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Old 06-29-2013, 09:25 AM   #61
WVURunner
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Originally Posted by Sparky47 View Post
As if this trip report needed any help getting any funnier...this is hysterical! Oh...certainly not that you all fell in the pool, simply the fact that you were reading along and recognized you were this person being described. Very funny (I'm laughing WITH you not AT you!)
I actually laughed out loud in my cube when I read it. It is okay if you laugh AT me it is deserved.

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Originally Posted by Kirbo View Post
I'm so glad that Emily fessed up and I didn't have to out her
Thanks for not ratting me out, you are a true DIS friend!

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Originally Posted by gotomu212 View Post
Oh I LOVE IT you guys. How did we not meet and hang out on this cruise?? No worries for adding some excitement to my day. It was just one of those "never seen that at the quiet cove" moments.

Can you imagine if you would have shut that pool down bleeding? Ohhhh some of the folks at the adult pool would have rioted for sure and the disboards would have LIT up.
Haha, I am guessing we never met because you were to busy trying to avoid me! Glad I provided a "first" for you on the cruise. We were all joking that there was going to be a thread on the boards about us and the incident (and I am sure it would have gotten heated.) I was prepared to change my DISname! I am guessing I would have been the first person in DCL history to close the adult pool down! That would have been an amazing thread.
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Originally Posted by gotomu212 View Post
Oh crap did you really knock yourself out? Younger siblings always be causing trouble. That is something my little brother and I would totally accidently do. I hope you got double dessert that night.
Yep, I actually got knocked out, I came to as they were pulling me out of the pool. Little sis claimed it was pay back for me breaking her arm and giving her stiches. We played rough as kids, we might as well have been boys. No double dessert. She did feel bad about the wave phone.

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Originally Posted by pharmjenn View Post
Emily, I saw your name and remembered you had said you were on this cruise. I got very confused that it was not Corinne in the pic though. I guess you are allowed to have more than one sister with 2 kids.
Haha, you just made Corinne's day thinking she was my little sister! Corinne is the oldest out of the three of us, with me in the middle. Corinne is 4 years older than me and Jamie is 4 years younger than me. Both have two kids, Jamie's daughters are 3 yo and 5 months! All three of us will be on the EBTA in 2014, that cruise better prepare!! I wish I was on the WBTA with you! That cruise is going to be amazing!
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Old 06-29-2013, 09:33 AM   #62
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Thanks for not ratting me out, you are a true DIS friend!


Haha, I am guessing we never met because you were to busy trying to avoid me! Glad I provided a "first" for you on the cruise. We were all joking that there was going to be a thread on the boards about us and the incident (and I am sure it would have gotten heated.) I was prepared to change my DISname! I am guessing I would have been the first person in DCL history to close the adult pool down! That would have been an amazing thread.
We would have rushed to your defense and changed our names in solidarity

Maybe.

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Old 06-29-2013, 09:48 AM   #63
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We would have rushed to your defense and changed our names in solidarity

Maybe.

Maybe? I see how it is! I now know who is going into the pool on the EBTA 2014! Don't worry, I will keep you away from the edge of the pool. And you won't be able to blame the booze for it! Please feel free to join in on any of the social events that involove drinking, you don't to drink/pay to just come hang out with us. We would love your company!
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Old 06-29-2013, 12:30 PM   #64
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Maybe? I see how it is! I now know who is going into the pool on the EBTA 2014! Don't worry, I will keep you away from the edge of the pool. And you won't be able to blame the booze for it! Please feel free to join in on any of the social events that involove drinking, you don't to drink/pay to just come hang out with us. We would love your company!
I can be your designated driver

I might crash your parties next year simply because you're a fun bunch
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:55 PM   #65
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Wow, your son cooks the spaghetti-o's himself? Or does he eat them cold? My 5yo probably could, and he can definitely get the hotdogs out and enjoys them cold at school
He does cook them himself. He climbs up on the counter and puts them in the microwave. I read him this part and he said "mom I also make chicken noodle soup, popcorn, strawberries, and yogurt". Not sure how he cooks strawberries or yogurt but he does know how to get them. He figured out how to do hotdogs in the microwave when he was 2. My mom is mortified and thinks it means we never feed him. I prefer to think that he's insanely independent and acts like a little old man which sounds better.
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Old 06-29-2013, 01:58 PM   #66
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Land Ho!

Day 12: Tuesday May 28th
Madeira, Portugal

We did it! We made it across the Atlantic (well almost, the island is Africa-adjacent but whatever it was land on the eastern side of the Atlantic) and were sailing into Madeira this morning. We were up early today; no really. We watched the ship sailing in starting around 7:45. We came in around the west and southern coast and anchored about 9:00 in the capital city of Funchal. The night before, we put out our room service card. This was the first time we’d tried room service breakfast and it worked so well. You get your little card and check off what you want and when you want it. They call you about 10 minutes before it gets to your room (BONUS back up wake-up call) and you can eat while you run around getting ready. The only downside is it is cold foods only (Danish, breads, cereals) and you need to specify how many you want of each. There was one choice “assortment of muffins”; you get one muffin. I guess it’s an assortment of what you might get, but you are not getting an assortment yourself.

So we get our room service and took it out on the veranda to eat and watch the ship come in. We were signed up for a Disney excursion- Wild West Madeira and it was scheduled to take the whole day. We met at 10:15 in Rockin Bar D with about 2,000 other people. Normally I feel like they do a really good job of checking you in and getting you off the ship. So today, when we kept sitting and sitting and sitting it felt weird. 30 minutes in we were told that there was a medical evacuation this morning and we had to wait for that before we could be cleared to leave. Apparently several other tours and those on their own who lined up earlier had been standing in the lobby for over an hour; at least we were sitting in chairs in the bar. After waiting an hour, they got the person off the ship, down a really steep gangway which might have been part of the problem, and we could start our tour. I don’t think there is any way Disney could have handled that better honestly, even though it really stunk for everyone waiting.

