Published: June 9th 2012May 15th 2012
Was so excited. Today I would finally board the ship I had cyber stalked for the past however many months. However there was lots to do before we were to jump on the boat. (actually I’m sure the avid cruises out there would never forgive me for not exactly being sure what I’m supposed to call the vessel, so I’m forever interchanging the words ship & boat … either way, the thing floats, and we were soon to call it home).
Oh I had forgotten to mention an incident that had happened earlier on in the trip. So bare with me for this little side venture. Now I’m the owner of an iphone, and out of stupid habit I will just change the password on the phone as my kids are forever trying to work it out every so often. I made the mistake of one morning just changing the password then the stupid phone wouldn’t let me back in! I was frantic, and kept trying the passwords then got confused as to what I had chosen. It has this thing where it will say, try in 5 minutes, then if you get it wrong, come back in 15 minutes,
well it blew out to 2 hours I believe before it told me, you lose your phone is now blocked! Talk about wanting to cry. My husband didn’t get his phone unblocked, so I had no way of contacting home, and no one had any means of contacting me! Looking on the internet gave me no ideas, as I hadn’t backed up my phone on my baby laptop that I only use for travelling. It was while we were in the Dubai Mall, the morning of going on the Desert Safari that I decided I would ask in at the Apple shop for some help. Now they must have thought I was a right idiot, and it took 30minutes of them rebooting my telephone before I had access again. Actually I’m sure they were all calling me an idiot in their language, but I couldn’t understand it, so didn’t let it bother me. One particular guy in the store, I swear was telling another guy that in his opinion I should just be kicked out of the store and on my way. Well I was desperate, so was a small price to pay. All my photos, 700+ of them via
the phone as well as videos all lost. It also showed me that it was so easy for people to steal the phones, and get access to them. Luckily for international individual phone blocking ... but since it was my phone there would be no harm done!
It was so tempting to jump into the swimming pool today, however due to the fact I didn’t want wet swimmers we decided against that. I hadn’t realized checkout was 12 noon, so we had our bags downstairs in storage before 10am. Would have been so much nicer just leaving them in our room and having access to it for that time. Our plan was to leave just before 12 to get to our boat. Must make a note of that for next time! I did get in a last minute skype with my kids via my phone which I really needed. I missed them! I did think it was funny hearing my mother state that my dad said seeing the way the kids all fight and talk over the top of each other on skype, if skype was back in his days of travelling, he would quickly loose his log in
for it! Oh well, they are my kids and I guess I’m just used to them!
We headed over to the Dubai Mall one last time. I still adore the sandstone Arabian look of the buildings by the fountains. There is something just so symmetrical about them that I can’t help but love it all. In the mall I decided to buy a set of thongs. Can’t remember what I was thinking, other than giving my feet the chance to air out. By the time we had stormed around the boat, I had a sore on my toe from rubbing … that would then rule out any jumping in the creeks in India with the Elephants! I really wanted to buy one of the camels from the Camel Co (as seen in the previous days photos). However I’m really not that good at parting with the smaller money, so decided I couldn’t justify the expense. A bit odd as I had just paid out xxx amount of dollars to upgrade our cabins and pay to come on this amazing trip … perspective is a funny thing. Instead I bought a fridge magnet. I know, just not on the same
level is it! I did eventually purchase a baby camel from the souvenir shop though, it must have been cheaper. I put this in the “this is mine” basket, it was too cute for my kids. We were trying to use up some of the excess cash.
It was just after buying the set of thongs from the Rip Curl shop that as we were making our way out (actually we were going to that last Souvenir shop), I noted a crowd of people who looked like a bunch of tourists. I said to my husband looks like a crowd from off our ship. Sure enough when we got closer, there was a Royal Caribbean Sign being displayed. Talk about getting my excitement level up. It was as though my nose was pointed to the stable and I just had to get to the boat from that point onwards. Going into the Souvenir shop, there was an older lady in front of me with her twangy American accent. It made me giggle as she wanted to know what the price of things were equated back to American dollars. Thankfully now I had my phone back and running, I had
preset all the different currencies in it, so I knew what the prices back at home were. What I hadn’t realized was she was asking that so she could pay in American Dollars! I was completely floored! As if you could do that! Just seemed a really odd thing to do. Then as I was looking at a couple of other things just before leaving the store I overheard two ladies, and one was telling the other that at one of the ports she went to buy something and the store didn’t accept her American dollars, so she walked out, as though that was a great insult to the store. She then added, “If they don’t want my good money, I’ll spend it with someone who does”. Are they serious? Um maybe try back in America sweetheart; I’m sure they will love your money back there! I happily paid for my camel in AED dollars and nearly ran back to the hotel so we could head to the port. I left two postcards at the hotels reception desk for them to post. Thought it was cute, my postcard to home arrived the day before I did. Guess it might well
have been on the same boat?
