I feel a little older and more wiser as I am sitting here in the adult-only area of the ship drinking a glass of wine with my lovely wife.  As a look over at her wind blown hair, I cannot help but think about Ferrah Faucet and her beautiful feathered hair.  As we have some time now for reflection, I think I will give us a 9 out of 10 for our embarkation experience.

Lindsey decided to get only a few hours of sleep last night while I am on the back end of a upper respiratory infection and have been taking plenty of medicine to “help” me sleep well.  We both got up and moving around 7am.  Fortunately, we had all of the bags packed last night with the exception of our carry on gear.  The plan was to be on the road at 9:30 AM but for some reason my traveling anxiety (I guess I am finally putting a name on it) was not going nuts and I really was not in a crazy rush to get going.  We stopped at the bakery on the way out to get some breakfast and were on the way to our vacation around 10 AM.

I was thinking that we would run into some of the Lone Star Motorcycle Rally traffic on the way, but it really was smooth sailing all the way to the port.  Once we arrived at the port, we found out where all of the bikers were hiding.  Lindsey was told that they were going to be on the opposite side of the strand from the cruise terminal.  Turns out that was a big fat lie!  They were practically sitting on top of the terminal.  This made first time cruisers like us have a heck of a time dealing with parking and getting our bags checked properly.  We managed to get into the terminal around noon.  As we were going through security, we heard the announcement of the first family being allowed on the boat.

Once through security we went ahead and got checked in.  The line was a bit long, but we knew that we had plenty of time before our turn to board.  After check-in there was the kid’s section check-in.  Technically, we could have avoided this line and just picked up Jennifer’s access bracelet on the kid section of the boat, but since we were boarding group number 24 and they just called group 9, we went ahead and stood in line so that we would not need to stand in line on the boat.

The great part is that once we got checked in to the kid section, we only had to wait around 1k0 minutes before our group was called.  We had a family picture taken and then we walked onto the boat.  For Disney cruises, they announce the names of all the families as they walk on the boat. While there was only a handful of crew members in the area, it still does give a little touch of pageantry.  

Once on the boat, we already had a game plan on how we were going to attack the needed tasks.  Lindsey stood in line to book the princess and Frozen meet-n-greets and character breakfast.  I went to the adult area to sign us up for the drinking seminars, and took the kid with me since I would be faster.  Jennifer and I were done fairly quickly and went ahead up to our room to drop off the carry on gear that I had been lugging around.  I told Jennifer that we could not poke around the room too much since we wanted to experience it as a family and it was not fair to Lindsey since she was still waiting in her line.

Once we accomplished all of our tasks, we were then able to head up to the room to unpack and look around.  Fortunately, by the time we got up there our luggage had arrived.  While I love Lindsey, there is nothing that can stop her from holding off from unpacking clothes that are sitting there looking at her.  Within no time we had all our clothes unpacked and all of the luggage stored under the bed.  Amazingly all of our stuff fit perfectly in the space that they provide.  This room, for the size that it is, can hold a ton of stuff and does not overflow into the living area.

We hung around the room until the muster drill was done, and then we headed to the top deck for the sail away party.  It was nice to experience this in person after the hundred of videos I watched.  All the classic disney characters made an appearance and had a very interactive party for the kids.

After the party we headed back to the room to get ready for the afternoon activities.  Jennifer and I were sitting on the veranda while the ship was pushing away.  She was having fun hanging all over me and somehow managed to knock my glasses off of my head….down the boat…and into the ocean.   Yes, my glasses, which I need so badly, are sitting in the Gulf.  Fortunately, I was a Boy Scout and thought ahead to bring my spare pair of glasses.  Jennifer was very upset from what happened, but it is not the end of the world and having a second pair means that we do not miss a beat, and I don’t have to dictate any of the blog for Lindsey to write.

I will end the blog post here.  We have been able to explore the ship and have our first night’s dinner.  It is a bit late now and we are ready to get a good night sleep and be fresh and ready for the morning.  Catch y’all tomorrow!


Getting onboard

Castaway Party


Happy Cruise Eve!

It almost does not seem real that cruise day is almost here. Next to the Manhattan Project, I don’t think as much work has been put into researching a trip. The constant searching of Youtube, Blogs and vacation tip sites have hopefully armed us with all of the needed information to have a successful vacation. We do have some positives working in our favor though. First, we have a kid who loves to engage with others. She can talk at length to kids, adults and even statues. The second, and perhaps our strongest asset, is the fact that we are laid back. We never feel like we need to do or see everything. Most things that we have scheduled revolve around drinking…so we have that going for us.

Today has been a day of getting all of the last minute things taken care of. Laundry has been done and the house is clean and ready for us to come home. We are now starting the packing process. The bad part about this cruise is that the trend is to dress up a bit for dinner. This means that between excursions, theaters and dinner it is possible to go through three sets of clothes in one day. I think all of our luggage is going to make an appearance for this trip. There will be no one on that boat that cannot say that we don’t look damn fine though! The downside is that if anything were to happen to our luggage, we would be missing a good portion of our work clothes in the process.

