I thought I would put in writ­ing my thoughts on this trip. My goal was to jour­nal everyday.…well…that did­n’t happen.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 18: Leave for Miami!

We woke up at 4:30 am and left for the air­port around 5:30 am. My sis­ter Charmin gra­cious­ly dropped us off.

Now, let me tell you that I was very ner­vous. This was only my sec­ond flight and my first was way before 9–11. So I had no idea what to expect for the secu­ri­ty pro­ce­dures. Amy had nev­er flown before so she was ner­vous too.

We arrived that the air­port, found our check-in area (as we are pass­ing lines upon lines of peo­ple going through secu­ri­ty. Luck­i­ly I print­ed out my board­ing pass­es and checked in the night before. All we had to do was go up, con­firm our checked bag­gage and then get in line.

The line only last­ed about 30 min­utes I think. While we were in line, we ran into the Bride’s par­ents (Bob and Jody, and the Bride’s nephew Jonathan). They hap­pen to have the exact same flight as us AND sat in the row right behind us. That was too funny.

Planes!

When we passed through the check­point, we had to remove our shoes, place our bags on the con­vey­or belt and I had to take my lap­top out and put it in a bin. We did­n’t set off any alarms! Thank good­ness. We head­ed toward our gate and stopped at a Star­bucks for some water and muffins.

Tak­ing a mus­cle relaxer

We then found our gate (at the END of the entire ter­mi­nal) and wait­ed to board (which was only anoth­er 30 min­utes. So our time at the air­port actu­al­ly seemed to go pret­ty fast. I decid­ed to take a mus­cle relax­er before get­ting on the plane, so I would be relaxed and per­haps nap!

We loaded onto the plane and took off. Amy was excit­ed to see out the win­dow. Luck­i­ly we did­n’t have any­one else in our seat on the way there, so I moved over one so we would be more com­fort­able. I prompt­ly fell asleep. Our flight took about 3 hours and 10 min­utes. I awoke just as we were landing.

We arrived in Mia­mi, and boy was I NOT ready for the heat. The heat was­n’t so bad, it was the humid­i­ty! After a few min­utes you were sweat­ing and feel­ing damp. Yuk! (And this was just the terminal)

We had some con­fu­sion with oth­er pas­sen­gers try­ing to find where our lug­gage would be arriv­ing and no one on the bot­tom floor of the air­port spoke eng­lish. We final­ly fig­ured it out. We got our bags and stepped outside.

Okay, I thought I was gonna die! I was already exhaust­ed from the plane, I did­n’t want to sit there for anoth­er 30 min­utes wait­ing for our shut­tle to our rental.

We final­ly found our shut­tle and wait­ed for him to come back. He then took us to Advan­tage Car Rental. We were there for anoth­er 30 min­utes (It was busy!) but we final­ly walked our with a Kia Rio. Red. It was a zip­py lit­tle thing. Although after a few min­utes on the road, Amy was so done dri­ving. Mia­mi dri­vers are crazy! (But at least they actu­al­ly lis­ten to turn signals!)

Our nice hotel!

We head­ed to our hotel and checked in. Ran into the wed­ding par­ty check­ing in as well. We head­ed up to our room and put our bags away and then left again to go get my tux.

After that was all done, we then head­ed back to the hotel and ordered some room ser­vice for lunch/dinner (which was fab­u­lous! and our serv­er was extra friend­ly). Then we watched a movie and crashed early.

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 19: Fun Day in Miami!

We woke up and had break­fast. Came back to our room and decid­ed we did­n’t real­ly need to go any­where so we returned our rental car and then walked back to our hotel (It was only a 20 minute walk but it killed my feet! They were sore and red).

Atri­um

We then ordered some lunch; veg­ged for awhile (I think I napped). Then we woke up and head­ed down to the lob­by for the Man­ager’s Cock­tail Recep­tion (every night…FREE DRINKS!) and met up with the oth­er wed­ding party.

