Friday, February 14, 2014

Carnival Victory AGAIN: Embarkation Day

Feb 3 Day 1- Miami
Feb 4 Day 2- Day at Sea
Feb 5 Day 3- Grand Turk
Feb 6 Day 4- Day at Sea
Feb 7 Day 5- Little Stirrup Cay (CoCo Cay)
Feb 8 Day 6- Miami

We started our day bright and early... well maybe just early because it certainly wasn't bright!! Our plane departed at 6 am so we were on our way to the airport at 4:15. With about a 30 minute drive we arrived, checked our bag and headed through security. They started boarding around 5:30 and we were quickly on our way. We landed at MIA a little before 8:30 and the plan was to pick up our luggage and head to the port. Well wouldnt you know that right next to our baggage carousel was right in front of Carnivals handy Miami Airport check in counter. CONVENIENT!!

So we waited(forever) for our luggage and then popped into the Priority Line since we had purchased Faster to the Fun. There were two attendants working the counter and things moved rather smoothly. We gave them our boarding pass, took our sail & sign photos and were given our S&S cards as well as a priority boarding placard.  We promptly headed up to Starbucks, headed back down to a taxi and headed to the port. Taxi rate was $24 as posted on the window sticker plus $1 for our extra bag. I had seen this in Puerto Rico but not the last time in Miami. The $24 rate said it included all fees so I am sure we got ripped off but whats a $1 right?

We arrived at the port around 9:30 and it was a disaster. There were sworms of cruisers who had just debarked everywhere. After briefly standing in line behind some debarked passengers waiting for their shuttle we were shown the correct way. We went straight inside but realized we hadn't checked our bag. No worries, the woman checking us in assured us that we could carry both of our bags on. I was worried our bag would be too large but it wasn't and worked out just fine. Just a note, we didn't need to use FTTF for this area since there were very few people there this early.  We had no line in security, bags went through easy and we were sent upstairs to wait. We sat right down since we had already checked in and just waited for boarding. I did notice the terminal we were in no longer had the "kiosks" to add money to your S&S account. We did this in 2011 on the Destiny and thought it was a neat feature. The lines to check in also seemed very long. I would say either get there early, get there after they start boarding or check in at MIA.

Finally around 11:30 they began to call the wedding guests for them to embark, followed by Diamond, Platinum and Suite guests. Faster to the Fun was called next and by 11:45 we were on board! We went straight to our room to drop off our luggage. We were on the Panorama deck and found the fire doors to be closed. We opened them up and went to our room with no fuss from anyone. We didn't stay long and then headed to the lido to eat and get our first drinks. After lunch we headed back to our room for a small nap before muster.

Muster drill was running a tad late. It was hot as usual but pretty painless and lucky us our side of the ship was called first. Wahoo, that never happens! So we made a quick face time call to my nephew and then shut our phones off for a lovely week.

The first night was really relaxed. We had anytime dining and headed there around 6:45 along with everyone else. We were in line for maybe 10 minutes before we were seated but dinner was incredibly slow. We were there for about two hours and it was dreadful. We decided to go a bit later the rest of the week and it mostly worked out. The ATD seems to be a bit over worked and service was slow the entire cruise, with the first night being the absolute worst we have ever had.

We spent our night a little in the casino, stopped by the Taste Bar, headed to the disco. The disco is using quite slow the first night and then it livens up but there was a pretty good crowd in there and we had a good time. We stayed out until about 2 am and then headed to bed with the hopes of sleeping in for our first day at sea.

Stay tuned, more on the taste bar, day 2 and pictures to come!

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