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Mary

Age: 35

Occupation:student/self-employed

Number of Cruises: 1

Cruise Line: Carnival

Ship: Carnival Imagination

Sailing Date: May 15th, 2004

Itinerary: Western Caribbean


I would like to begin this narrative by stating that my intention is to provide lots of detail primarily for first time cruisers. I spent a great deal of time before my cruise reading cruise reviews and message boards in preparation for a great vacation. At that time I decided I would take notes while I was away so that, upon my return, I could return the favor and give as much information as possible to those who use this forum for help. That said, past cruisers will probably find my information redundant so I will also slip in some of the hilarity that inevitably accompanies three wild and crazy gals on vacation.

My friends (Kathy and Veronica) and I are each thirty-something and are fellow classmates at a local university here in Florida. We decided to go on this cruise to do something fun together, to ease the pain of a difficult semester, and to celebrate Kathy’s graduation. Kathy and Veronica are both “married with children” and I am engaged so this was not a singles’ excursion…although I must admit we were hoping for a really cute cabin steward. V and I have never been on a cruise and K’s last cruise was many years ago. We spent approximately 2 months preparing by reading the reviews and boards, making lists, and shopping, shopping, shopping…for those not in the know, a cruise is a great excuse to buy new clothes! Although we did not use 90% of the information we gathered due to time constraints etc., I do not at all consider the research wasted time as a great deal of vacation fun for me is in the planning. It is for those unusual people like me that I am writing this review.

Pre-Cruise


We booked online through Expedia after checking other sites, not through Carnival directly, a guarantee window cabin category. We ended up on the Empress Deck with 2 twin beds and a pull down that was only one category below a mini-suite. Our room number was hidden on the back-side of our tickets which we saw some people on the message boards had located. Besides the planning, Veronica and I very sneakily decided to surprise Kathy with a Carnival embarkation gift. We chose the Congratulations decoration and cake package, which I ordered. The decorations consisted of streamers, a balloon, 2 Carnival key chains, a Congratulations sign in the window, and a vanilla cake with cream and apple filling. Decorations were a nice surprise and the cake was delicious. The only downside was that there were 3 of us but only one plate and set of silverware…did they think we wouldn’t demand a slice?? V had also decided to buy a soda card and did but turned out to be a waste of money. There is plenty to drink on the ship that is included and the card is only good for a glass of soda not cans or bottles.

Day 1

We live approximately 2 hours north of the Miami Port and decided we wanted to arrive early so we aimed for 11am. We used the directions from Carnival’s site and, although we missed an exit, we did arrive shortly after 11 and had little trouble finding the building. You do need your drivers’ licenses and tickets to enter the port so have those ready. Once we arrived at the building, we were able to pull up and unload our suitcases easily. One note here: I was told that the porters would check at that time to see what our cabins were and give us new luggage tags (for guarantees you are given TBA silver tags). He actually handed us a clipboard and had us look up our own cabin and then write it on the old silver tags although I saw a box of new colored tags right there. He was not friendly or helpful at all. Not a complaint as I don’t let things like that ruin my vacation…just a note to let others know what to expect. We did tip him as we already had our money ready. I bid my fiancé (who kindly drove us to the port) farewell and we then took our carry-ons and headed the few steps to the building. We had decided to use beach bags as our carry-ons thinking that we could also use them the days we were in port and not carry pocket books for safety and convenience reasons. We entered the building and used the ladies room (I did warn that this would be detailed) before going through the metal detectors, which had no lines. I “beeped” and was told to take my shoes off and walk through again—yuck! Since we had completed our fun passes online, we were able to bypass a long line.

We then got in a line for a long counter which was set up like an airline or bank counter with several “tellers” who called next in line which made the line move quickly. At this point you will need your tickets, license, birth certificate or passport, and credit card or debit card handy. When we were called, we went as a group and asked for 2 additional (one comes with your tickets) sail and sign forms as we wanted them linked to our own separate credit cards. Kathy and I used credit cards and Veronica used a debit card. We had all called our banks and companies the week prior to tell them to expect unusual expenditures and had no problems during the trip. This whole process took no longer than 10 minutes. You will see signs when you get on the ship to go to the information desk to activate your sail and sign card but, if you have already given your credit card at this point, that is not necessary. We then walked down a hallway and up an escalator to a large room where we received our sail and sign cards and room keys. We were then directed where to sit by a man we dubbed “little Hitler” who pointed out restrooms and vending machines and constantly reiterated that no pictures could be taken in the building. It was so attractive with its gray walls and black seats that we were really disappointed in not being able to memorialize it on film. Anyway, we were seated in such a way that, when boarding began, those who arrived first boarded first…excellent whiner prevention! When our section was called we proceeded down a hallway and needed to show our sail and sign cards before going up an escalator, posing for our first pic, putting sail and sign card into machine that takes ID pic, and entering the ship. At this time you will be given a “map” of the ship…I did not find it to be any help at all. Next time I will bring the detailed layout map that is included in the cruise brochure.