After that we were treat­ed to a din­ner recep­tion with the entire wed­ding par­ty and guests (every­one got a gift bag of stuff). Great food, the tables were all set very formally.

(Side note: Appar­ent­ly we had pop­u­lar seats, because through­out this vaca­tion peo­ple kept tak­ing them, When­ev­er Amy and I would get up to do some­thing, we’d come back and seats were tak­en. Even after oth­er peo­ple told the “would-be-tak­ers” that we were sit­ting there. But for the din­ner that was okay, cause we got to sit with The Bride’s fam­i­ly (Mom, Dad, Aunts and Broth­er) and let me tell you, Melanie, Val and the rest of that gang, were a freak­ing hoot! I wish we could have sat with them for din­ner on the cruise too. But we had assigned seat­ing, so it was­n’t meant to be (But we did get to sit with peo­ple we did­n’t know–which was inter­est­ing, because we got to meet more peo­ple and get to know them.)

After the din­ner, they had an info meet­ing regard­ing the cruise and what to expect. We then head­ed to bed so we could get up early.

THURSDAY, AUGUST 20: Sail Date!

We woke up, had some break­fast and then packed up our stuff and met every­one in the lob­by at 9am to all ride the shut­tle bus over to the ship. Dri­ving up to the ship was awe­some, because you could see our ship (The Car­ni­val Des­tiny) and it was HUGE!

VIP Lounge

We were let into the “side door” as VIPs with the wed­ding and we all got to go through secu­ri­ty, check-in, and all that has­sle before they let any­one else real­ly in. We then got to sit in the VIP lounge and wait­ed until US Cus­toms cleared the ship for boarding.

We then were all able to board the ship, go to our room (and if they weren’t ready and any­one gave us any trou­ble, to use the mag­ic word “Wed­ding”). That would allow us to get to our rooms to drops stuff off. Our room was in the process of being cleaned so we just dropped stuff in the clos­et and ran.

Lido Deck Buffet!

We then head­ed for some quick lunch on the lido deck. We main­ly hit the gill and not the main buf­fet (we didn’t know about that until after we had already eat­en). So Amy and I had burg­ers, huge hot dogs, chips, chick­en frit­ters, and fruit!

The Cer­e­mo­ny

We then head­ed over to the Cri­te­ri­on lounge for the wed­ding cer­e­mo­ny. The lounge was very com­fort­able and the wed­ding was very nice. Most of the bride and grooms fam­i­ly were on stage.

After the cer­e­mo­ny, they ush­ered us to the “Point After” Dis­co Lounge were we had a light recep­tion and danc­ing. Then they gath­ered every­one in the rotun­da on the stairs for a group shot. (We real­ly want­ed to pur­chase a group shot, just did­n’t have any cash left over on the last day…well, enough to get a cab back to the hotel).

Part of our cabin

After that, we were free to roam the ship. We head­ed back to our room to change and wait for the “Muster Drill”. (The muster drill is where you grab your live vests and head to your des­ig­nat­ed muster station–ours was “E”. In a real emer­gency, we would then board lifeboats–women and chil­dren first).

Our room was all ready and boy did we walk into some gifts in our room.

Anniver­sary Cake

We had a bot­tle of Sparkling Cider wait­ing for us, a choco­late cake that I pre-ordered for Amy for our Anniver­sary, two plat­ters of choco­late dipped straw­ber­ries and con­fec­tions (one from me and one from the peo­ple that han­dled the groups reser­va­tions), we also got 8 drink cred­its and 4 bar cred­its and a pho­to cred­it from our good friends Katie and Troy (THANKS GUYS!!!), we also had $50 cred­it on our Sail & Sign cards from The bride and groom.

(Sail and Sign cards act as your room key, your charge card on ship–everything is billed to your room–and as the way to ver­i­fy you as a guest when you go on and off the ship).

