MITSUGIRLY'S birthday cruise on the JADE review/pictorial
Day 2: Getting on the ship
Well it's my birthday and I'm super excited for this day to arrive. I had set my alarm for 7:30am and I was wide awake at 6:50am. Whoops. Well...I guess I'll head outside and see what type of clothing we should have on for the day and check the weather forecast. So out I went.
It was a beautiful and sunny day out and it felt pretty warm with a cooler breeze. I'm VERY cold natured and easily get chilled so I was a little unsure at this point...pants or shorts?? Hmmm. That would end up being the biggest decision that I would have to make that day. I checked the weather forecast and it said it was going to be in the upper 70's by the time we boarded. Well, that's good enough for me and it would end up being a shorts day and I would hope for the best.
I headed back in to the lobby and over to the food section to take in the aroma and see what they had. Drury always provides a HOT buffet type meal that is free with your stay. This is one thing I like about staying here...it cuts down on cost and having to go somewhere else during such a busy and exciting morning.
I headed up to get the family up at 8am and back down to breakfast we went.
They had the normal hot and cold items: eggs, sausage, biscuits & gravy, potatoes, fruits, bagels & toast, donuts, waffles and cereal. Everything was good, except we really didn't care for the gravy. But there's always something I can find that I liked and I have to say, this was the first time I have ever liked the sausage at any hotel. It was actually pretty good and I helped my self to another before I was done.
After breakfast, we knew we needed to go somewhere and get some 12 packs of pop/soda/Coke-but-really-Pepsi. Not having transportation when staying somewhere provides to be a challenge when booking a place because we have to be within walking distance to a gas station/grocery store/pharmacy and it has to be walkable with a child and not a super busy road to cross. With this being a last minute thing, I didn't have a lot of time to research. We debated if we wanted to head out or just wait and pay the cab driver extra to stop by a gas station, but knew we had awhile before it was time for the cab to come.
We headed down the street, which is not too busy and it's sort of like a side street with just traffic going to the hotels back there and there's a few small businesses (car parts/shops) along the way. There's not a sidewalk, but you can walk the parking lots to these places with no problem and be way off the street. There was a main intersection that we crossed and there was no problem there.
We headed to a Shell gas station on the corner only to notice that there was actually a Valero gas station that was on the same side of the street as the hotel and wouldn't have even had to cross the busy road. However, there was a building blocking us seeing it and that's why we hadn't noticed.
Pop was $5.99 for a 12 pack and we grabbed 3 of them. The store clerk rang us up and said "$27.--" Um what?!?! I told him $5.99 x3 did not add up to over $27 even if taxes are 20%! He said "Oops, I must charge you wrong money" Yea, yea you did. Retry those calculation skills. The next time he rang it up, that was more like it. He offered Sakari a free sucker for the trouble, which was nice and off we went with our pop in our dedicated rolling backpack luggage we use each time.
From standing across the busy street by the gas station, looking in the direction we were going to the hotel, this is how far it is...
Not a far walk at all for anyone that needs to do this.
Once back at the hotel, we gathered our luggage and went to the front desk to have them call for a cab. They told us they had called the "Yellow Cab" and they would be here soon. We headed outside to wait.
About 15 minutes later, the lady at the front desk came out and said the cab company had just called saying they were on their way and since she didn't see us inside, she wanted to make sure we hadn't left. She informed us that the lady on the phone said one of her associates might show up before she did and we could go with her if so.
We waited for about a total of 30 minutes or so. A lady pulled up in a maroon mini-van that said something on the side that had nothing to do with "Yellow Cab" nor was it yellow. We just sat there and watched her walk in and then come back out asking if we were the ones needing a cab to the cruise port. Oops, well we didn't realize this cab was for us.
We got in and off we went. The lady was SUPER nice and very informative. We talked all the way there. She also told us to make sure when we come back that we tell the cab driver to take Red Bluff to 45(?) back to the airport because some of the cab drivers like to get on the freeway and go the long way around to get more $$. She said the ride should only be around $45-50 going the quick way versus around $100 that some of the other cabs going the long way will charge. I told her if she had a card, we would happily call her for pick up and we were not going to be in a hurry to get off the ship, due to a late flight out, and that would give her plenty of time to take other passengers back and forth from the cruise port if she wanted. She was excited and handed us her card and told us exactly where to stand once we got off the ship that morning.
