Day 16: St. Maarten

LAND! (Booo!) Yup, today was our first sight of land. We arrived to St. Maarten this morning. I woke up at 3:30am again. Hurray! I treated my dad to a sailing excursion where he and his "racing team" (fellow passengers) raced another sailboat with more passengers. These sailboats they were on have competed in the big sailing race they have every year- the name escapes me right now. I think it's the world cup?? I don't remember. He was a nervous wreck so he headed up to breakfast early even though he had like two hours until his meeting time. When I was ready I headed up to look for him. He was sitting with a couple. They had asked if they could join him. Turns out that they have done that excursion before AND they were going today. I was happy about that since my dad was going alone, as my mom doesn't do sailboats and I didn't want her alone roaming the streets of St. Maarten- who knows where she'd end up. So I was thrilled that my dad happened to meet this couple. I wasn't, however, thrilled with the idea of eating breakfast with complete strangers. They were nice, but it was just too early to be talking to people. By that point I had already been up for 4 hours but it's always too early to share a meal with complete strangers if you ask me. Just kidding!! (No, really. I'm not.) While at breakfast we ran into Renaldo our assistant waiter and Pierre the food artist I told you about yesterday. We had some fun with them then we headed to get my mom. 

My dad left for his excursion, so my mom & I headed into town to shop. I really wasn't at all looking forward to St. Maarten. My parents are not beach people (what's the fun in a beach by yourself?), literally if you've seen one caribbean island, you've seen them all & my mom almost immediately didn't feel good getting off the ship. So my mom and I took the water taxi to downtown and "shopped" for a little bit. All they have is jewelry stores! Oh, and the token Del Sole store. You're not in a port of call without Del Sole and their color changing souvenirs. So we looked around for about 40 minutes. Right in downtown they have a pretty nice beach and it was hot! It was only 9am and we were dying. So we went in the water for a little bit. When we got out, I hate putting flip flops back on with sand still on my feet, so I decided to walk around a little bit until my feet were dry and I could wipe off the sand. BIG mistake. The ocean front stores are all right on the sand. However, the sand up by the stores is all broken up shells. I unfortunately didn't notice this until I was limping around with a cut on my toe. Hurray! We were hot, my mom felt very sick & now I was hobbling around. So we just decided to head back to the ship and spend the day at the empty, adult only pool. 

On our way back we ran into Raphael, our assistant waiter from 2007. We talked with him for a little bit and then headed up to the pool. We had the place pretty much to ourselves. It was very nice. The water in the pool was great. After spending a little bit of time in the pool we sat in our favorite seats reading and relaxing. While we were there we saw one of the three waiters that we always see at the tastings. He's from Chile but I don't remember his name?? He stopped to talk to us for a while. He was very nice. When we mentioned Daniel, the other one we met at the tastings, he acted like he didn't know him at first, which we thought was funny. You don't know the guy you've been working with at all of these tastings and cooking demonstrations but you know us from them. Ooookay. 

Finally, my dad got back from sailing the high seas so we headed to lunch. Did I mention how sick of food I am??? Ugh. I find myself sitting down for dinner and thinking, "Oh, I have to eat now??" I'm just not hungry at all which if you know me at all, is REALLY strange. I'm not one of those picky, fussy, girly eaters- I'm a steak & potatoes kind of girl & I (normally!!) LOVE to eat. Thanks Dad! I digress. 

After I couldn't eat another bite I told my parents I'd meet up with them later. I headed back to the pool. On my way I ran into that waiter we had just talked with from the cooking demonstrations. He talked with me for quite a while and I felt like we were playing 20 questions or something. "What's your name? How old are you? Where are you from? What did you go to school for? What do you do?" And my personal favorite (*heavy sarcasm*), "Have a boyfriend?" then "No? Have you been dating or seeing anyone recently?" So I told him, "Nope, no one's asked me", which was not a good enough answer for him apparently. So the Spanish Inquisition continued. I was tempted to ask if he was doing a research paper or something, but he was really sweet, so I didn't. (Aren't I nice?) I stayed at the pool until it was time to get ready for the show and then dinner. 

Tonight's show was my favorite. It was Jodi Benson, voice of Ariel from "The Little Mermaid" and Barbie from Toy Story 2 & 3. She basically would tell her story of how she got the part, what it was like doing the movie, etc. while singing a bunch of her favorite disney movie songs. She ended up being a home-schooling, Christian who talked about God, so it was doubly nice. She ended the night with the song from The Little Mermaid, Part of Your World. It was really great and she is hysterical! I wasn't expecting that.

Tonight was pirate night so there were all kinds of freaks... er... "passengers" dressed in full on Pirate costumes. Some of the passengers were REALLY into it. Seriously. There was a middle-aged man with a stuffed parrot on his shoulder. So t say they were into it is an understatement. My parents & I wore our pirate t-shirts- these people looked straight out of the movies. It was insane. I would say about 70% of the ship were dressed for the occasion. We headed to dinner where the entire waitstaff is dressed as pirates and they really get to have fun with it. The were doing the conga line as we walked in - just the waiters. Then they pretty much danced around and partied the whole night while serving us. It was really fun to see. Renaldo (our assistant waiter) had a special surprise waiting for us at our table that, again, made our table the must visit of the night. Every night my mom would ask for lemon for her water, so every night Renaldo has gotten more and more creative with how he "presents" our lemon. Well, tonight he really outdid himself. He made two mice out of lemons and they were the cutest little things! Every waiter that went by our table had to stop and see 'cause they were just so cute. Don't worry I got a picture. So we met a couple more waiters due to this fact as well as our regulars. Daniel came by and said how cute they were and then began to pick on Renaldo about how he never leaves and that lemons are all he ever thinks about. It was very funny. It is obvious to us that everyone loves Renaldo. I mean really I don't know how they couldn't- he's just so funny. I am so happy we were lucky enough to have him at our table- there's never a dull moment. After dinner Renaldo made me take the mice with me and made me promise that I would order cheese from room service for them and that tomorrow when there is eight more of them in my room to please not tell custodial that the mice were his when they're trying to catch them all. On our way out of the restaurant I ran into Daniel again- the first "waiter" we met at the tastings and cooking demonstrations. One of the times we talked with him, he told us how he was a waiter in Palo (the adult only, specialty restaurant) for over a year before getting promoted to restaurant manager in training for Disney's newest ship, the Dream. Well, if you remember, I am absolutely in love with the chicken parmesan from the Palo brunch. (that was back when I still had an appetite- Day 2 of the cruise) So I asked Daniel if there was any way to get the recipe. He said he could get me it and he'd have it for me tomorrow. I am so excited! I have only ever heard of them giving out the chocolate soufflé recipe they're known for, so I didn't really even think it was a possibility. See. It's all about who you know.

After dinner was the pirate party upstairs. My mom & I headed up but my dad decided to just call it a night. The pirate party is fun. They have singing and dancing, a bunch of characters attend, there some other surprises (that I wont ruin), a dessert buffet & fireworks. Yup. Disney's ships do a fireworks show out at sea. They are the only cruise line to do it and it really is an awesome thing. You're out in the middle of the ocean watching fireworks. How cool is that?

After the fireworks they play the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie on the big screen by the pool (where the party is held) and the dessert buffet is open. They also serve those giant turkey legs you see at the parks as well as some other foods since a lot of people skip dinner to be able to eat out there.