You enter the ship on the Empress Deck in the Atrium Plaza. It was a bit smaller than what I had pictured (after walking the ship I amended this “small” idea a great deal) and is as “flashy” as described in other posts. The information desk is located here as well as the excursions desk. I wanted to drop my bag in our cabin but V overruled that idea and we headed for the Horizon Buffet on the Lido Deck. We headed up in the glass elevators and walked aft (see, I did pick up some cool nautical terms) through the pool area which was already jammin’ and loud enough to overwhelm non-club types like me. We waited in a short line, picked out some food, and sat at a table near the salad bar. Now please bear in mind for the rest of this review that if I don’t have to cook it or clean up after it, most food tastes great to me! I thought the lunch was very good (and it must have been as our plates were clean and we each sampled 3 desserts…ok, we each ATE 3 desserts) but I was disappointed that the tea is not brewed. I did see on the boards several “tea discussions” and had held out hope but it was dashed. However, being Queen Make Do, I brewed a cup of hot tea and poured that over a glass of ice when I couldn’t take the mix tea any longer. No big deal…I’m on vacation!!

I will say here in print that V was absolutely correct in her decree of lunch first as, when we left, the line was very long and the tables full. We headed to our cabin, saw the decs, and examined the room and our window. Unfortunately, the twin beds were pushed together and made up as a king bed and, when we tried to call our cabin steward Mu, we were ignored so V and I shared the bed the first night. Not a big deal but I did not like being ignored. I literally ran across Mu the next morning in the hallway and asked him into our room. We explained the bed situation and also that the rail on K’s pull down bed was broken and he fixed everything that day. Much better as, when the beds are separated, the room has much more area to move around in. Speaking of size, I thought the room was fine size wise even for 3 and I did not see any problems with the bathroom at all. There was plenty of room for all of our things although we did utilize every available space. We had each packed a large suitcase of clothing and I had sent along with my suitcase a box packed with a case of bottled water. I kept that stored in the corner bin that holds the lifejackets. We also put our own beach towels in there (we brought them for port as we knew we’d be charged if anything happened to the ship’s beach towels). There were two closets and I had brought extra hangers and we each had our own shelf in the closet plus one drawer apiece plus 2 shared drawers for brushes, papers, etc. I brought a store coupon card that had a magnetic strip which I used to activate our safe and then we hid it in the room so we’d all have access when necessary. K brought a Mary Kay cosmetics bag that had several compartments and we hung that in the bathroom to use for all of us plus there was lots of room in the medicine cabinet. All in all I thought the room was more than adequate and the only thing we wished for was a balcony…ok, a balcony without paying for it.

I am getting a bit ahead here…before our suitcases arrived and we unpacked, we did go back up to the Lido Deck and sat outside to have drinks (V-margarita, K-coffee, me-brewed iced tea) and took some pics of the port and then went back to grab our life jackets for the dreaded drill. Let’s just say that if the ship ever sank, I think everyone would strangle in the life jacket before they ever got around to drowning. Our muster station was back up on the Lido deck and we sat there choking and sweating and feeling even hotter as we watched the Carnival workers choking and sweating in polyester suits. Yuck! It was over quickly and we headed back to our cabin to unpack.

