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Mitsugirlys FASCINATION with San Juan-review & pictorial

Day 4: Getting on the ship and our first day



Kendra text me, as I had requested, around 5 something-too-early AM. I must have not been sleeping too well because I instantly woke up with the sound of the vibe of my phone.


She let me know that she was at the airport and was waiting to get on the plane for the first flight, which would be about 1 hour long.


This would be the picture I got with her message...they had 2 hours of sleep and were delirious at this point.


I would continue to toss and turn and not really get much sleep after this worrying about her catching the next flight. We all know nothing ever goes as planned with Kendra involved.


By the next hour, I would get another text that they had landed and were switching planes. I decided to just go ahead and get up.


We continued to text back and forth and I strolled around the hotel.


The pool guy was already out and cleaning the pool. It made me wonder why though if today was the day they were closing down the hotel.

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I headed out to the beach and they were already setting out the beach chairs. They didn't have any out the day before. I'm not sure why.

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As I was looking down at my phone, not paying attention to my surroundings, I felt like someone was pulling a sheet over my head. I caught something out of the "top" of my eyes and it looked like this....

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I gasp! What the heck!!!


I picked up the camera and started snapping pictures. I don't think I have ever seen anything like this.

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It was evil looking. I was showing Kendra

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It was just so weird looking and I really didn't know what to expect.

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Kendra was like "Oh great, you have great weather all week there and I'm on my way to that!" I immediately decided to check the weather. I could tell that all of a sudden it wasn't as hot as it had felt about an hour before.


But, it was still fairly warm. 8am in the morning with predicted thunderstorms the rest of the day. It did start to sprinkle a little, but nothing major. With clouds like this, you would have thought it would be a downpour. The rest of the day didn't look promising either.

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Thank goodness we were going to be away from here this following week. It didn't look promising. At least when we returned the following Sunday, the weather was supposed to clear.

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Kendra said they were boarding the second plane and the last text she sent me said they were taking off. At least I knew she had made it and was on her way. I had about 4+ hours to fret before she arrived and that also meant 4+ hours of peace and quiet too.


I woke the family up and we decided to head out for some breakfast. It had stopped sprinkling as quickly as it started, which is good since we were walking.


Back to McD's we went. I know, not the authentic PR breakfast, but it was cheap and cheap is good.

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There's that "large" coffee again.

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A trip to the restroom before we headed back to the hotel and I found something else all bathrooms should be equipped with!

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We made it back to the hotel and still no more rain. It was time to pack up and get ready to check out and head to the airport.


I looked out the you see anything?

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What about now? I hoped that this was going to be a sign.

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It was a rainbow!


We checked out at 10:30. As we were walking out...we passed the "smoking area"...seriously! Do you notice anything here as well?

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We picked our "spot" and dropped our things. Hubby was still debating if he wanted to get in the water.

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We decided to drive to Walmart and pick up some more pop for our cruise. We followed the GPS and it took us to an area we hadn't been in. It was kind of neat to see a different area. Man it was hot! This Walmart was popping! The entire parking lot was full. We had to park way past the parking lot into the over flow lot and walk. I felt like I was in a desert with nothing to drink.


Once we got in, we circled the store and couldn't find the pop. I'm used the Walmart's here at home, which are Superstores, with a grocery section. This was not like that. We stopped to ask an hablo Ingles. Here we go with the hand signals again. That worked and she pointed in the direction of the back of the store.


Out we went into the desert, to the car, and at the airport by 12 noon. I hadn't heard from Kendra yet, so obviously they haven't landed.


We got in line to check our car in. They were 2 cars ahead of us, so since it felt so extremely hot once again, we decided to stay in the car with the a/c on until he got to the car in front of us.


Meanwhile, another car pulled up in the lane to the right of us, which was further up. Once the guy moved on to the car in front of us, we decided to get out and pull our luggage out of the car. The other car already had their luggage out and was standing there. When the man was done, he said who's next and we both said "We are". Um, no you are not. I've been here since he was 2 cars ahead of me and before you ever pulled up into the line you are in. So they said "go ahead and do her since she's in such a hurry". Such a hurry? I'm not in a hurry (although I didn't want to stand in the heat any longer than I had to), it was a matter of who had been waiting there the longest...and that was me!

We walked across the busy street at the terminal and once again, played frogger. We made it. BUT...once over there, you can not go back into the airport. It was for passengers coming out only. WHAT?!?? I have never seen such a thing.

We were forced to stand out in the heat and wait on her.


She arrived and came to pick up her luggage and we caught a glimpse of this...