My mom and I headed to bed after the fireworks. Tomorrow is Tortola. I have a surprise for tomorrow. My parents (and some of you, my original readers) were under the impression that we were just planning to get off the ship and roam around. Does that sound like a way to spend your last official port day??? We actually have one more, but it's Disney's private island so that doesn't really count. I surprised my parents with a special excursion. The reason I couldn't talk about it on here is because my mom reads the blog. So tonight at dinner I shared with them the surprise trip planned, but you guys aren't going to hear what it is until tomorrow. Oh, the power.

Talk to you guys tomorrow.

Public Service Announcement: Yesterday I had pretty good internet so I went online to see how the blog is doing and I was horrified by the state of it. The typos alone nearly sent me over board - pun intended. Normally, I am super anal and I proof read, but I'm on vacation and it's showing. So sorry for all the typos. I'll fix them when I get home- not that it would matter by then though.             

Day 15: 5 of 5 consecutive sea days.

BRACE FOR IMPACT- it's a long one!
Today was our 5th consecutive sea day. You may be wondering if we're ready to see land. Nope. I could have another 5 more sea days. I love it! Today's weather was absolutely gorgeous. Not a cloud in the sky and it got up to the mid 80s. We haven't seen any rain... it's just been perfect. The seas today were just as calm as all the other days, but my mom was feeling a little off on & off today. (well, that was confusing to type!) We don't think it's sea sickness, as the sea feel exactly the same as the last 4 days. I think she didn't eat enough with her pills she takes in the morning. By the end of today though she felt fine.
Well, as you know I've been sleeping like an 80 year old since getting on the ship but I have now passed an 80 year old's sleep pattern and entered an ungodly sleep pattern. I woke up, WIDE awake, at 3:30am!!!!!!! I have no idea what's going on. Last night was our last night to change our clocks back. I went to bed at 10:30pm and got up at 3:30am! We are now in the eastern time zone, so I better get working on this situation, as getting up at 3:30am at home is not an option. So I laid in bed for quite a while watching TV. It was exciting to finally have american tv stations. Today we got close enough to land to be able to receive the satellite. For the last couple of days the TV has been all movies or sitcoms on a loop. Today we had CBS, Travel Channel, ESPN, Disney Channel (of course) and some others. Only problem is there is absolutely nothing on on TV at 3:30am. So I watched a portion of Iron Man 2 for the 30th time and then watched a little of Michael Jackson's, This Is It, for the 10th time. FInally, I just decided to get up and started to get ready for the day. There's only so much to do to get ready for a day by the pool, so I ironed some more- oh my gosh, I'm turning into my dad! Ironing at 4:30am. Great! God help me. Finally it was late enough to head upstairs with my dad for breakfast. Actually it wasn't- we got there 30 minutes before the restaurant even opened, so we headed to get seats by the pool.
My mom met us up at the seats a little later and then my dad & I headed to breakfast. I had a bowl of fruit and basically forced every bite down. I don't know why I even bothered. My dad just got two pieces of toast and headed for the egg station, leaving me totally alone, which bothered me, UNTIL I ran into my favorite guy, Daniel. He talked with me while I was on the line and then asked for my mom. It was cute. Next I went to find my dad and I ran into another waiter that has been visiting us each night. He's not our waiter but we met him on the first day in the buffet and he's been visiting us ever since. He is hysterical and it's funny to watch our waiter make fun of him. He's always getting in trouble and it's just hysterical. For example. Today, as I left Daniel, I turned the corner to see him up ahead. He turned and saw me, waved and then started to walk towards me. As he turned a passenger holding two cups of coffee turned and the waiter walked right into him spilling the coffee everywhere. I was so embarrassed for him. He turned to apologize to the passenger and then ran into the kitchen. 
Finally I found my dad at a table. After he finished his eggs and I forced down the last bit of fruit I could we headed out, first looking for our waiter and assistant waiter. Our waiter is great, but our assistant waiter, Renaldo, is the highlight of our cruise. We found our assistant waiter just before leaving and talked with him a while. He's so funny. I wish I could explain him for you, but it won't do it justice. 
Next we headed back to my mom. We get to my mom where she was saving our seats and decided that she does want breakfast. So I turn around and go back with her, leaving my dad at the seats. Talk about repetition. We head back and I go through the line with her. We find a table, she eats, we go to leave and we run into Daniel (bummer *insert sarcastic cough here*). After talking with Daniel for a while and promising him that we were going to the cooking demonstration again today, we run into our favorite little guy, our assistant waiter, Renaldo. We talked with him for a while. He was standing handing out those sanitizing wipes they make you use every time you go into a restaurant. Handing out the trays at the start of the buffet line was that other waiter I was telling you about- the one who spilled the coffee, Pierre. Well, our assistant waiter, Renaldo, knows EVERYONE and has a nickname for everyone. So he was making fun of Pierre to us- in a playful way. They're friends. Then I told Renaldo about Pierre & the coffee spill and he want hysterical. It was very funny.
After that my dad headed to a lecture on Tortola- where we're going in a few days. My mom and I stayed by the pool until it was time to head to the cooking demonstration. This was the last one by this special guest chef, so my mom brought our menus that they had given us. Two nights ago we had a special Transatlantic Menu and they gave us the menus as a souvenir. They're really pretty so I was excited to get them. We had our waiters sign them- which was probably the funniest moment of the entire trip. Sorry again- you had to be there. So we brought our menus to have the guest chef sign them... as well as Daniel, our favorite restaurant manager. The chef cooked a chicken "Foie Gras". It's basically a chicken liver paste that you put on toast. It was good but he put a cucumber jello type stuff on top that I didn't think was necessary. My mom liked the top part though. So after it was over my mom headed up to wait on the huge line for the autograph, leaving me by myself. That lasted about 10 seconds. I looked down at my recipe and when I looked up there was Daniel. He asked how I liked it and I told him how I felt about the top part and that was exactly how he felt. I was glad to hear, because I thought I was just being picky. I reminded him that we wanted him to sign our menus, so he waited with me until my mom got back. My mom finally got the chef's signature and then it was Daniel's turn. When he saw how our waiters has signed them he was hysterical, so we had to explain the whole thing. Basically (this won't read funny at all- you have to know these guys, but here it goes) our assistant waiter, Renaldo, signed my menu, but he had to draw me something extra, so he drew a Philippines flag, as he's... you guess it- he's from the Philippines. Next our head waiter, "Z" signed it. Now these two together are like a Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis. Our head waiter, "Z" is serious & sad looking. He has a dry sense of humor so it perfect. Well he sees what Renaldo drew so he decides he has to draw something too. So he signs it and draws a picture of Renaldo with a little thinking bubble over it's head & wrote "Renaldo" in it. He then tells us that it is Renaldo thinking about Renaldo, 'cause that's all he's ever thinking about. You had to be there. We were crying we were laughing so hard.
So now Daniel sees this and it starts the whole thing again and we had to explain it all over again. He signs it and then we head to meet my dad for lunch at the buffet where we run into both of our waiters again. We joked with them a bunch and then my mom & I headed back down to cooking demonstration area where they were doing a little "lesson" on how to throw a dinner party. Really the whole thing ended up just being, how to set a table & then rest of the time was all about wine. Once it was done we headed straight over to the theater where Don "Ducky" Williams (the Disney illustrator for 30 years) was doing another presentation and raffling off all the sketches he drew while telling his story. The only reason we went was to hopefully win a sketch, as we had already heard his story. Of course, we didn't win one.
After that my parents went to see Toy Story 3 3D and I just headed to my room. It's been two weeks and my pedicure was suffering, so I painted my toe nails and finger nails. I know... pivotal information. After that I got ready for dinner and the show.  The show was very good. It was all about Walt Disney. It was cool how they did it. The used old footage and the cast to act out scenes. It was just really done well. I really love Walt Disney so I could listen to or watch stuff about him all day. Talk about an amazing man!
After the show we headed to dinner. I forgot to mention yesterday, as we headed to dinner we walked past one of the cruise director's staff. They are like the MCs of all the games and activities. They do all the parties and stuff like that. Well, I walk past one of them that really I had only seen from afar the whole cruise. Maybe twice we said hello in passing. Well, as I walked past him he said, "Hey Lisa". Talk about freaky. I have no idea how he could even figure out my name. Fast forward to tonight. We're headed to dinner and we pass by this same guy. As we walk by he goes, "Hello Rose". We are still completely miffed by this. If he wasn't so nice I'd really be freaked out by it. I mean there's 2,700 passengers on board. I have no idea how he knew our names. Anyway.
We headed to dinner where we were visited tonight by EVERY waiter we have made friends with on this cruise. Usually, we get one who comes to visit. Tonight our table was the place to be. The table next to us must think we're someone special or something 'cause of all our visitors. Tonight we saw them all. The one that was most special even came by. 
My family went on our first Disney cruise in 2007. We still remember and talk about our two waiters from that cruise. They were great. Well, our first day aboard when I went to that emergency drill by myself, my emergency drill leader was our assistant waiter from 2007. He remembered my face but couldn't picture my family. So this whole cruise we've been watching for him for my parents to see him, but he's in a different dinning rotation than us. So at dinner we'd talk to Renaldo about him. Renaldo of course knows him (he knows everyone & has a nickname for everyone). So we had told Renaldo that we still hadn't seen Raphael (Renaldo calls him a ninja turtle- cause of the name & he's always working out). So tonight we're eating dinner and Renaldo tells us to please wait that he has a special character coming just for us. Now, we're on a Disney cruise. Characters sometimes show up in the restaurant towards the end and do a little show. We just assumed it was that. As time went on and guests were leaving we realized that it wasn't that. Then some of the other waiters came over to visit and the one who spilled the coffee, Pierre, brought me a surprise. He drew a Mickey out of chocolate syrup and sprinkles. It was pretty impressive. (I took a picture) Then using Ketchup he "painted" an Ariel and Mickey in a car. It was very funny. So we thought that was it. We had literally talked to every waiter we knew, including Daniel. Next thing we know we see Renaldo (our assistant waiter) walking in with Raphael, our assistant waiter from 2007. Renaldo went downstairs and brought him up for us. It was like seeing family. As soon as he saw my parents (Really. How could you ever forget my dad??) He remembered us right away & it was like we were just with him on our first cruise. He was hugging and kissing us. Asking us how we were doing. Picking on my dad. It was really nice. We sat and talked with him for a while, and the other waiters were still coming to visit too. So our head waiter, "Z" (the dry one who looks & sounds half asleep all the time) comes over and jokes with us about everyone coming to visit our table and how we even have waiters from other rotations & restaurants coming to see us. It was great.
We left dinner pretty late- there was maybe 5 other families in the entire restaurant. I of course headed right for bed. Tonight was the first time in 5 consecutive days, 6 total, that we didn't have to turn our clocks back. That was a weird feeling. 
Talk to you soon!   

