MITSUGIRLYS EPIC CRUISE--2nd time around-1st from Port Canaveral
Day 2: Getting on the ship
I woke up at 8am and headed outside to check the temps. It was a little chilly and that made me nervous. There have been several cruises that ended up being a cold sail away and I just hate that (like Baltimore). I don't care if it's pouring down raining, as long as it's warm out. I'll dance in the rain and play in the rain and have fun, but the cold I just hate.
I checked the weather for the day and it said that it was going to warm up. I kept my fingers crossed and headed back inside only to find this munchkin wondering around the hotel and elevators.
He said he was looking for his mom and couldn't find her. I would later find out that Kendra left with Kolin and Courtney to try to find a place to get Kolins hair cut before the cruise. I had to order him back to the room to stay put until she returned. Billy, Kendra's fiance had been in the shower when Brayden, or "B" as we call him, decided to go momma-hunting. That kid....sigh.
I headed back to the room to check the PC webcam in hopes that we would see our Epic sitting in port. I was a little disappointed when I couldn't spot her.
We headed downstairs to get the hubby some coffee. He can't function in the mornings until he's had his coffee.
We found this in the sports/lobby/restaurant area:
Really? They are going to charge you $1.00 for coffee? Most hotels offer it for free that I have been to, but not this place. The hubby was willing to pay whatever it takes to get some coffee running through his veins. Then it happened....drip, drip, drip. Ugh! Coffee-go-empty=no-good for anyone around the husbands direct vicinity. We must find coffee.
I messaged Kendra to let her know that we were headed to breakfast and if they wanted to meet us there, to head over after Kolin's hair cut.
Off we went down the street to Dennys. It's not too far, but it felt like a bit of a haul. Man, I really need to lose some of this "cruise" weight. It really is affecting my mobility function these days. I seriously can not believe the amount of weight I have gained over the last 3-4 years and I do swear it's all from cruising. I gain a good 6-10 pounds every cruise and it never goes away. I never gain any while at home, so it's obviously cruise weight right?
Along the way, Sakari spots a bird and says "take a picture of the crane mommy" and so I did
Here we have made it to Denny's and you can see Doubletree off in the distance to give you some type of idea how far it is.
Kendra had messaged Billy and told him to head over to Dennys to meet us and he and B arrived as soon as we were seated.
As soon as we ordered, Kendra and Courtney started messaging me their breakfast order to put in and hopefully the timing would work out that they would arrive before the meal was served. They were first to arrive at the hair salon at 9am when they opened and Kolin put his name on the list for a haircut and they told him a 20 minute wait. HOW???? They were the first there and only 1 other person arrived after them and she said they had 4 people there working.
Our breakfast was arriving and Kendra showed up just as the food was coming out. You talk about good timing.
My food was scrumptious, but a bit on the greasy side.
After breakfast we headed back to the hotel for some last minute packing and Kendra wanted some more yummy cookies, because she might get hungry on the long trip to the port ya know.
After getting everything back into the suitcases, we headed downstairs at 11:30am.
CRUISE PORT TRANSPORTATION COMPANY:
We checked the boards and it was suggested to use Goportcanaveral for our needs because they would pick us up at the hotel in Orlando and transport to the cruise port and then back to the airport and they had a fairly decent price for our group of 8. So, we booked and prepaid ahead of time.
I had to actually call them to book and couldn't do an online booking because their bookings only said from the airport to PC. I booked and they said I would receive a confirmation in my email in a few days.
When I received the confirmation, IT HAD THE WRONG DATES ON IT!!! GASP! They had me down for transportation from the hotel to the cruise port on Nov 11th and we needed the 12th.
I immediately called them and they looked in their system and said they indeed had me down for the 12th, but the people typing in the confirmations had typed it up wrong. They sent me out a new revised confirmation within the day and I printed it out. I might add that I also received another confirmation for another family, which resulted in yet another called to this company to let them know that I received a confirmation that didn't belong to me and they might want to make sure that this other family received their confirmation because they were probably waiting on it.
