Mitsugirly had a JOYful cruise
Day 2: Getting on the ship.
I woke up many times throughout the night and once again, up at 5:15am. My body and brain is so tuned to waking up at this time...even when I set my alarm to 8:30am. I laid back down to wait for the alarm to go off but still couldn't sleep and decided to get up and start getting ready at 7am. But I mean you can only do so many things in a little hotel room when everyone is still sleeping. I did go down to check out breakfast and it looked like they had a nice spread of food. Although we can't eat all of it, they did have eggs and bacon we could have.
FINALLY the family woke up and it was time for breakfast. When we all headed down, it was much busier now. But they had put out even more food. You could get egg omelets, an egg bowl that had stuff in it, muffin sandwiches, waffles, oatmeal and more.
Back upstairs to finish packing and getting the family in motion and we checked out at 10am. This time we called an Uber XL...didn't want to run in to the problems we've had in the past trying to get 3 people in a car with 3 large luggage. The app said they were 8 minutes away and to meet them at the corner by the street and 8 minutes away they were! I think it's the first time it's ever been that accurate.
Mr Uber XL No Help pulled up and popped the back of his suv and sat there. He didn't help load luggage or say a word. Ok, I guess this means we do it ourselves. I've never ran across an Uber driver that didn't get out and help put your luggage in. Usually they want to do it so you don't ding their car and of course want higher tips.
He said the port was 30 minutes away but by the way he was driving, I bet we make it in 20 or less! He zoomed in and out of cars in the way and was always trying to pass everyone. He picked us up at 10:17am and we could see the ships in port at 10:34am.
We were headed in the tunnel that goes under the water and pops back up with the ships on the other side of you. I think this is so cool.
This would be our first experience in the new ship terminal (? Is that what it's called?) and it was modern and sleek looking.
There was some construction going on still but there were plenty of signs that showed you which way to go. HOWEVER...Mr Uber No Help was still trying to pass people and got in the wrong lane, even though I told him he needed to go "that way". The lane he jumped in went to another terminal and when it circled back around, it took him away from the NCL terminal and back out to the highway and into town. He was very frustrated. Well.....shouldn't have tried to speed around everyone in line and pay attention to the signs.
We got on the highway and then back off in town and circled back toward the cruise port. Ok, here we go again. Oh look, there's the cruise ships. How exciting!...again.
But, this time, in his attempt to get around everyone again, he turned BEFORE the terminal. I kid you not. I told him "wrong lane" and pointed ahead several times. But, he still didn't listen. So what did he try to do? He tried to go in between the terminals and go around back. I told him he couldn't go around back! They are loading stuff for the ship and then there's water. Have you never been to the port before??? His defense was "well they change it all the time". What do you mean they change it all the time? You think there's a drop off at the water? Since when? At this point he had to back up and turn around. As he sat at the corner, I told him "Just let us out here and we would walk" but he sped off again and back out to the highway to do yet another trip down and around. Geesh. If he would have just slowed down....
Back into town and circle back around we go. Oh look, there's the ship. Oh the excitement...again. Well third times a charm and we finally made it! Out we went with our luggage and a nice little notification asking did I want to leave an additional tip for the driver. You're kidding right?
Mr Uber No Help pulled up and of course...never helped to get the luggage out. He just sat in his car and opened the hatch. We checked in our luggage with the porters and went over to the line to go in. It wasn't too long and it was moving quickly. I had picked the time of 11-11:30am for our arrival time
We made it up to the doors and they ask for our tickets then told us to go in. There was no direction whatsoever. There was a counter as soon as you walked in but people were just going in different directions. We had no idea who to follow. We went up to the counter and they pointed "that way and upstairs". We rode the escalators upstairs and ask the person directing traffic where the latitudes line was. She said everyone in "this line" and pointed. Since when do they not have the latitudes line?
We got in line and stood only to see others going in another line that was the latitudes line. Geesh!
Check in was easy, but remember those pictures they had us upload when we were checking ourselves in online? They meant nothing since they had to take all of our pictures again. They issued our cards and handed me a laminated paper that said "19" on it. Then he said "Oh, nevermind, you don't need that". Then told us to go wait in the waiting area.
It was CROWDED! There was no place to sit. There was a sea of people everywhere. What was going on? We waited and waited and had no direction as to what to do. We didn't see anyone getting on or numbers being called. It was now 12 noon and everyone that had picked times from noon and before was all waiting. Thank goodness we hadn't picked an earlier time!