Our arrival time tomorrow is set for 1:30 – 2:00 PM. Lindsey is already prepared for Captain Travel (me) to have us there by noon just to make sure that we have no chance of delays. The word around town on the interwebs is that general boarding starts at 12:30, so there is a good chance that we could just walk on the boat shortly after we arrive and get through security. Once we get on the boat, the fun does not start. They have recently switched to a ticket system for all of the princess meet and greets. This means that once we get on the boat, we need to rush to the area that is handing out the tickets since they are first come, first serve. While, oddly enough, Jennifer has told us that she is not that interested in princesses anymore, I am sure that things will change when they are standing in front of her. The next thing we need to do once on the boat is sign up for the adult drink activities. There are two that we are most interested in, Mixology and Stem to Stern. The Mixology is just as it sounds, a taste and learn about mixing different drinks. It is apparently a must-do on the ship for adults and has all the good stuff I love, alcohol. The other one, Stem to Stern, is a wine tasting session in which I am sure they try to upsell expensive wine to us, which we can not drink until we get off the boat.

Once we get done with all of that business, we should be able to get to our stateroom. We have a room that has a veranda ocean view. It is classed as a “navigator’s porthole” which means that we have a large opening, but unlike the other verandas our has a metal bottom. For us it means that we have a little more privacy in our outdoor area and a little more lounging options. I’ll shoot out some pictures which can better explain what it looks like.

Time to finish packing and get a good night sleep. It is going to be a long day tomorrow of “chillaxing.”

Testing one, two, three….is this thing still on?  It turns out that we have not had enough adventures to merit a blog post, but as Jennifer’s favorite musician says, “the times they are a changing!”.  Months ago Lindsey and I started to look for a enjoyable family vacation destination which we can all be a part of.  I guess we felt a little guilty with all of the fun we had in Ireland without the little one tagging along.

The first place that came in mind for me was Disney World.  As a kid I was blessed enough to visit Disney World quite often, and to this day still have fond memories of our time there.  Lindsey on the other hand only went once and had much more fun playing in the off-site hotel rather than her time in the park.  For those that do not know, while Lindsey is one of the most caring person I know, she does lack a little bit of patience (this is the nicest way I could phrase this).  From the immortal words of Paula Abdul opposites must attract, as my patience is one of my strong suits.  To that end, we are divided on the desire to stand in line after line at Disney World.  

Lindsey mentioned the idea of doing a Disney cruise, bridging the gap between my desire for Disney and her desire of lounging around drinking pretty drinks with fruit on the top.   It turns out that Disney was just planning on coming back to Galveston on the date that we were looking on taking the vacation.  For full disclosure it turns out that having the word “Disney”  in the name of the vacation means that it is several thousand dollars more expansive than other cruise options.  We had to really dig into how Disney stands above the others.  

It is no surprise that Disney Cruises have an exceptional kids program.  We are certain that our social butterfly of a kid will be right at home with their program.  On the ship there are two kids “clubs” which are in her age range.  For each club she will be given a wrist band which will let them know where she is at all times on the ship.  The kids area is a kids-only area, we are basically only able to drop her off and then are “forced” to go relax on the deck or in the adult areas.  I know, it will be awful.  For her age group the kids area is open from 9am till midnight.  They are able to provide her both lunch and dinner if need be, however I suspect that she will eat with us most times as the selection of food will be a bit better (and the desserts plentiful).  Each day we will  be given a Personal Navigator which will have a schedule of all events on the ship, both for adults and kids.  From this, Jennifer can plan her day around which club she wants to hang out in.  I have seen copies of these from other ships, and I will say that she will have a blast and I will not have to worry about any guilt of handing her over while Lindsey and I lounge.

As if the pot was not sweet enough there is another wonderful facet to the Disney cruise which I tip my hat to (seriously I need to class it up and really tip my hat more often), the dinner service.  There are two dinner services, one at 5:30 and one at 8:30.  We have chosen the late service, which at first I regretted.  Through my research I have discovered that this is actually the best service to go with for no other reason than Dine and Play.  Oh heavens do I want to kiss the person that thought of this idea!  Parents, what is the worst part of any fancy family dinner?  You can say it….that impatient kid(s)!  They are like piranhas, devouring their food and once it is all gone they either want more or to run off and do something else.  For some reason Jennifer can not seem to enjoy a nice conversation about diversifying our 401k and just wants to go off and play.  In steps Dine in Play!  For this we just simply inform our server that we will be participating in the program.  They will bring Jennifer’s food out ahead of ours (including dessert) and once she is done a counselor will come by to collect all of the kids like the wonderful lady in Hansel and Gretel and check them into the kids area.  We are then left to enjoy our dinner, and drinks, at our own pace while Jennifer gets to run off her dinner!

As a result of the wonderful children programs we have decided to go on a Disney Cruise aboard the Disney Wonder.  The best part, we sail in four days!  That rights, on November the 6th, we will be heading on a 7 day cruise which will visit Cozumel, Grand Cayman, and Falmouth Jamaica.  The main purpose of this blog is to get back in the swing of detailing my thoughts, but also test out how much data blogging will require.  While the ship does have internet, it is charged based on the data usage.  This means that I need to be careful with how much data I actually push out to the internet.  Normally I would do this all on my laptop, however I have promised that no laptops will be brought on the trip to prevent even the possibility of dealing with work.  So I must do all of this on the IPad which will include writing the offline version of the blog, transferring images from iPhone to iPad, and beaming it all up to the internet so that the updates go live.  Hopefully it all works like a well oiled machine, but it is good that I have a good understanding on how to limit our data use.

I end this post with troublesome image, one that I do not easily admit to.  I, Jeff Drouet, am the owner of a selfie stick.  Whew, it feels good to get that off my chest!  For weeks if feels like I have hidden in the shadows with this little secret.  Yes, Lindsey, wanted us to have one.  However, I was the person to actually order it; a transgression that is not easily forgotten.  Please forgive me, and do hold my family accountable for my actions.

“Selfie Stick of Shame”