We were quickly through the KTWW swipe and were on the bus at 11:20 to meet our tour guide (who I have completely forgotten but she was great I remember that). They announced that lunch would be pushed back an additional hour since we were late and that we wouldn’t eat until 3:00. Carlos completely missed this part and kept asking at every stop when we were going to eat. We headed out of Funchal and into what? Not the suburbs? Maybe countryside? Let’s go with that.

The island is really incredible. It’s very steep and mountainous. The island has over 142 tunnels that cut right through the hills. The roads are incredibly twisty, narrow, and have switchbacks the whole way up and down over the hills. They offered us motion sickness medicine before we left the ship. I grabbed some since I’m never one to turn down free drugs, but I never needed to use them. I could see why some people would though. The locals grow bananas on the island (and a few other things but mostly bananas) and the hills are covered with terraces to allowing growing in such a steep confined space. It was beautiful and reminded me off country landscapes in China. The banana trees would go right up to the front doors of the homes so they looked like they were in a sea of banana trees straight up and down the hills. Our friends were on another tour and were told a long story about how the bananas are sold to Chinese exporters and the Chinese want straight bananas but straight bananas don’t taste as sweet so there’s a whole conspiracy to trick the exporters and straighten the bananas with blue plastic bags instead of actually growing straight bananas. This sounds completely made up doesn’t it? We heard none of the banana saga and just heard that the blue bags were used to speed up the growing process and act as a greenhouse agent. (Their guide sounded a little crazy in several different areas so I’m going with made up, but if anyone has the scoop on the story, I’d love to hear it).

We drove out, looking at the landscape, loving the Mediterranean style homes, but noticed that there weren’t many people out and about. Our first stop was Cabo Girao. This is the second highest sea cliff in the world (Taiwan has the #1 highest cliff). You can walk out on the cliff, and they’ve built a clear floor so that you can walk out over the area and look down to the ocean. The floor is really thick plastic and has little holes so it’s really difficult to take pictures straight down but I guess safety first. Carlitos was not a fan at all. He stood right at the edge of the land part and said that if the floor started to break he would dive back onto land. I said well mom and dad were out on the cliff and he said “I would have missed you.” Um, okay, a little harsh for a five year old, but I guess I should be glad he’s so independent, I guess? Lucky for us the floor held and we could look out at the water which was amazing and get a great view of the landscape.

Back to the bus and we headed to the village of Ribeira Brava. There was a little church in the town square that we peaked in and a playground in the plaza. We try to let Carlitos play on these when we have time. I think nothing is cuter than watching how kids from different places can play on a playground together. We have great memories of him playing in Paris with all the French kids. I sent Carlos across the street to a bakery to grab a few treats since we were having lunch so late (I clearly told him this so this was time 2 he heard about delayed lunch) while Carlitos played on the most dangerous playground ever. It still had a wooden board for a slide-think big splinters, there were rusty nails everywhere, several things pinched him somehow, and the swing seat broke. (So far he hasn’t developed lock jaw so I think we’re okay.)

When Carlos came back with awesome and cheap pastry (we found the one place in Europe where the euro goes a long way), we wandered back along some small streets, glancing in shops until we got to the ocean. Crossing over, we walked along the seawall (or on the seawall in Carlitos’ case) for a few blocks. Time was running out so we walked back to the bus where Carlos again asked about lunch. I told him again (3rd time) that lunch was going to be late so he ran down and bought an ice cream to eat on the bus (directly underneath the picture of an ice cream with a big x through it-Carlitos pointed that out).

From there we traveled to the middle of the island, Encomeada Pass for a drink; basically moonshine. It’s a white rum, honey, and fruit drink. It’s 160 proof or something and the farmers drink it in the winter while working the terraces. Oh dear Lord, this drink is strong. I couldn’t finish it (you all don’t know me but for me not to finish a drink is really saying something). Carlos again tries to sit down on the lunch side of the bar we were at and I have to tell him (4th time) that we aren’t eating yet. He was really confused. It was really crowded inside and although it had started to rain, we took a little walk outside enjoying the forest. Honestly, my throat and tummy was so toasty from the drink that I didn’t mind the rain but was disappointed we couldn’t see the view from the Pass which is supposed to be amazing.

We went down the hill in the rain, driving through a beautiful forest. There was a lot of commentary about the island which I sadly don’t recall but we were on our way to the Village of Porto Moriz. This was our longer stop and when we originally booked the excursion was to include a swim in the natural lava pools. Two nights before the excursion we had a letter in our room that said the pools were unavailable, then we had a call from PA on our phone saying the pools were unavailable and we could cancel if we wished, that morning when checking in at Rockin Bar D they told us again, and finally our tour operator told us the pools were unavailable. I was so tempted to get out and ask when we’d be going to the lava pools. Now it is time for lunch. We’re eating at the Sperm Whale (yep) and we had to cross a bridge and maybe those were the lava pools, and Carlos asked me “where are we going.” Are you kidding me man?

Walking in, there was a narrow hall with tile floors. With the rain everything was wet and slippery. I just said watch your step to Carlitos when my feet slid out from beneath me. Thank God the hall was narrow. My arms flailed out hitting the rough walls (with the camera) and I caught myself mid-split before actually hitting the ground. Carlos, right behind me, is rooted in place while I nice teenage boy grabbed my arm and helped me re-orient myself. (He also tried very hard to laugh, but seriously guy watching someone in their 30s do the splits and flail like that is funny, laugh on.) There was a time when I could easily do the splits; that time has sadly passed. I guess technically I “can” still do them, but should I? No. I limped into the dining room waiting for one of my legs to fall off.

We had a seat right next to the window, sitting over the ocean and could look out right into the waves. It was still raining and the waves were intense and the view was so wild and remote (almost like a Scottish moor if those had an ocean.) We ate the local fish which is only caught in two places in the World- Madeira and a spot in Japan. It comes from deep deep in the ocean, and Madeira happens to jut out right over a deep trench. They put nets down thousands of feet, catch the fish, then when they pull the nets up, the change in depth is too much for the fish and their lungs basically explode from the pressure (like a scuba diver with the bends). So I was eating exploded fish. It was good, I don’t know, it tasted like normal fish, didn’t taste tramatized or anything, and wasn’t in a big pulpy mess.

