MITSUGIRLYS BACK TO BELLY SUN CRUISE review and pictorial

Day 2: Getting on the ship

We got up the following morning at 7am and the weather was a little cool out. Not exactly what I was hoping for in Florida weather, but hey, better than Ohio I suppose.

 

We walked over to Burger King for breakfast and by the time we got there both mine and Sakari's hair was frizzly. Gotta love that humidity even when it's cooler out. Yuck.

 

We ordered their breakfast burrito (which we've had back home), but this was different. When you pick them up, a bunch of juices came flowing out of them (and when I say flowing, I'm not talking dripping either). It looked like they had pimentos and the juice was dumped in there as well. I had never tasted anything like it. It was gross. How does Burger King mess up an easy breakfast burrito meal? Geesh. I was trying to wash the mess down and I got choked on my soda. Like REALLY choked, down the wrong pipe chocked and it's the worse I have ever experienced. It was flowing out of my nose like someone had turned a hose on (TMI?). It was so bad that it scared Sakari and you could see the tears in her eyes. I didn't think it was going to stop and I would continue to "taste" this nasty mess all day long. Sigh*

 

We headed back to our room unsatisfied with breakfast and couldn't wait to get on the ship to make up for it. Now our key didn't work to the door. Sigh*

 

I finished packing the rest of our items and headed down to the lobby to catch our free hotel shuttle to the cruise port. There wasn't very many people waiting (maybe 2 other families).

 

I also thought it was weird that they didn't bother to ask us "How was your stay?" when we checked out. I don't think I have ever NOT been ask that. I thought it was kind of rude and was ready to tell them about my complaints from the previous night. Ok, I will just let it go and they will never get my business again.

 

The shuttle pulled up at 10am and we all piled in.

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One thing that I have noticed when in Florida at any of the ships ports...when you tell a driver (whether it been a hotel shuttle or a cab) that you are going to be on "NCL" they do not understand. Why is it that none of the people down there understand what NCL is? It catches me off guard every time. You have to actually say Norwegian in order for them to get it.

 

We arrived at the port around 10:30 and checked our luggage with the porter. We decided to head to the restroom before heading up the escalator to go check in. I was kind of shocked to find that the restrooms were only a 1 person room.

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We took the escalator up stairs and there was absolutely NO LINE at all. Wow. We filled out our new NCL "Ebola" form and walked over to the desk to give our cc info and have our pictures taken. We accomplished all of this in 15 minutes and when the rep came back with our key cards, she said "You are VIP and need special purple key cards and you will be escorted to our VIP room. (Which is nothing more than a "space" in the corner of the regular waiting room.)

 

We walked over and immediately found the "Ma'am's" already there waiting. {{{hugs}}} I love them to death. We cruised with 2 of the ma'ams on the Jewel last Christmas and this time 2 more of the ma'ams joined them for a total of 4.

 

Here's our reunion pic.

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The VIP section had drinks and snacks waiting for us there. I wasn't really hungry but did have a drink and some cake.

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I snapped a few pictures of the Sun sitting at the port waiting for ME to explore her.

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We sat around chit-chatting and catching up for awhile just waiting on our escort to the ship. I also passed the time talking to a nice gentleman that was sitting directly behind me with a small dog. (You know nurses have to know everything). His dog was a service dog to detect when he has a seizure and Petey was as cute as a button.

 

At 11am, they were ready to allow us to enter the ship. We walked up that famous blue glass skyway to the ship and Sakari was excited.

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As you can tell, she was well ahead of me and just couldn't wait. It was like a mother telling her children to hurry up and catch up, but the other way around this time.

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They had rolled out the red carpet for us (or at least I would like to think it was only for us).

 

In this picture you will see a girl standing there greeting everyone. She became a very special person on the ship to Sakari and you'll know why later on.

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We were playing follow the leader and was lead down to La Cucina for lunch. I had not anticipated that and was still not hungry...but hey, I'm on vacation, I usually gain 10 pounds each time, and I might as well start NOW!

