we flew on jetblue because it was the cheapest ($98 each way from long beach, ca to ft. lauderdale, fl) our flight out of long beach was uneventful. couldn't sleep though because it was a little turbulent at times and the excitement of the trip kept us up) it was the arrival at ft lauderdale that our first problem arose. 5am at the baggage claim and one of our bags doesn't show up. talked to the baggage people and after some hesitation they put in a search or whatnot for the missing piece of luggage. our cruise leaves today at 5pm so basically they have 12 hours to find it and bring it to the ship.
rented a minivan for the 6 of us from hertz, and got a decent map, but lacked detail. travel tip: GET GPS NAVIGATION IN FLORIDA if you're not familiar with streets sometimes having 3 DIFFERENT NAMES!!! i learned the hard way as i opted not to have the gps. anyways we decided to head down to miami and find something to eat. little did we know that the IHOP we passed in ft lauderdale would be the only place to eat. that would be open at this time of the day. after driving down to miami and more driving around looking for a place to eat, we finally find a burger king. blah.
since there was nothing planned today, and we had plenty of time to kill before the ship's departure, we decided to go to some of the stops planned for friday and saturday, which were bayside marketplace, monkey jungle, and coral castle.
well bayside marketplace wasn't open yet, and it turned out to be just your average open air mall so we skipped it.
so monkey jungle was the first stop. almost missed the street to turn on because i was looking for one street and since a lot of these streets have 2 names, the street sign had the one i was looking for in smaller print and i barely caught it at the last second. the place is a huge sanctuary, with us walking through a big "cage" so the monkeys are all around you. they had scheduled shows at different places throughout the small park, but we didn't want to see them (aka we were tired and jetlagged) instead we did a self guided tour, feeding the different monkeys and whatnot. feeding the monkeys was the best part of the trip, as you put some food into a dish suspended by a chain, and the monkeys above you will pull the chain up to them and get the food though a hole in the fence. took about an hour to see everything without going to the shows. was pretty entertaining, even for 6 people half asleep.
got a call from jetblue saying that my finacee's luggage was in boston, and would be on the next flight to ft lauderdale. they said they'd send it to the cruise ship as soon as it arrived.
next was coral castle. hmmm... it's mind boggling how this little guy moved these huge coral rock slabs around all by himself with no help. but after wondering how he did it, it became kinda boring. we would've been in and out in less than 15 mintues if it weren't for the tour guide who volunteered himself to guide us. i understand he's just doing his job, but i kind of felt bad for him as i think i was the only one in our group paying attention to what he had to say half the time. (keep in mind we still haven't slept for over a day now) the guide showed us around the place, describing what each room had and the story behind it. he was a pretty good guide because otherwise we would've looked at everything and said "ok" and then left. not a bad place to visit if you have already read up on it and were interested. otherwise it's not really just a place to show up and look around without not knowing what it's about.
after that we headed back to miami to the ship. after more searching for the rental car drop off, we took the rental car shuttle to the port. checked in and asked about the luggage. the lady at the counter said to board the ship and check with the customer service desk there. so we're on the ship not knowing if my fiancee's luggage is there or not. checked with customer service and filled out a claim form. they were really nice and helpful, even going as far as to offer clothes if the luggage didn't arrive so she'd have something to wear. after all this we walked to our stateroom and found our missing piece of luggage! all day we had been worrying about it and thankfully it made it on the ship. ate lunch and took a quick tour around the boat before taking a much needed nap before dinner. missed the ship leaving port but oh well.
had dinner, went to the ship's casino, won $50 and then decided to go to bed early, as we had a long day ahead of us tomorrow.