Saturday, February 27, 2010

VoaL Day #2

Day #2. The plan: Get on the boat. Set sail. Explore the ship. Meet our fellow passengers.
This day went completely as planned. Before leaving we ran across the street to Walgreen's to pick up snacks and hair products. The whole less-than-3-ounces-allowed-on-the-flight is not going to last for a week! Some cute lady outside the store asked where we were from because apparently we looked out of place in our shorts and capris because according to her it was cold. You want cold lady? I gotta place for you to visit.
Here we are leaving our hotel for the ship.
We were a wee bit excited. The taxi ride over. Once again can I mention the excitement. Sheesh. You would think we never go anywhere. Ever. Here she is! The Pearl! Why are ships feminine? Security first. Drivers License, Passport, Blood sample, hair sample, fingerprints, and a sworn testimony from my mom that I was indeed who I professed to be. They took our picture as we boarded. If you notice B. Rad , Sara , Mitch and Haley were not with us. This was the first Titanic moment of the day. You see B. Rad booked a suite with 2 bedrooms, a gorgeous bathroom, a balcony and a nice family room so right after the security check they separated the steerage (us) from the first-class passengers (them). Although Mitch and Haley claimed to be the servants just traveling with the first class passengers. I don't know exactly what they experienced here at the beginning but I think the cruise fed them a 3 course meal on diamond plates, while being fanned with giant palm leaves then the workers actually carried them onto the ship and up to their room so that they wouldn't be tired after the security check in!They wouldn't let steerage into our rooms yet so we wandered the ship and took our picture in front of the slide. Not the ocean but the slide. Wow. Never seen a slide before. So yellow and twisty. The Atlantic? I'm sure we will see it eventually but THIS SLIDE! Awesome. We went on a tour of the gym and spa facilities. Here is Dave "relaxing" on the heated bed. Mom looks a bit more relaxed than Dave. I think he was scared Marco was going to touch him with a hot rock again. (short version of long story...A massage therapist, Marco, demonstrated how good the hot rock massage would feel on my anti-touch, already hot enough husband. The expression on his face was PRICELESS!)
After a bit we finally checked into our rooms and then went to the Setting Sail Party. We watched off the deck as Miami faded into the background.

Meanwhile the Cruise Director, Julie. I KNOW! Her name was Julie the Cruise Director! She was nothing like the Julie from The Love Boat. Anywho Julie and her staff were trying to get people to dance down by the pool area. We watched as a few of the tipsy (how did they get that way so quickly?) danced with the staff for a while.
Then they started to play a good swing song and Mitch and Haley tried to dance up on the deck. Now in case you didn't know Mitch and Haley like to swing dance. They are really good. The deck was no place to showcase their talents so.... They headed down to the pool area. See there is more room here. Brad and Sara went too. So they were having a great time dancing and the crowd really got into it! He would swing her left and swing her right. Then comes the big move where he lifts her over his head and rolls her down and catches her. It is a great move. A real show stopper. Especially this time. Here he is about to lift her above his head. That was last picture I took for a while because he dropped her. Yep. Dropped her. The crowd gasped. Lucky for us Mitch caught her just before her head hit the deck. Unfortunately he caught her by her shirt which proceeded to come almost off of her! Yep Haley flashed the entire crowd within 30 minutes of leaving port. Without having 1 drink. Haley, being a great sport let Mitch try again and they did the move perfectly much to the delight of the crowd. That broke the ice. Soon the whole family was down dancing.

We were laughing and having a great time!

You know we are all having a great time when Andrew is even dancing!

