It began, as a dream.
Okay, no, not a “dream”. It began as an idea hatched in my devious little mind. We had travelled on the Disney Cruise Lines ship Disney Magic in June/July 2012 and I enjoyed it so much that I successfully bombarded my wife with enough propaganda that she finally agreed to another cruise. One problem. She wanted to try another cruise line. The whole IN YOU FACE WITH SMILES 24/7 thing that Disney puts on was a tad much for her so we shopped around and asked our agent and finally agreed upon a nine night Royal Caribbean vacation. Nine nights, four ports of call, a suite upgrade (two levels!) versus our previous ocean view stateroom with balcony and whammo, we were off. Not right away of course. She didn’t want to cruise less than a year after previous trip, and summer is not conducive to hot-country travel, so it was decided that November was the time to go.
Arose on clear, cold November 13 and packed remaining gear and kidlings into car. Headed off to border. Weather forecast for drive down was good and even return trip in 11 days appeared to be only rainy, though long term forcasts are not always accurate. Fear out of me, panic and wory packed in trunk with spare tire, we drove across border and south toward Pennsylvania. Sadly, my chosen route meant we would have to venture again through Pennsylvania but it would be fine. It was a good day. Until on the I-81 I saw three GIANT CROWS in a field. I panicked. I yelled “What the hell?!” and pointed. My dear understanding wife Karen then laughed uproariously at me. She doesn’t get phobias. I do, I get them in droves. I have a mild bird-o-phobia or ornithophobia or whatever it is called. Usually it results in me ducking a lot in the woods or a park but nothing more. I am not usually in position where my life is at risk of being crushed by giant three-taloned feet and torn into meaty strips by a giant corvus. I think my mild panic was justified however she just continued laughing till her chest hurt. I tried to explain that “this is how phobias work DEAR..” and she only retorted that “….you should KNOW that there are not 20 foot tall crows standing in farm fields beside major highways!!!!” or something like that.
The drove continued in silence for a while. Then snickering. Then more silence.
Upper New York State: Nice. Apart from giant crow statues.
Pennsylvania: Dirty. People with crappy people and customer service skills.
New Jersey. Confusing roads.
Had to turn on phone to get GPS. Forgot to arrange for US roaming charge package thingy from Bell Canada so in the end we made it to hotel however I have an insane bill coming.
Hotel: Clean, nice-ish, friendly staff.
We ordered “real New Jersey Pizza” which the kids and I were unimpressed with. We swam in pool. We went to bed. I didn’t sleep more than three hours thanks to coughing, child #3 grinding his teeth, snoring and aircraft landing and taking off every 10 minutes.
Woke up. Boy #3 and I went down to kitchen area and made waffles (yes, you can make you own at the Country Inn Hotels!). Watched news abouty Rob Ford on CNN and laughed as they had some analyst talk about addiction and enablers. Made comment to random New Jersey business guy that we were deporting him to the US. He didn’t laugh. Went back to room, dragged others awake and packed.
We took shuttle to ship and promptly ran to the “excursions” desk to book a cabana for day 4 of the port visits at the private “island” resort called “Labadee”. No success. Apparently a second cruise ship will be there as well and they did not share the bookable cabanas for suite guests between ships. Karen is mad. We grabbed a lunch and finally got in our rooms at 1:30 pm.
Windy and cold, we went o top deck nonetheless and watched sun go down as we exited New Jersey harbor at Cape Liberty. Photographed the new WTC and skyline as well as Lady Liberty. People on ship seem happy. They gave upon the NYC lights popping out in the twilight and their eyes glaze over. I refrain from making light of the situation. I honestly think they will be talking about 9/11 till 3011. I left them with their smiles and then noted all the drinks. Aha. They were all drunk. Apparently we were not joining in with their embarkation routines. Day one, we aren’t fitting in. Damn.
Travelled around ship, looked at amenities, marveled at shiny railings and lights on shoreline and climbing wall etc. Went back into room to find cold family griping about the wind. Eventually we headed for dinner, in travelling clothes as our luggage had not yet arrived. Wandered the ship some more and noted a lot of shall we say, large or as they say in French “les ass du lard” and drunk folks about. And old, don’t forget old. Not a lot of kids to be seem. Did we make a mistake? Time would tell.
Luggage arrived after dinner was had, we unpacked, dressed for bed and slept a blissful night away rocked to sleep by the motion of a honking huge ship in gale force winds and 5 meter waves.
Posted from WordPress for Android by that guy that runs the place