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And our quiet days were over with...

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As tired as Kendra was, she was still able to muster up a face for me like always. It was one of those "I'm here to crash your party smiles".

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I said she needed to go to the restroom and change for "ship pictures" and off we headed (they had a really nice one outside). Once she changed, we were ready to hail a cab to the cruise port.

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My first glimpse of the Fascination....

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It's still looking a little icky outside and cloudy. But, being inside the cab with the tinted windows didn't help much.

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We have arrived!!!

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We got out of the van, paid the driver, and stood there. We had no idea what to do, where to go, who takes our luggage. It was odd. Usually at any port I have been to there are porters there taking your luggage, you tip them, then you go into a building to check in. But we just stood there. There was just no direction at was weird.


Finally I stopped to ask someone and they called a guy over to help us. He started taking our luggage (and remember there's now 5 of us with luggage) and he tries to get the luggage up on the luggage cart...unsuccessfully I might add. Now I don't know the age of this man, but this is a business he probably shouldn't have been in. He was really struggling. We offered to help, he declined. We watched him throw luggage up there and it started to fall from being crooked. Once he managed to get it all up there, you could tell he was worn out. It wobbled back and forth and we thought for sure he was going to lose it along the way.


Ok, now what? He said for us to "Follow me" and down the open covered walkway toward the building we went. We were following him...VERY VERY slowly.

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People were going around us like we were snails.


Then we came to this small line outside, that was chained off, and I ask if we were to get in the line? He said yes to give them our stuff. We did, including our health forms and they handed it back. Then we were told to proceed to the building. Our luggage man followed. Once again, showing our information and they collected our forms. So what was the purpose of the other person? We did this twice. So weird.


We went in...still no direction. I ask him what to do now. Once inside, they said to put our luggage up on the xray machine directly in the door. I ask a lady "Now what?" She said go up the escalator. I ask if the guy was going to follow us? She said "No, you need to tip him first"...which we did. This was the most weirdest check in I have ever done. What was the reason we needed a guy to wheel our luggage to the same exact spot we were going to that most people wheeled their own inside and gave to them to put up on the xray machine? Just dumb if you ask me.

We headed inside, got in line and went right up to the counter where we checked in and handed them our numerous gift cards. We always get someone that doesn't know how to do this and has to be shown by someone else there...which takes time. They need a training class on this for ALL employees is my opinion.


They handed us our cards and we were headed to the ship.


I think the kids were excited.

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Here we go...excitement!

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Since we got on board a little late, the rooms were already ready for us. We immediately split up and headed for our individual rooms. We were on the 4th floor and Kendra was on the 5th.


We got an interior this time. I figured there was no need to actually get a balcony and it was dirt cheap, so why not? Kendra ended up with an OV room and although I didn't visit her room at all, she said it was the exact same room as mine, but with a REAL window.


(I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the pictures of the room...I have no idea what setting my camera was on and they turned out sucky).

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They had Sakari's bed already down and made. I had really hoped that they would not leave it down the entire time we were on the cruise.


Wait...what is that? I swear I booked an interior...

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Sakari ran over in excitement and pulled back the blinds

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Wow really? Way to get my hopes up! LOL Carnival, how are you going to tease me like that???


We had a bunch of goodies waiting for us from both Carnival and my wonderful TA.

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I have no idea what this chair was for and why it was in there. Really, they needed to remove some of the furniture. There was just too much! They could have gotten rid of 2 night stands and 1 of the 2 chairs in there and I would have been happy.  It had 3 closets.

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Carnival robes, which we never use but I know some people get excited over these.

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The safe. The kind that you have to use a cc of some sort to open and close. I know that people have said not to use the room key because it sometimes deactivates it. However, I decided to go ahead and try (since the only other items I had with me that had a strip was cc's and I wasn't about to have them deactivated.) We didn't have any trouble using the room key.

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On to the bathroom. I honestly don't remember taking this picture with the hubby.

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Can someone please tell me what the heck this thing is? It was under the bed and the thing in the middle is a mattress. At first I thought it was a baby crib, but there is NO WAY that it could be. I mean even if you had a preemie, this thing was too small. It was long, but not wide enough.


(It looks bigger in the picture than what it really is)

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Then I would find another bed/cot under my bed. Like there's enough beds in this room for at least 5 people. Do they have 5 people interior rooms???

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This is Sakari's bed put up:

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As you can see under it, there's lights and stuff for another bed to go.

There's another bed over top of our bed as well.

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Same lights below it that went to our bed and across the room (above pic).


