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Old 7 Dec 17, 11:01 PM  
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GopherLass
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The Uttermost Parts of the Sea - 2017 DCL Westbound Transatlantic Highs, Lows - and Jibber-Jabber




We are a family of three, consisting of…


Me, April (the impulsive one):



My husband, R.C. (the hospitalised one):



Our son, Poot - aged 10 (the sanguine one):




Some of the snaps in this post are straight off Google Images. I *intended* to wander around the ship taking “scene-setting” photos during our first few hours on board...but you know our days leading up to the cruise were rather...manic, so I didn’t. Sorry.


Those of you who read my Florida trippie know how I came to book this cruise - but here’s a quick recap for newcomers:


Back in the spring of 2017, my dear husband and I…ahem...“had words” about a decision he made without me. Now when I am stressed, I spend (why eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s when you can drive your family into bankruptcy? ) - and in one afternoon I researched and paid for a Disney cruise. Whoops.


We booked with Carissa at Kingdom Konsultants - and I just can’t praise her enough. When I couldn’t book the shore excursion I wanted (and we only wanted ONE for the whole cruise) - she said to leave it with her - and she eventually was able to grab it. So using the TA was really worth it for us. And even though (by the time we booked), DISNEY was no longer offering onboard credit, KK still was. The $150 in credit more than paid for our excursion, with a little left over for pins…




I tried (and tried) to talk R.C. into coming on the cruise - but in the end, it was just Poot and me. R.C. has a crippling fear of drowning - which he just couldn’t get past. But he drove us down to Barcelona (see Post #1 for THAT adventure ) to see us off!


Since we had our car, we needed a hotel with secure parking. So in the end I booked us in at the Hilton Diagonal Mar. I booked through Expedia (via Quidco), and it was about half the cost it would have been had I reserved it through Disney.

The view from our room:



Originally, we had TWO nights booked at the HDM, but because of Poot’s hospital appointment back in London (again, see Post #1 for THAT) - we didn’t arrive in Barcelona until 13 hours before Poot and I had to leave for the dock.


As this was our first time in Catalonia, R.C. and I were disappointed not to get a bit of sightseeing in - but (as some of you know) Poot is RELENTLESSLY cheerful. And so his only complaint about arriving so late in Barcelona was missing the chance to look for these (photographs of which he had seen in the Telegraph earlier this year):





Lol, had we actually SEEN anything of Barcelona it was my plan to call this post “Gaudí Hates You”. How could I NOT HAVE?

But Barceloní ...I get it. We saw what the daytrip hordes are doing to Lisbon later in the holiday - and YUK. Just yuk.



One quick story before I get to the cruise Highs and Lows:


The buffet brekkie at the Hilton runs something like €27 per person, so on departure day we decided to have a wander around our “neighbourhood” and see if we could turn up some breakfast, instead. Everywhere was shuttered. Even McDonald’s didn’t open until nine. Poor R.C. had to drive off hungry. Neither of us have Catalan, but I wrote the Spanish words for tea and bread down for him (so that he could get some food at an Aire). In the end, though - he was too nervous to try Spanish - and waited to eat until he got back over the border.

“Once I was safely back in France, I found a little village and had some lovely croissants. And I’m sure they were nicer than anything we could have gotten in Spain, anyway.”


Bless his heart.


Now...not to start right off with a “low”, but…


Poot and I got the coach to the ship - and almost everybody on the coach was American (and so, so LOUD). And while we waited to depart, a car pulled up across the street from us. Any parent among us (one would think!) could sympathise with what happened next. A father hopped out of the car, and - quick as a flash - he had the passenger door open to let his very young son out. He pointed said son towards a drain, and…

...a whole bunch of the Americans began banging on the coach windows and clapping.

Really?! Have you never had a child who urgently needed the loo?


It was a long time since I’d been on any kind of “group outing” - and I’ve never done one with Americans in Europe. This is a hard thing to try and explain, but really I struggled with the total lack of “When in Rome”. Don’t get me wrong, we saw English passengers behave just as boorishly - but the lion’s share of our fellow passengers were American. And whether it was the mocking of toddlers - or the complete unwillingness to even say “HELLO” to people in the local language before they started jabbering at them in English - it got right up my nose. Gaudí hates you, indeed.


Sorry, I warned you about the righteous indignation.




But since we’ve already had a “low” (and it was a big one), let’s do a “high” now, too!


While we waited to check in at the cruise terminal, I noticed just how many of our fellow passengers had really made an effort with their ensembles. I bought a few little “nautical” bits for Poot and myself…






...and to be frank I wondered if they might be a bit OTT...but they were subtle (SUBTLE!) compared to some of the Disneybounds and themed outfits we saw. There was even a Frenchwoman aboard the ship who arranged a different (Disney) peluche in her updo every day…and I don’t mean ones like this:



...but rather plushies like this:



...I did actually speak to the Frenchwoman a few times, but was never able to work up the courage to ask if I could photograph her hair. Poot noted that it was lucky we never had to sit behind her in the cinema.




