everything old is new again

Vacation wrap-up — Day 1

May 10, 2004
Vacation wrap-up — Day 1

I figure I’ll blog about each day as I go along here, to keep things straight. We took over 200 pictures, most of them digital, but it’ll be a while before we get them up on a site for everyone to drool over. Trust me, though — they’re great.

So here’s the skinny on:

Kim & Scott’s Excellent Cruise

Cast of Characters
Mom — Scott’s mom
Ray — Scott’s older brother
Annmarie — Ray’s wife
Lorraine — Scott’s older sister
Gerry — her husband
Diane — Scott’s oldest sister
Rich — her husband

Sunday, May 2nd, was the travel day. The alarm went off at 3:15 AM. That’s right — 3:15. Why? Because the travel agent in Connecticut who set up the whole deal apparently couldn’t find either a direct flight from LaGuardia to San Juan, PR, or a flight at a more reasonable hour. As it was, when we took off after 6 AM, we flew to Dulles in DC for a two hour layover, before finally flying for four hours down to San Juan.

Suffice to say, by the time we touched down in San Juan at 1:15 or so, we were wiped. Excited, but very tired. We grabbed our luggage and headed out to the Princess shuttle bus which would take us to the Golden Princess, our floating hotel for the next week.

This thing was huge. Driving up from a mile away, as we rounded a curve in the bus, the ship hove into view and dominated the skyline. It was, to put it mildly, breathtaking. Fourteen full decks and a bunch of partial decks above, this ship was unlike anything I’d been on before. Once we made it through embarkation, which took about an hour — a very warm hour, I might add — we found our stateroom on the Aloha, or 12th deck. We were on the port (or left) side of the ship, facing San Juan.

Shortly thereafter, we ran into Lorraine, Gerry, Ray and Annmarie, who had come in on Saturday and rested up in San Juan before the cruise. I wish we’d been able to do this — as well as an extra day or two in Puerto Rico after the cruise, but it wasn’t in the cards this time around. Gerry proceeded to introduce us to the Lido deck, deck 14, where most of the pools and outdoor bars were located. We bought the soft drink plan, which was $23 for a week of unlimited soda, which certainly helped with the overall price for us. Mom paid for the cruise and airfare, but we were responsible for any accrued costs over the course of the week.

We got a tour of the spa, too, where Kim booked a facial and we both booked a unique experience I’ll write about in the next vacation post.

Eventually, we ran into Diane and Rich and Mom when they finally arrived. They were located in two cabins a few away from ours — the others were located on the starboard side. You have to realize that this was the first time all nine of us had ever been together, due to a variety of reasons. The last time my sibs and I were together with Mom was back at Diane’s first wedding in 1994 (she’s married now to her high school sweetheart, whom she reconnected with after twenty five or so years, a few years ago) our wedding in 1999, and we hadn’t been on a family vacation since 1972 when we were all much, much younger.

It was chaos. Nice chaos, but chaos nonetheless. We went to dinner and sat at a table that wasn’t our actual assigned one, as first night of any cruise tends to be open dining. We wouldn’t get to our real table until Monday night. Dinner was excellent, wine was consumed, and Kim and I finally felt ourselves crashing around 10:30 or so. We made our way up to the deck with Lorraine, Gerry, Ray and Annmarie to catch cast-off from San Juan, and after that happened at 11:00, we finally made our way back to our stateroom and passed out after a very exhausting day. We’d been nervous about it all, and the stress from the long day of traveling was a lot, but things looked good for the coming week.

Next up — a Day at Sea in heavy seas.

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