PS- After coming back to my room, I keep a dry erase while board on my door for communication with my parents really. I had a note saying, "See you tomorrow. Cabin 753?". My cabin is 7543, so apparently someone down the hall is planning to see me tomorrow, Too bad for them I'm allergic to strangers. Just kidding. (no I'm not)                         

Day 14: 4 of 5 consecutive sea days.

Today was our 4th day at sea straight. We have slowed down to only 16 knots and the seas are beautiful. The sea is getting calmer each day- if that's even possible. I have never experienced such calm seas. The weather is gorgeous! It's hotter today. Everyday they tell us the high is 77 but today was definitely hotter than yesterday. There's not a cloud in the sky. Today we saw two boats which was weird and way too exciting. We also saw a bird. We think it hitched a ride with us or something. 
I started today at a refreshing 5:30am. I woke up wide awake, so I got dressed and met my dad for breakfast. I had a bowl of cereal and some fruit. It felt like I ate a whole lot more than that! I have completely lost my appetite. I'm never hungry and nothing ever even sounds good. So to say I'm sick of food is an understatement. It's disappointing too, 'cause the food is amazing. After breakfast my dad & I headed to get some chairs for the day. My mom was still down in her room and had my laptop held hostage so I told her to bring it up with her when she came up. It had been quite a while since she said she was coming so I went to call her to see what was going on. She told me she'd be up in less than 5 minutes. 
Twenty minutes later my mom joined us up by the pool. I didn't see my computer. She set her beach bag down on the table and I felt a thud. She opens her beach bag and pulls my computer out- it's not even in a case or anything. I was a little put off by that, as I treat my laptop like my child. I didn't say anything & decided to let it go. So she pulls out my computer and hands it to me. She continues to go through her bag like she's searching for something. The next thing that happened is so shocking and upsetting for me that I don't know that I can even safely type about it. It's only been 24 hours, but we'll give it a shot. Let me start by saying that my has got to be the smartest person I know. She is unbelievable. She's never studied a day in her life and yet she would ace every test she would take. She's real quick on her feet and really just brilliant. 
However. There are moments that she really makes me at a loss for words. This was one of those moments. After pulling my almost $2,000 laptop out of her beach bag where it was being banged around by her books, sunglasses & personal fan for her "private summer" moments, she pulls out, no joke, an OPEN container of milk. You know, the ones that you use to get in school- the cardboard type ones. The ones that don't seal shut, rather fold semi-closed. Yeah, that's the one. I nearly fell of the chair when I saw it. I was speechless. I am just dying to know where exactly her thoughts were when she thought it would be a good idea to carry an electronic, an expensive electronic that doesn't even belong to her, in her beach bag, with an open, flimsy carton of milk, walking up stairs on a moving ship!! Oh, to be in her mind for a day. I mean really. I digress.
After I calmed myself, I began to catch up on the two days of blogging I had fallen behind on while my lactose intolerant computer was being tortured by my mother. After that it was about time to head to the cooking demonstration. Today was a monkfish, tomato soup. We were met at "our table" by our favorite head waiter(dining room manager, we later found out), Daniel. He was holding our table for us. We've got connections. He told us how all the waiters were mocking the solemner (wine guy) because he paired a wine with our soup, which apparently in the wine world is never done. I don't know a thing about wine, so Daniel was explaining that no one ever pairs a wine with a soup. So at the moment that the solemner was doing his wine presentation Daniel was rolling his eyes, laughing & making faces at us. It was hysterical and it was even funnier because my mom & I were right in the front so the wine guy & waiters could see we were in on the mocking. Normally they do the wine presentation last, but the chef had him do it first. It was obvious he felt the same way about wine with soup. The soup was good. It was a cream soup, which I like, although I normally don't care for tomato soup. The recipe calls for a shot or two of an anise flavored liquor but on the recipe it just said a name brand of it, so no one knew what it was. The chef couldn't figure out how to explain it (he speaks very broken English) so he had the waiters start pouring shots of this stuff for everyone to taste. My mom knew what it was, 'cause she grew up drinking it every Sunday after dinner, just she knew it as something else. So she raised her hand and asked the chef if it was the same thing. He was all excited that she knew & said yes. He then said what you'd know it as if you were greek and the rest of the crowd did a collective "ooooh". My mom was so proud of herself. We still got to try it though. I passed, even though it was really watered down. I don't like black licorice and that's exactly what it tastes like. 
After that we headed back to our seats in the sun were we found my dad sweating to death saving our seats. He immediately headed into the pool, but my mom & I stayed at the seats and people watched for the rest of the afternoon. I still can't believe how long I sat perfectly content not doing a single thing- I didn't even read! It was nice... until... my mom and I watched in horror as a man sneezed just about every bodily fluid out of his mouth, nose, ears-  you name it. He looked like a geyser. It was without a doubt the most disgusting second of my life. I won't go into detail, but believe me- it was awful. It looked straight out of the movie alien. The man didn't have a tissue or anything and he was seated in one of our favorite cushioned chairs. Immediately my mom and I both began to count the chairs to figure out that it was chair number 5 from the start so that we knew never to sit in that infested chair. 
I headed back to my room early and watched another classic, Honey I Shrunk the Kids, as I got ready for dinner. Tonight's show was a magician that was very good... for a magician. I'm not impressed by magicians. All it is is slight of hand and good props & distractions. I'm not saying it's easy to do, but I'm not really impressed by them. He was really sarcastic though so it was a good time. After the show we headed to dinner where we had another hysterical night. I really can't do it justice on what goes on at dinner that's so funny. You really have to be there. Tonight, however, one of the waiters shared something with us that had us dying. A fellow waiter is a little feminine (that's an understatement). He is stationed at the section next to us and our waiter is known for stealing. He forgets to fill his water pitchers so he steals theirs. Well, tonight he heads over there to steal his water pitcher and the feminine one catches him. So our waiter scurries away over to us laughing. He then tells us what he calls guys like him. He said he calls them a "Shwee" because they're not sure what he is... a he... or a she... "shwee". It was funny, but how he explained it to us was priceless. You had to be there. So now we're practically crying we're laughing so hard and then the "shwee" now walks over. Now we have been on here quite some time but we had only seen him from a far, so we had really never noticed. Well, he comes over to us while we're still laughing at our waiter & begins to tell us how our waiter is known on the ship to all the 100s of waitstaff as "the little thief". He goes on and on about our waiter. I have never in my life talked to such a famine man and now add on top if it we're still trying not to laugh from our waiter's explanation. I have never tried to hold in my laugh as hard as I did at that moment. Needless to say we laughed through our entire dinner. 
After that I was way too tired to stay up so I headed to bed. I think my mom did too. I don't know. Tomorrow is our 5th sea day straight and then we go to St. Maarten. 
Talk to you guys later.

