Day 1 - Embarkation and Sail Away
We woke up before the alarm on Sunday and started to gather things together for the dogs. Byron did his usual "climb on top of me" to wake me up routine since he always has breakfast on the brain. After they were fed we packed their bedding and paperwork into a suitcase and started loading things into the car.
Somehow I managed to forget my makeup case which isn't a huge deal but irritated me a little bit that I forgot something so obvious. We dropped the dogs off at the boarding place. It went much smoother this time, Basil didn't seem scared at all and was actually running around quite happy. Byron loved seeing new dogs to play with and Bernie was just happy there was a new person to pet her. I explained the feeding routine for all of them and then we went off to grab some breakfast at Waffle House before heading back home to print off confirmations for excursions that I forgot to do.
Then we were off to the port! It was chaos when we showed up. I don't remember it being that busy last time. I think we showed up later than last year since it was more chaotic when we got inside the door. We had to wait in line about 30 minutes or so between the security checkpoint and the Carnival check-in desk before getting on board. The good thing is we didn't have to wait at all this time, after we got our Sail and Sign cards we just went on board. We caught up with our friends and headed up to Lido deck and I talked them into heading to the new Serenity area to wait until our cabins were ready.
The new Serenity area is fantastic! We occupied a section of chairs and couches and relaxed. My worries about children infiltrating the adult area were unfounded as I noticed one family bring their child in and they were asked to leave the adults only area while we were waiting. There are several tables, couches, lounge chairs, papasan chairs with clamshell covers and 4 hammocks. I doubt I'll be climbing into a hammock anytime soon as my history with hammocks is not a good one. **I actually spent some time in the hammocks and the only mishap I had was caused by my husband trying to scare me.**
After grabbing a small bite to eat (I had Sicilian fish with grilled vegetables that was wonderful) we headed to our cabin. Our cabin is on the very end of the ship so we get to see - and hear - the ships wake and everything behind us. We do have quite a few neighbors but they were not overly loud thankfully. Our balcony came equipped with 3 deck chairs and a small table. Ringo's chair fit out there just fine and he felt comfortable in it. It is heavier than the deck chairs so I don't think we'll need to fold and unfold it every time we go out there.
We went to the informal meet and greet for our Cruise Critic roll call but no one showed up. Earlier up on deck at the Serenity area one of the roll call members recognized me and we said hello. I also ran into another member that recognized me in the elevator! I'm hoping everyone shows up for the meet and greet open bar that they paid for today. I get the feeling that is where I'll meet a majority of the folks I've been chatting with the last 10 months.
We took a tour of the spa and entered to win spa treatments (we didn't). The spa is really nice and they have a shower and sauna area available for all guests. The fitness center has a great whirlpool inside of it too if you don't want to be out in the sun. We might do that sometime if it isn't crowded.
Then we went on deck to watch the ship go under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. They have about 14" of clearance so it is amazing to watch. I got a few photos - hope they turn out ok since the sun was setting and kept messing up my exposures.
After a bit more exploring we went back to our room and relaxed a bit before dinner. I had shrimp cocktail, gazpacho, St. Louis style ribs and for dessert - creme brulee and chocolate melting cake. The rib plate was gigantic. I couldn't believe the amount of ribs I got and they were so tender and delicious. Ringo got the southern fried chicken plate, lasanga and same desserts as me. He said the lasanga wasn't what he was used to but he really liked it. Our friends got the same entrees as us and enjoyed themselves. We were seated right next to the railing so we could see the dining room below us. I brought my gnome Carl to dinner and he enjoyed it too.
Speaking of Carl - he is making the rounds already and having quiet a few photos taken of himself. I figured out I can clip him to my lanyard via the handle of his bucket so he is easier to carry around. Kind of regretting leaving on his "handle" but it's ok, it has come in handy a few times I just gotta make sure I don't impale myself.
Last night after dinner we went on the Serenity deck and enjoyed the hot tub under the stars. It was quite deserted so I'm glad we went. The moon looked amazing over the water! I took a few photos but I doubt it did the moon any justice. It was a relaxing evening and we all had a good time.
Once back at the room Ringo ordered some BLT sandwiches (our favorite room service meal) so we snacked on those and then tucked in to bed.
The ship wasn't rocking nearly as bad as the first cruise we took. I'm glad for that. This morning it is rocking a bit more, I think it is because of how windy it is in the Caribbean right now. I heard Grand Cayman is supposed to have high winds all week so I don't know if we'll be able to go ashore because of that.