Day 1 On The High Seas – Anchors Away!
Monday morning we got up early and went to eat breakfast. We had plenty of time. We signed up for the 12:30 noon shuttle.
The breakfast was in a little restaurant overlooking the pool near the lobby. The hostess introduced us to the chef and told us he would make our breakfast to order. Anna had a regular omelet and I had a spicy western omelet. He also cooked us Belgium waffles. As he cooked he made small talk, asking where we were from and all. I told him on my walk before daylight I saw a sign a block away saying to Manatee Park and asked him was it any good. He honestly told me it was a very peaceful park overlooking the wide river that separates the island from the mainland I think. But he confided in me that he has seen more dolphins there than manatees.
He also laughed at all my bits of wit – like he caught on and what I said was sooo true and also sooo witty. I was a hit with him.
Before him was a plate with ones, fives, and tens in it. I put 2 one dollar bills. Then I asked him where the butter was when I was picking up our dishes of a prepared breakfast. Without even turning around and smiling and pointing, in an irritable tone he said over on the next counter and pointed that way with his ear. Personality has its price.
We sat by the pool and enjoyed it a while and watched a man that I thought had a hangover smoke a cigarette.
We took our showers, got ready, and packed.
Naturally, we were much too early. We decided to go get a gurney and load our suitcases onto it and go on out in front of the building, the meeting place designated to be the place the shuttle bus would pick us up.
At the elevator were a young couple also with a gurney with their luggage on it. We started talking. They said they were going on the cruise also. They also asked if we saw the wedding rehearsal dinner by the pool. They were in it. They said they wedding was to be on the same ship we were going cruising on at 1pm that day.
When the elevator opened its doors and we insisted they go first. They insisted we go first. Well, to make a long story short, they won and we went first. I think they were so insistent because we are what they consider elderly. Well, so does places that offer senior discount. Good for them!
Their were two buses, each with a huge box-like trailer hooked up. One of the men asked us our name and I said “Hunter”. He checked his list and said we were not on the list.
Anna said we were to be on the 12:30 list. The guy said, “Oh” and found us on the list she said. He said that was for the next shuttle, not this one.
Then he said, You want to go now? Two people didn’t show up.”
Sure! So, they loaded our bags into the trailer too.
I asked what should I do with my car and one of the drivers said just follow him and told Anna to go with him in the bus.. I followed him away. Just as we were driving off the nice couple who insisted we go first down the elevator came rushing out with their gurney and their baggage’s only to see the bus and me pull away from the curb. They were the two people that had not shown up yet. I hope they didn’t miss the wedding because the next bus was the one we were suppose to be on, which was not to leave until 12:30, and hour away… they you have to find a porter and then get checked in with the paperwork and passport which all takes a while.
I did as I was told and followed the man driving the bus and trailer to the big parking lot. He stopped and I stopped. The bus just sat their and so did I. I wondered, “Now what?”
Finally the man climbed out of the bus and told me I can park in any parking space I wanted to and then hop on the bus.
Which I did. When I climbed aboard the bus I got a big loud cheer, something like “Yey Eddie!” They already knew my name. The reason they knew my name was that Anna was telling the driver not to leave Eddie.
I had a UGA baseball cap on. They kidded me about the ball team. I know absolutely UGA sports. About the only thing I know is that Vince Dooley used to be the coach, artist Jack Davis can draw the UGA DAWG very good, and Hershel Walker used to be one of their best players, and has done pretty good professionally and financing his money.
I found when somebody kids me about the UGA team I can say anything I want and they think they know exactly what I mean when I say, “We’re tough aren’t we?” or “Do you think we could do that again?”… I don’t care what I say, they more or less slap me on the back laughing and in so many words say, “I hear you.!”
We went to the where the cruise ships are at. A porter took our baggage’s – everybody’s baggage’s – we each gave him a bunch of ones, he made quiet a haul.
