Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Cruise News: The planning is *almost* as fun as the cruise

I'm thick in the planning stages of my next 2 cruises. I'm so excited, even though I still have just over 10 months until it's time to go (312 days to be exact). The time will go by fast though, there is still so much to do.

I'm counting down to my 10 days on the Carnival Victory!!!

Web image

If you want to know the 'backstory' for these 2 cruises I'm taking, who is going with me, and what islands  I'm cruising is my previous post from back in August with all of those details.

In the last 3 months I've been working on some of the smaller details for the cruise.

All of the fun is in the DETAILS!!!

Pre-cruise details:
Before the cruise, we will be flying into Miami or Ft Lauderdale, which ever is cheaper. We will fly in the day before the cruise so we will need a hotel to stay in for the night.

On our last cruise, Tim and I stayed at the Intercontinental Hotel at the port.
The Intercontinental Hotel is a five star hotel and they have rooms that overlook the port, so you can really "watch your ship come in".
Fabulous!!! Tim and I really enjoyed our stay there last year, and I was able to book our room for last year's cruise for $109.00 ................which is an amazing price for a five star hotel at the Port of Miami.

This time, I thought I would look for a different hotel. There is a Marriot and also a Doubletrree just north of the Port (The Intercontinental is just south of the port).
I did some research on these two hotels and I found two things.

1) I can't get a cheap rate for either the Doubletree or the Marriot, and
2) They aren't within walking distance of the Bayside shops and restaurants.

So, I am again looking at staying at the Intercontinental before the cruise. It just seems to be the nicest, cheapest and most convenient for what we need.

Here is a map of the port area:

The black star is the port, where the ships dock.
The top red star is the Marriot and the Doubletree.
**The lower red star is the Intercontinental.**
The orange circle is the shopping/restaurants at Bayside Marketplace.

The Intercontinental is probably going to be where I make my reservation.

Cruise details: 
My room is booked for BOTH cruises!!! I poured over maps of the ship, room locations and prices, and I picked out this room at the back corner of the ship on deck 8 for both legs of my cruise:

My room will be 8428, and just look at that BALCONY!!!!!!

My room only holds 2 people. My sister will be with me for the first 5 days, and my best friend will be joining me for the 2nd 5 days.

Two of my (grown) kids are also going on the first cruise with me.

I booked room 8426 for the kids to share, it's the closest inside room I could get for them. (shown above with the black arrow)
I'm pretty sure we will all spend quite a bit of time on my balcony though, since the kids won't have one.

Here is a picture of the outside of the back of the ship. The arrow is pointing to my balcony cabin.
Dreaming about watching sail-away from that balcony with a cold slushy drink of the day in my hand.

Port & Excursion details:
I don't have details worked out for every port yet, but the plans for Half Moon Cay have been worked out:

Half Moon Cay (Carnival's private island) -and it happens to be the most beautiful place I have ever been in my life.
I am so excited to be going back here!

HMC (also known as Little San Salvadore Island) is a tiny island in the Bahamas, shown here with a handy red arrow:

Oh my!!! I can't wait to go back!
The beach is the shape of a moon,  and aparently how the island got it's name.

Since this is just a beach day (not much else to do there), I thought it would be nice for the 4 of us to be able to hang out in a cabana and get some shade if we need it, so I rented one for us for the day.

Renting a cabana on HMC isn't as easy as it sounds. There are almost 3,000 people on the ship, but there are only 15 cabanas on Half Moon Cay to rent. I had to log in to the Carnival website every day (sometimes twice a day) to watch for the cabana rentals to show up for bookings. After that, it's a race to get one, and I'm happy to say I did manage to get my cabana rental!

They are a little pricey at $230.00 for the day, but well worth it.

I'm not sure which cabana we will have, because after we get on board the ship, we will need to go to the Excursion desk to pick ours out. I do plan to pick out a cabana at the farthest end of the beach, where it is a little quieter.

The cabanas on Half Moon Cay look like this, except they are all different colors:

web image

The cabana rental includes lounge chairs, a table and chairs, a fresh water shower, a refrigerator, air-conditioner, ceiling fan, misting fan, snorkel gear and floaty mats for 4 people, drinks & snacks. There will be a free lunch on the island for everyone, so that day is pretty much taken care of as far as planning goes. I'm ready!!!!

So far so good with the planning!!! I'm working on some of the details for the other islands we will be visiting. More cruise updates to come!


  1. wow, i wish i could plan that far ahead, i have a hard time planning for i said, your going to LOVE that it's my turn to be jealous....maybe i'll go on this cruise

  2. Oh definitely, you should book the cruise!!!!