At check-in, though, my favourite “group look” BY FAR was that of a Scottish family who were all togged out in kilts and plaid.




They were fewer in number...AND they were in colour ()...but you get the idea. They looked AMAZING. And since R.C. wasn’t there to chastise me about complimenting strangers’ clothing, I told them so. What a lovely family. Hello! if you’re Dibbers…and thank you for pretending it was no big deal when Poot came running back from the (cruise terminal’s) lavatory yelling, “I need the camera in the bathroom!”

Those of you who know Poot from way back won’t be surprised that it was to snap this:




Don’t throw paper towels, kids.


We chatted with the Scottish family several times over the course of the cruise - they had a whole wardrobe of plaid things. I loved it!


ANYWAY, I told Poot we are TOTALLY going to wear patriotic clothes on our next holiday, but he’s not sure how that would work...what with R.C. being English and me being half Irish and half Norwegian. I told him I’d come up with something. All suggestions appreciated!



OK, let’s do the “proper” Highs, Lows and general waffle now…



The Magic


The Disney Magic is handsome and classy. I'm not sure why, but I imagined something like this:




...so I was pleasantly surprised when it actually looked like this:





Poot loved (and I mean LOVED) seeing all the decorated doors on the ship. We kept ours relatively simple…



...but some families had REALLY gone to town…



Is this you? Hello!


We didn’t do fish extender gifts (I didn’t want to buy OR get tat) - but we DID participate in a postcard exchange (arranged by an American lady on the Dis). This was SO MUCH FUN for Poot. About fifteen different families/cabins participated - and we all left postcards of our hometowns in the staterooms of the others on the list. We ended up with postcards of Munich, Philadelphia, Boston - and a very special snap of the Newport Transporter Bridge, from Welsh Dibber gismo1554.



As some of you may know, Poot wants to be a volcanologist - and he was also the lucky recipient of a Herculaneum postcard (as well as some adorable DLP bits) from Dibbers Gill and Peter H - who had been on the Magic just the week before.


We had a stateroom with a balcony (because...escape…) on Deck 7 - and it was plenty big enough for the two of us. I think three would have felt like a squeeze, though…

Balcony snaps:






(Our) Stateroom 7036, back when the bed scarf was red:



We LOVED the split bathroom. I know they’re more and more common these days, but it’s still a genius idea:




Characters


Poot is getting to the age where he doesn’t really want to queue to meet characters, but he’s still willing to do it - for me. And he did enjoy taking SELFIES with them.



I loved this Captain America, he was really in (1940’s) character - but told us that had recently “learned about selfies”.


What I liked best about the characters on the cruise were all the unique costumes -



(I think Poot is saying “Arr” here)

- and the fact that some more “rare characters” were out and about…



...Poot and the “Thugs” are pretending to be volcanoes in this one:



We’ve never seen The Goofy Movie, but it seemed like Max was the favourite of many -



- the queues to meet him were L-O-N-G.

We booked ahead for the Frozen M&G - and the Princess Gathering as well. Olaf AUTOGRAPHS (well, he draws a self-portrait) on the cruise ships - and Poot was happy to add some snowman art to his autograph collection.



He also tried to see how many chins he could give himself by tucking in his chin and then shooting the selfies from below…





Oh - I was so cross when I saw these photos! BOYS!



Now let’s talk FOOD…


It was good fun rotating through the three different restaurants. And the food was better than I expected (though there were a few times it *could* have been hotter). Poot liked the pasta choices best…



...but I especially enjoyed the soups. We neither of us had a meal where we ordered a dish from every course; it was just too much food. For ME, especially on sea days (when there was less exercise to be had) - I tried to be a little bit more careful. It would be all too easy to gain weight on a cruise this long - no matter how many times one took the stairs...


As to the restaurants themselves…


How cool was it that the “show” in Animator’s Palate was different every time. Best (of course) was the night when our own “art” came to life on the walls of the restaurant...



My character is Miss Flower; Poot’s is Mr. Spore. Can you spot them?

Yes, I know - I won’t give up my day job.


Carioca’s…



...had a masculine (sort of) flair to it that I liked; I’m still not sure how I feel about it being turned into a Rapunzel-themed restaurant.

And Lumiere’s…



...was pretty, too (though it was probably my least favourite, in terms of “feel”).


We did have some awkwardness at the first dinner. I had specifically requested a table for two. Now I know they say that not many small tables are available - but we had the second seating, and there were ALWAYS a goodly few empty tables - even on that first night.

Having said that, we were taken to a table with two other families - where all of the children were either “at the kids’ club, it’s better for everyone that way” () - or playing with phones/tablets. And that really was not the dinner environment I wanted to have for ELEVEN NIGHTS. So I stayed standing (as Poot, next to me, slowly went scarlet) - and asked the waiter if we could possibly have that smaller table that I requested.

This was no problem, though the head waiter (actually a waitress) did have to come to sort it out.


