Morning has broken. The adults are anxiously awaiting gets out for some time without the kids. The kids are clueless, they are in a new place, but all is right with the world. Mommy is there and some guy that resembles Daddy has been back for 4 days.
So quietly, we pack up our stuff to leave. Jen uses a Jedi Mind Trick on Eric and tells him that we will be back in ONE week. Thank goodness that Eric doesn’t now the week-to-day conversion. 1 doesn’t sound all that bad. Unless you are on a date, but if you are Narcissistic then everything is cool.
So we are in our van and picked up Jen’s parents, packed them in and their stuff and headed out. It was cool that morning, but not too bad for a Long sleeved button down shirt. Plus the van heater helped.
We were driving to the Charlotte Airport to catch our 9 something plane to Miami. We chose Charlotte because it was the closest major airport to W-S and the fact that the tickets that we got at last minute were 50% less than flying out of Knoxville.
The first order of business was to get some breakfast. Hey, there’s a McDonald’s, done deal! I should have gotten TWO sausage biscuits because I was hungry with just one.
The trip to Charlotte is a very straightforward interstate trip. I40 to I77 and then follow the airplane signs to the airport. The change of interstates is real close to the midway point (about 45 minutes) of the whole trip.
So when Jen’s Mom says that she doesn’t have her passport, things became a little tense. We were too far away to drive back and then drive back to the airport. I pulled off right after taking the I77 exit and a few calls were made.
Jen’s mom was ready to give up right on the spot saying that she’d stay in Charlotte and have someone pick her up and she would watch the kids. She insisted that Jen’s Dad still cruise with us, but he graciously said that he wouldn’t. So, the plan was to keep driving to the airport.
At first, we suggested that since they had paid for their airplane tickets that they should at the very least go to Miami and spend the week there. We tried to explain that when her passport was found, we’d fax a copy to the boat and that all would be okay. Nope. She didn’t want to hear anything about it.
Little did she know that I was using The Secret to mentally picture myself picking up the passport. So sure was I that I would find the passport, that I went ahead and parked in the Long Term Parking. Find a parking spot was a little difficult, but we finally found a place.
It was nice to stretch a little and I started to unload the bags.
And what did my wonderful eyes find… the $^#*$ Passport. BOO-YAH. Disaster avoided.
Our monster bag that we had was 11lbs, I mean $50 overweight. Whatever…
In through security without a problem, our gate was close, and we waited. The coolest thing was looking through the Overpriced Brookstone store of stuff that could simplify your life and reduce your wallet. Perhaps the nicest thing was the total massage chair/recliner that cost around $4500 dollars but shipping is free (what a deal).
Plane ride was without incident. We even received a little bag of snack, man, I felt like a King. Arriving at the airport, we had to find a way to get from the airport to the boat. We didn’t have the transfer option when we bought our cruise tickets.
Transfer plans were found and made and were without incident.
When we arrived at the dock, the boat was there (Thank Goodness!) and we proceeded to get into the line, a somewhat daunting line filled with eager beaver cruiser like ourselves.
Despite there being a bunch of people, the line moved quickly. Moving back and forth and back and forth, we made it to the first security checkpoint. At this point, we had to show a piece of paper (any piece) that was cruise related. Done.
You May Pass…
Up the escalator, to more mazes of seeing the same people over and over. At this point we hit the first marketing ploy of all cruise ships. Pictures. Let’s take a picture of you while you are waiting in line. Be happy! You are about to go through security and go to the boat. Smile! CLICK!
Okay next to *cough* oh excuse me… Security.. *cough, cough*. Oh sorry, I have something stuck in my throat. They made some kid take off his belt, his rings, all the change out of his pocket, his shoes and still was a little skeptical. The guy with a bazooka went right through.
After going through security, we had to go to another line. This would be where we would get our SeaPass Card, our identity while on ship. This process wasn’t too bad, we got our cards. NOW, we could get in line to get on the ship.
Through another maze and over a metal plank that traversed the water and onto the ship.
“Look Down at the Camera”
“Oh great” I thought, “looking down at a camera adds like 25 pounds and 3 chins.”