Monday, October 6, 2008

Cruise Chronicles, Part 1

So, if you don't know by now, my family and I went on a cruise. We went on a 4 -night Carnival Cruise to the ports of Nassau and Freeport in the Bahamas. Little Man and I hadn't been on a cruise before, and Hubby hadn't been on one in 13 years, so it felt like a big adventure for all of us. We booked the cruise back at the beginning of March and honestly, didn't give it too much thought with everything else that happened over the course of six months. We chose Carnival because they had cruises leaving from Jacksonville, FL, and we thought it would be nice to combine the cruise trip with a visit with my sister.

We left for Jacksonville, on Wednesday morning. We didn't leave quite as early as if we had been traveling up North, but we had everything packed the night before to make heading out go a little easier. The 6.5 hour trip went pretty smooth, and we even stopped at the Florida welcome center for some refreshing orange juice and grapefruit juice samples. We saw some raindrops, which made us nervous, and then we got to my sister's place and had a great time catching up before we went to check-in to our hotel and then went on to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack, which is right on Jacksonville Beach. They had an appetizer special so we ordered stuffed mushrooms and fried calamari for the table (I didn't have any of the calamari), and then tried the lobster bisque (blech) and then had shrimp plates. We left very full for some more fun time at my sister's place before heading to the hotel to turn in.

The next day we slept-in until 8:55 AM, then got up, dressed, and picked my sister up for Waffle House breakfast. Then we went to Target to pick Little Man up a belt for some pants I had packed, and then went to Borders. After going back to my sister's place for a little longer, we headed to the port.

We were supposed to be able to board starting at 1:30 PM, but we weren't able to even park our car; instead we were forced to sit on the side of the road for an hour and 45 minutes because the parking lot was full. We watched some protesters who are against the cruise ships being in Mayport, used the bathroom at a bar across the highway, and stared at the ship, answering Thomas who asked every 5 minutes if we were going to get on the ship soon. We ate some snacks I had packed, and then finally the traffic started moving. It seems that they weren't anticipating so many cars as the cruise right before us had been nearly full as was ours and there wasn't enough room for our cars since everyone hadn't disembarked yet. So after letting us in we were directed to a "holding lot" where we drove around for another hour before we could finally get started on the lengthy process of getting our baggage to the porter and standing in line to board.

All in all it took until 4:55 PM for us to get to our stateroom, where our bags were waiting, and we quickly grabbed our lifejackets to head to muster where we learned what to do in an emergency. Not a good start. After that we dropped off our lifejackets in the stateroom, ate dinner in the Coconut Grove Grill with an oceanview, and registered Little Man for Camp Carnival. Little Man wanted to play with the toys at Camp Carnival (more on their program next installment), so we took him there and he played for an hour while we explored, I tried some sushi, we unpacked and we ordered room service dessert with a side of motion sickness medicine for Hubby, who by this point was really starting to feel sick since we were really moving (making up for lost time because of leaving late). I picked Little Man up from camp where he had had a fabulous time having his face painted like a pirate, wearing a pirate mask, waving pirate flags and reading pirate books. We got back to the room and we had dessert (after he oohed and aahed over the towel folded like a crab and the candy and the bunk bed). Then we got ready for bed and Little Man excitedly climbed up into the bunk bed. It took a while for him to sleep, and I had trouble sleeping too, I felt like I was sleeping with one eye open to make sure he stayed covered and/or didn't find some way to roll out of the bunk past the rail. But he didn't, and it was an uneventful night for him (once he stopped playing with his secret night light).

Next installment: Day at Sea!


Connie said...

Even with the getting on the boat trouble, it sounds like fun. This is like reading a book and having to put it down and come back later to find out what happens...

Voluntourism said...

Many small luxury river cruises also have naturalists, historians and other experts onboard to educate and entertain cruisers. They offer informal lectures, lead expeditions and answer questions. Completely narrated excursions and sightseeing are generally a part of the price of the cruise. Luxury cabins of the cruise feature historic decor and luxurious appointments, thus offering comfort and convenience to those cruisers who wish to travel around important and historical sites. Many of the small luxury river cruises have single-seating dining and nightly entertainment in elegant showrooms