The photographers were taking everyone's pictures and they had a stand with sayings on a stick that you could pick from to be in the picture. You did get to keep them. Hubby picked "Drive like a Captain, play like a Pirate" (fitting I know), Sakari's said "Birthday Cruise" and mine was "Girls just wanna have sun".
Where we came in to sit at, for such a ginormous terminal, there was one bathroom, with one stall. JUST ONE! Well you all can guess the line to the women's bathroom compared to the men's. I didn't know how long of a wait it was going to be before we were able to board the ship, so I stood in that line for about a good 20 minutes. Why are women so slow at going to the bathroom? I don't get it. Three men can come and go to one woman. They definitely need more restrooms in there and someone didn't plan well. There was a sign saying there was another restroom on the other side but who could make it over there and I sure didn't see one.
They finally made an announcement that they were going to start boarding and call you by the numbers assigned to you, and for the sea of people standing at the doors waiting to get on, please move out of the way until their number was called...how do you think that went? No one moved at all and just crowded the entire area.
Wait, he took my number back! I started to get frantic. Then I figured it was because we were latitudes and would get on first.
It was another 20 minutes before they started calling people to get on. They called the wheelchair people first and then the Haven guest. Then they started calling latitudes. No one could get around the mass sea of people, so we started going off to the side and in. It was crazy. People gathering around were offering up their first born children to be able to get on before others...just to get that drink package started. j/k
I would later read that this has been the norm for the last several weeks. I'm not sure why they can't get it together when the ship is arriving in port at the right time.
We were happy to be finally walking up the gangway and it started to sink in...we're actually going on another cruise!! I don't think it really hit me fully until that point. WE ARE CRUISING AGAIN!
I always take a picture right before we step onto the ship and this would be no different.
Our first step onto a ship since December of 2019...ahhhh that felt good.
About this time, I got a notification (or at least just noticed it) that our $34 Uber drive had charged us $54 for "added time"...um, I think NOT! That was no fault of ours and I would dispute this when I got home (and yes, I did get my money back...nice try Mr Uber No Help).
We weren't given a Freestyle Daily this time and I never did see anyone passing them out, but some people had them in their hands so they had to be somewhere. But it was ok, I had my NCL app downloaded and ready to go.
We gave Sakari the option on what she wanted to do. Eat or ... She said she would rather just wander around and check out the ship and that's exactly what we did.
I would be equipped with the camera's and snapping pictures of the ship for this review and also throughout the week. I do know I missed some places and I can tell you I'm REAL RUSTY on this cruising thing and there were a lot of bloopers along the way. Later on that subject.
After awhile, we made it back up to the buffet deck and decided we'd check out what they had to offer. I knew it was going to be a task to try to find food that we were allowed to eat and I'm a picky eater when it comes to meat. I have never been much of a meat eater unless it's hamburger or chicken. I really don't care for red meat too much and only eat it every once in awhile. I've just never liked the taste or consistency in my mouth. Anything overly chewing...nope. Not for me.
I couldn't find anything that looked appealing that I could have so I settled for a salad. The hubby found plenty of meats and Sakari had a ham and cheese panini. We circled around and around the entire buffet area and there were absolutely no tables available. EVERYONE was there and with a boarding time of 12:30ish for the entire terminal, this was a mad house! We kinda stood there trying to eat until a family seen that we were doing this and decided to get up and told us we could have their seats. Whew, thank goodness.
We finished our meal and decided to look for deserts. I knew that on previous cruises I remembered seeing no sugar deserts so I was on a mission.
Out of all the deserts, they would have only one option with no sugar added. It was a strawberry cake topped with a raspberry. Then, we went to go check out the ice cream (not the soft serve, but the kind in the barrels they scoop out) and what do you know....THEY HAD NO SUGAR ICECREAM! SCORE AGAIN! I would be able to live this cruise and not melt away to 100 pounds after all...although I'm still on a mission to melt another 20 pounds to be back to my normal weight.
I have to say that it tasted SO GOOD! I was very pleased. I remember that a gripe that everyone has always had about NCL's food was their deserts. They have always been bland and tasteless in the past. Well either they improved it or my taste buds have changed. Speaking of the later, my taste buds really have changed since starting this diet. Everything taste so different now and eating other regular food is just weird to us. So, it might have just been me.
After lunch we walked around some more and went to one of the bars on the pool deck to purchase the soda package. They had a stand set up beside it for this. I didn't pre-purchase it this time because we couldn't make up our minds about it. Sakari doesn't drink pop at all and she wanted the Starbucks package but we would find out that you had to be an adult to get it and I sure wasn't running down to Starbucks in the lobby every time just to get her one. (I would later see that they had several locations to get your Starbucks crave on throughout the ship...so those that are wondering, there you have it). Sakari does like juice and found out that she would be able to get that with the package.