Now, after making this reservation, fast forward to the 11th. We were on our way to the airport when I received a "weird" number phone call that was long distance and I didn't recognize the number, so I didn't answer. About 20 minutes later the number called again. Again, I didn't answer and figured if it was important, they would leave a message. About 30 minutes later I received another weird number phone call, but this time it said "Florida". So, I decided to answer it. It was the hotel (Doubletree) asking if I needed picked up and taken to the cruise port and they said my transportation was there. GASP! I told them that I haven't even left my home town and don't arrive in Orlando until later in the day and our cruise wasn't until the following day. The guy on the phone from the hotel said "yes, that's what I figured because I told them that you hadn't even checked into our hotel yet but he's standing here in the lobby saying he's here to pick your family up. Don't worry, I'll straighten it out for you." At this point I'm a little perturbed to say the least. Did they or didn't they have the right day? Was I going to be stranded on the day that I actually needed the transportation? I was beginning to wish I had never booked with them if this was any indication as to what was to come.
So fast forward to today...cruise day. We headed down to the lobby at 11:30am. Our instructions on our booking said that pick up would be between 11:45 and noon. When I was on the phone with them booking, they told me to BE EARLY!! They said they were normally early for pick ups and they did not want to have to wait and we needed to be outside waiting on them before the 11:45am scheduled time. Ok, kinda rude, but whatever. It's later than we wanted to leave anyhow so earlier is better...considering we had about a 45 minute ride to the port. This would be the latest we had ever arrived to a port. But, we had no choice and we could not pick our time to be picked up.
As we were waiting outside, we discovered that Kendra didn't have her cruise papers...or luggage tags...or anything. GASP! Thinking back to the night before we left home, I had her paperwork and "packet" from our TA in my car when I went to visit her (we got our hair braided before the cruise by her friend) and I had intended on giving it to her that night. We switched cars and took Kendra's car and I completely forgot to give it to her or get it out of my car. That's where it would be at...still laying in the floor board of my car back home. Oh no!!!
She immediately ran inside to get on the internet to print out her boarding passes...only to find that NCL had no record of anything online. I guess 2 days prior to a cruise that information disappears. So now what? We are searching our emails and couldn't find anything. Probably because our TA had printed everything off himself and sent it to us in the mail.
I messaged our TA in a panic while Kendra called NCL about the situation. NCL informed her that she would be fine and they could print it off at the port...but you still had to get into the building and past security to do that and we couldn't figure out how this would happen. My TA said he was on the road and would be home in 10 minutes and email them to me.
We impatiently waited for the email all while the shuttle did not show up and I was getting worried. I didn't dare call to see where they were at because we were having a crisis of our own at the moment and the last thing I wanted was for them to actually show up and us not have the email at that point. However, since it was now 12:15 and a half hour AFTER the time they told us we better be standing outside waiting on them and to not make them wait, I figured we had been waiting on them for a half hour and THEY were late so if they did arrive, they WOULD wait on us whether they liked it or not.
Meanwhile, the kids were entertaining themselves looking for lizards in the bushes. It's so nice to not have a care in the world other than what cruise you are going to go on next and not have any adult issues that we were currently dealing with at that moment.
At 12:15 I received the awaited email...we printed her documents and luggage tags and I immediately got on the phone with the shuttle service to inquire where our ride was. I was told "we had problems with the driver" and they would arrive in about 10 minutes. They showed up 30 minutes later.
We piled in and off we went, then the driver does a U-turn and heads in a different direction and says "I now need to pick up 3 more people" SAY WHAT???? WHERE THE HELL-O DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PUTTING THEM? The only seat available was the one in the front with the driver.
We arrived at another hotel where there was a lot of commotion going on with another driver that had a luggage trailer they pulled in the back of the van. I guess there were more people booked in that van that there was space. We couldn't hear what was going on but a lot of hands up in the air was going on while we sat there for at least 8-10 minutes while they figured out what to do. We ended up with 2 of their passengers with one sitting in the front seat and the other squeezed in the back after we had to do some switching of seats with the little ones.
The driver didn't have anything to say on the way there and was very quiet so we were forced to entertain ourselves between our clan. We played with snapchat and discovered a cool looking hair style and that would be our entertainment for the ride there.
A few more snapchats between all of us girls as we giggled between us and then we would come to the big bridge that meant that we were getting close...time to get serious.
Then we could see the ships in the distance. But I didn't see the Epic.
I could tell there was a Carnival ship and a Disney ship, then some odd looking ship, but no Epic.
Ahhh, there she is... all the way down there by herself in all her glory.
She is a massive ship! The biggest in the fleet until they built the Escape.
