Tuesday, October 1, 2013

My Caribbean Vacation - Day 8 - Turnaround Day

Click here for DAY 1, DAY 2, DAY 3 , DAY 4, 
DAY 5 , DAY 6
and DAY 7

Also, HERE is my tour of the Carnival Victory

DAY 8 - TURNAROUND DAY - Saturday Sept 7, 2013 

I woke up SO EARLY that I was sure it was still the middle of the night. I looked at my alarm clock anyway. It WAS still the middle of the night....it was 4:10AM. I had no idea why I was up at this hour.

I was just about to roll over and go back to sleep when I saw, from the tiny crack between the curtain and the wall, a blue flashing light outside.

Well, there wasn't supposed to be blue flashing lights in the middle of the ocean, so I had to get up and see what it was. I peeked out the curtain and I saw several blue flashing lights out there.

I realized we must be coming into the port of Miami already
I quietly slipped outside so I could see where we were.

We were just coming to the port area, and it was still really dark outside. The city lights of Miami were getting closer.
How strange that I happened to wake up at the exact right time every single morning. The only explanation I have is that maybe I could feel the ship slow down as we approached each island. It's possible, but that ship was so stable during this cruise I couldn't tell we were moving when I was awake. How could I tell we were slowing down when I was asleep?
Maybe it was just good luck.

I went back inside as quietly as I could to grab my phone and my camera. I didn't want to wake Lisa so early in the morning.
Back outside, I wanted to call my Timmy............but I knew it was just after 3AM in Kansas City so I decided to wait a few hours before I called him.

I texted Christina and told her we were pulling into port RIGHT NOW, and to text or call as soon as she woke up. She replied right away that she was already up and looking out her window.

I called her. My voice was nearly gone by now, and I squeeked "It's ME!!, My voice is gone but it's me!!"

It was so good to finally talk to her after 5 days of silence.She said she had just happened to wake up about 5 minutes before I texted. Wow, we both had good timing that morning.

She told me she had a good travel day the day before. Her planes were on time and John was there to pick her up at the Ft Lauderdale airport as planned. She loved the Intercontinental. I knew she would.

I told her where to look for the ship to come in. She couldn't see us yet, but we were getting closer. I told her to watch the buildings and look for a huge white building that was slowly moving behind the other buildings. It took a few minutes and finally she said she saw the ship! She agreed it really did look like a huge building moving back there. Then she saw the whale tail and she got excited. I was ON the ship and I was excited too!

We talked on the phone for quite a while as the sun came up. Lisa woke up and went in to make sure the kids were up too.
Christina and I got off the phone after we had made plans to keep in touch with each other throughout the morning. She was going to eat room service breakfast, shower and re-pack. She planned to check out of the hotel leave for the port around 9ish. I was excited to see her when she boarded around 11:15 or so, and I told her I would be waiting on the ship in the lobby when she got on.

The plan for Lisa and the kids was for the 4 of us to eat breakfast and they would get off the ship around 8:30.
John would be there to pick them up in front of the port building around 9 to get them to Ft Lauderdale airport for their flights home.

I have no idea why............but suddenly Lisa was in a hurry to get off the ship. She didn't want breakfast, even though I told her she had plenty of time. The kids didn't care one way or another, or at least they didn't voice their opinions about it. Before I knew it, they were rolling their bags down the hallway toward the elevators.
I walked down with them, and stood in line with them in the Lobby while they waited to get off the ship.
At the point where they dinged their cards through the machine, I couldn't go any further with them. We all said goodbye and they rounded the corner and were out of sight.

I looked at my watch.
It was 7:37AM

Seriously??!! It was still so early and I couldn't understand why they wanted to get off so early and wait around in the parking lot for their ride. And none of us had eaten breakfast yet.

Oh well, it is what it is.

So I walked back up to the cabin by myself.

I didn't see Carlos, and even Ari wasn't at his usual spot in the hallway.