After that, we then just kind of wan­dered the ship. We head­ed up to the SPA deck and wait­ed for the ship to leave port. It actu­al­ly head­ed into port to a big­ger area, then turned around and left port. (Now this is where it gets fuzzy—too many drinks)…

I think we head­ed back to the cab­in to change for din­ner, then head­ed down to the Rotun­da bar and had drinks until din­ner where we met up with some of the oth­er wed­ding guests.

Din­ner was fan­tas­tic. I would have to say that the din­ner in the din­ing rooms were much bet­ter than what you could find around the ship. Every­thing else was “good” but it was­n’t “Fab­u­lous” like the food in the din­ing rooms was.

So dark!

After din­ner, we walked out on the spa deck some more and could­n’t get over how freakin DARK it was. Lit­er­al­ly, you could­n’t see any­thing but the stars…It was kin­da spooky to think that there are peo­ple dri­ving this ship, in the dark, by instrument!

Then off to bed. We were beat! It was a long day.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 21: Key West!

We woke up just as we were dock­ing in Key West. We had break­fast brought to our room. (You could fill out a door hang­er and put it on your door the night before) So we ate, then got dressed and head­ed out to Key West.

As you leave the ship, they take your pho­to AND take your pho­to next to a “themed char­ac­ter” In this case…a pirate lady…very odd. We then went SHOPPING!

(Side note: all through­out the cruise they would have “pic­ture spots” to take your pho­to. They would put your pho­to either that night or next day on these walls on one lev­el of the rotun­da and you would “hunt” for yours and then pur­chase it or recy­cle it. We “recy­cled” a ton, but we did walk away with quite a bit.)

Our Ship

We want­ed to explore more of the dif­fer­ent ports, but that heat was a bit much. The nice thing was that the ship would have “shop­ping chan­nels” were you could get an idea of what shops were in port and where you could get “cruise only deals” (which I real­ly did­n’t believe). So we tried to plan our shop­ping stops.

So with that knowl­edge we head­ed our of the port area and walked up to Del Sol, which sells clothes and items that change col­or in the sun. We fig­ured the kids would love some­thing like that. It was the fur­thest spot away that we want­ed to go, so on our way back we stopped at this lit­tle mar­ket area and got some trin­kets. (We decid­ed since Amy loves Christ­mas, we will try and get an orna­ment at each spot). So we hap­pened to find one for Key West that had a cruise ship on it.

Bahama Mama. My Favorite Cruise Drink.
Relax­ing in port.

We board­ed the ship and we decid­ed to check out the pools. We were gonna go swim­ming, but they close all but one pool when in port and there was kids in the “adult only” pool, so we grabbed some drinks (Amy only drank water or pop the whole cruise…me…hell no! My drink was a Bahama Mama, I could­n’t get enough) and sat by the aft pool and looked out over the sea. After that we then went to our cab­in and changed into our swim suits and with drinks in hand, we laid out on the SPA deck (almost the top deck) and sun bathed in an area pret­ty much all to our­selves. I think I napped. It sprin­kled a lit­tle, but we didn’t care.

We then were leav­ing port, so we grabbed some lunch. We then did some shop­ping (they had the “Inch of Gold” sale, $1.00 or up for every inch of gold. I bought a neck­lace and then got2 bracelets for free.) We also bought some oth­er small items and checked for photos.

We then head­ed down to our cab­in and took anoth­er nap before din­ner. This night was our Cruise Ele­gant Night. So Amy and I got dressed up, her in her Ball Gown and me in my Coor­di­nat­ing Tux.

So Cute!

We  Amy got many com­pli­ments on her gown. Every­one was dressed nice, but very, very few were in actu­al tux­es or ball gowns as elab­o­rate as our (that we saw any­way, I think I saw one oth­er per­son in a tux, but I don’t think we saw any­one else in a full ball gown like Amy had. She also had on her “heart of the Ocean” neck­lace from our wed­ding. (I kept telling all our friends she was tempt­ing fate!). But com­plete strangers would walk up to her to tell her how beau­ti­ful she was.

