Thursday, September 23, 2010 – Boarding in Diva T-shirts
We arrived the next day around 11:30 to the shortest lines
I've ever seen at either cruise terminal, and approached the agents at the sign
in desk very quickly. Unfortunately, as they were processing us, the computers
slowed to a drag. We passed through the paperwork but before we could get to the
gangway they were returning people who had arrived at the ship, but couldn't get
in because the power had gone out and computers had gone down. We sat and waited
about fifteen minutes before the computers could be rebooted after the power was
returned. We boarded the Carnival Ecstasy in the Grand Atrium, a five deck high
entryway with the neon glitz of the ship's New York theme.
We were supposed to meet the rest of the Divas on the Lido
deck at the starboard side of the pool (where they allow smoking). No other Divas
had arrived yet. It was hot and humid there, so Katie and I went into the air-conditioned
café area and had lunch.
The cabins weren't available until 1:30 so we had to drag
our carryons everywhere with us. When the room became available, we went to the Upper
Deck, room 37, which was pretty much forward on the ship, then dropped off our bags and
collapsed on the beds to rest a bit before we returned to Lido deck to meet our friends.
Upon our arrival, we met our cabin steward, Irawati. She told us to call her Ira. As usual
on a cruise, her housekeeping kept our room spic and span.
Bonney Bott, Ira, and Katie Cobb
About 48 Divas arrived on a party bus that came from Sherri
Taggart's home in Cypress, Texas so many of the locals wouldn't have to drive
themselves to Galveston and pay for parking. Along with their drinks and singing
on the bus, they were issued crowns for being Bus Divas.
Sheila Abshire and Martha Baylor
The bus included the rest of the Cruise Capers Travel team I
work with:Sherri Taggart, Sheila Abshire, and Martha Baylor. Katie had met Sherri
and Martha previously when they came to one of my Game Nights.
Bonney Bott, Sherri Taggart, Martha Baylor and Sheila Abshire
We sat around on the Lido Deck from around 2:15 to 3:30
where most of the Divas were continuing the drinking celebration from the
bus. Most of the Divas arrived
wearing their Diva T-shirts and white or black shorts or slacks so we could
make a grand entrance. It was
really warm and humid sitting around and talking. Notice, I'm almost hugging the
At 3:30 we were called to our muster stations for the
emergency drill. Fortunately this
time we did not actually have to wear the life jackets that are really
uncomfortable. Instead, we watched
a demonstration in a cool, air-conditioned area of how to put them on and
received instructions as to where we should go in case the emergency signal
sounded. They must have figures
out they were wearing out all the life jackets just by doing drills. When the drill
was completed, the ship set sail (Do ships without sails set sail?) and we had an
evening of smooth water.
After the drill, we returned to our room to rest and unpack
The Wind left dining room was all the way aftÉnot a fun hike
if you're wearing something other than flip flops. We had early dining at 6:00 and the
girls all showed up in the Diva T-shirt outfits together, occupying almost a
whole section of the dining room. This is where we met our waiter for each night,
Michael, and hisassistant, Ptai (pronounced Tai).
Dinner was left, but some other cruises served what I
considered fantastic food. But,
the chocolate melting cake for dessert was excellent with vanilla ice
cream. The presentation was very
artistic, and after the first night, we started taking photos of some of the
food, just for our friend Rudy because he likes food photos!
Each evening after dessert was served, the waiters marched
by as wild music played and people dining twirled cloth napkins around in the
air.When they stopped to serenade
us, some of the Divas got up and danced.
Katie and I had planned to go to the Bingo game at the other
end of the ship, but we were late finishing our meals. Katie rushed out for the
front of the ship but since I'm not walking well because of back problems, I just
sat and finished my dessert!
No. She didn't win.
While waiting for Karaoke to start, I went to the Crystal
Palace Casino. The slot machines
had all been converted to coinless, but rather than issuing tickets when you
cash out, like they do in Las Vegas, you were required to set up an account
based on your Sign and Sail card, which, in turn, was tied to your credit
card. So you had to set up a
password and for each machine you were on, you had to enter the password to
move the credit from the card to the machine, and to cash out you had to move
the credit from the machine to the card. This does not work well if you like to
travel from one machine to another often. It is very difficult and time consuming to
move from one machine to another having to cash out to credit the card and then put
the card in the next machine. I put in twenty dollars cash, set up the complicated
money management scheme and played the
quarter slots with my three-coins-at-a-time spins. I think I only had meager hits of
anything about four or
five times before my twenty dollars disappeared. I usually plan to "entertain" myself
for twenty dollars a day. This day it took me about six
minutes including several machine changes. Not only that, but I didn't find any two coin machines in
the whole casino, at least not for quarters. This was when I decided my three remaining twenty-dollar
allowances would be spent on Bingo or in Cancun!
After Katie's Bingo and my slot machine experiences, several
women had planned to meet in the Starlight Lounge for Karaoke. I went there, but Katie ended up staying
in the Blue Sapphire Lounge to watch a show. Karaoke was good. In addition to people singing, there was a dance floor for anyone any
one interested, at the suggestion of the KJ (Karaoke Jockey). We were pleasantly surprised by five to
ten excellent singers and cringed at the not-so-excellent ones who kept signing
up to sing. A lot of the Divas got
up and danced. My favorite new
friend from the cruise was Shirley Carbone Gower, who is a real character, in
every good sense of the word. She
was dancing around the pool, at dinner, and at every opportunity.
Each night when we returned to our room, Ira had cleaned up
and left us a towel animal. Here's
our menagerie: an elephant, a dog, and a rabbit.