After much delay, I begin the blogging of my vacation last month. I filled the 2GB memory card of my camera with pictures. I think I took over 1500 of them. Sometimes I took multiple pictures trying to get one to turn out right though. And when I started going through all of these pictures, I sometimes wondered why getting a good picture of some things seemed like a good idea at the time. Sometimes they're necessary to tell the story. There Will Be Blog. So let us begin the story. This is my car, sitting in the dark, when I had to get up to leave to catch the plane to Port Canaveral. The timestamp on the original picture is around 5:45 a.m. on September 6.
I arrived at the Dulles Airport Gold lot, parked my car, and headed for the shelter to wait on the shuttle bus. Fortunately, I arrived before Hurricane Hanna did. I was about two hours away from losing several hundred dollars and totally disrupting my entire vacation schedule. Because I booked my trip so late, I did not buy travel insurance, which was dumb, since I was flying straight into the face of several hurricanes. If my flight had been delayed, I would have missed the boat, literally. But happily it all worked out OK.
Here I am on the weird looking busses that shuttle people from the ticketing counters out to the remote terminals. I always thought the stacks that pop out of the top were for engine exhaust. While I was on the trip somebody else said they were for the poles that are used to raise and lower the bus. That made a lot of sense, so I guess that is what they are there for after all. Maybe they vent exhaust through them too.
Like I said, my flight made it out OK and landed in sunny (for a while) Florida.
ATC at MCO, as viewed from the monorail to the main terminal.
The fountain to the left of the monorail. At least I think it was to the left.
The Orlando airport has a nice atrium. These are balconies of hotel rooms in the airport Hyatt. I thought about staying here on my final night, but decided against it. It was four times the cost of the hotel I decided to stay in. Of course, the janitor's closet at the Hyatt is probably better than the hotel I did stay in, but more on that much, much later.
On this trip I learned that there are two different baggage claim areas in the Orlando airport. This is the way to area B, where I went first.
And this is the way to area A, where I went after I learned that area B just wasn't going to work out for me.
Along the way I took a picture of another fountain.
Astronaut carry-on. It has to fit within the overhead bins on the Space Shuttle. Taking this picture greatly amused me.
This is bus number three in the trip so far. In case you are keeping track, so far that is automobile, shuttle bus, weird Dulles bus, plane, monorail, and this bus. There was some kind of scheduling problem with this bus at the airport. Our bus driver had to load all of the luggage onto the bus herself for some reason. The bus was packed, so that was a lot, and it was very hot outside. It was obvious from the delay in our boarding the bus, the fact that there were still passengers on it who needed to be dropped off before we could leave the airport, and the fact that our driver was basically by herself that she was making the best of a bad situation. I never did figure out why there would be a bad situation to begin with. The hurricane travel disruptions hadn't started yet. I took this picture just as we were going over one last bridge to get to Port Canaveral.
I was taking all of those modes of transportation to reach a boat. This was my first up-close look at her. (OK, technically the Carnival Glory is not a boat.)
Another obstacle in the way to boarding the boat. These registration lines were unacceptably long. I waited over 25 minutes. And that was after waiting some time--I think at least 45 minutes--in the airport for the bus. And then maybe like 20 minutes in the security lines outside the registration area. No pictures are allowed in the security area, so no pictures of the line there. The people in charge of registration also made a bad call when the lines got long and diverted some people to the opposite side. The problem was that their set up didn't support that. Again, there seemed to be some problem here, and I just can't explain why this part was handled so poorly. This isn't the first time they have pushed this many people through registration. There's no reason it should break down or take as long as it did.
Finally, after several modes of transportation and several lengthy lines, here I am on the boat. No more worries about some external delay causing me to miss it! However, once I got my picture taken for the ID card, the process broke down again as I was left on the ship with basically no direction or guidance about what I should do next, or where I could find the lunch they promised to feed me before the ship set sail (so to speak).
Because of all the delays, I never really did get lunch. I did manage to find the floor with the food, eventually, and where I could get something to drink without having to go to a bar. So this is all I managed to get for the lunch. And because I had to leave so early, I think this was all I had to eat so far in the day. I didn't really have time to eat because we barely made it on board before the safety drill. I would have liked to go on the tour of the ship, but that was ending as I was getting on board the ship.
With nothing else to do, I decided to head up to my room and see the view from the balcony I paid lots of extra money for on this trip. I could see the pier we were docked at.
I could also see the Disney Magic. It was a big boat. My boat was bigger.
This is what the water looked like at the pier.
