20 August 2008

Dodging Dolly, Part The Second

So, we made our way onto the very huge ship. We were on the "Riviera Deck" (i.e., Steerage), so there were many floors to go down in an elevator. We got there and walked . . . and walked . . . and walked some more to our cabin, which was pretty far aft but thankfully had a window. It was vaguely reminiscent of a less seedy Tutwiler Hall, with twin beds, lots of built-ins, and minimal floor space. We unpacked out bags and stowed them, then ventured out for food.

I think the passenger capacity was around three thousand? Believe me when I say it felt like many, many more than that. Teeming multitudes, swirling confusedly but purposefully like ants. Anyway, we went to the Lido Deck where we wandered around lots of cafeteria-style lines (again, reminiscent of tarted-up college dining options) before Charlotte settled on a slice of pizza from some kind of poolside vendor. We got beverages and settled down at the bar to eat/drink.

Two notes: One is that a major hidden cost of cruises is your beverage options. I understand and expect to pay for alcohol, but they charged for Cokes, for heaven's sake. Another is that one point on which Charlotte and I diverge is that, when hungry, I will pretty much eat the first non-seafood and non-mayonnaisey thing I can find. Charlotte, on the other hand, will be more selective even as she grows hungrier.

11 August 2008

Dodging Dolly, Part The First

(Which sounds like it ought to be some kind of song title, but in reality is what I did on my summer vacation.)

I've been back from the cruise for two weeks and am just now getting around to recording my thoughts.  This will have to be a several part entry because it's an off Monday for me and I've got many errands to run, chores to do, weights to lift, etc.  Let me begin by saying it's not called Miami International Airport for nothing (ha!  More like the Black Hole of Calcutta if you ask me), and that Carnival Cruise Lines might really want to think about having a better luggage strategy for people with brutally early flights.  Hauling two bags around the airport for four hours doesn't really put me in my happy place.

Anyhoo, Charlotte and I met up at the baggage claim and were herded onto a bus allegedly headed to the port, only to have to wait around for what seemed like hours (probably not, but the fact that C was starving - but apparently not starving enough to eat a Larabar or almonds - made the whole ordeal seem rather protracted).  We took a ten-minute or so drive to the port and were then herded off the bus, snarked at by the man who wanted a tip for putting a label on my bag (sorry, fella, five tips per day is my limit, and if I'd known you were going to be a pill about it, I'd have carried my own darn bag), and herded into some kind of check-in line.

(Do you see a theme developing here?  I realize they have an awful lot of people to manage, but maybe it could be done without making us feel like cattle?  Maybe?)