Monday, April 14, 2008

Carnival GLORY Cruise - Day 1 - Embarkation

To give you a little background, this was a Family and Friends cruise consisting of 40 people. We ranged in age from 82 - 12. Quite a few were from Florida, some from Tennesse, Illinois and Indiana. A lot of us were strangers when we set foot on the Glory - and good friends seven days later. We planned this cruise 15 months in advance - and four families had adjoining balcony rooms, which was WONDERFUL!!!

Bob and I and Tad and Tonya flew out of O'Hare on Friday morning, April 4 and Bob's sister Chris and her husband Ray, along with our friends Jeff and Gena flew out of St. Louis that same morning. We landed within ten minutes of each other in Orlando - couldn't have worked out better. My brother (Frank) and his friend (Jesse) picked up the eight of us and ALL of our luggage and transported us to Frank's home in Melbourne (1/2 hour from Port Canaveral). Thankfully, we had no rental car and no hotel to have to worry about.

We relaxed for a few hours and ran to Walmart for a liquor stop - to pack some in our suitcases. At 6:00 we attended a Bon Voyage party where we were given the opportunity to meet all of our fellow cruisers. Then it was back to my brother's home for a good night's sleep before our adventure began.

We were up early on Saturday morning and some of Frank's friends arrived at 9:00 - with two large vehicles - to load us up and take our group of 12 to the port. Here's my brother-in-law Ray and our friend Tad, trying there best to get all that luggage loaded.

We arrive at the port around 9:45, unloaded our luggage and waited for a porter. Most of them were busy helping those who were still disembarking, but we were in no rush. We lined up everything, took photos and waited until we were able to grab a porter. It took him two loads to transfer all of our luggage, and once we had generously tipped him - we were off to get in line for check-in. This was probably around 10:30. There's really not much reason to arrive earlier than 10:30 because the porters are just not available to assist you until they get everyone off the ship.

Here I am with my "baby brother Frank" - all smiles and ready to head off for embarkation.

There was absolutely NO LINE for check-in. We were done in less than ten minutes and then we were instucted to sit in an area with other cruisers, until we were free to board. We sat here for approximately 15 minutes and by 11:15, we were told we could board the ship. We had our embarkation photo taken and then walked across the gangplank. One more quick photo for our sail and sign card as we entered the Lobby and we were set. We dropped our carry-on items onto some comfy couches and activated that Sail and Sign card with our first drinks from the Lobby bar. I'd waited 15 months for a "KISS ON THE LIPS" and it tasted sooooooooooooo good!

The sign at the Excursion Desk stated that it opened at noon, so we decided to wait 20 minutes and be the first in line to grab our excursions. At noon, someone arrived and told us that they would not open until 1:00. No problem!!! We headed off to the Red Sail Buffet for lunch. After we stuffed ourselves, some of us ran back to the excursion desk, booked our excursions and then met up with everyone for a little sun on the Lido Deck. Here's a shot of "Rock Star". The only thing missing here was his ever present bottle of Miller Lite. (He did a LOT of relaxing last week).

By 1:30, we were able to go to our rooms. We were scattered all over the ship, but the majority of us were on the Empress Deck (Deck 7) - and four of us had connecting balcony rooms. We were in room 7376. We met our room steward - John from India. We asked him about removing the dividers and he said we would have to call down to the Purser's Desk to request. One of our guys called, and by the time we returned from the Muster Drill, we had our four dividers opened.

Our luggage arrive very quickly. I was completely unpacked and had my luggage stowed prior to the Muster Drill. The weather (when we boarded the ship) was sunny and beautiful. By the time the Muster Drill ended and we went to the Lido Deck to watch the sail away, we could see a storm quicky approaching. The sooner we got out to sea the better. People were lined up along the jetty waving goodbye to us.

The clouds were rolling in and wind was INTENSE. We had to hold on to everything we could grab as we sailed out. My brother (the comedian that he is) had us all rolling with this shot....

The first night at sea was very windy and our divider did a lot of rattling. I had to get up about 2:00 a.m. and wedge the deck chair up against it so I could sleep. Other than that, it was great to sit out there with friends early in the moring with a cup of coffee and late at night with a glass of wine.

All of our group had the 8:00 dinner seating in the Platinum Dining Room. Carnival had arranged it so that all of us were in the same area of the Dining Room - which made it easy to visit and take pictures of our friends at other tables. Our waiters were Lindo from the Phillipines and Augusto from Peru. Lindo called my 82-year old mother "mommy" and doted on her every evening - even cutting her steak.

Because of the wind and approaching storm, that first evening at sea was a little "rocky", but by Sunday morning, we'd left it all behind and the clouds gave way to a beautiful sunrise. We enjoyed lots of sun and smooth sailing the rest of the week.

Next installment - Fun Day at Sea, the Hairy Chest Contest, Captain's Cocktail Party and 1st Formal Night.


Arlette said...

Hey, the youngest in our group was only 5.

I don't have 1 picture of the hairy chest contest!!!!

Patty Knight said...

Yep - your right. I forgot about Laurie's side of the family when it came to the ages.

And as for the hairy chest contest, your HUSBAND was taking all the pictures with MY camera.