Wednesday 2 November 2016

The Glory Days: Embarkation

It's been a whirlwind of cruises for us these past twelve months. We've been lucky this past year. It's the most we've cruised within ten months - three cruises!

We came home with an offer for a free interior cabin on selecting sailings from the Vista, and we were ecstatic to to receive the offer - we had won a free cruise! We've never won anything before. So no sooner did we unpack from our European adventure, did it come time for us to pack up for our Caribbean cruise.

As we both work in the produce/grocery industry, we were only able to go during September, a slower time for the both of us. We had originally planned to sail on the Conquest, but the interiors were all booked up when we called to make our reservation. So, the Glory it was. The Glory is in the same class as the Conquest and the Valor, and the Valor was a ship we were familiar with - if you recall, our very first cruise was on the Carnival Valor.

We flew out on a red-eye, arriving in Miami on Saturday morning. We had been worried that Hurricane Hermine would get in our way, but luckily, she didn't, and we had no delays on the way to Miami. We took a cab straight from the airport to the port, a flat rate of $27, and headed straight for the terminal.

Carnival has this new thing called staggered check-in, now I'm not sure how "new" this system is (Note: We did not have staggered check-in on the Vista in May), but I had never been on a more disorganized embarkation in my life. This was worse than the Oasis last November. Basically, when you check-in online, you select an embarkation time. Passengers are advised not to arrive before their assigned time as they will not be allowed on board early. We chose a later time because we were worried our flight would be delayed. We arrived an hour early, and saw a huge line that wrapped around the terminal. We lined up immediately thinking it would take a while to get inside the terminal. There was no Carnival representatives to guide the passengers whatsoever. Our queue did not move for half an hour. When we decided to check out what was going on, we discovered that the queue was for passengers with a later embarkation time. It also meant we were not allowed inside the terminal prior to our assigned embarkation time. We all know how hot and humid it is at the Port of Miami in early September! Almost half the people standing in our queue had an earlier embarkation time, and could have just walked straight into the terminal. Needless to say, they were not happy about the lack of instructions. We were finally allowed inside the terminal at our assigned embarkation time. But we were not allowed to get our Sail & Sign cards just yet, we were asked to wait another half an hour in the seated area. Sigh. Hopefully, Carnival will get this sorted out for future cruises.

We finally made it onto the Glory at 2 PM. As usual, our first day was a write-off. We were tired; exhausted from the red-eye flight, sweaty from the Miami heat, and starving as we had not eaten since the morning during our layover - which was really "last night" for us due to the time difference. We headed straight to the buffet and we stuffed ourselves silly.

After our late lunch, we walked around the ship for bit. Two of my favourite things about the Glory was the Theatre and the Comedy Club. Plenty of seats! We certainly missed that on the Vista.

We eventually made our way up to the deck to take a few pictures of Miami. Miami is gorgeous!

While we were up on the deck, the captain announced that it was time for muster. Since we were already out, we decided to head straight to our station. Big mistake, we ended up waiting for forty minutes before it actually began. The Glory is an older boat, and the drill took place outside on the deck. It was stuffy and hot with no breeze, the crew was moving everyone back up against the wall, as they tried to fit more passengers in the front. An older lady almost had a heat stroke, and she had to be helped into the dining room during the drill. Unfortunately, it was a pretty unpleasant and frightening way to start the cruise.

After muster, we headed to our interior cabin to take a shower and a nap before dinner. This was our first cruise in an interior cabin, and certainly our last. Because the offer was for an interior cabin, we decided to stick with it as we didn't want to pay extra to upgrade (otherwise, it's not really "free"). The interior cabins are missing a couch, which is quite a bit of space. We also like to lay out our clothes on the couch, so we missed that. It wasn't enough space for the two of us to move around, and the lack of natural sunlight really got to us. We really missed being woken up by the sun.

We skipped the dining room that evening. We had visited the Maitre'D shortly after boarding, and requested for a table for two, which was to be sorted out on the second day. If you have any dining room requests, it's best to sort them out with the Maitre'D right when you get the ship. We've always had a pleasant time dealing with the Maitre'Ds on both Carnival and Royal Caribbean ships. As long as your requests are reasonable, they are very accommodating and understanding. We went up to the deck to watch the sunset for a few moments before suppertime. We knew we wouldn't have another opportunity during the week with our early dining arrangements. We ate a quick dinner at the buffet before heading back to the cabin to unpack, and catch up on our sleep.

That concludes our first day on board the Carnival Glory. Not a whole lot going on on the first day, but I assure you, there's a very exciting week to come! I apologize for the poor quality iPhone photos, our Canon Rebel T6S will come into play very soon! Stay tuned...

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