Our trip started on Thursday evening, when DH got off work. We got the kids (DS8 and DD3) in the car to get a few hours of driving behind us. Really, I wanted to get DH going. He moves about as fast as a turtle stampeding through molasses, so I knew if I waited until Friday "morning" to get him going, it would not be pretty. Getting him out the door on Thursday even for just a few hours of driving is a bonus for everyone! So, we drove from our mid-eastern NC home to Manning, SC to stay at the highly-recommended (per tripadvisor) Hampton Inn. It was convenient, and check-in at midnight was quick and easy.
We settled in quickly and hoped for a good night sleep...but it was not to be. There was a small fridge in the room, and I swear it was trying to escape or something. That thing shook and rattled very loudly, like it was trying to shake itself down the hall. DH finally got up around 3 to unplug the thing, but this was a challenge in itself, as it was plugged in behind the dresser. So, after moving furniture for a while, we finally had a little peace and quiet. However, sleep was still elusive, as the air conditioner was bipolar. It would get really warm in the room before the air would cut on and then get really cold in the room before it would cut off. So, from 3-7, I pulled the blanket on, pushed it off, pulled it on...well, you get the idea.
At 8 or so, I gave up and jumped in the shower (decent, large bathroom, but not so clean). I did not put the "do not disturb" sign out, and I guess I should have, because housekeeping decided to come busting in pretty early. We had the door latch on, so that made enough noise to wake up the rest of the family. Since we were all up, we headed to the complimentary breakfast, which was very good. The Hampton Inn staff downstairs were very friendly and helpful. They even went back to the "kitchen" to get my DS some yogurt in the flavor he wanted. We checked out around 10 and hit the road, heading to Florida!
We got to the Radisson at the Port around 7 p.m. (after getting a lovely view as we passed by...missed it the first time, although I'm not sure how as the building was very pink!). Maneuvering on that street is not simple either, friends! Check-in was very easy, however, and despite being blocked in by some other very excited family, we got to our room with few problems. The hotel is pretty nice. Parking and room access is easy. The room we had (in the 700s) was clean. There were two comfy beds and a painfully small bathroom.
The kids wanted to go to the pool, so we did that for an hour or so. This hotel has a great pool area. Lovely walkways leading to it. Cute waterfall made of large rocks in the middle. Nice surrounding area with a bar nearby.
After a swim, we went back to the room and plotted our path to Target for water, diet mt. dew, snacks (DD has severe food allergies so we carry her own "safe" snacks most places), and a box of wine ! Target was about 10 minutes away, and there is a Walgreens nearby (good for us as DH works at Walgreens and gets a small discount). There is also a Hungry Howie's...yum. After picking up the necessities, we ordered a pizza and sub. All four of us got too much to eat for under $12. Great deal, but we ended up eating very late. Oh, well...we have late seating coming up...just practicing! At some point, I told DS that the poor people in OUR room on the Dream were eating their last dinner in the dining room, hearing the servers sing "leaving the Carnival Dream..." (to "leaving on a jet plane"), and packing their bags. He thought that was funny...he has a pretty twisted sense of humor sometimes.
After a big meal, we crashed for the night (and slept much better, thank goodness!). Dreaming of the Dream...
2000 - Ecstasy in June - Key West and Cozumel
Missed '01 and '02 for our first baby! God bless Jadon Gregory!
2003 - Victory in June - Norfolk, VA to Bahamas
2004 - Victory in June - Norfolk, VA to Bahamas
2005 - Destiny in June - family cruise in memory of mom (and Jadon's first cruise!)- San Juan, St. Thomas, Barbados, Dominica, Aruba
2006 - Miracle in June - Grand Cayman, Costa Maya, Cozumel, and Belize
2007 - FINALLY got a new baby instead of cruising! God bless Madelyn Georgia!
2008 - Destiny in October- Key West and Cozumel (Couldn't wait 'til summer to cruise again! Madelyn's first cruise!)
2009 - tried out AI for the first time...Aruba, baby!
2010 - Carnival Dream in June - Cozumel, St. Thomas, St. Maarten; not-quite-finished review here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1226014
2011- just stuck with Disney and a road trip (DC, Baltimore, and New York)
2012 - Legend in July - Cozumel, Belize, Grand Caymen, and Isla Roatan -- review here: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1680286
2013 - Victory in June - my 1st B2B!!!!! Key West and Cozumel, then Grand Turk, Half Moon Cay, and Nassau! -- another not quite finished review: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1881779
2014 - Breeze in August - enjoying Platinum status! Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba! - I swear I'll finish this review one day SOON!: http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2189199
2015 - Breeze in July - St. Maarten, St. Kitts, San Juan, and Grand Turk
2016 - Magic in August - Port Canaveral to Amber Cove, St. Thomas, San Juan, and Grand Turk
2017 - Vista in August - Grand Turk, Dominican Republic, Curacao, and Aruba
"School's out for summer!"