December 26th, 2006

Cruise

Christmas vacation: Day 3

Flar and the boys have me on a day schedule. I wonder how long that will last aboard ship?

I woke naturally this morning around 9am, to find Flar out on the balcony reading. I went out and visited with him awhile before getting dressed for the day. While I was out there, a pelican flew within 5 feet of us, on its way out to sea. That was a treat.

Flar and Tigger had time to go for a swim in the morning before we packed up to leave the condo. The service at The Bath Club is apparently worthy of the steep purchase price: there was an attendant who placed towels on their deck chairs when they arrived, and there are cabanas available for cooling off in hotter weather.

After Critter repacked the Audi, we drove to Sobe, with a brief stop at another Walgreen's on the way. I bought 12hour Sudafed, sunglasses to replace mine (I've no idea where they ended up -- I did remember to bring them, but they're nowhere to be found), and ziplock bags for collecting sand. My nailtech asked for sand, and I've found the most adorable ceramic box to use to give it to her: it has a flip-flop on top of it, and she's in charge of insuring that my feet look good in flip-flops. :)

We ate breakfast at the Cheeseburger. Flar and I had Macadamia Nut Pancakes and eggs; Critter had a cheeseburger; Tigger had regular pancakes AND a belgium waffle. Critter and I camped out after breakfast nursing our drinks and reading, while Flar and Tigger headed off to walk in the beach (and collect my first specimen of sand).

We left the restaurant (unfortunately, somehow missing Flar's reading glasses -- they have not made it onto the ship with us) and drove to the port. First we dropped off our checked bags, then Flar dropped us off with the carry-on luggage, while he parked the car. The line for check-in was long, but it moved very quickly. We had about an hour to unpack the carry-on luggage before it was time to muster for the life-boat drill. After that, we went to the Lido Deck to watch as the ship left the dock.

We're in cabin 8243, which is in the furthest forward group of rooms, on the floor with the bridge. We have an inside cabin, with two single beds and two upper berths. We've decided to ask our steward to leave the upper berths down all day, as they provide more space when they're down. They are sufficiently high enough that there is no danger of bumping our heads in the lower bunks. Tigger is in the berth above my bed, along the wall that is perpendicular to our direction of travel. Critter is in the berth above Flar's bed, along the wall parallel with our direction of travel. There is empty space in the corner between the feet of the two berths, filled with the life jacket locker/TV stand on the floor.

We have three closet spaces: Mine has one rod under a shelf, Flar's has two rods with no shelf, and the boys are sharing the third, which has two shelves (one housing the safe) and one rod. The bathroom has a shelf under the counter, as well as a generously deep medicine cabinet with three shelves. There is more than enough space under the beds for all of our luggage, so we are able to keep the floor space clear. There is a counter-top in the bedroom area, across from my bed, with a cabinet and three doors underneath. Tigger has set his laptop up there, and he's been playing video games for the entire time that he's in the room.

When we are in port, the cell signal doesn't reach inside here to our stateroom, so we'll be gathering somewhere on deck for our Christmas calls home. If we don't get sufficient cell strength asea for the $2/min calls, we'll probably shell out for ship-to-shore, it being Christmas. When we're at shore in San Juan and two day later in St. Thomas, I'll be able to call home with no roaming charges, and check email and LJ.

We have the late seating for dinner, which means we'll have the option of eating in the formal dining room every night except Tuesday, when we expect to eat in San Juan. Tomorrow night is the Captain's Cocktail Party followed by our first Formal Dinner. The boys have brought suits to join Flar and me in our finery, and we'll sit for one a formal picture. Tonight we ate dinner in the formal dining room, but I expect that the boys will desert us most of the week for the buffet lines or casual eateries.

I managed to find my way to the dining room easily before dinner, and then snagged deck plans for all of us, to ease in further navigation. We've found the miniature golf course, slide pool, shops, photo gallery, our dining room, and the Caribbean Lounge. I was interested in the Christmas show tonight, but I didn't have the energy after dinner, and came on back to the room. The material I read before the cruise mentioned a Christmas service aboard, but I couldn't find anything about it the Carnival Capers for tomorrow.

We're having a continental breakfast delivered to the room around 9:30 to 10 in the morning, and now I'm going to wrap this up and get some reading in before bedtime.
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Cruise

Christmas Vacation: Day 4

Tuesday morning & All of Monday (working backwards)

I've decided to post these from the ship. My goal will be to use less than $55 worth of on-line time at the pay-as-you go prices. Flar's planning on using internet cafés in port. And, hello, it's 50% off right now. :)

I just got back from the Lido deck, where I (*gasp*) sat in the sun. I read a few pages of Quicksilver, which is turning out to be Pychonian in style. (Okay, that may just be because the book is set in the same time period as the last Pychon book I tackled - Mason-Dixon, and it's a setting-style.) Anyway, I let the wind blow my hair across my face to shade me while I read, and I have managed to acquire a bit of pinkness, but no red. Yay me! I've been putting lemon juice in my hair to lighten the highlights, thus my odd attraction for the sun.

I had dessert for lunch: two lemon meringue tortes (about an inch radius, each) and a piece of diet coconut cake. Light and sweet. I had a late breakfast on the Lido deck, because we never quite got the filled out breakfast order to the doorknob last night. Flar had been up and about the ship for at least three hours when he woke me in time to find my own breakfast. Critter chose to wait until lunch was open, to venture out of the stateroom.

Last night was the Captain's Cocktail Party and Formal Christmas Dinner. Flar bought me a corsage (a very sweet surprise), and we had our formal pictures taken in the setting using the ship's atrium as a backdrop and rose bouquets on columns as props. I'll be looking for those pictures today. The embarkation photo was not worth buying, but I'll look to see if any of the dinner shots came out nice.

I am planning on starting a diet program at church in January. I am just too heavy to walk around in high heels -- I ended up taking mine off and walking the ship in tights last night. Said tights have been banished to the trash however, as they rubbed my inner thighs in that not so nice way. The boys were very sweet about dressing up for the formal dinner, and are relieved to know that I am not expecting them to attend the formal dinner on Friday. They also get to decide for themselves whether to eat dinner in the dining room for the rest of the cruise. I prefer the food in the dining room, and getting to be waited on, but I don't mind eating by myself if that happens.

Anyway, the Christmas Dinner was nice, and they even had turkey and stuffing on the menu. The cocktail party differed depending on which lounge you chose. We checked out the Arctic Dance Club - where Flar even danced with me, yay! And then we had a drink in the Irish Piano Bar.

Before dinner, I had an extended nap. I had come to the stateroom to stretch out for a bit in the cool, but a few pages of my book had me sleepy. We ate lunch together in the afternoon; some from the Foods of Nations buffet - yesterday was Indian - some pizza and some cheeseburger. That was after we participated in the Cartoon Trivia contest. Our team (Blue) got the 100 points, but neither Tigger nor I came away with the prized trophy, Plastic Ship on a Stick.

We had breakfast in the cabin, which was a nice way to wake up at 10am, but the boys thought 10am was rather early. Today's breakfast in the cabin didn't happen because no one actually put the order out on the door. I was tipsy (Flar bought me two drinks after the free cocktail, so I have a whisky sour, a Banana Daquiri and a Brandy Alexander last night), and my feet hurt from the heels, and my thighs hurt from the hose. I went to sleep under a pile of clothes last night, and then cleaned up my space this morning.

The whole family seems to be enjoying the cruise; we may have to budget for more cruises in the future. :)
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