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Cruise Askew, Day 1a & 1 March 5, 2009

Posted by Trisha Lyn Fawver in Photos, Travel.

So now that Crystal and Katie have both blogged about the cruise, I guess it’s my turn.  I tried to use my Posterous account to blog while on the vacation via my mobile phone, but once we set sail I remembered that we were venturing into International waters, and I didn’t want to use the phone and incur International charges.  So much for that, but a few things are up at http://trisha.posterous.com

Also, I think since I tend to ramble on I’ll need to talk about the whole vacation 1 day at a time, so this will focus on the night we arrived in Orlando (day 1a) and Day 1 of the cruise while we were at sea headed to Freeport.

So, it all started Saturday morning the 21st with Katie and I heading to Oakland Airport bright and early for a 5 hour flight to New York.  The flight to JFK was relatively uneventful… we had a pleasant few conversations with the lady sitting in our row and enjoyed some DirecTV and XM Radio via Jet Blue.  They’re definitely my favorite airline right now, with Southwest in a close second. 

I digress.  Once arriving at JFK and changing our watches to Eastern time, we find out that our connection flight to Orlando would be leaving from the same gate & went to find some lunch.  Just when it was looking like we’d have to settle for some Jamba Juice and premade sandwiches, we find a food court and get some burgers.  It was kinda nifty because there were several options, like a normal mall food court, but you ordered via screen and then paid at one central station.  The service was slow and the burgers were a bit overcooked (even for my normally well-done standards).  We also had to grab our burgers and head back to the gate to board on time. 

The flight to Orlando was even less eventful, and once we arrived and got our luggage I called Nicole to arrange getting to the condos we were staying at for the night.  They’d had a horrible time coming to the airport earlier in the day to pick up others, so they took up a pool to pay for our cab and we cabbed it over.  The cab driver was incredibly chatty (which I hate) and told us some long sob story about having lost his job 4 months ago and how this was his second night driving a cab and how he only makes $15 at the end of the day between tolls and gas and the cab rental fee.  It was like he was begging for a good tip, so I found it really funny when Katie didn’t tip him at all!  Besides the fact that when we arrived the meter said $31 and he asked us for $34 when we asked how much we owed while he was bitching about how heavy our bags were getting them out of his trunk. 

We got into the condos and man were they nice.  The master bathroom was almost the size of my living room & dining room combined.  We met up with about half the crew we’d be sailing with: Kevin, Nikki, Crystal, Joe, and Drena.  The rest had gone to get dinner and a Walmart run.  Luckily when I called Nicole from the airport she’d took Katie & my dinner requests and we were soon introduced to Five Guys, an East Coast burger chain.  Do I have to turn in my West Coast resident card if I say it was better than In & Out? lol  The rest of the gang Nicole, Gavin, Ed, Adam, and Maria came back with the burgers and we watched Dr. Horrible’s Singalong Blog.  Shorter than I thought it’d be, but pretty good.  Later that night Lena & James arrived, and shortly after we all bedded down for the night on the air mattress, which was perfectly comfortable enough for us.

The next morning we got up and had some cereal and prepared the condo to leave.  The view from our 4th floor balcony was nice, as seen here:

After cleaning up the condo per the check out instructions we went to get on the limo bus we’d rented to take us the hour to Port Canaveral.  The limo bus rental was cheaper per person than the shuttle from Carnival, and picked us up at the condos without us all having to make a trip back to the airport to get the Carnival shuttle.  Although, being a “limo bus”, I have to say I expected it to be a bit nicer than it was, but still a comfy ride to the port.

We’d all heard that it could take hours for our checked luggage to be delivered to our staterooms, so we made some moves of various items into our carry ons and started to get on board.  The process of getting on the ship was more than I thought it’d be, but there weren’t any hangups and it went smoothly. We got on the ship with our carry-ons at about noon and our cabins weren’t going to be ready until 1:30, so we all headed up to the Lido deck for the lunch buffet.  Not that great; it was Italian day and I didn’t eat much, but enjoyed the chocolate milk & bread lol.  We made it down to our stateroom to check it out and, if I remember correctly, found our luggage there already. 

So, some notes about the ship before I forget.  MAN was it Vegasy!  The walls were purple, lots of neon, very bright.  I expected it to be a lot more modern, especially since this particular ship, the Carnival Sensation, had just been in dry dock getting revamped.  The staterooms were nice and calm though, but much of the ship was really dated in terms of decor.  There was a certain charm to that though, being something I’m not used to.  It became a bit of a running joke though. 

Since we were tired from travelling all the day before, we just chilled out for awhile and I took a short nap… man the beds were comfy!  We then went up for the life boat drill, which was boring but a necessary evil.  One cool thing was that as we were out on the decks by the boats was when the ship set sail, so we were on deck to see the ship embarking.  Nifty!  Afterwards we put our live vests back in the cabin and went exploring to check out the shops that were supposedly on board.  The shops weren’t open yet so we got a drink at the main lobby bar.

We killed enough time to go look at the shops and again, were a bit disappointed with how few there were and the content.  While in the gift shop I started for the first time to feel the ship actually move, and since she didn’t feel the movement Katie accused me of being tipsy since the drink I’d had at the bar was a bit strong.  Luckily Andrew was also around in the gift shop and confirmed that it wasn’t just me!  We ended up killing more time wandering and went to stand in line to get into the dining room for dinner.  We’d decided as a group to go with the later dinner time of 8:15 and as we stood in line there were two couples behind us, easily in their mid-late 60’s chatting.  I heard one of the men say something about being happy to choose the late dinner time to avoid all the little old ladies.  I couldn’t help but thinking how ironic that was coming from an older gentleman himself lol.

One of the things I was looking forward to on the cruise was the food; I’ve heard that cruise food was supposed to be really good.  Well, by the end of day 1 I was really let down.  As I already mentioned the lunch buffet was severely disappointing, and dinner in the dining room night one was a bit of a letdown as well.  And, since we were split up to two large tables with all 19 of us, the second table didn’t get served until after we were done eating.  Gavin gave them a stern talking to after the meal… and believe me when I say it normally takes a lot to get him riled up.  But dinner was one of the first times we were all together… the 15 of us who’d stayed at the condo the evening before, Carrie & Steven, and Linnitt & Korey.  Although Katie & I had randomly run into Linnitt & Korey in the hallway on our way back to the room earlier that evening.

So that was day one… we went to bed and set our alarms to get up bright and early since we had to eat breakfast and be off the boat in Freeport for our bus tour by 8:45am. 

Here’s some photos of our stateroom for those interested:

Katie took the bed by the window

This was the view of the stateroom from the inset porthole windows

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