Christmas Caribbean Cruise 2012….Part 5


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The next morning I got up early to have breakfast, check out and start my cruise adventure.  I was told to be at the port by 12:30 pm to check in.

Checking in was quite a lengthy process and I am glad that I got there early.

Of course as you are boarding the ship you stop to have an official picture taken.  And no I did not buy the picture.

Luggage can take up to three hours after boarding to arrive to the state-room.  I was given an inside state–no port-hole, no window–oh this is going to be fun I thought–I am claustrophobic.  I highly recommend if you are taking a cruise to get a state-room preferably with a balcony but if not at least a port-hole.

This is what my room looked like but was not my actual room I took of off the cruise’s website.

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(I think they used a lens with a long depth of field because this picture makes the room look bigger than it actually was.)

Those first three hours before the ship departed everyone was just running around like little ants discovering the in’s and out’s of the ship.  I was also waiting for my face painting schedule so that I could arrange the other activities that I wanted to do on the ship.  At some point an envelope arrived with my schedule and a meeting with my contact person on the ship.  I was to do five 2 hour face painting sessions while the ship was sailing.  When docked at port no face painting, however as I looked at the schedule I was set to work Christmas Morning.  Seriously, that was the day the ship docked in Jamaica and I had already booked my excursions via the T.V. hook-up in my room (seriously I was not about to stand in a long line to book anything).  I didn’t say anything at the meeting, since it was my first trip and did not want to make a fuss on the first day before the ship even left the dock.  Yes, Ivonne was displaying quite a bit of self-control here.

After that meeting it was dinner time.  I went back to the room to get dressed for dinner as I had the early seating at 6:00  PM and I was excited to see who my dinner companions would be for the next week.

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Albert & his daugher                                      Josh & Sarah

 

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Tom

The first night was  casual dress for dinner.  We all introduced ourselves. My dinner companions were a lovely young married couple, Josh and Sarah, Albert and daughter and yes there was one single man seated at my table.  His name was Tom.  Tom was a Catholic Priest but he was dressed normal.  The first words out of my mouth to him were, “I don’t know if you supposed to save me or if I am going to take you down the road to perdition”……………. to be continued……

Here are some pictures I took of the ship.

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Christmas Caribbean Cruise 2012 part 3


 

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The plane landed at Louis Armstrong International airport somewhere around 9:00 am and boy was I so happy to be getting off of that plane.  Granted I was being a baby it was only like a five hour flight and compared to 24 hours flying into Malaysia or Europe really a piece of cake.

All of my pink luggage and my guitar had arrived safely I grabbed one of those luggage cart thingeys and headed straight for the taxi line. Hotel check in was technically at 3:00 pm in the afternoon but I had booked my reservation to start the previous night so I could just arrive in the morning and check in without a problem.  For the one night I was staying at the O’Keeffe Plaza Hotel. in downtown New Orleans.

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When I arrive the front lobby is being remodeled.  There is no furniture and tiles on the floor are being torn up and replaced.  There are about three work guys making a lot of ruckus and noise.  There were no bellman, not sure why but I guess for only paying $115.00 for two nights I guess it was self-serve time.  I got a rickety bell cart upon which to put all my luggage and the guitar and the laptop computer and made my way to the room which was simple and looked clean.

I set-up the laptop checked emails and called my mom to let her know that I had made it to the hotel.  Then it was time for a short nap before I started exploring New Orleans.

After the nap the first thing on my priority list was to find an inexpensive bag of some sort that I could use for a carry on for the return flight home.  I scored!! I found a very large black duffel bag on sale for $12.99 in some souvenir shop on Canal St.  I was a happy camper.

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I started exploring Canal st which goes all the way down to waterfront.

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I almost did a dinner cruise on this riverboat but after spending a week on a boat opted not to.

I found myself at the Water Front Market Place in New Orleans.  Here are some of the pictures that I took on that day.  Enjoy!!!!

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Christmas 2012 on a Caribbean Cruise…Part 1


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I believe it was sometime last May 2012 when I received an e-mail stating that there was a face-painter opening for a cruise departing from New Orleans to the Western Caribbean. About the same time the shit was hitting the fan with Jay Scott Berry and I decided I needed something happy to look forward to. I tried to book this trip the year prior but somebody else beat me out. The way this company works you and a guest for $40.00 a night plus face painting sessions get to take the cruise.  Not a bad deal if you are bringing someone and like cruises.  I had never been on a cruise so I had no idea if I would  like it or not. But my friend Lisa, may god rest her soul did about 4 of these cruises and she loved them. And New Orleans was on my bucket list-so why not I thought.

I tracked the weather in New Orleans and it was on average about 10 degrees colder than where I live so totally doable. I booked myself on a flight that arrived one day before the cruise departed as I wanted a buffer day in case my luggage got lost and the returning flight I booked for New Years Day so I could spend 3 days and New Years Eve in New Orleans.

