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Old 11-15-2010, 09:51 AM   #1
bubba's mom
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Cool 75th Birthday Cruise w/ a Side of WWoHP

The Bubba Family Vacation 2010

Our itinerary:

This year on July 4th, my FIL was turning 75 years old. My DH and his brother wanted to take him on a cruise to celebrate this wonderful milestone. Figuring he’s such a ‘homebody’, we invited a lot of the extended family along to help celebrate. We were starting out by meeting everyone at the port for the cruise and after the cruise, spending about a week at Dad’s before heading to Universal.

Here we go…………

Day 1 - Friday, July 2, 2010

Today our long awaited, anticipated and much needed vacation has finally arrived!! Although not an exciting day, it’s still the beginning of two glorious weeks together.

My wonderful DH managed to score a ride into work with someone who lives nearby (his drive to work is about 45 minutes one way…so, this was great)! I got up with him that morning and we left the house at 6am (his usual time) to meet his coworker. Luckily, I only had to drive him about 15 minutes away, so it was close and quick for me to drop him off and return home. Once I returned home, it was time to get ready to go.

I ate breakfast and showered and finished packing the rest of what we planned to pack to take with us. My goal was to leave our house by 9:30am, and take our dog to my Mom’s house. From there a car service would take us to DH's work to pick him up on our way to the airport. All went well, and we were even a bit early to pick DH up from work. He was working a half day (leaving at 11:15), and we were there waiting for him at 11:08…excellent timing!! He was SO happy to leave work and have us there waiting for him.

Traffic to PHL wasn’t bad, and we checked our luggage at Southwest and headed for our gate. I did get a quick pat-down thru security….turns out I was wearing a ‘baggy tshirt’…who knew?

We knew we’d be early (with DH working half day and our flight at 3:05), so we planned to have lunch at Chickie & Pete’s in the brand new Southwest terminal at PHL. We found it no problem, and being lunchtime, it was busy in there, but we found a seat all the way in the back. The guys had burgers and I had a huge turkey wrap! I didn’t even finish all of it…wrapped it and took it to go. Sorry….being the new vacation mode, forgot to take food pix.

After lunch, we found seats at our gate and watched the flight ahead of ours leave. We were there in plenty of time and just sat and waited. I read my magazine, Bubba played his PSP Go and DH watched a show or something on my laptop…which he plugged in (to save the battery for the in-flight movie).

Finally it was time to board, and we snagged 3 seats together in the 9th row. I noticed this because I always sit in the middle, and I was the first person in the middle seat on our side of the plane. It was then I looked around and noticed how big a difference it was flying to Tampa instead of Orlando. A lot less people AND kids. Interesting…..

Our flight attendants were very good and humorous on our flight. They made sure to let the ladies know that they couldn’t leave behind screaming children or husbands…but money was acceptable. Been a long time since we’ve had their kind of humor on a flight. We ended up leaving for Tampa on time and having a good flight. I sorta ‘missed’ the in-flight movie on my laptop we were supposed to watch because a couple weeks before vacation, I had a head cold/sinus/ear infection thing goin on. The doctor had called in an antibiotic for me and a prescription strength decongestant. Since my head was still a little stuffy, while we were waiting to board, I took one of those decongestants…thinking…better safe than sorry. Turns out, I couldn’t keep my eyeballs open on the flight down. I could hear everything that was going on, just could NOT keep my eyes open. I finally admitted defeat and gave up on the movie…I just felt bad I was in the middle (with the laptop on MY lap), and my DH and son were on either side of ME!

We arrived in Tampa if not on time, early. My son seemed a bit confused while we were walking through the airport and I asked him what was wrong. He said we were in the wrong airport and looked worried as he was looking around. I had to remind him we flew into Tampa, not Orlando like we normally do. Told him we can't catch a cruise ship out of the middle of the state of Florida.... He was like "oh yeah"....... I was impressed he did notice he wasn't in MCO though. We used the restrooms and headed to baggage claim to collect our luggage and once we had luggage in hand, I called the Wyndam (formerly Quorum) hotel shuttle. They directed us to a pick-up area that we found to be the entire opposite end of the baggage claim area we were at. Don’t ask us to go to the “blue” pick-up area…noooo…that’d be too easy being right there and all…..Make us walk all the way to the other end where it’s “red”…AND, hard to find because it’s under construction and not very well marked! We hoped we were in the right area as we waited for the shuttle.