Before dinner, I did go to one of the dining rooms to see about changing our dinner seating from 5:45 to 6:15 and to see about getting a table for 4 so we wouldn’t have to sit with strangers. After being assured that we did not have to be in the DR at 5:45 on the dot and seeing (on the computer) that we were at a round table for 10, I decided to leave everything as it was and that turned out to be the best idea all around. Upon entering the DR, we were seated at an all female table…V, K, and I, Carmen and her daughter from NJ (originally from Puerto Rico), Liz, Katie, and Kristen from Boston, and Ophelia and her friend from Detroit. What super tablemates!!!! Honestly, when we discussed the dining room pre-cruise we thought that probably after being in port all day we would just want to order room service for dinner but after that first night, we ended up going to the dining room every night for the company and also because of our wonderful waiter Marco. After we had all arrived at the table and introduced ourselves, Marco (from Romania) gave us each a menu and some suggestions, his assistant Nabahat (from Macedonia) filled our water glasses and gave us bread. This was the routine each evening. The menu offered a list of appetizers that usually included soups and other choices, a choice of 2 salads, a list of main courses, and a wine list. Marco would then take down our choices (some nights we would have 2 appetizers instead of salad and choices like that are never a problem) and a server would come and ask if there were any requests from the bar (you must have your S&S card handy). I requested iced tea from Marco and from this night on, tea was poured for me without my ever having to ask. One evening, K and Ophelia’s friend ordered the Caesar salad and felt that it did not have enough of an anchovy taste…next thing I knew they had a plate of anchovies in front of them! Little things like that made the dining experience wonderful. After the dishes were cleared, Marco would bring each of us a dessert menu. The desserts were wonderful and I would usually order 2 so that I could have ice cream or something that I knew I would like and then could also try something new. Unfortunately, many of the desserts had alcohol in them, which I do not like, but everyone else at the table loved them. We had such a good time each evening that we were usually the last table to leave. After dinner that evening, we headed to the Dynasty Lounge as they were having a game show similar to Jeopardy. K and I put our names in a hat and also filled out a slip for V who was in the ladies room. We had lots of fun watching but I was having trouble thinking fast enough to answer the questions so I told V if they called my name she had to go up for me. Of course, even though the lounge was full and only 9 names were called, they picked my name! V courageously kept her promise and went up for me. Even though she had a slow start (one of the contestant’s boyfriend was calling out the answers so the MC called him onstage and sent him to the corner), V ended up winning and she received the ship on a stick and a bottle of Champagne which she grabbed before the MC could ask what she wanted, LOL. We then headed up to the Sports Deck to get some air and look around before heading to our cabin and dropping into bed exhausted. It was a spectacular day!

Day 2 At Sea

We had filled out the room service card and hung it on our door the night before and our order arrived right on time. We did this each morning and just ordered more on the days we were going to be in port and would not have time for breakfast. K needed her coffee fix and V and I liked to have a little something like a bagel or pastry in our stomachs. We usually tipped $1 per person.

We took our time getting ready and headed up to open seating in the DR (we had planned on eating in the Horizon but I had spotted windows in the DR the night before) and we were seated right by a window and, low and behold, Marco got stuck with us for breakfast! A brief review of ship breakfast food: eggs are not “real” unless they are fried, potatoes are hash browns on a par with McDonald’s, V said eggs benedict best she’s ever had, southerners said grits tasty but not quite thick as they like.

After breakfast, V spent some quiet time in the library writing in her journal and then went to the art auction. She later reported that it was deserted until the free champagne was handed out, LOL. K and I headed out to find a quiet spot to sunbathe and ended up above the Verandah deck which is the topless deck…I must say this spot is ideal! Quiet and restful but you can sit above pool deck and still see what’s going on without the loud music. K slept and I read and it was heavenly. It was at this point that we finally realized that you do not have to go back to the atrium to find your way around the ship…we had elevators mere steps from our room that led to the Horizon, Pride Dining Room, etc. Again, bring a better map with you to get a sense of the layout of the ship. We went down to Horizon buffet (only two flights of steps down) and grabbed some pizza and tea for lunch and took it back with us. Afterwards, I felt the sun really start to cook so I headed back to the room to get showered as this was formal night. We went to the Captain’s cocktail party which was held in the Dynasty Lounge where the Captain introduced some of the crew and we had free drinks and appetizers and saw lots of set-ups for formal portraits which they did every night. The Dynasty Lounge is very comfortable with typical theatre style, bench, and banquette seating. We then headed to dinner. Our tablemates looked fabulous and we had a picture taken of all of us which we purchased even though I do not usually succumb to buying “extras” ($8 for a 9X6 which I am going to copy for V and K). This was lobster night and the others said it was great…I do not care for lobster (yes, I know, crazy girl!!) so I had the prime rib and it truly was superb! After dinner we headed back to the Dynasty Lounge for a show and the Captain’s Cocktail Party for the second dinner seating was taking place. Don’t bother to get a seat at this point as they empty the theatre to clean it and you must get in line to go in. I went to Las Vegas for the first time last summer and I thought this show was comparable to a “traditional” Vegas show only I was more impressed because these people performed on a rocking (literally) stage. I will take space to note here that the ship does move more than I expected. We each took a different seasick medication the first few mornings (Bonine, ginger, etc.) and never had a problem. I noticed that some people changed after dinner and some did not and that the ensembles at dinner ranged from “prom night” to dirty jeans. After the show we headed to bed…noticing a theme here?

