Caribbean: Embarkation Day!

Saturday, October 23, 2021

Embarkation Day! Feels like forever since I have been able to say those words.

My fitbit alarm went off at 6:00 and I had no problem getting up. The hotel breakfast started at 7:00. Because of Covid and being short-staffed, the breakfast items were to-go only: protein bars, oranges, apples, muffins, bottles of water, and coffee. We got a few items and ate at a table outside.

The shuttle service that the hotel contracts with was right on time. She was only taking passengers that were going to the Magic which made it nice. I have been on shuttles that have to make stops at all the ships in port to drop people off. She told us there was a car accident at the pier near the Mardi Gras and some shuttles were trapped in the blockage. We were later to learn that the driver had a seizure and hit a porter. The porter sustained a broken leg. Didn’t hear if the driver hit any other vehicle or if the driver survived the seizure.

At the pier, the porters got our two big bags and we took our smaller ones. One of the perks of achieving Platinum Status is that you get to go to your room before 1:30.

Our first stop was the Health Station. The attendant checked our boarding passes, Covid vaccination cards, our negative covid tests, and our passports. He asked me “you were born in 1970, right?” I’m so paranoid now because of all the hoops to jump through that I thought he was trying to trip me up into saying something wrong. I just told him “I wish.” He just laughed. Making jokes. Okay.

Next stop, Security. Similar to the airlines. Bags go through the x-ray machine. Empty all pockets. Walk through metal detector. Done.

Next, Check-in. Only want to see passport. Hmmm. My hair has changed since 2019. Yes, I am gray haired now. Need to take another picture. Okay.

Another perk is early embarkation. There were no signs for the designated room so we finally asked. The attendant said the room was full but come back to her when they announce suite guests (who always go first) and she could then let us go into the room. Five more minutes – Suites guests embark.

Now we are in an upstairs holding room. No organization. After suite guests, there was not much announcing so we just got in line. One more stop. Take your picture at facial recognition kiosk.  Finally. Getting on board.

SNAFU. Because of Covid cleaning protocols, no early entrance to rooms. Drag your suitcases around until 1:30. So annoying.

We passed our muster station and I said to Chuck, let’s get this over with. Used to be that you had to sit through a very long safety presentation. Now, you can go in – electronically check you in and you watch the life vest demonstration. 10 minutes done. Later, you watch the entire video in your cabin. I’ve always said, no matter how detailed you can give the presentation or what form it takes, if the ship were really going down, there is going to be total chaos. Human nature.

Made it up to the Lido Deck and ate at the Blue Iguana Cantina. We were able to keep our carry-ons out of the way. I love their shrimp burritos so much. While Chuck was getting his food, he heard someone say that they are allowing Platinum guests to drop off their luggage even though they can’t stay in the room. Great!

Next stop, our room. Our hallway had the main doors open so they were ready for occupancy anyway. We were able to put our bags up with no problem. We even saw our big bags in the hallway ready to be delivered.

Even though we have been on the Magic before and her sister ship the Dream, we walked around to familiarize ourselves with it again. We made our way to the casino, the Red Frog Pub, the Serenity area (over 21 only area), and the Aft Pool area.

After 1:30, we went back to the cabin and our luggage was waiting for us. Got everything unpacked and stored away in time for the sailaway. Met our room steward and asked him for a robe. Chuck just told him not to bother giving him one – he would just run naked up and down the halls. Took the poor steward a minute to determine that Chuck was joking. He’s probably thinking – oh great, one of “those” guests.

The sailaway was advertised as sailing at 3:00 but it didn’t leave until closer to 4:00.

We passed the Mardi Gras and we waved to its passengers. The ships exchanged horn blows. It is a very big ship, close to 6000 passengers at full capacity, and people were already riding the roller coaster. So fun to once again watch the port getting smaller and smaller as we head out to sea.

Once we hit international water, the casino opened. I got a free $25 slot play so I wanted to play. On your first machine, you have to activate your room key and decide on a PIN. I thought I had done everything correctly but of course my PIN didn’t work. I thought I had punched something in wrong. Back up to the cage area. No, my PIN was correct. I went to another machine – everything went fine. Lost my free $25 in less than 30 minutes. Just like at land casinos. *Sigh*

Got some cash and tried another machine. Won $50! Yay. I cashed out and was waiting for my ticket. No ticket. Said my money was “On my Bank.” What’s that? Turns out I have to take my key up to the cage and they give me money or I can keep it on my key and play some more. Just be sure to cash out before the end of the cruise. So far, Chuck is doing well at 3-card poker.

We have Anytime Dining option. I really like that when you are ready to eat and if you want to eat in the main dining room, you just check-in with the Carnival app on your phone. They  notify you when your table is ready. The service was a little slow tonight but it is the first night and the head waiter seems to be having to really direct his assistants. I am sure they will get faster.

Our head waiter is also a very good singer. Right before the main course came out, the lights dimmed and he was introduced. He sang a ballad and everyone was astonished at his vocal range. Not sure why he is not part of the entertainment crew.

I had the lasagna and Chuck had the brisket. We normally opt out of dessert and it really freaks the waiters out. “What? No dessert? You are on vacation.” True, but we are stuffed after the appetizer, salad/soup, and main course.

We then went to the Welcome Aboard Show. Our cruise director is from Scotland. Hearing his voice on the intercom, I had guessed Australian. The performers sang and danced a few numbers from their upcoming shows. I hope the shows are as good as I remember.

We went to the Comedy Club but I was not impressed with this comedian. He just talked to the audience and made fun of people. He didn’t really tell any jokes. There is another comedian that we hope to catch tomorrow night. Maybe I will like him more.

Was a long day. Our first full sea day tomorrow. Our towel animal tonight is an elephant.

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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