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Whizbank

Navigator of the seas June 10-14. 50th birthday+traveling with mobility impaired person

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Boring day today. I woke up with a migraine and didn't feel like doing anything. Dave needed a day off. So

Room service breakfast: not sure what I did wrong here, but, I filled out the door hanger. Dave wanted pancakes with Xtra syrup so I wrote x2 next to syrup. I wanted eggs and bacon and fresh fruit. Somehow I ended up with 2 orders of eggs and bacon and fruit but only 1 of pancakes. So way too much food, but Dave ate his and was happy.  

4pm.decided to go down to medical to see about o2 tubing. Was surprised when I walked in and waiting room was full. You just sit down and they come out and ask for next person, which seems to work OK. It's 4:21 and there is still 1 person ahead of me.

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Sea day. Slept in, got room service again. I really want to try El Loco fresh so didn't get much breakfast. The weather is in the 80s so everyone is out on deck. Came up to 12 to sit and look at water, water everywhere. Spa appt at noon. Spa is forward, our room aft, so picked deck 12 as the way to get across ship. Even though everyone is on deck still plenty of empty loungers on 12. 

The o2 worked its majic last night so Dave is feeling much better today so hopefully after spa we can hang out on deck again. 

Dave has commented many times on how friendly the staff is and how efficient. It's obvious the staff is well trained and they have well defined jobs. The CPA in me would love to see their training and job assignment system. 

80s dance party on lido today

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So, the spa was great again. Very relaxing. The hot stone was more relaxing than the deep tissue 2 days ago but both were nice. Smelled a sample of the exfoliating salt and was sorry we didn't sign up for that too. They did not try to hard sell us anything which I appreciated

After Dave went back to room and I went walking around. Went to El Loco fresh finally and had the pork carnita tacos and a cheese quessadila with all the toppings. Good enough that I went back for chips and another quessadila.  The guac could be a little thicker but all flavors were good. 

Walked around decks 11-14 just to walk, then back to 5 for a smoothie and ice cream to deliver to Dave. Left him in room and I went to biking lounge to meet friends. That was awesome. It was dead, quiet, no one was there. You are in air conditioning, can look out over deck 11 and the ocean, and just relax. Stayed until 6:30 then went to get Dave for dinner at Windjammer. Tonight was Mongolian grill, which I love. Only 1/2 of wj was open, but there was plenty of food, a donut bar, an ice cream bar, fruit smoothies, and Indian food, plus some chicken and steaks and seafood. I ate too much. My only disappointment was that there was no pizza in wj, and though I asked for some they said we needed go to Cafe promenade to get it. Dave ended up eating part of a burger but then ate 6 scoops of chocolate ice cream from the sundae bar so he wasn't hungry. 

Then we had to rush back to pack. If your suitcase isn't out by 11, you get to carry it yourself. Got it out there with time to spare but like an idiot let the door close behind me and I didn't have my key🤪. Eventually Dave managed to find the door to let me in. 

Wheelchair users meet at boleros and they said it can take 45 minutes to get a pusher. We are going to try to get to wj early and then get to boleros by 8:45. We will see how the timing goes from there. We have a 1pm flight out of FLL so need to get there around 11. I'm not totally clear about whether we just leave the rental chair at boleros or what but I'll key you know

This guy was in our room after dinner. 

 

IMG_20190613_212721428.jpg

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Some more observations: I majorly over packed. I should have gone with 1 pair of shorts, 2 shirts, 2 dresses, underwear and swimsuit. My rothys were perfect for everywhere including the pool deck so 1 pair of shoes was plenty. I brought phone and Kindle and chargers and Bluetooth. Actually only used the phone so the rest could have stayed home. Thought I did good but in retrospect it's obvious I brought too much

The Rc shampoo/body wash is not good for my hair. Made it both dry and unmanageable. The Paul Mitchell I got at FLL hotel was much better

I would love to have their designers come and design rooms for me. The use of space is awesome. The closet, the shelves, the drawers. The room under the bed. The ottoman with storage. The shelves beside and behind the mirror in the main room and the bathroom. The shelf above the closet. I'm really impressed with how well that all worked. 

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7 hours ago, Whizbank said:

My rothys were perfect for everywhere including the pool deck so 1 pair of shoes was plenty.

