Monday, March 10, 2008

Cruise Report - Day 1

As promised here's the recounting of our 5 day western Carribean cruise, starting with day one.

On February 25 at 6 am we (myself, my wife, my dive buddy Jerry and his girlfriend) got on a Spirit Airlines flight to Tampa to meet the ship.

We had signed on for a 5 day cruise with Carnival Cruise Lines.

The start was not exactly auspicious. It was good we had booked a very early flight as there was a 30 minute delay on the taxi way while some maintenance issues with the plane were dealt with. The issues sounded and felt like a flat tire, complete with NASCAR-like pit service and air torque wrenches on the fix. After that the flight was uneventful. Impressively enough the pilot made up the half hour delay in the air and put the plane down smooth as silk on the runway at Tampa (he was either real good or worried about that new tire, either way it was a nice landing). We arrived in Tampa early enough to wander around for a bit and we made our way to the Port.

The Carnival ship for this Cruise was the Inspiration. While not the newest ship in the fleet it had been recently renovated and was very nice indeed. Its also a very large ship:

Boarding was delayed as fog had prevented the ship from docking and unloading its passengers from the previous cruise.

So after a short break in which we chatted with on of the recently disembarked passengers and got lots of tips for Cozumel, we began the boarding process.

Now loading 2000 passengers on a ship takes some time, but it was done pretty efficiently and in a short while we were on board and had a snack while waiting for our rooms to be available. The luggage was loaded separately.

We then hung out on the Lido deck and had a snack and then watched as the ship departed the port. It barely felt like the ship was moving but we were leaving at a decent clip.

Then after a while of exploring the ship with Jerry acting as tour guide (he had been on the inspiration a few years before and knew it well). We went to out cabins and found the luggage had arrived and we changed for dinner.

We had been courteously upgraded by Carnival from an interior cabin on the lower deck to a lower deck cabin with portholes. The Cabin was surprisingly spacious and the portholes gave a decent view of the outside.

Dinner was everything Carnival had built it up to be - simply wonderful food, nicely presented with excellent wait staff service.

After dinner Jerry and I went to the casino and saddled up to a hot craps table and both won some money. The ladies went to the introductory show, which we missed due to our craps game.

After the show and the game we went for a stroll on the deck and then to bed.

And that was the first day, a great beginning.

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