After lunch we were free for about an hour to stroll around. It was still raining but we went down and walked through the drained lava pools. It was way too cold to swim but I was still a little sad that they were closed since we booked the tour based just on the pools. The different pools were really cool, they wound through the rocks and dropped off and had hidden pools, but drained they were kind of gross and dangerous. This was the day we yelled “CARLITOS! GET OVER HERE and stop touching the green slime!”, and “Yuck, put that cigarette butt done. GROSS”, and my personal favorite “WHAT? No, you can’t pet that dead bird. What is wrong with you?”. Some of the tour went during the free time to a Life Science Museum, but we wanted to stroll around outside (in the rain) rather than shuffle through with the crowd. We walked up and down the shoreline watching the waves crash, looking out the old whale watching station, and enjoying the feel of land.

Then we had 10 minutes to get on the bus in front of the restaurant, and I thought might as well run in and use the restroom (being very careful not to slip again). This is probably way TMI but since it’s a reoccurring theme during the rest of our tours I feel the need to explain that I don’t waste any time when using a public restroom. To me, this is not a time to stop and smell the roses (or used bathroom in this case). I get in there, take care of things, wash my hands, and we’re done- in and out in under 2 minutes usually. If I’m taking Carlitos, I might add 60 seconds but I’m usually shouting let’s go, let’s go, let’s go the whole time. It’s all very efficient. Carlos doesn’t share my same sense of efficiency on the matter.

So now with about 8 minutes until the bus leaves, I’m all set. I meet them in the sperm whale display under the restaurant (apparently this part of Madeira has a long whale hunting past-before it wasn’t environmental correct). We look around for a few minutes and then I said “well we have 5 minutes, we should make our way out to the bus” and Carlos says “I’m going to the bathroom”. (WHAT? NO, there’s no time. I was talking to air though because he’d already left). Now I have to figure out a way to stall a bus without revealing to strangers that my husband is in the bathroom (although I guess I have no calms telling the disboard). I took the approach that if I dawdled they wouldn’t leave us so I strolled past the bus with Carlitos and the camera trying to act like I was absorbed in taking pictures. Some people were still standing outside the bus doing the same, so I walked about a block-still in sight of the bus- pausing for landscape shots, posing the kid, looking around obliviously. Now we’re 5 minutes late. I’m going to have to bite the bullet, go to the bus, and throw myself in front of it to save my husband from being left behind. But wait, who is already on the bus? It’s Carlos, asking me “where were you?” (So first point, we were right in sight of the bus so maybe stick your head out and look, and second I thought the deal was no man left behind. Why are you peacefully sitting on the bus, out of the rain, without us? Were you going to wait until it pulled away to say oh wait, stop, my family?) Lucky for us, 6 other people were still missing, buying some Madeira wine, so once again winos save us from looking like the slackers we are (I am a wino myself sometimes so no judgment intended-don’t want another faux pas talking about another reader again hehehe) .

After everyone stowed their new wine (in the overhead by the way-no overhead doors just a big open area. Doesn’t that seem an odd place to store breakable bottles that would maim someone when they inevitably fall during the twisty drive?), we drive back through the island on our way to the coast. The land was absolutely beautiful. There are waterfalls, windy roads, breathtaking ocean vistas, banana trees, forests in the clouds. I really want to come back here- it’s usually 70 degrees year round. Christmas trip anyone? It does seem like a very difficult place to live though. The cars don’t last very long with the hills and the saltwater, the banana farmers have to do all the work by hand since machinery can’t get onto the terraces and that includes carrying 50-60 lbs of bananas uphill to wait for a truck, unemployment is pretty high, not everyone in the more remote mountain areas had electricity until 1992, those people also didn’t have roads until then and would climb up 2,000 steps to get in and out of their village (and it was a large village, not just one hermit living all Heidi in the Alps), and worst of all from Carlitos’ vantage point was that they usually don’t have clothes dryers and line dry their clothes. I’m not sure why but this would later be a deal breaker for Carlitos all over Europe.

We made a 30 minute stop somewhere on the south coast in a resort village. We tried to go into a century old church by following the steeple through the town. Some of the “streets” are actually stairways so we kept twisting around buildings and blind corners. Finally we found it and were rewarded with a locked door. We did find a little staircase there that led through a building construction zone and dumped us right in front of the bus in under a minute so our wandering was a little less directed than first thought. We crossed the street and went down to the rocky beach to dip our toes (or in Carlitos’ case his entire leg from hip down) into the eastern Atlantic. Then trudged back to the bus, and loaded up for our drive back to the capital.

We pulled up to the port at 7:00 (all aboard was 6:45) and stood in a pretty long line. After about 30 minutes we were on board, and we didn’t waste a lot of time casting off about 8. We watched cast off from the veranda and then headed to dinner. No one was really in the mood- so tired from touring (I realize we were tired from sitting in a bus, but that’s hard work too if done long enough). Tonight was Animators and the Taste of the World menu. Our friends were there, but their little guy was having none of the fancy dinner tonight and John took him off to the room leaving us with April and her 10 year old daughter. SCORE because tonight is pretzel sticks bread night and we needed to start dwindling numbers if we were going to get all the pretzel bread we could eat. (Disclaimer, the pretzel sticks bread weren’t that great, but it was different and we were psyched for it!)

I love dinner on excursion days when you can share what each other did and compare stories (in this case mostly about the straight banana conspiracy stories). Our friends had left their kids on the boat that day and done the 6 mile hike through the canyons. The hike ended up being 9.2 miles long (WOW) and through dark tunnels (no worries they were giving those little flashlights that you have to keep clicking on and off to get light). Someone in the group lost their passports in the tunnel and had to go back to find them in the complete darkness that is a mountain tunnel. Can you imagine the panic they must have been in?

