MITSUGIRLY lets the BREEZE flow through her hair-Spring Break Review/Pictorial
Day 2: Getting on the ship
SATURDAY-MARCH 26, CRUISE DAY!!
I set the alarm for 8ish, but was so excited and was up before it went off. I did a mad dash outside to see what the weather was going to be like. I'm so use to cold weather one day, hot weather the next that I know that a brightly shinning sun does not always mean it's warm out.
It was beautiful out and the sun was shinning and it was warm! That meant we could wear shorts for boarding if we wanted. I made sure to snap a few pictures of the sun, the palm trees, and a screenshot of the weather channel showing how hot it was, and send back home to my daughter, Kendra and dil, Courtney with the title "This could be you right now, but it's not, it's me." :D
Time to get the family up and dressed for breakfast. I knew we still needed to get pop (soda) for the cruise since we didn't do it the night before due to being late.
We headed down to breakfast and...oh my gosh! It was so crowded!!! You had to stand in long lines that wrapped around from one side to the other. Geesh! I have never encountered this before at any of the other hotels.
When we finally got our food, quite honestly, I didn't feel there was a lot to chose from like most places. Then the problem was there was no place to sit...AT ALL! Everyone knows that I'm a "fairly" calm person and roll with the punches. However, one thing that always gets me fired up is people that sit down and take up space at a table when they are finished eating. Just sitting there...with their entire family...done with their meal...just chatting. Seriously? Show some respect! You can go somewhere else and "chat". There are no seats and no place to sit to eat. Ever try having a child hold there plate standing to eat? It doesn't work.
We ended up in the lobby on the chairs and sofas. I pulled up this little weird stand with not much room on it for my table. The hubby sat in a chair and held his. Sakari sat in another chair and used an end table as her table. It was rough and several times me trying to bend my head down far enough over my plate to put food in my mouth did not pan out too well. I dropped eggs on the floor as it rolled off my plastic fork. I'm getting aggravated and I looked at the hubby and said "Oh well, there's nothing I can do about it. They need more space." Then Sakari was having some issues with opening up her cereal and pouring it into her Styrofoam bowl. I scooted down to her couch (we were all spread out remember) to help her. While I was helping her 2 ladies came by and said "Is this table available...are you done?" AND THE HUBBY SAID YES!!! I turned around to them removing my plate of food and putting theirs down and sitting! Are.you.freakin.serious??? My blood pressure just shot up and after not having a place to sit and enjoy breakfast in the first place, that ended up setting me off and I stormed out like a child. Well, not really, I'm pretty sure Sakari can do it better than me, but I have been watching her closely and I'm pretty sure I got pretty close to one of her stomp-outs. Of course the hubby got an earful later and stated that he thought I was done eating...seriously? I stopped for a moment to help our daughter with her food, food was still on my plate (what was not on the floor) and I was fricken starving still! How could you possibly think I was done eating? I was not about to go back and stand in that long line again just to get some more crappy tasting eggs and still have no place to sit.
Time to head to the store for some pop and forget the belly is growling from hunger. I would just have to wait until we boarded the ship and I would make sure that the hubby paid his dues for this one until that happened. (Not really, I forget about things too easily and I'm pretty sure I forgot about 1/2 way to CVS...which is just next door). LOL It's so hard for me to stay mad for long. I'm pretty sure I have dementia setting in most days. :p
So back to the room we went to get ready. Then all of a sudden...GASP! My first item I forgot at home, still sitting on my desk no doubt, would be discovered: my entire make up bag! All of my make-up, clippers, finger-nail polish, tweezers and all is in this bag. Sigh! Of course I joked about it on our roll call and these amazing people started not only offering suggestions (like going some place nearby to waiting and buying some Clinque on the ship) to offering to meet up with me on the ship and letting me use theirs. I'm telling you, these people were so nice and helpful any time someone had a problem. (Another family was robbed on South Beach with everything taken...including the keys to their car, and everyone was ready and willing to chip in and get them needed things, suggestions on how to go about getting on the ship with no ID's and so on. Seriously, this was one caring group that I really wish I would have gotten to know better).
So even though others offered to give me some, I really only wanted some for our pictures to board the ship. I tan very dark very easily and after a few days you won't catch me wearing make up a majority of the time anyhow because I can never find any dark enough. I would have to force myself to purchase some cheap CVS make-up and just live with it for a day or two. Thank goodness I'm glad to report, this would be the only thing I forgot this cruise.