My next door neighbors teenage daughter was going to take care of my two kitties and Missy would be at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where she is spoiled and does things she does not do at home.

lens17839579_1302580231pink-suitcaseI of course travel with pink luggage. Seriously did anyone think it would be a different color.  This trip I decided to use the large suitcase, which I have never used ( and know I know why I don’t) before because I had to pack winter clothes for New Orleans and summer clothes, in addition to formal wear for the cruise.

Yes, you get a big list of do’s and don’ts when you take one of these cruises as you are considered a representative of the company.  They stress how you must always look upscale and never wear shorts on the cruise. Of course that meant I needed matching shoes and of course I needed my face painting supplies as well.  I decided I would take my face paints in my carry on because God forbid something should happen and where would I be without my face paints.  Since this was my first time I wanted to make a good impression.  I packed my brushes, glitter, stick on jewels, sponges, glitter gel you name it-everything I needed to make little kids fantasy face dreams come true.

Of course December thankfully is a busy month for my business and what with school and finals it did not give me a lot of time to pre-pack as I like to do before a trip.  I even wanted to clean my home a bit as my next door neighbor is one of those clean freaks and I did not want her daughter to go back home and say what a mess I left the place in.

I departed on Dec 21 coming back home on Jan 1 2013.  Yes, I was forgoing Christmas with the family.  a conscius choice as I could not deal with yet another phony Christmas–maybe I’ll do a post about that someday.

So I have my large suitcase, my small carry on size one, a purse, and my guitar.  Yes, I brought the guitar assuming I would have time to practice my guitar.  And I figured the ship must have a piano somewhere on the ship that I could practice on while I was away.

I put my luggage on the bathroom scale and according to it the large suitcase only weighed about 37 lbs–awesome I thought as the weight limit for the airlines was 50 lbs.

I was departing FRiday at 1 am so I arrived with luggage and Missy sometime on Thursday afternoon to my moms’.  But we still had to get the costumes for the weekend all set before I left.  To say that it was a hectic day is an understatement.  My mom lifted my large suitcase to put into the van.  Yes, I know my mother is 71 however she is under the impression that she is the only one that knows how to put a suitcase into the car as she travels back and forth to Puerto Rico at least 4 times a year.  The first thing she says is that the suitcase weighs too much. I tell it doesn’t I weighed it on the scale at home.

Well it was time to head to the airport.  I said my good-byes to Missy and gave her lots of kisses. That is the one thing about traveling that I don’t like, having to leave Missy behind.  And once the puppies arrive I guess I won’t be going anywhere for a while.

We get to the airport to check in.  As luck would have there wasn’t a line and hardly anyone at the airport.  They check in the guitar and then we put the large suitcase  on the airline scale thingy.  I am 20 lbs over weight–that will be an extra $100.00–what.   And of course there is my mother saying, ” I told you so!”  Really this was not the moment to be smug. It is suggested that I remove items and the woman at the counter says she has to check on something and will be back.

Well, like I said earlier it was quite the blessing that the airport was not busy because there and then I am now opening the large suitcase to see what weighs the most that I can take out.  Now normally I have my backpack that I use as my carry on because it can hold a lot of items including my laptop and I have a purse.  Yeah no back pack this time.  I sent my mother and her husband back to the car because I thought I saw a bag that I could use.

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Out comes the music binder–hand that to my mom.  I only keep a few pages of practice music.  The roll up keyboard for the lap top comes out.  Three pairs of 4 inch heels come out of the suitcase I will carry those on. The power strip comes out-that goes to my mom.  Oh yes, the extra sweater I put on, the suit coat from my new just had to have tuxedo got put on, along with the coat I was already wearing.  The electric throw blanket–that I had to have because I can’t stand to get into a cold bed even in the summer I decided to carry that on and hope TSA does not stop me ( the wires in the blanket).  Seriously it looked a scene from a bad comedy.

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I am trying to ignore my mother as she goes on and on about how we should have weighed the luggage and how much she knows about traveling and that I don’t’ need three pairs of 4 inch heels or so much clothes for just a ten day trip blah blah blah. My focus was did I get rid of the excess 20 lbs.  The carry on with the face paints now had to be checked in the russian roulette game of re-do the packing on the floor of Los Angeles International Airport.

Mission accomplished but now there was another woman at the counter and a line was beginning to form. She spoke Spanish my mother spoke spanish and said something to her in Spanish about how she tried to tell me about weight.  Oh just for information’s sake I am not a first time traveler.  I have been to Jamaica 4 times, 3 times by my self, I have been to Europe as well two times by myself and of course there was the glorious life changing trip to Malaysia.  However my mother is under the impression that she is a more seasoned traveler than I am. But I have to admit her talking to the woman in Spanish got my luggage clearance.  The problem wound up being that the women who had walked away had already charged me the $100.00 fee-possibley it was for the guitar?!!  Seriously, if I had been told the guitar was going to cost $100.00 that too would have been going back home with mom.

Finally got all checked in made it through security and finally at the gate.  Of course I had to call my mother and let her know I made it safely to the gate.  You just never know when a hijacker might just randomly take a hostage at the airport.

And that is how I started the Christmas Holiday whose purpose was to help me clear my head of the magician and get on with life….to be continued……

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