First thing first though, I had to relay the Trio dessert disaster to April (she was SHOCKED), then Limbert came over and we had to give him a hard time. Poor Limbert, he didn’t even realize what had happened and he felt so bad which was not our intention at all (come on Limbert, we’re friends here, no worries). He said we should have come into the kitchen and that never again would we be left without a trio (we all had a good laugh and let him know that we survived). In all the hilarity we forgot to tell him that John and little guy were gone for the night, so we kept sitting there with our menus, sitting, waiting, and finally after other tables were done with their first course, we said OH he’s waiting for the rest of the group before he takes our order. So we had to flag him down and let him know they were awol tonight.

I got an appetizer with lobster, salmon and something (it was not good and it’s best I just forget about it), cheddar cheese soup (amazing-I was told it’s the same thing served during the food and wine festival), and some fish dish (at this point I didn’t care because we had started rocking and nothing was feeling quite right). We noticed that glasses on the other tables were shaking like a T-Rex was coming. The family at the next table was passing around Dramamine like it was x at a rave (I really wanted to lean over and beg some but they were strangers and I didn’t want to seem really crazy). April had ordered something for John “to go” and Limbert and Martin came over with covered plates while we were eating our mains. Then they said we don’t want this to get cold, what’s your cabin number and Martin went to hand deliver the food to their room. I don’t think this is the norm at all. It probably helped that it was second seating, a less crowded service, and we were their favorites (I’m guessing that last part). The next night John made us all laugh reenacting the knock at the stateroom door and opening to find Martin standing there with food.

Limbert brought us 3 trios tonight (one for us, one for the other family, and one to take back to John). In a true twist of irony though, the rocking had gotten to the point where I needed to get out of there quickly and April was exhausted so we couldn’t even eat the Trio. I did move the food around on the plate a little to look like we ate some of it (seriously after that whole scene I felt I had to make an effort).

We went back to the room, I grabbed Dramamine, and then curled into a ball on the bed to watch Monsters Inc and the Little Mermaid with the guys. I normally enjoy a rocking boat; I think it’s exciting. We sailed through a tropical storm for 4 days once, and I couldn’t have had more fun, but this was hitting me a little harder tonight- I think maybe it was the fish or maybe being on dry land and back, I don’t know. Sneak peak- tomorrow it would be rougher.
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Old 06-30-2013, 01:15 PM   #67
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If this boat’s a rockin’, send help

Day 13: Wednesday May 29th

Remember how at dinner last night, it started to get rocky? Well today was the big show. I think I’ve mentioned this before, but the entire crossing the ocean was calm. Some days the water looked like glass and we could have been on a lake instead of the middle of the Atlantic. We had been ready for tying ourselves to the mast and bailing water over the side (not really but you know it’s the ATLANTIC). Yet nothing, we could have built a house of cards on deck, but now that we were getting ready to enter the Med, things picked up.

I was awake at 9:30. Lying in bed, I had the curtains to the veranda open and was watching the ocean. One minute we’d see all water, then the boat would shift and the view would be all sky, back and forth. That wasn’t bothering me too much. At 10:00 they made an announcement into rooms that pools were closed on Deck 9 and they also said that “the ship was incredible safe and everything was fine” (I thought that was kind of weird to say. I’ve never heard them say that before so maybe some folks were a little freaked). We were chilling in the room getting room service. At noon the captain’s update came on and he said “it’s going to get worse before it gets better”. Ruh-roh. An hour later, we were still in the room and things started falling off our counters. Now our counters were pretty crowded and we had a couple large mugs that were top heavy anyway, but still. At dinner our friend said he had a level on his phone and the listing was about 10 degrees + in both directions. It was a far cry from Deadliest Catch waters, but it was a little rough for a big cruise liner.

We were so lazy. I think I may have OD’d on Dramamine. I accidently took the drowsy kind too so I was super tired. We played Uno in the room, got room service again, watched National Treasure, took a nap, played Uno, and then got ready for dinner. I realize this sounds like the most boring day ever but it was so relaxing. The pools were closed so we were a little limited on our options for Carlitos. He didn’t want to go to the Club today and with the movement I didn’t want to walk around too much. I did go out on the veranda a few times and the movement was enough that I went back inside where a door was between me and the ocean. We didn’t regret the day though. Part of the purpose of this trip was to relax and recharge from our hectic jobs so a day spent chillin was perfect and no one threw up so double bonus.

Dinner tonight was our second formal night, Captains’ Gala night. I noticed that people were more dressed up for this formal night than the first. I had reversed that and wore my nicer formal the first formal night. No worries though, I still looked great in my tank top and jean shorts (kidding- I had a nice formal). That dress is supposed to be worn with these really cool heels though. I put them on in the room, fell into the wall and Carlos said “unless you want me carrying you through the lobby you need to wear flats”. Sad face, but if I fell my dress was most likely going to fly up over my head so he’s got a point, flats it is. There were some women who toughed it out in heels but I saw more carrying their shoes around then actually wearing them (and nothing says formal night like bare feet- just saying formal dress threads).

We headed to the lobby about 20 minutes before dinner. Am I just imagining things or didn’t they used to have waiters circulating with complimentary drinks? I remember getting these in the past, and I remember spilling one in the lobby so they’re memories that really stand out. Anyway, no complimentary drinks tonight. No heels, no drinks, what kind of gala is this?

We were in Parrot Cay for dinner. Not the most formal location, but the fake parrots really add ambiance to the evening. I got oysters Rockefeller (yum even though Carlos questioned if they were the best choice for a rocky night), the mushroom soup (eww, eww, eww. It was somewhat cold which didn’t help at all), and chicken parmesan with pasta (incredible, new favorite dish). Since John wasn’t at dinner last night, we had to relay the Trio story, again (at this point we were digging up that dead horse to beat him some more). We all got the lava cake which was great and our Trios. We lingered over dessert and then went to get the kids from the Club.

