MITSUGIRLYS DAWN TO BERMUDA NOVEL (or review and pictorial as some may call it)
Day 1: Heading to Boston overnight for our cruise
So this cruise...we have myself, hubby and youngest daughter, Sakari, (who just turned 7 two months ago) with us. We also have my 26 year old daughter, Kendra, her boyfriend and her son, who is only 3 months younger than my youngest daughter. (Yes, we were pregnant together along with my daughter in law as well). This time around we will also have Kendra's bf's sister (she's a cruise newbie and now hooked) and her daughter (which we took on a cruise with us for the first time last November, so her second cruise). So that's a total of 8 cruisers this time around. We have been cruising with my youngest son and his girlfriend, but they were not able to come along this time because they just had a baby a few weeks prior to us leaving for this cruise. But rest assured, they are on a mission to go on the next! :D I have learned that the more people you cruise with, the more hectic things get and the more stressful it is. You would think I would learn my lesson but somehow they all manage to work themselves into our cruise plans each time. :p (I'm not the only one hooked you see).
With that being said...let the review begin.
This will be my very first cruise to BERMUDA!!! I have been saying that I was going to book a cruise to Bermuda since forever ago...and I finally did! So yes, I'm a Bermuda "newbie" (yikes, running and hiding now).
We always book when they have the Family & Friends Sail Free, formally known as the Kids Sail Free, promo. Even though it only saves our fare for Sakari, it really does make a big difference in the price. I think I have only cruised once with NCL that I didn't book this promo. So when they have it, you'll find me booking whatever I can. It's like a "cruisers gone wild" time around here and the hubby knows to stay out of my way because I'm on a mission. This cruise would be no exception. We managed to book the last week using this promo before the "summer" rates hit. Yes, it was still expensive (to me), but I knew it was what we wanted.
So here we go...
Everyone knows I have a habit of getting hurt on cruises. This time around, I manage to hurt myself just a few days prior to the cruise. I'm just going to warn you now...and this IS advice I would take if I were you...If you have an iron and it falls, I highly suggest letting it fall and not try to catch it. Everyone knows your natural instinct is to catch something you knock off and is falling...and that's exactly what happened to me. I used my arm and the iron won the game of catch. Ok, so yea, it was starting to blister and of course the day prior to leaving for our vacation, they popped and everything got nasty.
I just knew that this was gonna hurt when it hit salt water and I was preparing myself for the worse. However, I did know that the salt water would be good for it and probably help heal it quicker...it was just going to be painful. Sigh
Anyhow, I had completely lost my mind when I booked our air flight and we had a 6:10am departure. Now 6:10am may not sound too bad for most of you, but for a family like ours, it's treading dangerous waters. We are not morning people at all. We like to sleep in until at least 10-11am. We stay up late=sleep in late. It's just the schedule we've always had. Then you add 2 more families traveling at that time, that are the same way, and you are just waiting for a disaster to happen.
I worked on Wednesday and then forced myself to go to bed early so that we could be up at 3am to do last minute packing, pack the car, get some breakfast and speed dial my oldest daughter and family every 5 minutes to make sure they were running on schedule and would arrive at the airport in time to catch our flight....of course threatening along the way that I would be on that plane whether they were there or not.
I left 1 last message to all my friends and family back home...
Glad to say we all made it in time and had a few minutes to spare before our plane arrived.
Sakari did her "normal" thing and entertained herself by drawing like always...
We boarded the plane at 5:40am and we took off exactly on time at 6:10am. The sun was coming up and Sakari loved watching it rise as we were taking off.
And of course you have to do the selfie pics as well. Some of the "extended" fam behind us. Yes, I told them they were creepers trying to get in my pictures. wink wink
She couldn't wait for them to announce that we could relax and take down the "tables" in front of us and she could start drawing again.
We did have a stop over...in GEORGIA....like I'm flying from OHIO to BOSTON and they take us all the way down south to Georgia and then all the way back up north again and over to Boston. Some times I just don't understand it.
We were back on the next plane at 8am and taking off again at 8:35am. We always fly with Southwest and have almost always had a good experience. Even the time we missed our flights (thanks to Kendra), they were outstanding and wonderful to us and bending over backwards to get us to our destination. Both of these flights I have to say that the stewardess on each were extremely rude and just "off" from what we have experienced in the past. No smiles, no "funny" jokes during take off, but they did give out a couple "rolling of the eyes" for free a few times, which I'm sure they didn't realize I had caught that. I even had one stewardess on our first flight take my cup from my hand and say they "must take back all the "offerings" they hand out prior to landing. Now I have flew with SW enough times to know that they still hold out their little white trash bag as you get off the plane so that you can deposit your left over "offerings" into it. But this stewardess wasn't having it. On the second flight we had ordered our "drinks" and the stewardess stopped right at our chair, waiting for someone in the isle to move that was going back to their seat after using the restroom, and refused to give us our drinks until it was our turn. Now ok, fine, but she only had 1 other row of drinks (6 drinks total) to pass out before ours. Like WTH is wrong with these people today?
