I was happy to wake up hangover free and slightly more refreshed than yesterday. I headed down to Bayside Marina in Miami for some breakfast and managed to miss the majority of the Marathon, much to my delight. I’d have felt really bad eating sausage and biscuits with all those fit people running past me.
After a quick bite, I caught the elevated tram and headed to the Port of Miami to catch my boat. The theme for boarding my Carnival Cruise was ‘tacky tourists’, so, obviously, I had to join in. Being Scottish, I donned a ‘see you jimmy hat’ (tartan hat with ginger hair), a fetching kilt and some Saltire sunglasses. This is my usual tourist get up. I’m kidding. I don’t wear kilts. Also, I don’t wear tartan hats. Or anything tartan, come to think of it. Obviously, I make up for the lack of sporting my good nation's official dress code on a regular basis by eating haggis and drinking lots of whisky. You can take the girl out of Scotland….
The Carnival liner was massive. It had 12 decks, 3 pools, 12 restaurants and countless bars (I tried, but I didn’t have enough fingers and toes). I grabbed a drink at the first one I spotted and headed up to the Lido deck to mingle with my fellow passengers. Check in was a bit later on, so I had some time to kill before I could get into my cabin. On the way to the bar, a guy leapt out in front of me and shouted ‘THERE YOU ARE!!' Yep, here I am…. Who are you?? As it turns out, when checking out the cruise message board a few weeks before, I’d spoken to the couple that would be living in the cabin next door to me for 5 days. He knew I was from Scotland and, being the only person on the boat that looked like a tartan factory had been sick on them, I’d made myself stand out a little. I grabbed a table with my new neighbours and we chatted about all the things we planned to do on our trip.
All the cabins I passed on the way to mine were decorated with flags and scenes from different countries, depending on the origins of their occupants. I made sure I brought along some photos of Scotland to inform people that, well, this cabin would be occupied by someone with a strange accent who likes the odd drink and knows a lot about sheep. Unfortunately, after a few passengers said ‘top of the morning to ya!’ and someone asked me about U2, I quickly realised that I might have to put up a flag to convince some of my fellow passengers that I wasn’t, in fact, from Ireland. Pretty damn close, though.
After settling, we had a ship wide emergency drill that had to be completed before we could get going. This was made more interesting by the cocktails everyone had been drinking, so there were quite a few tipsy sailors. It’s not easy fastening a massive life jacket after a few drinks, but I did enjoy finding out where the whistle and light were located. I believe this would be perfect for attracting the attention of local sharks. In the off chance that Carnival Victory turned out to the new Titanic, I could now, at least, have the added option of being eaten alive as opposed to just plain drowning. Bit more glamorous, isn't it? No, I don't think so, either.
When we finally deemed ourselves to be worthy of freaking out in the event of an emergency, we set sail in the general direction of Cuba. I retired to another bar to watch the glorious sun set and tried to work out whether my lack of balance was due to the movement of the boat or the rum. Probably a bit of both, really.
|...and off we go!|