We crashed in the room and watched Sherlock Holmes. The motion was much, much better. They had given us our room bill tonight (I thought this was early since we still had two days left.) I threw it in the trash because nobody wants to think about that bill. They also gave us our tip cards with the standard gratuity. I wanted to increase everyone’s, except our head server (OH Lord I haven’t even told you guys about our head server this trip.-I’ll add that below for anyone who cares). I wanted to hang onto our cash since we still had next week to go, but I hate the guest services line at the end of the trip. I was still dressed after the movie and thought it’s 12:45, maybe I can run down there now and the line will be short. WOW. It’s creepy. I had not noticed how loud the ship is all the time, until I walked into an almost deserted lobby. There was one guy sitting alone in the chairs over by the window (I can only guess that he had a room full of children and he and was over family time and looking for a few stolen minutes of solitude. He could have also been a super creepy person- I didn’t stop to find out). There was one woman in the GS line with a laundry room dryer problem (the dryers weren’t working and she needed to dry her granddaughters’ jeans before Gibraltar-GS dried them for her for free and delivered them to her room at 7 a.m. just FYI). I had my tips changed and was out of there in 2 minutes. I almost wanted to linger and enjoy the silence but it was spooky quiet and there was that potential ax murderer in the chairs. All 4 lobby elevators were standing there, doors open, waiting so it’s my sign. Up I went to sleep and get ready for Gibraltar.

PS: Head server tales for anyone interested. Our head server experience was just crazy. He came around the first night, met everyone and was friendly. He came around the next night and was under the impression our friends are vegetarians. They aren’t actually veg, but they don’t eat a lot of meat and do order off the vegetarian menu occasionally. But, for some reason HA was convinced they were straight vegetarians and needed special food. He asked them what they thought of the menu, and John said he liked his curry that night. HS made a face and said it wasn’t very good. John said no, it’s not traditional but I’m enjoying it. HS shook his head no again and said “very bad”. (So um, I didn’t work a lot in the hospitality industry, but in general I think that you shouldn’t really criticize your own food and if someone says they like it, then you really shouldn’t criticize it, but like I said I’m not an expert in this field.) After that exchange John was pretty much dead to him, and for some reason Carlos and I were too. That left only April, hmmmm.

So every night HS would come over with eyes only for her and some nights he would acknowledge John but Carlos and I didn’t even get eye contact. Once he did look over at us, kind of hmmm under his breath and walked away. WTH had we done?? Then it became a running joke that he was in love with April and was hoping to woo her away with promises of an exciting life on the seven seas. We would playact these scenes at our table to April’s supreme embarrassment (this was on the down low too). The night John wasn’t at dinner, HS ran over to our table and asked April where he was and if everything was okay. But he didn’t do it in the Limbert” is everyone feeling okay” way. More in the “Did Mr. John get left behind in Madeira?, too bad, let me know if you need a shoulder to cry on” way. Oh did I mention he always called John Mr. John but never addressed any of the rest of us directly but did call April “Mrs.” When their family didn’t come to dinner, he didn’t bother stopping by at all.

On the Captains’ Gala night, he came by and said they were doing table assignments for the next week and did we have any requests?, want the same table?, etc. And he took care of all of that seamlessly so that was a big help and he redeemed himself. The next week he got a whole new crop of ladies though and he wasn’t as interested in April (we assume he decided to cut his losses and pursue other greener pastures). It was both bizarre and hilarious. We gave him the standard tip for comic relief, but didn’t really think we should go above and beyond that. He was probably a lovely man…
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Old 06-30-2013, 03:37 PM   #68
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Loved your description of your Madeira excursion. Do you have any pictures?
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Old 07-01-2013, 10:02 AM   #69
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I LOVE your trip report!!! We had a similar head server last May on the DCL Alaska trip we went on. I think he introduced himself the first night and then of course the final night he came by to say good-bye.
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Old 07-01-2013, 03:46 PM   #70
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“No one gets off the Rock” Sean Connery

Day 14: Thursday May 30th
Rock of Gibraltar

Hey remember that movie with Sean Connery and Nic Cage where some WMDs were on Alcatraz (aka The Rock) and these two needed to save San Francisco? It was a great movie right? and you would find it hilarious if someone kept saying “No one gets off the Rock” in a Scottish accent right? If the answer is no, you should probably stop reading-this TR will not be for you. We had our quote for the day all set, and done with an amazing Sean Connery accent for someone with no prior practice if I do say so.

Where were we? Right we were leaving the Atlantic and sailing between Europe and Africa and into the Mediterranean. The Rock of Gibraltar is one of the Pillars of Hercules and you sail between the two pillars (the other one is a little nebulous and is on the Africa side) to get into the Med. I have always wanted to do this and see myself pass between them; I was excited. This is going to be the highlight of the cruise watching us cross over. We were told we’d be sailing in around 7. I woke up at 6:00, threw clothes on, grabbed the camera and ran outside to see…docked? DOCKED? Well crap, missed it. Our friend John missed it too so I didn’t feel as bad.

Well that was anticlimactic. I went back to bed to nap for a few hours. We originally were on an 8:15 tour, but moved to be on the same tour with our friends. This might be a good place to talk about linked reservations since I didn’t know how this all worked. There are two ways to link reservations-for dining only and this is more of a dining preference than an actual “link” and the second is a complete link which means you can see everything on each other’s reservation, can book port adventures for everyone, can sign up to allow charging on one account, can check each other’s kids out for the Club (can decide not to do this but it’s an option during club registration), and have dinner together. We had the complete link. When I went to change our port adventure, I somehow cancelled their tour, moved ours to something different completely, then finally figured it out and got them booked back on their original tour and time and got us on it too. When you cancel people’s reservations and/or sign them up for new excursions they received an emails telling them that their reservations were changed. So they received a bunch of emails that day and I got to send them a nice one too- “hey we can’t wait to see you guys, by the way, no worries but I totally screwed up the Gibraltar excursions but then I fixed it, I think. It’s all good. See you soon.” Our new excursion time was 1:15.

