Day 8 & 9: Friday 5/6 & Saturday 5/7

My final day aboard the ship started much later than I planned. I slept the latest today than I had the whole trip. I woke up at about 8am and then dozed on and off until about 9:30am. Luckily my parents had already made it up to the pool by the time I had gotten there and saved our seats. I dropped off my stuff at the pool and went to get my usual two yogurts and a bowl a fruit. I tell you what... I’ve had about all I can take of yogurt. I feel like I’m on a baby food diet. Just call me the Gerber Baby. Ugh. So I picked out my yogurt, I was adventurous today... banana/strawberry, and headed back to the pool to eat my breakfast with my parents. 

I laid in the sun for the morning. It was really nice today. It was a sea day and the ship was moving a lot faster than it had all cruise so there was a constant breeze the whole day. With that breeze you never really felt the heat...well my dad & I didn’t feel the heat. My mom would be hot in the Ice Bar that’s kept at -17*. We laid there all morning until it was time to head for lunch. They had the restaurant by the adult pool open but my mom wanted to know if the main buffet had her beloved sausage and peppers again. So she decides that my dad and I need to go have lunch at the buffet and come back to let her know what’s there and then she’d either eat by the pool or have my dad go back with her to the main buffet. Whatever. As long as there was myself & food involved, other than yogurt, I’m there. This also worked out perfectly for my sneaky little plan.
Sunday is Mother’s Day and for the first time ever in my life I was at a loss for what in the world to get my mom. This is so unlike me. I love to give gifts. I think about what I can buy people all the time. I keep a running list in my head of all the things I can buy people & wait for the next holiday to come around. Don’t know why but I’ve always found more joy in finding someone the perfect gift rather than receiving one. So this was new for me. Before leaving home I had been talking to a friend of mine about how I was clueless as to what to get her & she suggested to wait and see if she points anything out while on the cruise. Perfect. The first day onboard my mom points out a Swarovski bracelet that she loves. So I look at my dad and give him a look as she’s flipping out over the bracelet. All I needed was my dad to offer to get her it, which 9 times out of 10 he’d do. She looks at it and says how cheap it is and I can see where this is going so I lied. I told her that the Swarovski shop in the Palisades mall has it cheaper. Not only did I lie but I played with her terrible memory and acted like she was their when we saw it in the shop. “Don’t you remember??” I know, I’m terrible, but I knew I’d really have to go all out otherwise if she walked away without it she would know that it was because I was buying her it. It worked. She quickly accepted my lie and moved on. Really it’s just too easy with my parents. Their memory is shot. I can get away with anything anymore. I figured I’d have more than the opportunity to sneak away from her during this weeklong cruise to secretly buy it. That was before I knew I’d be half dead for most of the cruise. So today was my first and last chance. I figured when my dad I went to lunch I would leave him, go down and buy it, put it in my safe, get my laptop and then meet back at the pool. My dad took extra time at the buffet once I left to have less time at the pool without me when he told my mom that I went to get my laptop. It worked perfectly. So I get the bracelet, head back to my room & then up to the pool. 
My mom ended up eating by the pool, my dad retreated for a cushioned chair & some AC and I sat in the shade and typed my blog. There’s no rest for the weary. After I finished up my blog, I sat in the sun for a little bit more and then headed back to my room for the usual routine... rest and get ready for dinner. We changed it up for dinner today. We went up to the buffet. Best decision ever. It was so much more relaxed. Not to mention... pretzel bread. All-you-can-eat pretzel bread. Need I say more?? It doesn’t take much to please me. Not only was there pretzel bread but there was entertainment. Unfortunately for everyone else the entertainment could only be enjoyed in my head. 
I walk into the buffet and I do my usual walk through the many stations of the buffet to decide what I’m going to eat. I turn the corner and what is the station right in front of me... a crepe station. So I stand there for a second taking in the crepe station and have a little chuckle as I’m standing there watching the chef folding the crepe. So I move on. I get my food and we find a table with a view of the crepe station. Every once in a while I glance over at the crepe station and can’t help but laugh as I watch him fold the piping hot crepes. So we’re sitting there eating, watching them make the crepes and one of the officers does his usual report over the PA system about how many nautical miles away we are, what speed we’re going, etc. He then goes on to say, “...if you look to out the starboard side you will see the closest land to us, Cuba...” That was it. That’s all it took. I was hysterical. All I could do was picture Kramer on the Seinfeld episode where he hires the Dominicans (that he teaches to be Cuban) to roll the crepes at the restaurant. I was dying. My parents had no clue what was wrong with me. “These Dominicans really know their way ‘round a crepe. Look at that. It’s like they’re rolling a double corona.” haha
After that fun we headed down to the lobby to watch a group perform but first I wanted to stop and find a new perfume. This is where any normal person would say their night went great, but me being me... this is where things went down hill for little Lisa. So we get to the store and my mom and I stand there and smell every perfume they had. No joke, every one. I have it narrowed down to two but I can’t decide. Enter bad influence... my mother. “Just get both.” I had already stood there sniffing both arms to figure out which I liked better for so long, that I decided she was right. So I get two new perfumes. One I’ve liked for a while DKNY Be Delicious and another that I’ve never heard of and have no clue how to pronounce, Issey Miyake L’eau D’issey. Anyone? Hope no one ever asks me what I’m wearing. I may have to carry the box in my purse just in case. So I buy my perfumes, drop them off in my room and then head the sports bar to watch the mets. I’m telling you, I’ve watched more met games out at sea than I have all season at home in NY. It’s crazy. I think I’ve seen all but two of the met games since I’ve been gone.