Yes! Planning on bringing my black Rothy's and a pair of sandals and that's it for footwear! Thanks for this insight. I gotta have the flips for beach days but if my Rothy's can get me by on formal night I am all for it. 

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9 hours ago, Whizbank said:

Some more observations: I majorly over packed. I should have gone with 1 pair of shorts, 2 shirts, 2 dresses, underwear and swimsuit.

Can you share this advice with my wife and daughter? They’re still convinced that each day needs three outfits. 

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So, final day and observations

I woke up at 4 and couldn't get back to sleep so read and waited for 6 when I could get Dave up. Eventually we made it to Windjammer for breakfast which was quite good. Took final pictures, hugged and kissed friends goodbye then went to Boleros to wait for wheelchair disembark

1. Boleros is right outside of the casino. Even though everything was closed we couldn't stand the smoke smell from the casino. It was Bad  if you are sensitive I would stay away from the 4th floor. We had to get as far away as possible

Wheelchair disembark is not well organized. You show up in boleros, and a staff person is there writing down names in some random order. I told her we had the rented wheelchair and it needed to stay on board. She really didn't know anything about it. Eventually a nice man in dress whites told us they would bring a wheelchair and we could leave this one in boleros and special needs would pick it up. After waiting for a while a pusher came and the crew member asked if they had a large wheelchair for someone else  there was some discussion and then she told him to push us out. I told him again about the rental and he said it was fine he'd push us to terminal and then bring chair back to ship. So he took us past scan out, up gangway to terminal, and then we exchanged wheelchairs with a pushed in port building.  He took us down to get our luggage, then asked what id we had. Dave and I had only our birth certificates license, and he said that the incredibly long line was for those people, passports could walk right out.  So, if you were wondering, THIS IS WHY YOU SHOULD HAVE A PASSPORT!  However, he told us to be quiet and then he took us around the line and right to customs who looked at our stuff and waived us through.  While I usually try not to place the disabled card, in this case Dave would have really suffered so I was ok with it. Then we went out to get picked up by our private car

The port building and pickup really harshes your mellow. It's a beautiful building but the pickup area was designed by idiots. The area reminds me of a cage match between Chicago, New York, and LA cab drivers. It's disorganized, cars randomly stop, block, cut each other off. There are obviously "special" people who are allowed to sit at curb longer while everyone else gets threatened with tickets. The fumes are causing premature death. Our wheelchair pusher was nice but we basically were in everyone's way until our driver came and he had to drive around 3 times before he could stop and get us.  I really was shocked at how badly it was designed, and he said Saturdays are twice as bad. So, plan for plenty of time and craziness. 

Eventually we made it out and went to FLL. there was a terrible accident going south on 95 and traffic was backed up for miles. So, anyone driving down to ship was going to get there much later than they planned, so, I agree you should try to get to terminal as early as possible so you don't have problems. That said, don't get there until the boat is unloaded and all of those people are out of the way 

FLL airport was crowded. The wheelchair pusher was very nice but security worked a little differently than Cincinnati and it was more crazy. But she nicely took us to family restroom and waited while we went. Dave was really not feeling well so we took forever and I ended up having to give her a really big tip for waiting. FLL gate seating is tight and not setup like Cincinnati so it was crowded and you couldn't sit near counter. In Cincinnati Ms Ginger took our boarding passes to gate and made sure they knew we were there to help us. FLL didn't and when I went yo talk to gate people they really didn't much care. Basically said to figure it out and when they were ready to board a pusher would get us. Eventually he did, they called for us to go forward, he said we had to wait, and basically the other passengers pushed him to take us up front. It was confusing and I feel bad because I didn't tip him. Eventually though we made it and first class was still worth it. A more turbulent flight but went OK. A nice young guy from San Diego cane to push us off plane and to baggage. We asked for family bathroom again and he said they are locked and pushers don't get keys. So, we ended up waiting at baggage. I called for shuttle and they told me pickup spot but it was hidden and we went to wrong place. Finally asked safety guy and he gave me better directions. Shuttle guy was great, took us right to the car, helped Dave in. Got luggage loaded and headed for home, where I was looking "forward" to the loads of laundry awiting me.  Which would have been much smaller had I not overpacked so much!! 

