I have not slept so much in a long time. It was lovely. I woke up around three in the morning on Sunday and spent some time writing up the previous day. We just lounged in bed. Boarding did not start until 1430 so we had about twelve hours to burn. My husband had been waiting for me to wake up to ask where I had packed the snacks. He had looked at me like I was crazy when I insisted on snacks the previous day. Now hungry in the middle of a strange city with nothing to eat he had an urge for some cookies and butterfinger cups.
I unearthed the munchies and we read a review for the hotel restaurant, Papillon. It is french themed and the reviews were all very good. We also figured out what dock our ship left from and I started to tag our bags. It was a quiet sort of morning. We napped on and off and puttered around. A bit before seven we showered and changed and at seven headed downstairs to eat.
The restaurant is french and the menu was also so. We sat ourselves and we handed menues that were rumpled printed pieces of paper. The waitress immediately asked us if we were ready to order. We stared at her and said no. We did ask for drinks. She swept off to get our drinks and returned and asked if we were ready to order again. About a minute and a half had elapsed and we said no again.
The menu was very french which is to be expected with the restaurant being french. I ordered what was basically a grilled ham and cheese sandwich with two eggs on top and none of their house hollandaise sauce. I had to ask what the sauce was. I do love how servers sometimes act as if you are a fool for not knowing the language the menu is written upon.
The food was good but it took thirty minutes to get to us. What I realized was that the wait staff moved really, really fast and go absolutely nothing done when they did it. It was kind of strange. There was also a school buss and some type of kids soccer team in the lobby. The entire hotel experience was getting a bit surreal.
We ate and retreated back to our green hallway. Once in our room we did two things. The first was to change hotels for our trip back. The husband was using his Marriott points of which he has over a million. He had picked the cheapest rooms since it was only for a night stay. However, we decided to upgrade to the Renaissance which has a private beach for our return trip. We’ll be there all day so we might as well have a better experience and a beach to play on for our final day.
With our hotel room changed and the weirdly trashiness behind us we finished packing and laid back down to nap even more. Man. I never thought I’d love naps so much. This has been amazing. I have probably been passed out half of the time I’ve been on vacation and its been absolute bliss. It is had to stay asleep at home. I always have something to do such as laundry, folding, cleaning, dog tending, plants, the list is endless. Here I can write but removed from my responsibilities right now I mostly want to sleep. Plus, the island has Team Mobile so my internet on my phone worked well and the hotels WiFi wasn’t bad.
We checked the cruise and found out that Tropical Storm Danny, downgraded from Hurricane Danny had called for our trip to St Kitts to be cancelled. Now this was disappointing. One reason I had kept my eye on this cruise route and picked it was because of the stop at St KItts. I’m not keen on my family history but it seems a shame to not visit the island my mother was born on. Now I will miss it. My husband was more disappointed than I was. I told him that it gives us a great reason to plan another Caribbean adventure next year. He liked that.
We decided to leave the hotel around noon. Boarding was set for 1430 but everything I read said we could leave earlier and board there. Getting out of the hotel was easy. The husband just has to sign out of the room on his Marriott app and we walked out. No need to stop at the door. The previous evening we had noticed that there were cabs in front of the hotel. That made getting a cab easy and we were loaded and on the way to the ship in minutes.
Carnival runs pier 4’s terminal. It is pretty much theirs. Our cab was waved in and baggage handlers tried to swarm us. I noticed their shirts, while read, had CS on it. That is not Carnival’s logo. I declined having my bags taken from me. Someone said, “We will deliver them right to your door.” I glanced up and responded in surprise, “Everyone’s bags are delivered to their door.”
If we had been first time cruisers it might have worked. As it was, we had to decline having our bags handled every few feet by a new face in a red shirt. Basically, you give them your bags and a few dollars. They take them to a cart and take them to the terminal for you. The terminal is a smooth walk and we have large bags with four wheels that free roll easily. We walked the exact same path they did. We had to show our boarding pass a few times and right before we went inside a lady waved us over to tag our bags. Having followed instructions our bags were tagged and she goes, “Oh” and let’s us continue on.