This is where it gets worse... or better, if you’re normal. Earlier when I was on my secret mission buying my mom her bracelet I was standing at the counter waiting to pay and it happens. Love at first sight. They were having a special watch sale and added quite a bit of new watches to the mix. There in the counter was the exact watch I have been looking for for almost a year. I’m not the typical girl when it comes to shopping. If you ask anyone in my family they’ll tell you just how specific I can be. I refuse to settle and I know what I want. If it’s not exactly it, then I don’t buy it. I’ve been watch-less for about a year now ‘cause I couldn’t quite find the right watch. My poor family endured an exhausting post-Christmas watch exchange in Macys that ended in my getting a gift card rather than exchanging the watch that wasn’t quite right that DE & Shanna had bought me for Christmas. Not their fault, they bought me the one I wanted but I hadn’t seen it in person, only online. When it arrived both DE & Shanna thought it was a man’s watch ‘cause it was so big. There was no way to tell online. Anyway. I’m standing there and I see the watch I’ve been looking for for at least the last year. Then I look at the price. It wasn’t $2,100 like the watch I saw on the first day, but it was still bad news. $525! Nope. Not happening. I loved this watch, but there was absolutely no way you could get me to spend that on myself. My mom would have to take my room key, lock me up & go buy it, cause I would never go through with it. So because this was a secret mission I couldn’t even talk about my amazing, but depressing, find. So while we were at the sports bar my mom notices that they are having a special sale and have moved a large selection to the hallway just outside the sports bar. They’re not dumb, the men are in enjoying the game with some beers while the woman are bored to tears. So they set up shopping right outside the sports bar. Genius. So my mom I head out there like the dumb cows being herded in to the...wherever they take the cows to chop them up?? So we get out there and what do I see... you guessed it. My precious watch. It’s on sale. Oh, for the love of all mankind. So I show my mom the watch that I “just noticed” and the lady behind the counter has it on me before I can blink. Oh, she was good. Well, if I wasn’t in love already... that was it. I HAD to have this watch. Like my mom HAD to have her sausage and peppers. I couldn’t do it though. I took off the watch and started to walk away, so good ol’ mom starts talking to the lady about the price. Two hundred dollars off... $325. Lalalalalalala...I can’t hear you. So I go back into the sports bar and sulk. Ms. bad influence comes back in and starts to tell me why I’m crazy not to buy it. I get the whole “you never buy yourself anything” speech, followed by the “it’s exactly what you’ve been looking for for over a year” speech & then she finished it with the “really, honey you’re going to be sorry if you don’t get it” speech. She was killing me. I look to my dad for help... that was pointless. He asked the details and then sided with my mom. I sat there another 20 minutes until I talked myself into buying it. Did I go buy it? Nope. I sat there some more. Finally, my mom did the whole, “give me your room key & I’ll go buy it for you” routine. I still wouldn’t budge, even though I had made up my mind to buy it. This is sick, I know. So after what seemed like forever, I finally got myself to get off the stool and go buy the dumb thing. I was ready to throw up. You think I’m joking, but really I was gonna either cry or throw up. So I went and bought the thing. I know. This reads like I was headed for the gas chamber or something. I just can’t make big purchases. I get so nervous. I know, shocking.
After the traumatic watch experience I needed to laugh, so we headed to one of the clubs where they were giving dance lessons, the cha cha. That would be fun to watch. So we get there a little early and get to witness one of the bar staff having a little fun with some karaoke. It was painful. The girl could not sing AT ALL. We were sitting like 5 feet from her and the only ones there at the time, so we had to hold it in. Oh, my gosh. Painful. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to hear Dido’s song “Thank You” ever again. It’s unfortunate, cause before today I really enjoyed that song. Next was the dance lessons. 12 people showed up for the class. 11 tiny, rail-thin asians... and my dad. HA! Actually 11 tiny asians showed up to the class, the 11th was a woman and needed a dance partner. We still aren’t sure what happened but next thing we know it’s China town, with some blue-eyed soul brotha in the mix. My dad walks up to the dance floor and I was ready for them to all start running screaming “Godzilla!!! Godzilla!!!”. My mom and I were practically crying at this point and the dancing hadn’t even started yet. So she gives the lesson and my dad is doing pretty good. He did really good the whole time, but we knew he would. The other 11 on the other hand were making it hard to breath for my mom & I. White man can’t jump?? Well, Asian man can’t Cha Cha! There was this one man, of course closest to my mom & I, wearing a fanny pack trying to dance. I thought I may actually die from holding in laughter so much. My mom was crying. I would get my composure but then look over at my mom and then forget it. At the end of the class they put on the music and had them do the entire dance routine. By that point I couldn’t even care anymore. It was literally impossible to hold it in. There in front of me, 11 tiny Asians fumbling around, my massive father dancing away with some asian lady and a latina dance instructor yelling and carrying on about feeling the rhythm in your hips. I was practically on the floor by this point. I have never witnessed something so funny in my life... and I’ve got HD quality footage of this wonderful experience. What a way to end this crazy cruise. After that I headed back to my room to watch the rest of the met game and pack up my room. 