We had to wait about 10-15 minutes and the shuttle finally came. We arrived at the hotel and checked in and went right to our room. I took one look at the 2 queen beds, grabbed my confirmation (I print ALL confirmations and bring them with me) and a room key and went back to the front desk. My complaint was I reserved a king with a rollaway.
I got to the front desk and told the lady I reserved a king room. She tried to tell me that because of the fire code, I couldn’t put a rollaway in a king bedroom. I explained that when I was booking the Sleep and Sail package online, and entered 3 people, the website gave me the option to book a king. I continued to explain that I then called the hotel to ask where the 3rd person would go if I booked the ‘king’ bed. The lady on the phone (at the hotel) told me they’d put a rollaway in our room and when I asked for “no extra charge?”, she said ‘yes’.

So, what am I supposed to think? She (reluctantly) gave us the room 2 doors down which was a king bedroom and they brought a rollaway up right away. Yes, it was a bit cramped , but we have a king bed at home and we really do sleep better in the bigger bed. Oh…and a pic or two, for Tricia

So, now it was about 7:45pm, and we were wondering what we’d have for dinner. Never being to Tampa before, I was hoping we’d be around a lot of restaurants and such….nope. We were on a highway and there wasn’t even a sidewalk in front of the hotel. Next time I'll remember stay in the "Channelside" area.

Luckily, someone who owns/works at a local pizza business had the great idea to put brochures/menus under the doors. We ended up ordering a pizza from this place for delivery. They said be 45-60 minutes. Ugh…but, we’ll wait.

Meantime, I went to the gift shop to get some bottled water and a snack for after our pizza….DH went to the hotel bar to get himself a beer. The pizza actually arrived in about 30 minutes, earning the delivery person a bigger tip. Of course the genius who came up with the ‘putting the menu/flyers under the door could not be the same person still working there….if you are delivering a pizza to a HOTEL, tell me….WHY wouldn’t you take paper plates too? Duh….

However….I thought the pizza was VERY good and I was hungry enough not to care. We let Bubba sit at the desk and use the box top as a plate …while DH & I were okay just eating our slices without any plates.

After our later-than-usual-for-us dinner, we got ready for bed and chillaxed watching tv until about 10:30-11pm. Even though DH had been up his usual 5:30am for work, it was still a long day (toss in the traveling too) and we were all tired (me especially since I don’t get up that early). Luckily, we were in no hurry to get up tomorrow….we scheduled a 12:00 noon shuttle to the port. I love the words “sleep in”

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Last edited by bubba's mom; 01-02-2011 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 11-15-2010, 02:40 PM   #2
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So glad you started!! Subscribing + can't wait to read more!
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Old 11-15-2010, 03:29 PM   #3
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i'm always in for brab's trips........
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:28 AM   #5
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I`ve bought one of those for this year....it`s in fuscia pink though......You`ll be able to see me from the air
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Me too!!!! Looking forward to the rest of this one
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:26 AM   #6
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Can't wait to read more
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Old 11-19-2010, 07:07 AM   #7
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normally TPA is so much easier to navigate than MCO, what r the odds the hotel shuttle tripped u up. It is interesting how the fire code went up in flames, good for u sticking to your guns.
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Old 12-20-2010, 11:01 AM   #8
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Hello? is this thing on? I thought I saw a tumbleweed or two blow through here.... How's about an update?


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Old 12-20-2010, 11:51 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by LilKintnerBoy View Post
Hello? is this thing on? I thought I saw a tumbleweed or two blow through here.... How's about an update?


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Old 12-20-2010, 01:36 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by LilKintnerBoy View Post
Hello? is this thing on? I thought I saw a tumbleweed or two blow through here.... How's about an update?


How about keeping yer shorts on! Tryin to get ready for Christmas YA know

I'll try to get the next day posted soon...just so you have something to read at work
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Old 12-20-2010, 05:54 PM   #11
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How about keeping yer shorts on! Tryin to get ready for Christmas YA know

I'll try to get the next day posted soon...just so you have something to read at work
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Old 12-26-2010, 08:22 PM   #12
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Day 2 - Saturday, July 3, 2010

Today is 'board the ship' day!