We left the hotel just after 11am. It was so sad driving through the city that one last time. I had really been enjoying Dubai, but with a ship in Port with my name on it waiting for me, I couldn’t be all that upset! I’m not sure what time we actually arrived in the Port. I do remember the port being like a big vacant sand lot with lots of fences and then at the very end as though they didn’t really want to allow the boat too far in was our ship. It was kind of funny, after working myself up so much over how big the boat would be and all, it was a moment of, oh is that it …. Didn’t dare tell the husband, cos I was supposed to keep talking about how big it was. We pulled up to this massive tent that looked like a temporary structure. Getting out of the taxi we really had no idea what was to come next. We were standing in the sun awaiting instructions, when one of the workers had a go at the hired help telling them off for
making us wait in the sun. We were directed into the security scanning section and said goodbye to our luggage before we entered and that went off on its own adventure.
Getting into the tent I couldn’t help but thing if there were air conditioners they were struggling in this greenhouse. That being said there were a bunch of locals, including children doing a lovely welcome dance for us all. Was going to be a very long day for them. They had all welcoming displays and features around to give you a taste of what you had seen in Dubai. I guess for those coming off the boat, it would have been an awesome welcome. We had a small amount of AED$ left so I left it in my husbands hands to spend the last of it. Didn’t realize exactly how long that would take, and got bored and decided to go to our area and start the paperwork. Upon entering you could see that the boat was divided up into floor levels so you could work out where you had to go to check in. I guess Robert didn’t work that out, because he couldn’t find me for
a while. He was a bit grumpy that I walked off, but I wasn’t coping with the heat and sitting down was a nicer option. Once we filled out the departure forms for UAE, we made our way to the desk. We were the only one in the line so there wasn’t a wait at all. There was all confusion when we got to the desk as we didn’t have a photo copy of our passport and visa. Ok, never knew we needed it, and the guy went off to do it. What surprised me was they kept our passport. Not sure I liked that. I like holding onto my identification papers personally. However it was a ship thing and I’ve never sailed before so guess I hadn’t read that that was the norm.
We then were free to board. There was the two photo booths on the way through we stopped at one, but considering we weren’t going to buy the photos it was a bit of a waste of time. (Looking at the photos later on the ship it was really embarrassing, I looked like I had walked to the Port from the hotel, I looked that
heat shocked!). Boarding was a very easy process. We gave our card, it was beeped into the machine, then we were welcomed aboard. We took a couple of photos before jumping onboard, and were told to move along. Oh whatever people! We paid a fortune to board this vessel, we might as well get some good photos right from the first moment!
As we entered the boat, we didn’t get accosted with drinks which I had imagined we would have, having pre-read about it. Everyone was individually given instructions as to the fact that the rooms couldn’t be accessed til after 1pm, however we were welcome to make our way to the 11th
Floor for food. Well I had other plans! Onboard at 12:30pm, so meant just half an hour to race around the ship and take as many photos as possible. It was amazing, we basically had the ship to our self! After having spent time on the internet exploring what the ship had, it was nice being able to take my husband around and introduce him to it all. He was blown away as we discovered more and more. The peek-a-boo section was probably my favorite, especially
Ice cream and coffee stand
loved the help yourself whenever you like thing ... came in handy, especially the iced water
seeing they had a scooter in there to play with! Actually thinking about it, we never made it to that point again whilst we were sailing. The only other time we went there, we were still in a Port.
Before long we were able to walk through to our room. Now I had a little idea as to what to expect, but this was a lot nicer than I had imagined. It was so lovely and huge! I had upgraded from an Inside Cabin to a Junior Suite. It was perfect. We ran about looking at everything the room had to offer. We wandered out onto the balcony, and even though we were now on the water, it was still over 40 degrees outside … who would have thought it! Ok, I’m not that stupid, but just hoped that the weather would cool down so we could use the balcony. I had all these ideas of breakfast watching the sunrise and other romantic notions.
We then decided to head up for lunch. We had a window seat overlooking the activity happening down on the port. It seemed to be buzzing with people racing around. Our lunch was good.
I told my husband he had to try the Honey-Stung chicken as it was highly recommended. I really had no idea what it was, but everyone loves it, so figured we had to try it. It ended up being basically a chicken snitzel that had honey sauce over it. Definitely yummy! It was never served again in the restaurant, but was on the room service menu, but we never ended up ordering room service (even though its free!). Guess we ate plenty without needing it.
