Monday, December 15, 2014

Sailing out of Miami!

For those who have recently sailed on Celebrity, and I think maybe Royal Caribbean too?? They have just started this staggered boarding system. A few days before your cruise you will receive emails, text messages, voice messages - you name it! They will be telling you NOT to come to the pier until your designated boarding time. And this boarding time is based on the deck your cabin is located. And if you have a suite, or maybe concierge class, or maybe a higher Captains Club level you can board earlier...those things I'm not too sure of because we had none of those things! We were on deck 7 and our boarding time was somewhere around 2:30. At first I was really bummed about that. I mean didn't we deserve to be on that ship just as much as the people boarding at 11:00? And didn't we have to check out of our hotel at 11:00 or maybe noon? What would we do with our luggage for hours? What if we were arriving on an early flight and heading straight to the airport? It just didn't seem like a great system to me. 

But on the other hand, maybe staggered boarding would mean less of a wait? On the other, other hand...not everyone shows up at the port at the same time anyway, and I really didn't like being told when to get there when I paid to be on that cruise that full day...

However...I'm truly not a complainer at heart. I tend to go with the flow and it really is just the system now in place. We were able to get a late check out at the hotel, so no issue for us with the bags. And as I mentioned we had a late breakfast, or maybe it was an early lunch, at Bayside. We didn't rush in the morning and by the time we got to the port, there really was no wait. Well, that's because we were the 2nd to the last group to board they told us. Most people were already on the ship. Ok....So, check in was smooth, we got our Sea Pass cards and we were on our way!



I'll mention now that when we booked we had the promotion that included the Classic Beverage Package. Keith and I choose to upgrade to the Premium Package before we sailed. Was it worth it? Keith likes the more expensive beers, so for him, yes. However, the selection of beers in that price range was really lacking. For me, I was glad to not have to pay extra for the Molecular Bar drinks or the Martini Bar, but I could never drink enough to pay for any of the drink packages. I did make use of it on this trip, just with bottled waters, coffees and teas, as well as drinks I tried out that I wouldn't have if I didn't have the package. 

Ok...moving on! We boarded the ship, and you know how as soon as you cross over onto the deck, you get that feeling - even though we had been in Miami for a bit now, once on board the ship - Instant Vacation! Love it! We were handed our champagne and the kids again remarked that this was so not a kid ship! 

Since we boarded late, we were able to head right to our cabin. It was nice to not have to carry our carry on bags around while waiting for our room to be ready. I hadn't told the kids or Keith anything about the cabin we had. And it sort of surprised me that Megan hadn't asked a million times by now because she's a huge planner when it comes to our trips! Usually she likes to know every detail. So, I told them, we were on deck 7 and to walk ALL the way to the front. 

They were thinking we were all going to be pretty cramped in one small cabin, but since the pricing was so great when I booked I was able to get one of the Family Ocean View cabins! They were shocked when they walked in! It was HUGE!

The living room




The view out the window towards the front of the ship



The main bedroom



The kids bedroom



The bathroom was the same as standard bathroom as far as I know



The living room from another angle. I'm not sure, but the sofa may turn into a bed.



The balcony - this was the smallest part of the "room"




You can't really tell from the picture, but behind Keith is a metal "wall" and it curved out over the side so that our balcony was sort of covered on one side. It was the first one on the ship and it made it almost feel enclosed. We just didn't use our balcony as much as we've used our balconies on our other cruises.

The best thing about this cabin was the huge amount of space. The tv was in the living area so no one kept anyone awake at night. We weren't living on top of one another. Our stuff wasn't all over the place. There was plenty of closet space.

But the cabin wasn't without it's problems. Even with all that space, and as lovely as it was...would I book it again? Hmmmmm.....

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