Now I have to say that I didn't really keep up with anything that was happening with the Epic or the port. I had no idea of any "new" buildings or anything. All I was aware of is that this was the first sailing for the Epic out of Port Canaveral after returning back to the US. I have since read things about building another terminal, building 1, the terminal not being finished, using another building and using RC's building. I honestly have NO IDEA...what building I was in, if it belonged to another cruise line, or what was going on. Since we shuttled in, the driver dropped us off where we belonged and we didn't really have to worry about "where" we were at, just that we were "at". LOL
I also wasn't too involved with our roll call. For some reason I just didn't feel too "connected" to the roll call since I wasn't able to post much due to schooling and trying to get that taken care of (plus a LONG August vacation/cruise with a review that needed to get done). So, maybe there was some talk of what was going on there and I just wasn't aware of it. It was definitely a different roll call experience than my previous Epic roll call that I'm still close friends with a lot of them.
I really don't remember what time we actually arrived now, but it was around 45 minutes to the port and I want to estimate it was around 1:45 when we arrived.
We dropped our luggage off at the porters and headed inside some type of covered parking lot it looked like. There were A LOT of people there, but I wouldn't realize just how many until we started trying to find the end of the line.
We walked past the building, the line wrapped around the building and weaved back and forth and then headed down the other side of this garage type building we were in and down to the end of that, then weaved back and forth again.
The workers there tried their best to direct people which way to go, but it was a mad house with people just everywhere. They tried pulling out the chains and making lines for people to stand in, but there were just so many people that it was hard to determine where the lines really were. The people kept coming and coming and the lines weren't getting any shorter.
We kept walking and walking, trying to determine the end of the line, but people were just coming from every direction.
At least Sakari was having fun with it and this seems to be a habit with her any time Billy comes along on the cruise...being carried while hanging on his arm until he can't take it no more.
When that no longer worked, she had B carry her. Such a princess she is.
We finally determined the end of what we thought was the line and jumped in, where it seemed like we were miles away from the terminal.
The workers there did break out bottled water for everyone waiting in line, so I know they were at least trying to accommodate us and knew that the crowd wasn't pleased. The only comment I remember making was that I was so glad that it was not a HOT day out and it was pretty comfortable, even though we had shorts on.
Here is a short video of the lines after we had already been standing in it forever and had actually moved up quite a bit before I decided to take a video of it instead of pictures. We had already made it up and down the zig-zag lines in the parking area and almost to the zig-zag lines along the back of the building.
Hey we were making progress. Slow progress, but it was progress. We didn't really complain much and knew that even though the lines were extremely long, we had made it to the terminal and we would be getting on...even if it was hours later. The ship wouldn't be leaving without us!
We were in line outside for maybe 1 1/2 hours, then once inside, we encountered even more long lines of course. We waited in line inside to check in for another 45 minutes and people were definitely moaning and groaning and voicing their opinion. I heard the lady next to us checking in get rude with the check-in staff. When it was time to take her picture, they said "smile" and she went off on them about how she wasn't about to smile after waiting in line for this long and had never encountered such a ____ up embarkation process and so on...and smile she did not. Actually after all that, I'm almost positive she probably stuck her middle finger up in her photo and I probably just didn't see it. Just saying...
After such a long wait and them pumping us with that yummy hot water outside (everyone knows I DON'T drink water, but hey, this was all I had at the moment) that it was time for a potty break before getting on the ship.
We headed to the restrooms and low and behold there was this box with an angel halo glowing around it...yes, I'm talking about a pop machine. HEAVEN! Those of you that don't know it yet, NCL decided to stop allowing you to bring your own soda on board. This completely SUCKS for someone like me that lives and breathes pop. Even though I have always brought my pop limit, I also still buy the soda package...so at least with me, they aren't ever losing any money. But, it is what it is and about a week or so prior to boarding, someone mentioned on a thread that if you wanted to bring pop on board, grab some from the vending machine within the terminal. They don't check your bags after security and before getting on the ship....BINGO! Yes, this would cost a lot of money, but did someone like me care? Nope! I LOADED UP!! I shoved as many in my bag, Courtneys bag and Kendra's bag that I could. I was stocked up for at least a few days. :D
We headed toward the ship, but wait, where do they take the pictures at? We stopped and asked and was told that the photographers took it down awhile ago and they are NO LONGER AVAILABLE! Ok, I have remained calm this entire 2+ hour wait, but now I'm pissed. They should not have taken down the embarkation pictures until EVERYONE is done and on board. That's just not fair to those of us that were forced to wait in lines this long. That is not our fault and now we don't get an embarkation picture???? Seriously? Now I'm a little steamed! I ALWAYS buy this picture for every cruise because I do a scrapbook for Sakari to have for once I'm gone from this world (long story short, my mom was 42 when she had me, I was 42 when I had Sakari, my mom passed away and was buried on my 18th birthday, I'm scared of history repeating itself and I do everything in my power to give Sakari memories we have together because she might still be a child if I die early like my mom did and I know what it's like. So, I make scrapbooks of all of our cruises...detailed just like these reviews with tons of pictures. The embarkation photo is one the most important photos because that is my cover photo in the book. So to me, this is not just another embarkation photo...it's a required photo...one that I won't have for this cruise...an important cruise to Sakari because she has waited so long to go on the Epic).