Like I mentioned, there was no hurry to be up this morning, and we weren't. I think we were up maybe around 9am? That's my 'sleeping in' I enjoy so much :

After getting cleaned up and dressed, we decided to head downstairs for some breakfast. Normally I'd bring something for us, but DH told me not to worry about it this year...he said we'd get something there. MY lesson learned: don't listen to his advice anymore...stick with my plan.

We went downstairs to the bar area where they were seating people to eat. There were a lot of seats and not many people there eating. She asked where we'd like to sit, so I said by the window...which was behind the bar. Big mistake.

She seated us and gave us a 'menu' ...which was actually a leaflet with breakfast selections on it. Not only did we not get a menu with any 'pages', there wasn't even anything written on the back of this (what'd I say was 4" x 8") paper.

As you can imagine, with slim pickins, it didn't take long to decide what we wanted. Because of the price gouging hotels do, I decided to stick with my usual english muffin and milk, DH went with the bagel & cream cheese with milk and Bubba was hungry, so he got the pancakes with some milk. (Pancakes alone were $8+, that was one reason DH & I went 'on the cheap'..the other being we knew there would be a "welcome aboard" buffet.) So, after about 5 minutes, we knew what we wanted, and after another 10-15 minutes, with no server in sight, DH walked out the front door to see if there was someplace else to eat within walking distance. He told me to order for him IF she ever came back. Well, she must have seen him walk out the door, because as soon as he did, she was at our table taking our order.

After she took our order, we honestly thought we'd never see her again. How long does it take (especially when it's not busy) to make some pancakes, toast a bagel and an english muffin...really? After about 15-20 minutes, we were ready to leave and she appeared with our food. We could tell she did bring it right out when it was ready...it was at least hot.

It didn't take us long to eat, and to our surprise, it didn't take her long to bring us our check. In the meantime, another table of about 6 or 7 sat down next to us. After she seated them, she stopped to pick up our bill. In the meantime, DH went back upstairs to our room to finish getting cleaned up and ready to go. I told him we shouldn't be long...we'd meet him upstairs. I couldn't have been more wrong.

Not only did she come by and tell me she'd be right back with my change (I was paying cash), but she took the drink order for the next table, and made not 1, but 2 trips to deliver their drinks...all the while making me wait for my change.

Now, our bill was $21.76 and I only brought 2 $20s down with me (of course). So, I sat and waited and waited and waited for at least 15 minutes for my $18.24 change. When she FINALLY got back to me, all she had given me was $18. Uh...hello?!? You're 24 cents short there sister!

She dropped my change and ran, so I went to the bar and explained to him that the server must not know how to do math...she shorted my change. (Because at this point, her service was SO slow and poor, she wasn't getting ANY tip from us!) The bartender went to find her (and my change) and in the meantime, DH came looking for Bubba & I. I explained all what happened, and he got so pissed, he said just forget it...24 cents wasn't worth our time. On our way back up to our room, I passed the bartender and he told me he was trying to get my change. I told him to forget it and let her keep it for a tip. Ridiculous.

Back at the room, Bubba & I finished cleaning ourselves up and the last of the packing was completed. We did a 'once over' in the room and determined we had everything. We headed downstairs to checkout and get our shuttle to the port.

It was only 11:35 and our shuttle wasn't until noon, so we asked if there was room on an earlier shuttle. They told us there were other people scheduled for noon and they couldn't get us on an earlier shuttle. They apologized and told us we could sit in the lobby and wait. Not a problem...we weren't in any hurry.

While we were sitting in the lobby, another couple arrived with luggage and grabbed a seat. I figured they were waiting for the port shuttle also. However, I started to doubt it when they weren't even sitting there 15 minutes when someone came up to the gentleman and then they left with him. DH and I looked at each other and he said to me very loudly (so the front desk could hear him) that "if those people were going to the port and we were not asked, there is going to be a lot of F-bombs goin' off". It wasn't noon yet, so we still had time. Not even 5 minutes after DH said that, someone came over to us and asked us if we were waiting for a ride to the port...how about that?

