Monday, August 22, 2016

Our Summer Vacation!

So finally husband and I got to take our vacation.  

We had initially purchased this seven day cruise over a year ago.  If memory serves me correct, we put the first deposit on this in May of 2015.  We purchased the flight tickets sometime in November.

Royal Caribbean 7 Night Western Caribbean Cruise.

Freedom Of The Seas 
Day 1
Orlando, Florida
Sunday, August 14, 2016

We started our day by getting up at 03:45 and had a quick breakfast.  Bill, the taxi driver who is also a member of our church, came to pick us up at 05:05 to drive us to the airport. We were so busy chatting him up on the drive that he missed his exit and almost got us lost in a golf course ha! ha!

Ok that's really not funny!  

We eventually made it to the airport and did the self check in using one of those computer things, which was somewhat user friendly, problem is it will still provide a boarding pass ticket even if no seat is selected or even available!  The kiosk prints our boarding pass and luggage tags once you pay the baggage fee then you just need to drop off your luggage and go.

One lady was in line at the baggage drop off with tons of luggage for her family but her husband was still at the kiosk doing the self check in! She was having a difficult time managing the luggage because she was waiting on her husband to help her thus she was holding up the line.  Folks got mad and walked around her.  We gave her the "not cool" look while everyone else just grumbled out loud to her.  We put our luggage through without having to pay over weight fees, that's because we weighed them at home first! Then off to the waiting area for the Air Canada flight.  The two pieces of check luggage cost $25 Canadian each bag.

When we got through to the waiting area of our plane, I was curious to check what seat we had because it wasn't saying a number like usual, just "GTE".  First I thought that meant the emergency exit seat, so I asked the lady at the desk and she said it was no seat and that they oversold the flight by five seats! She then asked would I accept $800 to fly later.

No way! Uh uh! Nope! Not going to happen!

We needed the flight now!

So instead of seats 12E & 12F like we actually purchased, we ended up with seat 43.  

Yup. Seats forty-friggen-three.

The very absolute last two seats at the back of the plane right beside the toilets and all the noisy crying kids.

Any further back and we'd have been on the tail of the plane!

I would say FML, but at least we were on the plane.  Count my blessings!!!

This is the only time we've ever reserved seats and ended up with something else.  Then again, this was the first time we've flown with Air Canada.  Our past flights were with American Airlines and Air France.

Basically, clearing customs and baggage check & pick up were quick and easy, it was the seating arrangements that sucked.  Air Canada you failed miserably.

Anyway, counting our blessings like I said.  

We arrived at Orlando Airport, got our luggage easily and found the Royal Caribbean shuttle that awaited us.  All in all getting off the plane took about ten minutes since we were the last passengers and getting our luggage took like two minutes after we caught the tram train to the baggage area of the airport.  We met up with the representatives from Royal Caribbean who were handling the shuttle service for which we prepaid and fifteen minutes later we boarded a large greyhound type of tour bus (our luggage, except carry on, were stored under the bus in the baggage areas) and we headed to the cruise terminal at Port Canaveral.  

Roughly 45 minutes later we pulled up to the cruise terminal.  The shuttle takes care of handing off the luggage to the porters so we just had to deal with our carry on.

The line in the cruise terminal was long...and I mean long! There were plenty of representatives behind the counters to assist folks so the line may have moved quickly for all I know.   We had priority check in because we checked in online a couple weeks ago so we just needed to set up our on board account with a credit card, have our photo taken for our sea pass cards and that was it. They had a priority line with two people in front of us.  Three minutes, tops, we were on our way onto the ship.... now if we had to wait in that very long line behind what looked like a hundred and fifty people, well, it may have been longer than three minutes.

It was almost 13:30 so we were able to get into our stateroom and drop off our carry on luggage and change into a pair of shorts since we wore jeans on the plane.  We went straight to the 11th floor and the windjammer buffet. Husband and I both ate an apple, some mashed potatoes and a strip of freshly cut roast beef along with some french fries, lemonade and water. 

The muster drill was at 15:45 when the ship was about to depart.  We went to our muster station, stood there for 15 minutes in the heat and humidity, were presented with the emergency info and life jacket procedure then were dismissed.  After that we went up to the Lido deck (deck 11) to watch the ship leave port.

Then we strolled around the ship for a tad longer ....

....and kept going to check our room to see if our bags arrived every so often. Only one did after two hours.

Luckily, we half pack, as in, half of my stuff and half of husbands stuff in one bag, and the other halves in the other bag.  See, if one bag gets lost, we will still both have a change of clothes!  Anyhow, the second bag arrived an hour or so after the first bag.   We unpacked, walked the ship some more then we went out to see the stars. 

The sky was breathtaking!

We went out onto the very top of the ship way out front. It was quite windy and quite dark too since the ship itself only has so many lights out there.

The night sky.......So beautiful.  So many stars, bright moon and a few puffy clouds with one giving off lightning like natural fireworks!  So very beautiful.

We went to bed after that, exhausted.  By then I think it was 21:30.

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