What a nightmare. Get in line to wait in line. 10 times. Maybe the time we arrived was bad. Maybe we should have gotten a suite for the VIP check-in. That would have been nice. Max was completely overwhelmed by the sheer number of people, which meant he was whiny and cranky. Thankfully, Simon was on my back, so he could just bury his head (and he did). It was hot in the terminal, it was loud. It was a lot of waiting in line. Yes, I’m whining about the lines. There were many of them. Lines for check-in, lines for security, lines for waiting (no joke, we waited to wait), lines for horrible, frazzled photos, lines for security photos, lines to get on the ship, then lines for the food, lines for a seat. From the time we pulled into the parking lot until we made it to ship was over 2 hours. Thank goodness shortly after we got on the ship a very nice waiter found us seats and gave me my DOD. Having that on an empty stomach made me not care at all about the fact that our cabin wasn’t ready yet, that Max was already whining to get into the pool, and that Simon was trying to sprint away from us through the crowds.
Thankfully, shortly after that drink, our rooms were ready. Our luggage was already there! I unpacked while Eric and the boys hung out on the balcony. It was crowded in the room, but so much better than being packed into a queue somewhere. Also, the room, while small, was immaculate. In fact, the thing we noticed most about the ship was how clean it was. Our steward George (and assistant Hari—pronouced Harry) were amazing, kept our room insanely clean.
George brought us 4 life-jackets for the boys. Why we each needed 2 life-jackets I have no idea. Looking at the daily schedule, we saw that our drill was supposed to be at 4, so we decided (at a little after 3) to find our muster station so we wouldn’t have to worry about finding it when the drill was set to start. What a mistake that was. The staff was already in place for the drill and would not let us peaceably walk around. They were ushering everyone to their assigned stations—40 minutes before it was to start. We kept explaining that because we had 2 small boys with us, we didn’t want to stand in one spot for over 40 minutes if we didn’t have to. We even tried to leave the deck the stations were at, but were told that we could not leave. Now this was still 30+ minutes BEFORE the drill was to even start. So we were herded along with anyone else unlucky enough to set foot on deck 3 to our station. And made to stand in military straight lines. For the entire time. Thankfully, Simon was on my back, so he eventually fell asleep, but Max kept getting snapped at to “Stay in line! No talking!” Still all of this BEFORE the drill even started. They expected a 4 year old to stand still. In line. For that amount of time. In hindsight, we should have just left the area and came back, but they were so adamant, I figured they would get the show on the road a little quicker. Nope. The drill itself was a complete joke. The safety sheet on the back of the door gives you more info. And this is what we heard from Muster Station D staff the entire time “STAY IN YOUR LINES. SHOULDER TO SHOULDER. NO TALKING.” I have no idea if everyone from our muster ever showed up, because the “counter” kept telling the crew that they were missing 13 people. I’m pretty sure those 13 were the terrified children that were being yelled at to stay in line and be quiet. Thankfully, Eric had his phone for Max to play with, but I did see one of the staff tell a 4 year old to stand up and stop talking...Because a 4 year old (he had just turned 4 according to his mom) will understand anything being said at a muster drill, and will be able to put on a life jacket all by themselves. Seriously, the entire thing was a joke and I was so irritated at the end that if we ended up in a disaster situation, I might have just pushed the staff of Muster Station D overboard.
Grrr. I’m still irritated about that.
That evening, we had Camp Carnival Orientation. Turned in our paperwork, got our nifty cell phone (which they never used to contact us, but more on that later), and there was a slideshow that explained how the camp worked. No new information for us, since I researched everything like a fiend. But the boys each got a free Funship Freddy book and Simon got a free t-shirt. So that was a bonus. Also, one of the counselors for the 6-11 year olds took a liking to our boys (her name is Heather and she was our favorite person on the entire ship. Truly an asset.) and hugged them and made sure they got their free stuff. Wish she had been assigned to their age group.
We ate in the buffet for dinner and got to see one set of bridges that we went under. I had wanted to be topside for that, but it was nice to see it out the windows. Dinner was good, I have no idea what we ate—Max had pizza and Simon had cheese I think. That was about par for the course of the cruise.
All in all, day 1 was exhausting, and we were all in bed by 9.