On our way back to the hotel, the hubby discovered that our pull along travel bag was leaving a trail. We ended up with a few pops busted somehow. It just happened to be my pop as well. Just my luck! LOL
For our transportation this time, we decided to book with Jiffy Jeff (thanks to people on here referring it as another option to use). We have used both SAS and MJS in the past and all of these places charge about the same. For the 3 of us, they charged $15 per person. If you have more, they charge less.
My check in time for the ship was for 11:30am. When I signed up for the transportation, I picked a time of 10:30am pick up. When I received my confirmation, they said they had changed my time to 11am due to the fact that they give priority to the cruisers at the port returning first. I had picked 10:30 because it's a half hour drive there and if there's any traffic or construction, that could delay you some. Then you have to check your luggage in and then I usually head to take pictures before getting in line. I don't like to be rushed or feeling anxious about being late.
So that morning shortly after 10am, I get a call from them asking if they can pick me up in 15 minutes. Seriously? I thought maybe I had forgotten to wash my ears in the shower the previous night because they were the ones who had changed my time, not me. They repeated their question and yep, I heard them right the first time. I'm a planner and that includes timing. I was told 11am pick up. I timed our activities to include what time to get up, to eat, to get ready, to walk to the store for pop, to finish packing and getting down to check out with sparing at least 15 minutes before their arrival time. Most certainly no you can not pick us up in 15 minutes!! I hadn't even went to CVS at that point or finished packing or put on my new unmatching-skin-tone-cheap make up!
Skipping ahead after our visit to CVS, throwing on my clown face, finish packing and checking out... to 11am and they call me saying they are now running late and won't arrive until at least 11:15am! Seriously? First too early, now to late? Now I know they started this staggered check-in for a reason. I have read they enforce it and if you are not there when you are supposed to then you won't get to check-in with your group and are forced to wait until later. ???? I informed this to the driver calling me. He laughed and said "Eh, they just tell you that. They will let you board at any time, no worries." This kinda ticked me off knowing that I had read otherwise and he was just blowing it off like it was no big deal. Of course it wasn't him that would be forced to wait forever to board. At that point I decided if I get screwed out of my boarding time and I'm forced to wait until the last boarding time, I would drag his company name through the mud online with reviews. This wasn't cool.
I don't remember the exact time they showed up, but it was around 11:15am. We put our luggage in, climbed in the bus with others already on there and took off...IN THE WRONG DIRECTION. We were headed to the airport. The other people on the shuttle at this point were pissed and voicing their opinions out loud. They said they just came from the airport and had been circling picking up people and now going back? They weren't happy about it.
After all the aggravation this morning, I was super happy to see this...
There's something about the beauty of the ships all lined up in port that just soothes my heart and clears my mind. Such a beautiful site.
It's always amazing how you are staring at the ships in port on the right hand side, go into the tunnel of darkness and you are morphed to a different location and the ships end up on your left. It's magic I tell ya. Carnival should hire these magicians on their ships. I've seen shows were they make people disappear, but ships? Come on, tell me that isn't impressive?
We are pulling into the port, dropping people off at their respective ship locations and I spot her sitting there in all her glory. Man she's massive!
Wait, I do a double take and realize that's not even her. That's the Getaway. I was on the Getaway 2 years ago so you would think I know better, but I seen the water slides and got excited...and after all, I was in dreamland you know.
Ok...there she is! All better now.
We get out, check our luggage in and head for some pictures. I find it strange that some ports and some cruiselines allow you to check in your pop luggage and others don't. Carnival has allowed me to check it in at other ports and NCL has let me check it in at this port. I mean what's the difference? I don't get it?
Oh wait, I just remembered I was mad at the hubby this morning for giving away my breakfast seat, so...that means he gets the privilege of being the lucky one to haul around the luggage on the ship. Darn, I was so looking forward to that.
We head over to a line that seems to be going around the corner. Oh boy. It's 12 noon and I didn't know what to expect at this point. I see people going off in different directions. I stop to ask people standing at the gate of ropes and show her my boarding pass. She tells me "Right this way" and I pass everyone up and up to the door we walk and into security. I felt like VIP...but in reality, I was just extremely late, but a girl can dream right?