Day 3 Grand Cayman

After our substantial room service breakfast, we grabbed our beach bags (packed them the night before-be sure to bring Sail and Sign card, License, and excursion tickets or info) and headed to the Atrium Plaza to figure out where to go to disembark. The signs in the lobby said to head to Deck 3 but the Capers said to head to the Dynasty Lounge if you had booked a tour that left before 9am. Now although we had booked a Stingray City tour, we had not done so through the ship but I felt as though that did not matter so we headed for the Dynasty Lounge. I took a copy of our faxed itinerary to the girl who was facilitating the groups leaving for tours and she said we could wait in the lounge and leave with the last group at around 9am and that, after that, they would open another tender area and the rest of the people could leave the ship. I would like to make 2 important points here:

#1 when you plan your shore excursions please bear in mind that although the ship’s itinerary says you will be in port from 7 am till 4 pm, that is completely inaccurate as it takes approximately 1 hour to clear immigration or whatever it is they do so you really don’t start leaving till 8 and then you must be on the tender to return by 3:30 at the latest so you do not have as much time as you might think. I know this seems like common sense to you cruisers, but as a first timer I thought the times should be stated more accurately.

#2 Grand Cayman and Jamaica DO NOT observe Daylight Savings time so when we arrived in Grand Cayman it was 7am on the ship and 6 am on the island. This is important if you book a tour online and not through the ship as we did. When we “fall behind” and go back an hour, ship time and the islands’ time run concurrently.

Ok, back to Grand Cayman. We left the Dynasty Lounge and followed the others down to Deck 3 where we showed our Sign and Sail cards and boarded a tender. These are little ferry-like boats with bench seating. The ride to the island was brief. We booked a tour through Soto’s approximately a month before our departure to see Stingray City. We did hit one snag as we booked for the wrong date but we cleared that up the moment we arrived on the island. Let me say here that the people of Grand Cayman we met were EXTREMELY friendly and helpful and even gave us money to make a local phone call. We met the Soto’s van in a nearby parking lot along with a couple from our ship. How do I know they were from our ship? Once we were in the van, V turned around and asked them which ship they were from (the Sensation was also docked) and they said the Imagination and wasn’t she the Jeopardy winner? See, one night on a cruise and we already had a celebrity in our group!

We picked a few more people on the way and then arrived at Soto’s dock where we paid ($24, a bargain compared to the ship!), signed a waiver, got snorkeling equipment, and boarded the party boat. There was the Captain, his assistant, a videographer, and approximately 20 tourists. There was a bathroom onboard (vertical coffin but adequate) and fresh water shower (they hose you down after the last stop). They took us out to 3 locations: the Corral Gardens, a reef, and the Stingray sandbar. To truly describe this experience would take many more pages and I’m sure I’ve filled enough already so I will be as brief as possible. This trip was incredible. V described it as the most amazing thing she has ever done. Bring a water camera particularly for the stingrays…I have some great pics of my friends and a nice memory of myself screaming my way back to the boat. Yes, I am a chicken. But even with being scared, it was still one of the best experiences of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat. If you have children: 3 toddlers were taken on this trip. None got in the water. Not a trip for small children. We left the parking lot at 9:30 and returned at 12:30. We were starved so we headed to a restaurant across from the port called the Landmark (upstairs). The prices were GC dollars and I got some mini jerked burgers that were marked $5 but were $8 US. My friends each got a rum punch at $7 US apiece. The food was expensive but it was one of those times when you’ve been out in the sun and exercised and are truly hungry and truly relish the meal so it was well worth every penny and everything we had was delicious. The bathroom there was nice so I decided to change out of my swimsuit…I hate sitting around in a wet swimsuit. After lunch, we hurriedly souvenir hunted close to the port and then headed back to the ship on the tender. We had to show our Sail and Sign before boarding and again once we were back on the ship and we had to send our bags through a scanner.

