Sunday November 28

We left the house at 7:50 this morning. The kids were up early & ready to leave by 7am! GPS said it would take 2 hrs & 50 min to get to the port, we were pulling in about 10:10am. We sailed this same ship out of this port 2yrs ago so we had a good idea of what to do this time which made a big difference on how smooth it all went. We beat the onslaught of traffic and got our luggage dropped off in no time. It didn’t take too long to check in and by 11:15, we were sitting in the terminal waiting to board the ship.

The kids were given their emergency bracelets while we waited. If the kids are in the kids club and an emergency comes up where we need to get to our muster station (to board a life boat), the employees will bring the kids to meet us there. They have to wear the bracelets the entire cruise. So if you see bright blue bracelets in pictures, that’s what those are for. I inquired about how many kids are onboard this sailing, and they said only 55 and about 40 are in their age group with the rest being younger. Out of approximately 3,000 people onboard, that’s not too many kids. The sailing before us, which was the Thanksgiving Day cruise, there was close to 1,000 kids. Needless to say we prefer this time of year to cruise. The kids get SO much attention from everyone, they love it!

Around noon our number was called, and off to the ship we went. We boarded with no problems and headed up to deck 11 to the Windjammer, which is a huge buffet, to get some lunch(there’s a total of 15 decks onboard). Our port (Bayonne, NJ) is located right by the New York border so as we sat eating lunch, we had a view of the Statue of Liberty & the New York City skyline.

The last time we were on this ship, we met some neat people & kept in contact with them the last 2yrs. And it turned out, a bunch of them were also going to be on this sailing again. So it didn’t take too long until we met up with several of them. I also had belonged to an online group of people that I met several months ago, who were also going to be on this sailing so around 2:30, a bunch of us met up Schooners lounge to say hi in person finally.

At 3:15 we had our emergency muster drill where we had to go to our assigned stations & so we would know where to meet in case of emergency. After we were done here, we went back to our room to get our coats. We decided to go out on deck for sailaway. The last time we left this port, we had horrible weather. Today was cold but gorgeous outside.

Part of the excitement of being on deck for sailaway is going underneath the Veranzzano bridge. The ship looks like it’s going to hit it as the clearance is only about 6ft below the bridge. So we got some neat pics of that as we went under. Then we headed inside to warm up.

By this point, we had all our luggage except for the suitcase with mine & Kevin’s clothes, which made me a little nervous. I worked on unpacking before we headed to dinner. Right as we were leaving, our suitcase showed up & I finally felt I could relax.

We had scoped out our dining room table earlier so I knew where we were sitting. We have 6pm dining and it’s just us at our table. The table next to us has a bunch of our friends which is nice as it allows us to chat with them also during dinner. The main dining room is 3 stories tall and modeled after the dining room on the Titanic. In the center, there is an open atrium that you can see to the other floors. At the far end is a grand staircase going to each floor.

Our table is located on deck 5 which is the 3rd floor of the dining room, and right next to a huge window. Which normally would be wonderful except it’s dark when we eat!

Dinner each night consists of a 3 course meal; appetizer, main entrée then dessert. The kids have the option of ordering off the kids menu or adult menu. Most of them ordered part or all of their meal from the adult menu (gotta love that they aren’t picky!) Their favorite appetizer is ceasar salad.

After dinner, the kids wanted to walk down to the coffee shop in the royal promenade to get some hot chocolate (yes, all our food and even things in this shop we don’t have to pay for so the kids can have hot chocolate whenever they way! lol)

The royal promenade is located on deck 5 and reminds you of a large upscale wing of a mall, with shops, lounges, etc. While it’s only on one floor, there are 3 stories above it open to inside rooms that overlook the promenade and it spans a good length of deck 5.

The kids were feeling pretty tired by this point (about 8pm) so we took their hot chocolate back to the room & they decided to get ready for bed. Our rooms are on deck 8, the same rooms we had 2yrs ago. We have 2 interior connecting cabins. Someday a room with a balcony would be nice, but this works out as we are rarely in our cabin anyway. We were blessed to have gotten an amazing deal that allowed us to do this vacation, so we’re just happy to be here no matter the room!

The kids were in bed by 8:45 which is rare! Around 9, Hannah came over crying. She was missing her Noah doll. This was the first night since Noah was born that she hasn’t had the doll. The kids really wanted to bring them but didn’t want to chance anything happening to them so they left them at home (which they hated to leave them alone they said). I brought along Noah’s lamb we were given in the hospital & had pictures taken of him with it. I had it along so we would have something along to represent Noah & feel like a part of him is along with us. So I gave that to Hannah to sleep with & tried to comfort her. It just goes to show, nothing can ever take away the grief of missing him, even while on vacation.

It didn’t take long and the kids were sound asleep. I was exhausted as I really hadn’t slept much Saturday night, so I wasn’t up to attending any of the onboard night activities so I just unwound and read for awhile. We’re looking forward to having 2 relaxing sea days on Monday & Tuesday before island hopping starts on Wednesday.

Next up, our first formal night Monday evening. Till later.......


ps I am having trouble sending pics. I will try later

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