Monday, September 14, 2009

Cruising

What I'm reading: Cutting Edge, by Allison Brennan

After an uneventful drive to Port Canaveral, we found two lines of cars moving very little, if at all. Rather than schlep our luggage from the parking garage, we figured we'd join the line snaking around to the drop off point. Eventually, it was our turn, and a porter took our checked luggage and added it to the growing piles on the carts. When we swung back into the parking line, it had thinned out, so after paying an exorbitant amount of money to leave our car there for the 4 days, we found a slot and schlepped only our carryon luggage into the terminal.

Inside, things were well orchestrated, although the checkpoints were numerous. Typical travel security, and then pre-boarding lines. We were lucky because our kids had gotten us a junior suite, which put us in priority boarding. We still had to provide our payment information and swear that we were healthy enough to sail before getting our on-board sea pass which was our everything card. Room key, ID, and payment card all in one. After that was issued, another station where our photographs were added, so they could make sure it was really us when we got on and off the ship, and then we were actually heading up the gangway. But not before the cruise photographers snagged you for a photo.



Drinks with umbrellas awaited (for a 'small' fee). Luggage would be delivered to our stateroom, but the when was iffy. A lunch buffet was in progress, so we sipped our umbrella-topped drinks and had our first of many on-board meals.

Our stateroom was more than adequate, with its bedroom and sitting areas, and the balcony a definite plus, thanks to our kids giving us the "junior suite." Also had a tub/shower instead of a tiny stall. Every bit of space contained some sort of storage, so we had no trouble putting everything away—and there was even room under the bed for our empty suitcases. But no clock.

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Ship exploration was next. There were 14 decks, and we climbed a LOT of stairs as we explored most of them. There was also the mandatory lifeboat drill, although life jackets weren't required.






Once that was done, we were ready to set sail. Seas were calm, weather was good, and we were off. We changed for dinner, waited for the dining room to open (apparently 5:45 means 6:00 to the staff), and met our dining companions for the rest of the cruise. All were in our general age-range, which was a plus. We had a table for 11, and although it was a bit on the crowded side, the variety was nice. Nothing like being stuck at a table for 4 with another couple you don't like.

There's definitely enough to do on board. Bars everywhere, casinos, a theater (where we saw the stereotypical cruise-ship comedian perform), and shopping galore. We hit the art gallery for a free gift—an animal print (maybe I'll offer it as a blog prize to a commenter), the liquor sample station (vanilla rum—excellent; mango vodka—so-so), and the tattoo concession.

I now have a green frog on my ankle. No, not permanent. Airbrushed, and it's supposed to last up to a week. What the heck—why not?

We found the bar at the top of the ship. Very quiet, and the Jameson's is very reasonably priced. It became our last stop of the night for the duration.

So much for Day 1. Tomorrow, back to writing craft with my special guest Neil Plakcy, who's going to address "Voice." After that, I'll get back to some more cruise notes. I did a lot of people watching, and gathered all sorts of information should I ever set a book or scene on a cruise ship.

21 comments:

Jess said...

not permanent? no fun. now I can't lecture you.

vickyb said...

Ohhh, sounds like you had so much fun! And I love the frog. :)

Terry Odell said...

Yes, it was great fun, and sorry Jess. You're not old enough to lecture me yet. And given that you'll always be twelve, it'll never happen.

Vickyb - the frog was supposed to last 5 days, but he's still hanging around.

Donnell said...

Ah, Terry, I'm so glad you had fun, and what a cute photographer! So with all that exploring, I trust your muse was taking you in all kinds of murderous directions? And the only thing I glitched on was the lifeboat drill--no life preservers? Er....sounds a bit like the debate over health care LOL....

Donnell said...

P.S. Love the frog!

Terry Odell said...

Donnell -- Nope, they didn't require life jackets (which are now called PFDs, I believe) for the mustering out drill. When you got to your stateroom, the safety video was running on the tv to explain everything. Also, there are bins of the PFD's located on deck by the lifeboats.

Donnell said...

I take it PDF stands for personal flotation device ;) Thanks for the explanation, Terry, I still think there's nothing more valuable than hands on training in times of a crisis situation, but that's me. Back to editing ;)

Terry Odell said...

Yes, they're personal flotation devices. They called them life jackets on the ship, though. Hubby's the stickler for correct terminology (although he kept referring to 'floors' on the ship instead of 'decks' so I got to razz him)

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

It looks relaxing! And the weather looks great. Cruises are nice because they don't nickel and dime you over everything! (Yes, I'm spending lots of money here at Disney. :) But having a great time.)

Elizabeth
Mystery Writing is Murder

Terry Odell said...

Glad you're having fun -- too bad I didn't know you were going to be in town; we might have been able to hook up.

And we definitely spent extra money -- there are plenty of places for additional charges. It's not quite 'all inclusive.'

Miss said...

How great, I wanna go on a cruise!! I want a temporary tattoo, and vanilla rum!
Gosh your room is so nice. More, please! I loved to see the pics and you had a nice balcony. Such fun!
A frog, no, I'd get a butterfly.
Though the frog is cute!

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Miss -- keep checking. I'll be posting more as I have time. I thought about the butterfly, but I was being cheap and they cost more. :-)

Terry Odell said...

Oh, and I forgot - we did bring home a bottle of that vanilla rum.

Mona Risk said...

Terri, I am glad you had fun. I love cruises and find it the cheapest and most comfortable way to visit new places.

Terry Odell said...

Thanks, Mona -- I love cruising, although this was only our 4th venture out to sea.

Anonymous said...

Hi Terry: Really enjoyed your cruise pictures - brought back some great memories. Jim and I used to cruise but seven days was too long and I got bored since I'd promised to stay away from the computers in the library - ha! Then when Carnival discovered the Julia St. Wharf in New Orleans where we could just drive down their 4 days was just right - we cruised every year as long as the Lord let me keep him and had a ball - :-) If they'd had that air brush fellow aboard I'd have gotten a faux tattoo too LOL Probably a butterfly - glad you had a good time - welcome home and thanks for sharing the pictures.
Love and best,
Jackie

Linda LaRoque said...

Hi Terry,
I loved your pictures and the frog. Cruising is so much fun but I wish the boat stayed longer in each port so we could see more. Look forward to more pictures.

Terry Odell said...

Jackie - we did a 10 day cruise, and I had no problems enjoying every minute. The four days didn't seem long enough.

Linda - hubby would disagree. His favorite part of the cruising is the cruising. He can watch for wildlife for hours and hours.

Linda LaRoque said...

LOL, Terry, I'd have to agree if there is wildlife to see, but we were out so far all we could see was sea foam stirred up by the boat. I must admit it was beautiful. Looked like green marble.

Terry Odell said...

The hubster is a biologist; he can spot all sorts of 'stuff' out there, although on this day of cruising all we saw were flying fish and one loggerhead turtle, not counting the birds.

For him, I think it's like fishing -- it's not about catching the fish, it's about the fishing. So he's happy just watching. Of course, he's happier if he does see something.

Sassy Brit said...

Oh, it's lovely! So, glad you enjoyed yourself. I'd love to experience that.

Sassy
:)