Voyager of the Seas: Pre-Cruise and Day 1

Ahh, cruising!  You smell the sea air, feel the wind in your hair (lots and lots of wind!), and hear the mumbling of 25 different foreign accents blending together.  I love it!  And we couldn’t wait to get our spring break cruise started.  We made the nine-hour drive down to New Orleans on Friday so that we could get a good night’s sleep before boarding on Saturday.

I had made reservations at the Days Hotel in Metairie, LA wanting to get as close to the River Walk as possible without having to pay a ton of money.  Unfortunately, there was the SEC basketball tournament in the Super Dome so the Days Hotel was the best I could get.  It is a clean, comfortable hotel, which is all I was looking for.  When I checked in there were several people in line and only one lady working the desk.  She was not all that pleasant of a person, not rude or anything; however, public service did not appear to be her strong suit.  I asked her if she had any information about the area restaurants and her only reply was, “uh-uh.”  Later, when we were leaving for dinner, there was a very nice, young man working at the desk who, when asked the same question was more than happy to pull out from a file drawer maps to three restaurants he thought would be good recommendations.  Hmm.  The other lady must have been fairly new and had not been shown that file drawer yet.  I am sure that was it.

We chose to eat at Drago’s Seafood Restaurant, which had a large variety of seafood and pasta dishes, as well as an oyster bar with 4-5 men shucking oysters continually.  I asked one of the guys how many oysters he thought they went through in a night and he just giggled and said, “A lot!”  I had the Crescent City shrimp (excellent!) while my husband had the catch of the day, which was red fish.  The boys both had pasta dishes.  A friend of ours had the lobster, which was surprisingly cheap compared to how much we pay in the Mid West.

 

With our bellies full we headed back to the hotel to turn in early.  It was too cool of a night to hang around the pool and have drinks like we usually do, and we were wiped from the early morning and long drive.  In the morning was when the real fun was beginning anyway.

We left from the hotel around 10:30 to head to the port.  We saved a little money on parking by parking a block away in a very nice parking garage with a free shuttle over to the port.  By the time we got through all the basketball tournament traffic downtown and took care of parking and getting our luggage to the shuttle, we were checking in through the priority check-in around 11:45.  After months of planning, we were finally on the ship!

Yea! First steps on the ship!

Our room would not be ready until after 1:00 so we headed up to the pool deck to have our first cocktail and start soaking up the sun.  Unfortunately, it was not a pleasant day for sail away.  It was overcast with the sun peeking out here and there.  I had worn my shorts and flip-flops that morning, refusing to accept it was going to be anything less than my perfect 85 degrees and sunny, but I was forced to keep my jacket on as the wind was too chilly for me.  I had hopes of the weather improving before we sailed away at 4:30, but as the time approached my hopes quickly turned into disappointment.

Table 409 in the La Boehme dining room.

Until our 4:30 departure time, we explored the ship stopping to check out where our dining table was, locating the kid and teen clubs, purchasing the sodas packages for the boys, and grabbing a slice of pizza at Cafe Promenade, a frequent occurrence throughout the week.  We had sailed on this ship before so we were pretty familiar with it.  Of course we attended the obligatory muster drill just before sail away time.  Royal Caribbean has made this process slightly less unpleasurable by not requiring anymore that we drag out our life vests from our room and where them during the drill.   I was hoping to put on my one pair of long pants before sail away so I could have a little more protection from the wind, but our bags had not arrived in our room yet.  Not wanting to miss my traditional place at the rail, I braved the wind anyway and by 5:00 we were sailing the muddy waters of the Mighty Mississippi.  I was able to withstand the wind long enough to see New Orleans pass by, which was a sight to behold, and see the site of the Battle of New Orleans, but could then take it no longer and ventured inside.

  

We had late seating for dinner and our bags did finally come… all but one.  I had to go to the conference room to get it, and was told they had to confiscate my travel iron.  I felt like such a criminal having an item confiscated from my luggage.  Funny thing, out of ten cruises, this is the first time they have ever had a problem with it.  Our friends were able to get theirs through so I guess I need to conceal mine better next time.  (DISCLAIMER:  I am responsible and always make sure it is turned off when I am done, so please don’t send me hate mail about how I am going to start a fire and sink a ship!)

Even though there is only four in our family, we always request to be sat at a bigger table because we love to have table mates and meet new people.  Our tablemates were already at the table when we arrived.  They were two couples traveling together.  One of the couples was very pleasant and enjoyable to talked to and seemed interested in conversing with us.   Their friends, however, barely made eye contact and even their body language gave the impression that they were not interested in making new friends.  At the end of dinner we learned that the woman was feeling seasick, so I am choosing to believe that is the reason for her unwillingness to even acknowledge my existence.  The next night at dinner we had new tablemates who said they had been reassigned to our table.  Hmm.

The Royal Promenade

My husband and I, along with our younger son headed to the welcome aboard show while our older son headed to the teen club to check out the happenings there.  The welcome aboard show was a hilarious comedian who had us all in stitches, and when he concluded his show I was left wanting for more.  We headed down the Promenade to check out all the action there to find the pub, The Pig and Whistle hopping with jovial singing and laughter.  But, alas, we were ready to head back to the room for the night, but made it a point to check back the next night.  The pub on the Promenade on this and other ships has been a favorite hang out of ours that generally has very good entertainment in the form of a guitar player who plays songs everyone loves to sing along to making for a very lively atmosphere.  Derek Lewis, the entertainment during our sailing did not disappoint.  More on this later.

So that was pre-cruise and day 1 of our trip.  Even though the weather was less than to be desired, we had a great first day and made the most of it.  The next two days were sea days on the ship.  I love starting out with sea days.  It’s a great way to take advantage of what all the ship has to offer.  Stay tuned to hear more about these days.

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