So that didn't set me in a good mood at all...but the lady said "you'll have plenty of opportunities for other pictures on board and our photographers will be on board the entire week for other shots". She just didn't understand. I don't care about the other shots.
Ok, enough about that. You get the picture. I was upset. I needed a drink........from the "free-but-you-still-pay-over-$90" for the free drink package. Let's get on board!
Up the ramps we went
Sakari was super excited and led the way.
It looks like Kolin was super excited as well because him and Sakari were the first on the ship, way ahead of us.
We have arrived! Where's the welcome committee? There wasn't anyone there. There was no red carpet like always. There wasn't any balloons. There wasn't any kids club members welcoming the kids and wanting you to sign up. There was nothing! It was WEIRD! One of the worse embarkations I have ever experienced. It was like we didn't matter. We didn't exist. We were nobody. We had missed the party. Is this the part I'm supposed to jump up and down and stomp my feet and yell "but I'm platinum!"? (As I read plenty of people listing this in letters to this and other cruise companies because they seem to think it will give them more leverage).
Since we were so late getting on the ship, we did not get our dailies until we made it back to the room later that evening...a little too late. But, I will be nice and give them to you now.
If you have a munchkin in the 6-9 age group, you are in luck. I have the schedule for them.
Also, we (the girls) had downloaded the iconceirge app on our phones so that we would be able to text each other and know where we all are at any given time and would be able to meet up. The guys...well, they were on their own. insertevilgrinhere I mean don't they say that guys never stop to ask for directions because they are never lost? Yea, we'll see about that right?
We have used this app several times before and usually had decent service with it and good experiences. The text works great, but the phone service, not so much. You can call someone elses phone on it, but you can barely understand what they are saying and it will cut in and out. So, I don't recommend it if you are someone who would rather talk to the other party versus texting. Texting-workie good. Phone-no workie good. Just saying...
It also has a lot of other functions as well.
This is everything that the app is supposed to do. You could even book your excursions from your phone app as well.
If you didn't feel like carrying around the dailies, then you could just check your phone instead. You could make reservations from your phone and look up details and pricing along with even menus on the app.
The dining venues were all listed...but I would later discover there is a blooper in the app....it's missing Le Bistro on it!!!!
So we had finally made it on the ship. Down the deck we went and into the ship. It was a mad house. Seriously so many people. I don't think I have ever experienced this before. Sometimes when you get on the ship there's a lot of people in the Atrium, but we got on (and off) on the 7th floor, so it wasn't even the Atrium. Then there's usually a lot of people at the buffet as well. However, by the time we made it on, you would have thought that people had cleared out a little.
It was IMPOSSIBLE to catch an elevator. They were jam-packed FULL! Seriously! Every elevator, every time. So, that forced us to walk up to the 14th floor to find our rooms via stairway. Now honestly, I'm not lazy and don't mind walking...it's all I do and especially on cruises. I can't sit still for more than a few minutes and always on the go. However, at my age, I have started to develop a little crepitus in my knees and they grind all the way up the steps. My knees also pop with each step, like the sound you hear when you crack your knuckles type of pop...each and every step. So walking up is never a good thing for me, walking down does not hurt. Add that I have become very fluffy over the last few years, I certainly wear out easier. I must do something about this weight soon!!
But up the stairs we went. The kids were acting like it was a race and I was acting like I was dying. I was out of breath, my knees were aching. But I finally made it to the 14th floor. Kendra headed to her room and we headed to ours with Kolin and Courtney following.
So now I will give you a tour of our balcony room-14049 with the extended balcony on the hump of the ship.
