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Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday December 17, 2006

Got up this morning at 7:15 am (yikes!) to finish packing before 8am, when our bags were picked up by an NCL employee for transport to the ship. I read for a little bit and then fell asleep on my book until about 9:15, when Grampa called to see if we wanted to grab some breakfast. Peter decided to keep sleeping, but the rest of us walked about a block down the beach to Cheeseburgers in Paradise, which is a pretty fun, if very touristy restaurant right across the street from Waikiki Beach. I had guava juice and macadamia nut pancakes – sooo good!

On our way back to the hotel, Grampa stopped at the Aloha Shirt store to pick up an Aloha shirt for himself, and Mom went to an ABC store to get a Hawaii hat... By the time we got back to the hotel, it was just about eleven, I uploaded yesterday’s photos to the blog and then had a quick nap while Mom insisted on going swimming in the beach. By the time she got back and showered, she ended up having to rush onto the bus, and was the last one on, at 12:25. We pulled out of the hotel at 12:27, and got to the pier at 12:52, very excited to be getting on the ship! We cleared security in minutes, got our leis, and then picked up our keys from the ‘Marriott Waikiki key pickup’ line. A quick stop for our embarkation photo and then we were on board by 1:05, pretty quick!
(overlooking the pool deck from deck 12, Waikiki in the background)
Headed straight to our stateroom, and dropped off our bags before heading to the buffet on deck eleven for some salad and fruit. We also got our soda cards and souvenier cups, and then after a lovely lunch outside on the stern deck, looking across the harbour at Celebrity’s Mercury, we went on a tour of the ship. Photos to follow when I get an internet connection, probably one on land that doesn’t cost 75 cents a minute!
(stateroom before the chaos of exploding bags, etc. ensued over the next week)

After the ship tour, we headed back to our staterooms, and Mom and Grampa stayed in the rooms to rest, while Peter and I headed up to deck 12 for some sun (and rocky road ice cream on my part). We had about an hour up there before the call came to get back to our staterooms and start getting organized for the muster drill, taking place at five pm. We collected our life jackets (I had to climb on the dresser in the closet to get mine – lucky it wasn’t an actual emergency!) At the same time, most of our bags arrived (Peter is still missing one, at 9:10, but hopefully it will turn up soon, he’s just gone to investigate at the desk ). UPDATE: tag had fallen off, but he’s been successfully reunited with it.
(one part of the Aloha Atrium)

We were the first ones to arrive at our muster station (B, deck six port side), and the lady who was telling us what to do was pretty entertaining she certainly took her job very seriously, which was good, but pretty funny! She seemed to be channeling the muse of the soup nazi from Seinfeld. She put us in our lifejackets, and tugged them tight, making sure we never stepped over the line diving the walkway in half lengthwise, and if anyone stepped over at all, she ran over to push past us. Of course, Peter, standing behind me, kept playing the class clown roll and making me laugh, but I managed to avoid her stare of death. Our little group even scored a thumbs up for proper life jacket adjustment. Thinking about this, I’m guessing you actually had to be there, because it was really funny, but in a sixth grade kind of way. Anyway, we did pay attention in the key parts, so should there be an emergency, I think we have as good an idea as anyone else what to do.
On the way to the elevator, we hear a guy trying to knowledgably teach his girlfriend they way of the ship
“The starboard side is to the right, and the port side is to the left, and the front is to the.....front.”

Good to know, I’ll make sure to remember that!