So for our for­mal night pho­to, they just hap­pened to have the back­ground of the stair­case from Titan­ic. How fit­ting, so we made a bee­line to that spot and got some shots done (Which turned out gor­geous). Then we ate. At din­ner the wait­ers “sang” “That’s Amore” for the whole din­ing room.

After din­ner we changed clothes and basi­cal­ly hit the sack, we were way too relaxed, so much so, that we were tired.

SATURDAY, AUGUST 22: Mex­i­co Day!

My Breakfast…Amy’s was tamer…

We woke up and decid­ed to try break­fast on the lido deck. We hit the buf­fet and had stuff like French Toast, sausage, bacon, fruit, yogurt, Dan­ish­es, etc. It was nummy!

We then did a lit­tle bit of explor­ing of the ship, but basi­cal­ly head­ed back to our room and took a nap before we head­ed to Cozumel (since the ship docked at 2pm and would leave at 10 pm.)

Ships!

When we docked at Cozumel (ear­ly!) we left the ship prompt­ly. We had our cus­tom­ary “off the ship” pho­to take with a Mayan guy and a Mex­i­can dancer. We then walked down this real­ly long pier and noticed that we were docked next to anoth­er Car­ni­val ship…the “Inspi­ra­tion”. Our ship was bigger.

When we got clos­er to shore we saw that anoth­er ship was docked up the cost, anoth­er Car­ni­val ship!

The pier led us to a sort of Plaza “ter­mi­nal” called “Puer­to Maya”. It had shop­ping, restau­rants, etc. It was real­ly beau­ti­ful. So we did some shop­ping. I couldn’t get over how CHEAP every­thing was. One shop had 5 shirts for $20! It was odd though that in ever sto­ry the atten­dants would, well, “attend” to you and offer sug­ges­tions on items to buy, and when you chose some­thing they would take it up to the reg­is­ter and get it ready for you.

Click for video

We hit a few more stores, then sat at this lit­tle man-made, walled-off beach and just relaxed for a lit­tle bit. A guy came over and asked if we want­ed a Pina Cola­da or if I want­ed a cigar.

I Love this photo.
Click for video

We then saw two Mari­achi bands play­ing and these weird guys that at first glance looked like met­al statutes (they were paint­ed in gold/silver and their clothes looked stiff and shim­mery) but were actu­al people.

We then left the ter­mi­nal and thought about going to a beach, but weren’t sure if we had enough cash to get back to the ter­mi­nal. So we sat out­side the ter­mi­nal for a bit, then decid­ed to go back to the ship and swim, since it should be pret­ty quiet.

We board­ed the ship, went to our room, changed into our swim suits and head­ed to the adult only sec­tion of the lido deck. We grabbed some piz­za (we final­ly found where the 24 hour piz­za grill was!) and then head­ed to the hot tub to relax.

The adult pool was closed, so we head­ed to the main pool. It was okay, but very salty. Amy got some in her nose and mouth and so after that we got out of the pool and just hung out on the SPA deck and sun­bathed for a lit­tle bit, then head­ed back down to our room to change for din­ner. I think we napped before din­ner, but I real­ly can’t remember.

A sun­set

Before din­ner we looked out at the sea from mid­ship on the star­board side and just relaxed with drinks in hand.

We weren’t sure how many peo­ple would be at din­ner since it was Cozumel night and most peo­ple would get din­ner on land. There was one oth­er cou­ple at our table. So we ate and talked and then decid­ed to scope out the Karaoke in the cri­te­ri­on lounge. (Anoth­er cou­ple the night before was say­ing how phe­nom­e­nal most of the singers were). We scoped that out for about a half hour, and then decid­ed to check out the Dance Party/Mexican Buf­fet on the Lido Deck. We scoped out some deck chairs and wait­ed. Not too many peo­ple where there, but the band was pret­ty good. The Mex­i­can Buf­fet didn’t start until about 11:30, so we decid­ed to head over to the Pal­la­di­um Lounge for the Main Show.