We said we were and he said he was there to take us. We followed him outside where he escorted us to a black Cadillac SUV. Once inside, DH asked him where the other people were that we supposed to be going with us on the shuttle at noon? He said they had already left. Well of course they did! We already knew that!

We were at the port well before 12:30 and we unloaded and gave the porter our bags. This was the first time I had ever been at the port in Tampa...what a madhouse! I guess because the doors were just opening everyone was there? A total unorganized, mob-scene! I just remember giving our bags to the porter, giving him some money and turning around and heading for the Carnival Cruise Line entrance.

As we were walking toward the entrance, I said to my DH, "What are the odds with all these people, we'll see someone we know?" Wouldn't you know, as soon as I finished saying that, BIL walked right in front of us!
Me: "OMG...there's your brother!"
DH: "Where?"
Me: "Right there...in front of you!"

How funny that was! Well, then in no time, I saw our SIL's parents, and then a cousin and his family....before I knew it, I was seeing most of our group! To find our family in that mass of people was just too unbelievable!!

We all walked to the end of the line, only to slowly start walking back in the direction we had just come from (the entry doors). It moved steady and slow, but we were talking the entire time...seemed to go much faster!

While in line, and especially once inside, we started seeing more family from our group. Saw a couple of uncles and another cousin. The only person we didn't see, was the guest of honor... Dad (FIL). We had booked him in a penthouse suite, so he and his gal beelined it to the VIP check-in. I'm sure they were with SIL's parents, as they were booked in the penthouse next to them, so they got VIP check-in also.

We made it through the line and before we knew it, we were at the window to get our Sign & Sail cards. I noticed another cousin was at another window, so when we were finished, we waited for him and his family. Before we knew it, an uncle was there and so was BIL. We did introductions (for the kids) and headed to board the ship.

Just on the ship at boarding, we finally see the guest of honor. There he was waiting for all the family to board. We all said our 'hellos' and it was really great to have Dad see everyone...all together...in the same place at the same time.

After all the greetings, and since our breakfast was a bust, we all headed to the Lido Deck for lunch. We ended up standing in line with my DH's cousin's 2 boys and our 2 nieces. I mentioned that I came with only 1 kid...now I had 5 But, that's sorta what happens with our family...there's so many of us (there were 32 people in 9 families in all for our group), that the kids kind of go with whoever is going the direction they want to go.

On deck, the lines were crazy long. Let's face it, when you have an entire shipful of people all in the same area at the same time...it's crowded! Little did we realize that the food we were standing in line for outside, was also offered in a line inside the doors right there. Duh...oh well, live and learn. I don't know how the guys in our family do it, but they managed to get 2 tables relatively close together....we stuck most of the kids at one table, and the ladies & GOH at another. Another table a bit further away would accommodate more of our family.

It was after 2pm and we were now able to get into our cabins. DH wanted to go with Dad to videotape him seeing his room for the first time...so, he went in that direction with him. I went to our room to drop my bag off and my plan was to go to GS to drop something off there, but on my way to our cabin I saw the line and decided I could wait. Our closet, closet 2, our bathroom and shower. After taking a few pictures of our cabin, I headed topside to take some pictures of the Port of Tampa and the ship. The pool and mini golf course. 1, 2 and 3. Loading luggage. Then I went to Dad's cabin to get pictures of his suite. And the kids enjoying his balcony. Suite pix: 1, 2, 3, 4, Dad's fridge, walk-in closet and bathroom with jacuzzi tub.

About 3pm we had our muster drill. We only had to go to the lounge area...no lifejackets required. This was the first time we didn't have to wear those and Bubba got his wristband (all kids 11 & under need to wear a muster station bracelet so they know where they're supposed to be).

Just before 5:00, I went to the Candlelight Lounge for the Camp Carnival orientation and sign-up. For some reason they aren't letting you do this online, and I was annoyed that I had to sit through a 30-45 minute ordeal just to register my son. So, I had filled out my paperwork...regarding: allergies, permission to swim, and giving him permission to sign himself in & out of the club. That would be important later.