Everything went onto the security belts and we walk through the metal detectors (wait, I'm feeling like VIP, maybe it's medal detectors for me ~cheesin~).
The hubby had to put the luggage of 4 cases of pop - (minus) 2 cans that exploded back at the hotel, onto the belt and I patiently waited for them to take the luggage off, pull us to the side, make us open it up to verify what was in it and that they were all sealed, not to mention we had 4 cases, instead of 3 cases, all while everyone would look on as if we were trying to smuggle some unknown substance in and waiting to watch them handcuff us and whisk us away.
"Thank you and enjoy your cruise!" they said with a smile. Wait...what? What just happened? They weren't going to pull us aside and inspect our pop luggage like they did in the past? This was weird. I really was feeling like VIP now.
We headed straight upstairs to check in. Barely any lines and as we followed the not-necessary-at-this-point winding retractable belt lines with no one in them, I felt as though they were trying to get me to do some walking exercise prior to getting on the ship and eating myself into a food coma. I mean I didn't really have breakfast this morning...thanks hubby!
We arrived at the counter, checked in and it was time to apply our abundance amount of Carnival Gift Cards. We purchased gift cards at our local Giant Eagle, which earns us money back on gas (last year for the Pride, we earned enough points to get FREE...yes I said FREE gas for both of our cars for 3 months and 2 days I believe it was). We purchased money using our Verizon points online (for $90 you get $100 and for $450 you get $500). We also purchased using another site someone on here told us about that was also another money saving-one time deal plus got money off on our cc used to do it. It's a win-win with Carnival and these cards. Makes me always want to book with Carnival just for the money savings deals you can get.
Now, it did take this rep quite some time to apply these to our account. After several attempts to get the cards from our grocery store applied, he finally managed to do it. He gave it several tries of scanning it, several times of imputing it manually, went on to the other cards, then came back to them. Finally they worked. I was getting VERY nervous, but yet know that I checked the balances prior to leaving and knew they were good and the money was on there.
That, by far, was the longest part of the process. We grabbed our cards and off we headed to get in line to get on the ship.
It was 12:46pm and we were headed into the gangway.
Like always, Sakari in the lead acting as if she needs to hurry or she'll be left behind.
I couldn't even get her to stop long enough to get a picture with the ship in the background. We caught up with her right as she was ready to take her first step onto the beautiful Breeze.
They did tell us when we checked in that the rooms were ready and we would be able to go straight to them. The hubby was relieved that he would not have to lug around the pop.
We headed down to the room to look for our Cove Balcony...Room 2441 toward the back of the ship.
We walked in and seen our pretty room in blue and yellow.
The family always acts clueless with what to do even though they have been on quite a few cruises. This time, I decided I would not be doing everything and started handing out orders. The hubbys job was to empty the refrigerator and start putting our pop in.
I think he was shocked that he was given a chore to do, but he'll get over it. I'm still paying him back for this morning...wait, I thought I had dementia and didn't remember things. This was different, I'm using it to my advantage this time around.
We see our complimentary waters and then the Carnival bottles of water on steriods there too.
ALSO NOTICE THERE'S A SHARPS CONTAINER THAT HAD BEEN LEFT IN MY ROOM FROM THE PREVIOUS CRUISERS.
I decide to head on out to check out my "Cove Balcony" while the hubby put away the pop.
I have to say that this cove balcony was way different that the cove balcony I was previously on while on a NCL ship. The NCL ship cove was a lot more closed in and private. This felt more open and more like a regular balcony to me.
Showing off my unpainted toenails since the polish was left back home in my make-up bag.
Before long, I was getting a knock on the window from Sakari signaling me that daddy was done and we should go eat.
We headed up to the buffet area and I have to say that I was highly impressed with the decor, which you'll see more of when I do the picture tour of the ship.
It was about time for sailaway and I decided that I wanted to head back down to the room and watch it from my balcony.
I picked this particular Cove Balcony because, unlike most of the others, it was the very last one on the end and it didn't have a life boat over top of it like the others.
I would wait for my luggage to arrive, but until then, this wasn't a half bad view.
Our luggage arrived and I started putting it away. However, we had an extra luggage as well. I pulled it across the hall hoping that someone would notice it that might be missing it. However, for the entire day, this luggage would end up back at our door. I did look at the tag and believe it or not, the owner had written our room number on it. Obvious mistake of course. I told the room steward it was not ours, but it would end up back at my door another 2 times before it disappeared for eternity.