The Main Show was a Jug­gling act open­er and a com­e­dy act that was planned. The jug­gler was real­ly good and fun­ny (Dana Tison), with some awe­some audi­ence par­tic­i­pa­tion and the Come­di­an (Tom­my Drake) was a freak­ing riot. We want­ed to catch his “rat­ed r” act the next night if possible.

After that we were kind of tired, so we decid­ed to call it a night and head to bed.

SUNDAY, AUGUST 23: Fun Day at Sea!

Sun­day was our day at sea, back towards Mia­mi. We awoke and had break­fast on the Lido deck.

We then head­ed over for the Debarka­tion Talk to find out what we need­ed to do once we got back in port. Our Cruise Direc­tor Brent was funny.

After that I think we grabbed some lunch. My back was act­ing up so I went back to the cab­in and napped; I was tired and had a headache as well. Amy went to the Build-A-Bear Work­shop and made a frog­gy and got lots of clothes for it. She then came back and snug­gled in bed with me and we watched the new Star Trek movie. (It was play­ing all day on our in room TVs!)

We then head­ed back up to the casi­no deck for some Karaoke. They had some good singers. Amy sang a song she hadn’t done before (and total­ly rocked!)

We Won!

We then played the “Des­tiny Amaz­ing Race” and tied for first place with two oth­er con­tes­tants. So we won a tro­phy of the ship. We cel­e­brat­ed by shar­ing car­rot cake and cook­ies at the Café.

I think we checked out some more pho­tos, did some last minute shop­ping. Picked up my neck­lace (they had to add clasps and stuff). Pos­si­bly had some lunch or a snack.

We then head­ed back to our cab­in to do some pack­ing, so we wouldn’t have to do it all the next day. Then we head­ed back to the rotun­da and sat at the bar and had a drink, then head­ed out­side and watched the sunset.

Click for Video

We then had din­ner, where the wait­ers then “danced” for us to “Jai Ho”. It was awe­some! After din­ner we were going to go see the more adult com­e­dy show, but it was packed and we didn’t want to go to the real­ly late one. So we head­ed back to our cab­in for bed.

MONDAY, AUGUST 24: Back in Miami!

We woke up in Mia­mi at 7:30 in the morn­ing. We were going to have break­fast on the ship, but we fig­ured it may be crazy and so we decid­ed to just gath­er our stuff and leave the ship.

Well, that took some time. Since we were car­ry­ing every­thing off our­selves, we didn’t have to wait for them do call our zone num­ber for bag­gage. So we stood in line and made our wind­ing way around the ship and off the boat.

We then got a taxi and went back to the hotel and checked in very ear­ly. They were still serv­ing break­fast, so we head­ed down and ate some break­fast. We then went back up to the room and chilled. I worked on pho­tos and Amy head­ed down to the Hotel’s gift shop and found some orna­ments from Mia­mi for our col­lec­tion. Then she came back up and watched TV.

We then head­ed down to the lob­by to rent a car. (We didn’t know before the trip that the hotel had a rental com­pa­ny in house). We rent­ed a car, returned my tux and then bought some lunch at McDon­alds). We head­ed back to the hotel and turned the car in.

We had lunch, Amy napped, I worked on my pho­tos. When she woke up we head­ed down to the Hotel’s gift shop to get me a pop (I was whin­ing) and some food for din­ner (they had frozen din­ners and we had a microwave in the room). End­ed up I didn’t eat mine, because I still had some McDon­alds left.

We chilled, watched a movie, and then went to bed.

TUESDAY, AUGUST 25: Head­ing Back Home!

We woke up and Amy head­ed down for break­fast. I ate my frozen din­ner from the night before. We packed every­thing up and checked out of the room.

We wait­ed for the shut­tle to bring us to the Air­port. Once we got there, holy crap!