Dad likes to eat dinner early, so we were set for the 6:00 (early) dinner. Everyone was there and we had 4 tables for our group. I had given the cruiseline a seating chart, so everyone knew what table to sit at. Starting the next night, we would stick all the kids together at the same table and each night we'd mix up the adults...so Dad could have a chance to sit with everyone.

We sat down and the bar service came around to take drink orders. The assistant server came by to take our non-alcoholic beverage orders. Cousin's husband (Bryan) that was sitting across from me ordered an iced tea with lime.
Server: We have lemon.
Bryan: I know that, I want lime.
Server: We don't have any.
Me: (leaning over the table) On this whole cruise ship with all these bars, you don't have ANY lime?

She looked at me and walked away. While waiting to order food, I gave the Camp Carnival list of scheduled activities to my son to look at while he was waiting. He went through each day and marked what he wanted to do. This list would end up on our mirror in our cabin so we could all see what he wanted to do each day. While at the dinnertable, out the window we could see the Egmont Key lighthouse at Tampa Bay's entrance and as we were going under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge.

We ordered shrimp cocktail and lasagna for appetizers and not too long afterward, the main server asked if we needed anything. Bryan said he needed lime (again).
Main server: We have lemon.
Bryan: I know that...I want lime.
Main server: Let me see what I can do.

Not too long after, he came with a small plate of sliced lime. My DH leaned over to him and said, "You know....that's just lemons painted green."

My son surprised me and ordered porkchop for dinner, I ordered the chicken. I can't remember what DH had...and, there's no picture of it? Wonderin' why?

I don't really let my son order off the kids menu when we cruise. We've explained when we cruise, it's his opportunity to order off the regular menu and try new foods and tastes. I explained to him how menus have a lot of adjectives describing a simple piece of chicken or pasta...but, it's still basically the same food. Ever since, he's tried many things on the cruises he's been on, and I think he surprises himself when he actually likes the meal he orders. Especially on this cruise, where the only time we sat with him was the first night. The other nights, either DH or I would go over and ask him what he planned to order or what he did order (sometimes the server was a bit quicker with the kids table than the adults'.) I think he felt a bit "grown up" ordering for himself off the adult menu...and then actually liking his meal!

Bubba & I discovered the warm chocolate melting cake the very first night. I don't know about him, but I ordered it every night for dessert. Oh. My. God. It was SOOOO good. Bryan's wife ordered the Orange Diet Cake for dessert the first night. Just because of it's name, I had to take a picture of it.
Some table pictures: BIL's wife's family, the way I see DH on vacation, cousin Kim's family at our table, cousin visiting Bubba at our table, Dad's brother Charles & his wife, Dad with his cousin and their ladies at table for 4, cousin Brian's table and the other end of Brian's table (I apologize for the dark pix...had the wrong setting on for shooting "into" the light).

After dinner, Bubba wanted to go to Camp Carnival for something that was scheduled. We gave him sign in & out privledges with the understanding that he would leave us a note in our cabin with what time he was there and where he intended to go. We gave him a curfew of 1am...... Never in a million years did we think we'd EVER tell our 11 yr old to be home by 1am! We figured we were at the beginning of our vacation, had plenty of time left, and he was with family he's never met...go have fun and enjoy. Plenty of nights for sleeping. Turns out, most nights, he was back before us anyway.

Anyhow...back to the Camp Carnival thing.... When Bubba left us to go there, we were all in Grumpy's (SIL's Dad) suite...which was next to Dad's. It wasn't long and he was right back telling us he couldn't get in to CC because we needed to sign him in. WTH?! So, DH & I headed there with him and found two parties ahead of us. DH told him to "go ahead in", we'll sign him in. The TM there STILL wouldn't let him in!

Finally, the people ahead of us were taken care of and it was our turn. By this time, DH & I were very annoyed and very angry. I wanted to know what the problem was and the TM told us that, according to her chart, he needed to be signed in. I told her that he did NOT and she proceeded to show me "her" chart. Well, there were 2 other cousins of his with the same last name, but different first names. I pointed out to her that the first one listed was "John" and then the next one listed was "Michael"...he is BUBBA..the 3rd one listed. ARGH!!! All she had to do was look at his Sign & Sail card hanging on his lanyard around his neck. She apologized and gave him a CC sticker for his S&S card..to 'avoid problems in the future'. Gimmie a break!!