I'm going to say this right now....Having a bed above this one and having that "shelf" like strip of wood with the light was the most uncomfortable thing ever. I don't know what they were thinking when they did this. You can't sit up in bed to watch t.v. or anything because there's no place to rest your back or head. You simply hit the wood and it's not flat, so just no way to do it. It was the only aggravating thing in the room.


So they had it freezing cold in the room. Now it was extremely hot outside and I was thankful for the a/c, but this was just too cold. Where is the thermostat??? I looked everywhere. I found nothing on the walls.


Then I would look up and find this...

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That little round knob turned it up and down. It wasn't anything fancy and by day 2ish, I had learned where to put the setting for the perfect "sleeping" temp and then the day temp. It worked out perfect. No issues there. This older ship isn't going to get the best of me yet.

Sakari couldn't wait to tear into her gift from our TA.

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Super excited and it's a Carnival Towel and a pretty one at that.

Then mom and dad tore into their present:

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I know some of you will get a laugh at that one. Me and wine=funny and makes for a lot of talk on here. Let the suggestions roll..............


Gifts from Carnival consisted of our free "return guest" bottle of YUMMY water. :rolleyes: At least they recognized the hubby as a return cruiser, even though this is his 4th Carnival cruise, last time they had him as a newbie.


We also got PINS!! Wowzers! I didn't even know they did pins. I'm super excited now.


Then we got a coupon for a free drink on the last night of the cruise. Is this something new too? I have never had that before.

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After dropping our things off at the room and checking it out, we met back up with Kendra and B to get some lunch. This would be the first meltdown of the cruise....for Sakari.


We headed up to the pool deck and seen the Mongolian Wok. I just had to try it. The line wasn't long...but it took forever to get our food. There were 2 guys cooking, but it just took forever for them to individually cook eat meal for each person. It would be the only time we decided to eat here due to the lines being even longer after that.


As we are standing in line, Sakari decides she doesn't want this. (She had seen B take off into the buffet area to go get food). I told her she'd have to wait until we were done and I'd walk her in there and get her something. There was also a "burger" place next to the wok, but she wasn't interested. (I think she just wanted to go find B).


As I was standing in line, she took off trying to find B....which of course, made my blood pressure rise and I was pissed. She NEVER does this...EVER...unless B is around and then she loses her mind! Kendra pretty much lets B run and do what he wants, always has. She treats him like he's an adult, which he is not. I, on the other hand, keep a tight leash on well as Kenny, Kendra, & Kolin when they were young. I honestly do not know where she gets her parenting skills from, but it doesn't come from me!


When Sakari returned, she got a lecture, which put her in an "I'm not going to talk to you and ignore you" mood for quite some time. So, what does she do? She grabs a plate and stands in the line that I was in for the Wok. All of a sudden she wants this food. I would have preferred she got in line with me, but I guess I have taught her manors not to dish people (even though she was in line with me for quite some time before she decided to take off)...or either she was extremely mad at me and she didn't want to stand anywhere near me.

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We picked a place close by so that the kids would see where we were sitting and I could continue to keep an eye on Sakari as she patiently waited in line....forever!

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We were completely done eating by the time the kids got their food and sat down.


You can tell by the look on Sakari's face that she is upset with me. It's her "ignore you" look.

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So once we were done, we discussed what to do next. I had a lot of things planned to see in OSJ and getting off the ship for the day, then returning before sailaway.


However, Kendra said she was going to go back to the room and go to sleep. Remember her and B only had 2 hours of sleep that night and they were extremely tired.


Another factor was that it was just SO HOT! I honestly felt drained from the heat and preferred to just stay in the a/c.


So, we made up our minds that we would just stay on the ship and walk around to explore (and take pictures of course) and then when our luggage arrived, we'd (I) would unpack.


We said our goodbyes and off we all went in our separate ways.


While walking across the pool deck....."PSSSHHHHBEEEPPPCRURRRSSSSHHHH" What the heck was that? It was over the loud speaker. Scared the crap out of me. It sounded like something blowing off a lot of steam. Weird. Ok, off to exploring we went.


After walking the entire ship, it's pretty small as everyone knows, we headed back to the room to see if our luggage was there and it was. I spent some time unpacking and getting everything in place and Sakari was back on speaking turns with me and she was now begging to go swimming. (I guess you are forced to speak to mommy if you want to do something LOL).


She got her bathing suit on and we headed for the pool.


She doesn't waste any time...

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There were a lot of birds circling the place all day.