We had our safety meeting at 4pm in the dining room and it went super quick and very organized. I think it's probably the quickest one I have ever been to before.
Back to the room to finish unpacking and watch the sailaway.
While watching many of our devastating plane crash documentaries on Netflix, one of them happen to be about a family owned business (Chalks) that had the seaplanes, I still find it so fascinating to watch these planes take off and especially land.
While stalking ships on the Miami web cam, I have watched ships go down in a little area and turn around and head out. This will be the first time we have been on a ship that actually does this during our cruise...well at least that I'm aware of.
More of us turning around to head out...
Of course the seaplane takes off once we had left darnit. I love when they are right beside us but do remember the documentary talking about just how hard these planes are to control while going from the water to the air and just how risky it is, so I guess it's a good thing they are not right beside us.
I have never been able to see dolphins or any other type of animals, when sailing away, even after reading multiple reports of people seeing them. Could this be it???
Of course not, just some seagulls catching a dinner from the water being churned up.
We decided after we hit the open ocean to head up on deck for a bit.
We just hung out for awhile and watched the sun go down.
I would soon realize that this cruise would be a little different than my non-stop go-go-go cruises that I usually do. It was already the evening and I haven't even checked this ship out.
We went back to the room to get dressed for dinner around 7pm. We chose any time dining because I like going to eat when I'm hungry, not when I'm told I have to go. I also like eating with just my family and not strangers or someone they have picked for me to eat with. Believe it or not, I am shy.
They brought Sakari's lemonade in a wine-type glass and she just kept talking about how she was a big girl drinking out of this cup. "Take a picture of me holding it and drinking out of it mommy."
Our bread basket. I have to say that I love the butter trays they have out. It sure beats trying to open up the small packages and at least the butter is spreadable.
I ordered the Smoked Chicken Quesadilla and it was yummy
Sakari went with a grilled cheese "sammich" and chips.
I also had a salad because I was craving one.
For the main, I ordered the sweet & sour Shrimp.
It was good and the hubby (who doesn't eat seafood, but has managed to develop a liking to shrimp scampi) ordered the same. He didn't really care for the dipping sauce and ask them about it saying it had garlic in it. They said if it didn't taste as if it had enough garlic for him, they would bring him a garlic based sauce, which they did. Now that's awesome service.
I did order a side of mac, bacon & cheese because everyone has always talked about how yummy it is and it did not disappoint.
For desert, the waiter suggested the pie à la mode and it was ok. I was so full that I didn't eat it all.
Our entire eating experience took about 1 1/2 hours according to my pictures, but I swear it felt longer than that. I know they pre-make the dishes and really can't understand why it takes so long...on any ship. NCL is the same way for the most part. Just saying...
We headed back to the room and Sakari had been begging to go swimming. We figured it wouldn't be too crowded and decided it was a good choice. I mean really what options did we have since it's the first night of the cruise and for SOME REASON Carnival does not have the kids club open on the first night of the cruise on any of their ships. I seriously do not understand why??? Can anyone answer this?
We headed to the main pool and I was correct, not many people swimming tonight.
Sakari tells me "Watch me do this taranabow" (cannon ball)
Um...taranabow? LOL Never heard of such a thing but we took this opportunity to teach her the right word. We ask her if she knew what a cannon was (especially since we seen so many in Bermuda) and then told her the ball that comes out of it =cannon ball, which is what she resembles when she's in a ball. I'm still cracking up about this. This reminds me of those songs you grew up singing thinking they were saying certain words only to find out 40 years later that it said something else.
Tonight would also be the first night that Sakari ever learned to dive. It only took her 2 tries and she had it. Now she just needs to learn to keep the legs straight, point the toes and tuck her head.
A video (below) of her diving a few times.
We headed back to the room around 10pm to find our first towel animal was there to greet us.
Of course after Sakari's "taranabow" comment tonight, I said "Look Sakari, it's an elfanent" Oh, the look I got from here and she says "How many other words do I say wrong because I have always thought it was elephant" :eek: Oops.
I told her she could bring only 1 item with her this cruise and she decided to pick her bunny "Fluss" (since it was easter and all) and it's not a stuffed animal I have EVER seen her play with before. How do you bring an animal to experience something as important as a Caribbean cruise that you never play with and make all the others back home jealous because you know Fluss will rub it in when he gets home!
