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Old 02-26-2007, 07:51 PM   #1
Mozart
There's one in every crowd...and it's usually me
 
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Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Upstate SC
Posts: 1,253

2-22-07 3 Day Wonder. Life Stinks...

A blow by blow recap of my first Disney cruise, thrown together by my brother and I in celebration of my parents 50th wedding anniversary. The travel party includes 6 adults, 4 of which are veteran cruisers in their 30/40's and 2 of which are 73 and never cruised before:

Thursday, February 22nd:
The day begins with a drive from Orlando to Port Canaveral. I have to admit to fighting what time we would be leaving and losing, but all worked out in the end. We arrived at Port Canaveral at about 11, and were finished checking in and waiting to board by 11:15. Disney easily has the smoothest boarding process I’ve ever seen. My brother commented about how with other cruise lines, the people don’t seem to know what to do, but with DCL, you’re running into people every 50 feet telling you which direction you need to go. It seemed to make things smoother. My brother commented a lot about things Disney did better than other cruise lines in the next 3 days.

In the terminal, we had our pictures taken with Mickey Mouse at just the right time. The line started forming right behind us, and Mickey left a few minutes later to be replaced by Chip’n’Dale. Important note – the lines seemed to start forming about 11:30 at the check-in desk, but at 11, there was still noone there. By 12:15, they had started calling everyone on board, including the family of the day. (What else do they get for that, and how do I get it?) My brother started talking about how long it would be that we had to sit there before we could board. Since our boarding number was a 4, we didn’t get called for all of 15 minutes, but around 12:30, we heard those famous words “Now presenting the Disney family.” (Well, not exactly THOSE words.) My brother, an experienced cruiser on RCCL, Carnival, Princess, Holland, and NCL, thought I was lying about the introduction right up to that moment. No cruise line would be able to do that. I now refer you back to the last sentence in the first paragraph.

So, we walk on, and straight to Parrot Cay. Get a little shrimp, a little breaded pork, a little mac and cheese. Whoops! We run into the first problem. The seabands are broken out. Why? Not because of seasickness, but because of the fact that my wife has apparently gotten motion sick in the car ride on the way over. We’d gotten concerned about this because she does get motion sick very easily. This could be a long few days if she’s sick before they finish boarding the ship. We’re waited on at lunch by a lady from Croatia who does a pretty good job, but I just can’t remember her name. I was trying to remember every server’s name from the trip, but failed miserably on lunches. I keep thinking it starts with a C, but it seems like everyone else’s name on this trip started with that letter, so maybe I’m just imagining it.

After lunch, we steal away up to the top deck to begin getting some familiarity with the ship. A little familiarity with their Bahama Mama’s don’t hurt either. One thing I was amazed at was just how small the pools were once we saw them. I expected them to be small, but not that small. Especially the adult pool. After we finished our tour of the outside of decks 9 and 10, it’s about 1:30, so we head downstairs to Deck 2 to check out our stateroom. Yep, the tubs are as small as everyone says they are. And something seems to be wrong with the stateroom TV. We’re in port at Port Canaveral, but the Bridge Report says that we’re 8 miles from Castaway Cay. Didn’t realize it was that close.

We had a Congratulations welcome sign placed in my parent’s cabin since it was their 50th anniversary we were celebrating, and it’s waiting for them. Bags aren’t there yet, so we just drop off our carry-ons and go exploring for a little while.

We stop by the spa and take a look in there first. Yep, gonna have to get to know that place a little better. My wife already has scheduled a few times to do that. As we’re walking around, we get the first of what I shall call “LA sitings.” LA is short for LaurieAnne. I’m not sure that’s her name, but it seems like that’s what I read when she passed by me one time. I never really got to talk to her, but I remembered her as soon as I saw her. She was the girl in Ashman’s post about his daughters dancing at the Pirates party. See the picture below.




She’s the one in the Pirate costume, obviously, and when I walk into the Oceaneer’s club to look around (even though I don’t have children, I was just curious) I was greeted with my first LA siting as she was walking around another family. I recognized her immediately from Ashman’s photo. I started to walk over to her and inform her that she was something of an Internet celebrity, but decided not to. This would not be the last time I ran into someone I remembered from Ashman’s photos.