We went up to Topsiders for lunch. It was a Moroccan menu. I really like Moroccan, but this was not good. I ate bread, no joke. We talked to our friends at dinner and they had different options on the buffet when they came up. I don’t know what happened there. They may have made a quick change when they noticed no one was eating the food at first. We sat outside to eat our bread and enjoyed the sun. We were really excited to get off and see the city.

At 1:00 we were back in Rockin Bar to meet our excursion, find our friends and make another “No one gets off the Rock” reference. At some point on the way here, we lost our water bottle. We’ve had this for 3 years and dragged it around the world. It was perfect; it held enough water for three people without being too big or heavy. We had to buy water from the little stand in the bar and I really hate buying disposable water bottles but weighed dehydration against landfills and sorry Earth you lost today (Carlos just told me that line was a little over dramatic, I bet he’s getting plastic bags at the grocery store too).

Polar bears crying and all, we were led off the ship for our Gibraltar Walking Tour. We were on a smaller bus with maybe 20 people, including the ship lecturer Charles Richard (celebrity sighting!). Our first stop was the cable car station. The plan was to take the cable car up to the top of the Rock and then slowly make our way down, stopping at various sites. The cable car had a long line and we were told it would be a 12 minute wait. 40 minutes, 12 games of I Spy, and 1 awkward game of hide and seek on a bus later we were in line for the ride to the top. During our wait, our guide did point out the famous Gibraltar hotel where Sean Connery spent two separate honeymoons with two separate wives. What a coincidence!, and yet another opportunity for me to say “No one gets off the Rock”. (At that point our friends and Carlos all said they would wait outside the bus, leaving me behind.) We also got some background on the city from our guide. It’s a British enclave, surrounded by Spain, and Spain hates them. Spain hated them so much in the 70s that it locked down all the borders and everything had to come in by plane or boat. Her grandfather was Spanish and he had to decide where his loyalties lie. He picked Gibraltar and there was a wanted picture of him in Spain (and Carlos thinks I’m dramatic). Things are friendlier now and the borders are open (lucky for grandpa).

History lesson over we filed into the open cable car and crept up the Rock. (One more “No one gets off the Rock”- Charles Richards laughed at it, it was the first time he heard it.) We had beautiful views of the Atlantic feeding into the Med and Africa right THERE in front of us. I have not been to Africa yet, and really want to go. It was hard to see it so close and not to be able to go over and step on the continent. Anyway, focus Deann this is about Gibraltar.

We got off at the top for the observation area. You probably know that Gibraltar is famous for the Barbary Apes (actually monkeys) which are the only wild monkeys in Europe. They most likely came over as pets (or maybe dinner) when the British were here in the 1700s. They are now wild and dominate the Rock. It’s a crime to feed them or touch them (unless they jump on you) and they are reputed to be robbers who snatch bags. Yeah right, they aren’t going to steal your stuff (spoiler alert- we saw a monkey mugging). At the very top of the cable car station, a monkey jumps into the car through the window and we all quickly make our way out. The observation area is really cool. It’s got amazing views and monkeys are running all over the place so you get all the pictures you want (honestly though how many monkey pictures do you need?). There’s a gift shop and we got a magnet, our friends got their little guy a stuffed monkey and their daughter a keychain. It was the last custom keychain they had, and she was so excited and told us how she was going to start a world keychain collection- spoiler she shouldn’t get too attached).

After free time on the platform we walked down the hill to St. Michael’s Cave. It’s a very narrow steep road (in the states it would be a big sidewalk) that is also used by cars and buses so we had a few harrowing moments when we were sure one of the kids were going to be run over (we’re including the husbands in the kids category here). The Cave is a huge area that they think might have been part of the land bridge to Africa at one time. There’s a giant auditorium inside where they hold concerts, and it’s really pretty in there. It’s also very wet and slippery. Everyone was taking bets on when I was going to bite it (I didn’t really appreciate this but since I slipped twice while complaining about it I thought I should shut up). We walked around in the Cave for maybe 30 minutes; Carlitos was convinced it was the Underworld or maybe used to be the Underworld (courtesy of Villians Tonight); I reinvented my line to “No one gets out of the Cave”, and then went outside to wait for the bus. We were clustered along the road next to a stone wall, looking at the water, trying to get reorganized. John opened the camera bag to put his camera in and took out the gift shop bag lying it on the road by his feet…..

…out of nowhere someone yelled “MONKEYS GOT YOUR BAG”. I was standing right next to them and it happened so incredibly fast. I’ve seen a pick-pocketing a time or two in my day, but never like that. The monkey ran down the wall with the bag, and John chased him (how was this going to end? Was he going to actually snatch it back from a wild animal?). Before he got there the monkey opened the bag, saw it wasn’t food, and threw it down the hill. The hill had maybe a 20 ft drop from the wall and then went steeply down into trees-we’re talking about the side of the Rock here. Now there’s a big discussion between onlookers, John, port adventure people, tour guides. John looked pissed so I thought maybe I shouldn’t wander on down there, but April and I couldn’t figure out what the discussion could be. He wasn’t going to jump down the hill was he? He’d be stuck. Cut your losses dude. (We said all of this in our heads; well April may have yelled “you aren’t going down there” towards him at one point).

The kids were heartbroken. Now that we’ve all gotten a little distance from the event, we can have a laugh and make jokes about “the monkey got it” anytime something was missing but at the time there was no laughter. While John contemplated jumping down the hill, a bus driver got out and hugged the 10 year old, gave her a sucker (which the one thing everyone said was don’t go around the monkeys with food whatsoever) and then started stroking her hair. UM, record scratch. Stranger petting you, that’s sure to make you feel better. We quickly corralled her away from the well meaning creepy stranger, yelled at John to leave the monkey alone, and sadly made our way to the bus. (BTW- Carlos missed ALL of this, and there was at least 5 minutes of action and yelling and some running. We get to the bus, and he looks over surprised and said “why is everyone crying, what happened?” I did the church whisper “NOT NOW” while Carlitos started to loudly tell him that they were sad because a naughty monkey stole their toys). I added a No one gets off the Rock (what too soon? April said yes).

