Last Minute Changes
Well, as you all read my cousin bailed out on us, that meant that either he had to pay for that empty spot or we had to find someone to cover his spot. I tried my best to get one of my friends to go, but finding someone at the last minute was kind of hard. None of my friends could make it and I also needed someone who would not throw the group dynamic out of balance. In the end, we decided to just leave the spot open and my cousin would pay for his portion.
A few days passed and my mom realized that we had completely ignored one person, my aunt. Well, technically she is not my aunt, but you know how Spanish families go, we are all related to each other one way or another, lol. OMG that sounded racist, anyway… So yeah, that actually interests me, why you ask? Well, we knew she could not pay for the cruise fare, but she could pay for the air ticket from her home country. That meant that someone had to cover her cruise ticket to make it happen. The main reason why this interested me was because she is just PLAIN FUN! She makes fun out of boring situations; I have to admit that there are scarce people that carry this kind of personality trait. I knew she would be an excellent addition to the cruise. In addition to that, mom clicks with her very well, and I could see it in my mother’s eyes, she really wanted her to come.
After all that had happened to our family this year, and more specifically to my mom, adding my aunt to this cruise would make this trip so much better. That night I sat down and went over my finances. It would not be particularly easy to make it happen. I not only had to pay for her cruise fare, but add to that shore excursions, drinks (she does not drink much), and extra expenses, it all added up. Plus August was a heavy month for me, as I had to pay for the fall college semester. Ummm, you do the math; Gambee would have to go into his savings to make this happen.
Long story short, there was no question about it. SHE HAD TO COME! Once I told my mom, you could hear it in her voice. It was just what we all needed; my aunt was the perfect person to fill in the vacant spot of the cruise. Mom proceeded to call her and inform her. She could not be happier! I think the entire cruise changed that day; it would be an entirely different experience. Now you had a loud and obnoxious Spanish family boarding a very luxurious Italian vessel.
For those who have followed me since the beginning, you might actually know my aunt. Do you remember that my mom took a second cruise on the Norwegian Sky without me? Well, that cruise she took with my aunt. And from the pictures that I got back, I can only tell you that the cruise is among my moms favorite ones. So yes, all in all, I did this for my mom.
Week Before the Cruise
The week before the cruise was very exciting! How do I explain this? Well, my uncle arrived in the US for the first time in decades, so words cannot explain how excited he was to be here! Especially given the previously mentioned circumstances. Mom had lots of fun planned for him, Key West, Orlando, Miami, Marco Island, etc. My aunt also arrived on that Tuesday and she joined them in some of the fun.
I want to be able to say that I joined in all the fun, unfortunately I had to pay for the cruise and I had to work, lol. So I was with them on a few of their trips, but mostly I my time at work. I also had finals in college, so even if I had the cash for it I could not have gone.
I do however have to say to that I made it to Orlando the Sunday before the cruise. This was the first time that I went to Orlando in over 6 years! I am a Disney fanatic, but as some of you know, my ex was not. So I put Disney on the back burner for a few years. I cannot describe how much fun I had in Orlando! I am planning on going back, possibly in October, just have to set some days for it
Even though we went for just one day, we (coworkers) had an amazing time. It was almost as if it was my first time there! It had been too long since I made it there, that I just could not believe that I able to go again. Like I posted on Facebook several times. August was an overall amazing month! Words cannot explain!
Mom also went on a shopping spree, since she discovered that my aunt was going. She went out and purchased a bunch of silly items, like tiaras and other stuff. Mind you I am not I am not entirely supportive of them, but I was not going to get in the middle of mom having the fun that she wanted to have. On the Norwegian Sky cruise she had a bunch of these, I think they were in nearly every picture I saw of them . Yikes, more on this later.
Ok, so let’s talk Ripple Cruise Communicator. I was able to test this new iOS application right after it came out, on my MSC Divina cruise. At the time of this review the application costs $0.99. Overall, I was very impressed with the application. Up until now we have been relying on cruise line–specific ways to communicate on the ship, and Ripple offers a completely new way to communicate with others aboard the cruise ship.
Well, let’s get this party started. This was a day that we had all waited for a long time, and it was finally here. Everyone woke up early and finished packing, personally I had yet to start packing all my electronics so I started by gathering them. I also did a quick weight check. I am trying to track down how much weight I gain in each cruise and see if I can keep it to a minimum. Originally I actually wanted to lose weight in the cruise by going to the gym every day, but as you can imagine the only day that I actually made it to the gym was on day 1 for the tour .
We got ready and finished packing and headed out rather early. I think it was around 10:30 or so. We had 4 ships in port that day, not a bad lineup considering that it’s summer.
Originally I had asked my friend Sarah to drive us to port, but mom wanted to take her own car. We had quite a bit of bags with us and I don’t think that we would have fit nicely. So mom decided to reserve parking in one of the parking garages available around Miami. Personally, I was not very keen on the idea. I had read all the mixed reviews. But she insisted and we would be taking her car and not mine so I agreed. She ended up booking Premiere Cruise parking. Be aware, there are 2 premiere lots. One is horrible and the other is ok. I recommend the one we used. Other than the wait for the van. The parking garage is actually quite nice. We even got one of the covered areas and the car was under the shade the entire time.
After we dropped off the car, we boarded the van towards the port. The ride was brief and quick.
And there she was. Divina is truly a magnificent ship. She is kept completely clean at all times. I tried really hard to spot rust from the outside, but you can tell that they really commit to keeping sparkling clean. The same is reflected in the inside. The crew is continuously cleaning the vessel.