Mostly during the early afternoon, we just wasted time. My wife and mother went to the Discover Nassau shopping demo, which, as she says, was nothing but “a big infomercial, which didn’t give me a free gift, but a coupon for a free gift.” She didn’t “save up to 70%” at any point in time. Keep that in mind.

It’s getting on to that time now, so we grab the lifejackets and head for the Muster drill. Remember that our rooms are on the starboard side of the ship. Those of you who have stayed there before know exactly what that means…the muster drill takes place directly in the hot sun. Thank God it was only 82’ that day. I can’t imagine what those 15 minutes would have been like otherwise. And if I can find the people from rooms 2607 and 6607, I’m going to have to hurt them. Thanks for not showing up, ya putzes!

After what seems like an eternity, the muster drill is over and it’s time for the sail away party. Remember one thing, we’re a childless party of 6. The one comment made during this time that sums up a cruise for many childless groups is “It’s a lot quieter around the adults only pool, isn’t it?” Not that we hate kids, we love them! As long as we’re not taking care of them.  But we couldn’t help but notice that difference.

Time for the party and the Carnival Sensation pulls out ahead of us. Being someone who has researched the cruise lines extensively in making plans for this event, I can only think one thing…I’d hate to be on that ship.

We’re on Deck 10 now, and the sailaway party is getting going. I go for a walk to see how the sailaway party is going. There’s a group leading the dancing by the Mickey pool when I look closer. Guess what? LA siting #2, as she is one of those leading it. There’s a theme going here.

Then, the Carnival Elation starts to chug away. As they’re leaving, my wife comments “Wait! So, they’re leaving the dock, but they’re still doing their muster drill?” Sure enough, yep. As they’re leaving we can see all their people milling about in the bright orange lifejackets on the decks. Oh, well I say, while I sip on whatever tropical beverage this is the bartender gave me. Now, remember my brother, whom I’ve told you didn’t believe me about DCL and the little things they do. He didn’t believe me about the horn, either. I refer you again to the last sentence of the first paragraph.

We finally pull out, and the wind in the hair starts to feel pretty good. After riding up front for a little while and realizing that this Microsoft Convention on board is going to get annoying real quick (they were complaining about the number of kids on board before the ship started to sail)…it’s time to head for the rooms and redress since it turns out that tonight is Palo’s night.

Ah…Palo’s. Let me establish that it’s not good, nor very good, but excellent. Those that have gotten the talk know what I’m referring to. I absolutely loved that meal, and loved our server, Coralia, but realized way too late the path she was taking with that little speal. It worked, though. I’ll say that. What she did that was just incredible, was to suggest foods that we never would have tried without her recommendation, and basically to say “I’m going to bring them to you whether they sound good to you or not, because I know you’ll like them if you try them.” Like, as an example, pizza with grapes and goat cheese on top. Sounds absolutely horrible, but it’s INCREDIBLE! All 6 of us are scared to try it when she put it on the table, but we ended up asking for another one. Personally, I went with the halibut, which happens to be my favorite kind of fish, and they did an excellent job on it. The topper though, was the chocolate souffle. It’s one of those deals that was so rich, you couldn’t eat much, but kept trying to get just one more piece down.

After dinner things calmed down, a little shopping, including a hard to get LE pin for one of our fellow DIS’ers. Wait, what’s this? LA siting #3? This time she’s dressed as Belle and taking pictures in the atrium. I’m already amazed at how busy this girl is, and the sitings are just getting cranked up. The reason I’m using her in this way is because I want everyone to realize just how hard this crew works. She’s not the only one on board working a brutal schedule. She just happens to be the one I noticed everywhere I went.

Then, we skipped down to Hercules The Muse-ical. Beforehand, the captain comes out and says that Disney was announcing the next morning that they were purchasing 2 new cruise ships. After hearing the rumors for awhile, it felt pretty cool to be onboard when they announced it, I have to admit that. Afterwards, it was just walking out to Deck 4, grabbing a deck chair, and snuggling down for a few hours with the breeze and the nice weather. Oh yeah, and watching the 2 Carnival cruise ships off in the distance that were sailing along at about the same speed.

We felt sorry for them.

To be continued...
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