This is where the tour started going off the rails. We were suppose to stop at the monkey sanctuary and we drove right by that (after being a victim of monkey mugging we weren’t too disappointed but still it was part of the tour so what happened?). Then we were suppose to have another shopping stop and during the monkey assault the guide told John we’d be stopping there later so he could try to get a replacement for the lost things. We never saw another store. Maybe it was at the sanctuary?? We drove down to the Siege Tunnels and we were supposed to be driven up to it but we were let out at the bottom of a hill and had to walk up (not a deal breaker; I guess we had all this extra time since we were skipping stuff so why not a steep walk up a mountain with still crying kids?). The Siege Tunnels were a random walk down into the tunnels and then at some point she was like okay well take 5 minutes and I’ll meet you back at the front so um we all backtracked to the top. We were then supposed to drive through the town where the guide would point out landmarks and the shops of High Street. Instead she told the driver to “go back the fastest way possible” and we skipped all that sightseeing. On the way back she told us that her 5 year old had his first day at a new school and she got a call that he wasn’t picked up so they sent him to some extended care place and she should call x number and the number wasn’t working. She wasn’t too worried but you could tell she was distracted.

I’m really conflicted here. As a mother I totally understand that your kids come first and not knowing where my son was would definitely crowd out a bunch of tourists in my priority list. That being said, we all were expecting a specific tour and we didn’t get that. Ideally someone else should have come to finish our tour and she could have dealt with her situation. It didn’t ruin the day, but I also didn’t really like Gibraltar and I think it’s because the tour wasn’t good. We didn’t complain, but we didn’t tip either.(Grumpy Gus section of the TR over)

So backing up mid-rant, the Siege Tunnels are exactly what they sound like; tunnels that were dug into the Rock to defend against a siege in the late 1770s. There’s a lot of history here but the Spanish kings, Napoleon, Austro-Hungarians, British, and the American Revolution were all involved. At some point someone thought it would be a good idea to grab Gibraltar away from the British while they were busy getting their butts kicked in America (hehe jk my UK readers) and so they laid siege to the Rock for several years. During that time, the British said “we are not losing here too” and did everything in their power, including tunneling through rock to hold onto Gibraltar. (She may have said all this in a slightly more PC manner and left out the butts getting kicked part but that’s because she’s British-I know how to make history come alive). Now you can walk through the tunnels and they have displays set up inside so you can understand the work and how they fired down from the tunnels to attack those camped on the runway (it obviously wasn’t a runway in the 1700s). You can also still see some of the pick marks in the rock where they were digging out as you walk through. We walked through a few displays and it looked really cool, but we didn’t really get many of the stories. Then after walking downhill for awhile she was like well walk yourself back up. We tried to stop and read a few of the signs along the way. We met at the entrance, walked to the bus and drive to the port. My feet really hurt so maybe it’s better that we leave the Rock.

The little port area is restricted in Gibraltar and guarded (because No one gets off the Rock) and you have to show your KTTW card. We were all spread out on the ride back; I was sitting with April, Carlos was in the front row, Carlitos was with our friend’s little boy, I don’t know where John was. So when the bus pulled up, you were supposed to show your KTTW card through the window but nobody was sitting with the person who had their card. I just held up a bunch of cards, John said he did the same, and our security guard (who was licking an ice cream cone at the time no joke) gave us the nod. TSA had nothing on this guy. We trudged through the port entrance and John tried to find a keychain in the little shops there with no luck. I gave one last half hearted “No one gets off the Rock” and we lined up to get back onboard.

We collapsed on the bed- reading back over this I’m not sure why we were so tired, but every time we had to walk somewhere we were walking up steep grades so maybe that was it. Tonight the show was Disney Dreams and we hadn’t gone to one in a few days, but we made sure we made it to this one. I really like this show, but they do go on a lot about how it’s award winning (I think that award was won awhile ago and maybe it’s time we give the bragging a break). After the show, we went to dress for dinner.

On the way to Lumiere’s we stopped by Shutters and finally decided to buy 3 pictures. I know we said we weren’t buying any, but honestly only 3 is quite an accomplishment for us. We had 2 really nice family pictures and 1 of Carlitos and Donald Duck since it’s the only character we don’t have a picture with at home. Dinner was the Mediterranean menu tonight. I got the tapas appetizer (excellent), Frisee salad (not good), and the osso buco (I actually sent this back. I have never done that before, and remember I had a raw steak at one point during this trip, but this just wasn’t happening. I traded it for some straight pasta.) For dessert I got the apple tart (it was amazing- remember this because the tart comes back on the last night of the Mediterranean portion of the cruise). It was another late night in the dining room.

We picked up the Carlitos and headed to the room. Tomorrow was the last day of the Transatlantic and we would be changing rooms after this cruise and needed to pack. Instead of packing we sat out on the veranda to enjoy the night. I guess we, and Nic Cage, did make it off the Rock after all.
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Old 07-01-2013, 05:05 PM   #71
drlaurafsu
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Sorry you had a bad time in Gibraltar. We visited Spain in 2009 and happened upon Gibraltar and said...let's check it out. On an amazing 10 day trip it was one of our favorites.
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Old 07-01-2013, 06:41 PM   #72
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drlaurafsu View Post
Sorry you had a bad time in Gibraltar. We visited Spain in 2009 and happened upon Gibraltar and said...let's check it out. On an amazing 10 day trip it was one of our favorites.
I wouldn't say I had a bad time really, I mean there was a live monkey mugging and I had a hilarious time every excursion we did with our friends, but Gilbralter didn't leave me with that "we've gotta come back here!" Feeling I normally have for new places. Now wait till me get to Monte Carlo-that was a bad time. (Spoiler)
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Old 07-01-2013, 08:00 PM   #73
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gotomu212 View Post
I wouldn't say I had a bad time really, I mean there was a live monkey mugging and I had a hilarious time every excursion we did with our friends, but Gilbralter didn't leave me with that "we've gotta come back here!" Feeling I normally have for new places. Now wait till me get to Monte Carlo-that was a bad time. (Spoiler)
The monkey mugging was hilarious

We had a horrible guide for our Monaco/Monte Carlo excursion. Please don't tell me you guys were the 3 people she left at Monaco!

