Monday morning rolled around quickly and Joe and I were soon packing to head to the Port of Miami. Joe’s neighbor’s cat , Simba, watch the proceedings with interest. All packed we made a short stop at I Hop for breakfast and then we were on the road. We took non turnpike roads through “Old Florida” since to take the Florida Turnpike would have racked up $37.00 in tolls without any major time-saving.
With an oldies station playing on the radio we were on our way.
The state seemed to be experiencing bands of rain. We’d go through a downpour one minute only be in bright sunshine with blue skies the next. On the way we saw skydivers drifting down under their bright-colored parachutes and the Goodyear blimp. The farther south we got the more birds we spotted. Egrets, herons and turkey vultures were just some we could identify.
We passed Fort Lauderdale without incident but just outside of Miami we began to hit the first city traffic of the drive. By now we were on route 95 south. The traffic jams were brief and before too long we spotted the exit for the Park & Cruise lot.
Premier Parking was substantially less expensive than parking at the Port of Miami. They offered a shuttle to and from the docks. It worked just like the shuttle to the airport only the drop off was at your cruise ship instead of your airline.
On the shuttle we met a Florida couple who seem to take advantage of the deep discounts Florida residents receive from the cruise lines. They seemed to cruise almost every month and they also seemed to have experienced every horror a cruise can offer. They did nothing but complain about their past cruises , especially the one on the Norwegian Line.
After they were dropped off at their ship those of us remaining concluded that they couldn’t have had such a bad time, after all, they came back again,
And now it was our turn. There was our ship and there were the porters right next to the shuttle. We hopped down, handed them the baggage tags and headed to the cruise terminal. First check point was right at the door. Boarding pass and passport.
Second check point with an attendant was to point us to the correct security line…passports or “other” ID.
Then it was the security check point…think airport screening. The attendant here scanned out passports, wrote a number on the boarding documents for each of us and sent us on to the screening apparatus. We got to keep our shoes on but bags, carry ons, etc all had to be sent through the scanner while we got to walk through the people machine.
Once through security it was more lines but everyone was in a fun mood and the line moved fast. Once again we presented out boarding passes and passport. This time we stood for an ID photo as our on board account was activated. Our room key which doubles as your money card was then handed over and once again we were off following the roped lanes. Almost there and we were stopped by the first, of what would turn out to be many , photographers.
Finally! We crossed the gang plank and set foot on the Carnival Fun Ship Imagination. It’s huge! Our room was on Riviera Deck (deck 4) # 207. Where we entered the ship was the wrong end so we walked and walked and walked. Finally we found # 208,210, but no 207. The decks are set up as odds and evens so we were on the wrong side. Luckily the width is much shorter than the length and it didn’t take us long to locate #207 .
Finally we got to see out home away from home for the next 4 days.