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Everyone knows how Sakari makes friends super easy. Well, she met a group of friends during this pool visit. I watched them play, which turned into a tag game, which turned into a "anyone who gets out of the pool along the sides or in the middle gets pushed off game". There started to be a lot of horseplay. I didn't like it. I kept envisioning a kid getting pushed and hitting their head. My ER trauma days were kicking in.

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I immediately had to go over and tell Sakari it was time to leave. I told her how dangerous it was to be playing like that and I didn't want her getting hurt. (She was not doing any of the pushing, but she was definitely getting pushed). Where were these kids parents during this? They should have put an end to this as soon as it started. I did offer a compromise of I would allow her to continue her fun somewhere in the water park. She agreed and off we went. But, when we got there, they were not open.


We had been at the pool for 1 1/2 hours anyhow. It was time to head back to the room and get ready for dinner.


Off to the MDR we went. This first night of the cruise, they said that it was ALL open dining. You could eat any place you wanted, as in either MDR. So we decided to go to the assigned seating dining room, since we would not have the opportunity to eat in there after tonight.

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This was our view during dining...the port.

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The menu for the night (which turned out to be crappy pictures)

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And what we got...

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It was all good, not great, but good. Our bellies were full and we were satisfied.


They did have a lot of issues though. The service was not that great and our waiter seemed distant and unhappy. He could have been having an off night. Who knows.



The hubby ordered baked potatoes...he did not get them (as shown above). He had to ask for it again and ask for sour cream and chives (on the menu) and then they brought out just the baked potato. He ask about the sour cream and chives. They acted funny about it and questioned him wanting it. He said again, "yes, that's what I want and ordered the first time". They said "you want the chives too?" He said "It's on the menu, it's what I ordered and have ask for several times, why is this so hard?"


Under "Sides" on the menu: Buttered Baked Potato with

sour cream and chives.


I honestly don't remember if he ever got it and I didn't make a note of it.


Then of course we had the same old issue with asking for no water and showing them our "soda" card and them still coming around several times giving water (original waiter would take the water glass away and someone else would come along and put another down). We were more than half way through our meal when our drinks finally arrived.


All in all, it was kinda a frustrating experience by the time we were done and walked out. I don't know if it was just an "off" night or not. Hopefully it's not the norm.


We met up with Kendra and she had went to the deli and had a turkey wrap and said it was SUPER GOOD!

After dinner it was time for the safety meeting.


We met inside and it was L-O-N-G!! Like an hour of waiting long! They had us wait for a good 20-30 minutes inside, then the announcements came, the demonstration, the directions, they put the arm tag on the children (Sakari hates it and still has a ring around her arm from it-tan line) and then they told us to single file out and follow them.


We would proceed OUTSIDE along the side of the ship where they would put us in rows, perfect in line and if you were leaning, you would be told to straighten up soldier. No really, it was stupid. They said NOTHING while we were out there. Just put us in lines and had us wait. After about 10 minutes out there, they said "Okay" and then everyone scrambled. Everyone was completely confused and aggravated about why we were doing this. There was no instructions at all. It was the weirdest safety drill I have ever been to and the longest. I only assume that if something happened, that's where they wanted us to meet, but they didn't say this. They said nothing. I can guarantee if the ship is sinking there's not a sole that would report to their assigned spot. It would probably be the closest place you can get to.


We then headed up to the deck for the sail-away party. It ended up being a Dr Seuss sail-away party, which was a first for us, and it was a lot of fun. They have a raised deck area in the middle of the pool deck and the characters were all up there dancing and the crowd was...well VERY crowded and having a good time.

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Chris, not sure what his title is, maybe assistant cruise director, but he was dancing away! He was good and boy did he have the moves. Honestly, I seen him everywhere and he was involved in everything. He should be a cruise director himself. I think Felipe (?) was the cruise director? Whoop Whoop.

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Sakari loves dancing and knows most of the dances, but that girls rhythm....don't know where she gets that from either! She's always so off beat.

They shot streamers up in the air and they were every where. Carnival really does know how to throw a dance party...even with Dr Suess!

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There was a guy there from Puerto Rico and he loved his breakdancing. He reminded me of some guys that were really good at the club I went to back in the 80's. Same attitude and demeanor. The floor cleared and he did his thing. I didn't catch him on video the first time, but the second time I was waiting. He carried around a bag on his back with his "supplies", which included a "special" hat for his break dancing. He put it on, gave the "battle" sign that "I'm better than you are and watch this" and started spinning on his head. He was a character to watch the entire cruise.

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Sakari worked up a sweat and wanted some pizza before heading back to the room.

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We headed back to the room around 11pm, showered and packed for our first port day tomorrow...ST THOMAS!

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