Day 13: 3 of 5 consecutive sea days.

Before beginning I need to do a little housekeeping... or should I say "mousekeeping"? 
This is the post for our 3rd day at sea. I fell behind due to my mom taking my laptop hostage for two days, so I'm posting both today. Be sure to read day 12 (below) before reading this one. Also, just wanted to take some time to thank everyone for all the great feedback both on this blog & on facebook. I love hearing from you guys & I'm glad you're enjoying reading my rambling... and seeing my pictures. I haven't posted any new pictures since getting on board but I promise once I'm in the great ol' USA again, I'll post the rest. Now onto the show.
Today was out 3rd day at sea straight- our 5th (i think) all together. Today I woke up at a bright and early... wait for it... 6am. I got ready and skipped breakfast all together. I headed right up to the pool to get a seat. The only issue we've been having this trip is chair hogs. You are not allowed to save seats so if you complain it's not a problem, but it's still annoying. There are people who get up before 6am, go out and put a book & towel on a seat & then you never see them again. They save them just in case. So by the time I get up there at 8am all the seats are taken. It's unreal. The worst part is, that the best loungers right by the pool are all taken by people fully dressed with no intentions of even going into the pool. The good thing though, is that it's been getting hotter so those people are fleeing for some shade and AC. So I got out here and got a pretty nice chair, where I stayed until, you guessed it, 11:15am for another cooking demonstration. This time it was dessert. (actually yesterday was the dessert & today was the veal- my bad). Anyway. The dessert was really good. I don't remember the name of it but it was berries with like a custard over it. Kinda like creme brulee (spelling?) but not. It was really good. After that my mom & I met my dad for lunch at the buffet. Do you see a pattern here? After that my mom & I headed back to the cooking demonstration area (Studio Sea) for a tea tasting. I'm not a fan of tea so I thought it'd be a perfect way to try some teas other than Lipton to see if there were any I liked. When we got there that adorable waiter I told you about, Daniel from Peru, was waiting for us and told us that he set "our table" for us. It was cute. He stayed at our table and talked with us about cruising, his home country & a really bad storm they hit in the Mediterranean. It was the worst sea conditions any of the staff had ever seen. They had to close the top two outside decks, as well as the promenade deck (deck 4) due to the winds on the top two decks & the promenade deck had waves crashing on it!!! The ship was rocking so much that the passengers weren't allowed to carry coffee or tea for fear of them burning themselves so the crew had to carry it for them. The ship rocked so much that if you raised your leg like you were walking up a set of stairs, taking steps two at a time, the ship would meet you leg in the air- if that makes sense. It's hard to explain. It was just amazing. Then Daniel went on to say that he was desperate to get out there to surf the waves! He said he's surf on a chair if he had to. I was happy I wasn't on that sailing. After our little chat, the tea tasting started. I found through it that I still don't like tea. It was very interesting though. If you have any questions about tea- I'm your gal. Next we headed back outside to read & relax by the pool. My mom went to see a movie, The Last Song, which she hated, and my dad went to the spa where he got a $35 buzz cut. I headed back to my room a little early as tonight is our 2nd formal night. It's optional but I love getting dressed up so I look forward to it. My dad wore his tux again and looked snazzy as ever. We headed to the show tonight which was a tribute to some of the Disney music. I love the music from Disney movies so I really was looking forward to it. Unfortunately it was pretty cheesy, they sang the least popular songs & they changed them and mixed them. It was just all wrong. It was still a nice time though. After that we headed to one of the lounges to listen to a swing/jazz band that were really good & the piano player complimented my dress so I really liked them. After sitting their for a while we headed to the best dinner so far, not so much due to food, but due to our waiters. They were hysterical tonight. We laughed so hard my throat was horse by the time we left. Then our friend Daniel came by & he started picking on my dad for not coming with us to the tastings and that started a whole other round of jokes & laughing. It was a good time. As we left Daniel told us he "had our reservation" for tomorrow's tasting and that if anyone tried to sit at "our table" he'd take care of it. Did I mention how adorable he is?? After that we headed back to our rooms to change out of our formal wear and headed up to deck 9 to watch Pirated of the Caribbean under the stars on the giant tv screen by one of the pools.
I made it to about halfway through the movie and had to call it a night. I headed to bed but first moving my clock back another hour! This is getting crazy. I have an alarm clock, wall clock & wrist watch in my room. I usually am so tired I only change the alarm clock and then sometimes I remember my watch and  then usually it takes me a while to get around to the wall clock, so most of the cruise my three clocks all have different times, So I turn on the tv to find out the actual time. It's a lot of work to be on vacation!
Talk to you guys soon!

Day 12: 2 of 5 consecutive sea days.

