Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Ocean Voyage - Part 2

Sunday dawned and it was our first morning on board. I tend to wake up early and my family likes to sleep in, so I slipped out of bed, put on my running clothes and headed down to the Deck 4 jogging track. It was a little rocky and I ran a little over a mile before I gave up. I headed up to deck 9, grabbed a cup of coffee and wandered around a bit. I found the fitness center which is pretty nice and has a beautiful locker room. I really enjoyed the quiet mornings on the ship, walking around as the sun was coming up.

Today was our first port call at Key West, but we weren't due to arrive until Noon. Our dining rotation was scheduled for our character breakfast this morning so I headed back to the room, got the family up. I took the girls out to the deck to look around and take some pictures while my wife finished getting ready.

For the character breakfast you sit with your regular dining group and your same servers. It was a lot of fun to get to know our table mates better and it was our first chance to see the kids really light up upon interacting with the characters.

Goofy, Pluto, Mickey and Minnie make their way through the room as the meal is served. They move pretty quickly, but we never felt rushed and we were able to get as many pictures as we needed with all of them. I remember being a little disappointed with the food, not necessarily the quality, but I still felt hungry after the meal. I hadn't yet clicked with the order more if you want more thing. During the meal the servers make funny hats for everyone out of napkins. They made my wife Pocahantas and I got done up as Capt. Jack Sparrow. The funniest one was when they took two plate lids and made our tablemate into Dumbo.
Arrr, where be the booty?!?
After breakfast the girls all begged to go to the kids club. I think there was a program with Snow White, so we dropped them off there. The guys then went out on the deck 4 promenade and watched the ship come into port at Key West while the ladies went shopping. They didn't realize at the time that the shops would close because we were coming into port, so my wife didn't get to put too much on the magic card.

A quick note about the magic card. When you check in the terminal each member of your party is given a key card. This is your room key and its also used to access your shipboard account so you never have to spend any real money while you're on the ship, you just put it on the card. Of course you have to be careful, but it became a running joke through the week. Don't worry about it, we'll just put it on the magic card.

We took our time and got off in Key West a bit after we docked. We didn't really have anything planned, so we just walked around the area by the port. The girls needed some sunglasses so we picked those up and then we decided to try one of the tours of the island. There are trolleys and little trains. We decided to try the little train because it looked neater, but in the end that was a mistake. I came to find out later the the trolley's had more stops and much more comfortable seats. We had to wait about 30 minutes for the tour to start, and then it took us all around the island, past the Hemmingway house, the southernmost point and was well narrated by the driver. The girls were pretty bored by it though. We ended up getting off at the first stop, which was about an hour later and almost back where we started. We saw a CVS right there and we needed to pick up a few things for the room, so we popped in there. This was the first time that I felt the ground sway even though I was on land, it was kinda funny.

Mallory Square
After that we were starting to lose the girls. They were tired and getting cranky. We tried to win them back with some ice cream, but that was a disaster. We walked back towards the ship through Mallory Square where things were just starting to get set up for the evening's festivities. Mallory Square is filled with buskers and vendors each evening where people gather to watch the sunset. We made our way back aboard and headed back to the room where we all relaxed a little bit and ordered some room service for a snack.

Later filled with people

We had plenty of time before our dinner, so I took one of the girls and walked around the ship. We watched some of the buskers on the dock and the fire jugglers from a safe distance. There is even a guy there with trained cats.

I'd really been looking forward to catching the sunset from Key West, as I'd heard that its an amazing site. Unfortunately, clouds in the distance blocked most of it. I did get some great pictures of some sail boats while we were out there though. We didn't realize it then, but we were sailing right out into those clouds and the rain they had inside.

After we watched the ship shove off,  we had dinner at Parrot Cay, which is a Caribbean Themed restaurant, and the same place we had breakfast. This was the first meal where I stopped worrying about looking like a fatty and ordered as much as I wanted. Our server always brought a few extra desserts anyway. They explained to us that whatever doesn't get served just gets thrown away, so there's nothing wrong with ordering more food. Afterwards we were all tired so we headed back to the room and went to bed.

Still not sure if this was a dog or an elephant. 

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