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Sakari is a really big artist. She carries a note pad with her everywhere (even in the car) and draws all the time. She's actually pretty good at it and her school has been known to donate paper to her for her drawings. She gives great detail and is years above her age with her drawing skills I'm told. Of course the thing that she draws the most would be animals...usually sea animals. While we were waiting on our lunch to come, she took out her book and started her drawing for the day.

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Can anyone guess what it was?

 

Our meals came and this would be my first official "food" picture on the ship. It was very yummy!

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Once we were done, we decided to go walking around to explore.

 

I think the anticipation prior to sailaway is something Sakari always looks forward to. She is just full of life and happiness at this moment.

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Sakari loves to sing and dance. She always starts before the party does...can you tell?

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The seagulls were up on the top deck looking for handouts.

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A few pictures of us sitting at the dock. There really wasn't much to look at (which there doesn't really ever seen to be much in port).

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As you can tell, it was a very gloomy day. It was cloudy, it was chilly still and it was very windy. I seem to have a lot of icky sail-away over the last few years (usually consisting of rain) right when sail-away starts. Will this be the same??

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Sakari was anxious to get to the Kids Club, Splash Academy, Kids Korner...or whatever they are calling it these days. So away we went to sign her up.

 

We had seen pictures of the kids club (which seem to be scarce online) but I knew that it was on the front of the ship and had skylights down the walls which I thought was neat. I couldn't wait to see it in person.

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These were set up in the 3-5 area, which was the same area of the "Klub" but sectioned off by a wall.

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We got her signed up and this ship is on the "new" computerized system so they would be swiping our cards to check her in and out. She was also wearing the arm band that said where they would take her for muster in case of insert your worse fear of fire or sinking here. They tell you if you destroy the wristband or remove it, it's a $5 fine to get another. If it falls apart, they will replace it for free. Later in the week (due to so much swimming and pool time, Sakari's would completely fall apart and they kept saying it was fine even though it had peeled back the plastic coating and her information was just hanging off the bracelet. They would decide to replace it on the last day...go figure).

 

The area was nice, but kind of boring IMO. The blinds were shut and I wondered if they would ever put them up during the cruise so that you could see out. They never did. I guess it would probably get pretty hot in there with the sun beaming down inside just like skylights do. There was also no playground inside like some of the ships. Sakari loves those and loves the freestyle play time. Darn.

I'm not going to show my pictures of the Kids Korner yet...I'll save that for the official "ship tour" later.

 

The rooms were ready by 1:30pm and they made the announcement. We headed off to our room to check it out. Now we went from doing a balcony & mini suite balcony for the last 3 cruises and decided to go with an interior this time since we were squeezing in 3 cruises this year with this back to belly cruise. We just couldn't swing the prices of balconies this time with me being an official "unemployed nurse" at the moment. Maybe next time.

 

I had heard and read about the rooms on the Sun being exceptionally larger than most of the interior rooms on the other ships. So, I was really excited and figured I would just have to deal with it. I had also found pictures of other interior rooms and kind of had a feeling what this room was going to be like and I was a little excited about it that as well. The layouts are a little different than what I'm use to in the interiors.

 

After getting to the room, I have to admit, it was a little of a let down. It wasn't as big as I had pictured in my mind. I guess I shouldn't have done all that research and maybe I would have been pleasantly surprised instead. (Pictures during the ship review)

 

We went upstairs where we had checked our soda luggage in at (has a mandatory pick up time by 1:30pm) and we were a little late, but they still had it there. (Carry on luggage holding is located on deck 6 and called the Windjammer Bar which is between the picture area and Dazzles night club.)

 

We dropped our soda off in our room and unloaded the fridge with all their over priced non-sense in it and put our soda in it instead. It would take 3 days for it to get nice and really cold, but they do get cold.

 

I have to say that I have read a lot of comments on these boards about how the refrigerator isn't a refrigerator, but a cooler instead and that it doesn't get your drinks cold. I have to say that EVERY refrigerator, but one, has always gotten my drinks cold...and not mediocre cold either. So, I'm not sure about the "cooler" statement, but they work for me.

 

When we arrived back to our room, we found this little treat:

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We also had a lot of invitations to party's during the week. I just can't keep up with them and we usually only go to the latitudes party (free booze!).