We had to go through a big building, go through x-ray machines, put our keys, phones, and whatever on a belt and get it on the other side. We showed somebody our tickets and somebody else our passports. The man looked at Anna’s passport first and praised her for having to sign it. He said that was a rare thing to see a first time traveler to have a signed passport and he congratulated her. Then he looked at mine that wasn’t signed. He didn’t have much to say, only that I would have to sign it before I come back into the U.S.A. and I could almost imagine him under his breath muttering (if it isn’t too much trouble).
After we had taken a few steps on the boat itself a photographer took our picture. The first of many photo opportunities that happened during the next four days.
Also, at one desk at the beginning a representative had us sign a form that gives each of your main waiters, head waiters, stateroom steward, a standard recommended tip which will be added to your bill.
Another deal aboard the ship was the Coke souvenir cup. If you buy a souvenir cup for $25 throughout the cruise on the ship you get Cokes free. We decided to just get one card and cheat with it.
We were told by our AAA agent that you spend no cash during your cruise. Everything is charged to your ship’s card that you carry around, which is sort of like a credit card and then near the end of the cruise they give you a statement of how much you spent which will be put on the credit card account you gave them. It pretends to be a cashless society.
At lunch we went to the buffet which they call the Windjammer Room. I have eaten better food at the Golden Coral.
The Windjammer Buffet is on the 11th deck. You walk outside the restaurant and you on the top deck of the ship with a swimming pool, rock climbing wall, loud music, sun bathers, … it is the party deck.
Which brings to mind, I have not seen so much openly exposed cleavage lined up and being surrounded by since… well, since never.
The ship pulled out at, I think 4:45.
By 7:00 we saw people getting sick.
We signed up for an early dinner. We were expected to eat at 6pm every evening, if we chose dining room eating, which we did all but the day we went to Nassau, we just didn’t make it back by 6:00.
We were one of three couples assigned to our table. One couple was newly weds from Albany, Georgia. The other couple was from Panama City Beach, Florida. The couple from Albany the lady was a speech teacher and the husband was a 18 – wheel truck driver. The couple from Panama City Beach the wife was a full time wife and the husband was retired from a Navy related job and is a contractor consultant now. It took his wife about 10 minutes to let us know she has her masters degree and her husband holds his PHD. That’s okay, it probably took them ten minutes to know I did not have my Master Degree and I do not hold a PHD – but I almost have an Associate’s degree – only 5 hours away – which I suppose the acronym for that is ASS. Yep, I hold my ASS or part of my ASS anyway.
Our main waiter, a Pilipino, took his job a bit too seriously, talking to him was like trying to talk to some kind of supercharged machine. He knew his stuff and was very sincere.
His boss, a lady, which her title must be Head Waiter, I’m not sure, when we were asking each other at the table how each liked his or her mea we all said yes but the Albany truck driver. He said, “It was OK”.
His bride said, “You didn’t like it?”
He said he tasted better. The lady boss waiter was a good ten feet or more away and was eyeing him when he said that. She came over and gave him a polite lecture. She told him never to eat food that he did not like. Life was too short for that. She said if he had a problem with the food send it back, and if he still didn’t like it order something else.
I wonder if she scared him away from the dining room. That was the first and last time the newly weds ate with us.
I think the problem was he ordered his prime rib well done. Prime rib is most tender and juicy when you can taste the raw blood that comes with medium rare.
After dinner we walked up to the top deck and also around the different shops. We went to the theater to see the ship’s singers and dancers and a comedian that used to be the opening act for Jerry Seinfield, David Orion. We thought he was very good. Later that evening we were sitting in one of the many sitting places and David Orion walked by and started talking to us. He is a friendly kind of guy.
The ship was rocking and Anna was going to a restroom close by. Just as she got near the door to the women’s restroom a lady trying to stay balanced against the bulkhead (Navy talk) threw up. I am not sure Anna could have jumped the puddle. We reported the mess to the nearby customer relations desk and they already had their eyes on it.
Then we retired for the evening.. tired.