We arrived in Boston at the expected time and everywhere you looked there was a Dunkin Donuts shop. The family decided to get a bite to eat there at one of them prior to heading out the doors and calling the hotel for our shuttle pick up.
I decided to check the weather, which I had been fretting about all week prior to the cruise, and I can tell you that I didn't need the weather.com app to tell me that it was cold outside in Boston. BRRRRRR!!!
It was warmer at home than here. What is going on??? The weather had been calling for nothing but rain and/or thunderstorms in Bermuda for the days before, during and after we would be there. I was really freaking out thinking what the heck would we do if it rained the entire time? Our first time in Bermuda and I would be punished by having the rain gods cut loose on me for putting this cruise off for so many years.
We decided to book the Comfort Inn for this cruise after a lot of deliberation on where to stay. Since we fly in, we always have to have access to a place that is within walking distance for both food and pop (or "soda" as the Southern people say). It needs to be accessible enough to be able to haul our "pint sized" munchkins with us along the way...so safety is also an issue when walking.
We ended up staying at the Comfort Inn on Morrissey Rd, which didn't seem to be the "prized possession" place that others on the boards offered with their suggestions. However, after doing my google earth search (which I always do) and "walking the streets" of Morrissey to get a feel of what all was around there, I went against the "norm" of suggestions and went ahead and booked it. I thought we got a decent price for the place considering what most of the other hotels were charging...which was a crazy price and at least twice or more than what we "normally" pay for a hotel stay.
It did offer a free shuttle service from the airport to the hotel. I called them at 12:08 and the guy on the other end sounded a bit confused about where we were to meet the shuttle at. He did tell us to exit the terminal, turn right and go to the end, then said he would call me right back to confirm a time of the shuttle arrival.
The shuttle arrived at 12:29 and at the same time the phone rang from the hotel. HA! A little slow dude...but no worries, I see him already. The shuttle motioned to us and then pointed in the direction across the street and mouthed that he was not allowed to stop where we were at to pick up.
We all headed over to the next pick up section, crossing 1 section of traffic lanes and waited in the middle. Then we seen him pull back around and yet he was in the OTHER middle section, or what I would call the 2nd middle section, and parked there. So, once again, we crossed the next section and walked down to the left.
Once we got situated in the van, the driver did tell us how SW had changed terminals about 6 months ago and some of the staff probably didn't realize this and that was the reason for the mistake in where to wait at. No biggie. It's not like we had a fun filled adventurous day planned once we got to the hotel.
The driver was really nice and he gave us a little "tour" telling us about different things along the way. I swear almost every trip we go on, somewhere we will meet someone who has family in Ohio and it becomes a topic of conversation. Of course my response to anyone that lived there or visits there is always..."why???" LOL
We arrived at the hotel in about 20 minutes.
Now Kendra had called the hotel just days prior to our arrival and they had told her they did not provide shuttle to the cruise port. I frantically started trying to make plans to get us to the cruise port and estimating cost versus a shuttle service. I swore it use to be on their site and then it was always next to impossible to locate it again after that. It took some real research to find where it stated this, but eventually I would each time. Then the last time, I couldn't find it to print off to show them that it was included. However, the driver of the shuttle said that they DID offer the service and to make sure that we told the front desk when we checked in what time we'd like to leave. Ok, so at this point I'm hoping for the best and preparing for the worse just in case. Either way, we'd get there right?
We arrived and checked in.
Our rooms were located on the 4th floor so we loaded up and away we went...but where? Once in the elevator, the numbers on it didn't seem to work and you had no idea which floor you were on until the door opened and you could see the numbers.
We had a total of 2 rooms and they were a decent size with 2 beds each in them. Everyone arrived in their rooms and I have to admit that both Kendra and I gasp at the size of the beds. I guess they were supposed to be regular sized beds, but I swear they were twin sized and seem extremely small. I'm use to sleeping in a king sized bed and every single room we have booked have had these small beds in them and I NEVER get any rest the night before a cruise. But, we would just have to deal with it I guess.
This was my attempt in trying to show how small the beds were, but every picture I took seem to make them seem normal size (which I'm sure they were), but in person, I swear they did not look or feel like a regular sized bed.
Everyone was tired from not having any rest the night before and having to get up so early, so we all decided we would take a 2 1/2 hour nap and then get up and head to the grocery store for pop and then find a place to eat some lunch/dinner.
When I laid down, I swear it seemed like we must have been super close to the airport. I could swear I was hearing planes coming in and landing. I would later find out that it was this outside our room window.
It wasn't really loud or anything and it didn't bother us at all...I just thought it was planes at first. LOL
Now I have to admit, I was having a "duh" moment or either it was from the lack of "real sleep" but I'm starring at the wall/floor heater/air conditioning unit and thinking "what type of place has an a/c that doesn't have a way to 1) turn it off or 2) adjust the temperature??? It was cold outside, the a/c was on in the room, and I was freezing and the only option I had was to either have the air on low or high. At this point I had taken my contacts out to get ready for my nap and could not read the dials. Silly me. I went to bed freezing and just dealt with it.