 

Once AGAIN, I did not have my latitudes ship pin waiting for me in my room. I would have to go down to Customer Service and ask for one. Sigh* This is becoming a bad habit.

 

Our luggage arrived fairly quickly and I started putting things away in our home for the next 7 days.

 

I unpacked our "Sun" door hanger and proudly displayed it up on the door.

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It was almost 3pm and I thought that was the time of the safety boat drill. We quickly headed upstairs to our muster station (which was outside). There wasn't anyone there in our area other than the crew members taking your room numbers and marking you off the naughty list.

 

I decided to sit down up against the wall. I was tired from all the walking and exploring and unpacking I had done and figured I'd rest for a few minutes. The crew member rudely told me to "get up now" and motioned up. Um, ok. The rude way that he did it struck a nerve with me and I rudely said back "I'll get up when it's time for everyone to come. We are 15 minutes early and I AM sitting here until the time we are supposed to come and when people start to arrive. THEN I'll stand up. But until then, I'm sitting right here." Which obviously struck a nerve with him and he said "Then go inside and sit!" My reply "Gladly!!!"

 

We walked inside to Dazzles and sat down. I began to notice this was the area that all of the people-movers and 3 legged people were sitting that couldn't stand or be outside. I felt weird at that point but then noticed there were several families in there as well with little ones.

 

Some time had passed and I noticed that everyone outside was gone already. Hmmm. What was going on? The crew member inside then announced that the speakers were not working in there at the moment and we missed the entire muster drill announcement. You best believe I'm not doing this over! Then we left. As we were walking out, it was crowded and I had an elderly gentlemen pretty much run into the back of me. I glanced around and just smiled. Sakari and the hubby was behind him and at the point that he ran into me (because the line stopped suddenly), Sakari ran in to him. He actually SCREAMED at her and told her to watch what she's doing and needs to pay better attention. She teared up and daddy was mad. What is wrong with these people? How do you yell at a child for accidentally running in to you when you just ran into her mother doing the same thing? Should I scold you as well? Sigh*

 

We headed up to the pool deck and it was time for the sailaway party. I ran up another deck to get pictures of us pulling out.

 

The horn was sounding and we were the first to pull out. We went around the Carnival Pride.

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Good bye Tampa. Thanks for the crappy weather and cold hearted welcome you gave us on our first trip here. The most interesting thing I found sailing along the channel...which isn't much. But hey, it was animals and Sakari liked it.

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The one complaint I do have about the Sun is that there is glass blocking almost every view you have from the ship. Most ships I have been on has glass "slots" so that you can at least stick your hand out between the glass to get clear shots. Of course as much as they clean the glass, the salt water keeps it dirty anyhow. So, of course you can't get good pics with glass involved due to the glare and dirtiness. But, I did what I could do. (I did discovered there's only 1 little place that's on an "in-between" layer going up from deck 11 or 12 to the front of the ship that has a small space that you can actually reach your hand above the glass and get a picture. Of course everyone else had discovered that place too and there wasn't any place to stand for a picture).

 

The only other place that I'm aware of is the back of the ship.

 

We headed back down to the pool deck and the "Sun Dancers" were already doing their routine..."Let's Get Loud".

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Sakari was patiently waiting to get the signal from us that it was ok to go out to the dance floor and dance the day away.

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When she got the signal, off she went...and so did I (in front of her). She quickly picked out one of the dancers to dance with (which happen to be the same lady in the picture when we first boarded the ship). Sakari "adopted" her during the entire cruise and danced with her any chance she got and just loved her to death.

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Dancing with her best new buddie:

After a lot of dancing and the dance floor cleared, Sakari was still dancing and was joined by several other kids, 2 of which were children/grandchildren of people on our roll call. They soon moved up on the stage

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Daddy was relaxing until the sun went down.

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We ate a little of the BBQ they had on the deck and then went off to purchase our soda cards.

 

It looks like they have retired the old cups that were aluminum or metal or whatever they are made of and now have cheaper plastic skinnier cups that have a bottom base to the cup that will constantly fall off. It reminded me of the cheap crap you get at the fair to get free refills in.

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We headed back to the room to finish the little bit of unpacking I still had left to do and daddy fell asleep watching t.v.