It was a little drizzly that morning in Miami, and it was pretty gray outside. I put the TV on to listen to the Miami weather forecast. They said it would blow over by mid-morning. 

I took a shower and got dressed. I called Christina and checked on her at the Intercontinental.

I finally talked to my Sweetheart!! All was well at home and he was prepared to pick the kids up at the airport later that night and take them to their homes.

Lisa checked in with me and let me know that she called John when they were outside and he came for them right away.
We were all very happy with John's Car Service, so far he had come through for us 3 out of 3 times. We still had 2 more rides coming with him, and I felt confident in him by now.

I couldn't really go out on the balcony, because the rain was coming in by then.

I decided to go up and get myself some breakfast. Alone. All by myself.

Really, I'm over-doing it on the alone part......it wasn't too bad, since I was either on the phone or texting the entire time. But it did feel strange to be there by myself after there were 4, and sometimes 8 of us together the whole week.

I stopped in at my kids cabin and let myself in with the key card I still had. I checked their room all over to make sure they hadn't forgotten anything. I'm such a mom.
It was sad to be in their cabin knowing they weren't here. I sure missed them already.

I walked up to the Lido deck, and there were quite a few people up there with their luggage. I went to the part of the Lido deck by the main pool and bar and sat down and had a cigarette. I could smoke here without getting wet. It was also fun to people watch although this wasn't a very good day to people watch. It was rainy and gloomy out, and all these people had to go home. Everyone was so glum.

After my smoke, I went to the back buffet and saw Hector


Finally a smiling face!!! It was nice to see somebody familiar this morning.
Hector made my ham and cheese omelet and he asked me where my family was.
I told him they got off the ship but I was staying on for another cruise.
I don't think he understood me, he looked pretty confused when I said that.
Language barriers. Charades worked most of the time with Ari, but I didn't know how to do a charade about cruising 2 times in a row.
Oh well, he would understand when I came to get an omelet the next morning.

I got the rest of my food and carried my plate one floor down and back to my cabin. Most of the doors to the other cabins on my way were opened and the beds were all stripped, including the kids cabin. It was like a ghost town.
I didn't see any sign of Carlos or anyone else on our floor.

Back in my cabin, I ate my breakfast and watched TV. I talked to Timmy and Christina.
Lisa texted and said they made it to the airport and to their gate. Now they were waiting for their plane.

It was about 8:45AM. My plan for the morning was to walk around and take pictures all over the ship when it was totally empty. I could do the inside areas, but because of the rain I didn't want to do any of the outer decks that day.

When I was talking to Christina and she was almost ready to leave the hotel to come to the port, I decided I didn't want to wait on the ship ~ alone ~ anymore. It's been an hour and 15 minutes, and I'm bored!

I called Guest Services to ask if I could get off the ship and re-board with my friend. He said yes I could, but I would not get priority boarding if I got off the ship myself.

Fine with me, we'll have zone 1 boarding anyway.

I called Christina back and told her I would meet her outside in front of the port building in 20 minutes.

I quickly filled out my customs form, got my passport, boarding pass, S&S card, and my camera.

I went down to the Lobby and dinged my card through the machine.

Down at customs, I explained why I didn't have any luggage and showed the guy my boarding pass. He let me go through.

Outside I waited for Christina to arrive.

(Finally, some pictures from that morning! I must have been in a slump!)

I took these pics of some of the funny Carnival signs where you enter to board your cruise

As soon as Christina arrived, I pepped up considerably.

She gave her bag to a porter, tipped him, and we went inside.

We went through the usual security checks, and we went upstairs.

When we got to the long check-in counter, we gave the guy our boarding passes, and he took our pictures for our S&S cards.
For some reason, he didn't hand us our cards

Instead, he came out from around the counter and asked us to follow him.
I'll admit I was a little worried I wasn't getting back on the ship.

We followed him through the large waiting room and through a door that said "Captain's Lounge".
Then it clicked.
We were getting priority boarding!!! WOOHOO!

We took a seat in the "lounge" and the lady there helped us with our S&S cards

YAY! We got them!!!

