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January 5 - 12, 2003
Cruise of the Eastern Caribbean
Leaving Miami, Nassau

Really, our trip began on Saturday, 4 January, when we went up to Indy to spend the night. Our flight out on Sunday was VERY early (6am) and so we wanted to give ourselves that head start. Smart move!

After a pleasant dinner @ Shapiro's, we went to the airport, parked our car, and had a Ritter's ice cream sundae. Then we headed back to the hotel on their shuttle and went immediately to sleep.

This is good, because 4am came early! We awoke to a lovely snow. Colored orange by the hotel's outside lighting, the snow was delicately coating the grass and branches. The bellhop packed our bags into the shuttle and took us to the airport. HUGE line of people waiting to check in! I'd bought an Ann Rule book, "Every Breath You Take," so i was engrossed in it for both legs of our flight. That's good, because our window seat for both flights was directly over the wing. <growl>

Upon our arrival in Miami, the uniformed Carnival cruise staff led us to the baggage claim and took our bags. We then had time for a slice of pizza before we met them again to go to our bus.

It was HOT outside the airport, and i was wishing that i'd worn something ... more cruiselike and less Indiana-like! We made it onto the same bus with our luggage and we were driven the short distance to the dock! We were directed to take our bags and wait in that line, which we did. We had our ID's checked and our photos taken for our Sign & Sail cards, which also served as our cabin keys. Then we were led over the gangplank .. onto the ship, which looked, actually, more like a gorgeous lobby of an elegant hotel.

After all the lines and being told where to go, Michael and I looked at each other. What now? Thankfully, one of the ship's crew rescued us from our idiocy and pointed us to the stops we took to the U-level and our stateroom. There, we took this lovely picture of me in the mirror. ;) And we saw this beautiful cake that Michael had sweetly ordered for us. :)

We went pretty soon to lunch on the boat, at the Paris restaurant on the Lido deck.

At 4pm, we had our Muster Station drill. We had to don our lifevests and go to our muster station where we were met by one of the ship's crew, Andrew. We got to go look at what is to be our lifeboat, "in the unlikely event of an emergency."

After going up to the Sun Deck to get a position on the GPS, we then went back down and changed clothes and did our walk back up on the track, again on the sun deck, up on the top level of the boat. As we were walking, they pulled the boat away from the dock and we were underway!

Dinner on Sunday night was casual, and, with our early seating, we went at 6:15. Our tablemates were John and Candy from Minnesota and Mark and Sharon from Oklahoma. Our main waiter was Attila from Hungary. (The pictures here were taken on the last formal night, but i wanted to introduce them to you here.) :)

I had chicken and linguine with pesto and it was delicious. Michael had sweet and sour shrimp on rice, which he loved. Desserts? You bet. Michael had black forest cake. So did I, but I also had to try the chocolate torte.

After that, we had a look at the casino and dumped $20 into the slots. Then, after a walk of the decks, we went to the information desk and bought our tickets for tours, before heading to our room for a sweet sound sleep.

Monday am (Jan 6), we awoke as the ship pulled up to the deck at Nassau in the Bahamas. Michael and I had quick breakfast, which was buffet-style on the Parisian deck. Then we put our swimsuits under our clothes and headed out to meet our guide for our snorkeling adventure!

The weather this day was somewhat cool and cloudy, and they had had rain and expected more. But we get wet snorkeling anyway, right? Therefore, we opted to not cancel our tix, when they offered us that opportunity. The guide walked with us to the boat. We got on, were assigned fins and goggles to go with the snorkles we had bought last night.

This little boat, with Keith as our guide, took us far away from the dock, under a great big bridge and out to a path of sea near a secluded part of the island. We were given a little orientation and life vests, and then people began jumping into the water.

Michael and i were scared to death, but we ultimately slid off the back of the boat into the cool 72° water. Once we got up the courage to trust our equipment and put our faces into the water, what a wonderful sight we beheld!

Fish! Right there all around us! We were part of the school, then they would swim off and there were others, more colorful than the last! Yellow, blue, pink, browns, striped, coral that looked like brains, or like big fans all greeted our eager eyes. We snorkeled holding hands, pointing out the more wonderous of sights, and trying to talk through our mouth tubes.

Finally, after 40 minutes, we got cold and came out. We chatted with Leo and his wife, a Dutch couple, on the way out and back. Upon returning, we still had plenty of time to change, then walk in town, do a bit of looking in stores, and snap a few pix before heading back to the ship.

So after all the threats of rain, none materialized. (I regretted leaving my camera behind when we snorkeled. Next time, I'll be better-prepped with an underwater cam!)

Lunch was at the Paris restaurant. Michael tried to get an APRL signal out, but wasn't able from Nassau. I shot a few pics from the deck, where I talked with Ed and his wife Marie, RV'ers from S of Boston MA. As we chatted, our ship's monstrous horn blasted! Yikes!

Michael and I were back in our cabin when the boat left dock. We watched out our porthole with the binoculars till we were out of sight of the Bahamas. Then sleep overtook us, as we headed out at full steam into the open sea.

We awoke 2 hours later and looked out. There was the shore of... Nassau?!? We puzzled about this until we were set straight by one of the crew. A woman had fallen and broken her ankle badly and she had to be returned to port. We were turned around then and headed back out.

A perusal of the ship's Gallery shops preceded dinner. Because this was the first "formal night," and we were feeling less than formal, we did a casual dinner at the Paris Restaurant on Lido Deck.

After this big day, we came back to our cabin and saw this cute little towel critter on our bed. :) Tired, we went to sleep early.

Part 1 -- Leaving Miami; Nassau, the Bahamas

Part 2 -- Day at sea; San Juan, Puerto Rico

Part 3 -- Day at sea; St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

Part 4 -- Days at sea; back to Miami; Arriving home

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