Another day at sea is complete. At the start of this day we were 1,346 nautical miles from our last sight of land, Madeira and 1,384 nautical miles from our next sight of land, St. Maarten. We haven't seen any birds, bugs, or anything living (other than people, of course) since Madeira. Actually my dad did see some flying fish, but other than that- nothing. It seems a little a weird. It really brings to life "big fish, small pond". Everywhere you look, as far as you can see is water, for two days straigh now & we still have three more to go. Since we are so far out the satelites for the TVs are out & internet is at a crawl & at time just not available. The weather has been absolutely gorgeous & the seas have been calm- thank you Jesus! The staff are amazed at how calm the Atlantic is. The high today was 77 degrees and it was sunny all day. There is a constant breeze (probably due to the fact that we're on a moving ship) that keeps you comfortable in the sun. We have had no sea sickness at all- my mom isn't even wearing those dumb wrist bands that she normally wears every other cruise she's ever been on- that's how calm the seas are. It's been great!
My day today will read pretty close to yesterdays (and tomorrows- I fell a little behind again). I was up at 6am. Every day, no matter what, I'm up at 6am. We gained another hour last night, but I still wake up at 6am. It's weird. You will never have a better night sleep than on a cruise ship in an inside stateroom. I think the combination of pitch black (what does that even mean?!) and the rocking put you in such a deep sleep- it's magical! I had a relaxed morning getting ready. I headed over to my parents room to find my mom. Apparently, my dad has been sleeping REALLY well. He woke up today wide awake at 4am, so he went & did laundry. Can we say OCD? So I had breakfast with my mom in her room, then we headed out to one of the top decks and found a chair to sit and read in, while my dad went to another lecture- I have no idea what it was on. We stayed there until 11:15am when it was time for another cooking demonstration. This time is was Osso Bucco- I have no idea how to spell it. What kind of an Italian am I?? It was a veal shank and it was incredible. It's been the same staff at it each time so we've gotten to know them & they've gotten to know us. Every time we've gone so far we sit in the same table. So today one of the head waiters that had been friendly with us from the beginning welcomed us back. He's absolutely adorable. He reminds me of an ex of mine- just he's not a jerk. What a concept. My mom loves him too. After the cooking demonstration we headed back out to sit and read (sleep). Then we had lunch and my mom & I headed back to the area where the cooking demonstrations are held. This time it was a tasting like the oil & vinegar but on cheese. We had an amazing selection. The paper is down in my room (I'm sitting in a chair in the sun looking out at the beautiful ocean) so I don't remember all of them, but my favorites were the brie & a cream cheese that had herbs and garlic in it. Wow, was it good! We also tried a Gorgonzola and I nearly died. So gross! That was the strongest blue cheese I have EVER encountered. I can't imagine anyone voluntarily eating it. Ew. 
After the tasting we headed back up for some more time in the sun. Then we headed to see an absolutely adorable movie that I suggest everyone go see, You Again. It's put out by one of Disney's sister companies, so we got to have it on the ship the day it came out in theaters in the states. Go see it!! It's too cute. After the movie we headed to get ready for dinner & the show. Tonight's show was a comedian/impersonator who at times was cheesy but had some funny moments. One of his best moments was when he did the whole scene from the Indiana Jones movie &/or stunt show at Disney World with the entire audience participating. It was the scene where he steals the little gold statue & the giant ball comes rolling after him. It was very funny. He gave one side of the theater straws and instructed them to shoot the straw wrapper at him as he ran up that aisle. Then he got 6 kids from the audience, lines them up in the middle aisle that goes across the theater and gave them those swimming noodles to beat him with as he ran by them. Then our side of the theater had to throw our hands up & back as he ran by us. The reason being you may ask. He had a giant inflatable ball that they sent flying down the audience at him. It was really clever... and funny too. 
After that we headed to dinner where I was so sick of food (I know, can you believe it??) that I didn't finish a single thing that was put in front of me. I just feel so full all the time. I can't remember what it feels like to be hungry. I have started to skip breakfast and now I'm even thinking of doing the unthinkable- skip dessert. I'll keep you updated on that pressing matter.
After dinner my dad called it a night, but my mom & I stayed up for their version of the newlywed game, Match Your Mate, that started at 10:45pm in one of the adult only lounges. Priceless. They had a couple married 5 months, 22 years & 52 years. It was hysterical. The couple married 52 years won. They were traveling with their adult children and when the classic question, "Where is the strangest place you've ever 'discovered the magic' " came the adult son threw up his arms & yelled, "That's it I'm leaving". It was very funny. 
After the love fest we called it a night.         

Day 11: 1 of 5 consecutive sea days

Another day in the books. Before I start on today I must first correct an error. The ship is moving at 20 knots not "nautical mile per hour" or whatever it was I said. I don't even know where that came from. Like 10 minutes after I posted that it hit me what I wrote. I guess I'm just a little too relaxed. Anyway.
Today is our 1st day at sea of 5 straight. No land in sight & haven't even seen another ship. We are moving at 20.9 knots (27 is full speed). The high today was 77 degrees and overcast at times. We are 776 nautical miles from Madeira and 1,854 nautical miles from our next stop, St. Maarten. The sea depth is 17,100 feet- that's like 3 miles! Pretty scary huh? The best part was today sitting in the lobby of a cruise ship, sailing the Atlantic, a guy walks by with a t-shirt, "Titanic Swim Team 1912". Priceless. 
I woke up today pretty early just like every day. It's weird. Each night we're changing the time but each morning I'm still waking up at 6am. I got up today and wrote my blog, checked e-mail and got ready. I'm starting to get sick of food, so I just had a bowl of cereal in my room. Seriously it's so much food! At 10am my dad went to a lecture on cruising where he learned that the average person gains 7lbs on a cruise. God help me. The average cruise is a week- we're on for two! I feel like I've gained about 300 lbs so at this point I'd be happy with just 7lbs. 
While my dad was at that lecture my mom & I sat by the pool. It's warm out but there is a very strong, cool breeze. I sat with a towel over my legs and another around my shoulders. I was really getting into my book, so when it was time to meet my mom & dad for the next cooking demonstration, Saffron Risotto, I decided just to skip it and stay by the pool. I sat by the pool and read 5 chapters on my Kindle- love that thing! While I was there all bundled up one of the top officers walked by and apparently I looked pretty pathetic because he offered me a blanket. It's really warm, except if you're sitting in the shade & in the breeze, which I was 'cause it seemed to become overcast once I got out there. 
My parents finished up with the cooking demonstration so we all headed to get some lunch. After lunch my mom and I headed to a "tasting" while my dad headed up to the top deck forward to read for a while. My mom & I went to an oil and vinegar tasting. It was really cool. If you've ever been to a wine tasting or beer flight it was just like that just with oil and vinegar. They had three oils for us to try and three vinegars. We had bread to dip in each to try. They told us all about oil first and then vinegar. They taught on how to pick a good quality one, what not to by & when to use and not use each type. It was really cool and we got to try a really good oil- lemon olive oil. It was so good! You can buy it like that or make it yourself. Just put some lemon rind in olive oil in the refrigerator for 10 - 14 days and then remove it from the refrigerator. You don't want to cook with this, rather drizzle it over a salad or some fish. Really good. Another tidbit is to never store oil in the refrigerator just keep it on the counter.
After that they had a special guest, Paige from Extreme Makeover Home Edition. She was supposed to tell us a bunch of backstage secrets and stuff like that. It ended up being the most nauseating thing ever- and it had nothing to do with the sea conditions. She was obnoxious and needed a taste of humble pie. The whole hour all we heard was her talk about herself. The ONLY interesting fact we learned was that they actually makeover two homes at the exact same time. When Ty goes to his "secret room" he's actually flying on a plane over to the other house they're working on and filming over there. That's why many of the episodes have different designers. The homes are built in 5 days, they have 1 day to decorate and 1 day for filming. Some of the crew show up 3 weeks early, secretly, to work with the town officials to get permission, permits, close roads etc. They sometimes will choose a house but if the neighbors don't give an okay, or the town, they can't do it. The families are surprised, but with all that stuff going on their bound to know, so they're told they're one of five families and that they'll find out whether they're picked on XX day- that's why they already have microphones on. All that information is all I got from the hour long love fest- she really loves herself. Saturday she is going to do a questions and answers hour, so I think I'll go. It will be interesting to see how she turns each question back to herself.
After that I went to my room to take a nap. The rocking of the boat was really making me sleepy so I figured why fight it. I ended up sleeping on and off until it was time to get ready for the show and dinner. Tonight's show was a brand new one, Villains Tonight. It was cute. The beginning was pretty cheesy but the second half was much better. There were some pretty funny moments. My parents weren't fans, because "the villains are supposed to be bad not liked". They're really sounding old huh? I love traveling with them, but my God did they get old. Literally, no exaggerating, everything I say this entire trip I have to repeat 'cause one of the two of them (or both!) didn't hear me. You wanna talk about working on your patience... try having to say everything twice for 10 days and still not loose it. I deserve a medal! I think I'm going to buy them souvenirs for this trip - matching hearing aids. 
After the show we headed to dinner. I feel like the portions are getting bigger and bigger each night. The only thing I finished was my appetizer. I couldn't finish my salad, entree or even dessert. After dinner I was a lazy bum again and just headed to bed. I don't know what it is, but I just am so sleepy by the time I'm finished dinner. Now our dinner time is the late seating, so we go at 8:30pm and by the time we're done it's 10pm. So it's not like I'm going to bed super early but still. I feel old. Oh, God! I think I'm spending too much time with my parents- they're rubbing off on me. Next I'm going to start not being able to hear anything. Great!

