8/31/2011

Crusin'

Not for a brusin', though that did happen, too.

This morning (hey look, I'm caught up!) we had a leisurely breakfast downstairs at the hotel. Tim made sure
that they could hold our bags after checkout and scheduled our complimentary cruise ship drop off for us. Then we headed back upstairs to our room to hang out, relax, repack, and generally just chill until check out at 11. After stowing our bags at the Bell Station, we headed out to the post office where we mailed some post cards. The postal lady was very nice and even let the kiddo put the stamps on the post cards (not all postal workers will do this). Then we wandered around a bit, stopping by the Canuk stadium (it was near the hotel) and then making our way to A&W for lunch. (They have lots of A&W restaurants in Canada - they're nearly as visible as McDonald's. I can't think when the last time I saw an actual A&W at home was.)

Then we headed back to the hotel to reclaim our bags and catch the shuttle. There was another family also heading for the Disney cruise (amusingly they are four or five staterooms down from us, what are the chances?) This family, however, does not believe in the minimal packing that both Tim and I were raised with. We had 4 bags: two suitcases, and two carry ons (one backpack, one laptop sized bag). They had approximately 14 bags, the smallest of which were carry on roller bag (you know the ones, you can pack for a week in them if you try) size. The shuttle driver played a rather impressive game of bag Tetris and managed to only have to put one bag up front (it was, apparently, a carseat wrapped in a black plastic trash bag. Yet another reason to not have been lugging the thing around). The trip to the ship was very fast and unloading considerably smoother than getting everything into the van in the first place. We grabbed our carry ons and Tim set his timer.

When we cruised last year on Royal Caribbean out of Norfolk, it took us close to 4 hours to get from drop off to on board when all was said and done. Now some of that was because we had to park cars, but that was maybe only an hour. So let's call it 3 hours from curb to ship. And those hours were a disorganized pain in the rear. Disney, on the other hand, was a 35 minute process of incredibly streamlined and smooth sailing from point A to B to C to get on the ship. I attribute a large part of this to the fact that when you do your online check in, you choose a boarding time slot. So everyone isn't arriving en masse, and they actually control how many people are coming at any one time and they have the staff available to handle the crowds. So we quickly went from customs to check in to kiddo check in to picture with Minnie Mouse to on board.

Once aboard, we wandered about a little, stopped by the Oceaneer Club (where the doodle can go play as much or as little as he desires), and then our room was ready. So we headed to the cabin - and here is again where Disney wins over RC -- the cabin actually looks like the picture in the brochure! (Imagine that.) The doodle's bed is the sofa, but it does a fun little flip over into a twin sized bed (so you're not just sleeping on a
futon type thing, it's an honest to goodness twin mattress stowed in the underside of the couch seat) and the
Navigator's Balcony has a compass and other fun little gizmos to play with, should you so desire. And, get
this, the toilet (with sink) is separate from the tub/shower (with sink!) so a family of 3 or 4 can actually
get ready in a reasonable amount of time.

As we explored the room, the kiddo got excited and forgot about the big sill you have to step over to get onto
the balcony. He then of course managed to whack himself well enough that he bit his lip and has a bruise under his eye. He's all boy, that one. (After a few minutes of crying he was fine and wanting to go back out on the balcony, so all is well.)

Tim was able to get our dinner seating switched from 8:15 to 5:45, which I think will be much better, all things being equal. We were going to try and make it work, but really, keeping us and the doodle sane during a
late dinner is something I'd just as soon not try and tackle. We ate in the Parrot Cay dining room this evening (that's another thing I think will be fun, you rotate around the various dining rooms each night). Tim had a tomato mozzerella salad (with yellow heirloom tomato), then cold mango cream soup, followed by a mixed grill containing lamb, filet, bacon wrapped sausage, and shrimp on a bed of mashed potatoes with asparagus. For dessert he had a trio of bite sized samples including creme brulee cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, and a chocolate cake. I had seared ahi tuna, cream of asparagus soup, grilled ribeye with twice baked potato and corn on the cob, and a french toast banana bread cake with coconut ice cream (honestly, it tasted like German chocolate cake with a hint of banana - it was awesome). The doodle had watermelon and mac and cheese with fries and corn and broccoli, followed by a Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream bar.

After dinner, I had to rush back to the room to do office hours (working on this trip is going to bite. I thought it wouldn't be too bad, but I'm already going to have to basically miss dinner tomorrow to do seminar
because we're 3 hours behind). Tim and the kiddo came back as well, we gave him a bath and let him run around and play for a bit before finally tucking him in for the night. Now we're flopped on our bed relaxing and considering another earlyish night.

2 comments:

Gwynne said...

Ouch, sorry the Doodle had to suffer a fall, but mac and cheese with Mickey Mouse ice cream has to partially make up for that. ;-)

Lynellen said...

i think there is still an A&W restaurant at fair oaks mall, btw.