Conquest in the Caribbean

Yay!!  A cruise with five great friends!  Wait…you’re all cancelling??  Okay…Yay!! A cruise all by myself!  Wait…Mom, you wanna go?? Okay…Yay!!! Me and Mom are going on a cruise!!  Yes…Me and Mom are going on a cruise!  No more changes!!

So to back up a bit, some dear friends of mine were talking on Facebook about going on this cruise.  Since we all know how I feel about cruising, I invited myself along.  Plus, I’d never been on a Carnival cruise, plus it would be over my birthday, plus the people that were going are totally awesome and it would be a blast to be on a cruise ship with them!  Add in the fact that I could use miles for my airfare and points for my hotel and Carnival has these single cabins that do not incur the usual 200% single supplement and it seemed like a perfect opportunity!  BUT then two of those awesome, dear friends got engaged (yay!) and being responsible adults they decided to cancel their cruise plans so that they could save money for their wedding.

If there is one thing I have never been accused of it is being a responsible adult. So. Since airfare and hotel were already done deals, and I had already paid the cruise fare, and it was still my birthday I decided to go anyway.  I actually didn’t know for sure if everyone else was going to cancel or not, but I decided that I was going…even if it meant I was going by myself.

Then, at Thanksgiving dinner, Mom said that she would go with me if that was okay with me and since I think it is well documented that I enjoy travelling with my mother, that was fine.  Now I just needed to adjust the reservation.

The room I had booked was technically a double, however it was one single bed and one Pullman bed.  If you don’t know, Pullman beds are beds that pull down from the ceiling and you need to use a ladder to climb up.  Well, I knew I wasn’t climbing up a ladder to get into bed after a day on a cruise ship (with the drink package) and I was pretty sure that Mom, as spry as she is for her age, had no desire to climb either so I needed to change cabins.

After a super easy phone call to Carnival, we now had an ocean-view guarantee cabin.   Because the change was made so late, there were very few options left, but I don’t spend a whole lot of time in my cabin anyway so I wasn’t worried.  I should have been, but we’ll get to that!

Since I was flying on points, I had to take a roundabout way to get the flights to work so I was flying into Miami, renting a car and driving to Ft. Lauderdale.  Then I would stay the night at the Renaissance Ft. Lauderdale (on points) and return the car to the Ft. Lauderdale airport the next morning after dropping Mom off at the port with all the luggage.  I would then grab a taxi back to the port and meet Mom to get on the ship.

I am happy to say that this pretty much worked just fine.  I got to the airport super early (habit), made it through security and sat down at the bar near my gate for a birthday morning adult beverage.

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Mom showed up soon after, she got a ride to the airport, but since our flight schedules were different we didn’t ride together.  And soon enough we were both away.  Her directly to Ft. Lauderdale, me to Miami.  In Miami, I got my bag and my rental with nothing more troubling than how huge the airport is…truly I felt like I was halfway to Ft. Lauderdale before I even left the airport.

Then, after a harrowing ride from Miami to Ft. Lauderdale (seriously, the drivers there are crazy!) I pulled into the Renaissance to meet Mom.  Quick trip up to the room to drop bags, then off to meet Jarod for dinner and to show Mom his college campus.  We ended up eating at some hole in the wall British Pub near the campus.  Total dive, but the food was actually fantastic.  Then, we ran the gauntlet back to the hotel.

Up the next morning to start the luggage, rental car, check in shuffle.  Seemed like everything went well, up until we were waiting to board and there was some kind of delay, I never knew what it was.  But by noontime we were onboard and I was headed for customer service to find out why my drink package didn’t work!!??!!

Next…The cruise begins…I know, I know…finally!!  And I really do have pictures!  You won’t have to just listen to me ramble, I promise!

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