a recap!

it's gonna be a long one! gonna recap day by day...

saturday. we woke up pretty early because we ran out of time on friday for packing...thanks to that lovely flat tire! we got everything done and ready and just had to wait for jason's mom to come pick us up. christy had to work and was running a wee bit late so this was gonna save us some time. mrs. cooper was nice enough to drive the four of us to ohare. not an easy feat. then it started to snow. we were hoping it would hold off until we left but with that didn't happen. our plane was delayed by more than an hour and they had to de-ice the wings twice. scared the crap out of me. i am so not a fan of flying but better safe than sorry. we finally took off, had a decent flight, and a kick arse landing when we made it to miami. that guy was amazing. we had to wait around and catch a shuttle to our hotel. got to the hotel and asked the check in guy about the shuttle service for the following day to the port. he spoke no english. couldn't answer our questions and was of no help. so we went to bennigans and drank. gotta pass the time somehow, right?

sunday. wake up late and miss the continental breakfast. bummer. call the front desk to ask for an extension on our check out time and to clarify the shuttle issues that were not resolved the night before. again, no english speaking workers. so frustrating. head to the front desk to see if we can better explain ourselves in person. no such luck. when asking about what time the shuttle left and what exactly we needed to do, the only answer we got was 'noon maybe.' what in sam's hill is that? so we waited, and waited. two shuttles and a few hours later we are still at the hotel. we decided to take a cab instead. finally made it to the port and got all of our luggage in order. then a porter comes up to us and asks for a tip before he takes our bags. he had to move them maybe two feet. seriously. then he had the balls to ask for another dollar. he said we had to tip one dollar a bag. we were sick and tired of everything so just handed the guy an extra dollar. however, when we were walking away we noticed that a lot of the luggage had victory tags. we were on the valor. so we walked back and asked the porter if this was the proper drop off area for the valor. he said yes told us we should have our luggage around 5pm and went back to work. we were still unsure. so jason went back yet again to double check. again, the guy said we were fine. off to the check in line. seriously, we had to spend at least 1/4 of our vacation in lines! two hours later we finally made it to the boat. it was amazing. i'm not really sure if i knew what to expect. but holy cow is it cool. we walked around checked out the decks. snapped some pictures and decided to find our rooms. we got to our room and no luggage. okay, fine. maybe we were one of the later flats to make it aboard the ship. rooms were interesting. small, not really sure what i was expecting tho! the balcony was cool. awesome to just sit there and watch nothing and hear the ocean. totally did not freak me out as expected. jason and christy's room reeked of smoke. horrible since all rooms are considered non smoking. they had a heck of a time getting that taken care of! we headed to the dining hall for dinner. that was fun. being adventurous. trying new foods. because if you didn't like it you could order something else...for free! our wait staff was nice and efficient. eric and alina. everyone on the boat was from a foreign country. they all had their origins on their name tags. i kid you not, not once did i see one with a united states under their name. so after dinner we went back to the room. where we had lovely messages waiting for us on our phones. christy called the pursar's office while nick and i just went there. come to find out they placed our luggage on the victory. and we wouldn't be able to recieve it until we went back to port the following sunday. i was livid. i couldn't stand there and hear their excuses i left. went to the room and was almost physically sick. our thought out vacation was ruined. yes, one week without our stuff. no underwear, no bathing suits, no shoes, no socks. no nothing. but carnival said that they would comp. us $175/person. that's crap. their stuff is overpriced and i so don't want to be a walking advertisement. but what else could we do. but their stores were closed for the evening so that was not an option at the moment. what does carnival give us? a crappy carnival tshirt that says we sailed with rusty wallace on 12/4/05. great a left over shirt and a crappy bag with deodorant and mouthwash that smells the same. all i have to say is thank goodness i keep our medicines in my carry on and kept them with me. i would have been uber mad with no birth control! jason called his mom who got in contact with our travel agent. hoping she could help us some more....