The room itself is what I pictured with the "wave" in the room. I honestly didn't find it too bad or compromising compared to any other room I have had. The couch is located in the bump out wave area and there's about as much space to walk around it as you would any other NCL room IMO. The bed is located in the bump in wave area of course. We picked the room with the bed beside the balcony. I kind of went back and forth between what I wanted and figured with the bed being closer to the balcony, the room might feel bigger when you walked in. So that's what we went with.
The decor is beautiful to me. We had a room with the blue trim (pillows and such) and it's the only color I had previously seen in pictures. However, several times walking down the hallway with the cabin stewards cleaning other rooms, I did notice that some people had red rooms instead. I wasn't even aware that any of the rooms had red decor until this cruise.
So here's the room area. I apologize ahead of time that I totally forgot to get pictures of the room before putting everything away. I was just too tired to think straight after waiting in line for over 2 hours, then walking up 7 flights of steps, and I wasn't thinking straight. So a lot of these pictures were taken at the end of the cruise.
There's plenty of lighting needs, which include on the walls, hidden lighting above the cabinets, a round circle light above the bed and evening reading lights on each side of the bed as well.
Tons of storage, including above the bed.
Directly in front of our bed was a storage cabinet. Now this is where things are different with this cabinet in my room compared to Kendras room with the bed by the shower area.
Here's my cabinet.
At the top of this cabinet was a bar. I assume that this was supposed to be additional places to hang clothes, but there were no hangers, so it was useless. Plus, you would only be able to fit a few things there to begin with because it was such a small shallow area with no depth to it.
This is at the bottom of this "box" that was useless...we put some clothes on it, but once again, it's just too shallow to really use and is a waste of space. They should just put shelves in this area. The drawers were so small, once again because it's so shallow.
Now in Kendras room, this was a HUGE cabinet with plenty of space in the drawers and to hang things up. I meant to get a picture of hers, but life got busy.
However, here's a picture of her room
Then the t.v. and more cabinets/storage is in front of the bed.
They do have a coffee maker in the room, but the hubby has become spoiled and would rather go get coffee already made than to take the time to make his own. (This applies to at home and his store as well even though we have coffee makers at both). LOL
Our cabin steward did fill our ice bucket every day and night.
Down below that was another storage area. We used this for our bathing suits and cover ups. It had some wire baskets on the side as well.
Beside that was additional storage and also the area with a hidden plug outlet.
To the right of this is another cabinet and GASP, I don't even have a picture of it for some reason. It was curved and opened up to shelves and one had the small safe in it. We just stored our snorkel stuff in it and didn't use it much other than the safe but it was a very deep cabinet.
On to the right of that was another huge closet and a big mirror.
Plenty of hangers to hang stuff up inside but that was pretty much it. There were no shelves, even though I seen an area that looked like shelves were supposed to be there. We used the bottom of it to put our various shoes in it and the dirty clothes hamper/bag I carry for each vacation.
Next comes the sink area and an area that some people complain about because it's like this area sits inside your room instead of an actual bathroom like most ships.
I honestly didn't mind the area. Our studio we had previously had the same thing, so I already knew what to expect to a certain extent.
Above the sink was plenty of storage and glasses and you will also find the outlet for the shaver.
Below the sink is a drawer and then a huge drawer below that. I actually used this for some of my tee shirts since there really didn't seem to be any appropriate place to put clothes and the drawers and cabinet on the opposite side were just too small and shallow for all of our things.
As you can see from the above picture, they store your towels, hand towels and wash rags in this area, along the side, as well. So, when you take a shower, you will need to grab them before going in and hang them up in the shower area (there are hooks on the outside of the shower and by the door). Otherwise you will be moving the curtain that blocks this area for privacy when showering to grab towels.
Now I know in the past that there have been A LOT of complaints about the sinks. Yes, they are small, but the complaints were that when you turn the water on that the water splashes everywhere...due to the sink being small and the water pressure. I never had a problem AT ALL. I turned it on full blast and there was no splashing. Maybe they caught on to this and turned the water pressure down at some point?
Here's a video of the water running....no splashes, no issues.
On the opposite side of the room is the couch and what is considered the 3rd bed.
It is rounded due to the "wave" and when they "make the bed up for the night" all they do is pull this bottom couch area out a few inches. It's honestly a very small "bed" and is nothing like the normal 3rd and 4th beds you will find on the other ships. Thank goodness that Sakari is still small enough to sleep on something like this, but I don't think it would ever work for an adult. It would be quite small and uncomfortable.
