Last summer, JenTastic and I vacationed on a Carnival Funship and learned quite a lot of interesting things and wanted to share them. Because that’s what we do. We’re helpful like that.
But before I can even talk about the cruise, we need to talk about our experience getting there because as always if it involves the two of us, it’s an adventure.
We arrived at the airport quite early, well within the parameters of our departure time, but this is where things went wrong. Very wrong. We got in line to check in and check our bags and the ticket agent was nice and chatty. We thought this was charming until she crossed the line from causal chitchat to full on conversations. 30 minutes later we finally get up to the counter (we were second in line, btw) she proceeds to ask us all these questions about our trip. We’re trying to be polite and yet move her along but she wouldn’t stop talking.
So now, almost an hour after we arrived at the airport we make our way to the security line and it’s gigantic. Like 100+ people long. At this point our flight will be boarding in 45 mins.
The line is moving s l o w l y.
We’re starting to get anxious. 15 minutes go by and we moved about ten feet. Soon, we’ve been at the airport for almost 90 minutes and we’re still about 25 people from the front of the security line. (Since JenTastic and I are both polite people and will wait our turns nicely, it never occurred to us to ask if people would let us through because our flight was leaving soon. We learned that lesson alright.)
Just as we get to the front of the security line we hear them start boarding our flight. Uh oh. Panic mode sets in. Wouldn’t you know it, as our bags go through the xray machine, they decide to do a spot check of JenTastic’s bag.
Wait. fidget. Wait la la la. toe tapping.
JenTastic makes it through and as she’s shoving her feet back into her crocs MY bag gets spotchecked. Arrggh!!
Second boarding call for our flight.
I quickly grabbed her shoulders and said, “Jen, RUN like the WIND! Get to the gate, I’ll meet you there. RUN FORREST RUN.” (I really did say that.)
She nods and takes off.
I get my bag and slip my shoes back on and start running down the escalator.
Mark my words, it is a MISTAKE to wear flip flops to the airport.
First, gross airport floor. Yuck.
Second, you can’t really run in flip flops. At least, I can’t.
I see the signs for our gate and the arrow says Gates 3-20 <—- Our gate was 4, so I’m relieved that it’s just around the corner.
I’m running, i.e. slipping and sliding because my flip flops keep flying off, and I’m thinking the gate is just 20 feet away and as I round the corner, I register two things.
#1 FINAL boarding call for our flight. (They obviously know we’re checked in and at the airport.)
#2 Gate 20 is the one around the corner, my gate, Gate 4 is allllll the way down the wing.
At this point, I’m running, laughing, panicking and working on a Plan B in case I don’t get on the same flight as JenTastic. My shoes keep flying off and my bag is literally ripping my shoulder out of the socket as I run with it dragging behind me. (side note: I did severely strain my rotator cuff at this time. I felt like I had a broken arm the entire cruise and it took months to heal.)
The best part is that I’m running down the wing and I see all these other travel agents just watching me run by. I wanted to yell and ask them to call my gate and tell them I was coming but I couldn’t yell, run and keep my shoes on at the same time. Then I pass two old Italian ladies sitting on a bench who are giggling at me as I run by.
As I pass Gate 15, I’m coming to terms with the fact that JenTastic (hopefully) made it on the plane and I’ll have to find another flight to Florida. I’m about to take off my flip flops and run, but the gross airport floor is still floating around my head.
I’m still running even though I’m sure at this point that my flight has long gone and I round a corner (I know!!) and see Gate 4! Then I see JenTastic lying over the counter breathing heavily and pointing in my direction. I can see her gesturing wildly and as I get closer I hear, “My friend *huff* *puff*, my friend is coming. Don’t let the plan leave. She was right behind me!!”
I’m cracking up at this point and almost crying because my arm is burning hot with pain. I can’t let go of my suitcase handle or I won’t pick it back up.
The flight attendant looks at us and says “You JUST made it!” Surprisingly, she was not annoyed. She was probably thinking that the other passengers were going to lynch us when we got on the plane. So I’m grabbing on to JenTastic saying, “You will not believe what happened on my way down the wing!” and she says, “Oh I guarantee my story is better.”
We get into our seats without a passenger uproar and miracle of all miracles we were NOT the last people on this plane. Two ladies also came flying onto the plane seconds after we did. Awesome!
We sit for a few minutes collecting ourselves and then we had this conversation:
JenTastic: Did you see those little old Italian grandmas that were on a bench as you ran by?
