I would like to start this missive with happy words, but that would not be true to the day we experienced.
The day started off well, eating breakfast, packing the car and wishing a fond farewell to our home for an anticipated fun 8-day cruise to the Western Caribbean on the Norwegian Dawn with friends Dennis, Connie, Bob, Lucille, Ron, Connie, Judy and Patty.
We arrived at around 11:15am at the cruise and park lot. What a nightmare. It was chaos. There were already three lines of people waiting for transport to the various terminals at the port. The parking attendant hurried everyone along squeezing each car into a very small space; some of which we were not sure the people inside could get their doors open.
When we finally parked, we took our place in the queue waiting for a van to take us to the Norwegian terminal. It turned out they only had two vans available and were alternating the three lines taking passengers to the Norwegian, Holland America and Carnival terminals.
A few of our group of ten were able to secure seats on a van. The next van took Holland and Carnival passengers. We were to have the next van, but one of the attendants announced that Norwegian would not be boarding passengers until 3:30pm so he would take the next two vans for the other passengers. What? We knew that could not be try as everyone had to be on board by 4:00pm. We called our friends at the port and asked what was up. They said that was not right that the cruise line would be boarding people at 1:30pm. It did not matter; the van left us in the dust.
To add insult to injury they had everyone move to an underpass to wait because the parking lot was getting full and (we) were hampering progress. To our dismay, now that we moved, people in the line thought that meant going to the front of the line. I don’t think so. As more and more people arrived, they too, thought they could get in front. I walked over to a very nice young man and explained what had happened and said, “The very next van that comes here our group is going to be taken to the port”. He looked at me and said, “I’ll see what I can do”. To which I replied quietly but with determination, “No, there will be no seeing what can be done. Our group will be on that van”.
To our pleasure the gentleman did secure the van for our group, however, several in the back of the line rushed the van in an effort to squeeze us out. Not nice, not nice at all. In the end the rest of our little group made it into the van and were off to the terminal.
Nightmare number two was about to happen. We arrived around 12:15pm. We did not make it into the terminal until 3:00pm. We stood outside in the heat for almost three hours. We were in line for over an hour before the cruise line finally sent someone around with small cups of water and juice. And, while that helped, we had no relief from the hot sun.
To make matters worse, I had to avail myself of the ladies room. There were no restrooms available on the second level terrace. I went downstairs where I was met with by a security employee who asked where I was going. I explained and he looked at me and said, “You can go but then I cannot let you back upstairs”. I stood there and look at him with disbelief and I, once again, explained that there were no facilities available and I needed to use the restroom. He stood a little taller and reiterated that he would not be able to let me return to the upper level. With disbelief and a few tears starting in the corner of my eyes, I turned around and went back upstairs.
We stood outside for another hour and a half before we finally made it inside. I took one look at the lines inside and knew I would not be able to stand for another ½ hour. I walked over to the security officer and explained my predicament and he told me I could go through the handicap security line, but that once I cleared I would have to stay on that side until the rest of my group got cleared. I could have kissed him I was so relieved (no pun intended).
We stood for a little while in the line to get our keys and then stood aside until the rest of our group did the same. We stood for quite a while and finally saw a few walking to one side. Evidently the computers had gone done and they could not get their pictures taken or get their keys but had to wait for someone one the ship to come ashore and escort them on board.
We finally boarded around 3:15pm. Of course, we missed lunch but we ran up to the café level anyway to see if we could get just a bite but by then we were either too hungry and nothing appealed to us or we were just too tired to care. Just as we got to our cabin, it was time to go to our emergency stations for our life boat drill.
Dinner seemed to revive all of us. Too tired to study the menu I decided to order a salad and a small order of penne pasta with Alfredo sauce. The pasta was cooked just right and the sauce was light and tasty.
Right after dinner we went to the Welcome Aboard Variety show in the theatre. The production cast did a few numbers and then we were treated to the comedy of Sam Fedele.
The show was entertaining and gave everyone an idea of what to look for in the coming week. But, the rest of the evening was just plain fun. We all decided to go to the Spinnaker Lounge for the “Sing it if you know it” game show. The assistant cruise director divided the room in two with our side named The Rock Stars and the other side The Divas. The band would play a few chords of a song. The first person from each team that got to the microphone had to name the song, sing a few bars and, if possible, get other members of the team up to sing and dance along.
The first one in our group to run up was Patty and we won the round. From that point on everyone in our group jumped, ran, sang and danced. At one point Randy went running up as soon as he knew the song, but instead of encouraging the rest of our side to join them in dancing, the activities director said she would add extra points if the two men would show off their dance moves to the song Gangnam Style.
Trust me when I tell you it was a sight. Problem was both men were pretty much doing the same moves until all of a sudden Randy hit the floor and did the ‘Dead Bug’. The crowd went wild and our side won the extra points. In the end The Rock Stars won the contest. Our prize? Our lovely cruise director said she would treat us to a free meal any day we chose. Very funny!
The day ended on a fun note. Exhausted we made our way to the cabin and turned in.
Tomorrow we will be a restful day at sea.