MITSUGIRLY lets the BREEZE flow through her hair-Spring Break Review/Pictorial
Day 1: Heading to Ft Lauderdale before the cruise
I have ALWAYS wanted to sail on the Breeze and have been dreaming of it for years. I finally got my chance and I'm so happy I did!
This cruise consisted of just me, the hubby and my youngest daughter, Sakari (age 7). The rest of the family stayed back at home pouting and complaining...especially since I just returned from a cruise less than a month prior to this one. I have to say, I was jealous of myself too.
I booked this cruise at the end of last year after I had made up my mind that we WERE doing another Spring Break cruise. Last year we were on the Pride for Spring Break and it was an AMAZING cruise! So why not repeat it and why not repeat it with Carnival again?
I have adventured out and tried Carnival twice now and absolutely loved the ships we have been on with them so far. The BREEZE will be my 3rd Carnival ship.
I joined our roll call, but quite frankly I wasn't able to get as involved as I would have liked to. Between coming off the last ship, doing a review, still being in school and finishing up one other class...it was a little hectic.
I tell ya, this roll call was chatty and super amazing and I could tell from the little involvement I did have, they know how to have a good time. There were so many awesome people on there that more than went out of their way to help others. (More on this later if I can remember).
I booked a flight later in the day...since I still had to work the day of our flight. I have to admit, I definitely like flying out later in the day instead of getting up at the crack of dawn to catch a flight. Let's be serious, for me, mornings come at 3 different times: 1) Early, 2) Too Early and 3) Way to Early. If people were meant to get up at the crack of dawn, alarm clocks would never have been created right?
Our flight was for 3:55pm. They have been doing a lot of work on the Southwest area of the airport and it's looking nice.
Once we checked our luggage in and made it through security, we headed to our gate to find this...
Our 3:55pm flight has been delayed until 4:55pm. Well crap. We decide to find a seat and Sakari pulls out her newly purchased-fresh notebook-for-drawing and settles in.
But wait, I look out and our plane is actually sitting there! Why are we not boarding?
I believe the SW reps were reading my mind because about that time they made an announcement that "yes indeed, this is your transportation to warm weather...however, that warm weather in Florida has caused some storms and the delay lies with them. So, once we are cleared in FLL, we will have you on your way."
There was a major storm that hit the north western US a few days prior to leaving. People on our roll call had found out that their flights 2 days prior to the cruise had not only been canceled that day but canceled the following day as well. YIKES! My heart sank and all I could do was think how awful this would be to have all the flights for the next few days canceled and not be able to make your cruise. But I'm telling ya, this was an amazing group...NOTHING stopped them. Shortly after their "canceled flights" announcement came, pictures started being posted of them on the freeway, going 30 mph in a blizzard...heading to Florida from places such as Colorado and Minnesota...on a 2-3 day journey to head to their beloved Breeze. Now that's dedication!!! People came together and checked various surrounding airlines and airports trying to find anything that they could drive to and fly the rest of the way. But, I believe they all ended up driving the entire route.
We only had the 1 hour delay and it was due to the kick-back of the weather and canceled flights from around the US and not due to anything major on our end. I was relieved.
At 4:41, we were on the plane and ready for take off.
Since watching so many documentaries on plane crashes on Netflix, Sakari now holds my hand during take off. I'm sure it's because she doesn't want me to be scared or worried. Such a little protector.
Daddy, well he's just over there not paying attention at all while connected to the plane wifi and watching a movie. Don't he wear pink well? We had to giggle and Sakari thought it was cute that he wanted to use her headphones.
Up, up and away we went.
It's always so beautiful and peaceful up here.
We were given our complimentary snacks for the short 2+ hour ride.
Is it bad that I get excited when we get something other than the peanuts and pretzels? I call this a good day when you get a mixture of treats.
At 7:20pm we were in Florida and getting close to landing. I spotted a housing community that every house was considered water front property. It was pretty neat...just nothing but houses, streets and water on each side. Well, unless this was due to all the storms that rolled in...then maybe not so neat. (To the left in the pic)
Touchdown at 7:25 and we were safe.
We picked up our luggage and headed outside by 8pm. I called the hotel for the shuttle and headed to the "shuttle pick up" area. We were told on the phone that the traffic was bad and they should be there in about 30 minutes. No biggie for us. It was warm out, we had already shedded our jackets and we were busy listening to the birds...they.are.crazy.birds!
