We arrived at the port early and had to line up to get into the parking lot. Once we finally entered the parking lot the porters unloaded the luggage, we paid for parking, and found a spot. Security check-in was a breeze. We were taken to a separate room for VIP check-in. This made check-in much more relaxing. As soon as we checked in and got our sail and sign cards we were allowed onboard.
Our first stop onboard was to the shore excursion desk to choose our cabana and to give our soda choices. We got cabana #12 and our new friends got #13.
Next stop was Lido deck for our first lunch onboard. After a short time we decided to check on our rooms. They were ready so everyone went to explore their rooms.
We had a Vista Suite on Verandah Deck. It was a great choice. The cabin had a lot of storage space. There was more than enough room to store all of our belongings. The cabin space was fine for 2-3 people. We were able to fit a lot of people in the cabin and on the balcony for gatherings.
We met a terrific bunch of people on Cruise Critic roll call and had an informal meet and greet before the safety briefing. It was wonderful to be able to put faces with the names.
The safety drill seemed much longer than last year. We thought it would never end.
After the safety drill we headed back to our cabin for sailaway.
The luggage arrived early. Several of us had reservations for David's Steakhouse so we dressed for dinner. We combined all of the reservations and ate at 1 table. The food at David's was very good. We thought that the service this year was not quite as good as last year. They were not busy so there did not seem to be any reason for the slow service. After dinner we relaxed and finished unpacking.
Day 2 was a sea day. We had a pretty lazy day. Early in the afternoon we had a cabin crawl so that everyone could see what the other cabins looked like. It was fun squeezing everyone into an inside cabin. It was elegant night so everyone dressed for dinner. We all met at the Normandie Dining room for an early dinner. We went to the show that night then back to the cabin to relax.
Day 3 was another relaxing sea day. We had a Meet and Greet in the Ivory Piano Bar. There was a terrific turnout. Jaime came and talked with everyone in the group. Right after that was the party for gold and above. We all met again for dinner in the MDR. Then back to the room to get things ready for our time at Grand Turk.
Day 4 - Grand Turk We had booked the Grand Turk Excursion through Carnival. We were met at the cruise center and were taken to our tour bus. The bus took us to many sites including the salinas and the lighthouse. We were allowed to get off the bus at those spots and take pictures. The tour guide was very informative and gave us much information about Grand Turk. After the tour we met our friends at the pool. We had planned to go to Jack's Shack but we were tired at that time and went back to the ship. We had just boarded when it started raining. The rain did not last long. We relaxed a bit then went to dinner.
Day 5 - Half Moon Cay This is the day that I was looking forward to the most as I absolutely love HMC. I was especially anxious this year as we had booked a cabana. We walked up the beach to the cabanas. What a great spot to have as a home base on the island. We had beach towels, snorkel gear, floating mats,food and drink in the cabana. It has an air conditioner but the 2 fans seemed to work better. We also had a table with 4 chairs and 1 lounge chairs. Most of the comforts of home. Bathrooms were nearby. It was a great day just floating in the ocean and being with friends. We left reluctantly on the last tender back to the ship. Another early dinner and an evening relaxing.
Day 6 - Freeport Several members of our group booked a snorkeling excursion. I don't swim but I went along anyway. It was a lot of fun watching and taking pictures of everyone in the water. We headed back to the ship and took pictures of the Ecstasy from our balcony. It is always nice to see a sister ship in port. Tonight was elegant night again so we all got ready and met for another early dinner.
Day 7 - At Sea We had an early awakening at 7 AM. They were calling for the Alpha Team. The first several announcements sounded a little frantic. It turned out that there was some smoke from oil on one of the engines. We came the rest of the way back to Baltimore short 1 engine. Several in the group decided to eat lunch in the dining room. We were surprised to be seated at the Captain's table. Although he was not there it was an honor to be seated there. We had a great lunch. We went to tea that afternoon and had a nice time. Early dinner again with the gang. After dinner we went to pack then to the Ivory Piano Bar for a while.
Sunday - Sadly it was time to go home. We had a nice breakfast in the dining room. Since we had VIP disembarkation we went to the Captain's Club to wait for our zone. It was a great place to wait. Fairly quiet and not crowded at all. Our number was called shortly and off we went. Zipped through customs. The hardest thing was locating our luggage. We quickly found 4 of our 5 suitcases. The other one turned up shortly (as it turned out I had walked right past it) and we were on our way to the car. We were in the car and on our way home at 9:38.
What a shock to be home. I miss our new friends, the view, the food, being taken care of, the towel animals, etc