So, observations

Dave and I would cruise again, but I would prefer a port I could drive to

I'd bring a lot less stuff

I'd try for an itinerary that started with a sea day so I could rest up and then enjoy Port days on ship while everyone else is gone

I'd take the time and effort to get passports even if they aren't necessary 

I'd skimp in other areas to be able to spring for 1st class if flying

I'd have just arranged a private car to take us from home to airport and pick us and take us home

I'd take a closer look at wheelchair options, because larger front wheels would have made pushing around ship easier. If Dave wasn't blind I would definitely recommend a scooter instead for getting around the ship

I'd make sure I knew exactly what I needed to bring to use the oxygen with the cpap and I wouldn't have been so slow to realize I didn't have tubing

I used my friend Denise to arrange everything since she is a travel agent and I would definitely do that again. In fact, I recommend using a travel agent no matter what. It's free and they are the experts so take advantage of what they can tell you

I'd use Robert at Prestige as private car in Florida and let him get gray hair from Miami traffic

I wouldn't get the drink package again, mostly because I didn't get out enough to use it

I would eat in MDR as long as I was meeting friends or not in hurry. The food in MDR was better than the buffet as was service but it's not a quick meal. I would have ordered more desserts too. 

I'd eat at cafe promenade more because that was actually the best food I had. I actually ate a lot less than I thought I would the whole cruise which is good for my waist but not as much fun. El Loco fresh was good too. 

I'd hang out in viking lounge during the day more, where it's quiet but a nice view

I'd get a virtual balcony if offered, that really made the room feel bigger

While I don't like heights I never found that to be a problem on ship even standing at balcony

I was incredibly disappointed with the coffee. You better like your coffee really strong/burnt. You cannot put enough cream and sugar in to make it palatable. 

I'd take a longer cruise. Since the travel to and from is the hardest part, a longer cruise would have allowed for more relaxation and we would have eventually done more stuff. When we planned this a year and a half ago, I had just started my own company and I couldn't see being away 5 days much less longer. Now I know I can make a longer vacation work and/or take a computer if necessary

I'd make a bigger effort to learn and remember people's names. I was discombobulated and always keeping an eye on Dave and making sure I didn't lose anything and it interfered with my natural desire to be gracious and friendly

I wouldnt try to travel with just Dave alone. That was hard and I either need to have really good friends along or bring a companion to help me keep track of Dave and everything else. 

That's about it for now but I may add some comments later as I think of things

 

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On 6/14/2019 at 2:03 PM, DDaley said:

Yes! Planning on bringing my black Rothy's and a pair of sandals and that's it for footwear! Thanks for this insight. I gotta have the flips for beach days but if my Rothy's can get me by on formal night I am all for it. 

The rothys were great everywhere. Nice for dining, not slippery on wet decks. They dry easy and stay looking nice no matter what. Best pair of shoes I've ever bought. 

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I'm totally on TeampackLight!  We can do a seven night cruise in a carry-on size suitcase. It's amazing how little you actually need. I know folks who change outfits just cause they can, and feel they want choices from the closet like at home, but most of them are Floridians and don't have to fly to cruise.  I admit to packing more when I'm cruising out of NJ than when we fly. With all the luggage charges and such, it's easier to wear those shorts you only wore for an hour or two a second time, than it is to pay to stow a suitcase.  But...disadvantage to that is you can't buy liquor in port as there is no checked bag to bring it home in.  Or it can be a good thing for the budget.  😄 

Looks like you had a fun and well-deserved vacation.  I work for a CPA myself...

Thanks for blogging! 

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So, I realized I really didn't talk much about room even though I had pictures. 1305 is on deck 10 right by the elevators and right under Windjammer. I was worried about noise but actually we were never bothered by any. I never heard the elevators at all. Once or twice there was a loud thump on ceiling like someone dropped a piece of machinery, but it was so rare and cryptic that it really wasn't an issue. The virtual balcony really helped with the feeling of being closed in, it really did feel like a window. The only thing that gave it away was that the superimposed balcony railing would flicker off occasionally. While I think it's cute they have it, really they should take it out and just give you the camera view. I wouldn't have any problem recommending it to a friend as a nice room. Obviously since it's an accessible room and those are hard to get I would want it to be saved for wheelchair and scooter users who really need the room, but if you ended up with it as a guarantee cabin you would be happy. 

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