We walked up to the bar right beside the table and ask for a diet Coke and juice. They told us we would have to go down to customer service to have our cards replaced. Say what? What happened to the stickers they use to put on the card to signify that you had purchased the package? Nope, they have to make you an entirely new card. But you just seen that I purchased it and I showed him my receipt. So they gave in and gave us all a drink. Whew...my taste buds had been several hours without a pop and I'm pretty sure my body was going into shock at this point.
Sakari spotted the ping pong game and I just knew what was about to happen. A competitive game was about to emerge and daddy tried to coerce me into it, but I scurried off to the restroom. Pop was flowing through my veins once again.
No worries, once I returned daddy was quick to hand off the paddle to me and RUN in the opposite direction.
It was ok. I was willing to do whatever it took to show Sakari a good time and make her happy. You see she was very sad before this cruise. A few days prior to leaving for the cruise she went through a break up. One that devastated her. A 3 year relationship. She was cheated on and heartbroken. This was a pick myself up and forget about it cruise now. It was all about trying to get her mind off of it and back to being happy again. So if ping pong was the answer, at least in this moment, we were going to play ping pong...for however long she wanted...or until all the kids started gathering around glaring at us until we gave them a turn. But honestly, I do have a lot of fun playing ping pong with her. I've thought about getting her a table for Christmas to put in the basement once...that was until our sump pump failed a year ago and we had to rip out all the carpet and everything. That thought is on hold now.
After the game we headed down to customer service to stand in the long line to get our new cards. Of course the printer tape would break while they attempted to print off our new cards, which meant waiting longer, but we walked away sporting our new soda package cards and were on our way to fill up again.
The rooms still weren't ready so we just hung out here and there while Sakari said "take a picture of me". (Which is odd because she went through a stage were she didn't like me taking pictures of her and it was such a task to even get her to smile. She only wanted to stick out her tongue in each picture).
Right before sailaway, they started announcing that the rooms were almost ready. However, they said rooms on the 16th floor was ready. Then the 15th. They called them off one by one. (I'm sure they were all ready around the same time and they were trying to avoid everyone racing to their rooms all at once. I mean are the room stewards slower to get things ready on the lower floors than the stewards on the top floors?)
We weren't too excited to get to our room. I mean it's an interior. What is there to see right? Although daddy had a different opinion because he was carrying our bag that was quite heavy. I had a notice in my email that there would be no upgrades given this cruise. We were sailing at FULL CAPACITY. So there's that.
Our room was small. Much smaller than I remembered. There wasn't much room for 3 adult sized people in there. That went for the storage too. I always remembered having plenty of room...but then again, Sakari was little. Our beds were split apart and Sakari climbed up on her bunk and immediately hit her head. Yep, you're not small anymore. I wasn't sure how this was going to work, but we would have to make it work at this point. I'm taking notes this cruise for any future plans of cruising.
It was time for sailaway!
The ship pulled out and we headed down to turn around.
Is it possible that we were about to get taken over by Pirates? Or were they just coming to pick up the hubby because they had found out that he was "one of them" now?
We got ourselves turned around and we were on our way...
And one last picture of all the spring breakers enjoying Miami Beach before we headed out to sea and we had to turn our phones onto airplane mode and turn off all the connections to the world around us and back home. We were officially on vacation now. We checked the NCL app...and it wasn't working. All I could get was the spinning symbol to nowhere. UGH!
I had read, since it was so long ago since we cruised and I couldn't remember, that if you put your phone on airplane, you could still get imessages from people that had an iphone. I was hoping that IF we ever split up, then I would be able to keep track of Sakari or check in with her that way. I guess we would see.
We headed back to our room several times waiting for our luggage to arrive. After about the third try, they finally started coming one by one. I would take on the task of trying to unpack and find a suitable place to put everything. There really wasn't enough room so we had to double up shelves for everything. In the end, I did manage to make it work but throughout the cruise I would find myself asking "now where did I put that?" and having to search for things because they were all over the place. Our large luggage did fit under the beds...thank goodness! Because if they hadn't, I don't know where we would have put them.
As I was unpacking, I heard a knock at the door. We were delivered our latitudes chocolate covered strawberries. Sakari ate two of them and I took the chocolate off of the other two as the hubby watched me to make sure I wasn't cheating, because he knew it was not sugar free chocolate, and I gobbled them up as a gawked back at him. Must be a sign of what's to come this cruise.