Don't forget there's additional storage behind this back part of the couch as well.
There are also 2 steel boxes with drawers sitting under this couch as well. They were pretty hard to pull out, so we didn't use them. They normally stick the bedding to the couch under there, but I believe since they are so hard to pull in and out that the cabin steward has found it easier to store it in the back park of the couch instead.
There's a touch one phone in the room as well. It makes things easy and you don't have to look up numbers or dial.
On to those dreaded "bathrooms".
Here's the shower. It's rounded and sits at the corner of the room as you enter the room. It has the frosted glass doors.
The shower head had 3 different settings and 2 different places that you could actually put the head of it. Sakari always likes when they have that because when it's in the lower position, she can reach it better and it's like a pint sized shower for her.
I never bring my body wash from home and always use NCL's body wash. I find it sufficient to do the job and I personally think it smells nice. I do bring my own shampoo and conditioner though. I can't imagine trying to comb my hair after using a shampoo/conditioner mixture of some off brand. It would just never work with my long fine hair. I did discover there's a holder for your sponge though. I don't think I have ever noticed this before and they probably all have them...but I'm not sure. I have always just put my sponge around the handle instead.
I didn't really like the toilet area. It was the same as the shower area but seemed very small and confined. The opening to the area was also a sliding frosted glass door that was rounded and I would imagine for even heavier people than myself, it would be kinda challenging to get into with the door not opening up far.
Here's the door closed. You really can't see anyone in there and you can only see a shadow here and there.
The curtain goes from the bathroom enclosure to the shower enclosure and the sink area is not included in this area.
For the most part, this area really didn't bother us like it does some people. I would have to say that it kinda made me nervous about the room steward just walking in when someone was in the shower or bathroom because I have had room stewards knock really quick and walk right on in not giving anyone time to answer the door. Our room steward was very nice and always gave us plenty of time to answer the door this time around. Just remember to lock the deadbolt to the door and hopefully there won't be an issue.
On to the large balcony we had. If you love your balconies, I would suggest you book one of these rooms.
I'm just going to be honest here. For us, it really didn't make a big difference. We like the balconies for being able to see when it's day light out or pulling into port. But that's about it. We really don't spend enough time out here to justify the added cost. I think we went out on the balcony maybe once or twice a day...in the morning to see what the weather was like or pulling into port. Then maybe once in the evening just to "see" if there was anything out there...like maybe a ship following us, which there was 2 other ships following us during this cruise. But other than that, it's really pointless for us most of the time.
The pictures I had previously seen online with these balconies showed a few regular chairs and some lounge chairs. We only had 2 regular chairs and no lounge chair. I think if we would have had a lounge chair, I might have spent a little more time out here. But we are on the go all the time and really don't care to just sit on the balcony and glaze at the water. Kendra had 3 regular chairs on her balcony. I really didn't ask her how much she used her balcony.
One side of us had a full wall and the other was the normal partition wall.
The balcony is covered, so it cuts down on any sun toward the back or bad weather. It almost felt like a cove balcony in a way and I like cove balconies better than the normal ones. It also cuts down on the wind as well, which is nice. It rained one day and we were able to come out on the balcony and not get wet.
Looking down from our balcony.
We were right at the end of the hump on the outside, so you couldn't see past our hump or toward the back of the ship.
Looking toward the front of the ship. You could see the Captain standing out there when we were pulling into port, which was kinda neat.
After checking out our room, we headed over to Kendra's room to check hers out.
Obviously she had the better view in port.
Carnival was leaving...
Obviously I was trying out my new camera and settings.
So we had checked out each others rooms and put our things down to lighten the load. Our luggage was not at our rooms yet so it was time to head up to the pool deck and to the bar. We REALLY needed a drink at this point and time to relax a little.
I believe this will be the first cruise that Kolin is "legal" and gets the drink package. He's 22 now and his last cruise he was a month shy of turning 21 last year and I still had to sign for him to drink beer/wine. So, he's happy.
In case any of you wondered...my family are not drinkers. They only time we ever drink is on a special occasion (like at a birthday dinner or maybe a drink on New Years Eve and the kids will have a drink at a bar every so often to celebrate a relatives birthday) or....when we are on a cruise with NCL, that offers the drink package. Then we are sometimes like kids in a candy store making up for lost time. (j/k, or am I?) This cruise, Kolin will completely de-plenish the entire supply of Angry Orchard on the entire ship. I'm almost sure he singlehandedly did this on his own (by Thursday I believe). LOL Yes, we take advantage of this package, then we will probably never touch another drink until the next cruise. No we are not drunk drinkers either and never get out of hand. Well, maybe Billy sometimes, but he's the exception of the group and moma bear has to put him in his place every so often.
