Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Spring Break

Ten-Day cruise aboard the Celebrity Millenium

The day before: applied for and obtained passports for the kids. Whew. That was close.

Departure from Bowie: four adult-sized people, four large suitcases holding clothes for at least 12 days, and four carry-ons in a Honda Fit. Should have taken a picture so we knew how everything would fit for the return.

Checked into the Best Western-Newark Airport at 10:30 with a 04:00 wake-up call for a 06:00 flight to Atlanta, connecting on to San Juan.

Check-in at the cruise terminal went fairly smoothly, had to fill out a health questionnaire: have we been sick? No, except for the major allergy attack that came on the day before, I was sneezing and had a runny nose like there's no tomorrow. Sheesh.

The ship is nice, quiet. Not in-your-face like Carnival tends to be. The general layout is very similar between the two, however. The typical demographic of Celebrity passengers is 55-75. This sailing skewed a lot younger because of spring break.

Luggage: finally delivered to our staterooms right before dinner, about five hours after boarding. What took so long? I start to worry it is still sitting on the dock somewhere.

Dinner: late seating, I asked for a table for four when we booked, they put us at a table for ten. Except there were only three seats left. Goldilocks was already at our table. sheesh. A table for ten, really? I really don't like to make other people endure Kevin's quirkiness, we like to eat alone. They are very apologetic and seat us upstairs for the night.

Tortola: not the island filled with pirates one might expect, especially those who are Johnny Depp fans. A smidge of sunburn where I missed with the sunscreen. Decent beach.

Sint Maarten: Narrow beach, more sunscreen. Didn't go to the French sided. Fern and I collect our free charms in all the ports as we did on the cruise a year ago Christmas. I've amassed quite a collection now.

St. Lucia: shore excursion to the Piton Falls. Who would have thought the roads were that tight, windy, and steep? Dramamine, please. We finally get a permanent dinner table assignment. We had open seating the first three nights because of the initial mix-up. Open seating is a disaster. Service is much better in the regular dining room. Much. They don't forget the silverware there.

Do you wave at strangers? Do you wave at the passengers on the other ships in the harbor when one ship is departing? Do you wave until they wave back which only encourages more of your fellow passengers to wave at them which encourages more of their fellow passengers to wave back at us?

Barbados: Dan and Fern take a zipline excursion while Kevin and I go to a beach. Met a lovely couple from the ship and asked the wife help me with the lotion on my back since Dan wasn't around. They both golf.

It's about 160 steps from Deck 2 where our staterooms are to Deck 10 where the breakfast and lunch buffets are. Kevin takes them up. I take them down. I can make it up to Deck 7 before getting on the elevator. Whew.

Grenada, the Spice Island: Catamaran snorkel/beach excursion and a sunburned back today. The spices are better in Guadalupe, by the way, but that was 15 years ago.

Day at sea: reading and sunning.

Curaçao: We rent a car. I drop Dan and the husband from the couple I met in Barbados off at the golf course and I take the wife and the kids to find a beach and to Jaanchie's restaurant for lunch. That's the place Dan and I went to for dinner a couple of times when we visited Curaçao three years before. Lunch is good but the service is way slow and we are late getting back to pick up the boys at the golf course. They seemed to have fun.

Aruba: We taxi to Eagle beach. Best beach by far, very wide with smooth, soft sand.

Down-face dog on the beach is relaxing, a nice stretch, until my foundation is washed away.

After the beach, I do some personal shopping and also collect our charms.

The new one is a bit bigger than the old one. When it's not sticking to my skin because of humidity or sweat, it hangs down loose on my metacarpal joint. Do I take another link out?

Another day at sea, more reading and sunning.

Back in San Juan: we take the El Yunqué rainforest tour, only because we have all day to kill, our flight home doesn't leave until 5:00.

Our flight to Miami is oversold. A flight to Baltimore is at the next gate. I offer three of our seats on our flight for seats on the BWI flight. (Our connection doesn't get in to Newark until 00:20, then there's the drive home and school the next day. This is the part of the vacation I wasn't looking forward to.) There are only two seats available on the BWI flight so I send Dan and Fern that way, Kevin and I continue on as originally planned. He's a little distraught about not having Daddy with him, but he settles down soon enough.

We depart San Juan for Miami over an hour late and just make it on to our next flight. (Dan and Fern arrive in Baltimore at the same time Kevin and I land in Miami. They get home and sleep in their own beds.) We make it to Newark, but our checked luggage doesn't. There are four groups of folks in the same boat, from the same boat, with no luggage. I file the missing bags report. Guess I didn't need that map to reload the suitcases in the car after all.

Kevin and I with our carry-ons get the car out of hock at SkyPark. $180 to park, free with the Best Western stay and fly deal. I hit the road, south on the turnpike to Exit 7, and spend what's left of the night at the Hampton. They gave me toothbrushes and toothpaste for me and the boy and deodorant for myself. I like Hampton Inn.

Home: at about 11:30, Kevin off to school. I try to drop him off directly but he won't go, he has to have his backpack.

The automated baggage system has no information about my suitcases. Then late in the afternoon, one bag has been found. I wonder if it's the one filled with dirty clothes?

Kevin's body clock is messed up. He heads to bed at 03:30 but is very distraught about not having his own toothbrush or flosser. It takes a while to calm him down.

O'dark:15 this morning my cell rings: "I have your suitcases, I'm in front of your house, sorry I'm late."


Lesson learned: If airfare out of Newark is included in your cruise ticket and DC is $400 extra, go with DC.


Lorraine said...

Sounds lovely...except for the luggage/flight thing. I want to see pictures of the charms!

YoLinna said...

For all the inconvenience, it still sounds like heaven... glad you made it home safely!