After finishing our breakfast at the SpringHill Suites Miami Airport East/Medical Center hotel we got our luggage and came back down to the lobby. We asked the desk clerk if we could catch the 10:30 AM shuttle to the port instead of the 11:00 AM. She made a quick phone call to Carlos, one of the drivers, and asked if he could do a quick run to Port of Miami at 10:30 AM. He said he was available. We think that he probably regrets that decision even now, many days later.
Thank You Carlos!
DateStart: Sunday, February 2, 2014 @ 6:15 AM (EST)
Miami & Miami Beach, Florida 601 Biscayne Blvd.
That probably wasn't the worst of it for him - the road back over the bridge looked twice as bad. Oh, did I mention that the hotel now had both of their vans stuck in this grid-lock with people waiting at the hotel to get to the airport and folks at the airport waiting to get to the hotel? We know that the hotel put some people in cabs to get them to the airport. Hats off to the staff at this Marriott property - they certainly know how to take care of their customers.
As the green SpringHill van drove off in the distance, we snapped the image above to capture the moment of relief as our long journey from snowy Chicago to the Port of Miami was now over.
We had one large suitcase that needed to be checked so we gave that to a porter and headed into the terminal building. After showing our boarding passes and passports, we were directed through security and to the VIP check-in room (one of Carnival's VIFP benefits for our status level).
The wait wasn't long since we were next in line. Our paperwork was processed, our photos taken, and Sail and Sign cards issued.
We got some refreshments and found seats in the lounge near a family of three and began trading cruising stories to pass the time away. Before long, they made an announcement that they were ready to board the ship. A photo opportunity, a few checkpoints, and were were now inside the ship in the lobby.
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As is typically the case, the cabins aren't quite ready when you board early, so what do you do instead? If you guessed EAT LUNCH - you were correct. We'll continue our embarkation day story in our next installment. Be sure to read the entire series of articles. We are taking you along for the entire journey with commentary, tips, and of course, pictures.