Our first site of the Jade. (Picture shot through the tinted window gave off a neat tint, but no, it was not gloomy outside at all)
I was super excited and so was Sakari. She always has to know the name of the ships and squealed with excitement when she herd the name of another ship she hadn't been on.
Ta-da.. "Mommy, take a picture of me like I'm holding the ship" LOL
One more picture of the munchkin holding "her ship" and then we'd head inside to check in
We had arrived at 11:15am and was able to walk right in. We headed toward the Platinum line, which was open and didn't have anyone waiting in line. Wow, how nice. There were people in the other lines, but they weren't long either.
We checked in and up the escalator we went to get on board. Well this was nice. They really had their process together I guess. I had read so many horror stories about cruising out of Texas and this was nothing like that (however, I believe most of those horror stories are the people cruising out of Galveston, like where Carnival docks).
We did not have a line until we got to the part that you stepped onto the walkway leading up to the ship. It wasn't a long line and took maybe 5 minutes of constant moving.
Goodbye port, hello Jade.
Now I did notice that we were constantly being told to move over and "excuse us" while they rolled people up in wheelchairs. I also noticed that A LOT of people would jump behind these wheelchairs acting like they were with the family and walk on by us. Really? What some people will do. I can't wait to get on the ship, but I would never do this. If it's that important, go right ahead. I will still make it on the ship about 5 minutes after you. Just saying.
We stepped foot on the ship and they had the red carpet rolled out for...Sakari, I'm sure.
One last look at the port and I was ready to kiss it goodbye.
We walked into the Atrium and it was decorated with balloons.
Sakari marked her territory to let everyone know she had arrived.
We decided it was time to explore this fascinating "Hawaii" ship.
NEXT UP....A SHIP TOUR.... CLICK HERE TO VIEW
Now on to my review of "our" events during the cruise.
Once we had a look around the ship, we decided to stop and grab a bite to eat at the Great Outdoors. I always love sitting out here and eating if it's not too cold or hot. It's just the perfect place to sit and look at the water...even though we hadn't moved yet, I still enjoyed it.
We decided to take a walk and see just where our room was located. I knew that it was on the aft section of the ship, but had no idea where since it was a last minute booking, the room was picked for us with a guarantee room booked. This would be our first experience of booking this way. I have heard the horror stories before about their crappy rooms and locations. But for the cheap price we paid for the cruise, I wasn't about to complain.
We headed to deck 8 and toward the back to see if we could find it. Immediately one of the room stewards in that hall says "What room are you looking for?" I told him (which we were standing 2 doors down from it and obviously I can read the numbers on the door) and he says in a snotty way "Well that room is not ready yet and you can't go in there!" Um ok. I politely informed him we had no intentions of going IN the room and were merely just trying to find it's LOCATION. Geesh. (Little did I know that this person would also be my friendly room steward for the week).
After that, we decided to head up to the kids club and sign Sakari up. There were tons of people in there and absolutely no organization to it. People were just standing everywhere and there was no line formed and only 2 people from the kids club signing people up. There was no way to tell who was there first, who was next and if you are not an aggressive person, someone was jumping in front of you. I decided I didn't feel like being so stressed out this early in the cruise and we would just come back later.
We headed to the atrium where we would buy our soda package. They applied our sticker on the card and told us to come back to guest services the following day to have our card "coded" in the strip so we didn't have to use the sticker the rest of the week. Um....why? Seemed like such a waste of time. Why apply the sticker only to have to re-key ??? the card? We never did go have this done and I still don't see the need for it. When ever we would get a pop at any of the bars, they never once took our card, swiped our card or anything. You simply flash them your card with the sticker on it and they pour your pop. I'm still puzzled about this entire thing.
Then they made the announcement that we could proceed to our rooms.
We arrived to find our mounds of Latitudes letters, invitations, coupons and our chocolate gift that Sakari would enjoy today (I don't even like chocolate).
I noticed that the nice people in the room prior to us had left us a parting gift...they decided to leave the safe locked for us, where we would have to ask for someone to come and open it...several times!
Once again, I seen the nice room steward in the hall and ask him if we could have more towels. There were 3 of us in the room and we only had 2 towels. He said he would bring us another one. I also ask him about getting some ice. Now came a shocker to me...I was told NO! He said "We leave ice in the mornings if you want ice". Um.....I'm just speechless. I have NEVER been told no that I couldn't have ice until the next day. Wow, simply wow. With us just getting on the ship and once our pop was delivered, I was going to require some ice...one way or another...I would get ice.
