When we arrived at the port, I was So nervous. Would we have the right paperwork? Would everything go horribly wrong at the last moment? Would they not let us on the boat?
Although we had to stand in a long line, and go through a metal detector, TSA style, with all our carry-on bags, all went surprisingly smoothly. We got on the ship, dropped our stuff off in our rooms, and immediately started exploring with Chris and Nico. We checked out the upper decks that are open to the air- the pool deck was still covered with piles of swept up snow and ice. I got the feeling that the staff weren’t really used to cleaning snow off the decks. They kind of treated it like sand. And the one goodly pile had been shaped into a penguin : )
The highest deck that’s open to the air is, for the most part, a walkway around and above the pool deck. The railing is augmented by pieces of tinted plexiglass that, depending on where you are on the ship is either waist high or taller than the tallest man. It’s like a wall made of sunglasses.
Back to our stateroom to unpack and change, and marvel at the state of the stateroom. Every possible surface had built in wooden drawers, writing surfaces, cabinets, etc. The room felt very familiar, as my bedroom at home is about the same size, and set up just the same way, just with less furniture.
At dinner, we met our waiter and assistant waiter, Sandro- a reserved asian guy who was all business, and Murat- a friendly outgoing Turkish guy, who invariably greeted us with “Hello, my family!” and called everyone “little brother” or “little sister”. By the end of the cruise, we had all learned to say “thank you” in Turkish (tay-shay-kudelash) because every night, my mother would ask him to tell us how to say it AGAIN.
It was lovely to be handed a menu and be able to order absolutely anything on it. I could’ve ordered four appetizers, three desserts, seventeen cups of coffee, and no dinner at all, and apart from the trouble of where to put all the dishes on the table, nobody would have looked twice. By the end of the cruise, Sandro was just bringing me mashed potatoes with every meal. I HAD to work out, or I’d be as big as a house by now!
Funnily enough, they were showing The Dark Knight Rises on the big screens in both the theater and on the pool deck the first night, so we had planned to go back to the room after dinner, put on our swim suits, and go sit in the cold under the stars in the hot tub and watch the movie. Unfortunately, full of food, lying on my soft bed, in the perfectly dark stateroom (no windows in our interior room) being gently rocked by the ship is NOT conducive to getting back Up again. Bed’s siren song called me to sleep, and that was just day one.