Me: Why, yes, yes I did. They were laughing at me.
JenTastic: Yeah, I don’t think they were laughing at YOU.
Me: Why do you say that?
JenTastic: Well, I was running really fast. Fast for me, I mean. About halfway down I looked behind me to see if I could see you. And I got all discombobulated. When I turned back around I got on a moving sidewalk, but it was going the WRONG WAY!
JenTastic: Yeah, I’m running forward but the sidewalk is moving backwards. I was doing the Running Man. Right in front of those Italian ladies. They they thought it was the funniest thing. I got all flustered and couldn’t figure out how to stop!
Me: Oh. Well, they also saw my shoes go flying off my feet while I was running.
JenTastic: We’re are the stars of airport entertainment this month. I’m sure some security guard is queuing up those moments for the Best Of clips.
The flight was great. After we got settled into our seats, the flight attendants even gave us wings. How fun. Then we took these pictures.
We look pretty great for just having run a marathon in flip flops with suitcases.
Of course I had to take pictures of oddness (other than us) on the plane.
Ok, now for our Helpful Hints when on a Cruise.
1. When your travels involve small, dark rooms with little space, ALWAYS travel with someone you like, and I mean really like. You will be spending a lot of time in closequarters with your traveling mate and it helps when you have similar beliefs about things such as “night time lighting”, “personal space” and “bathroom etiquette”. For example, brushing your teeth in front of your traveling partner is NOT the time to learn he/she has an issue with open air toothbrushing.
2. Always have a watch or phone/ipod with the date and time easily accessible. Most cruise ships have a law about alerting you to the time of day. We saw ONE clock on the entire ship (and the time was off by 11 minutes). If we happened to go to sleep without an ipod handy, we had no idea if it was midnight or 3 am when we woke up because our interior room had no windows and no lighting. It was like a hideyhole for a vampire.
Some people like that, I hear.
3. Cameras are important for documenting lots of things. Like every item of food you eat, look at, or other people are eating. Or your traveling partner doing karoake when she thinks no one is looking.
Personally, I like to take pictures of people doing weird things and then post them on this blog.
Just kidding. I’d never do that.
OK, maybe I’ve done that here.
4. It’s considered rude to talk about other people, even if they are doing dumb things or behaving badly in public, but it’s in our nature to tease, so the best way around that is to develop CODE words. These code words will allow you to discuss people around you in a way that is safe, inviting and often confusing for the people who are eavesdropping on your conversation.
Now, I can’t tell you ALL of the code words we used, because well, then we wouldn’t be able to use them on our next vacation, but I’ll give you a taste of a few.
Months ago, JenTastic texted me about a problem she was having and the auto-correct on her phone changed “problem” to “leon”. No idea why, but from that minute on, we have referred to problems as leons. Which quickly morphed into us referring to any annoyance or person doing something wrong as as a Leon. So in the course of a morning, while we were were sitting poolside relaxing with, um…coffee and reading, this would be a good sample conversation.
JenTastic: “Hey, check out that guy at 2pm. He just picked up someone else’s towel and wiped his feet with it and put it back on the lounge chair!”
Me: “What a Leon!”
JenTastic: “I know, right?”
Often we would see people littering or making excessive noise while eating and we’d nudge each other and say “Leon, 9 o’clock” and that would suffice. However, there are people who are worth gawking at that are not actually causing problems. Like the people who are dressed really inappropriately(and for a cruise, that’s saying something) and the people having awkward social encounters. Those gems of society have a different code word. We call them “aubergines.” Read this “sample” conversation:
Me: “Did you hear that aubergine at 10 o’clock just scream ‘DO NOT ignore me when I’m talking to you on the elevator!!’ at her husband?”
JenTastic: “Totally. That reminds me of the aubergine this morning who yelled ‘STOP touching your cousin!” while we were in line to disembark at Nassau.”
Me: “Ooooh. Aubergine!”
5. When your ship is docked and other people disembark, this is the BEST time to have the “No Children Allowed” pool ALL TO YOURSELF!
Other cruise tidbits:
Take photos of amusing things so you can discuss them at a later time when you’re bored out of your mind.
Like this gentleman’s oh so fascinating Giant Fish Eye shirt.
And Bathroom Tongs for easy cleaning.
Take some time to get out and meet the locals. Don’t be afraid of them. They’re
pirates people too!