Day 1....getting to know the boat and ICE CREAM!! #weonaboat

Published: March 23rd 2016
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Cruise Day 1

I think Day 1 is the hardest day. The checking process can be exhausting and the magnitude of the boat and people can be overwhelming.

This cruise we have three families. The Starlings, The Gonatos (my sister) and The Blumes (high school friend). There is a total of 10 of us. Four adults and six kids.

Let the tipping begin...
This time we chose to use the Port of Canaveral parking that is associated with the Raddison hotel.
Parking costs us just under $36 which is half the price of the parking garage at the port.
The instructions that the company provides are very clear and the staff is more than accommodating.
We were parked were shuttled to the port in a matter of 15 minutes.
So we tipped the Irish driver Tim $2 for all his troubles of doing his job.

Carnival has a 'fast pass' option. This allows you to get on board before 12:30pm and they will have your bags to your room shortly after you board. It costs $50.
We did not choose that option because we have never really had a bad check-in experience.
We were allowed to board the boat between 12:30pm and 4pm.
Since we left our bags with the porters all we had was our carry-on luggage.
First you have to show your boarding pass and your passport or birth certificate with a picture id.
We think we are so fancy because we have our passports. The boys get a kick out of holding their passports.
The lady was very nice and greeted each of us as she marked our boarding passes.
Next you have to go through a metal detector.
Carnival does not allow you to bring bottled water or bottles like Gatorade, etc but you are allowed to bring a bottle of wine or champagne. You can also bring 12-packs of drinks.
So as you pass the metal detector you see cases and cases of bottled water, Gatorade, Powerade, etc. I would like to know what they do with all those bottles. It would be a shame if they poured all that out but I think they do.
We then moved up the escalator to the check in area. This is where it gets busy. Kirby said, 'This is like Disney. They hide the lines until the very end.'
Yes, the lines are long but they have something like 20+ counters open so believe it or not it moves along. The plus is while you wait you get to check out all the sweet outfits that people chose to wear onto the boat. It's like the best of 'what not to wear'. It's amazing!
As we stand there admiring the gloriousness of these outfits we joke with each other that we aren't VIP. Man, that would have been nice to be in the VIP line.
Well, one of the Carnival employees walks up to us and says, 'families with children please come this way' and he opens the queue ropes for us. Glory, glory! I think we were standing in line for five minutes before we were ushered up to the priority desk. Hot dignity! Thanks for being young kids!

So we flashed our passports again, turned in our Health forms (a quick form you should have filled out prior to showing up to the port - when you print your boarding pass this form also prints out) and got our pictures taken for our Sign & Sale card.

The Sign & Sale card is your ticket to everything on the boat. It's your charge card, your beverage ticket (if you decide to buy a package - see previous blog) and your room key.
We all put them immediately on our lanyards that was in my back pack and head towards our first of many photo opts.

I say one of many photo opts because there are photographers everywhere on the boat. At each port when you get off the boat, at dinner, at the pool, everywhere. During the day you can go to a certain place on the boat and look at the pictures that were taken. If you choose to purchase the pictures they charge between $10 - $25 for pictures. Yes, I always get suckered into buying at least one if not two or three. Because they are just so dang cute.

Since I love a good event shirt we were all wearing matching shirts for St. Patrick's Day and to commemorate our Spring Break cruise. #weonaboat!
So we smiled, took our matching shirt picture and headed on to the boat.

The last step before you walk into the boat is that you swipe your Sign & Sail card.

When you walk into the boat you are lead right into the main lobby. You see a big circle bar, the glass elevators moving up and down and people EVERYWHERE!

We decide to head towards our room to check it out and get in our bathing suits.

Our Room
Since we chose an Oceanview our room was on floor 1 or the Rivera deck. I think Rivera is fancy name for basement.
We did not have adjoining rooms this time (we booked too late - mid February) but we were next door to each other.
Since Jeff and I spend entirely too much time in the casino so our room rate was $277 per person. Not too bad for a Spring Break cruise.

I was so presently surprised when we opened the door. It was very spacious.

The room had three very large closets, two sets of drawers, a nice vanity, two outlets, an end table, a corner table, a king size bed, a couple of lamps and a couch that turned into a twin size bed.
The window was huge and let in a lot of light.
The bathroom was a nice size but it was a 1970's shade of pink they they just do not make anymore.
The funny thing about the bathroom was that there is a bottle opener in the bathroom right by the under the bathroom sink. You know, a beer bottle opener. Sorry, I never took a picture of it. ;(
Guess it's a hold over from many moons ago because they do not allow glass beer bottles anywhere on the boat anymore.
Anyway, that was an odd find. Other than that I thought the room was a very nice size for the four of us.

When you first get into your room you are typically greeted by your room attendant. Well, I guess that's not how it works on the Rivera deck. We never met our room attendant. Oh well.