This morning I woke up pretty early. I got dressed & started the bitter-sweet process of packing up the rest of my room. As I was getting dressed I went to put on one of my new perfumes & it was broken! Great. This was the last day of the cruise. No shops are open. So I handed off the perfume to my mom to go down to the front desk to get them to exchange it while I finished getting ready. Once I was ready I headed over to my parents' room to help my dad with the luggage. We were supposed to take the luggage down to the lobby & meet my mom there. Well, this is disembarkation day. EVERY passenger on the ship is doing the EXACT same thing at the EXACT same time. We lined up for the elevator, yes there was a line just to get on the elevator, behind about 10 people, with luggage. We stood there for about 15 minutes & not a single elevator out of the 4 had even stopped on our floor yet. Great! So I have the idea to press the up button & just ride the elevator up & then back down. NCL is quick. They disabled the up button, I'm sure to stop people who think out of the box like myself from hogging the elevator. Oh, well. So after another 10 minutes an elevator actually stops at our floor. FULL! Great. No one got on. That was it. So my dad & I look at each other & realize the inevitable. We're taking the stairs. So my dad has two 50lbs duffle bags. I have a 50lbs duffle bag & a 10lb backpack. We were on deck 12. We had to get to deck 5. That's 7 flights of stairs. So we start the journey. Now not only is my suitcase 50lbs but it's actually two-thirds my size in length. It's awkward to carry to say the least. We make it down 3 flights & I literally can't hold the weight anymore. So we stop for a short break. Like a minute, at most. Dad has to fly in 6 hours & we're a 20 minute cab ride from the airport, so of course he's unreasonable uptight. Now on this ship the stairs are right next to the elevators. So on every floor we hit there are tons of people just standing there watching us while they wait for the elevator. My dad decides that his bags are too heavy to carry & begins to DRAG THEM down the stairs. You could hear us coming floors away. boom, boom, boom, boom, boom, boom... THE WHOLE WAY DOWN. It was so embarrassing! I'm still carrying mine. I use the term "carry" VERY loosely. Really, I have no idea how I was still carrying it & walking down stairs. My arms were like jello. I was sweating... panting... wining...etc. It wasn't a pretty picture. So we continue & are finally on the last set of the stairs. I literally have no strength left. I turn the corner & am taking my last couple steps. In front of me is 100s of people waiting on line in the lobby to get off the ship. My dad is next to me. I go to take the last 5 steps of this 7 flight adventure and the thing I worried about finally happened. As I went to take a step my shoe got caught on my pants. I was falling. It was one of those slow moments when you can be thinking about how embarrassing this is about to be. I should say, more embarrassing, as my dad is still over there clunking away dragging his bags. So as I'm falling I realize that it would be good to just let the suitcase fall, so I let it go. It's now rolling down the stairs in front of me & I now have no where to go to try to catch myself. So I jump over the bag & land a "running land" in the lobby with my bag tumbling down behind me. Everyone is standing there watching & to make matters worse, my dad just kept walking! No help from the big guy. Apparently the deaf one didn't hear my big finish & had no idea I fell. So I quickly get myself together & run ahead to catch up with him to get on the long line to get off the ship. My mom had caught up with us & after quite a long process, she was able to exchange my perfume. As we were waiting in line I was telling my mom about our little adventure & the man in front of us turned around, looked down at my giant bag & asked, "You carried that down 7 flights of stairs?!" He was shocked. It was funny... and slightly embarrassing. After standing online for 20 minutes we were finally off the the ship. This was by far the worst disembarkation I've ever experienced. It was complete chaos. Horrible. Disney Cruise Line definitely knows how to do it.

Next we took a taxi to the airport where we had about 4 hours to wait in the airport. TSA went so smooth, even my dad did pretty good. We got some lunch. made phone calls and then it was finally time to get on that plane to head home. The flight was pretty uneventful. We took off, sat for a while & then we landed.

This was the most interesting "vacation" in my life. I refer to it as a "recovery". My parents weren't fans of the NCL Epic. I think it's made for the younger crowd. I'd love to try this ship again with Matt & my brother and sister-in-law. I think we'd have an awesome time. But this ship is definitely not good for cruising with two sixty-somethings and tonsillitis.

NCL Epic... I'll be back.

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