Of course there's always plenty to do when waiting on the shuttle...just car/van watch. There's some interesting things that go by...like this Flamingo Truck...
Our driver arrived at 8:30pm sharp, just like they said. We stopped to pick up a few others in the terminal and off to the hotel we went.
This time around (since we always book some place different each time) we decided to book the Ft Lauderdale Airport Cruise Port Inn. They are located at 1800 N Federal Hwy in Ft Lauderdale. Reports showed that this used to be the Comfort Inn and had recently changed names and been renovated. We got a decent deal, using a booking agent, and didn't have any problems once we arrived.
The location was decent with a few places across the street to eat at: Burger King, Taco Bell, Dennys and even a CVS right next door.
Loved the decor (the blue and greens always remind me of a Southbeach theme): Dining area for the free hot breakfast, included with your stay, in the morning.
A few computers to use the internet...if you didn't bring your own like we did.
The same colors of the hotel flowed into the rooms.
We had a queen bed and a sofa that pulled out into a bed for the munchkin.
There was a desk to work at and do you notice the floor in this picture?
Most of these hotels I have ever stayed at (especially Spring Hill Suites) always have a small wall dividing the "bedroom" from the "living room" if the room involves a fold out sofa. It looks like this room must have had the same set up, but the wall was removed and they must have done this after remodeling. Weird.
This is the van that shuttles you back and forth from the airport, or to the port if you are catching a cruise ship there.
Notice how it says Holiday Inn on it? Then it also says Ft Lauderdale Cruise Port as well? Yea, this provides for a lot of confusion to people trying to get rides from the airport. He was flagged down so many times and ended up with a lot of angry people standing at the airport when he told them this was not their shuttle going to Holiday Inn. They argued, he tried to explain they service BOTH hotels, but he was only servicing Ft Lauderdale hotel and not Holiday Inn. Then to throw more confusion in to the mix, he told them there were 2 other shuttles coming, both looking like his with the names on them, however, one goes to 1 of the hotels and the other goes to a different Holiday Inn. While I didn't pay too much attention to what was going on, I do know that the word "Express" on the side meant the difference between the 2 Holiday Inn locations as well. My goodness...what a mix up and some angry people left standing behind as we pulled away.
We were starving and hadn't had anything to eat since that morning for breakfast before work, other than those yummy non-filling chips mixture on the plane, so we decided to head out for food.
When you walk out the door, directly ahead of you on the side street, is Taco Bell. Quite honestly, I have grown to hate Taco Bell after getting good authentic Mexican food in the Caribbean and I try not to eat here often. But, we were tired, we were hungry and I didn't want to go far...or even cross the main busy street when it was dark out. So, I gave the hubby my "ok" to eat there, since we weren't cruising to any Mexican ports this time...I would have to settle for this (he usually gets some grunting and one of those looks like "you better pick somewhere else fast" when he mentions it any other time back home).
On the way, Sakari insisted that I take a picture of the beautiful flowering tree outside. You would think she's never seen flowering trees before...oh wait, it has been winter in Ohio for quite a few months. Maybe she just forgot.
I ordered something new on the menu that looked really good...stuffed cheese in the middle of the taco shell itself...that had NO stuffed cheese in it as indicated and did not look anything like the advertised picture. Sigh.
Back to the hotel we went, un-stuffed and unsatisfied, and missing the cheese I had hoped for, but still tired. I dropped the family off at the room, grabbed some dollars and headed back downstairs to get some snacks. That might do the trick since this dinner was not satisfying.
Here I would encounter a family who was furious and yelling at the guy at the front desk. She was trying to hold her cool, but things escalated quickly. They drove 26 hours to this hotel to stay over night. They booked AND paid for it back in December. She also called the hotel and spoke to the lady at the front desk at 6pm and told them they would not be arriving (due to driving) until around midnight. The lady told her it was no problem and it was fine no matter what time she got there and they had her reservation. Well...obviously not...they gave her room away. There were 4 adults and no room left for them. They offered to give her a 1 bedroom room and of course that set her off about having 4 adults and how were they supposed to all sleep on the same bed. He called supervisors, managers, other staff...sigh. I felt so bad for her and her family. They offered to put her up in another hotel 4 miles down the road, which she refused at first, then also refunded her money. In the end, she decided to take the room down the road, not that there was any other option, but still. :( It gave me a nauseous feeling inside to know that our roll call people were also having to drive long distances to the cruise port and to have something like this happen after such a long time on the road...it made me sick and I felt so bad for them. It did not sit well with me about this place.