We headed to our room to shower, dress for dinner, and relax. When we arrived in the dining room, Katie told me that she had looked at the menu before dinner (they are posted outside of the dining rooms each day) and had not found anything that appealed to her but she came anyway because of the atmosphere at our table. This was the night that we found out that “the girls”, Katie, Liz, and Kristen, were actually close to our ages. We thought they were younger because they managed to stay out later clubbing and going to karaoke. We figured that was because they’re single…it’s much easier to cook and clean for one and you have more energy, LOL. I will not go into any detail about the dining room entertainment because first timers should be surprised…even after all my research I was and it was delightful! After dinner we stopped by the casino to drop a few nickels and then hit the stores. We didn’t buy anything at this point because we heard the sales are better the last day and we also knew we’d be spending money in Jamaica. Off to bed…early again.

Day 4 Jamaica

We had ordered room service for 7am and it was there right on time. We headed off the ship (no tenders here) about 8:15 and I must say the port was stinky. Trash. Yuck. Hurry through this part but not too fast as we saw one guy on our return who had slipped and fallen and was scraped badly. We exited the gates and started looking for a JUTA cab which I had read are the “legal” guys and they charge $5.50 for a round-trip to Dunn’s River Falls. A guy came from across the street and grabbed V who was in the lead. He led us across the street and, when I caught up, I asked how much and he said $20 for all three of us. Well, I knew this was wrong because of all the info I’d read but was too late at that point as my friends were in the van. I panicked once we left because I thought he was driving the wrong way. To make a long story short: this guy called himself “Music Man” and we ended up striking a bargain for him to take us to the falls and then to the craft market and then back to the ship for $10 apiece which he said later he had undercharged and I do believe he did from what I’ve read. Although he did as he promised, next time I will get a regular JUTA cab (they are vans as well) and pay more just so I feel safer. V has traveled much more extensively than I and she felt he was trustworthy but I have found myself to be a bad judge of character so I like the safer more “touristy” routes unless I really know what I’m doing. Anyway, it all worked out and we arrived at the falls, paid the $10 entrance fee, walked to the lockers, paid our $8 ($5 rental $3 deposit that is returned when you return the lock), put our things in the lockers and headed for the falls with just our water cameras. V had decided that she was not going to climb the falls as she considers herself “klutzy” at times so she stationed herself on a deck that was next to and about half-way up the falls. K and I headed down some steps, arrived on the beach, and started our climb.

I will say 2 things here: one, the falls are an amazing not to be missed sight and two, the climb is much more difficult than described and I think that anyone who is too young, elderly, or out of shape should not attempt it especially starting all the way at the bottom. I am not in the best of shape but grew up near a river so knew to take my time and be VERY careful so K and I made it with only a few slips. For anyone unsure, I say start in the middle where the water is calm and the rocks are less steep and slippery and you can get off onto the steps at any time. Even if you don’t want to climb or swim, I still say go and see them…amazing and beautiful! After our climb, K and I grabbed our things from the locker and headed to the changing rooms (outside stalls…decent but felt like a circus performer making sure no part of my body touched the ground and K cut herself on the door which was rusty so I was glad I had a first aid kit on the ship but should have brought it to the island). Of course we got tricked into following the signs and running the gauntlet of the craft market. Avoid this if possible by ignoring exit signs and heading back the way you came in. Music man was 20 min. late but did pick us up and we headed to the craft market. We spent about an hour shopping and it is intense. Usually 5 people at you at once to see their wares or offering to braid your hair. If you really want to buy, and we did (I wanted to get Christmas presents), then be patient and if you are not a good bargainer, have one with you. K did all my bartering and I am very grateful as this is a skill I do not possess. She got some great buys for all of us and we left pleased. Note: we did need the suggested bug spray here as V got bitten by some tiny, gnat-like bugs. We headed across the street to Soni’s to buy some coffee as I read it is not a good idea to buy it in the craft markets. K and I got some Blue Mountain coffee in the first shop we came to while V asked for a good place to eat (we had done research ahead of time and had planned to go to The Ruins for lunch but did not have time plus were not really hungry enough for a buffet). We went right back across the street to a little place called the Jamaica Inn. We were seated in an outdoor, covered courtyard which was pretty and tropical and we ordered some jerked dishes which were delicious. V had an apple maple jerk chicken salad that was really different and very tasty. The ladies room here requires you to go up 2 steps to the “throne” which was kinda neat. We relaxed for a bit, decided we’d had enough of shopping, and even though Music man wasn’t due for another hour, we headed to the rendezvous point. Thankfully he was there early and we headed right back to the ship. We tipped him a few dollars, took some pics, and boarded the ship to get ready for dinner. Same procedure: sail and sign card, scanner. Before dinner we hit the internet café ($16.50 per ½ hour or $40 per hour) to let our families know we were having a fabulous time without them (kidding!) and then went to have some sushi which does not open till just before dinner and has a long line. The sushi lover of the group enjoyed it very much. Another fun meal in the dining room and “the girls” invited us to go to karaoke later that evening. In between that and dinner, we went to the Dynasty Lounge to see Dr. Phil trivia and then Survivor. Survivor was hysterical! I actually laughed till I cried…you know, Carnival should seriously consider paying the passengers who participate in this stuff as they provide the best entertainment, bar none! LOL We only caught 3 songs at karaoke as this was the passenger talent show night. Off to bed.