Have a good night. 

Day 10: Madeira

Back again and hopefully the situation with my blog is fixed. I heard back from some of my loyal readers that it was very difficult to see my posts since posting via e-mail. Luckily, it was while I was in port, so I was able to actually log into my blog & fix it. Since I was short on time I just did a quick fix. I'm not happy with the look of it, but I'd rather my readers be able to see what I'm writing. I'll fix it once I'm in Fl.

So today was our day in Madeira, Portugal. This port I wasn't too interested in but it ended up being my favorite... well, out of Spain, Portugal & Gibraltar that is. Nothing this trip will top Ireland. Anyway. It was a beautiful country! It's basically an island off the coast of Portugal and it's basically like one big mountain with houses built into it. All the building by law have to be painted either white or cream and have to have these orange(ish) tile roofs. It's just gorgeous. It reminded us a lot of Hawaii. It had the same look. The island is basically a giant lava mountain, so it has all the gorgeous flowers and lush green trees. Just beautiful. This port I had hired a private taxi tour guide named Carlos. He had to be our best tour guide this trip- which was good for many reasons. The roads were tiny & straight up. The highest we went was 3,000 feet above sea level and we could have still gone higher. These roads were a car sickness person's worst nightmare. I got a little sick on the way up. It was still worth it though. The best part is how we started the day. Madeira is known for their toboggans. These are giant whicker basket sleds that they use to carry goods up and down the mountain with. Now they use these for rides for the tourists. Two men are dressed in white paints, stripped shirts & whicker hats. They stand on the backs of the sleds and use their feet for the brakes and steering. They wear shoes with giant rubber soles. We decided we'd go for the ride. That was probably the scariest thing I have ever done! I had seen it on youtube and it looked so nice and peaceful. Not so much. We were doing about 20 mph in a whicker basket going straight down these winding streets- that cars were still driving on! Worst part- we would cross intersections as we were flying down this mountain! I took video of the entire ride and the best part is my mom screaming the whole way down. You could probably hear her back at home. The guys "driving" the sled were having fun with her. The one behind her would say, "Okay, Bye, bye now." Then my mom would freak out. He'd laugh. Then while she was screaming he would say, "Mama mia.". She'd freak out more. It was hysterical. The best part though was when we're flying down this mountain freaking out & he assures her, "Don't worry... this is my first day...... No, no, it's actually my second." He was hysterical and so was she. We were in a 3 person one and so apparently it's harder to control the bigger ones, so the worst part was to keep the weight balanced we had to have the lightest part of the basket first. Yeah, so I was sitting on the left side of the basket, so we rode the majority of the time sideways- me first! It felt like we were going to tip the whole time. Then our tour guide came driving by- passing us laughing hysterical. Then for a good portion of it we had a truck driving behind us. It was quite the experience. They also take your picture as you're riding which is a sight to see. My mom is smiling, I'm in the middle of saying the word "picture" and my dad looks like he's about to have a heart attack. Priceless. I'll post it once in Florida. 

After we cheated death via whicker, we headed back up the mountain to see the 2nd highest cliff in the world- the highest in Europe. Talk about scary. It took me about 5 minutes to ease myself all the way up the the edge. My dad made it about 5 feet from the edge and then disappeared. He didn't do well on this Island as he's afraid of heights and that's all it was. It was a great tour and we really enjoyed it- well my mom & I did. I think my dad's eyes were closed the entire 4 hour tour.

We headed back on the ship after the tour to have some lunch. After that we all found a comfy chair out by the pool. They slept while I wrote up the two days I was behind for the blog, fixed the blog's text issues and wrote some post cards. Carpal tunnel- table for one.

After that I have no clue what my parents did, but I headed back to my room where I watched a classic that I haven't see since I was a kid- The Mighty Ducks. What a blast from the past! After the great movie I got ready for dinner. Tonight's theater entertainment was a hypnotist comedian. I wanted no part in that, so I just had a more relaxed time getting ready for dinner. I will never forget what a family friend of ours said about hypnotists- "If you're not in control of your body, then who is?" No thank you. I wanted no part in it.

Dinner was great. Our waiters are hysterical- Renaldo from the Philippines especially. We left Madeira tonight and we're really booking. The seas have been like glass so far, but we've been going pretty slow so far. Now that we've started our journey across the atlantic we're moving quick. Right now we're going 20 nautical miles (per hour?). The ship's max speed is 26 or 27 nautical miles. So we're feeling that we are actually on a ship for the first time. It's not bad at all and we've had worse. We're hoping that this is all it will be, but we're ready for worse. At dinner we started taking ginger tablets just in case and we also have ginger hard candies. Normally any other cruise isn't like this and we never really take anything- however the Atlantic Ocean is not even close to cruising in the Mediterranean or Caribbean. The Atlantic is where hurricanes are born. You never know what type of seas you're going to get. 

After dinner I was pretty tired. The movement of the ship is very "calming". It's kinda like being rocked to sleep. So I headed to bed and I think my mom did too. My dad stayed up to see the other comedian. Tonight before bed we got to move our clocks back another hour. I could get use to this. 

Talk to you guys soon!

Day 9: 2nd Day at Sea

Our second day at sea and boy was it great! I woke up pretty early again. I took my time getting ready and then met my parents for breakfast around 9:30am. After our relaxed breakfast my dad was off to a lecture about Madeira, Portugal- our port of call tomorrow. My mom and I sat outside the adult only coffee cafe and talked... and then dozed off... and then talked. I went in the coffee cafe and ordered a cafe mocha with an extra flavoring of chocolate. For those who don't know- it's 1/3 coffee & chocolate & 2/3 steamed milk, then I added the extra chocolate flavoring and then they top it off with whipped cream & more chocolate. I got the large to share with my mom. Really I just wanted to try it and figured she'd drink most of it. I took one sip & nearly died. There was no taste of chocolate AT ALL. I added sugar... still terrible! How do you guys drink that stuff??? I can't imagine drinking it black! My mom tasted it and said it was the best cup of coffee she had ever had, while I sat in the chair next to her gaging. Sometimes I feel like I'm still 10 and this was one of those moments. I am almost 25 & I still don't drink coffee. I figure if I've made it this long, why bother starting- especially if it tastes like THAT.