I was able to see part of Port Canaveral.
This large light was also a prominent feature on my balcony. I never saw it operating. But I know they did something with it at times because it was left in different positions from time to time.
The view to the extreme left.
And way out in the distance I could see the buildings on Cape Canaveral, or I suppose I should say buildings that are part of the Kennedy Space Center.
The last thing I noticed as I was preparing to go to the safety drill was the Disney Magic starting up to get on its way and seeing this bubbling red pool at the front of the Magic. I thought it was bad news for the Little Mermaid. Later on I found out what was behind the pool of red.
But I didn't have too much more time to study it because the general emergency alarm sounded, and off I went to the safety drill. Everyone was very orderly. Nothing like what it would be if we had to do this for real.
These little pods are what we would be fighting over once we were in the water, I expect.
Hopefully whatever calamity has wrecked the ship will still leave power for the cranes.
I'm not sure how many people these boats hold, but they say they have enough.
Here's the Magic, headed out to sea.
And here's more of the Magic heading out to sea--like I said, it was a big ship.
A close-up of Goofy putting some finishing touches on the aft side of the ship.
Here is the bridge I was going over when I took the picture from within the bus.
Finally we were on our way, leaving land behind.
One of the first games I came across was a large chess set. I never did wind up playing anybody chess. This is one strange opening they have going here.
This is Lido deck (and some other decks) looking aft.
After I took that picture, I walked aft and turned around, and took a picture looking forward.
Here's a look off of the starboard side.
And a look off of the port side.
Some people were on board to show off. This lady got an early start. She was in that port picture up there.
There goes Disney. We chased her for a while, but eventually went our separate ways.
I saw some Coast Guard ships on the way out.
Some nice small rockets reminded me of my most recent trip to California.
One last look back at land as we start to head out into open water.
Here's the beach off to the right as we head out.
And here was the beach to the left.
Although none of the people in this picture are waving, they did eventually wave to us as we were leaving.
Here we go, churning up the water.
These are buoys, marking out a channel. Umm, we're not in it.
A close up of one of the buoys. I trust that the captain has done this before, so I won't worry too much about the buoys and why we are not between them.
I didn't get a very good picture of this boat, but here it is.
I never did go down the water slide, although I meant to.
Hooray, Global Warming! Note the smoke coming out of the smokestack. It wasn't there before.
I later learned that this camera fed into one of the closed-circuit TV channels on board.
I snuck into the Emerald Dining room to take this picture. This is a fancier dinner that costs extra money on board. I didn't go. The regular food was good enough for me.
Here are some pictures of my room on board. I thought maybe I would leave the balcony door open sometimes. Nope. The door is designed to keep shut and it's very heavy.
Featuring the one sole electrical outlet provided in my room. Fortunately, I travel with an extension cord.
Looking back at the door.
A closer look at the sign, which is full of instructions and directions.
Here's the start of the bathroom tour.
Here's the end of the tour. The bathroom was a bit small. But it never really seemed too small. It was compact, but it worked out just fine.
I had advance warning from cruise web sites about the mystery soap and packed my own Ivory soap and Suave shampoo.
I never figured out how to unlock my temperature setting, although I tried.
The bathroom was tiny, but it had some art!
Ahh, Siemens phones. Just like we had at Hood!
Even more caution. Who knew my room was so dangerous. I will confirm that a strong wind my close door rapidly. And like I said, it's pretty heavy.
A picture of the water after we had been on our way for a little bit (not too long). The water was already getting bluer. Sure, I will go ahead and count the water as part of my room.
Just like this funky lamp. A lot of things were bolted down to keep them in the same place.
This towel was provided for me. The trick was that if you lost it, it was $22 to replace. I never unwrapped it.
The room had art. This is the art over the sofa.
And this is the art over the bed.
One of the lights in my room.
On my way to dinner, I wandered by the main theater on board, the Amber Theater. This is a bust in the theater.
Another view. Although I am not at all widely traveled, I have actually been to the real Amber Room in the palace near Saint Petersburg which obviously served as the inspiration for this theater.
One of several plaques on the ship dedicated to the shipbuilders.
And finally, after a very long day, and many pictures, dinner. It is an amazing feat that they are able to prepare so many dinners at once and have them turn out so well. This was a good steak. Most nights after dinner, there was a show in the Amber Theater, although no pictures were allowed of those shows, so I don't have any pictures of them. The next entry will begin with what I found when I returned to my room, which was just after midnight when I got back, and so technically day number two.
Saturday, September 06, 2008