and L&L, so please feel free to skip. Mainly I just wanted to express the mixed feelings I experienced while watching the Around the World performance tonight. It started with a series of songs/dance from Renaissance Italy, moved to Asia, then Antarctica, followed by Africa, and ended with the USA.

The sets were gorgeous and the costumes were intricate and colorful. I enjoyed the Italy section, but as the performance moved to Asia, I started feeling a bit conflicted. It began with a dragon dance winding up and down the aisles onto the stage, and then the lights on the stage came on and the scene was a traditional Japanese bridge in front of Mount Fuji in Japan. "Kimono/geisha" characters came out with paper umbrellas and fans and danced and sang, then males dancers dressed as Imperial soldiers came out to finish the act. Several points stood out to me:

1) The type of dragon dance they performed is very strongly associated with Chinese New Year, and is not very prevalent in Japan. Many countries in Asia have a dragon or lion dance, but the costume they chose was specifically Chinese, and I didn't appreciate the fact they felt it was suitable to present a Chinese dance on a Japanese backdrop because China does not equal Japan and vice versa! The two countries share many characteristics and cultural elements but just as American is not England, they are not the same country!

2) The kimono/geisha outfits were wrong! I know authentic kimonos are expensive and not reasonable for a performance, but the performers were wearing their costumes with the right side on top of the left. That is a big no-no because the only people who wear their kimonos with the right over left are people who are dead. That is why a kimono's decorative pattern is always on the left side, since it is worn left over right. I felt even if the fabrics and designs were not authentic, the designers could have at least made the effort to look at a photo of Japanese dancers and seen how they wear their costumes. Not doing so seems very insulting to the culture from my point of view because there is a big difference between dance and dead.

3) Imperial warriors from China look just as out of place dancing in front of Mount Fuji next to geisha as the dragon dance. Once again, China is not Japan and Japan is not China! It just feels lazy, and culturally insensitive to assume people think Asia is all one big mass of dragons, kimonos, cherry blossoms. I appreciate the acknowledgement towards the continent, but pick 1 country to represent instead of thinking you can just mash all the countries into one ball!

I still clapped but felt restrained while doing so. I clapped because it is not the fault of the performers, and I appreciate their enthusiasm and hard work to their profession. I was restrained because a part of me was crying cultural foul and ignorance. The other moment where I felt perturbed was during the performance of Africa. 

First off, I will say right now there was not a single black or Asian performer among the group. As far as I could see, every performer looked white. I should also point out right now I am in no way familiar with the details and aspects of African dance and culture, certainly not near to the level I am with Chinese and Japanese culture so I cannot critique it to that extent. However, it felt almost like a mockery (perhaps I am reading too much into it after the incident with the China/Japan dance) to have a stage full of white people performing traditional style African dance and song, dressed up in painted bodies and faces with animal masks and wigs. I don't know if it was just as poorly researched as the China/Japan one, or if it was more tasteful and better adhered to the culture. 

I did enjoy the Antarctic performance (lots and lots of penguins), and the USA finish was fun and full of energy. At the end of the performance I really was very impressed with the talent and skills of the dancers and singers. Nonetheless, I think there is much room for cultural education and improvement in the performance. 

I will also add that not everyone shared my opinion and it is very possible I am being overly sensitive to many who may read this. My parents both saw nothing wrong with the China/Japan performance and were very impressed with it overall, clapping extremely enthusiastically at the end of it. I'm not sure if this is because they didn't notice the mish-mash, or if they were just happy that something Asian made it into a very "white/American" performance.

Thank you to those who read my ramblings and I would love to hear your thoughts and opinions on this matter if you feel comfortable sharing. 


  1. First, I must say that there should totally be an American Girl cruise one day! Second, I appreciate you being concerned about the African dance. I'm just happy Africa was included and not left out. Small victories... :)

    1. Well they had this cruise when they turned 25 in 2011 that I really wanted to go on (I was 9, give me a break!).

    2. Too bad we missed it! Maybe they will have another in the future. Hopefully once my baby daughter is older we will be able to take a cruise together. (I'm pretty sure toddlers don't make good cruise guests! LOL)

    3. XD I would love love love to go on an American Girl cruise, especially a historical American Girl cruise (maybe it'll be a wooden ship from the Abbott's shipyard?).

      Monique B, I was really surprised how few children/younger guests there were! I thought the ship would be crawling with them, but there is definitely a more adult heavy crowd. (We can catch the 50th anniversary AG cruise. Your baby daughter will be the perfect age for you both to enjoy yourselves! ^_^)

    4. Monique B, I forgot to add earlier, but your thoughts on just being glad Africa was included and not left out is exactly how my parents felt about the China/Japan performance. (I need to stop calling it Asian, because it was really just those two countries lol!) For them, they are so used to seeing Americans as white and black, and always felt like America treats Asians as foreigners and outsiders so anything that gives a nod is a step forward to them. But for myself, since I grew up here, I have a different standard and the bar is higher because although I have frequently felt myself viewed as an "outsider/foreigner" I know on the whole I am a minority in a country that was built off of minorities so I expect/demand more from society than a nod. I expect respect as well and it's jarring when that's not present.

