My husband and I were trying to decide what to do for our ten year anniversary, when I found a weekend cruise on the Pearl. This was perfect. We would only be away four days with travel. We were leaving our fourteen month daughter home with grandma and this was our first time leaving her home. We have cruise previously on the Disney Wonder and Carnival Fascination as well as the Norwegian Star to Alaska. We loved the freestyle concept. My sister-in-law and her husband wanted to come. We decided on booking a Courtyard Villa as it was affordable because it was only a two night cruise.
We began our trip to Miami the day before the cruise. We had originally intended to fly directly into MIA, but during our connection in Atlanta ended up flying into Fort Lauderdale instead. The other half of our party had driven in so there was no transportation problem. The airports were within a half hour of each other. We had already reserved a room at a hotel near MIA. It was no problem as the airports were so close.
We arrived at the port of Miami at 11am. We were greeted and sent to a room off to the side because we were suite passengers. There were sandwiches, cookies, and beverages. There was a video playing which we found out was a Carnival video. The Pearl was docked at the Carnival portion of the facility as there was another NCL ship in port. The concierge, Carlos, came in and introduced himself. He answered some questions we had about some of the specialty restaurants onboard and we gave him a list of which ones and the times which we wanted to dine. Around noon, they checked us in, took our pictures, gave us our key cards, and escorted us onboard. We were immediately met by our Butler, Lanie. We were given our champaign and Lanie took us directly to our suite. It hadn't been made up yet, but we were allowed to look around and leave our luggage before heading off to lunch. The room was unbelievable. We had previously only cruise in balcony categories. This cabin was over-the-top. On our way to lunch we noticed to door to one of the Garden Villas was open so we gave ourselves a tour. This cabin left us all speechless. We vowed then and there that some day we would find a way to stay in one of those villas.