It was then a case of waiting for our luggage to arrive, wait for the muster, depart port then head for tea … quite simple really. We continually made our way back to the side we were docked on, now my lack of nautical terms again would have me thrown overboard with some of the people practically born onboard. To me our cabin was on the left hand side, and we were docked on the right. Our Cabin although midway, I felt like was at the back of the boat (to the most part it was kind of behind all the fun things and most of the onboard action). The line up of people
still trying to board roasting in the sun was all well and good standing in our lofting position looking down. The continual stream of luggage being loaded on by the end I also thought would never end!
It was just after lunch I remembered that you apparently had to book in early to get your hair dressing appointment. I wanted to get my hair all fancied up for the two formal nights. So we raced along to the Salon at the front of the ship and at least got the first appointment booked in for two days time. Apparently they didn’t know when the next formal night was to be as yet, but reassured they would save a spot for me. I guess that was the last of the formalities that I needed to achieve as soon as I got onboard.
Apparently everyone was to be onboard by 4pm. Looking down on them all, this wasn’t going to happen as it was like a never ending line of people constantly trying to board the ship. Exactly how many people were trying to get on board, and at that time, I wondered, why on earth didn’t they get here
earlier? I didn’t realize how long they had been waiting in the tent. We were way too eager and went down early for our muster, to then be informed that this would be delayed by about half an hour. I was a touch, well I wouldn’t exactly say grumpy about it, as that is a pretty strong word and after all, its just a muster, I was just really wanting to get that over and done with, to then set myself into fun mode. Plus I didn’t want to miss the boat leaving the Port just because I was mustering at the time … I’m so new to cruising obviously. Due to being down early, I then went to watch from that level the activity that may have been holding us up at Port. Everything seemed to be moving so slowly, and the luggage still didn’t stop coming. I do hope they got my luggage onboard.
The mustering finally was called. Now if this was an emergency, it wasn’t exactly like people were rushing to get there. I guess my trait of being early or you will die didn’t cope with all these stragglers. That and standing in the
very hot sun, or at least outside wasn’t fun. The entertainment came from one of the musterers. I think he had visions of grandeur, and being the captain when he grows up. He was screaming commands at us. Continually telling us all the shove on down. We were standing exactly under the number 16 where we were supposed to meet, however he preferred us to be more the next number I think. Our names were ticked off the list. It was after more screaming from the gentleman, that he then came up and screamed at us for going too far down and we were blocking an emergency door. Um well you just told us to move down that way buddy, make up your mind! One couple assuming the man wanting us moving the other way, then overstepped their invisible line, so the guy grabbed them and gave them a precise spot they had to stand on, in the front of the group, I guess as a punishment. I think waiting for everyone to get there was a punishment enough. Hope they don’t wait that long before letting us down on the lifeboats in case of emergency already! After all the
screaming, the burning of my toes and my limit of the heat being reached the actual muster commenced. Now as to the information we were given, I don’t remember what was being said, because Mr Muster was doing all these antics over the fact, he didn’t want to be there, and was not impressed that not only was the message voiced in English, but then was repeated in a further language. It made it entertaining. Eventually we were told we had permission to leave. Was a case of run!
We headed up to the top floor to watch the ship now sail off and the start of the pool deck party. This was now a Dreamworks ship, so we would be entertained by all the cool characters. Maybe it was the lack of children on board, but only one elderly lady seemed enthused enough to actually dance … either that or she hit the bar hard! With the sound of the boats horn and all, you would have thought that mean we were to be sailing … no such luck. Robert went down to the cabin to see if our luggage had arrived. I think he got lost because
he didn’t come back for ages, to a ship still firmly in port. I discovered that his bag had arrived and he unpacked it all, and mine still hadn’t showed up. This had me suddenly thinking that I was to get a visit to the naughty room to collect my bag!
Just before 7pm we gave up waiting for the boat to sail, especially as it was expected to sail at 5pm. I had prebooked our meal time tonight and figured, might as well just go and eat, and we would watch a sail away a different time. It was a bit of a let down not seeing my first ever sail off, but considering there weren’t many people in port, I can’t imagine it would be nearly as exciting as sailing out of Sydney harbor! Tea was very nice, and I thought it was cute that a couple I had been speaking to on the internet from Melbourne were seated at our table.
After dinner we walked along the main Promenade again (which would be our favorite hang out), before I decided it was a long day and time for me to go to bed. Robert went
off to watch the 3D movie Shrek for ever after. A long and exciting day completed and I was finally sailing.
There are more photos below