Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cruise 2017: Coming Home

Well, the day came and we had to finally go home.  Sob. We were up bright and early, despite not needing to be at the airport too early this time.   I always get some great shots of the sunrise...I usually only see the sunrise on the day we leave Canada, if we have an early flight, and the day we fly home :)

 One of the glass blowers said she was at the end of her contract and was going home when we got to Miami. I wonder if that's her U-Haul? LOL. Or, maybe if you have a group of people, it's cheaper to rent a U-Haul for luggage and then everyone goes in a big van?
 Some hurricane damage

 No editing! It's so calm there in the morning!

 They vacuum up the grass clippings! LOL!!

 We got in the terminal and of course, Rob starts stressing that our luggage hadn't arrived yet. Of course, it took a little while, but it all showed up. We got a scary taxi ride over to the airport (all our taxi rides in Florida are scary. Really. It's a scary place to drive). Did our airport stuff and walked around. The airport was totally different than I remembered from 2008.  This time it was much nicer.
 We went to TGIFridays and I had something awesome and saucy. Thankfully I actually had another shirt in my carryon. Well, technically, it was the pajama top I wore the night before. But I sewed it from a t-shirt pattern, so I think I was fine. And it even went with my pants. In the future, I must think about this, because it always happens.
 Walking around, we found this Service Dog Relief Area. I'm not sure where you're supposed to go if you have a dog that isn't a service dog.
While waiting, Erica and her entourage appeared at our gate. I guess her sister and her husband were on our flight. There seemed to be some juicy gossip, regarding a foot under the table and other fun stuff. Fun way to pass the time while charging our devices. Then I walked all over trying to find a decent price cup of coffee. Got to a tiny Dunkin Donuts in the back of a newspaper shop, and was 10-20 cents short. Walked all the way back, got the money and head back for my java. It actually wasn't too bad!
Somehow, we got lucky, and the ONLY empty seat on the plane was our window seat! Not sure how that worked out, but I love the window seat! And Rob loves the aisle LOL.
Damn, that's some big plane we're on!

 Coming into the Toronto area
 Got in, off the plane, got luggage and went to customs. It was confusing. There were extra lines and machines to put in passport and get a photo scan done and it said something about expedited service. The woman working wasn't very clear, but basically said you still end up in the long line with everyone. We did it anyway. Only it couldn't get a photo of Rob. We don't know if it was because he had his hat and glasses on the first try and maybe it used up all it's tries. Or maybe because of his nystagmus (uncontrollable eye movements). Of course, he stressed and fretted all the way through the customs line. There were a couple people in a panic--one who didn't speak great English--because they had connecting flights and needed to get through. People were really nice though and let them move up the line. When we got up there, the customs officer just said "sometimes the photo doesn't work, especially with blue eyes", stamped our receipts, and off we went (oh, the trip down was the first time we ever got stamps in our passports!).

The Park N Fly shuttle stop was chaos. Only the valet parking bus was showing up, but it was full. We finally all just jammed on one van. Got to our truck, it was still in one piece, and off we went. Missed the turns for the highway, Rob got cranky and stressed again but we finally made it home. Yes, it was a bit of a slow drive due to the timing, but that's life. And that's the end of the cruise, the "last one for ten years" (until all the kids are through university). I hope not!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Day 10: At Sea

Ahhh. The bitter sweetness of the last day of a cruise. The day to do all the things on the ship you never got around to doing. have liked to swim in the Solarium pool but it was still frigid. We wanted this trip to be relaxing, a chance to reconnect and enjoy being with each other again. So, we relaxed. However, the last day always has some great activities. First up was the backstage tour. I never miss these, and wish more ships did them!

Logically, it started in the theater. However, shortly after it was starting, there was another talk in the theater by ship's officers. So it felt a little rushed. This is when I learned that earlier in the cruise the one night was "so bad" for waviness, that the main cast member in the production couldn't go on--that was the one night I got seasick! So I felt better knowing that even a seasoned cruise ship cast member had trouble :)
We broke up into groups, but unfortunately, the groups were a little too large, and due to the talk happening after us, the groups departed too close together and as we toured, we actually got groups mixed up in the close quarters. It was hard to hear some of the tour leaders (they're used to microphones, or not having speaking parts LOL). 

Just some of the backstage stuff. I think these are the stand lights for the music stands. Why that interested me, I don't know. But I am a musician LOL.

Inside one of the dressing rooms. The cast members do their own hair and makeup and have pictures posted so they know what they're supposed to look like.
The wardrobe room was fascinating!
Our tour guide said she was the wardrobe mistress--and had no sewing experience! But she was learning on the job. One of the cast members knew much more than her--he had been taught by his mother. So not sure why she got the position. She was also in charge of wardrobe laundry, and apparently this is the only Celebrity ship with wardrobe laundry facilities right there.

The wig and headpiece room!
Just a map from a "crew only" zone. There is such a hidden life on the ship.  Confusing stairwells, halls, etc.
When we came back out in the theater, the ship captain's talk was going on, so we stayed for that.
I think it was about safety and navigation, but you wouldn't know from the questions people asked. It was fascinating to hear some of the stories of avoiding storms, and safety issues they've had--and avoided.
Spent some time up on the pool deck relaxing. No chairs, so we had to sit on loungers.  I don't understand why they don't have chairs!
We went to the glass charity auction. Some gorgeous pieces. I would have loved the shell. These pieces they would package up for you--but you still had to get them home. I don't see that green vase lasting very long. 

I liked this vase...but not so much how the stripes twisted at the top. Anyway, things went for large sums--the vases for more than I thought, the fish and shell for less (about $600US, I think, for the shell). 

Look! Another ship! We must be getting close to Florida now!

One little detail I saw right away at the start of the week was the carts used by the room stewards. Not the typical hotel carts, these ones looked like large suitcases. Just one of those little extras you find on Celebrity. If you care about the appearance of the hallway. I don't really, though the times it smelled like mothballs was so horrible, I wanted off the ship. And, think of this....Rob spilled much of a mug of coffee on this carpet. You couldn't even tell. What else can you not tell? 

Of course, we got the bbq Spring roll and it was delicious. I would have liked a few more LOL.

In the day planner, there was an evening show listed. I know we went but I don't recall what it was specifically. Greg London. There was a rum tasting I would have loved to gone to, but it was extra. 

Try as we might, it's never an early enough night on the last night. Room got cleaned up, luggage got put away and Rob still tried to convince me to do early walk off. There was probably one more late night trip to the buffet too LOL.