Monday, March 14, 2011

The Long-Awaited Vacation, Part Two

Leaving our hotel at a little after 10:00 on Sunday morning, Barb and I made the short drive over to the home of the Traveling Bells in West Palm Beach where we were meeting up with Sandy & Dick for the drive down to Miami. Barb was going to leave her car at their home while the four of us made the ride down together rather than take two cars.  I was sort of wondering whether or not all our luggage was going to fit in the back of their SUV but Dick is apparently a Tetris Master in addition to being the Maytag Man as he managed to get everything stowed away neatly.  Sandy says he's "a keeper" and I've got no doubt that he is!  We should all be so lucky to have a Maytag Man like Dick in our lives!

With the car loaded we made the hour drive down to Miami but once again even though I had full access to my camera, I forgot to use it!  I swear, I was turning out to be one lousy photographer!  When we got to the Port of Miami my first thought about seeing the Carnival Glory docked and loading was "Holy Ship!  That thing is huge!"  but I didn't have too long to marvel at it before we found ourselves swept up into the hordes of people going through the embarkation process.  They've obviously got it down to a science though and it wasn't long before Barb and I were checked in with our Sail & Sign cards in hand and making our way to the ship.  It was at this point that I finally remembered to pull out my camera and do something with it!

The Side of the Carnival Glory
A view of the Carnival Glory from inside the Embarkation Center
Passengers Waiting to Embark
A bit of the queue of passengers waiting to get "checked in"
Barb Gets Ready to Board
Barb makes her way towards the gangplank and the ship
Luggage Waiting to Be Loaded
Lots and lots of luggage to load! 
A View From the Ship
The ship reflected in the windows of the Embarkation Center
The Gangway
While waiting to actually board the ship, I took a picture of the gangplank we had just crossed
Once we were on-board the ship, Barb and I made our way up to the Lido Deck (#9) where apparently everyone initially goes as you can't go to your cabins until 1:30 and that's where the food is.  Our cabin was actually located on the Lido Deck at the very front of the ship (fore) so once we were allowed to go down to our cabin, it would be an easy process.  In the meantime, though, we were going to do our best to try to locate Dick & Sandy (whom we had gotten separated from during Embarkation) as well as Miss Bee & Sarge Charlie.  We knew that Sandee & Zane were somewhere on the ship, too, but good Lord there were a lot of people and it seemed to me that it would be akin to finding a needle in a haystack!

Eventually everyone did manage to find each other and once again I didn't take pictures but I do believe that there are some over at Sandee's blog ... or Sandy's blog! Thank goodness Zane was doing a better job documenting the event than I was as I had suddenly seemed to forget that I was even carrying a camera!  We were told that there was going to be a meet-up of members of the Evil Crew (Big Ed's group that was part of the Bloggers Cruise portion of the trip) in the Bar Blue so we made our way there where we found Sarge Charlie giving pole-dancing lessons!

Sarge Charlie Gets Ready to Pole Dance
Sarge Shows Us How It's Done!

That man really knows how to have a good time and I'm sure that part of that smile had to do with having attained Platinum status with Carnival Cruise Lines and getting lots of nice perks in the process!

Leaving the Port of Miami

While Sarge continued to practice his sultry dance moves, Barb and I made our way back to the Lido Deck to find some lunch and where I took the picture of Miami above while Barb ordered a beer as she was feeling pretty parched at that point.

Barb Gets Her First Beer

Shortly after that it was time to find our cabin (#9201) so we made our way to the fore of the ship to find that our luggage had already been delivered (some folks didn't get theirs until way later).  We did a quick unpacking after I checked out the view from our window. Not much to look at while we were still in port but it definitely had potential!  

The view from Cabin 9201

Barb had picked out our cabin based on its location on the ship as there was an open area just outside that we were supposed to have access to where Barb could smoke. As it turned out, per the orders of the Bridge, the door to the outside which was just down from our cabin was locked and would stay that way for the duration of the cruise because it was located directly above Navigation and apparently the door banged in the high winds or something.  The outside deck was still accessible; you just had to go up to Deck #10 and take the stairway down - something that I got quite good at during the course of our cruise and which you'll see more of later along with pictures of our cabin!

The Big Screen on the Lido Deck

We were scheduled to set sail at 4:00 so after stowing our belongings, Barb and I made our way back outside where we found that we were indeed already heading out to sea.  The muster for our safety briefing would be soon but before that I took some pictures on the Lido Deck.