We wound up in the same spot as the guys in red. It is a scanner run by the pier security. This is not the TSA or customs but a local security company. There we fought with yet another red shirted man with a handful of cash that wanted to load our bags onto the belt. I was not going to pay him and he was not going to get out of the way. I did wait to head upstairs until the bags were loaded. I hate that type of shit and I never let people handle my bags. I don’t care for porters or anyone else who wants to be paid for something I can do myself and tries to take my things and force me into the situation.
The rest of the boarding was smooth as silk. We have a suit so we get to go to the captain’s lounge to register. They had our stuff ready and in two minutes we were out and heading onto the ship. At the security checkpoint I got an orange zip tie on my bag to check my cans of soda. From there we walked on and passed the two ladies to busy talking to really look at our passports. After that a man listlessly pawed at the top of my bag, took my word for my sodas, and we were on board. It had to be the shittiest security check we had ever experienced but I didn’t care. We were here!
The next first thing we did was go and sign up for the Chef’s Table. It is limited to 14 guests, its eight courses, and catered by the ship’s chef and his assistants. We’ve done it before and it was delicious. It is like a Food Network challenge. At seventy five bucks each its a nice dinner out. Once signed up for that the husband signed up for the ships tour and then we were off to the Lido deck which hosts the buffet for lunch.
About half of the buffet was open. We loaded up plates and settled down by a window to enjoy the view and relax until the rooms were open. Cruising is great for people watching. We were there for three or four hours watching people come and go. The seats beside us became a kaleidoscope of humanity. Ages, ethnicities, groups, came and went. It was fascinating in its own way and we were the abnormal ones, settled into our seats like stones on a hillside.
Eventually, I noticed no one had bags anymore. I pointed that out and we went to find our suitcases waiting by the door of our room. Surprise, delivered to the door because that is cruise ship policy not something you are paying some random dudes at the port for.
The suite is huge.
It is larger than the hotel room. It has a dressing room, a bath with a badit, entry room, a little bar, a couch some chairs, a table, and the bed. There are three closets in this thing so we were able to unpack easily and store our bags in the extra area. The husband then immediately managed to blow out one of his surge protectors. Whoops.
Anyway, the balcony is nice. The room is ugly in that way Carnival rooms are. It looks like modern fifties with reds and oranges and the most ugly mustard yellow and white glass lights. I’m into cool colors like blues and greens and grays. I find the ship pretty hideous but it doesn’t bother me for some reason. It is well done just incredibly ugly.
All unpacked we napped again. Then dinner. We try to make dinner every night at the main dining room. It is normally amazing and the hot chocolate there is amazing. My husband remembers the service as bad and I remembered it as fine. We were seated upstairs in the dining hall which was a new experience and kept me pleasantly happy.
It turns out that his memory is better than mine. The service was slow. We got three offers to buy bottled water but we had to ask to have someone bring us hot tea. The food was good. You can order everything on the menu if you want. They do now offer a few dishes from the steakhouse for a charge. That is a change and not one I am fond of. It catches people I notice. The notice of the charge is clearly written but you don’t expect to see it there. I listened to people around us not notice it. Even if they chose not to order it it may lure them to the steak house. I’m not a marketer and I am not fond of advertisements. That type of thing just makes me mad.
The service was slow, the food was good, and really we had no where special to be. So we ate and then we walked and eventually we went to lay down for a bit.
Having a 2230 leaving time is interesting. At 2100 is the mandatory safety briefing. That is when you go down to your assigned area where you would board the life boats in an emergency. They explain how to use the vest and that there are enough life boats for everyone on the ship. Everyone just wants to get going and the moaning and whining during the briefing is amazing.
There is also an information show that plays in your cabin if you have the TV on that goes over safety and such things. The creepy animated crew members were a bit scary.
But, in the end it was late. We went up to get a slice of midnight pizza and went to bed.