What we did find out, was that although he could sign himself out, he had to do it by 10pm. If he didn't, he was stuck there until we came to get him. Told him if he planned to stay, he needed to either let us know or leave us a note in the cabin. To me, that doesn't make sense...what's the point then? If you have to leave a show or whatever you're doing...but, whatever.... It would turn out, that would be the ONLY night he would stay after 10pm. But...more on that later....

After getting the Camp Carnival thing straightened out, we checked back at Dad's cabin...no answer. We waited a few to make sure he wasn't there...he had talked about going to the casino after dinner. We decided he wasn't there and this was the perfect time to decorate his door for his birthday. We ran to our cabin (which was right below his cabin & we were near the stairs) to get what we needed. Turns out, we already had turndown service while at dinner! I took a couple pix, grabbed what we needed for Dad's door, and we went back upstairs to his cabin. We had everything ready to go and DH & I were in the middle of decorating his door when BIL & SIL came out of Grumpy's cabin next door. We had a couple extra people helping decorate and it went much faster.

After Dad's door was successfully decorated, we went with BIL & SIL, nieces & nephew and her folks to the top deck to take some pictures. It was extremely windy up there, so we didn't stay long. After that, we checked out the fitness center. DH, BIL & SIL planned to go there in the morning, so they wanted to scope it out. I thought about going, but once I saw how small it was, I decided not to go figuring it'd be really crowded...and, being an older ship, there was no "walking the treadmill/riding the bike looking out over the ocean"... The fitness center was enclosed and small. (Would turn out, DH said I made the right decision...it was REALLY crowded in the morning.)

About 10:30 at night, back in the atrium area, it was just so pretty. I took a couple pictures, but the photos don't do it justice. We decided to find the rest of the family...they were at the casino. The guys had found a 3 card poker table...that, our family would monopolize for most of the rest of the cruise. If you were ever looking for one of the guys (that gambled), this was the table to look for him at.

After being here for a bit, we checked out the Welcome Aboard Show and BIL grabbed a card for Bingo that was happening before the show. (Turns out there was Bingo in the Paris Lounge EVERY night prior to the evening show....if you weren't at Bingo, it was hard to get a seat because the Bingo people didn't leave..they'd stay to see the show!) He didn't win anything, but had fun trying. I say he had fun giving the cruiseline more of his money...he didn't appreciate that joke.

After the show, I forget where everyone went...I think Dad & Joyce went to bed, but we found ourselves sitting at the casino bar talking w/ BIL. I decided to go check on Bubba and see if he was ready to be sprung from the kid's club. To my surprise, I couldn't find where we left him! I remember it being an 'out of the way' corner, but I'll be darned if I could find it! I eventually ended up back at the bar near the casino where DH was still talkin' with his brother. The conversation didn't last much longer, and DH & I went in search of our son.

About 15-20 minutes later, we finally found him...in a completely different place! Nobody told us that at 10pm, they close the room they are normally in, and move up to the front of the ship to the little kids room. The door where we left him was locked and there was no sign or anything telling parents where they could be found. Apparently they have tv there and the arcade is right there. We were pissed from the lack of communication and let's just say there was a lot of yelling going on. We paid our money...because it's extra if they stay after 10..something else we did NOT know.... This would be why that this first night would be the last night Bubba was there past 10pm. He did NOT like the fact he was 'stuck' there after 10pm and to be honest, he said he was not impressed with the activites they had to offer. Can't says I blame him...he wasn't really doing anything but watching tv when we got there. I felt SO bad.....

It was late and a busy day...we decided it was time to start settling for bed. I think our first night aboard, we ended up going to bed around 1am.

No surprise there.