After our terrible/wonderful cup of tar we headed to one of the clubs to see the first of many cooking demonstrations. The executive chef of Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom & Downtown DIsney is onboard just for these series. Today's was an appetizer. It was yellow fin tuna (rare) with a mixed salad & ginger dressing. I was really excited 'cause this was the perfect opportunity to try yellow fin tuna without wasting it or money. So he taught us how to make it and it was really quite simple since it's basically served raw. We each got a portion of the appetizer, a glass of wine and a print out of the recipe to take home. We were shocked that we enjoyed the tuna as much as we did. The thought of raw tuna is just gross to me but it was really good. Not fishy at all, like I expected it to be. I think the fish & chips I had in Ireland was more fishy.

Next all three of us headed to the theater where they were starting the first of many meets of Desperate Shipmates. It's basically like the board game or movie, Clue. It's like a mystery dinner show, but it's going to go on all cruise. Today's was for us to meet the characters & watch as the scientist and his invention went missing. We met all the possible culprits and now throughout the cruise we will be given clues throughout the ship & at meets like this one until we can figure out what happened to the scientist & his invention. The cast were real funny so it should be interesting.

After that, since DIsney owns ABC, they were screening the new tv show, No Ordinary Family. It's just like a real life Incredibles. A family who all have their own superpowers. You guys don't get to see it until next week, but they're treating us to it early. I had actually already seen the first episode from a research study I was a part of. After seeing it I knew my dad would love it. It has that actor, I think he was from the tv show, The Shield, Michael Chickless?? I have no idea how to spell it, but I think that's him. Anyway. So my dad headed there while my mom headed to the room for a nap & I went on my computer for a bit. (trying to get caught up on my posts.) We met up with my dad after the showing for lunch. He loved the new show, like I knew he would. We had a nice light lunch. After lunch my mom headed to see a movie, When in Rome, while my dad & I sat and watched the ocean go by. While we were sitting there we saw a pack... school... family... (whatever) of dolphins playing in the ocean. There were some jumping at least 3 feet out of the ocean. I was lucky enough to catch it on video, BUT you'll have to wait until I get to FL to see it, as Internet is hit & miss here. 

After we saw our little show by the dolphins we decided we'd head back and get ready for the show and dinner. Tonight's show was a family from Barcelona that danced, sang & played instruments. I was so glad we made it to our dancing show while we were in Barcelona 'cause this show tonight was disappointing. It didn't feel "Spanish" at all. The beginning half they were dressed in the outfits but danced to a track of classical music. When they finally started playing their own music and singing in the Spanish style we were over it. On top of that, their guys had to use a cane to help with the sound of the "stomping" where at our show it was just with his feet & it was incredibe. Basically, our show felt very raw & authentic, where this show felt very "It's a small word" touristy. Hope that made sense.

Next we headed to dinner, were we had another great meal with our great waiters. There was some sort of an adult show tonight but it was more of a scavenger hunt that just sounded awkward. I'm not they type to join in & act like an idiot- I'm more of the "sit in the background & watch" type. So I headed to bed.

Day 8: The Rock of Gibraltar

<body bgcolor="#FFFFFF">Today was an early morning. We had a tour booked with the cruise lines to drive up to the top of the Rock of Gibraltar and see the caves inside. We had to meet for our tour in the theater at 7:45am. I received a phone call at 7:20am from my mom saying that they never got their wake up call. So they were a little cranky by the time I had met up with them at the theater. We were on our way driving up the Rock by 8am. What a sight! We had a very nice tour guide. He took us to see the straight of Gibraltar before heading up the Rock. After seeing that we began our scary ascend up the Rock. Now I had picked this tour so we would not have to go up via the cable car- this wasn't much better! We're talking tiny, winding roads up this mountain with no guardrails! Then this one woman was being a little loud with her fears so the driver began to "check his breaks". Like to give my mom a heart attack. I was lucky enough to be sitting on the side looking straight down with no guard rails. How'd that happen?? Anyway. Once we got up there it was gorgeous and the caves were amazing. Once we had gotten out of the caves the Apes had woken up & just finished breakfast. Gibraltar is known for these 300 or so apes that live on the Rock. They were hysterical to watch & I even got some of the babies playing in the trees on video. I also got some pictures and video of one of the older males hamming it up for the cameras. They are amazingly intelligent animals. They steal cameras, sunglasses & food especially. There was one family who went in the gift shop, bought and ice cream, walked out of the store & before they could even open the ice cream one of the Apes came along & stole the ice cream right out of their hands! Very funny. After we played around with the apes we headed back down the Rock. We went into town and shopped for a while and then it started to rain. It's incredible. We were in Ireland for 3 days and barely saw any rain & basically had sunny days all three days. Every other country we've visited, we've seen rain. Go figure. Rather than walk back in the rain we took a taxi to the ship. We got back on board and then had some lunch. After lunch my dad headed on a tour of his own back up on the Rock. This tour went inside all the WWII tunnels and showed how they lived and survived WWII. He really enjoyed it. Meanwhile my mom sat in the shade by the coffee cafe while I headed to the adult only pool. We each stayed there until it was time to get ready for our show and dinner tonight. 

Tonight was a very special show starting at 6:45pm. It was like being at a Jonas Brothers concert... just for 50 and 60 year olds. They had a special Beatles cover band. That was an experience. I like the Beetles music. I don't however like to watch 300+ old people shaking their hips. Ugh. I tell you, I was okay with the first 299 people, but that 300th hip shaker just put me over the edge. Add on top of that, I was sitting next to my mother- Beatle Mania President and CEO. Apparently she didn't get the memo "cover band". About every 10 seconds she'd lean over & tell me just how much these guys were just like the Beatles down to how they stood & everything. I thought they were great, however, I was not born in the year of the Soda Fountain & Poodle Skirt, therefore I really had nothing to compare it to. After the show was over I did some research. Aside from the 300 elbow nudges from my super excited mother- I found out from other passengers (without direct communication of course!) that they were extremely accurate and everyone in the room that was 50+ felt like they were 13 again. They really were good, 'cause they sounded just like my ipod! I really enjoyed them, especially when they sang one of my favorite songs of all time, Hey Jude. 

After the early bird special we headed to dinner. It was another amazing dinner aboard the Magic. They had an adult only show by the juggler, but non of us were really interested so we just headed to bed. Even better than heading to bed at only 10pm was that it was actually 9pm. Today was the first of our six 25 hour days!! Tonight before bed we had to set our clocks back an hour. It's like Christmas! 

Day 7: 1st day at sea.