So what was next? Sakari and I would grab a handful of ducks and we were about to go hiding ducks around the ship as we continued to explore! It's such a big ship that we knew we hadn't covered half of it.
Old McJoy had a duck, here a duck, there a duck, everywhere a duck duck. Ee I Ee I O
As we were placing our ducks, Sakari said "I think you should put one on these things hanging on the wall and what do you know we found a duck there as well. Someone else had the same thought!
Then we turned around and found another duck. Oh what luck, you found a duck!
Stop by the bathroom and you never know what you may find! We placed another.
Hubby was getting into it as well and hid one in the lobby behind a menu. He said "it will take awhile for someone to find this one. There's nobody back this far. We circled around and it was gone.
As we made our way upstairs, we ran across the "Kids Club"...the 13-17 year olds Entourage. Sakari immediately tried to hide her face in attempt to not check it out and yelled noooooo.
I asked her many times if she had planned on going, prior to the cruise, and she said yes. She wanted to make new friends and possibly ask a boy to take a picture with her to post so that her "ex" would see it. Trying to play that jealousy card to see if there were any left over feelings from this 3 year relationship. But now that the time had arrived...she was unsure about going. I told her "We'll just sign you up and if you decide to go, then you'll be able to". Sakari is a very quiet and shy girl now (nothing like she used to be growing up). I had very little doubt in my mind that she would try it out.
We decided to head out to dinner and picked Savor to go to for our first night. We checked in and they gave us a beeper to let us know when our table was ready. They told us it would be around 20 minutes. What better to do when waiting for a table? Hide ducks of course!
Can you spot the duck?
We hid this one and sat on the steps waiting to see if anyone would find it.
It definitely didn't take long and a boy shouted "Look! It's a duck" and they grabbed it and took a picture with it. I had information on there to let me know if any were found and to send me a pic and I'd post on my website and also gave the link to the NCL Cruising Ducks facebook page but I have yet to see anyone post on there or this family.
I did have one person that found a duck send me a message that they had found one of mine and took it back with them to live in Freeport Bahamas! That's so fricken cool!
I will share the pictures I received from them to give thanks for getting in touch with me about finding it. I really appreciate it and I was probably just as excited about it as you were to find it! Is this not the cutest pictures??? My dogs would eat it. LOL
We arrived at our table and looked over the menu
They brought the bread out to us and Sakari enjoyed it while the hubby glared at me daring my fingers to touch it.
The service was extremely slow. We had ordered our pop and juice, which took forever to come and then the waiter finally took our order.
For an appetizer, I went with the French Onion Soup and the hubby had the Greek Salad
For the main course I ordered the Sauteed Shrimp Scampi with Lemon Artichoke Pasta and the hubby and Sakari went with the Grilled New York Strip Steak.
We waited and waited for our meals to come out. When it did, there were no knives to cut the steak with and we had to flag down the waiter to ask for them. I am VERY rusty at this and didn't even take pictures of our food according to all the pictures I downloaded. Oops!
There was a guy standing around over seeing things and then he would come around and ask how everything was and if we needed anything. We ask if we could get another round of pop and juice. Well....it never came and he went back to standing where he was originally at.
After the meal, the waiter ask if we'd like desert. We inquired about sugar free deserts. He said he would go check and then never came back again. We waited for quite some time and finally decided to leave. Needless to say, not the best experience but hey, I guess we're on island time now.
We went up to take a peek at our ship photo they had taken when we first arrived and wondered around for awhile putting out a few more ducks (while noticing that all the others had already been found and claimed) we found another duck from the same family in a different location. Sakari was excited. This duck hunting thing was going good so far!
They were having an awesome dance party in one of the venue's and had Sakari not been with us, or at least 18 years old, we would have went. She really wanted to go in and dance but you have to be an adult. It was our kinda music for sure!
I put one last one on our floor and we headed to the room for the night at 10:30pm. This is the latest we've been up in a long time.
So here's our 3 ducks we found on our first day of the cruise. Thank you to the Patten Family from Newfoundland, Canada for making our night!
We also had 2 bottles of "Flow" water in our cabins for being latitudes members. I can't wait for Sakari to turn 18 and she will acquire her latitudes status and she'll get stuff as well. We are setting her up to be Ambassador status by that time. You're welcome very much Sakari. lol
I took a shower and we headed to bed. We received a notice that there would be a time change at midnight. So, we will at least gain an hour of sleep tonight.
Up next a picture tour of the ship and our room! At least what I got of it.