I also told him about our safe being locked. He actually looked at me and said "Did you do it?" Seriously? Would I be asking you to have someone unlock it if I was the one who locked it? Sigh. I really hoped that this was not the treatment that was to come this entire week.
Three of our luggage had came and I started to put things away. The only luggage that hadn't arrived so far was our pop. Well it was a good thing since I had no ice to go with it anyhow. Once when I poked my head out to grab one of the luggage, the room steward ask if I had all my luggage. I told him the one was still missing and he said "ok".
Now mind you this room steward never once introduced himself or said his name. I would learn by the 5th day what his name was and that was only because I overheard one of the other room stewards say his name in the hall. He was Mr Noname Steward to us this cruise....as well as we were Mr & Mrs Noname to him the rest of the cruise. I have never been on any cruise were the room steward did not ever call us by our names...whether it be our first or last name...they always said one every time they seen us. I am always SO amazed at how they remember the names of so many people each week. I know I could never do it. But the room steward not only never called us by our names once, he also never said hello or acknowledge us when he seen us coming or going. This is definitely a first for me....EVER! From now on I will refer to him as RaSFaH (Room Steward From H3ll is now his nickname, but he needed a few vowels to actually make that a name=Rasfah).
I will now give you a "tour" (LOL) of our interior room. Not much there to see and they are all about the same. But here goes anyhow.
I sometimes really get into decorating my door. Not only does this give Sakari and I a project to do leading up to the cruise, but it helps identify our room easier. Of course with this being a spur of the moment cruise, I was unable to come up with anything. So, I had decided to bring some of the decorations my oldest daughter (Kendra) had brought with her on our last cruise for all 3 of our families rooms and then had given to me.
Nothing fancy, but helped locate the room.
Let the size of the room amaze you...
Oh the space...what will I do with all of it? Notice the corner of the bed and the corner of the desk? Yea, that made it really hard for you to get (squeeze) by.
There's Sakari's bed.
At least there were 2 desks. One we could do hair and stuff at and the other we would use for the computer.
What the heck???
Now I have heard a lot of people complain about cruising out of Texas, but never really knew the reasons. Obviously there's more to it than just the port itself. I have never seen this before. I don't want any of the overpriced crap in there...just clean that stuff out so that when MY pop comes I can put it in there and start the process of getting it cold. Also, did they think that a piece of tape would keep people out of it if they wanted in? You could easily pull that tape back, get in it, then put the tape back over it.
Now notice it says that this will also happen on the last day of the cruise...which it didn't. But then again, I don't think Rasfah was the brightest either. He didn't do his job so why should this be any different?
Well, everything was put away in it's proper place, but still no sign of our other "pop" luggage.
They made an announcement about the safety drill and we headed down to our station in the MDR...you know, the place were I would see people messing with the dinnerware during it? Yea, that place.
We signed in and was told we could sit anywhere. It didn't matter if we were in our section or not. So sat we did. Times like this makes me so proud to be Sakari's mom. She behaves so well in these situations (well as long as she doesn't have my grandson with her cruising). I sat watching other children around us who were younger and older and they were just off the hook....running around, screaming, crawling under the tables, playing with stuff on the tables...ugh. I mean sometimes I think about all the people that make comments on the boards about "they should have an all adult cruise", "I hate cruising during breaks because of the bratty kids" and so on and my mind instantly reverts back to what I'm watching in front of me. I completely understand of course. I think if my child acted the way most of these kids did, I simply wouldn't cruise. Actually I don't think I'd leave my house unless absolutely necessary. I would just be so embarrassed (which is exactly what I am when we cruise with my grandson most of the time). :o I can't deal with a child that doesn't behave. Yes, we all have our moments and I'm not saying Sakari is perfect. She has her moments, she has her breakdowns, she is 7 after all, but for 99% of the time, I would say she is pretty close to my definition of perfect and well behaved.
After the drill, Sakari had been wanting to go swimming. The girl is a fish and I knew she had been out of water for too long and we must get her back in.
We headed to the cabin (still no luggage) to get her bathing suit on and off to the pool we went.
We have not taken her puddle jumper with us on the last 2 (I think) cruises and while it makes me nervous, she has managed to convince me that she's a big girl. She does really good swimming, but it's the other kids around her I worry about. If they were to struggle and grab on to her and pull her down, jump off the side on to her or who knows what...that's were I get scared and overly anxious.