No big hurry to get up the next day....it's a Sea Day.
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'12 - '11 - HHN '10 - '10 - '09 - '08/DCL - '07(Jan.) - '07(July) - Mickey Mouse @ Universal!
- '04

Last edited by bubba's mom; 01-02-2011 at 06:29 PM.
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Old 12-27-2010, 12:00 PM   #13
klacey1
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Sounds like a fun first day, even if it was mixed unfortunately with some bad things. I can't believe the waitress at the hotel, or finding out you had to pay to let Bubba hang out after 10 pm! I also can't believe there was no sign or anything letting you know where he'd be! The atrium picture is great-- so classy!
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Old 12-28-2010, 08:23 AM   #14
jenseib
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I would've told that bartender to tel lthe waitress she owed you a tip for waiting so long! LOL!

I think I would've panicked if I came to the kids club and my kid was gone. They really need to communicate better, it sounds like.
I can't wait to hear more though!
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Old 01-02-2011, 06:25 PM   #15
bubba's mom
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Day 3 - Sunday, July 4, 2010

A relaxing day at sea, elegant dinner evening & Dad's birthday!

Our day started at the breakfast buffet on the Lido Deck in the Brassiere dining area. This would be the everyday place to gather at breakfast. Uncle Charles & Aunt Carol were already there eating at one of our 3 tables we took everyday; as was Uncle Ronnie, Aunt Dottie & Nana was there too (although, I didn’t see the rest of her group?).

On this particular day, DH & I ended up staying here for a couple hours. We arrived and Dad, Joyce, Uncle Paul & Aunt Sue had already finished eating and were sitting around chatting. Not too long after we arrived, the ladies left around 10am or so to see a 'shopping in Grand Cayman seminar'. I wasn’t interested as we had a snorkeling excursion planned.

So, Joyce & Aunt Sue left and DH and I sat there and chatted w/ Dad & Uncle Paul.
Then after a while, Dad left and Uncle Charles came by and sat down.
We don't normally see these uncles, so we sat and chatted with them for a while. We found out that BIL & family were up on sundeck.
Then after a while, Uncle Paul left and not 3 minutes after he left, Dad came back.
DH & I were probably there a couple hours talking with whoever was coming and going…and eventually everyone had left and we decided to head up to the sundeck to see BIL & SIL.

We found where everyone was and hung out and chatted with them. The sun was shining bright in the Gulf of Mexico that day, so after a bit, we decided to change out of clothes and into swim duds. On my way to change, I passed Dad hanging out and talking with the guys.

In the meantime, Bubba went on a scavenger hunt w/ Camp Carnival. He said they had fun, but couldn't find anything on the ship beginning with the letters "x", "y" & "z". He said his team did pretty good except for those last 3 letters.

He went to CC at 2pm for a PlayStation & Wii competition...which, he said he won the PS competition. I asked what he got for winning and he said "nothing". Told him he won bragging rights! Told his Dad that all those hours playing video games finally paid off.

Bubba's curfew was 5pm everyday to get ready for dinner and I made sure to tell him he HAD to be on time today…since it was our cruise elegant dinner and Dad's birthday. Before dinner, we wanted to stop by his suite to give him his cards and a couple of small gifts (his main gift was the cruise).

After stopping by Dad’s and wishing him a Happy Birthday and giving him a couple small gifts, we headed to the dining room. Everyone looked very nice at dinner...suits & dresses...there were no tuxes for this group!
Dad’s table, Bubba at the kids table, more nieces & nephews at the kids table, Aunt Carol & Uncle Charles, B&SIL, cousin Bryan & his DD Kodi, cousin Brian and SIL’s parents me, Nana #1, Nana #2 & Elise, Uncle Paul, Kim, Bryan & Kodi, Grumpy & DH and BIL & me.

For dinner, Bubba & I had the spinach stuffed mushroom caps for appetizers. (I was hungry and it was SO good, I almost forgot to take a picture!)
DH couldn't decide between the lobster & prime rib for dinner, so he went with ”surf & turf” and ordered both. It was a good thing, because the lobster was REALLY small...maybe only a few ounces..if that?
I had the prime rib. I couldn’t tell you what my son had, as this was the first evening we put all the kids at one table and I don’t remember checking….maybe DH did?