Setting Sail From Miami
The Lido Deck
On the Lido Deck While Leaving Miami
Leaving Miami

In all honesty, at this point I was feeling a bit overwhelmed by the whole thing.  Yes, it was a big ship but that also meant that there were an awful lot of people on-board (I believe about 3,000 passengers; never mind crew). Barb told me that once we got underway people would scatter to different areas of the ship and then it wouldn't seem like there were so many of them but for the moment, they were all still gathered on the Lido Deck watching Miami fade into the distance.  As someone who doesn't do well with crowds, I was feeling some trepidation but hoped that would pass as the voyage progressed.

Following the Safety Muster where crew members took very seriously the task of showing us how to put on life vests and what to do if something disastrous were to happen, it was time for everyone who was there for the Bloggers Cruise to meet in the Amber Room for free drinks and a welcome from John Heald who is the Senior Cruise Director for Carnival Cruise Lines.

Blogger's Cruise 4

John has a blog and a Facebook page and a cast of many who help him make it all possible whom he introduced to everyone.  His team was there to document the cruise and there are videos and such over on YouTube that you can check out if you're of a mind to.  I believe that there were about 300 people on the ship who were part of the Bloggers Cruise but not all of them were bloggers themselves - some of them just followed John's blog but there was no rule that said you had to be a blogger to be a part of the Bloggers Cruise - you could certainly be a blog reader!

John Heald on the Carnival Glory

This not very good picture is John Heald himself with just the tip of Empress Bee's tiara caught in the corner. It was quite the nice tiara as it lit up with flashing and sparkling lights but then again, as Queen of the Ship, it was only proper that she have a flashy tiara.

It may seem like a strange place to do so but I'm going to end at this point as it's taking me a dreadfully long time to edit all of the pictures I have and I'm trying to do them in some sort of proper order but not to worry, I'll be back with more before too long! Just please be patient with me!

10 comments:

  1. Well, thanks for getting my good side! bwahahahaha!

    I know you were quite overwhelmed, but honestly, I could do it all over again right this minute!

    Loving your photos! Nikon gets a much larger angle than mine is capable of, not to mention so much better in quality and your keen photographer's eye. Mine are quite disappointing, so I'll be stealing a good many of yours. :D

    Big hugs :]

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  2. it almost feels like i'm there again. oh how i wish i was. and our embarkation was a bit different. being platinum we got whisked into a vip lounge and were first on the ship. they served lemonade in there too. big couches and groupings and very nice people. love it!

    smiles, bee
    xoxoxoxoox

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  3. What Bee said! I'd do it all over again, too. Now you see why we are doing cruise #9 so that we'll be platinum in October for the TA cruise. Plus you get more perks than just early boarding and lemonade:) Bring it on!!!

    Great photos. Keep 'em coming. Big hugs, honey...

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  4. I was gobsmacked when I saw the size of our cruise ship last year - they're bloomin' huge! Thankfully we had a suite with a balcony so were able to steer clear of the crowds on sea days.

    More photos please Linda. :)

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  5. I'm ready to go back for another cruise. I had the time of my life. Leaving Miami was awesome too. I loved watching it fade into the distance.

    We are still on our boat and I've noticed that we have to do all the work. I miss my stateroom steward, my head waiter, my bartender and my beverage steward. Just saying.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug. :)

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  6. A cousin of my Mom's went on a cruise a couple years back and she had described the ship and number of passengers to me as it being about 4 times the population of the little village where I live (about 800) being in this one big boat. Seemed hard to comprehend at that time and seeing your pics makes it a bit easier to view in my mind's eye then, ya know. Still, that line for the embarkation -incredible! Loved the post and pics though -great job!

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  7. OMG, I would have been freaking out over all of those people, too. I don't think cruising is for me either. But I would endure for a chance to see Alaska and only Alaska.

    Enjoying your retelling of the vacation story. Can't wait for the next episode.

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  8. I'm enjoying your adventure!

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  9. Crowds don't usually bother me but then I've never been amidst 3000 people on a ship! Yikes!! I had to smile when I was looking at the first picture of the Lido Deck...I noticed a couple of people were already in one of the hot tubs, sure didn't take them long to get into it! lol

    I'm just in awe of the opulence of the ship, inside and out. Sarge Charlie certainly does look like a fun guy, I've always wanted to learn how to pole dance! LOL

    It must have been so lovely meeting so many bloggers/followers. Looking forward to reading more about your cruise!!

    Make sure you come by my blog today, it's my 5th blogiversary and I'm having a giveaway:-) xoxo

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  10. That is a crowd of people.
    What beautiful blue skies you had and as always, you gave a thorough account for all to enjoy. Charlie was dancing on a pole? That is too funny.
    I'm sure things settled down after that, right?

    Continuing to read.....

    P.S. I bow to the Queen of The Seas. I may need to borrow her tiara soon.

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