I walked her over to the pool, checked out the situation and then informed her that this water was over her head and I'm sure it's salt water. Ok, she had been warned, she knew what to expect, and in she went.
She swam back and forth to prove to me she was fine. I stood on the side and did not take my eyes off of her. With all the horror stories with children drowning on the cruise ships (I know it's everywhere but it really hits close to home when you see them on the ships and read about them on here) and I refuse to ever look away. If someone comes up to me, I will talk with my eyes straight ahead on my daughter. It just really freaks me out.
The hubby went to go get us our first drinks of the cruise...and sadly this would also be our last on the ship. I can not believe the price of these drinks. It's just not worth it to us. We are not big drinkers to begin with (unless it's included in the price) and these drinks were around $12.95 each. No way! I refuse to pay that.
But hey, it was my birthday and I was having my Toasted Almond.
Sakari tries to convince everyone that she is a mermaid. She begged for 2 years for a mermaid tail. She watches videos on youtube of little girls getting these tails and she can tell you where to get them and all the details. Well, after my 2 year battle with her about I just wasn't sure of their safety while swimming, I broke down and bought one with several sets of rules for using the tail. It was to play in at first. She could play in the jacuzzi with it and when it comes times to learn to swim in it, she will not be allowed to do this until I am right beside her. (Of course there were other things like testing the water first, the current and so on and not just going right in immediately). She has been "practicing" swimming like a mermaid for over a year now...feet together and the body flowing as if the legs were fused together.
She knew we would be at our first port in a few days and it was time to practice.
Although I assured her she was swimming like a mermaid and doing a good job, I would still remain nervous until her first time in the outfit at the beach.
Sakari decided that she wanted to try out the slides.
While we were there, I witnessed a young child (maybe 4) that ran over to her mom, were her mom would start banging on her back over and over and then wiping her face (were I would see tons of reddish colored vomit all over the towel). Obviously the "nurse" in me became concerned. My husband kept his eyes on Sakari and I kept my eye on the child and mother. This happened for awhile. She would bang on her back, the child would throw up, she would wipe. It lasted for about 10-15 minutes and when it was over...the child went back to the water. Um ok. If my child is throwing up to that extent, she's not going back in the water.
After that, I told Sakari to get out. I'm sure there's enough contamination in the water as is without children that could possibly start throwing up again and who knows what.
She begged to go in the hot tub before leaving. I scoped out several of the hot tubs to see who were in them. I know another complaint is the kids taking over the hot tubs on the cruise ships. As I've said before, Sakari is a well behaved child. She does not do things to upset others or cause problems. I found a hot tub that didn't have many people in it and that also had other children in it. Therefore, she would not be infringing on "adult" time. I gave her my rules...you go in for a little while, you sit down, you don't splash anyone, you don't go under the water (I have this thing about people with long hair and getting caught in one of the drains. I use to keep a pair of scissors next to ours at home back when we owned one...just in case) and last of all, I better be able to see you and your head at all times. I told her she could get in for about 10 minutes and then when I said it was time to get out, I meant right then or she would not return. Man...do I sound like a prude or what? Maybe I'm just really strict and want her to grow up with respect and proper. Idk.
It was time to go and I watched the cooks at the grills.
Anyone care for a bbq iced sandwich? I hear they are low on calories...this is part of the reductions that Del Rio has enforced now. (j/k of course).
We headed back to our room to get ready for dinner. We had this waiting for us...
Our pop had not arrived yet and I did see Rasfah in the hallway and ask him about it. I don't recall exactly what his words were but they were not friendly and made reference to how he had not looked for them and pretty much wasn't responsible for it...??? Or something to that effect. At this point I had pretty much had it with his attitude and rudeness and reminded him that HE was the one that had ask ME if we had all of our luggage earlier and if not, what was missing...which was why I was asking if he had seen it yet. If he really didn't care if we were missing anything...then simply don't ask me.
We showered and were getting dressed for dinner and there was a knock at the door. It was the room steward. He handed me our nightly mints and the daily for tomorrow and our 3rd towel that was missing. Um..."Are you going to be turning down our room? We are just changing and leaving for dinner and will be out in a few minutes." He looked at me and said "Well if you need me to I guess I will." :rolleyes: Geesh, I mean we now had dirty pool towels and wash cloths and towels from taking a shower. Not to mention I had no idea about fixing Sakari's bed or where the linens were. Yes, I do expect you to come in. I also reminded him that our safe was still locked. He said he would call someone.
