Saturday, November 19, 2011

Anchors Away
The day started out pretty early… G woke up first I think. Time to go have our included “breakfast”. Uh, not really… some hard boiled eggs, bagels you toasted yourself and some fruit loops don’t really qualify as “breakfast” in my book. But, what the heck! We figured we were going to be spending the next almost 2 weeks on a cruise ship with pretty much unlimited food so whatever. We caught a 10am shuttle to the port and were on the ship by 11am. Our travel docs said that there wouldn’t be boarding until noon and actually advised against arriving before 11am but I’d read on cruise critic that this particular sailing would be boarding early. Gosh I love the internet! Also, we really didn’t have to wait in any lines. One of the little perks of traveling with a toddler is that we’re almost always told to go to the front or sometimes even to bypass the line all together. Sweet!

We headed to our cabin to check it out. I was pretty impressed. Forever ago when we booked this trip, NCL was having a fantastic deal: kids sail free plus a free upgrade to a mini suite. Basically what we got over a regular balcony was an extra 100 sq feet which, while still being a small space, gives us a bit more floor space, tons more storage plus a real bathroom (separate facilities and a real tub!). This was a big improvement over our last cabin on Celebrity which was so small we literally tripped over our stuff and each other for 10 days. Don’t get me wrong, getting to take a cruise in any cabin is great and we feel super fortunate just to be able to go, but the extra space is a perk.

First stop after the cabin and our traditional photos on the balcony with G, was lunch. We hit the main dining room. G had a double decker grilled cheese (never saw one of those before), Bobby went for the Philly cheesesteak sandwich and I had spaghetti alfredo. Honestly, other than G’s French fries (which were 2die4) I’d give the experience and “eh”. The dining room itself though is very pretty. In fact the whole ship is rather nice and looks to be in great condition. I guess it was recently refurb’d and it shows.

G had been begging to check out the kids program. This is kind of an odd one. On our last trip she stayed at the kids club one day for about an hour then got really upset and didn’t want to go back. But this time, leading up to the trip, she said she wanted to go. I don’t really care too much one way or the other. I’d just as soon have her stay with us. I enjoy hanging out with her. On the other hand, I wouldn’t mind having an hour here or there of adult time. So, anyway, we went off to check out the kids club and G couldn’t have been more excited! She wanted to stay right then but it was only open for registration. We told her she could go later.

After a nice little nap it was time to check out the kids pool area. G loved it! The T-Rex Pool Area consists of 3-4 small pools and a couple water slides with a very cute dinosaur theme. The great thing is that the water in the pools is only 2.5 feet deep! This means that G, still a non swimmer, could enjoy the area somewhat independently. Of course, we still stuck to her like glue because, as everyone knows, a kid can easily drown in 2.5 feet of water and not everyone’s kid is careful around the little ones. We hung out there until it started to get windy then decided to get dressed and grab some dinner.

Since we’d done the MDR for lunch we thought the buffet might be a good choice for dinner. Actually somewhat poor planning on my part since apparently it was lobster night in the MDR. Oh well. Except for the salad bar (which was fresh and had good variety) and the veggie Indian food offering, the buffet was underwhelming. As a result we went super light. G had a couple slices of paper thin pizza that looked gross to me but must have worked for her cuz she wolfed it down. Bobby tried a couple things none of which appealed to him.

Also, coming out of Miami the water got really rough causing plenty of rock and roll. A few days in I don’t think it would have phased me but only having been on the boat for an hour or two I got a bit queasy. Not terrible but enough that I was sure happy when an hour or so later the seas had calmed.

Next: a self tour of the ship. After almost one full day I still find the ship somewhat difficult to navigate. There seems to be a lot of things that can’t be accessed unless you walk down one level, down the hall, then back up a level. I’m sure we’ll get the hang of it but it might take a few days. We made sure we located all the included dining areas and even stopped at the Blue Lagoon for some buffalo wings. The ship has 7 premium restaurants that are an add’l $10-25 pp. Bobby and I agree we’re going to skip those… plenty to eat without paying more imo. While looking around we were serenaded by G asking us “is the kids room open yet mommy?” over and over and over and over again. Finally, the answer was “yes” and we headed up there. G was thrilled to give the kids club a chance. We went back to get her within an hour and she seemed pretty happy. It wasn’t clear to me if she wanted to go back again. She was super tired by pick up time and I was unable to sort it out. Either way, I guess she can let us know tomorrow.
We finished up with a quick bath, stories, and songs before G fell fast asleep. Poor tired little thing. Truth be told, I’m a little wiped myself.

Almost there!!
Our home away from home for the next 11 nights
What has become our traditional sail away photos

Goodbye Miami!!! See you later

Checking out the pool

G couldn't wipe the smile from her face

Sunsets over the ocean are the best

Tomorrow: Sea Day #1

No comments: