Monday, January 28th
Today is Nassau Day. Land is good. Land is life. We had 15 foot seas overnight. I did not know it was possible to feel so nauseous and not be pregnant. We breakfasted at Tritons before getting off the ship. Note Mr. Wonderful cleaning his hands at yet another station. They are everywhere. All the time. I am so clean I squeak.
We went through the charming customs office in Nassau in no time and headed out onto the streets. I had a moment in which I saw something that looked a little like nirvana - a Starbucks. Now, I am not a Starbucks addict, but I am a latte addict and I had not seen a latte in a week. There's this thing, a skinny latte? I love it. The words "Skinny cinnamon" just fall out of my mouth and my wallet falls open every time I see a mermaid in a green circle. I walked into this Starbucks and asked for a skinny cinnamon.
"You know. A cinnamon dolce latte made with skim milk and sugar free syrup?"
Stare. "We don't do that."
"Um. Can you do anything with skim milk?"
Stare. "We only got whole milk."
The idea of whole milk just made me want to...uh...you know.
Forget it. I quit. I will die from latte-less-ness. I will be found on the deck of the Wonder in a pool of tears, sans latte. Fine. Whatever. We shopped a bit in Nassau but found the prices to be more than we'd pay on the Mainland. We did get a teddy bear with color changing feet and a t-shirt that changes color in the sun for Girl. There's no grass in Nassau, only concrete, graffiti, and dirt. It appears that poverty is rampant.
Since shopping sucked, we decided to walk down and grab a ferry to Paradise Island and check out Atlantis. Ferry. Boat with flat top, and plastic lawn chairs not nailed to deck surface, and maybe 8 life jackets for the assembled "guests" - there were about 20 of us.
While we waited for the boat to fill (they don't cast off till it's full), I watched this guy clean conch shells, make holes in the end, and blow into them. Kinda cool. Not cool enough for me to get off the rocking, bouncing ferry, though. The water on the Nassau side where the cruise ships dock was filthy. Foam egg cartons, empty mazola jugs, soda bottles and cans, and just general goo coat the water's surface. As the boat casts off, an extra person hops on and gives a "tour" of the ride across. He does not, he says, work for the ferry company. He works for tips. It's how he survives, he says.Once on Paradise Island it was like we'd been swept back to Disney World. The chaos, poverty, dirt of Nassau was replaced with snowy white benches with mosaic tile inlays, green, lush grass, immaculate resorts. Everything is pristine, and there is no sign of the poverty of the streets of Nassau. We passed another Starbucks. I tried again. "Skinny cinnamon". Just re-read the bit from above. Repeat of the same experience. "Huh? A wah??". I could die here. With no latte. It won't be pretty. Mickey has it in for me where coffee is concerned. First Fountainview Ice Cream Bar, and now ports with broken Starbucks.
Mr. W. played Triton-Wanna Be at Atlantis, and we wandered around and looked at their aquarium a bit. Then he blew $30 on video poker. At one point he was up by $85. He didn't tell me or I would have hit the cash-out button. I hate gambling. I hate casinos. I hate watching people who look like they're down to their last dollar running for an ATM. I hated the opulence of the shops in the face of what I'd just seen in Nassau. I hated the yachts parked outside. Luckily Mr. W. wasn't particularly enamored either (losing repeatedly right off the bat is disillusioning, and a pouting wife totally doesn't help one's mood, I am sure), so we split and headed back to the ship.
It was at this point that I sent Katy an instant message, at around 1:30pm, which contained the words "cruise sucks." So far I'd tossed my cookies all night, listened to the annoying clack of loose trim in my cabin between visits to the toilet, been saddened to see what the great resort Atlantis has brought to Nassau (think Norwich, CT, only the locals have fared much worse - no one paid them fair market value for their huts.), watched my husband 'donate' $30 to Atlantis, ridden a ferry with a tour narrated by a man in desperate need of dental care, a shower and a laundry mat (in no particular order), wandered through overpriced shops, and been turned down by not one but TWO Starbucks in my request for a nonfat ANYTHING.
Things were growing desperate. I turned to my Navigator, that insightful listing of all things cruiseish. That's when I saw it. "Cove Cafe: offering a wide selection of specialty coffees..." I bounced off the bed and ran for deck 9. I walked in the door. I said "Can you make me a latte, but with skim milk and decaf?"
"Yes, ma'am. Would you like a flavor shot?"
I could have cried with delight
He, server who's name I forgot and who got huge tips on top of the automatic 15% gratuity Disney smacks on beverages, he saved me. He gave me a Cove Fanatic card (buy 5 specialty drinks and get the sixth free). I loved him.
We had reservations for Palo, the adult's only restaurant for that evening. This was awesome. They do sort of push booze on you, and this was one evening where I wasn't sure if it was beverages or the boat moving me. There was a lot of free this n' that in glasses with dinner. Dinner was excellent, and our server was great. We cleansed our palates with a mixture of vodka and limoncello (hic-cup!) and left.
See that picture up there? I have no pictures of us together. We go to Disney and they take them, and we don't buy them because they're like a million dollars for an 8x10. On the ship I think they were like $39.95 for one picture. Pictures are posted daily in this place called Shutters where you can buy your prints right off the wall. Or...if you're cheap and sneaky...you can take pictures of your pictures!!! MWAHHAHAHAAAA!! Nice try, Mickey! Gotcha!
Back in the room, a bunny waited for me, resting with some chocolate mints. Now if only the ship would stop MOVING. All night, up and down and up and down...it will never end.
Tuesday, January 29th
Sunrise over Castaway Cay. We've stopped moving. I knew when we slowed to dock. I ran onto the verandah to watch. I'd been awake watching my eyelashes grow and feeling my stomach slosh. Get me OFF this boat.
Donald Duck at the post office on Castaway Cay. We mailed post cards to Girl and Number One from here. I still don't think they've arrived.
The Flying Dutchman is anchored in Castaway Cay, and Captain Jack Sparrow does a meet n' greet first thing in the morning. We missed it. We had a different objective in mind.
Love this sign. Really you should read it and know that they're serious, about all of it. I know of at least one person stung by jellies during our trip.
We headed straight for Serenity Bay, the adults only beach. Notable differences between this and the main beaches include the presence of adult beverage servers walking up and down all day, the absence of children, and the large number of unocupied beach chairs and hammocks. We staked out a spot and settled in. The water was cold, but the sun warm. A dip to cool off, then find a chair and...
Well. Ahhhh...We stayed until sometime in the afternoon, then headed back to the ship to rest and get ready for dinner. I could have stayed on Castaway Cay for the rest of my life.
Wandering before dinner we spotted Pirate Minnie signing autographs outside Triton's. Pirate night on the ship means...
It means they put a handkerchief on my head folded like a hat, and sell me a $5. pirate glass that lights up so that when Aidan visits he can be amused, and the menu is a rolled treasure map with pirate themed dinner selections.
Another picture of a picture. Getting sick of that dress? Me too. Although "dress up night" was only supposed to be one evening, pre-dinner wanders indicated otherwise. Next time, bring more dresses. Next time?? NEXT TIME?? AM I JOKING??
During dinner the stewards and servers engage in a rollicking game of limbo with the guests. There is dancing, yelling, and waving of pirate-y handkerchiefs. A deck party follows with dancing, imperlied crew and shipmates, a daring Mouse, and finally fireworks.I retired, and found an elephant. Maybe, I thought, since we're at Castaway Cay tomorrow, maybe they'll just let the boat sit here...maybe??Nah. Too easy. I spent another sleepless night listening to the trim and contemplating the rolling of my stomach. This cruise is just way too much fun for me...
Wednesday, January 30th
Once up and moving, with the ship sitting still, this whole cruise thing isn't half bad. Castaway Cay is amazing. There's lots of activities on and off board. We hopped off the ship as soon as the door opened and headed onto the island. We rented bikes, rode for about an hour then shopped in the shops on Castaway Cay where locals sell some of the same stuff you can get in Nassau. We got Girl a t-shirt and me a bracelet. Then, back on board, there was Palo brunch...
With it's dessert buffet, fruit and cheese buffet, antipasto bar, and bread buffet. This is washed down with complimentary mimosas (one per customer) and followed by soup, egg dishes, full entrees and many offers of more mimosas (um. thanks. no. you see I am tired of feeding the fish, and I'd like to eat and be happy for a few hours). We rolled back to our cabin for bathing suits and headed off for Castaway Cay again.
Mr. W on Castaway Cay relaxing with a fruity adult beverage. MaiTai I think.
Fish we saw while snorkling. We saw more fish, or I sort of saw being blind without glasses and all. Snorkeling was fun, and would be more fun if I could see better. Nest time there will be contacts.
Castaway Cay's barrier reef from the ship
Image from the tower on the bike path on Castaway Cay
Cairn. I placed a stone. This means I have to go back. Maybe I could swim out.
Once back on board we indulged in a one hour Exotic Rasul spa treatment. I shall not, for the sake of any young readers, detail this escapade. I will only say this: if you are ever in a spa and someone offers you a private steam room for two and a ton of product with directions for each, TAKE IT. I think it was $81, not including tip. I walked in cranky, a little sunburned, and a little tired of being sick and tired. I walked out catatonic, but in a good way. I did not know you could be that relaxed. We tried to wander the ship, but in the end collapsed in deck chairs in little puddles of exfoliated, mudded, frangipani oiled goo. Only drawback - while we were in the spa we shoved off from Castaway Cay. I knew it the moment it happened. I said "We're moving agian." Mr. Wonderful felt nothing. But I knew. When we emerged Castaway Cay was no longer on the horizon. This is our last evening on board and our last restaurant change - Animator's Palate where everything stats off black and white and bright, and changes during dinner to dark and colorful. Even the waiters vests change.
Back in the room, my final animal waited for me. A peacock. Or a turkey...either way I loved him.
Another night of delightful motion. Tomorrow we disembark, or debark as they say around here. I cannot wait to be in my car.
Thursday, January 31st
It is over. I can leave. Hallelujah. LAND!! LAND HO!! We docked in Port Canaveral. Our scheduled breakfast was 8:45 at Animator's Palate - things run differently on the last evening, and breafkast would only be served in that restaurant at that time, or you could get something at the Beach Blanket Buffet. I just wanted off. Mr. W. agreed. We went to Beach Blanket and...oh my. Is it possible?? Yes, it is. Disney failed me in the food department. This buffet was nothing short of repulsive. I got some grits - tasted like chemicals. Scrambed eggs? Tasted like...just nothing like eggs. I grabbed some fruit and a banana, and tried to choke down some decaf. We finished as quickly as we could and headed down to debark, expecting chaos. We walked right off the ship, had our cards slid through for the last time, and headed for baggage claim. A porter approached us and asked if we needed help. I nodded toward Mr. (CHEAP) Wonderful, who said "SURE!". The porter grabbed out bags and within five minutes we were at our car. Joy. Great joy. Now we can drive for three days. And you know what? I am TOTALLY ok with that.
Phew. I am done. No more scary trip reports. Well, until nest week, but that one may have some knitting involved.
Oh, and about 'next time'? Um. November 2009, 7-night on the Magic, sailing to Grand Cayman and Cozumel. With some anti-barfing techniques and drugs. Once you're home, and you've got time to think, all you can see in your mind is endless blue seas and beaches, dinner at Palo, and the inside of the Vista Spa, and you've got no choice - re-book or die.