 

For some odd reason, I decided I didn't like what he was "not" watching at the time and switched the channel. What did I see?????? THE FRICKEN BRIDGE IN THE FRONT CAMERA!!!! OOHHHH EEEMMMM GEEEEE!!! I completely forgot about passing under the bridge in approximatley 2 hours after departure. What was I thinking. I started up my panic mode, grabbed my camera and told Sakari "LET'S GO!!!" We raced up to the pool deck and right as well walked out the doors, this is what I seen:

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We were already passing right under it!! D*(&%^@!#*)*&^%!!!!!! Grrr, I couldn't believe it.

 

I was able to get some pictures after we passed under, but still, not what I was wanting!

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I was officially hitting myself in the forehead now for not remembering this.

 

After returning to the room, Sakari found us a little present under the bed:

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Yes, that's exactly what you think it is...boys underwear left behind! Glad to know they clean so well.

 

Also, this is the first time that we have came to our room and didn't have ANY ice in our ice bucket. I really needed some caffeine and of course my soda wasn't cold yet since it was only day 1. I called housekeeping and they did not answer. I called customer service and ask them about getting some ice and they said they don't fill ice buckets until the evening. Now I know I have had ice in my bucket before the evening on the other cruises.

 

I also told customer service about the dirty underwear left in our room. They sent a manager to our room and he ask where it was, I pointed on the floor and he reached down and picked it up...without gloves. I wanted to puke a little in my mouth, but hey, his hands not mine.

 

I might also add that if I can't get something done, I'll do it myself. I located a cart with a cooler filled with ice and went in and got it myself!!!

We decided to go to the Welcome Show at the Stardust Lounge. We gave Sakari the option to go to the Kids Korner or come to the show and to my surprise, she chose the show.

 

We met up with the Ma'ams there and then went and found seats in the balcony. In my opinion, the show wasn't the greatest. It definitely wasn't a "kid" show, but whenever Sakari heard the audience laugh, she bolted out a good belly laugh as well. I was actually laughing at her instead of the show/comedian because she had no idea why she was laughing to begin with. Kids...

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Since the show consist of several previews of "acts" during the cruise, out came the Sun Dancers and Sakari immediately noticed her new friend. She stood up really quick and started waving frantically and saying hi. Of course the dancer couldn't see or hear her and she was busy dancing to her routine. I thought it was funny though.

 

During the show they introduced the Senior Officers and staff. Then they ask about who was married the longest in the audience and it became a "game". I believe the longest was 62 years and there were a lot of 50's+ in there as well. If you think about these figures, this will pretty much set the tone for the entire cruise. 1) People married for over 50 & 60 years on the cruise 2) LOTS of people movers on the cruise. 3) LOTS of 3 legged people. You get the drift? I think the average aged cruiser on this ship must have been in their 60's or at least it seemed that way.

 

The CD on the cruise is "Bobby" and I really didn't care for him much. I don't know. He wasn't really "exciting" to me.

 

After the show we went to go drop off Sakari at the kids club for about 1 hour (when it closed) and ran into these characters.

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Hmm, what the heck? How cute...more on this and an explanation later.

 

We headed to our favorite spot...the Casino. As always, I did well, went in and played $20 and walked out with $40.30. The hubby, as always, walked in with $40 and walked out with $27. LOL He just has NO luck with slots...ever.

 

When we returned to the Kids Korner, Sakari was making a beaded necklace for mommy.

 

We headed back to the room and discovered no towel animal. Sakari was very disappointed.

I decided to hop in the shower and check it out. OMG! That has to be the smallest shower I have ever seen in my entire life! AND it has a shower curtain...YIKES!!! There was absolutely NO room in that shower AT ALL. When you turn the shower on and close the curtain, the curtain draws itself in and sticks to you. I felt like I was being attacked and spent a majority of my time doing various karate moves toward the curtain to keep it off of me. It was the worse shower ever. Yes, even worse than the hotel shower.  Also the water BEATS down on you...HARD!!! I did learn to pull the handle back a little to make it less harder but man!

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The area they have for the shower gel and shampoo they provide, well it's really hard to get to it because of the "soap" tray located directly under neath it and I tried and tried to get my body wash "puff" under there and it just wasn't fitting. It would fall out every time because there wasn't enough room.