This was before he discovered the ship had angry orchards. He hates Budweiser....but put on a happy face for the picture. LOL
We were getting hungry since we hadn't ate since that morning. We headed in to the buffet and it was still very crowded. I don't recall this ship being this crowded when we were on it in 2010 and I sure don't remember ANY of my other cruises being this crowded either. If this was any indication of what the week was going to be like....
Our sail away was supposed to be at 4pm, but we were sitting in port still. Obviously we didn't pull out at 4pm because we were not even ON the ship until after 4pm.
At 5:37pm...we pulled out...FINALLY! But wait, what happened to the safety drill??? Are we not having one until later? Will we have one tonight? What is going on?
I would later find out that the safety drill was around 3:30pm and they were letting everyone out about the time that we were getting on. THIS!!!! This was the reason that all the elevators were taken and crowded and we were filling like we were at some rock concert ready to body surf in order to make it anywhere. So, hopefully this meant that things would calm down throughout the cruise and it wouldn't seem as bad.
A few pictures of it getting dark...
We headed back to the room for awhile and Sakari watched The good dinosaur movie until 7:45. The room steward stopped by twice asking to turn down our room for the night because someone had turned our rotation wheel on the outside of the door to "turn down room".
We took Sakari to Splash kids club so that we could go explore a little more and fill our kidneys with some of that tasty liquid.
I had two bartenders ask me what I wanted to drink and I told them both. So, I got a two-for-two-bartenders drink special. Who knew you could do this? Hmmm. insertbiggrinhere
Kolin and Courtney always take a picture each cruise by the light...forgive me but I'm still learning my camera and whenever I use the flash on it, there's a shadow to the right. Anyone know what I'm doing wrong? Also, Kolin had still not learned that the ship carried Angry Orchard at this point and he was still nursing a Budweiser that he absolutely hated.
I'm a lightweight and as mentioned before, very rarely drink. Those last 2 drinks really did me in. But Courtney INSISTED that I needed to get another drink with her. So I obliged.
Awww, this bartender was nice.
We went and checked out the shopping area and did a little "window shopping" because I don't like to buy anything until later in the cruise when they have the big blow-out sale trying to reduce inventory like if it was the first time that they've ever had that sale before and your cruise was the first and only cruise to have this happen. You feel special don't you? You feel like you have saved more than anyone else. I wanted to feel special and therefore I would be waiting on my purchases until a much later date.
We decided we'd head to the casino to try our luck and then gave up when we discovered.....MOST of the slots that I like to play (Carnival Rio, Wild Tornado, Haunted House, Chamillion, Wild Pixies, Lucky Lava, Wild Rainforest and so on) are lined up and down the middle section and I would soon find out that MOST of them did NOT accept the coupons and only wanted you to insert cash!! Seriously? So, I insert cash in the slot, I play, I cash out, then I can not insert it into another slot? Only cash? It was aggravating.
That didn't last long and we headed out of the casino around 9:30pm and decided to wonder around some more.
We came to the arcade and Kolin and Courtney would try their luck at a few games.
We found the kids water area and I had wondered what they replaced the Nickelodeon themed characters with....nemo and ocean themed stuff is now there. Yippee! I love it!
My free parents time was about over and time to pick up the munchkin from Splash at 10:30pm. We decided to head to the buffet for dinner and ended up outside at the Garden buffet area.
It hit the spot and Sakari had some cookies (she loves cookies).
We needed one more drink before we headed to the room and discovered that the bartenders would allow you to get virgin drinks of whatever you were having for the kids. Sakari ended up with her version of a Strawberry daiquiri, topped off with cherries, because, well it's still a fruit and it's still red, so she'll never know the difference right?
The pool area was lit up just like I remember it and so pretty.
Back to our room we would find a gift waiting for us on the bed....thanks to all the money I invested to become platinum...I deserve chocolate covered strawberries...even if I don't like chocolate. Sakari would eat them and so would Kolin. Then the box of 4 Godiva chocolates all the kids would end up splitting. Once again, I don't care for chocolate (unless it's a drink).
We showered, watched a little tv and headed to bed because it had been a L-O-N-G and exhausting day.