Thursday, March 01, 2012

Vacation Day 5: Going on the big ship!
So here was the plan: sleep in a bit, get ready, eat a light breakfast, go to the world’s biggest Wal-Mart for last minute supplies, drive 1 hr to Tampa, bobby drop G and me off at port with luggage so we can check in, bobby return car to airport and meet us at port about 30 mins later, board ship, have lunch, and then let G have a nap so we can start the trip out on a good foot!
What actually happened: we did the sleeping in, breakfast and get ready part but then everything started to go to hell. The rental car wouldn’t start, again. This was quite a bit bigger issue to address at the condo than it was at Disney. Bobby had to go in search of someone who was not only around but had jumper cables. I tried calling the rental car company, again NEVER rent from EZ car rental cuz they’re huge uncooperative jerks.

Anyway, we did finally get someone to give us a jump but it really cut into our time. So rather than going to what I believe is the world’s biggest Wal-Mart (seriously, they have everything, its huge :-) we stopped by a target on our way. No worries, all was good. We got to Tampa by 11:30 (which was perfect cuz check in is from noon to 2:30). Bobby dropped us off, I found a porter for our mountain of luggage and I stood in line for check in thinking wow, everything is going great! It was at about that point that I realized that I had forgotten to give bobby his passport and boarding pass. Oops. My bad. No worries. I just popped out of line and thought he’ll be here in a few minutes. Uh, yeah, that didn’t happen.

Instead, after what seemed like forever I got a call from bobby telling me that the rental return place (which on our paperwork says “Tampa airport” and provided no street address) is actually not at the Tampa airport at all. It’s a “few mins away”. Calls to the number to get the address resulted in a recording that was almost impossible to hear. G and I found a bench and waited and waited and waited while poor bobby drove around Tampa trying to figure out where the return place was. Then when he finally got there and dropped the car off, there were no cabs. I mean why would there be right? It’s not like its anywhere near the airport! They called him one but it never came and he finally had to take the rental car shuttle to the airport and then catch a cab there. Poor bobby, poor G, poor me! By the time he got back to the port we’d been sitting and waiting for 2 hrs!!! And, to add to the fun, I didn't even have $1 in my purse!! Thank goodness I had some cheese crackers, a water bottle, and a bag of chips leftover from one of our Disney lunches or G would have been starving!

Anyway, the one good thing about checking in at the port really late is that the crowds are gone. There was no line and we were on the ship in less than 10 mins. Well, you know, exactly 2 hrs and 10 mins after we had originally arrived at the port :-)

We dumped our carry ons in the room and headed for the food. Bobby (who wasn’t lucky enough to have cheese crackers and chips in his bag like I did was starving!). We then went back to the room and started unpacking (another perk to our weird check in was that our luggage actually beat us to our room LOL!) and G tried to sleep. It was really too late for her to nap but she was super tired. Unfortunately right about the time she conked out the alarms started going off for the muster so no nap for G. Muster was much more detailed than the ones I’ve been on in the past. I think the recent Costa ship crashing has caused everyone to step things up and the crew seemed much more serious and nervous than they normally have. Also, the coast guard was aboard and walking the ship with the officers so I’m not sure what was going on.

After that we walked the ship a bit then headed down to dinner. We were disappointed to find that we’d been seated at a shared table which I really don’t like. The people we’re sitting with are very nice but I go on vacation to connect to my family not others so we’re thinking about seeing if we can switch to anytime dining. We’ll see.

By the time we were done with dinner G was toast so we went back to the room and put her to bed. Bobby put a movie on the DVD player but we both crashed out in the first 5 mins… it had just been a really long day.

Even with all the excitement we still were able to do our few traditional embarkation day photos:

Tomorrow: First sea day...

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