Day 5 At Sea

K and I had promised not to wake V early for once so we quietly ordered coffee and hot chocolate from room service and then wrote in our journals sitting by our window. So relaxing and what a view! Once V arose we headed to breakfast in the dining room and again snagged a window seat. After breakfast, K decided to lay out before her scheduled facial in the spa, V very nicely offered to attend the debarkation talk (held in the Dynasty Lounge by the cruise director), and I had decided to do laundry. Yes, I said laundry. Why? Because I’m crazy. Because I did not want to go home with a bunch of dirty clothes. This is all I’m going to say because I do not want to remember the horror of spending $7 and over 3 hours doing one load of laundry on my last day of vacation: DON’T! Although the experience did prompt me to make a commitment to finally stay up late and see what nightlife on the ship was like. I finally completed my laundry and packed by 3:30 and V and I headed out to do the galley tour. We accidentally caught the end of high tea, which I thought I made us miss, and then hit the tour. Interesting but sadly some very rude people stayed too long at each “demonstration point” blocking everyone’s view. They had demos of making drinks, decorating cakes, making towel animals, and folding napkins plus a walk through the galley. After this we got ready and headed to dinner. V headed to a comedy show afterwards and I headed to our room to change into something comfortable and help K pack. K and I found an unidentifiable towel animal from Mu…still not sure what it was but it was definitely phallic…what’s up with that? I don’t think I should go into K’s antics with the towel but I do have a video and I am taking bids…We met up with V just in time for karaoke and “the girls” joined us there. V and K finally got enough booze in them to get up and do Madonna’s “Holiday”. Sooooooooo much fun! We headed back to our cabin just before 12 to put our suitcases in the hall and then K and I headed up to the Horizon for a midnight snack. Unfortunately, we missed the gala buffet but we’ll be sure to go next time…if we can stay awake! We took our snack out on deck and enjoyed our last night on the ship and, of course, did a “Titanic” pose pic…on top of the world! We grabbed a snack for V and headed back to our room. We finally stayed up late! We’re not total grandmas yet!

Day 6 Debarkation

I won’t dwell too much here because the end is always the worst part of a vacation. We arose early, finished packing our last minute stuff and headed to the dining room. Tip: world traveler V had her original small carry-on, light and breezy. K and I had our original carry-on’s filled to the brim, another full bag, and K also had a box of booze. By the time we got picked up I thought my arms were coming out of my sockets. I didn’t want my gifts to get broken but there’s got to be a better way. I ignored V’s smirk as K and I huffed, puffed, and groaned our way off the ship. Anyway, they called our tags while we ate so we finished up, grabbed our stuff, and headed to the Atrium Plaza. You must have your Customs form (filled out), ID, Sail and Sign, and Birth Certificate or passport handy. The line to leave did not take long and we ended up in a large room searching for our bags. They are sorted by colored tag so it did not take us long to find them. Again, cunning V grabbed a porter and he loaded our luggage on a cart, followed us as we handed in our customs form, then took us out to wait for our ride. We tipped him and shortly thereafter, V’s hubby picked us up. Time to go home.

Conclusion (whew!)

I had the time of my life and cannot wait to do it all over again. I absolutely loved every minute (sans laundry fiasco), every person, every adventure, and can’t say enough about the way the staff treated us. I have wanted to go on a cruise for over a decade and, while it was worth the wait, I’m not waiting that long again! If you have any questions, feel free to e-mail me as I have the whole summer to re-live my trip until I have to face the books once again.
 



 

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