The ride in an air conditioned bus (yes, it was 80 degrees F!) from airport to Miami Port was pleasant. It saved us cab fare as it was included in the "cruise package".
Our bus driver gave us a verbal "tour" of Miami landmarks. This is the last time we extend a tip as gratuity of 15% will now be automatically added to our bar tabs and all shipboard services, like porters and maids.
It takes over an hour to get through the boarding process. Our luggage is tagged and delivered to our cabin, our passports are inspected several times, and we are issued "Carnival Destiny" swipe cards. These are linked to our credit card of choice and will serve as a "cash-less" vehicle for charging liquor at the dozen on-board bars, shopping, and gambling at the casino. The card is necessary to disembark in ports and re-board the ship. It also had our dining room ("Universe Upper"), our dining time (8:15p.m.), and our "muster station".
This blogger took his Dramamine after checking into his cabin. Except for the unusually wide toilet seat and Lilliputian bathroom, the cabin was spacious and nicely furnished. There was plenty of drawer and closet space, the futon and tiny coffee table faced a mirrored wall, and the television was conveniently wall mounted, bar-style, in a corner of the room.
One problem was immediately apparent: the two twin beds were pushed together and sheeted to make one Queen-sized bed. This blogger summoned the cabin steward, Joachim, and informed him that the Cocksons were NOT a married couple, but a father and daughter on their first cruise. "Joe", as the affable Sikh with 12 years of cruise experience insisted on being called, laughed uproariously and promised to fix it.
We changed into summer clothes and began our exploration of the ten storey ship. Our guide was the "Fun Times", a daily newsletter with "Today's Top Ten", a schedule of karaoke and live music, and an itinerary of events every hour from 11:15a.m.-midnight.
In spite of the rocking and rolling of the ship, we figured out the ship's layout. Only four of the floors (including the one our cabin was on) traversed the ship uninterrupted from fore to aft. The other floors were interrupted by dining rooms, bars or lounges, and a huge atrium in the middle of the boat with glass elevators and shops and guest services. There were also four sets of elevators fore and aft.
We were hungry and got in the shortest line, The Asian Buffet. It was then that we noticed the crew was from all over the world and their name tags had their first name and country of origin on them. Eyeing the size of the patrons at the main buffet on The Lido Deck with the longest lines, this blogger quickly re-christened the adventure as "The WalMart Cruise".
At 3:30p.m. all boat passengers were herded to their "muster stations". Here we were given life vest and safety instructions and shown to the life boats. There was also a serious discussion on "no smoking" except on the starboard side of The Lido Deck, the Point After Dance Club, and the Downbeat Lounge.
We signed up for time at the Spa and Salon after checking out the running track, swimming pools (2), and the gym. The daughter had a massage; this blogger had an "oxygen facial". During the facial, this blogger had a premonition in which he drowned at the bottom of a frozen lake and was looking up through the ice at a blue, blue sky.
We had a delicious meal at 8:15p.m. in the "Upper Galaxy" dining room where we met our dining companions and were entertained by a strolling magician.
We retired early but this blogger did not sleep very long. The first of several storms struck around 1:00a.m., pushing the tables and chairs nosily across the floor of the dining room above us. The Dramamine is NOT working to calm sea sickness.
This blogger goes up to The Lido Deck where he meets the pool manager who tries to re-assure him that the sea is "only 40% rough". This blogger notices whitecaps in the swimming pool: the waves are sloshing and crashing out of the pool and onto the deck! He asks the pool manager how hard the wind is blowing and the reply is "only 25 knots".
This blogger feels like he is in constant motion when he is not. He staggers over to the all night Pizza Bar and wolfs down two slices of vegetarian pizza and a Caesar Salad before returning to bed.
The storm gradually subsides.
In the morning he asks his daughter how she slept. She replies: "Like a baby in a cradle---the rocking back and forth was nice."
This blogger (who loves riding the Screamin' Eagle roller coaster backwards) cannot believe that he has been cursed with sea sickness!