I had set my phone alarm to get up at 4:30pm, like Kendra had said, and after putting my contacts back in, that's when I passed the wall thermostat....geesh
Here's the bathroom area of the hotel room:
You could tell that the rooms had been updated, probably recently, and the decor was stylish and nice. However, obviously someone decided to smoke in this room once it was done and left their "mark" on the tub.
I called Kendra and of course she wouldn't answer. We decided to head out without them, but it's ok, things are more "peaceful" that way.
We knew there was a grocery store right across the street from the hotel and we decided we would head there first to get our pop.
The shuttle driver showed us the overpass cross walk that is used to get from one side of the street to the other the "safe" way and I figured it was a good way to get a few pictures. So out we headed.
The path kind of winded up and back and forth and then across the road and back down and around.
We caught a few of these passing by every few minutes while walking:
Here we spotted the grocery store, Stop & Shop, where you could fill your cart for less, according to their sign. I only wanted to fill mine with pop and I would be good to go. Someone decided that filling their cart was not the best way to go about it and decided to fill their pockets instead...and got caught. Oops.
We noticed on the walk over to the store there was a Subway and a Dunkin Donuts (which I already knew due to my prior research) and decided that if Kendra and the family wasn't up by the time we returned from our pop adventure, we would just head back over to Subway for something to eat.
One thing I noticed is that there is a Dunkin Donuts on every street it seemed like. They were just everywhere. Not only did they have one there beside Subway, but directly across the street at the grocery store there was another. Are there a lot of cops in Boston? (just kidding).
Back in 2013, I decided to purchase a gym bag type of luggage, but you can carry it as a bag, it has straps that you can also put over each shoulder to wear it as well, or pull the handle out and roll it along behind you. I purchased this strictly for the use of putting our pop in it to carry to the ports and it was worked well. I strap it on my back to carry over to the store, and the hubby rolls it back to the hotel on the way back. Then in port, if you can check pop in at the port, we just check the luggage in and if you have to carry the pop, we just pull it around with us. It works out great.
Now I have always thought that you are only allowed to have 1 case per person. I'm not sure if I just assumed this or someone told me this on the boards. But that's all I have ever taken before. This time the store was having a "buy 4" special and I purchased 4 thinking that I would just give 1 of the cases to Kendra. I just can't pass up a "deal". However, when they finally got up and went for pop, they purchased an over abundance amount too so I just kept mind and checked it all in at the port with no problems. Hmmm
More of these passing by on our journey back:
We got back to the room, called Kendra, again with no answer, and I made the executive decision that we would head over to eat Subway without them. We had made plans to go to the bowling alley (which is somehow affiliated with the hotel) to bowl a little bit and have a bite to eat (since they did have a bar & grill there), but we (I) decided Subway it was...at least for now. The bowling alley was open 24/7 so if we were going over later to bowl, maybe we'd eat again (you know, trying to prepare out bellies for the food to come the following week and we needed to do some "stretching" exercises ahead of time).
We arrived at Subway and placed our order. They were super friendly there and the place was big compared to any of the small Subways in our neck of the woods...which will maybe have about 5 tables in it. This place had 2 sides and was actually pretty nice. I snapped a picture of it...because you know, everyone needs a picture of a Subway. Do you know what kind of looks like would have for someone if I was sitting at a Subway and some random people came in to eat and they took a picture of Subway? It would be odd. I always wonder what people think of me because I take such random pictures.
After getting our bellies full, we headed back to the hotel. On the way in, I stopped at the front desk to inquire about the free shuttle to the cruise port. She quickly pulled out a piece of paper and ask us what time we needed a ride. I picked 10am, since that's the time that NCL had ask me when I would like to arrive at the port. She confirmed...3 people? No 8 people. Oops. "Well ok....I need to call the shuttle guy to make sure that's an ok time for him to take that many people." It was and we were set.
We headed back up to the room and soon after Kendra was knocking on the door saying they were going to get pop and something to eat. They ended up at the bowling alley for food and about had a heart attack because of the prices. I know that her bf's sister and her daughter's order was close to $50 for the 2 of them for some reason and I believe Kendra said there's was close to $70 or $80. I don't know what the heck they got, but geesh. They said they decided not to stay to bowl (we were going to head over if they were bowling) because it was so packed in there and no lanes open. So they headed back.
We just hung out in our individual rooms that night and watched t.v. I found a new show, "Tanked" that caught my eye and we watched that for several hours. (Anything related to fish and water is so me and this show is about a company who builds specialized custom made HUGE tanks for their clients...which are usually the "rich and famous"). Then we found another pretty neat show (don't recall the name of it) but they built or remodeled custom pools into a backyard oasis and man were they neat!!!
That entertained us until we were ready to head to bed for the night, while making sure Kendra knew of an appropriate time to get up in the morning and get out of the room to catch our shuttle.