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The rest of the small bathroom I could deal with and had enough room to put everything on the shelves. On the sink they had left me some "elemis" to use. I guess this must be part of the VIP package because the only other time I have ever seen it was when I was VIP.

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There you can also see the "razor" plug.

 

Shelves on each side of the mirror for plenty of storage.

They have these wonderful dinosaur age hair dryers (like the Spirit had on her) in the bathrooms for you to use. They are the ones that kind of work like a reverse vacuum cleaner.

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Now I can say that when I used the one on the Spirit, it worked fine and did the job of drying my hair. I can honestly say I didn't use this one at all (and I didn't bring my blow dryer either). I either put my hair up or I washed it and let it dry by itself and then later went back and did what I needed to do to it. So, I really can't tell you much about it other than it worked. (I only know this because one night I was really cold and I picked it up and turned it on and "heated" my arms up. LOL)

  

Now the next item would be a thorn in my side for the entire week. A screw! A darn screw! A darn stubborn screw that would work itself out every single day and I would continue to pick it up and put it back in and push it. I don't know if the hole was stripped or what but it was right in front of the toilet (so you seen it every time you sat down) and it was always hanging out or dropping on the floor. It holds the bottom portion of the part below the sink area.

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The room steward had left these plush (not) lovely (not) slippers in my room. Again, not sure if this was a VIP perk or someone just left them behind from the last cruise. I believe I had read that you get these when you book the spa suites or package, but I'm not sure since I'm not really a spa type of girl. Either way, we had no use for them and didn't touch them.

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We also had a box of chocolates sitting on our bed when we came in that night. I'm not a chocolate person, so Sakari ate 1 or 2 pieces of it and the rest was thrown away at the end of the cruise because it just sat there.

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This was our room steward. I have to say that I didn't really think we got the best room steward for reasons I'll list during my daily reviews. But I have had great and exceptional service most of the time. This time was just mediocre at it's best with this room steward.

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On to the room.

 

Like I said, I think I had just hyped myself up thinking the room was going to be a much bigger room. However, just looking back on it, it was a better room than what we had on the Sky the following week (which happen to be the same room number).

 

I do have to say that I liked the extra space in front of the bed for sure.

 

So I think another thing that makes the room bigger is that the couch/3rd bed is in it's own little cubby hole. So it ends up being like 3 beds in a row...well at least in our case since for some reason the beds weren't actually "put together" as a full sized bed.

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Now I guess I'm kind of wondering if we weren't using that sofa as a bed for Sakari, how exactly would you be able to use the sofa in that area? Crawl OVER the bed to get to it? I'm really confused on the use of this area and how it would work. Can anyone enlighten me or have pictures?

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The bathroom in front of the beds/sofa area:

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The desk and closet area in front of the bed with the huge "space" you get.

The closet with plenty of hangers, a shelf and a light inside. We would keep this light on the entire week and close the doors and use it as a night light for Sakari (and us getting up to use the restroom in the middle of the night). It worked out great.  There was also storage space above that, which is where we ended up keeping all of our snorkel bags and equipment, life jackets and Sakari's beach toys. We made great use of it.

On the side was a floor to ceiling storage shelf area and this is where we put most of our clothes and there was plenty of room.

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On the other side of the closet and between the closet and the shelves was another area with drawers and more hangers and also the SMALL safe. I'm not sure, but it seemed smaller than normal? I may be wrong but it sure seemed to be a few inches smaller than the rest on the other ships.

Also to use this safe, you had to be a criminal to crack it. (Just kidding, but there were more "steps" to it than I wanted...and compared to other safes, even on the Sky, it was a process).

 

You had to of course program the number in doing steps. Then when you locked it, put your number in, press the enter, then hold the door in hard, then turn the handle within a certain amount of time or you had to start over. (Where all of the other and the following week with the Sky, you just shut the door and put in your code=done!).

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So this would be the end of my tour of the room.

 

We went to bed around 11:30pm that night (in our "separate" beds LOL) and I drifted off quickly.

Up next will be the ship tour with tons of pictures around the ship.