January 20, 2013
Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
We got on our shuttle – which we had to throw elbows for – to the port. The first glimpse of the ship is always the best, I remember that from my first cruise with Brittany. It is so much bigger and better than I could have imagined – even this time around. We were able to check our bags immediately and get in line to go through security and then to check in at the Carnival desk. All of the steps go so smoothly – even waiting in the long lines seemed to go quickly. It’s so fun to step aboard for the first time. We had to do one extra step once we got onboard and check-in at guest services since I was carrying on a POC (portable oxygen concentrator). At home I have to sleep with oxygen each night, but because we were at SEA LEVEL my doctors thought I’d be okay without it. I won’t lie – it was a nice break. Anyway, since I’ve cruised with Carnival before I got to go to the “VIFP” line (stands for Very Important Fun Person!) and it was a breeze to check-in with the O2! Carnival seems to make complicated things simple (um, Delta and TSA should take note!!).
Once aboard, we started to figure out how to get to our cabin…which is a challenge at first, but once we found it we changed into our swim suits and started to explore. Our first mission was to find food. None of us were hungry, but we separated and came back to the table with a few plates from the expansive buffet (desserts, too) and the fish & chips restaurant (my favorite!! I ate there everyday, but one!) Eventually, we made our way to the upper decks so we could watch as the ship left the port!
When we finally made it to the upper deck I really thought I might just have to camp out at that spot for the rest of the cruise! One detail that I completely overlooked (and didn’t even consider) was how huge the ship was and how much walking would be involved. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do that much walking everyday. Inwardly, I was freaking out wondering how I’d tackle this challenge. More on that later. =)
After we were out to sea, we realized that we were on for our first dinner that night and our seating was the late seating (8:15pm). As we were getting ready to head to dinner we realized that we were seated in two different restaurants! We got that issue fixed and then went to dinner at Posh Restaurant, not Chic Restaurant. Caren referred to that one as “chick” the whole week – it still makes me laugh!
I don’t remember exactly what I ate that night, but I do remember that I didn’t hold back (not that I ever do!), but nothing was stopping me from enjoying every single bite! We got to meet our waitstaff that night (you sit at the same table every night and the same staff serves you). Through the week we got to know them a little bit and asked them a ton of questions…I think they were from Romania, Philippines, Mexico, and….I can’t remember! One of my favorite parts of cruising is the staff – they are from all over the world and have such interesting stories. They bend over backwards to provide the best service. I have so much respect and appreciation for them!
After dinner we went to the Victorian Lounge for the Opening Night show. We were all so tired – pretty sure Mom fell asleep during the show! I definitely had to fight to stay awake. We made it through the good stuff – singing & dancing – and headed to our cabin for the night when the comedian took stage.
Once we got back to our room, our beds had been turned down and chocolates awaited us on our pillows along with our first edition of “Carnival Times.” Each evening this routine happens. The Carnival Times is a schedule of the next days events around the ship and at the ports. So, we finished unpacking and got our stuff ready for the next day (Key West).
It seems there was more packed into this day, but some of the details blur together – time flies when you’re having fun and it seems that we packed a lot of fun into our week away!