Not to mention Mom!Then the DJ asks for a volunteer to sing "Sweet Caroline"! And who volunteered. B. Rad. He did really well and then ... he forgot the words so he made up his own! Hilarious! Not to mention a huge sign of things to come.
The tipsy people loved us. I guess because it was just us and them out there having fun! Here is one of our friends. We called him "Kansas" the entire cruise because he is from Kansas. He loved Sara! So at some point while we were dancing with Kansas the DJ asked Mitch where we were from. Mitch told him and a moment later he announces "We would like to give a big welcome to our group from UTAH!" A flabbergasted Kansas turns to Brad and asks the natural follow up question "Mormons?" Brad nods and then Kansas yells to his sister "Jacqui! They let the Mormons out!" Classic. We had a good time with Kansas.
Soon after the man in the blue hat came up to Mom and asked if we were LDS. He and his wife, son and daughter-in-law became our cruise friends. They were from Idaho and were LDS also. We saw a lot of them since they were on 3 of the 4 same excursions that we were on.
Then we had this man and his darling wife come dance with us for a while. They were from Canada. We know this because he yelled it at us several times! We never learned his name but we saw him often and of course we yelled "Canada" and he would return with a big "UTAH". I have never been known as a state before. It was fun.
We decided to go explore the ship. Here we are posing up on deck 13.
Deck 13 is also the running track which Dave took advantage of often.

Deck 13 also has a golf simulator. It is nothing compared to Haley's Dads! This was the only time we used it. We took pictures with the sun set in the back ground. Aaaah. Look how cute they are! And look how disturbing they are!
Dave "If you want to kiss in front of the sunset you are going to have to come over here. I'm watching the ocean."
Forward on Deck 11 is the bridge.
We had the mandatory Life Boat Drill. Look at the 1st class life boat! They have plush seating!
Steerage met in a bar. I think they ran out of lifeboats and just hoped we would drink so much we wouldn't realize that the ship was sinking. Lucky for us it was just a drill. After the drill we went and changed and then headed to the Stardust Theater to see Sharkbait. Here we are getting ready for the show to start! These 2 are magicians/jugglers/entertainers. The way they juggled was magic and it was quite entertaining. I guess they did their job! We headed off to dinner and then for our after dinner entertainment we went to the Bliss Ultra Lounge. They were having a Toga party and when we first arrived nobody was wearing a toga but thanks to my 3 darling sister-in-laws they soon became the fashion!Soon we were all decked out in our Toga's! What a great Roman statue this photo would make, eh? We stayed late into the night dancing and laughing and having a grand ole time. It was hilarious to think that we were in a bar, with Mom, in Toga's. Not a typical night in my life. Around the time they felt the need to remind the crowd that clothes were indeed required under the toga's we felt that it was time to leave. We are pretty intuitive that way. We wandered up to the bow of the ship and enjoyed the beautiful cool breeze after our warm toga workout! We are all a bit pink cheeked. They had heated sheets for the togas. Very warm. And so ended the 1st day of the cruise.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm workin on it!

Dear Tricia,

I really appreciate the comments and numerous phone calls and text messages telling me in not so patient terms how much you are looking forward to the post of Day #2 of our trip.

Although the names you called me are not Mom approved.

I have a few things to say.
  • First of all cutting down over 2000 pictures takes a little while.
  • Second, you were on the trip. You can't possibly have forgotten everything already.
  • Third, you can take my advice and get a blog of your own.
So back off sister. ha-ha. Funny.

Love, Kelli

PS She didn't really call me bad names Mom.
PSS If you aren't nice to me I am honestly going to post the video of you singing "Yellow Submarine" while skipping around and scaring the poor elderly ladies into singing along! This is the preschool teacher in you. "So we sailed up to the sun"

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Vacation of a Lifetime (VoaL) Day #1

Now, lest I have a massive revolt of my 4 loyal readers I am only going to hit the highlights of each day. Please realize these are highlights according to moi so other travelers may disagree but really they can get their own blogs.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Travel Day
What was on the itinerary:Fly from SLC to Houston, fly from Houston to Miami, check in to the hotel, get some sleep.

What actually happened:
Left late because Tricia had to go to the bank to get more money for her "Buy Shoes in Every Port" fund.
Allison informed us all that she planned on doing genealogy while on the cruise. Not in the top 10 most likelies to do on a cruise. At least not in my book. Or any other travel book.

