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Saturday, March 28, 2009

Royal Caribbean Cruise, Day One

I never thought that this day would ever come. It's like a dream coming true. About 2-3 years ago, Ogz and I planned to go on a cruise with our friend, Tomas. Unforch, when we found out that it requires a VISA, we got discouraged.

A few weeks ago, over dinner or sumpthin', we talked about it again. This time, Joy was on board. Trix and Cathy expressed their interest too.

So we applied first for a Bahamian VISA. We submitted our travel docs (original and photocopies) to the Embassy of Bahamas in DC. A few days later, our VISAs came in prepaid envelopes. We were so happy that day. Ogz had a slight problem. His name on the VISA says "Quijano Quijano Jr.". He had to get it fixed before D-Day comes.

Next thing to do was to book our flights. Ogz found a cheap fare at American Airlines. We also chose Royal Caribbean for our cruise. Everything fell into place.

Today, we left Ashburn around 4 in the morning (only had 3 hours of sleep but we didn't care). Our flight to Miami leaves at 6. It only took 2 hours to get there.

We asked the airport info for advice on where to go while waiting for our boarding time (12:30) to come. She suggested to check out Bayside. It's also near the port of Miami so it's perfect.

It's my first time to see Miami. The weather is warm and nice. I saw lotsa flyovers in the city.

It was still early in the morning so the shops were still closed. We took it easy. When I saw the boats, I felt like Dexter.
Around 11, we decided to take a cab to the Miami port. It's like 10 minutes away. We couldn't contain our excitement when we saw the huge ship. We passed by a Carnival cruise liner but ours is more grand.
We presented our docs and went through security. There was a mandatory picture taking in the boarding section and then we went through a quick immigration process.

When we stepped into the actual ship, we were welcomed by fellow Filipinos in the crew. We were thinking, "This is really is it!". Then we found the welcome drink station. We grabbed one drink thinking it was for free. We were asked to present our card right away. This card is like a credit card you use for the entire duration of your trip (you just need to pay at the end of your trip). The lady serving the alcohol (also a Filipina) advised us to drink some of it so she can refill it before we leave. By the way, the drink was called Bahama Mama and it costs 13 bucks. We got to keep the glass though.

It's time to check out the buffet. We got a table by the window. Sweet! I had some roast beef, chicken fajitas and spaghetti. I also bought this tumbler that could give you an endless Coke refill.
Trix and her friends arrived. I finally met Trix's daughter, Isabella. She's eying us all suspiciously.

We checked out our room next. Joy & Cath (she's still on her way from Atlanta) shares a room while Ogz & I are in one. The room, as expected, is small. When you enter the room, the closet is on your right and the bathroom is on the left. Then you have the two twin beds and your view to the world.
Around 3, Cathy finally arrived and we joined her for her late lunch. We also went outside to see what's going on. Some peeps, mostly kids, are swimming in the pool. Some young guys are playing basketball. No one was wall climbing (maybe because it was too windy). A lotta peeps are sunbathing (so many white skin). Little by little, we're seeing less and less of Miami. Good thing, no one got seasick.
We headed back to our cabins 'cause we needed to attend some presentation that explained briefly how to use the floating devices found in our closets. We had to wait a long time for a 10-minute presentation. We even fell asleep while waiting for it to start!
At 6, it's time to eat dinner. We had an ocean view but we got dizzy while looking at the window. We're actually sailing and on our way to CocoCay (I like that it rhymes). Oswald was our waiter and he took really good care of us. He kept asking if we didn't like our food, he would give us somethin' else oP For my dinner, I had shrimps. For dessert, I had tiramisu.
There's a stand-up comedy show so we checked it out right after dinner. We found out the Cruise Director is named Ricky. The name of the comedian escaped me.
It's time to check out what's happening at the bars. Cathy, Ogz and I went to the Salsa Dance Workshop but we got there too late. We saw peeps already dancing on the floor. We had fun watching them 'cause some of them really got ZERO rhythm in their bones.

Afterwards, we went to the for the 70s Disco. The show started with this black guy in very tall Afro and platform shoes. Trailing him were 5-6 guys in much shorter Afro and in tight pants. Of course, we had to dance so we shook what our Mama gave us to the tunes of "I Will Survive", "Disco Inferno", "Ring My Bell". When "YMCA" was played, guys in uniform appeared (these were the same guys in Afro earlier). It was a bit corny to dance to these tunes but, heck, we're on vacay!
The dancing lasted for about 2 hours. We had our photos taken with the entertainers. We found out that there are 2 Filipinos in the group. Someone even called me "Smokey Manoloto". The black guy heading all this is Ricky, the Cruise Director.
We then checked out the Singles bar. There we met Kuya Allan, a very friendly Filipino bartender. We also met Chris from Tucson, AZ, and he bought us some Patron shots. He's actually spending his dad's money on strangers ;oP After a few minoots of talking to him, his brother, John, grabbed him from us.
The bar closed around 12 am so we looked for a place to hang out. We found Papa, another FIlipino, manning the Royale Casino. He made us BBC, a drink made from banana, baileys and pina colada. He said that it's an award-winning concoction. A great way to end our first night!



Blogger lala said...

i like your shirt :) mr. happy! bagay sa yo donish

10:55 AM  
Blogger knottydon said...

Favorite shirt ko 'to sobra! Marami natutuwa pag nakita tong shirt na to ;oP

9:22 PM  
Anonymous caribbean cruise ship jobs said...

Those are some really awesome pictures. I have had a lot of friends tell me on how beautiful it is to go to the Caribbean and that I should visit it as well... I hope I will have the chance soon

10:57 AM  

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