Those of you who are familiar with my style of cruise review know that it will be a blog-diary covering the minutiae of my cruising day, activities, food, exercise, excursions, entertainment – and often those of my traveling companions as well. I describe the good, the bad, the ugly and the beautiful in close detail… often offering some opinions along the way, but hopefully providing an accurate enough description that you can decide for yourself whether you would enjoy (or hate!) something that I dislike (or love!)
I started this journal by writing a daily email to myself on my tablet, since I didn’t lug along my (outdated, heavy and slow) laptop… however, typing on the tiny travel keyboard was definitely a challenge, especially since the spacebar is recalcitrant, so by day 2 I started making notes by hand (which of course slowed down the posting of this review, since I had to actually type everything up when I returned).
Also slowing down the preparation of this review was a BUSY month upon my return: catching up on work, buying a new (er, 2001 with 118k miles) car, running the Cherry Tree 5K in DC with my family… and doing all the laundry from that 8-day cruise!!
Cherry Tree 5K w/DD Ariel (she was on the cruise with me) and DS Jason
Anyway, enough introduction – on with the cruise. Welcome aboard
DAY 1 - Friday, March 21 - 4:25pm
Sitting in the cabin for a few minutes... let's recap the day so far:
8:35, check in with friend from NJ who is coming in to pick us up and drop us at the port (we will pay gas and tolls).
9:00 drive down in our car to pickup DD's boyfriend Tom and his bags, so we can leave straight from our house when our friend from NJ arrives.
10:00, having breakfast shake and coffee... when I get a call from our friend from NJ: he has broken down on the NJ Turnpike, no idea what happened! Worried about him, but no time to waste, we start calling other friends to see if anyone else can take us to the port… but in NYC, not many people have a car, or are free on a Friday morning to drive us even in our own car! Fortunately, it turns out Tom has a friend with a cab, who gives us a discount on the trip. Nice!
10:45, on the way to the port we encounter serious traffic... we see emergency vehicles, smoke... by great good fortune (to us!) the issue is on the opposite side of the highway -- a truck engine caught fire. Entire road is shut down on the other side! Miles of traffic piled up behind. We thank our lucky stars and keep heading to the port.
11:30 - arrive at port, hand off big bags to porter, use bathroom (!) and head in to checkin. Tom's corkscrew is confiscated! : ( Ariel and I go through together, and the security guard looks at our SetSail passes to confirm that we are indeed in separate cabins, since we are each carrying on two bottles of wine. (I don’t drink, so my allotment will be for Ariel and Tom to enjoy.)
Arriving at the tent, er, port with DD Ariel and her BF Tom
We check in thru priority boarding while Tom goes thru regular checkin (it's his first cruise!) – and he also carries on two bottles of wine, which are not questioned since he and Ariel are checking in separately. We meet up in the waiting area, where they take a boarding photo (and I take some of them too while they’re posing for the photographer), and we head out to the jitney to the cruise ship.
"Sneaking" some boarding photos
Past Cruises:1990s: 3 Big Red Boat (1 Atlantic, 2 Oceanic); 3 Carnival (Ecstasy, Destiny, Fantasy); Premier NYC cruise to nowhere; Disney Wonder 1/06; Mariner of the Seas 8/06; Sun Princess 1/07; Caribbean Princess 3/07; Crown Princess 10/07; Brilliance of the Seas 1/08; Monarch 4/08; Majesty B2B 9/08; Mariner 4/09; Radiance 11/09; Majesty 1/10; Monarch 9/10; Majesty 12/10; Monarch 12/11; Explorer 1/12; Monarch 3/12; Oasis 12/13; Explorer 3/14; Explorer Repo 11/14; Majesty Solo 1/15; Liberty Skyscrapers to Rodeos Repo 10/15;Coral Princess & Radiance - Alaska 5/16; Rhapsody11/16; Ruby Princess 1/17; Windstar Breeze EB TA 4/17;. Planned Cruises:Crown Princess 9/17; Ovation 11/17; Disney Dream 1/18; Jewel 5/18; Cunard Queen Mary 10-11/18
(Not) Live from the Explorer, March 2014
Oasis of the Seas, December 2013, Blog & Review
Daily Log, Explorer of the Seas, January 2012
(Not) Live from the Mariner (West Coast), April 2009
(Not) Live from the Monarch (West Coast), April 2008
Live from the Brilliance, January 2008
Not Live from the Crown Princess, October 2007