Post muster drill, it was time for the shore excursion talk, which turned out t be fairly disappointing, because they basically just reiterated what was said about a few of the shore excursions on the website. Nothing new or anything, the photos weren’t that great. There was also a lot of shopping talk which Peter dubbed ‘a word from our sponsors’. We ended up bailing about two islands in, and went to get, what else, more food! There was a BBQ on deck, and then I supplemented my burger with some salad and fruit and veggie polenta, of all things, from the buffet – I’m loving all the fresh fruit and salad!
(Crossings, Anna's restaurant and where we ate all the dinners after this one)
When we were sitting there eating, one of the cruise staff came up to us and asked Mom and I if we would participate in a competition. Without knowing what it was, she signed us up for it. We got put in a team with two other ladies from Colorado and then had to pick a random guy out of the crowd. Since Grampa and Peter weren’t going to be a part of it, and the two other ladies didn’t know any guys on board, we just had to grab an innocent person off the pool deck. We ended up with a guy named Shawn, a very natured guy indeed! The competition ended up being a seven minute mission to make over your man into a beauty pagent contestant. Luckily, the two ladies were traveling with a selection of muu muus, so we headed to their cabin, threw him in a muu muu, put a towel down his front, a bikini top to hold him up and together, and then put a ridiculous amount of make up and a lei on him, and sheparded him back onto the pool deck. Unfortunately, we didn’t win, but he got a consolation prize which was good, he was well abused!!

We stuck around on the stage area to take in a hula lesson from a Hawaii Ambassador (I guess I couldn’t hold our for too long, even after giving it a miss at Kong’s Hawaii Night... I have to say that everyone was much worse on the cruise than they were there – though there was no ABBA involved tonight! At the electric slide competition, however, we were a bit confused, not having a clue how to actually do the electric slide! We endd up bowing out of the competition, just watching as someone won a 180 dollar shore ex. Package... Then, we played fifteen minutes of bad table tennis before heading to the spa raffle give away, which we didn’t win anything at – there were SOO many people trying to win, it was pretty packed! We collected our free champagne and were on our way, this time to the Outrigger lounge (deck eleven, forward).

It’s pretty funny how strict they are about carding on this boat! Compared to Tokyo where they don’t card at all, ad I’ve gotten into several places with huge ‘We don’t let you in without valid ID signs’ and could definitely be drinking if I wanted to, here they are very into it! My actual key card has a corner cut out of it to denote me as being underage, and entertainingly, when they were talking about the free champagne at the spa thing, the girl turned right to me to add ‘well, for those in your party over 21 anyway’. Regardless of me being the uber lame non drinker, I still think 21 is ridiculously old for not drinking, given that you can go off to war at 18 in the states, and some states allow you to get married at like 14 or something obscene with parental permission.

Anyway, its not about 10, and we’re just trying to decide where the rest of the evening will take us – perhaps the jet lag busting dance at the Outrigger lounge.
(Outrigger Lounge - part show lounge, part dance floor/nightclub, part strip joint)
A few first impressions for cruise critic readers – the boat is clean and in good shape, some of the rooms are certainly pretty overly decorated, but its all Aloha-ish! There seems to be lots of room for people to get around, and so far it hasn’t seemed too full at all.

Lots of food choices at the buffet, and it all seems pretty hot and fresh, I had some sundried tomato bread which was sooo good! There are sani stations all over the place, and people are using them from what I can tell – we are also being encouraged to do so by attendants at the station.

Our stateroom is clean, and although not huge, certainly enough room for two! I think the bed is good as well, though I like hard beds. Haven’t met our cabin attendant yet, but we had ice waiting for us, and the beds got turned down while we were out. In general, the staff have all been really, really friendly, greeting us with ‘Aloha’ whenever we see them, coming by to take our plates, asking if we need drinks or anything like that. It’s interesting to find out where everyone is from around the states, and they’ve all been great. Our cruise director seems friendly from what I saw during our pool side activities, and so far, everything is going very well!

We’ve been moving for about two hours so far, and the seas are just barely noticeable – basically like the good ol BC Ferries – just a nice gentle roll, but nothing dramatic at all! I think everyone is waiting for me now so we can get going, - we’ve finished up our drinks and seem to be moving on. Besides that, the entertainment is coming back on, which is fine, except that so far this evening, we’ve already heard ‘Drift Away’ live three times, so we probably don’t need to hear it again.


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