Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Carnival Glory: Embarkation Day

We went into this cruise with good spirits. We were very excited for this vacation. We had never been to the Bahamas so we were looking forward to that immensely. The weeks leading up to the cruise I watched the weather and storms forming and was very aware of the large probability of a storm changing some of our plans. What I was not prepared for was how large Sandy was going to be. The week before we left, the weather for Nassau on Wednesday & Thursday was 30 % & 40%. Monday morning it was obvious that was not the case, rain seemed to be 100%.

We were bound to make the most of it. With that in mind, we picked up the other couple traveling with us and left for Norfolk. We arrived at the port and parked at the closest parking garage, Town Point. Carnival recommends the Cedar Grove parking facility which is guarded 24 hours. It is also a mile away and you are bussed (for free) to the port, rate of parking is $15/day.  Weeks before our cruise I contacted the division that handles the parking garages about parking at Town Point. They tried to persuade us to park at Cedar Grove and said that regardless of it not being posted anywhere, cruisers would be charged $15/day for cruise parking at the TP lot. To make a long story short we decided to park at the TP Garage for its convenience as it is located across the street. As mentioned before when we got to the garage there was no sign posting the difference in price for cruise parking. We took our ticket and finally found parking. It was packed! For anyone interested, when we left we were only charged $12/day.

We had received an email asking us to arrive between 1 and 3 pm. Since we were driving, that was our ETA anyways so that was no problem. There was a good number of people entering the port at the same time as we were but it went pretty fast. Once we got to security they asked if we had any wine, we answered yes since we had each brought our allotted bottle. They asked to see it but didn't look it over, shake it, or check the cork.  We also brought a pocket knife which I had put in my carry on. When it went through, they asked to see the knife which was no problem since it is under the 4" or less regulation by Carnival. The only problem was that they pulled aside the bag they said it was in and I knew it wasnt in that one, I had packed our bags after all. I kept trying to say it was in the pink bag they kept telling me it was in the black bag. Finally they took the pink bag, I told them it was in the front pocket and they tried to open the top. Very frustrating as it was already holding up the line, all they had to do was listen. They opened the knife, checked it and then we were free to proceed.

Once we were in line to get our sail & sign cards, we hit another minor snafu. The 4 of us were booked in two rooms, my boyfriend in one & I in the other so that both rooms were eligible for the past guest rate. Carnival said to just have them switch the girls in each room here to avoid having to wait in line at guest services for new cards. When we got to the desk the 4 of us went together and I began to explain the situation. Before I could even finish she said we would need to handle that with guest services. I asked her why since Carnival had told us that they would do it and she said they couldnt do it and we would need to do this on board. Fine, we moved on and started to get our paperwork settled. Every time I would give her any information she would remind me that she couldnt change the people in the rooms and I needed to give her the info for one room at a time. I explained we had moved on and that I was giving her the info as it was on he "manifest" that she kept referring to. This happened 3 separate times. Finally she too had moved on and we were able to get our sail and sign cards. It took a couple extra minutes but we were finally on our way.

We skipped the embark photos and headed up the gang way to deck 3. We decided to go ahead and head to our rooms and get the keys settled later. We unpacked and I was shocked by the room. I am claustrophobic and the room was vastly different from our first two. It took a few days to get used to but more on that later. We explored the ship some, got ready for the muster drill and then met up with our friends for sail away. We were on our way to the Bahamas!! Sort of...

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