Monday, March 11, 2013

Love Birds' First Cruise Recap Pt. 3: Days 7 & 8

{Catch up here with Pt. 1 and Pt. 2!}

Day 7 - Saturday, March 2

Today was another sea day, and honestly, I found this incredibly relaxing after 3 back-to-back days of ports. It was nice to start the day by decompressing at another Cruise & Crop layout class before departing the following day . . .


These pics were from my first trip to the Caribbean in 2001 - I spent a month in Jamaica during Wellesley's Wintersession
These were my tablemates - Marilyn and Chantel, a mother/daughter team from Canada, who welcomed me warmly - they were very advanced scrapbookers!
About half of our Cruise & Crop group - thank you to our instructor and embellish IT! owner Shelby for the group photo!

The cruise food staff was smart and had a food fest that afternoon - aka an efficient way to get rid of leftovers!

Before dinner was the farewell parade - Mr. Love Bird wasn't interested but since I missed the opening parade I really wanted to see this one. It was fun!
Cruise Director Steve was really into it! I was fascinated by him the entire cruise - he was all over the ship and big ball of energy!
Our last sit-down meal in the dining room
Spoiled by Cirque shows in Vegas, Mr. Love Bird wasn't interested in watching the farewell performance, but I was impressed! It made me want to go do Pilates or something.
The performers came out to say goodbye then later the cruise staff filled the stage including the captain leaving me to wonder who was navigating the ship??? jk ;-)
Our luggage had to be in the hallway by 11p.m. so it could be organized for our departure so we packed a little bag with our necessities for the morning then had fun hanging out around the ship . . .

Day 8 - Sunday, March 3 

We had been assigned #s for luggage retrieval and knew we didn't need to be at our meet-up location to disembark until 9:30a.m. Thinking we had all the time in the world we slept in and took our time getting ready until I realized 15 minutes before it closed that the buffet was closing! ACK! We hurried and rushed out to eat making it just in time - on the way out we saw they had closed the doors and many of our fellow passengers were left looking bewildered. They had a continental breakfast for those who missed it but there was nothing like the hot buffet to fill up on before our long journey home . . .

The process of getting off the ship was billed to be leisurely and as stress-free as possible but actually it was a bit chaotic, long and annoying. It was waaaay worse than getting on. In all my years of international travel I have never seen anything like getting 3K+ passengers off a cruise ship. We had been delayed past our 9:30a.m. time which was fine except we were still told to go to the gangway only to be left standing there for 30 minutes. It would've been much better to have been stationed in our original meet-up location for a bit longer instead of on the gangway. 

Later I found out the delay through customs and then at IAH airport was a result of the Sequester (or so "they" said). Lines were just plain awful and I felt bad for those traveling with children - I'll have more to say in Pt. 4 about my thoughts on cruising with kids . . .

We made it to the airport safe and sound and luckily back home a little ahead of schedule. 

We crashed hard, and that night I still felt like I was on a ship rocking back and forth!   
    Next, I'll wrap up with:
    • The Ship Itself/Royal Caribbean's Brand
    • The Food
    • The Entertainment 
    • The People 
    • The Ports/Excursions 
    • My Top Tips for Your First Cruise
    • Leaving My Lil Love Bird 
    Are there any parts you want more information about? I'm happy to get into the nitty gritty in Pt. 4!