I had my TA contact the group coordinator on ship about arranging a birthday cake for Dad. We were the only group onboard that didn’t need the servers to sing “Happy Birthday” to Dad…with a group of 32, we had plenty of people to cover it!
It was only about $42 for a cake to feed 32 people (VERY reasonable I thought) AND EXTREMELY delicious! EVERYONE loved the cake...and we only had 5 pieces left over. I had ordered a marble cake w/ vanilla icing...and it had to be one of THE BEST birthday cakes I ever had. Not too sweet...just sweet enough and extremely moist! Dad was surprised we had cake for him. (although I don’t know why….I always fuss over him )

A few dinner pix of the family: cousins and Grumpy, Dad & his nephew Brian and 3 generations. (notice my Bubba absent …he ran off with his buds asap after dinner)

After dinner, we went to Dad's suite to relax and hang out until the "Shout" show. This was a lot of dancing to themed music from the 50’s, Elvis, beach-themed songs, etc... Cheesy show, but Dad enjoyed it and that’s what we were there for….Dad.

After that show, we headed to the casino. 3 card poker was THE game for this family....and they only had 1 table of it. Luckily this table was right in front of the casino and was THE meeting place if anyone was 'going to the casino'. Often, those not playing would grab a table across the hall from the casino at a table and chat and hang out. Here would be the ‘aunts’ doing just that. You could always find someone from our group in this area. Dad even got some ‘pointers’ from DH…which I’m guessing wasn’t too good?

Here’s a quick story about Uncle Paul’s hat (the one on the left with the blue visor). The night before we had seen a guy with a visor like his and bleached blonde spikey hair. He talked like a surfer dude, and I thought maybe it was just ‘where he was from’…I didn’t think much of it. THEN, I saw Uncle Paul with the same visor and short, spikey hairstyle (but only in GRAY hair!) and I thought….”Oh my God! I can’t believe it’s FAKE hair!” I felt like such a dum-dum for thinking that was the real hair on that guy from the night before. But…I have to admit, it did look VERY real!

I did find Grumpy (SIL's dad) on the slots...which didn't last long...he lost his money really quickly!

I talked to my SIL about the adult comedy show (staring Kenny Miller) starting within the half hour and we planned to go and hoped her and the family would meet us there. Unfortunately, the ladies, not the majority, ruled, and they didn’t make the show….they stayed at the casino. It was a shame they didn’t make it to the show….we had the whole first row to ourselves and he was funny! He had to pick on a guy in the audience about 5 or 6 rows back drinking a beverage from a bright, red, plastic Dixie Cup (the rest of the show, he called him "Dixie cup"...) He said "dude....you aren't even trying to hide it! There is no where ON this ship you can even GET a red dixie cup like that!"....It was a funny show and we laughed thru the whole thing. I'm going to have to search him out on YouTube.

After the show, we headed back to the casino (it wasn't far on that same floor), and found BIL and family. SIL's family decided to try out the pizza in the Brassier on the Lido Deck. Unfortunately for my waistline, we found ourselves here about every night between 11pm-12am eating pizza But, it was nice to just sit and chat in quiet. To my surprise, there are a LOT of choices of pizza. They give you a 1/4 pie and it's pretty good. Sauce isn't too spicy/tangy, but I liked it. They had pepperoni, cheese, mushroom, pan (sausage/peppers), marghertia, neopolitan, something w/ anchovies on it and a couple others I can't remember. Unlike the Disney ship that only had 3 or 4 choices....

Our son had a 1am curfew each night (except the last night) and he was usually back by then. I think he had cousins that had earlier curfews, but we let him be later just in case. I know the boys started a game of FULL ship hide ‘n seek! I told him he may want to narrow it down to a deck or two...but, he said it ended up turning into tag...which, I hoped they stayed up top.

The downfall to traveling with 32 people, is that one of them is bound to see you doing something you aren't supposed to. I heard from 2 different family members that they were busted for running in the halls at night.....

We finally ended up getting ready for bed and hitting the sheets around 1:30am.... oh, and here's a pic of our mirror with all our messages on it. (tip: dry erase markers ROCK!)

Tomorrow is our first day in port: Grand Cayman!

__________________
(some Universal) Trip reports:
'12 - '11 - HHN '10 - '10 - '09 - '08/DCL - '07(Jan.) - '07(July) - Mickey Mouse @ Universal!
- '04

Last edited by bubba's mom; 03-13-2011 at 01:45 PM.
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