wake up mad, angry, upset, sad, devastated. argue with husband because he is mad that i'm in a bad mood. told me to get over it. there was nothing we could do. well, you know what. let me wallow for a bit. it is what i do. how i cope. deal with it. be supportive. grr. so we go shopping in their stupid stores. get some sweatshorts, a tank top, a shirt, suntan lotion, cameras, and nick gets swimsuits, boxers, and a few shirts. since we couldn't hang out and suntan nor do any activity that would get our clothes super stinky we went to lunch in the dining halls and sat around and played some games that i had in the carry on. pass the pigs was a blessing this past week! went to the formal shop to get our it's free because it's ugly formal wear. the boys looked fine. i mean a tux, is a tux. but they were upset that it was cumberbunds! christy and i had these awful black, velvet, long skirts and horrible gold sequined/lame sleeveless shirts. hideous! i tried to get the matching black top but i truly looked like i was wearing a garbage bag so we were going to be twinkies...groan. got dressed in our formal wear. i couldn't bring myself to wear the top. i put on a tank i had bought in their shop. if someone had a problem with it tough. bring it on. we only went for the prime rib. found out thru their $0.75/minute internet cafe that we were s.o.l. our hands were tied. nancy, our travel agent, was contacting corporate and was going to do her best...afterwards we just crashed. we had an early morning debarkation in hopes of finding our necessities for our excursions.

tuesday. get up at the butt crack of dawn to catch the early tender boat to grand cayman. once ashore, we find out that nothing is open. but we did find out that their was a sporting store we could walk to. so off we went. they opened a wee bit early for us since they saw us standing outside and were extremely helpful and nice. i'm sure they made a fortune off of us. we were able to find shoes and socks. so that was a relief. we still needed the other necessity...girl's bathing suits. shopping for suits is no fun. it because even less fun under pressure. thankfully, we came across a store that had semi decent suits! they had really cool reggae christmas music on the stereo. the lady lied to me and sold me the wrong cd. argh. oh well, it's still decent. after the whirlwind shopping spree we had to haul ass back to the dock to meet our guide for the excursion. we were going to swim with the sting rays. it was pretty freakin neat. our guide warned us that they would be like cats and just swim right up to us and rub our legs if they wanted to be petted. i'm not sure i believed him, but he wasn't kidding. it was unbelievable. and they felt like a weird, wet mushroom. very cool. don't have the good pictures from christy's underwater digital camera yet. when i do i promise to share! after the excursion we walked around for a while longer seeing if we could find any other odds and ends we might need. they we went to wait in the line for the tender boat. it was some line. down the street and around the corner. lucky for us it was near the rum factory and we got us some yummy rum cakes. since we really hadn't eaten, we were just a tiny bit buzzed by the time it was our turn for the boat ride. and can you say YUM! had a relaxing evening. saw the comedy show. absolutely hilarious. went back for the midnight R rated one too. he was that good. percy crews II i was having some problems with dizziness so i turned in early.

roatan honduras. had a really cool docking procedure. no ferrying back and forth. gotta like that. but the island itself was sad. such a poor country. went zip cording. wow, did i just make up a word or what? you can see the description here. was fun as heck. i thought it would scare the bejesus out of me. not so much. and funnily enough, the guide made me go first. yes, me. the giant chicken. it was so fun tho. zipping thru the jungle. listening to the wild animals. awesome. our second favorite excursion. jay and chris did the dolphin encounter. they loved it. reaffirmed christy's desire to train them and not just be a vet! after the excursions we met up on the boat later. nick wanted to go gambling, so we did. both nick and myself lost $20. jas and christy found some crazy sheep slot thingie and were trying their luck there. chris ended up winning $34 in nickels. had to restock the machine before she was done receiving her winnings! then we had some dinner. after dinner we went to catch another show. it was a stinker. some stupid, sucky magician who reminded us of chris kattan and a lousy comedian. horrible. both christy and myself fell asleep!

thursday. belize. amazing. such a beautiful place. we went cave tubing. it was a blast. took a tour bus for quite some time to get to the location but were filled in on some belize facts. pretty interesting. once we got to the tubing site, we had to get our gear and start hiking. we ran into a local with a tarantula the size of his hand. gross. i have pictures tho! then off we went hiking about 45 minutes into the rainforest. gorgeous views! finally got to the river entrance and had to acquaint ourselves with the water. it was muy frio! super duper cold! our guides were really into safety and were always shouting to one another in creole to update one another on the situations. we had sexy headlights to wear and everything. yes, i do have pictures of that! the caves were soo cool. the bats were bit frightening. the darkness was freaky as hell when everyone turned off their headlights. totally suggest giving this a whirl if you are ever in belize! we all got loaded back onto the buses and has some authentic belizen cuisine. yum-o! so good. our guide then told us that we passed an extrememly dangerous snake on the entrance to the cave. he said the locals call them 3 step snakes. step 1: you are bitten. step 2: you say a prayer. step 3: you're dead. egads. i just went down a river that had a very, very, very, very, very deadly snake in it? seriously made me wonder what was under me. then i decided i truly didn't want to know! jas and chris did the turneffe atoll dive. they said maui was better. i was truly glad we didn't do it. after dinner we watched red eye in their room. pretty good flick!