Fun Times
Every day you will get an issue of Fun Times. This is the Carnival ships newsletter.
It tells you about all the events for the day and night, where to eat, drink, special deals of the day and all sorts of other info.

The Fun Times newsletter for the next day will be delivered to your room the evening before so you will have plenty of time to plan your next day.

Since we will be porting in Nassau the next day you also got a booklet about all the excursions that were available in Nassau. The excursions range in price from $50 to $260. Children's prices are sometimes $20 less than the adult price but sometimes children are the same price as adults. There are excursions that have age limits to them.

Safety Meeting
Just as we got settled on where we were going we got called to our muster stations. You muster station is based on your deck assignment.
In years past you were required to bring your life preserver from your room to the muster station. You don't have to do that anymore.
You have to line up shoulder to shoulder about four to five rows deep.
It's hot and people are sweating and its soooo boring. They tell you a while lot of information that I'm sure you will not remember if there was an actual emergency.
They make all children 12 and under wear a green band with their muster station on it.
Don't think you are going to get out of this safety meeting. They will find you and call your name if you have not checked into your muster station. Everyone has to suffer through it so just smile and nod and it will be over in about 15 minutes.

Set Sail Party
Lori and her kids had gotten there a couple of hours before us so we headed up to the pool to find them.
We settled on a spot that was right by the slide, pool and hot tub.
They call this the Lido deck.
It is huge and it has stadium like decks so any where you sit you can see the main pool and you can people watch all around you. It's the prefect people watching paradise! I just don't know what friend ok'd their other friends bathing suit choices! And the tattoos. They are every where! Then there are the thongs. Yeah, the boys all got their eyes full.

The kids played on the slide and the pools and they found the ice cream machines in record time. Yes, they have ice cream 24 hours!

I have actually never been to a Set Sail Party so I really wanted to see it this time.

I will have to say that the best Set Sail experience I have had is when we invited ourselves to Tim (my brother) and Laura's honeymoon. We had an extended balcony suite and we had brought a couple of bottles of champagne with us.
For that cruise we left out of Jacksonville, FL. It was so nice standing on the balcony toasting with family on the balcony away from the hustle and bustle first day madness.

Anyway, for this cruise we headed straight into the chaos to see what this Set Sail Party thing was all about.

The party began by shooting off some confetti and then the dance party began.
Carnival has a Dr. Seuss theme for the kids camps. The kids liked it when the Cat and the Hat and Thing 1 and Thing 2 showed up to the dance party. It was cute.

We all got ready for dinner and headed to our assigned dining room. The dining room assignment and table is printed on your Sign & Sail card.
Finding the dining room is a feat in and of itself but we finally found it.
I had called a couple of days before the cruise and had our 3 rooms linked together for dinner but unfortunately it appears I did not call in enough time.
The good news is that they were able to sit the kids at a big table together and the adults all sat together at a booth.
I think this actually worked out better. The kids got to chit chat and the adults got some adult time.

On this cruise they have a 'Everyday' menu and a 'Today' menu. They also have a little section where you can upgrade your meal for $20. In that section you can choose Ribeye, Lobster, you know, big stuff.
They also have a kids menu.

At dinner you are able to order multiple appetizers or entrees. So if you want to try it all then go for it! We never take it that far but a few of us have been known to order a couple of appetizers.

Dinner is my most favorite time of the day. You get freshened up, put on a nice or comfortable outfit and you get to eat in a nice quiet place with waitresses and waiters that wait on you hand and foot.

You also have a bartender that comes and takes your wine or drink order. Our guy was Dorde (pronounced George or Tom if you are Cheryl). He is from Serbia.
This was Dorde's first six month contract. He wasn't going to renew his contract. He was going back to Serbia to complete his degree. He liked it when he was working out of the Miami Port but since he has moved to Port Canaveral he hasn't had the best time. He likes the longer cruises where he could get to know the guests.
We liked talking to Dorde each night. He always made us laugh. It was fun to see him around the boat as well. He'd always say hello to us.

Evening Activities
There are plenty of things to do in the evening. You can go dancing, sing karaoke, watch a movie on the Lido deck or walk around the shops.
Since it was St. Patrick's Day they had a Pub Crawl.
We decided to go to the movie on the Lido Deck. They were showing Pitch Perfect 2.

On the Lido deck you can use your Sign & Sale card to check out a blanket or a towel to cover up with to watch the movie.
They also make popcorn that you can eat while to watch the movie.

It was a very nice way to end the evening. Well, for the kids.

A couple of us might have stopped by the casino on the way back to our rooms.

On Day 2 we will dock in Nassau. Lori and her family have a snorkeling trip planned and we were taking the kids to the Atlantis Waterpark for the day.

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