The Mia­mi air­port sucks. Com­plete­ly unor­ga­nized com­pared to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Air­port. There was one big line, and then it split to either Kiosks, or bag check­ers. Well, you had to go to the Kiosk to print your tick­ets, and “check” your bag­gage. Then you went into the line for the checked bag­gage and actu­al­ly ”turned in” your bags. But it was so unor­ga­nized, and there was one mousy lit­tle man try­ing to direct peo­ple (some­what rudely).

Then once we got near the front of the bag­gage line, the mousy man starts look­ing for any­one going to Lon­don, so they could move up in the line because the depar­ture time was approach­ing. So you had this gag­gle of peo­ple all stand­ing at the front of the line (most of whom DIDN’T go through the Kiosk line) and they were all from dif­fer­ent coun­tries and didn’t under­stand what any­one was telling them.

Plus, you had the First Class line cut­ting through. And all the Air­port counter check­ers were try­ing to be patient with peo­ple and be fair about get­ting peo­ple through in turn, but this one cou­ple (with like 40 bags and 20 kids) kept try­ing to but in (they were going to Lon­don) while the hus­band was try­ing to fig­ure out what they meant by him need­ing to go to the Kiosks to print passes).

We final­ly check our bags checked in, head through secu­ri­ty (actu­al­ly with­in min­utes we were through) and then head­ed to our gate and waited.

We board­ed the plane, and found out seats. We didn’t luck out and some­one was in the row with us. But peo­ple were mov­ing to emp­ty seats all around and I was hop­ing she would move…she didn’t. I was tempt­ed, but didn’t.

I couldn’t believe some par­ents though. This one cou­ple had like 3 kids. Their girls were already sit­ting down by the mom. The dad puts his bag away, then sits down and makes his 9 year old boy (I think) fend for him­self. So he is stand­ing in the mid­dle of the aisle and peo­ple can’t get past him and he’s futsing with his bag and the dad is just sit­ting there doing noth­ing. Final­ly the dad gets up and helps him put his bag away, but then kid still is stand­ing in the aisle. Final­ly he sits down after a stew­ardess asks the lady behind him if she needs help and she says, “No, I am just try­ing to get through here”.

The trip back was unevent­ful, they did have to stop on the tar­mac and repro­gram the flight com­put­er because of the weather.

I watched a movie and Amy slept.

We arrived in Min­neapo­lis, head­ed to the bag­gage claim area, found our lug­gage and then called Charmin to pick us up. (She was near­by at a friend’s house). While were wait­ing I see anoth­er fam­i­ly, where they have their young kid push­ing this big cart just full of like 8 lug­gage bags! I couldn’t believe it.

Charmin pulls up, we load up and head home. On the way home I am whin­ing at cars to move, that I am hun­gry, etc. and Amy says to Charmin, “We should have just stayed in Flori­da.” And Charmin asks why, and Amy says, “Cause Bert didn’t whine at all on the trip!”

It was funny.

We then arrived home to a home cooked meal by my mom, signs wel­com­ing us home from the kids. And we gave every­one their gifts. They loved em!

As we were pulling up to the house, Amy called and had the kids hid in my mom’s room and Amy talked to Riley and asked if he missed us. He said, “Yeah!” so she had him go open the front door and she was stand­ing there. He got a huge smile on his face, then said, “Aun­tie Charmin is here” (She was walk­ing up behind her). It was so funny.

All in all, it was a great tip. It seemed like it went on for­ev­er when we were there, but seemed so short when we got home.

2 thoughts on “My Miami Cruise 2009

  1. Yay you post­ed more! It was very inter­est­ing read­ing your blog posts. Any chance of you becom­ing a reg­u­lar daily/weekly blog­ger? Sounds like you guys had a great trip!

  2. Thanks Ang­ie!

    My goal was to become a dai­ly or at least week­ly blog­ger, but with face­book, its kin­da like mini posts with your status.

    But, as thoughts strike me, I try to get them down here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.