friday. costa maya. supposed to be cozumel but a hurricane did some serious damage. wilma, i believe, sat over cozumel for 36 hours with winds of 144 mph. totally damaged carnival's pier. they are only allowing four boats a week to dock there. sad. i hope they get it fixed soon! we biked and kayaked. our happy family of four reunited again! pretty neat. not sure if i would bike again in 80 degree weather with 97% humidity. the kayak part was fun. i love kayaking. i know, physically inactive shannon admitting to liking exercise. gasp! yes, have some fun pictures from that...but this whole typing this is taking a wee bit longer than expected. so maybe pictures tomorrow. we will see. friday was also the last formal night of the trip. we missed it. bummer. decided we couldn't bear to wear our it's free because it's ugly outfits again. spent some time on the upper deck enjoying the quiet playing pass the pigs! we did head down to see their main show. with their dancers. had some time to spare before it started so we played stinky bingo. {you had to get all the b's and all the o's} the jackpot was $750 but it was one game and you paid $20/3 cards. and i'll be darned. nick won. he had to split the pot three ways but hey, he still won! back to the show, it was horrible. maybe it was because i did dance all throughout high school that i'm used to watching and judging/critic-ing. it was bad. i know dancing on a wobbly boat can't be easy but it was bad. only a few good parts. it was a tribute to the 1980's..the janet jackson rhythm nation dance rocked and so did their break dancers. they were phenomenal. so how can someone spin upside down on their head when you can't even finish a turn? okay, catty shan aside. it was bad!

fun day at sea number 2! and we actually had swim wear. i was determined to get some sun! and i succeeded. it was so relaxing. just laying on one of the upper decks, listening to the ocean, reading. awesome. took some naps and just vegged out. definitely needed that! turned in early after dinner since we had an early debarkation time to reclaim the luggage...

sunday. back to port. what a joke. we were told to meet in the lounge at 8:30, so we could leave early and beat the luggage rush. well, we stayed there until around 9 and then were let off. actually, lead in a giant line that snaked thru the darn boat. finally got off the boat and waited in more lines. over 2 hours worth. it was a total fiasco. apparently 5 cruise ships had docked that day. customs, immigration, and the port authority were used to dealing with 3 ships. so about 9,000 people. NOT 15,000 people. pure silliness. i felt terrible for those who had early flights. we were actually thankful that ours wasn't until 7:25! got out of the port by around 11ish and waited on a bus to drive us to the airport. since all these ships docked. the airports were also not used to dealing with the high traffic. so you guessed it.. more lines. got to our terminal about 4 and a half hours before our flight. something was up with the flight to costa rica and they kept paging butterworth and cadburry. cracked us up every time. apparently the syrup and the egg have some sort of steamy affair going on. we don't really know but it helped pass the time! so with all the hubaloo. the flight was changed to a different gate but no one mentioned that. so we had to hustle on down to the new gate and wait for a few moments before boarding. the flight was good. drove around chicago over lake michigan. saw awesome skyline and the bears game from 34,000 feet! super clear night. rough landing. had a couple of hops, skips, and jumps. not cool to walk out to zero degree temperatures after claiming our luggage. yes, it made it home! christy's dad was nice enough to pick us up and drive us home. had to call my mom immediately and fill her in on the details. i couldn't bear to tell her that our luggage was lost initially. although, it took so much for me not to call her. she would have worried and cried and been miserable the entire time. i so did not want her to worry. so we chatted until after midnight. it was good. hadn't talked in over a week. missed that.

today. slept in. caught up on mail, emails, bills, miscellaneous errands. made some smores bars for my cookie exchange. watched green bay get their behinds handed to them until i couldn't bear it any longer. did some christmas cards. still have to put everything away. hopefully, that won't take too long! i promise the pictures will arrive soon. i know everyone wants to see them! so thanks for asking and hopefully tomorrow!!


Heather said...

rofl egg and syrup! Brent and I would have been sitting there cracking up too!

Okay, suffice to say you're making me want to stay home for quite awhile before venturing out on any cruise!

hera said...

Welcome home Shannon..sorry to hear about your fiasco..come to Switzerland next time!! We're landlocked...no cruises in these parts! Merry Christmas!