[To see the entire Flickr photoset from this trip, go here!]
Sunday morning at 3:00am (which was still technically Saturday night), I dragged myself out of bed, tearfully said goodbye to my boyfriend (the trip had been booked long before we were dating, or I wouldn’t have subjected myself to an entire week without him), and drove to my mom’s house to catch a ride to the airport. Wendy, Stephanie, and I piled our gigantic suitcases into the sexy red Neon, and we headed to the airport.
I don’t remember much of the flight, except that Wendy and I probably giggled like retards, and our flight attendants were named Ginger and Mike. I only know this because it’s the first entry in my travel journal. In Philadelphia (the flight wasn’t exactly direct), the pilot told us we were 17th in line to take off. I’m pretty sure Crashy Airlines (i.e. AirTran) doesn’t often get precedence on the runway.
wendy examining the map of st thomas
We arrived uneventfully and only a tiny bit late. Outside the airport, we got ourselves a cab and rode to Port Everglades; it’s about a 10-minute ride, and cost $15. It’s kind of ridiculous that the shuttles charge $20+ a person.
Porters at the entrance to the dock took our bags, and we headed into the embarkation area. There was a long line, but it moved fast, plus everybody was just really damn excited to be going on a cruise. We gave them our tickets, registered our credit cards, and headed toward the ship. They took a really gay picture of us holding a lifesaver, gave us handwipes for our own personal cleanliness, and suddenly we were on the ship.
We stood in the lobby, not really knowing where to go. It’s so huge and ornate that’s confusing. We asked a crew member, and were pointed in the direction of our cabin, where Wendy’s birthday surprise awaited us:
birthday cake for wendy, a card from the captain, and champagne.
The champagne didn’t last long, and the fact that there were only two glasses wasn’t really a problem for us. We scrambled around the cabin, investigating every very exciting thing we could find (the tiny bathroom, the minibar, the cruise itinerary, the note from our cabin steward, who was quickly renamed Il Duce for reasons that are still unclear). The minibar was locked, so putting in a request to have it unlocked was our first order of business.
They had put us at the regular instead of the late dinner, so we set off to find the maitre d’s station, as noted on the map. They switched our mealtime, and we set off to wander around the ship until it was time for the muster drill.
docked at ft lauderdale
Promptly at 4:30pm, we put on our very sexy lifejackets and headed to our muster station. They lined us up three deep, and we tried really hard to restrain our laughter. The ship started moving, and just then, a little boat sped past us on the way out of the harbor. The girls screamed and flashed their tits. We hooted. The others around us were not as excited.
We went up to one of the top decks to check out the view leaving Florida, and of course attend to the important business of getting us some cocktails. The bartender made me a mojito with Equal instead of sugar, and I’m pretty sure the guys behind the bar were the nicest people we’d ever met.
leaving ft lauderdale, with mojito
We sat out on the back deck watching the land receding, then found a table where it was less windy. The bartender came and asked if we wanted another round, remembering both my name and my drink. We were instantly in love with the cruise.
We went to our cabin to unpack before dinner, then went to explore the ship some more. At that point, it seemed incomprehensible that we’d ever learn how to get around it all. There are still a few places I’m pretty sure we didn’t manage to see over the course of the week. We did a great job of finding awesome hangouts, though.
Dinner was at 8:30, and there were people lined up outside the doors of the two-level restaurant when we got there. We had an 8-person table, so we were seated with a family from Chicago. They had two really cute little girls, who were both dozing off on the table by the end of the meal.
They brought us another bottle of champagne at dinner, to celebrate Wendy’s birthday. We shared it with our tablemates. Then the food started arriving, and holy crap. It seemed natural to pick out one item for every course on the menu, but it was SO MUCH FOOD. There was even a sugar-free dessert.
We wandered around after dinner, looking for a bar with no smoking. There were a bunch of old people tangoing in the piano bar, and we stopped there for a drink. It was a pretty boring bar, and we made a point of dissing it every time we walked through for the rest of the cruise. Hey, the piano guy was not awesome at all. It happens.
We went into the club, which had just opened to the public for the night; it had been singles’ night before that, and now it was time for DANCETERIA 3000 (I just made that up). We had awesome shots called the Woo-Woo, and then Wendy and I headed downstairs to the light-up dance floor. There was a huge projection on one wall that was just film of people on the ship and excursions. So funny. There was hardly anyone there at all, and we slowly realized that most of the people dancing were actually crew members. They’re there to get people involved!
Stephanie didn’t want to dance, so we headed down to a lounge at the other end of the ship (one for which we were predestined, but we didn’t know that yet). The old white-haired doctor was sitting near the bar, drinking, surrounded by ladies. It was awesome.