Trying out a new cruise line, three new ports, and a large ship was a real adventure for us, and you can read about the adventure over the next few posts.
Of course, I work full time (as a writer!) and have a life, so don’t expect posts every single day, but hopefully I can get all of these up within a couple of weeks. And if you have any questions feel free to comment! I’ll answer them in future blogs.
Our trip started bright and early at 6:15 Saturday morning when we left Florence for Port Canaveral, Fla. The Freedom of the Seas ports there every Sunday, and it does an Eastern and Western itinerary on alternating weeks. We did the Eastern- Cococay (private island), St. Thomas, and St. Maarten. Plus, 3 days at sea to explore the ship and relax.
We took off for Florida but of course we had to make a pit stop in Georgia to officially start our vacation. We’ve traveled together a good bit, so we’re beginning to have traditions, such as eating at Mom & Pop’s restaurants and always getting boiled peanuts for road trips! This produce stand off I-95 in Darien, Georgia, had the biggest boiled peanuts you’ve ever seen.
We also packed a cooler with Diet Mt. Dew, water, and Starbucks Frappucino. Best stuff EVER.
Aside from the snack, stopping for gas, and at one rest area, we pretty much drove straight to Canaveral. It was uneventful, minus all the bugs that met their maker hitting Clay’s car! Let’s just say if you go to Florida this time of year, be sure to always stop at gas stations with car washes :).
For the cruise, we booked the Country Inn and Suites hotel. They offer a Park and Cruise package. For a flat rate- just a little more than what a night at a hotel costs anyway- you can leave your car there for the duration of your cruise. They also provide a shuttle to and from the port, saving you from having to get a taxi.
Parking at the ports can be pretty pricey for a week-long cruise, so this is a good way to save if you’re driving to the port. Plus, driving in the day before is a good idea if you can- you can look around the area, have a little pre-vacation, and board the ship rested :).
We saw some cruise ships on our way to the hotel, too! The Carnival Dream docks every Saturday, it’s also a very beautiful ship! We also saw a Disney ship, but I don’t know the name of it.
We got to the hotel at about 1:30, and the room wasn’t ready- check in wasn’t until 3 anyway. We walked to a restaurant called Zachary’s, which served Greek food, for lunch. A few restaurants and a mini-golf course were within walking distance, but we both love Greek food so we figured this would be a safe bet.
The food was excellent, the portions were large, and the price was right. I had a Greek salad, and Clay had a gyro. I hijacked a few of the green beans off Clay’s plate because they were yummy!
We were still full that night, so I ate a peanut butter cookie for dinner (the hotel offers complementary cookies at the front desk) and Clay had a slurpee. Hey, it’s our vacation. We can eat cookies and drink slurpees all we want!
We took an afternoon nap in the room and also watched Wipeout, coolest show ever! I think we’ll keep watching it now that vacation is over, too! I also read some out by the pool because Clay slept a bit longer than I did. We went to bed fairly early, and while the hotel and bed were great, I didn’t sleep that great because the cruise excitement was really building.
Up next: Boarding the ship and our first look at the Freedom of the Seas :).