Pics from the Captain's Lounge

Looking out into the rest of the lounge from where we were sitting

Christina!!! Lucky you!!! It's your first cruise and you are in the Captain's Lounge!
(I don't think that happens very often)

We waited in the lounge for a little more than an hour. By the time we boarded the ship, there may have been 10 people in the lounge with us.

A woman came to get us and led us through the lobby and over to the escalator.

When we got on the ship, Christina loved it!!! It was fun to watch her looking around and trying to take it all in.

We went up to the Lido deck and got lunch.
We had sandwiches from the deli and french fries from the buffet. Then we had ice cream.

After we ate we walked around a little and I showed Christina around the ship.

We waited till around 12:30 and we went to our cabin.
Christina loved it! She loved the balcony too.

It was done raining but it was still gray out and the balcony was still wet.
Lisa and the kids texted to let me know they were on the plane and ready to take off.

We hung out in the cabin, walked around, went to muster drill, and then up to the aft lido deck pool bar to get a drink of the day.

On our balcony, the skies were looking a little better than they did that morning.

We met our new neighbors from the balcony next door. They were a couple from Canada. Very nice people.

Just before we sailed away, this little airplane flew in and landed IN THE WATER right beside us. After a few minutes we watched them take off again. That was the first time I ever saw anything like that.

The Liberty sailed off ahead of us. We all hooted and hollered with them as they went by us.
I didn't have much voice left to hoot, but I yelled anyway.

When it was our turn to leave, the police boats followed us out of the port

Before we knew it, we were out at sea with Miami in the distance again.

I called Timmy one more time to say goodbye for 5 more days.
Christina called home and said her goodbyes. After that we turned our phones off and put them in the safe.

Carlos came by and introduced himself to Christina. He stayed for about 20 seconds, and he was gone again.

We sat around on the balcony talking. We had a lot to catch up on, we hadn't talked in 5 days!

After a while we decided we were hungry and we wanted to go to dinner. I wanted to introduce Christina to Donovan and Joyce, my new favorite dinner service team.

By then Christina's luggage had arrived. We both changed our clothes and we went down to dinner.

When we got to the dining room, we asked for Donovan and Joyce. The hostess told us their station wasn't opened yet.
I was a little disappointed.
I asked for Nungah again, remembering his good service from a few days ago.

Nungah was an awesome waiter. As far as we could tell, he didn't have an assistant, he did everything himself. We both enjoyed our dinner.

We missed the singing in the Dining Room that night. We were ok with missing "That's Amore".
I was looking forward to the Macarena and Hey Baby later in the week.

After dinner Christina and I walked around the ship. We walked through the casino, the gift shops, and I showed her the secret deck in the front of the ship.

When we came back to our cabin, we saw Carlos had been there!
Christina was very happy to see a stingray on her bed, with her bed turned down and looking so comfortable.

We were both pretty tired. Neither of us had much sleep the night before.

We went out for the night anyway. We could sleep later

First we stopped at the casino bar and had a drink. I had a Miami Vice. It was my first time trying one and it was very good.
Next we went to the Caribbean Theater to get seats for the Welcome Aboard show.

We were there pretty early, so we watched from the balcony as Donkey hosted an evening game of BINGO.
Christina thought it looked like fun too, with everyone yelling at Donkey, so we made a plan to play BINGO the next day.

We watched the Welcome Aboard Show, it was exactly the same as last week's show, but Marcelo was still funny. Even the 2nd time around.
There were 2 new comedians on the ship this week, and one of them did a few minutes of comedy for us. He was funny, and Christina and I wanted to see his show in the comedy club later that week.

After the Welcome Aboard show, Christina and I went to the Lido deck for ice cream, and then back to our cabin for some late night balcony time.

We went to bed that night around midnight, we meant to stay up for a while and watch TV but we both fell asleep pretty quickly.

We had a Sea Day the next day so there was no pressure to get up early.

Day 9 is HERE!

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