Grand Turks and Caicos…Last port of call before Miami tomorrow…

The beach at Grand Turks and Caicos.

Today, as we spend our last full day aboard the Carnival Liberty, we’re unable to use our WiFi device while out to sea. With only minutes left on the Internet package we purchased on the ship, I’d contemplated not posting
today. Yesterday, we burned up 70 minutes trying to post the  blog and the photos with the ship’s poor signal.

If we were to purchase more Internet time from the ship, we’d pay $.75 a minute, outrageous considering it takes about four times longer to load anything than when using our MiFi when available. For one additional hour we’d pay $45. 
As mentioned in prior posts, Xcom Global MiFi works when we are close to land in most of the countries we’ll visit. The small island country of Grand Turks and Caicos was not one of them. We spotted a few towers but their signal was not sufficient for us to get online. 
The cruise line owned beach set-up with “pay for” cabanas.

Tomorrow morning, we’ll arrive in Miami at 8:00 am.  Once in port, we’ll be able to use our MiFi as we wait for our turn to disembark the Carnival Liberty. Our goal is to be among the last passengers to leave the ship.  Most passengers will have already gone through customs and the lines resulting in shorter lines.

With our next ship, the Norwegian Epic, docked at the pier next door, we won’t be able to get on board until noon, leaving us to carefully time the move from one ship to the other. Refusing to be left standing at the pier for hours with our remaining pile of luggage in tow, careful timing is in order.
 Many passengers got off the ship to bake in the sun. We opted to stay behind and enjoy the quiet time on the ship.

Once we’re situated on board, unpack, attend  the required emergency procedures meeting at our designated Muster station, and sign up for their largest Internet package, we’ll post again. 

Once the ship sails, we’ll only be able to use the ship’s Internet package for the crossing of the Atlantic ocean for a 15 day cruise ending in Barcelona, Spain (one eleven day cruise plus one four day cruise resulting in another back-to-back, same-cabin cruise).
With only one port of call in the first leg of this upcoming cruise in Madeira, Portugal, on April 28, 2013, we’ll have little use of our MiFi. While in Madeira for eight hours on April 28th, we plan to meet with the owner of the house we’ll be renting in Madeira beginning May 15, 2014, when we’ll return for a 2 1/2 month stay in her gorgeous house overlooking the ocean. Gina will give us a tour of the house and the island, a wonderful way to spend our day in port.
 The dock at the beach set-up.

Overall, the two Carnival cruises were fine, although not memorable. The two downsides were the issue with our vitamins and the need to move to a quieter cabin. The upsides, excellent service, extraordinary food at Diamonds Steakhouse, clean environment, no Norovirus and a smooth sailing ship.

Would we book Carnival in the future? Probably not, unless we needed to use it as a means of transportation when no other cruise line was available. Would we recommend it to others? If a party cruise is your style, this cruise line is ideal.  For us, we prefer a more mature crowd and more quiet environment.
Various boats that passenger charter for a number of activities.

Stop back tomorrow to read about our move to the Norwegian Epic, a bigger ship than we’ve experienced thus far, cruise #5 since January 3, 2013.