Today was our first sea day on the ship. Since we had brunch scheduled for 11am today we figured we'd just have a lazy morning and sleep in. Then I realized that I was officially old. Sleeping in for me is waking up at 7:30am. I later found out that my dad was up real early too. He was out walking the deck while my mom slept until 9:30am. It's really weird when your parent starts sleeping in later than you. Anyway. I woke up at 7:30am and had a semi relaxed time getting dressed and ready for Palo. I say semi relaxed because there is one part of cruise that I detest. For those who don't know me too well... I am a ironing freak. I iron everyday, everything I wear. I even iron jeans & sweatshirts. On the ship irons are "not allowed" in the stateroom. Most ships have laundry rooms that have an iron in them, Disney does. However, there is almost always a line AND if you're an ironing professional, like myself, the thought of using a communal iron is overwhelming. Not happening. The only other options for ironing on board is to send them out. The prices aren't bad. Pressing service is half the price of dry cleaning. The dry cleaning on board is really cheap too... compared to NY at least. Shirts for dry cleaning are $3.50 & pants are $4.25 so to get a shirt pressed would be $1.75. The only problem is that even if I sent my stuff out yesterday & even paid extra for rush it would not make it by my 11am Palo reservation. What did I do? I brought my own travel iron. Yup, I did & I have for all 8 of my cruises. I have never gotten in trouble for it & I've never even been spoken to about it, even when I leave it out for my stateroom host to see. Now if you ask uptight cruising enthusiasts they would be stoning be right now, but they need to relax just a tad. It's an iron, not a bomb. Seriously. I've had people freak out on me about bringing my travel iron (with auto shut off) on board because I'm endangering their lives because I am now a fire risk. Meanwhile these people bring onboard flat irons. News Flash: That is exactly the same technology... but actually it's like you're bring two irons on! Shocking, I know. They'll also bring curling irons AND they'll smoke on board. I'm getting the evil eye over a travel iron while they're bringing matches on board. Yeah, okay. The best part is when they go on & on about how they're on vacation and they don't care what people think when they see them on wrinkles. Yada, yada, yada. Yeah, I don't care what people think of me at all, I do, however, want the pictures that I spent $400 on to look wrinkle free! I digress.
So I proudly took out my travel iron and it's like Disney even planned on people ironing in their room. They have a coffee table that goes up & down kinda like an ironing board. I lay a towel on that & presto... comforts of home. So I ironed a bunch of my stuff & managed to not burn down the ship in the process. Can you believe it?? That's talent! Then I headed off to meet my parents on the top deck, deck 10 aft (back), for our amazing brunch. Our waiter from last night, don't ask me to remember how to spell his name, was at the door waiting for us. He brought us to our table and then fun began! Palo brunch is probably, no it is, the best meal I have ever eaten! It's amazing. Basically the appetizers and desserts are buffet and then you order your main course and pizzas. This isn't your TGI Fridays though. The appetizers are things like fresh crab legs & claws (already cracked open) mozzarella & tomatoes, caviar, cheeses, all kinds of antipasti, scallops, danishes, stolen bread, hot cinnamon bun, then a bunch of stuff that I wouldn't even know the name of or how to spell. Then they bring you a pizza. We had the pesto, sausage. It was to die for, The pizza crust is paper thin... actually more like cardstock, but you get the idea. Then we ordered our entree. It was brunch so there were breakfast entrees & lunch entrees. They had pancakes with fresh whipped cream in between each one, a frittata (an open faced omelet) & then three different types of eggs benedict. I forget the names I think one was eggs julienne & that one had spinach, then the regular one & then one with salmon. My dad order the regular eggs benedict- so predictable. Then on the lunch side there is my personal favorite & what both my mom & I ordered, chicken parmesan on a bed of parmesan polenta. To die for. There were also other options... veal something, tuna, another type of fish, a veggie lasagna I think. I don't know. I wasn't really paying attention. I remembered that chicken parmesan from when I had it 3 years ago before even walking in, so I wasn't really paying attention. After all that amazing food it was time to eat more & have dessert back up at the buffet. I'm not going to even try and list them all. The ones I had were amazing!  
After Palo we rolled ourselves down to deck 3 aft for our special Disney Vacation Club Member Celebration. This ship holds 2,000 passengers, we're not full & we had 500 DVC members on board! So I guess we weren't the only ones who decided to go one this cruise for "free". At this "celebration" they have trivia for prizes, they tell you the deals they're offering if you add on more points and then we got to see a video of the newest DVC resort that is being built in Hawaii. The resort looks beautiful! I've been to the area they're building it and it's gorgeous! I can't wait for it to be done!      
After the DVC meet we headed back up to the room to change- we had to be in resort casual for Palo & didn't have the time to change before the DVC meet. After changing my mom & I headed to the Walt Disney Theater to see a pretty popular cast member do a talk. This guy is not just a cast member at Disney World, but a character illustrator. He's been drawing the characters for 30 years! You know the arch you go under once you are on Disney property? It had the fab 5. He drew all of those characters. He also has drawn every park map for the last 30 years. His name is Don "Ducky" Williams. He has to have the most amazing story of how he got the coveted job, starting with a letter to Walt when he was 10... & Walt actually wrote back! He still has the letter. Basically he told his story of becoming a cast member while drawing 16 different characters. At the end they raffled all 16 off. I of course did not win. Oh well.
After that we found my dad sleeping on a chair on the Promenade deck. We sent him to the movie theater to see Prince of Persia while my mom & I when to the future sales desk and booked a 4 day cruise on the brand new ship, the Disney Dream. We're going to sail out on October 23, 2011- my birthday! Booking onboard is always best because they give you all kinds of deals. By booking on board we only had to pay a $100 deposit versus $500. We also received onboard credit of $100 for this cruise & if I remember right some onboard credit for that cruise as well. It's a great deal and the bigger the cruise you book the more incentives you get. 
After that my mom & I attended the art auction. That's a fun experience even if you don't plan on buying anything. Next we headed back to our room to get ready for dinner & the show. Tonight is our first of 2 formal nights. To save on luggage (ha!) we rented my dad a tux on board. He looked so cute. We got all dolled up, went down & took some pictures, then went to the theater to see a b-way style show, Twice Charmed. It's a new take on the Cinderella story- what if both glass slippers broke. After the cute show we headed to see the pictures we had taken so far and I ordered the photo cd. 
Next it was on to dinner were we met our waiters. On the Disney ships there are three different main restaurants that you go to on a rotation at night. Each night you're in a different one but your waiters follow you. It's nice 'cause you get to know them. We have some fun waiters. We've been laughing non stop. Our head waiter (we call "Z" 'cause no one can pronounce his name) is really nice. Our assistant waiter is so much fun! His name is Renaldo and he has a laugh that is so funny. He could say something serious, but if he laughed after we'd all be hysterical! He's great! After our dinner we went up and changed and headed to the theater to see the ventriloquist do an adults only show. I thought he was funny when we saw him last night, but after tonight he has got to be the funniest comedian I have ever seen! Now I love comedians. My brother & I would go to tons of shows. We even saw Dane Cook at Caroline's in the city before he was known. We've seen a ton of comedians, but I have never laughed as hard AND been amazing by his talent so much! Youtube him or try and find his website- you won't be sorry. It was awesome. His name is Jimmy Tamley. He's from the UK. He was great and the best part was when his "puppet's" arm broke and the problem was it was a boxer and he was in the middle of a routine telling how he was boxing in a match. It was hysterical. Then as he's trying to continue with a boxer with only one arm working & then the puppet's shorts fell down. The whole place lost it including Jimmy Tamley. He was amazing on his feet. I think that's why I enjoyed him even more. He's truly funny- he doesn't just have a set, he can improvise amazingly. LOVED him! He has another show tonight but it's geared towards kids really and then he gets off the ship tomorrow. I'll be watching for him when I get home. 

A clip of Jimmy Tamley from our cruise...

After that it was time to call it a night. It was 12am and we have a tour with a meeting time of 7:30am tomorrow morning. We're going inside the Rock of Gibraltar!
Talk to you soon!