BTW, who was your head server? I have a guess . . .
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Old 07-02-2013, 09:07 PM   #74
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See the Sea Day

Day 15: Friday May 31st

This morning started with Carlos getting a hair cut at 10. The day before he was looking in the mirror and said “man, I need a haircut bad.” I said well go get one and he said “yeah right, how’s that going to happen.” Um, call the spa. He looked at me really confused now “they do that?” Of course they do. He was so excited (seriously this he gets excited about?), made his appointment, and happily rushed off this morning. He said it was a great experience and he had so much fun (fun? What exactly happened during this haircut?). When he came back, Carlitos and I were up and ready for breakfast.

We went to Lumiere’s for brunch again. I got the eggs benedict and it was great again. When we were almost finished with our meal, they sat another couple with us. We ended up talking with them for quite awhile (while they ordered, waited, got their meals, ate their meals). They were older and super sweet but I wish we had maybe left when we were done eating. We were there over 45 minutes after our meal was finished and by the end Carlitos was more than ready.

We needed to get serious and start packing. We had a mixture of clean clothes and dirty clothes and were trying to keep things straight for obvious reasons and we didn’t want stuff to get too wrinkled since we had to wear it again. It took us forever to pack- I think it was about two and a half hours. At the end we still had all our toiletries to go and a bunch of odds and ends, but it was good enough. We could finish the rest later. We found out later that since our stuff was being moved by the host, we just had to have it all ready by tomorrow morning and not before dinner tonight. Oh well, we had to pack sooner or later.

BINGO! I’m not a big fan of bingo on the ship. I think the sessions are normally way too short. I remember going to the Lodge with my parents as a kid and we’d play for hours and be covered by those little dobber markers. It was the best. Onboard it’s about 4 games and is over in 30 minutes. I normally save my money and skip it. BUT-this is the super jackpot session-$7,000 is on the line. I’m feeling lucky, let’s do this. We went down and bought one electronic machine with a bunch of cards on it for the three of us. It took FOREVER for everyone to get their cards and get set. Finally we’re off. The first game is going well, I only need 1 number. Carlitos is the first person to stand and he’s “dancing” on the chair. Are we actually going to win? I’ve never won BINGO. More numbers, and more numbers, and more numbers. Finally they call our number and BINGO- we WON. Oh so did 36 other people. I’m not kidding there were 36 good BINGOs called. After splitting the cash prize 36 ways, we each won $9. The drink I ordered during the game cost more than $9. Whatever we’re WINNERS.

Two more games are played and now it’s time to get serious, the big prize is up. It’s going well, it’s going really well, oh my gosh is this happening? We needed one more number. Forget Carlitos, Carlos is standing up dancing. They just won’t call our number though. We need B-4. A few more people are standing, Carlos actually bumped his butt into my head he was dancing so hard. It’s a B…omg…it’s B..four….teen. Someone yells BINGO. (I don’t know how to type the sound of air going out of a balloon but that’s the sound Carlos made). Can you believe that? Honestly if someone was telling me this story I would think they were exaggerating, but no that’s hand to God how close we were. The really amazing part is that the lady who won was sitting with her friend and when they told her to come get her prize, she tried to say it was her friend’s since she was the one who got the machines. What a class act. Her friend said no, no, it’s you. Another class act. She deserved to win.

Despite being losers (wait we won $9 we were still winners) we had a great time playing. I claimed my $9 credit and we walked around enjoying the ship. We watched everyone lugging their suitcases into the hall and smiled a little to ourselves that we were staying onboard and had another week to go. We heard later that 10% of the passengers were staying on for the next cruise, so we weren’t that special I guess.

We skipped the Till We Meet Again Show since we weren’t leaving and we thought it would be weird. The show wasn’t offered the next week, so I kind of wish we had seen it. Oh well. Dinner tonight we were in Animators for the Till We Meet Again Menu. I got the trio of salmon (good), the cranberry salad (a-may-zing) and the red snapper (not good). The chefs came out with the flaming baked Alaska and people waved their white napkins. Just as an aside, I find it kind of gross that everyone takes their dirty used napkin and twirls it in the air during this part. On a previous cruise a woman at our table had spit out a little meat in her napkin, forgot about it, and then flung it into Carlitos’ plate during the napkin flinging. That kind of sealed the deal for me on that activity. Luckily there was no flying meat (that we saw.) I got the Baked Alaska and it was (mew).

Limbert was leaving after this cruise to go back home. He was so excited and told us how excited his son was to have him home for awhile and how excited he was to see him and how he bought him new shoes. We wished him safe travels and went back to the room. We ran into our room host and gave him his tip. Ronald was outstanding the whole time and had such a great interaction with Carlitos. We told him we were moving to Deck 2 and would miss him, and he told us that he had only been subbing for someone else this cruise. He was being moved back to evening maintenance (we think that means emptying trash, cleaning lobby, etc). This was really unbelievable. He was better than most hosts we’d had. I really hope he gets moved up permanently (I put it on my comment card so who knows).

My stomach was a little upset. I don’t think it was the motion. I think the red snapper was just not agreeing with me. I went to sleep in our room for the last time. Tomorrow we’re switching rooms, navigating Barcelona, and meeting a whole new group of passengers!
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Old 07-02-2013, 10:44 PM   #75
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Little Hiatus

That wraps up the Transatlantic portion of the trip. I need to take a little break while I head out to the Badlands for a long weekend. But, STAY TUNED because up next Barcelona (the whole Back to Back experience), Monaco and Monte Carlo (those people were the worst), Florence and Pisa (we get lost from the group), Rome (the eternal tour), Capri/Sorrento/Pompeii (the day I finally flippin lost it on someone), last sea day (I catch the bubonic plague), Barcelona (again), and the long flight home. And if you think hilarity ensued during those sea days just wait until we hit land again!
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