We left and took Sakari to the buffet to eat so that we could drop her off at the kids club for a few hours. It was my birthday and it was the perfect time to use one of our platinum coupons for a free meal at the specialty restaurant and I wanted to go to La Cucina. She was not happy about it.
We headed to La Cucina where we were greeted by the person outside the restaurant. She ask if we had reservations. Well no, we didn't and ask if there was any room for us...I mean this is supposed to be freestyle cruising and I don't want to make reservations for everything I do. That's the problem I have with the big ships. It just takes the "freestyle" out of the equation when you are scheduling dinner, scheduling shows...it's just crazy. I'm more than happy to stand in line or wait until something is available.
She got us in BUT told us we would have to pay a la cart...I told her (for the second time) that we had our platinum coupons, but once again, she didn't pay attention. I let it go and we walked in to be seated. When the waitress came over, we presented her with the coupon and that's when we were finally acknowledged.
We were served our bread and it was yummy.
The waitress ask what we would like for our wine choice and presented us with a menu. If anyone read my previous review about our wine experience, they'll know I can't find a wine that we like. It all taste bitter to me and everyone was nice enough to suggest multiple wines for me to try...which I haven't yet, but still will probably once summer gets here and I have a moment to really research them.
I told the hubby it was entirely up to him to pick this time and he did.
I started out with the Bruschetta and it was really good (except for the anchovies=yuck. I don't like them. I don't like them at all).
The hubby had no idea what any of this was and just picked something...the Beef Carpaccio.
Now he didn't realize this is something that he had ordered in the MDR once before last year and just about gagged. Anything that is remotely raw does not cut it with us...at all! Whether it be steak or anything and this was just gross. I can't stomach it. If I see the slightest pink in anything, I want to puke. I did try the marinated bean salad on the top and it was good, but he just couldn't do it and left it untouched.
Our bottle of wine came and we tried it. It wasn't too bad and was definitely happier with it than our last choice. He did good. We might possibly drink all of this bottle.
After a few glasses, I don't think I was feeling anything at that point.
The hubby had the ribeye steak for dinner and said it was good.
The polenta al formaggio tasted good to me, but I don't think he liked it. I have no idea what this is but it tasted somewhat like a lasagna made of cheese or something. I'm not really sure. I had never tasted anything like this before.
I ordered the carbonara. I do not like tomatoes so anything with red sauce is usually out for me. The waitress suggested the carbonara instead.
All I can say about this dish is OH EM GEE! I was in heaven. Pure heaven. It was SO good. Perfect! I ate the entire plate!!!
For desert, I picked the lemon curd cheese cake because I'm a cheesecake freak! Lemon curd, maybe not so much, but I'll deal with it...and I did.
It was ok. I much rather have regular cheesecake, but this will do for now and I got my fix.
The photographer came around and took our picture.
We finished off our bottle...completely. Oops. LOL
We headed to the photography area and found our embarkation photos. The special they had tonight was if you purchased them TONIGHT they would throw in an extra picture of the ship and route with it. So...I did.
They did ask if I wanted to purchase one of the photo packages tonight. I told them I would hold off for now. It was $149 for 10 photos. I told him that I would have to wait and see if we would even have 10 photos to purchase to begin with. He did tell me that the purchase that I made tonight could be included in the 10 photos if I decided to do the package. He said I could just come back after I had 10 photos, with my receipt, and get it credited back to my account with the package. Well, that sounded like a good deal. However, we would end up not taking advantage of this deal due to we didn't have 10 photos taken during the cruise anyhow. Oh well.
We headed to the casino for about an hour and then up to pick up the munchkin from the kids club and then back to the room.
Once we arrived back to the room, our beds were turned down and Sakari actually had a bed now. However, our room safe was still locked. I decided to take it upon myself and call customer service about it and have them send someone up to unlock it. I waited for about a hour and no one showed. I decided to call again. I mean it was getting late and we needed to go to bed because there was a 1 hour time change tonight. We were moving our clocks up 1 hour and although it would be a sea day, I still didn't plan on sleeping my day away. They finally came this time and unlocked my safe and all was good in the neighborhood. :D
I did a little homework and off to bed we went around 12:30am.