Thursday, January 05, 2006

Christmas Cruise - Day 1

We made it to our ship at about 2pm, the day of departure, after a 40 minute shuttle ride from the Bob Hope, Burbank Airport. We shuttled with two locals, a gal who lived in an apartment on Melrose Avenue, and a guy who lived above a museum in which he was recently employed, on Wilshire Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles. We let the two of them know, right away, that we were from Idaho, and our "guided tour" was on! They showed us all sorts of points of interest and gave us ideas on what we could do when we got back from our cruise. After the two of them arrived at their perspective stops, it was just the shuttle driver and us. The driver had a heavy accent and was very difficult to understand, but he tried very hard to continue our "tour" through Los Angeles to our port in San Pedro.

Arriving at the World Cruise Center, we were dropped off at the pier number noted on our travel documents. Our baggage was checked and thrown onto luggage carts then wheeled off to this huge warehouse to be xrayed and delivered to our Stateroom. The warehouse was the length of ship and almost twice the width of the ship. (...see the photo above, the building to the right of the ship pointing towards you...that's the warehouse and US Customs.) Our luggage would be in our Stateroom when we got checked in.

There were two HUGE ships docked that day. I had never seen ships so big before, only on t.v. For first time cruisers, the sight of those ships was breathtaking! Our excitement was building!

We entered the check-in point. I expected the lines to be longer than they were but I was also surprised at just how many people were there. We thought we were early. Boarding stopped at 4:30pm and our ship was to depart at 5:30pm. The lines moved quickly.

As our documents were double checked, we were informed we were at the wrong ship! WHAT?!!? We both ran for our checked luggage being loaded on the wrong ship! Did I mention, the warehouse was huge!? I was yelled at, "LADY! You can NOT go in there!" by the warehouse guards. OMG! Our luggage! We prayed we would see the guy who checked our luggage. After a couple of real frantic moments, our luggage was found and we headed off to "our" ship. OMG! Can you imagine losing our luggage to another cruise ship? Whew! They told us, normally, our ship was at the pier we were dropped at, but this was a special weekend (Christmas) and there were two ships docking and "our" ship was up around the other side. Alrighty then...

Once we got over the initial shock of almost losing our luggage, we checked our luggage again. This time onto the right dock with the right ship. We were moving right through the lines, and the next thing we knew, we were entering the 4th deck of our ship...
The whole ship was decorated for Christmas! It was BEAUTIFUL! All that Christmas garland accented by all that shiny brass, it truly was beautiful. There were Christmas trees everywhere. The center piece was a gingerbread village with Santa and his reindeer...

We hadn't eaten all day... we left Boise at 6am, and we had been running ever since. We flew into Oakland, CA and took off again and landed in Burbank, CA. Then we caught a great shuttle ride to San Pedro. So, we found our room, dropped off our small carry-on luggage, met our Stateroom Attendant, Kenneth, and went up to the 11th deck for lunch. We were starving!

Cruise ship food? OMG! The lunch buffet was wonderful! Just incredible. Every meal was four star! Mmm...we just wanted a snack, dinner was in a couple of hours.

If you've cruised before, you know it's mandatory to do the life jacket drill before you set sail. I just couldn't wipe the smile off my face! I was so excited to be there! I wasn't too excited about the drill but understood it was necessary. After the drill, we went back to our room, left our life jackets and went checking out the ship. Dinner would be soon...

We were not assigned a table when we booked the cruise, so we had to wait in line for seating. We were assigned a small table of four (perfect!)

Some of you know, my Christmas last year was awful, to say the least. It was a major family breakup, with me caught in the middle. This year, I wanted to have nothing to do with Christmas plans at home. I just couldn't handle another Christmas like last year, it's still very painful for me to believe my family has become these strangers that I still love deeply. A short Christmas cruise to Mexico was my answer. My guy agreed, and the cruise was booked. I was so nervous about leaving my family, worried about this and that. But, bottom line, I just wanted to have fun, enjoy my time with my guy, and have a non-stressful holiday. Others may think I was running away from my problems, but seriously, I just wanted to be happy, I wanted to be away from the holiday stress. I didn't hide from my family, they all knew I was going away on vacation at Christmas this year, I told them long before the cruise.

Back to our cruise... Dinner... We received our table assignment. A quiet little table, near the back of the restaurant. We were joined by Father John and his Jewish assistant, Ed. I about died! (...picking my jaw up from the table...) A Catholic priest?!!? (guilt poured through me, yes, I was raised VERY Catholic). Here I am, intentionally spending Christmas away from my family, AND I'm divorced and living in sin! Oh my! My guy dove right into conversation with our table mates, and within minutes, Father John had me totally at ease. Having Father John and Ed at our table turned out to be a hoot! We thoroughly enjoyed their company. Again, we could not believe the food. It was INCREDIBLE! Four star. Our wait staff was wonderful. Father John ordered special appetitzers, over and above the regular menu, at every meal.

Our ship set sail as we were at dinner. After dinner we selected our excursion for the next day and hung out on the deck for awhile before heading to bed. We hadn't had much sleep getting ready for the trip the night before and we were exhausted.

I'll be back soon to tell about Day 2...

13 comments:

Astaryth said...

I'm enjoying this... I've never been on a cruise, so I get to live vicariously thru you! ;)

Ari said...

Oh wow! Whew, thank goodness you made it to the right ship!!

Sounds fabulous.

Ari

bookncoffee said...

Oh, I'm thrilled you are posting this. I've never cruised before. Hubby won't go. I may have to go without him. LOL.
So glad you got to go. That pic of you smiling is priceless. I love it.
Thank you for sharing this.
Sonya

Donna said...

Thanks so much for the blow-by-blow details, and the pictures. I wonder if they have special diet cruises? LOL

alphawoman said...

I am so jealous! I love cruising!!! Just last night we were watching the travel channel with a cruise to Mexico out of CA. I was ready to go right then! We cruise out of FL. Looking forward to your next entry.

Anonymous said...

I am soooo happy for you! Isn't crusing the best bang for your buck? Lisa/CW2sMom

Becky said...

I want to go on a cruise soooo bad...but my DH gets sea sick very easily. *sigh* And tell Donna YES there are diet cruises! LOL Richard Simmon's "Cruise to Lose" departs at the end of April. www.richardsimmons.com

Judith HeartSong said...

how exciting!!!

Linda said...

I've always wanted to cruise, i can live vicariously through yours until i get too.... Linda

Nancy said...

Wow...looks like such fun! We've cruised and I am still so amazed by the whole thing. It's indescribable! Glad you had fun!
Nancy

Psychfun said...

This is so great! I haven't taken a cruise so this is wonderful to hear about! Thanks for sharing! I'm glad you had so much fun! It looks wonderful decorated for Christmas! A Catholic priest on a cruise during Christmas? Was he AWOL? Ha!

Smukke said...

I'm another who says "catholic prist on a cruise? How unusual!" Keep writing because I want to hear more stories about it all!

Anonymous said...

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