Saturday, November 4, 2023

Day 3 Bon Voyage

Today is cruise day and now that we have all of our luggage are excited to get on the ship.  Unfortunately our embarking time is not until 2:30 pm so we have some time to kill.  After the hotel breakfast (minus the eggs and cream cheese) we decided to hit the famous South Beach.  We drove around the ritzy neighborhood on the Venetian Islands on the way over there to see how the other half lives.  I can tell you that it's not bad!

We received mixed reviews about South Beach prior to our trip but we both liked the vibe.  The beaches were surprisingly clean, there were a lot of people on bikes, skates and simply walking around.  There were some hoppin' restaurants and all in all we liked it.  Parking was a challenge and when we found a perfect parking spot on the other side of the street I tried to so a quick U Turn and unfortunately the smokey with Malibu (with cloth seats) didn't have the turning radius that I had anticipated and I had to do a couple "back and forths" and held up traffic for a bit.  I did get the parking spot though.

I specifically picked Payless rental car company not only for their great selection of white, smokey Malibus but because they had a drop off location near the dock with a shuttle to the terminal.  We arrived at 1:35 pm to turn in the car and leave us plenty of time to check in at our assigned time at 2:30 pm.  We were informed that the last shuttle left at 1:30 pm.  Say again please??  OK so I guess its Uber, no problem.  The port of Miami has 5 terminals with more on the way (ie lots of construction).  There is a ship at each terminal with 3-5 thousand people per ship (you do the math), all with lots of luggage all loading at the same time so it is pretty hectic.  Well, our paperwork said Terminal D and when we arrived that was for Carnival Cruise Ship Celebration.  We could see that Harmony of the Seas (our ship) was down one terminal at Terminal E.  It's one way traffic so we had to go all the way to Terminal 1 and circle back.  Unfortunately our Uber driver wasn't familiar with Port of Miami and missed the turn off to Terminal E so we did "the loop" one more time.  Thank goodness we gave ourselves plenty of time and we were checking in right at 2:30 pm.  

Check in was a breeze has we had all of our paperwork in order and by 2:30 pm the crowds had died down so we were on the ship with a drink in hand by 3:00 pm. 

It is at this point, I will say that as much as Cheryl and I like to have a drink or two, we were on the fence as to whether we wanted to get the unlimited drink package.  Sure it would be nice to simply walk up to the bar and order whatever you want whenever you want and have it all be included.  But seriously, did we need that, especially at our age and for 7 days?  Well.... the day before we left, our wonderful kids (who know us better than we know ourselves) purchased us the unlimited drink package!  Boy was that a great idea and decision on their part.  Overall it definitely saves money, but more than that, it is nice to simply not over to worry about it.  It was awesome (though it made some mornings difficult).  Thank you kids!

The first day on the ship is always the best.  The excitement of the week ahead as you explore the ship with a drink in hand of course.  Harmony of the Seas is HUGE.  Water slides, rock climbing, 18 restaurants and 21 bars. There is even an ice rink where our first show of the trip was ice dancing "1887."  It was fun.  

Dinner each night has always bee a favorite time for us on cruise ships as you get a delicious three course meal.  We rarely order appetizers and never order dessert when we go out so it' always nice to have that every evening during the cruise.  You sit at the same table every night with the same people which is a crap shoot as you're never sure who you'll be sitting with.  Well, for this cruise we sat with two very nice couples.  The only problem was, they didn't speak any English.  Only Spanish.  The other problem is, we don't speak Spanish.  Only English.  Well needless to say, it was an awkward first meal.  The meal was fantastic though.  

We finished off the night watching Sunday night football with some rabid KC fans in the sports bar (yes they have one of those).  All in all a terrific day.  

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