Since our cruise left on a Monday, we decided to spend the weekend in Jacksonville at the Springhill Suites on Southside Blvd. The hotel is a little dated but very convenient to everything. We enjoyed our stay. We chose Sandlot Parking instead of parking at the cruise terminal. We almost drove by it because other than a sign advertising $10 cruise parking, there was no sign identifying it as Sandlot Parking. We drove in and they showed us where to park. We booked online and they collected the payment when we dropped off our car. They took us to the port right away and dropped us off at the baggage drop area.
Unfortunately, they were very disorganized when it was time to pick us up. They had several vans coming to the port to pick passengers up but, most of the vans were there to pick up people who were going to the airport. I ended up calling to see when we could expect to be picked up and the person that answered could not help us. When they finally picked us up, there were only 3 people left in the pickup area. Needless to say, we will not be using Sandlot, aka Jetway, again. We’ll just park at the port if we cruise from Jacksonville again.
We booked ocean view cabin E34. There is no loveseat in the room but there is a desk with 3 drawers, a stool, a chair, the standard closets and no mini-fridge. The most disappointing aspect of the cabin was no counter in the bathroom. We have grown used to this with balcony cabins. It could be worse. At least our toilet faced straight forward and no pipes burst. Yay! The cabin has two beds that convert to a king and the Pullman bed that we never use since it gets in the way and I think it can be unsafe. Somebody is bound to bump into that in the middle of the night.
The cabin location is pretty noisy and busy. The atrium is a few doors down but that is not the main source of noise. The deck above is. We could hear music from the shows in the theater above us. That did not really bother us much since we knew the noise was finite. They also moved the live entertainment from the atrium and the theater to the back of the ship at night which makes it quieter at night. I am not sure of the source but we could hear chairs being dragged, people running, and what sounded like a deck door being opened and closed at all hours. The noises were more sporadic on port days. We slept well so the noise was not enough to keep us up. I am not sure we would choose this location again, only because it is so close to the atrium and is so busy.
The weather in Jacksonville in October was chilly and windy. It is not what we were expecting. We spent the weekend getting ready for our cruise. Nail shop, last minute shopping, nothing special.