Arrived in Houston.Here is what happened there that I thought was noteworthy.
  • After landing we taxied over a freeway. I thought that was strange.
  • Andrew was born in Houston. He lived there for 3 MONTHS and then we moved and he has never been back. Upon arrival at the Houston airport he announced "It is good to be home!" He continued through the airport telling us all about how the airport has changed so much since he left. It was bigger and there were many new concourses that he observed. His wife was not amused. The rest of us were.
  • Since Andrew was a native we had him translate whenever someone from Texas spoke to us. Honestly there were times he couldn't understand them despite it being his home turf.
  • Jenn had a cookie and a pretzel for dinner. The posters hanging in front of the booths looked good to her. She was sorely disappointed. I had a Greek Salad that was really tasty. So tasty I went back on the return trip a week later. They didn't remember me though. odd.
  • We had to walk to the furthest possible gate from where we started. I think it was like Gate X509.
  • Walking through the airport was another reminder of how competitive my family can be because the airports has the moving sidewalks and of course it had to be a race between people to see if standing on the moving sidewalk was actually faster than walking at a brisk pace (ie jogging). This happened several times. (We walked a long way remember)
Left Houston for Miami
  • Houston did not like how I had packed my bag. So picture this. A long line at security and me at the front of the line laying on my bag trying to close a stupid zipper. I already knew it fit but apparently Mr. I don't speak your language Texan Security Guy didn't care. (Andrew did try to translate)
  • In flight entertainment...
  • Andrew sitting next to a Loud Talker the entire flight. We thought she was hilarious talking at the top of her lungs. The best was she talked on her cell phone before we took off and after we landed. Loudly. "WELL, WE HAVE LANDED. (pause) NO. WE ARE STILL IN THE PLANE. (pause) WHAT? (pause) NO WE HAVE LANDED BUT I HAVEN'T GOT OFF THE PLANE YET." Apparently she doesn't quite know how to use her phone so she kept asking Andrew to redial for her. It was hilarious. However after the flight we heard from Andrew and Jenn that it was horrible because she had a severe case of halitosis. It made Andrew want to pass out!
  • We also had a large group of soon to be cruisers in front of us who proceeded to get somewhat drunk a little sooner than most cruisers. They were obnoxious and loud and we spent most of that flight hoping and praying that they weren't on the same cruise as us.
Arrival in Miami
  • Got on the shuttle to our hotel and the driver stopped at a second group to tell them he would be back for them in a few minutes. IT WAS THE DRUNK GROUP FROM OUR FLIGHT! They were now following us to the same hotel. This did not bode well.
  • We checked into our lovely hotel. We had a suite. It was sweet.
  • We met up with Brad, Sara, Mitch and Haley who had arrived the day before us. They were just coming in from a Coke run. Apparently the cruise only offers Pepsi products and so Brad bought about 6 cases of Coke Zero. When those 4 came walking in the lobby with several cases it looked like they were heading of to a really tame and sugar free kegger.
  • We heard of a funny story about how Mitch and Haley couldn't check in because their room was under Brad's name and they weren't with Brad. The clerk was a trainee and kept answering the phone instead of helping them and Mitch finally lost patience and used a very bad word. Like *$%@ type words. It became a big joke to us so if you ever hear of us saying "I'm going to go all trainee on you!" You now know what we mean. It is similar to going postal. Minus the killing. Here is a picture of the actual lobby where Mitch went all trainee! Poor little trainee.
  • We arrived at about 11:00 at night so the plan as you may recall was to get some sleep. Instead we arranged to meet at the hot tub. So Brandon apparently was already a bit woozy from the rocking of the ship ( I know we weren't actually on the ship yet but he needs an excuse of some kind). He was so woozy from the rocking that en route to the hot tub he fell into the pool. The pool was not heated. It was freezing cold. So the hot tub felt great to all of us coming from 25 degree weather people but it felt especially good to Brandon.
  • We eventually headed to our rooms where Dave and I overheard first a rather candid, enlightening and altogether TMI coversation regarding the condition of one of my brothers bowels. Not a good way to end the first day. But we did laugh a lot.