  2. I think you should send the cruise line a letter and express your thoughts. Possibly some cultures don't want to work on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean and it's sailing out of a southern US port so likely the labor pool is going to be more Caucasian and I think maybe performers have to be part of a performer's union and I can't think of the name of it right now so maybe there are just more Caucasians in the union??? My ancestry is Hungarian so I always have to deal with the Hungarian Vampire thing. I don't worry about it since most people know that all Hungarians are NOT vampires.
    Ally from AGFANS.

    1. Cruise ship performers are in the same union as all stage performers, Actor's Equity (AEA), which is a national union, so they had a pretty large pool to choose from.

    2. Thank you for the advice Ally! I will write the cruise line and express my thoughts. Some very simple changes such as wrapping the kimonos in the other direction can go a long way. I doubt they will change much beyond that, but I hope it will at least bring the issue to their attention and influence how they plan future performances.

      I'm actually stunned by the staff on the ship! There are workers from all over the world on the ship, and less than a handful of Americans. We have Italians, English, Australian, Philippines, India, Malaysians, Hispanics, Nigerians, etc. It's quite impressive. For the dance troupe though, I'm not sure if they contract a troupe and book them for a certain number of performances, or if they hire them out of a pool.

    3. AJ, I didn't realize cruise ship performers are in a union with AEA! Thanks for bring that to my attention. Hopefully they will be able to hire people from different ethnic backgrounds for future performances i that is the case. It's quite disappointing to see not a single Asian or black face in the troupe when they are putting on performances from Asia and Africa.

  3. It's hard to see things like this and I agree that a note to the company expressing your thoughts is a good idea. The kimono error is quite a blatant one and an easy fix next time they make new costumes. They could do better.

    1. Thank you for sharing your sentiments! I will be writing the cruise to express my thoughts. As you said, some fixes are really quite simple, such as wrapping the vest in a different direction. I don't really expect them to change the whole performance any more than that but I hope it will at least bring the matter to their attention and it will influence how they plan future performances.

  4. I think they did the same or similar show on our Carnival cruise. I did notice the issue with a Chinese Dragon in a Japanese segment. I thought it strange but I guess it didn't bother me as much but then I have not studied those cultures in particular.

    I did think the show was full of generalities about all the cultures. Playing off "popular" beliefs of what they should be. Like all Irish wear green and have red hair. Annoying and playing to the dumbing down of society.

    Did you sign up for any shore excursions? We had some really fun ones. Of course, our neighbors don't do them but do things on their own or hire local guides and they think that is the way to go.

    Days at sea are my favorite. No need to rush anywhere. Of course, I don't get seasick. I love the movement of the ship and walking all over, eating, reading, etc.

    1. That's interesting Melangell! Were you on the Carnival Triumph as well? Or was it a different ship in the fleet? I agree it seems like they are just playing to stereotypes, which is frustrating because the more you play to them, the more you enforce them in people's mind and perpetuate the cycle of ignorance.

      We signed up to visit Isla Pasion (Passion Island)! I just posted the photos from that but it was really wonderful and so relaxing! I wanted to try out some more adventurous ones but that'll have to wait til the next cruise. ^_^ What excursions did you try?

      After taking the medicine, it was really wonderful to just sit on the deck (it was a cloudy day) and just daydream/read/study while the ship moved beneath me. Then the Men's Hairiest Chest contest happened... XD

    2. They probably had non Asians playing the Japanese/Chinese roles, and non Mediterraneans playing Italy and other such countries, and non Hispanic playing the Hispanic countries.

  5. We sailed on the Carnival Pride out of Baltimore Maryland. We went to Nassau, Bahamas and Freeport, Bahamas. It is boarding day then 1 day at sea then a stop the next morning (day 3) in Cocoa Beach, Florida then back on the ship before dinner. Sail all night to arrive in Nassau by lunch. Leave by dinner and day 5 finds us in Freeport. Short day there then a day and a half at sea to arrive back in Baltimore by lunch on day 7. We've gone twice.

    Our favorite excursions were a airboat/hovercraft through the swamp in Florida and a glass boat bottom boat in Nassau and snorkeling in Freeport. Love the food, the shows and the dance parties!

    1. That sounds like a very packed schedule but fun! I hope we'll be able to try a 7 day cruise next time (I'm really hoping for one to Alaska). Thanks for sharing your experiences with me! I've only been to Florida once and now I'm really tempted to go again because I would love to ride a glass bottom boat. :D

    2. They have a Disney cruise to Alaska!

  6. Uppy from AGFMB Have you considered sending your comments about the shows to the cruise line? They generally appreciate feedback and could obviously use the help.. I've never been on Carnival just Royal Caribbean, Celebrity,Silversea and Disney. I'm somewhat surprised at the lack of diversity amongst the cast. Thus far the performers on ships my family has been on are multiracial, to the point it may appear the cast was chosen to be diverse. As far as kid friendly Royal Carribbean and Disney of course there are lots and lots of families with kids all year long, even when school is in session. Go figure. Celebrity was largely adults and Silversea leaned toward older adults. It might have something to do with the time of year you traveled and also price point. It kind of makes sense that more expensive cruises would have fewer kids. I've enjoyed your comments.

    1. Hi Uppy! Thank you for your advice and insight. I will be writing the cruise line to express my thoughts at the performance. Our family is considering Royal Caribbean for our next cruise, so it's good to know there are more children on that line. I haven't heard of Celebrity or Silversea before so I will look into those as well. I'm constantly surprised by how many cruise lines there are. ^_^