So now is is boarding day (if you need to catch up click here)!! Having never cruised Carnival before I was not familiar with their boarding process, but really how different could it be…show your ID, hand over your credit card, get your card, easy enough. And it was. With the possible exception of me having no “status” with Carnival so I stood in line with all the other newbie (to Carnival) cruisers. Still, the line moved fairly quickly and soon I was looking for my mother, who had already checked in, instead of waiting for me! That turned out to be a lucky move as she was assigned Group 1 boarding and I had been assigned Group 4. I guess that is a timing thing as she had never been on Carnival before either. At any rate, we still had quite a bit of waiting to do as boarding was delayed for some unknown reason, but eventually we were called to begin boarding.
Our itinerary for this trip includes two islands I have never been to before so I was super excited for those. Here is how the week would go:
Sunday – Board
Monday – Nassau
Tuesday – At Sea
Wednesday – Amber Cove, Dominican Republic
Thursday – Grand Turk
Friday – At Sea
Saturday – Get off…go home.
I had also made reservations for the Steakhouse and Chefs Table, both of which I love on Royal so I was interested to see the differences. But first?? A drink!!
I had purchased the drink package (like I always do!) and since Carnival rules are different, so had mom, even though she usually barely breaks even on that. So up to the pool bar to grab a drink. And there we came to a screeching halt. You see, mom’s card worked fine, but mine declined. What? How can you decline a prepurchased drink package? Well…down to Customer Service…fortunately with a drink because the bartender took pity on my, although I did promise to come back and show him I had gotten it fixed.
The line at Customer Service went fairly quickly and soon Katie from Ireland had gotten us (me) all fixed up! Back up to the pool deck we headed to take a look around.
Water Slides!!! I do love me some water slides…but I hadn’t quite had enough to drink yet! So back down to the Red Frog Bar to show my now working card to the bartender and while I was there, refresh my drink!
Mom and I wandered around looking at things for a while, and then went to check out our cabin. We were in an Oceanview cabin on Deck 1. Remember that by the time I added mom, the only Oceanview’s were “guarantee.” That means that Carnival assigns you a cabin based on what’s left…and we were the last cabin aft. As far back as you can go on Deck 1. The size and decor of the cabin were a pleasant surprise, but we did have a bit of an unpleasant surprise on port days.
See? Nice enough cabin. There is also a full size sofa, three closets and a “cruise-ship standard” bathroom. For mom and I, there was plenty of room. In fact it is bigger than the same type of stateroom on Royal’s ships!
After unpacking, it was time for Muster Drill…the mandatory safety drill required by the Coast Guard for all cruise ship passengers. This, I think Royal does a bit better as they scan your room key to make sure everyone is accounted for. This cruise, they just did a head count, and if the count didn’t match, we waited. Now, its not too hot in January in Ft. Lauderdale, but I can only imagine how unpleasant this is in August! Eventually everyone got counted, and the safety drill commenced.
When we were released from Muster, it was nearly time to get dressed for dinner. We would be dining at the Steakhouse restaurant and taking advantage of Carnival’s first night special. If you choose to dine in a specialty restaurant on either the first night or formal night, you get a free bottle of wine with dinner or 50% off any wine on the list.
More on that (and our Chef’s Table experience) next!!