Sakari took her shower and off to lala land for the night. I checked in with the kids back home and my sons finance, Courtney and she ensured me that the Easter bunny was coming to the house tomorrow, even though Sakari was not home for Easter. She will be so happy. :)
OUR ROOM: COVE BALCONY-2ND FLOOR ROOM 2441
This was the last (I think) balcony at the end of the ship before they became OV. I figured it was a perfect place and after researching, I found that it was one of the many few that didn't have the life boat over top of it.
Now I have been in a cove balcony only once before and it was on NCL. I have to say that this one felt a lot different than the other one that I was on. The one on NCL was more enclosed and felt more private. This didn't seem to have as much enclosure from what I had remembered. I'll have to see if I can dig out an old pic of the last one I was on and compare. But either way, I love cove balconies.
I also knew that the location of these rooms toward the aft of the ship was below the galley. I was concerned about this, which is another reason that I picked a room at the very end hoping that I wouldn't be right in the middle of any noise and avoid a sleeping problem. I'm a pretty light sleeper and wake up easily, then it's extremely hard for me to get back to sleep...like a couple hours of trying to get back to sleep as a matter of fact. For those wondering...there were no other rooms available by the time we booked that weren't in this location. Trust me, I tried.
So here is our room...and our decorations we brought from our Pride cruise (minus the red and white striped paper background and the handmade truffula trees that stuck out last time).
Another "weird" thing about this room is that when you get off the elevator and turn into that side hall, your room is right there in the open. You can see the door from the hall before turning down and going in either direction. It made it very easy to find (not that the Dr Seuss decor didn't help as well :D). It also meant that many people were passing my door when turning down the hallway and I received a lot of compliments on my decorations. Thanks goodness, none of them were stolen. I have only had decorations stolen once on a cruise (NCL Sun) and we recovered them the next day after finding them on someone else's door way down the hall.
Inside: Regular bed and sofa bed that made into a single bed for Sakari.
The bathroom (and I'm happy to say there's no problem with the shower curtain sticking to you like I've experienced in the past on NCL ships).
I love that Carnival provides you with this mirror attached to the wall that you can move around and see the back of your hair. I wish all ships had that.
Now I just HAVE to show you this toilet...LOL I was so fascinated by it the entire cruise...(watch below). I haven't seen this on any other cruise yet.
Did you see it? It didn't slam!!! Isn't that the most amazing thing? LOL Seriously. No slamming toilet. hehe
Our room steward had this in the wall and we didn't move it. I know people hate these things, but I always make sure I turn off all the lights when leaving the room to save energy. So I do my part whether or not the ship comes with this feature or not. (I know the issue with the cruisers are it also turns off their items they have charging, but I'm sure when they put this feature in, they weren't thinking about that and merely thinking about turning off the lights and such).
For those parents around the boards with little ones that are always asking about safety and how can they assure their child doesn't get out on the balcony by themselves....
This lock is located up really high on the door. So unless their a climber...
Ok, let's get to the balcony...
I don't know, maybe it was just me, but it definitely felt bigger than the regular balcony (maybe it is???) but in the past (at least on NCL) when we have a balcony you basically either have to stand up or turn sideways to let someone by you to get into a chair. It's aggravating. This had plenty of room and we loved it.
Ok, do you notice this huge steel door on my balcony?
Anyone wanna tell me why it's there?? I guess if a storm came, I would be well protected if they closed it.
The weird thing was, behind that door was steps leading up into the ceiling...yikes
Maybe it's a secret hideaway for me (since I'm VIP and all) to get away if we have a Pirate invasion?
The hubby kept wanting to go up and explore. I kept telling him "It's not a cave, there's no exploring and I'm not about to get kicked off the ship" I always throw in my famous line to him "I'll have fun without you"...no joke. LOL
Quite honestly, I did not like this "hole" being up here. It made me feel uneasy and like I was being watched. I would slowly turn my eyes upward to see if there was someone there and at night, I really didn't like it. So if I had my choice again...this WOULD NOT be the balcony for me! Also for those of you that are part of the "Balcony Club"...I'd pass on this one too. No, I'm not part of the club and that's not why I mentioned it because I know you are all thinking it now. LOL
A picture of the outside of the cove balcony
Continuing on with the ship tour....you can find it here...
To continue on with the review....click the link below