I am right now sitting on the 17th floor of a mammoth cruise ship sailing away from Jamaica towards Mexico. Now the world is divided into two kinds of people. The first are the ones who read the first sentence and said “woooooow, I wish I was with her”. And the second who said “GOOD GOD WHAT POSSESSED HER!”, I am neither here nor there but honestly leaning more to the wow group. While I am not totally blown away I am blown away. I mean theres a park on the 8th deck! There are dozens of places to eat, The kids club is fantastic, the food is ok, the entertainment is ok, but to be fair we didn’t go to any of the proper shows so what we saw was probably not top of the line since it was the free stuff that happens around the decks. Would I do it again, half way through I can safely say yes but not frequently. I would also like for the volume of everything to be turned down. The people, the music, the ship our neighbours. Oh my God our neighbours! No, it’s not that kind of noise, its a room full of out of control teen agers. So it varies from loud music, shouting, laughter, angst and livid parents. I mean the sound of their father yelling at them woke me this morning,
Oh there is so much to say! So I will start in chronological order.
Travel Day !:
We left Saudi at 2 am headed to London. Some children slept. Most didn’t. We got there at around 6 am London time and had to wait till our flight which was three hours later. 3 hours of chaos ensued
Then came flight number two which was a 9 hour flight to Miami. Older kids didn’t sleep at all second flight and arrived like zombies. Younger kids slept a lot second flight and arrived like energiser bunnies.
Miami Day 1:
We got stuck at the airport for immigration reasons so the tired kids were falling asleep and the awake ones were going stir crazy
three an a half hours after arriving we were at the hotel and the older kids were still sleeping and the younger ones were having meltdowns. So we slept and forgot about it.
Miami Day 2:
The morning was much better and Miami is amazing. Or what I saw of it. I definitely want to go back and spend more time there when I am less jet lagged!
Cruise Day 1:
The third morning we got ready and headed to the ship. Everything was straight forward but exasperating. Our jet lag probably didn’t help but our children were sufficiently amazed by the size of the ship. Well B wasn’t at all convinced that we were on a ship and I am not sure he is convinced yet honestly.
We spent the day walking around getting our bearings and trying to stay awake. We also spent it booking excursions and shows. A bit of advice to people who plan to cruise, do these things early before you board because the result was waiting in lines for ages and not finding what we wanted. We signed our 3 older kids up to the kids club knowing full well B wouldn’t participate but its worth a try.
While the two younger ones were napping M and I and S and J went to book tickets for the shows. On our way down to deck 4 the children saw a mascot on deck 5 and asked if they could go get a picture with him. I said yes and that when they came back we would be through the double doors. M and I were chatting and I realised 10 minutes had gone by and the kids weren’t back. I left M in line and went to find them.
They were not on the deck we were on so I went up to the 5th and they were no where to be found. I decided to go to the security and ask them to make an announcement to tell them to come back to where we were standing. I saw someone dressed in a uniform and I asked him if he was the security. Watching the cruise TV now I realise it was the captain. He said no and laughed because apparently I should know this. (Reminds me of the time I was pregnant and trying to pull my hand luggage onto the plane which was a step above the platform and I asked the man in front of me in a uniform to help me and he laughed and said “I’m the co pilot!” which sent me into a proper rant about not being a gentleman or any kind of a man for that matter. He tried to help me after that and would have probably carried me if I let him!) Anyway, the captain pointed me to guest services.
There was a long line at the desk, or lines rather as there were 4 of them so I decided missing children trump excursion bookings so I went to the desk and quickly explained to the lady there that my two children have been missing almost 20 minutes now and could she please make an announcement. Her reply was “Could you please go to the back of the line.”. So I said again “I am not sure you understood me I can’t find my children”. She replied “No I did understand you but there is a procedure to this and I need you to go to the back of the line.”
I was speechless… I walked back and they had just called a group up from the front of one of the lines and I asked them if I could take their place as I have 2 children who are missing and would rather find them now then wait at the back of the line. They obliged but not too willingly and I jumped ahead of them certain that I was in some sort of twilight zone. The lady at the front of the line, after hearing why I was there, again pointed me to “the Blond At The Back Of The Line” and said she could help me. No one seemed fussed I couldn’t find my kids and none of them knew their ages so it’s not like they thought ‘oh they are not babies so they will be fine’. They just didn’t seem too fussed.
So, Blond At The Back Of The Line seemed appropriately worried and rushed me to the front of the line to someone who was apparently about to go off for lunch and was absolutely annoyed they had to deal with me and my missing children. I asked him to make the announcement and he said “First you have to fill in the forms” and I said “If you just make the announcement I am sure they will come back to where they were supposed to be”. And he said “There is a procedure that we have to follow. We have to call security and you have to fill in these forms and give us pictures of your children then we can make an announcement”, Yes I knew for sure I was on Mars or something. I started filing out the forms while he stood there staring at me and I stood there panicking trying to remember if S had a green or red t shirt on. He then walked off somewhere and a minute later I heard the announcement Asking S and J to come to customer services. At that exact moment M called me to tell me he found the kids.
Now I have had the ‘What do we do if we get lost’ talk with them a million times and the rule was to stay were they were and tell a security guard or someone in uniform. When I asked them what they were meant to do they repeated that to me word for word. What did they do? They came back to where we were, couldn’t see us, they then went to the room, didn’t find ius then they came back to the same place to look for us again. Shoot me.
Next Part 2 of OSSF
*OSSF: Our Summer So Far