The 3rd finally came. Jane and I flew out together. My sister, Carolyn, was to arrive about 30 minutes later. Jane and I arrived on time and were picked up by Angie, then we waited and waited and waited for Carolyn---the first of the "fun" times to come. Turns out, you can't call someone when they don't have their phone on! Go figure! To make it worse, she didn't know her phone was off and didn't bother to try and call us! Instead, we drove around the arrivals area and happened to find her randomly walking from one terminal to another. So we yelled at her, picked her up, yelled at her some more, and were on our way to Palm Aire. I know we would have still been welcomed at Angie and Josh's house, but didn't want to risk getting sick right before our cruise. We did go to their house, though, and borrowed one of their cars. A couple big advantages to staying at the resort were the hot tubs and heated pools! We took advantage of them.
A couple pictures of our Palm Aire living space.
Dec. 7th finally came. Josh drove us to the Everglades cruise port and dropped us off. We thought by going later in the afternoon---after 2, we'd get in right away. That back fired! Not only did we still wait over an hour, but all the food venues on board were closed by the time we got on (except 24 hour room service). We walked our luggage on board, so unpacked and waited for the muster drill. Angie and I had room 1256. It was a good sized room and pretty quiet.
Turns out the porthole room my sister and Jane had (1217) was very noisy. They would hear very loud bangs most of the night. We figured it was from the bulbous bow slapping the water. Angie and I could barely hear it, but we were 5 or 6 cabins towards the center. We both could hear the thrusters in the morning when we were coming into ports, but that was ok with me.
Angie and I were on the port forward side of level 1 and Carolyn and Jane were on the starboard forward side of level 1, so we had different muster stations. We couldn't find them after the muster drill --- called, went by their room---so just wandered around a bit and watched as we pulled away from Fort Lauderdale.
Ahhh---our table awaits!
Dec. 8: Key West---
The next morning we woke up in Key West. I had been there for about an hour or 2 a few years ago with my sister when we drove there from Pompono for a day trip. I looked forward to checking it out a little more thoroughly.
As we were walking along the pier.
I liked the big grouper above the door here.
We made it back in time to check out the Fish and Chips restaurant above the Lido buffet.
Dec. 9th: Sea Day ---
A day to wander around the ship and check out some more places.
Like the Serenity Deck for adults.
Dec. 10: Grand Cayman ---
I really looked forward to going here again. Angie, my son Tim and his wife (then girlfriend) Faith and I spent a week here back in 2001 and had a great time. Possibly the best snorkeling I'd ever done. We had done the stingray adventure, turtle farm, and Hell back then. We also had snorkeled by a dive shop right in Georgetown. So planning our day here was easy---Angie and I were going to snorkel and Jane and Carolyn were going to shop right around the port. Unfortunately, for some reason we couldn't tender there, so we went to another side of the island and tendered in. I did find it interesting that the Disney ship did tender into Georgetown. Anyway---there wasn't much where we tendered, so we decided to take a bus to 7 Mile Beach. Carolyn elected to stay on board the ship. Such a shame with such a neat island. The bus ride was $7@ (about $1/mile). They made sure the bus was totally packed---including middle jump seats!
Where we tendered into.
back on board, we got ready for dinner and headed to the restaurant. We had to wait a little while for Andrews team, but that just gave us more time to listen to the two-tones, again, in the Atrium.
Dec. 11: Cozumel ---
This is a port Angie and I had been to many years ago on her Graduation reward cruise. The port didn't look anything like I remembered. I thought we were right by town instead of in a boarded off port area. It did have a lot of duty free shops.
Loved the cigarette machine with all the warnings on it.
Carolyn and Jane wanted to shop around. Angie and I were looking to get out and find some real Mexican food. We found the taxi stand and listened to their offer to take us on an island tour and to a restaurant for $25@. Another couple was interested, too, so the 4 of us went. I was a bit surprised and annoyed when he drove about 5 minutes and took us to a Tequila distillery. The tour did turn out to be pretty interesting, though, even though I had been to a much bigger one in Puerto Vallarta a few years ago.
We went straight back to the ship and Angie ran the cash up to their cabin. We then spent about an hour watching people come back on the ship. It was rather interesting! Our room was directly one floor above one of the walkways back onto the ship. Great location to people watch. Occassionally someone would see us and wave wildly.
but we didn't win.
Dec. 12: Sea Day ---
Today was another day to wander around the ship and see what was going on. Got a kick out of the towel animals around the pool.
Our time went rather quickly. We also went to a few art auctions. Carolyn even bought a painting---which she actually paid for, then later went and rescinded her payment. But we had a good time visiting. I live in St. Louis, Jane in Illinois, Carolyn in Oregon, and Angie in Florida; so it was nice having a chance to catch up. It looked like it was going to end wonderfully and we would go back to our merry little lives. ----Until Ken tried to check Carolyn and Jane in for their flights. Jane's went ok, but Carolyn's said call the airlines. She first called it from the ship. That's when she found out her flight was changed --- to a 7am flight---obviously she missed that flight! Josh picked us up and we went back to their house. Carolyn spent the next 2 or 3 hours on the phone yelling at Cheap O air, USAir, AAmerican air, the whole state of Florida?!, and us. I was happy to have the break to drive Jane to the airport for her early evening flight. Carolyn had to buy a new flight for the next morning leaving at 7am for about $280 more dollars. Sounds like they actually used her fare for the flight she missed and waved the change fee, but she was still demanding she shouldn't have to pay since she wasn't notified. At this point, I was astounded that she hadn't actually checked her flights before the trip! I assumed everyone who's flown more then once knows to do that now! She was still on the phone when I got back. Fortunately Angie and Josh had a Christmas party to go to so they got to escape a lot of the turmoil. I was staying there for a few more days, so got up at 5am and took Carolyn to the airport. Then I needed those extra days to decompress!