Saturday, January 10, 2015

2014 Dec. 6 night Carnival Freedom cruise: Key West; Grand Cayman; Cozumel

One day my sister-in-law, Jane, told me that my brother said she could go on a cruise with me.  He pretty much had to say that since he was going to Vegas with "the guys".  So I didn't hesitate to start checking on cruises.  I looked for the best deal I could find with the most interesting itinerary leaving out of Ft. Lauderdale.  So after some searching, I came up with this 6 night cruise on Carnival Freedom going to Key West, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel.   The rate was only something like $700 for the 2 of us for the beginning of Dec.  It wasn't too long before my sister heard about our cruise and wanted to join us.  At that point I wasn't too thrilled with the idea of sleeping on a bunk, so found an inside category with fold down couch (it even had portholes) for just a bit more.  Then I started working on talking my daughter into going.  Even took a Halloween special that let me book an inside room for myself for something like $580---with the hopes of talking Angie into joining us.  I even caught another special to upgrade to an ocean view room for about $50 more and it included a $100 obc, so I took it.  I was also able to get $50 obc for owning CCL stock.  My sister had sent in for the credit for her room, so this way we both got our stock obc.  Wasn't until after Thanksgiving that I finally talked Angie into going and added her to my room.  With all that settled, all we had to do was wait until Dec. 3rd to roll around and meet up with Angie in Ft. Lauderdale.  The cruise wasn't until the 7th, but airfare was cheaper going in the middle of the week and Angie lives there so we figured we could freeload off of them for a few days.  That almost worked out.  Unfortunately, or fortunately considering how you look at it, Josh got really sick right before we arrived, so I booked us 4 nights at the Wyndham Palm Aire.

The 3rd finally came.  Jane and I flew out together.  My sister, Carolyn, was to arrive about 30 minutes later.  Jane and I arrived on time and were picked up by Angie, then we waited and waited and waited for Carolyn---the first of the "fun" times to come.  Turns out, you can't call someone when they don't have their phone on!  Go figure!  To make it worse, she didn't know her phone was off and didn't bother to try and call us!  Instead, we drove around the arrivals area and happened to find her randomly walking from one terminal to another.   So we yelled at her, picked her up, yelled at her some more, and were on our way to Palm Aire.  I know we would have still been welcomed at Angie and Josh's house, but didn't want to risk getting sick right before our cruise.  We did go to their house, though, and borrowed one of their cars.  A couple big advantages to staying at the resort were the hot tubs and heated pools!  We took advantage of them.
A couple pictures of our Palm Aire living space.
One of the pools from our lanai.

The first 4 days went really fast.  We drove to Angie's every day and went to lunch with her.  Usually had dinner with them, too.  Josh seemed to recover pretty quickly!  Went to Deerfield Beach one day.
Even did the "owner's update" for the $150 compensation.  I told the gals if they wanted to do it and get the free brunch, I'd split the money with them.  That went quickly and painlessly.  When you're Wyndham platinum, they don't harass you too much.

Dec. 7th finally came.  Josh drove us to the Everglades cruise port and dropped us off.  We thought by going later in the afternoon---after 2, we'd get in right away.  That back fired!  Not only did we still wait over an hour, but all the food venues on board were closed by the time we got on (except 24 hour room service).  We walked our luggage on board, so unpacked and waited for the muster drill. Angie and I had room 1256.  It was a good sized room and pretty quiet.