Royal Caribbean's Grandeur of the Seas
Caribbean Repositioning Cruise
Sunday, November 19, 2006
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Leaving from Baltimore definitely has its advantages. I packed my truck this morning and completely filled the back cargo area. Matt came over about 9:30 AM to drive up to Baltimore with us so he could drive my truck back home. The port is a breeze to find. Itís Exit 55 off of Interstate 95. Thatís a couple of exits past the main Baltimore exits that lead to the Oriole Park, M&T Bank Stadium and Inner Harbor. Making it easy also is the fact that the ship is in plain site once you get past the downtown exit. After taking the off ramp you drive about a half of mile and turn right into the Port of Baltimore.
They check your identification near the front gate and they also had the luggage tag area near the point they are checking identification. After getting our luggage tags you drive up to the cruise terminal drop off your luggage in these giant wooden bins and head inside. Matt left us and we were officially on vacation.
The terminal is very clean and organized. The only problem we encountered was a grumpy security guard at the X-Ray machine. Mom and dad canít go thru the X-Ray machines since mom has the prosthetic leg and dad has the pacemaker and stints in his heart. I ended up checking our carry on luggage through the X-Ray machine and didnít realize they had the same rules as the airport regarding laptops. I took my laptop out and the sent it through again and the guard had a little girl like hissy fit when I starting taking out the second laptop. I just heard him muttering to himself ďheís got two laptopsĒ. I said something, although discreetly, since I didnít want to get thrown out of the terminal before I even got to ship.
Check in went smoothly and quickly. We had to wait about an hour though after checking in because the Coast Guard was doing a full inspection of the ship. On a regular inspection apparently we would have planned this perfectly and walked right on the ship.
We had our obligatory cruise embarkation photo taken and then were called to board the ship. When checking in we were given a red card with the number 4 on it. This was our boarding card. We were about sixth group to board. We boarded on Deck 3 instead of the Deck 4 entrance everyone else was using since it was easier with momís wheelchair.
Dad didnít hear the announcement that the cabins wouldnít be ready until 1:00 PM and hit the button for our Deck 4 cabins. Another guy on the elevator who mom liked because of his cowboy hat told him about the cabin situation and directed him where he really wanted to go, the Windjammer Cafť for his first on board grazing. Needless to say, since it was a little cold outside to go to the pool (although a beautiful day for the end of November in Baltimore) everyone that had boarded the ship was in the Windjammer Cafť.
A girl helped us to a table that had a couple sitting at it already. This is when I really got to appreciate our Rockville to Baltimore commute to board the ship. This couple was from San Jose, California and had taken the red eye last night from San Jose to Las Vegas to Atlanta finally arriving in Baltimore at 9:00 AM this morning. Of course that also meant they had been sitting around all morning waiting to board. They really looked exhausted.
We talked to them awhile and they had as many heart attack/bad heart stories as dad and Craig. The only difference was this guy looked like he was in great shape. Actually there was no looking like it, he was in great shape. One of his stories was that he was a race swimmer and he had been swimming next to some girl at a pool and later that afternoon he realized he was having a heart attack. When he got to the hospital the girl he had been swimming next to ended up being the doctor that took care of him.
We hung out for awhile and then headed to our cabins. Mom and dadís cabin is directly off the elevator on the Deck 4, cabin 4136 an outside cabin. I am on the opposite side in cabin 4571 which is about 4 cabins from the Centrum/Lobby of the ship. This ship is a sister ship of The Rhapsody of the Seas which we were took on our Alaskan cruise. My cabin is basically located right across the hall from where it was on the Rhapsody during that cruise. The nice thing is it is on the same floor as the Great Gatsby Dining Room which makes it easy with mom and her wheelchair for dinners.
I watched a little of the Bears-Jets game which was the only one on television. This really bummed me out since I could see M&T Bank Stadium where the Ravens were playing Atlanta from the ship. As a side note for when I read this in the future this was the beginning of the Jason Campbell era in Washington. They lost to Tampa in his first game. Hopefully though, he can help turn things around for the Redskins. Baltimore beat Atlanta and the Bears beat the Jets. This got me to the muster drill at 3:30 PM.
Mom and dad were on the other side of the ship at muster station 6 and I was at muster station 5. This being about my eleventh cruise I can only say what the person next to me said. Once you been to one muster drill youíve been to them all. On the plus side though, it did go quickly, much faster than on the bigger ships like the Voyager or Explorer of the Seas.
I went to find mom and dad and they were sitting outside waiting for me. Dad wanted to find out about the internet situation for the ship. He wanted to buy the internet card for $50 but I told him that was so he could get access. Our laptops already have Wi-Fi access so we didnít need them. We do though have to pay for an internet access package. The rates are $25 for 60 minutes, $35 for 90 minutes and $50 for 150 minutes. They have 7 hotspots throughout the ship.
We both went back to our rooms until dinner at 6:00 PM. I went to meet mom and dad and we headed to our table number 50. This is where we met up with dadís friends Clyde and Debbie McShan who I had booked on this cruise over a year ago. We had a table for 10 which also had five friends cruising together. Lenny with his wife Sandy and their son Eric, and Sean with his wife Pam. They have all cruised before and seem like they will be fun. Sandy is a professor at Frostburg State. Eric is 5 years old and this is his fifth cruise. It was Lennyís birthday and they had a cake that his mother- in-law had made him that they shared with us.
Dinner and the service, as always on Royal Caribbean, were very good. Our waiter is Yogi from India. He came up and told us he was Yogi from Indiana. I had a melon and mango appetizer, Caesar salad, fresh Cod on mashed potato bed and apple pie ala mode. During dinner we passed under the Bay Bridge. I wish it had been light out to see it better. You really donít see the bridge, just the cars passing over it. I need to go down and watch the ship pass under it one time next year.
After dinner we went back to our rooms for awhile and we're going to meet to go to the Welcome Aboard Show. Dad and mom were tired and a bit cranky and arguing about mom always wanting things immediately, even though you are doing something else so they ended up passing on the show. It lasted from about 9:00 PM to 9:45 PM and was just a quick song and dance from the Royal Caribbean dancers, a talk from the cruise director Eric Dowis and a quick stand up comedy set from the comedian on board, Tom McTigue. He was alright, although heís one of those comedianís that likes to do a little dance or punch the air when he thinks he had a particularly funny joke. I never like when guys think theyíve got to help you know when heís given you a good joke. Actually his best joke was his kidís joke he told to a little girl in the front row. Whatís the difference to a fourth year old between broccoli and boogers? A four year old will eat a booger.
After the show I headed to the Centrum where they were supposed to have a quick art auction but they ended up canceling it because they had a band still playing in the Centrum. That brings me to writing my journal.
The ship is beautiful. Iíve always loved the artwork throughout the Royal Caribbean ships. The Grandeur of the Seas seems like itís in pretty decent shape even though itís going to be refurbished in April 2007. Iím heading to bed. We lose an hour tonight with a time change to Bermuda but itís a day at sea so it doesnít hurt as much.
Continue To Day At Sea November 20, 2006