Our waiters (one was Thai, one was Peruvian) were incredibly solicitous - and I know this is how Disney trains them to be. BUT...(please don’t yell at me) I think I found it all a bit too much. I don’t need or want to be “checked on” every two minutes. On our sixth or seventh night on board we got talking with the lovely Arkansan couple sitting next to us - and the lady said to me, “Sometimes I just want to go to Cabanas (the buffet) so that I don’t have to talk so much to the waiters. I just want them to leave us alone!”

Speaking of Cabanas, Poot certainly enjoyed our visits THERE...as it was rich in amusing signs and typos:







This seems as good a place as any to put in all the rest of his cruise typos…





And this one was MY particular favourite - Ponta Delgada...where the world goes…




...TROUGH. Poot decided we should start using the phrase “it went trough” to describe things that went wrong.


But back to the Arkansans - we had such a terrific conversation with them on the night we bonded over too-solicitous waiters - and we ended up eating dinner with them for the rest of the cruise. I know this made Poot feel very grown-up indeed. What kind and generous-spirited people. SO MUCH BETTER than having dinner with empty chairs and beeping tablets!


Oh - and if you were the English couple (staying at the Library Hotel after the cruise) who made a point of complimenting Poot on his table manners and conversation - THANK YOU. I don’t ask people if they’re Dibbers anymore (not after the whole VD Face incident) - but just in case, thanks.


Special Events:



This cruise had both Frozen Night and Pirate Night, in addition to formal and semi-formal evenings. Frozen night was a bit of a bust for us (we’re not really Frozen fans), but Poot especially enjoyed Pirate Night.



The fireworks were "pretty cool, Mother" -



- and then he was asked to go up on stage and dance with some other lads. I couldn’t get very close - but perhaps you can see his homemade red pirate hat…



...it was too funny, later that night he asked me about the “Pirate music”.


Me: “What Pirate music?”
Poot: “Well, wasn’t one of the songs by a guy called Justin Timberleg? Isn’t he a pirate?”
Me: “Oh, Poot - please tell me you didn’t say that to the other chaps at the party!”


We don’t do pop music at our house. Can you tell?


APPARENTLY one of the cruise staff asked all the dancing lads if they liked Justin Timberlake - because they danced to a song of his...I must confess, I had to look the song up later - it was about sunshine in his pockets. Lol...my pop music days ended a LONG TIME AGO. And R.C.’s ended with Elvis.


We did have a not-so-high on the night of the “Snuggly Duckling Takeover” of O’Gills (the “Irish” pub). We went straight there at the time shown on the Navigator - but despite the fact that we went to the “family” takeover (the later one was adults only) the entire bar was full of adults holding tables. Not a spot to be had.


But here are a couple of snaps from formal night -





- and BOY you can really see how grey my hair is.

A few months ago I decided to stop colouring it (for like the fifth time - but this go 'round I've stuck with it). Are there ladies out there who might have any suggestions on something to make grey hair feel/appear a bit thicker?

Because the colour itself doesn’t really bother me (except for the time a woman at the Folkestone Premier Inn called me Poot’s NAN!) - but my parting looks like you could drive an articulated lorry down it. Oh, dear.
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Old 8 Dec 17, 12:12 AM  
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GopherLass
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...continued from previous post


The Ports


Cadiz Highs:


It was an easy walk from the ship into the town, where we climbed the Torre de Tavira:






We could see the ship from the roof!



Next we saw the “Cámara Oscura” (I’d never seen one of these before, it was SO COOL!)...



...and then wandered around the Paseo de Santa Barbara and the Parque Genovés.




It was an interesting combination of statuary…




Rubén Darío! (Why? I’ve no idea. But I love Rubén Darío, so who cares?):




...and horticulture:






At Cadiz, a lot of passengers went on excursions to Seville or Jerez - but I was really glad we stayed close. It was a cheap day (we spent less than €30) but an interesting one, too. This was our first visit to Spain, but since I speak (Nicaraguan) Spanish - we felt perfectly comfortable just wandering around the town looking at whatever took our fancy.

These chaps took my fancy:



...but if I remember correctly, the handsome building they adorn is now some sort of tax office. Sigh.

Oh, and did you know one of Juvenal’s satires mentions Cadiz?

It does! Omnibus in terris quae sunt a Gadibus usque Auroram et Gangen…

Yes, Poot was thrilled to find that out, too. “You mean I have to do Latin ON THE CRUISE?”

You’ll thank me later, boyo.


Cadiz Lows:

None. We loved it!



Lisbon Highs:

We walked here, too. DCL offered a (free) shuttle into the city centre, but the traffic was pretty bad - so we figured Shanks’ Pony would be faster. I only have a little (spoken) Portuguese, but I can read it pretty well - as the words LOOK like Spanish. So we had a fairly easy time of it - when I ran out of Portuguese I just apologised and switched to Spanish.

The sights of Lisbon were fascinating. Poot had his heart set on riding the Elevador de Santa Justa…



...so that he could see the damage from the earthquake and the Chiado fire…



We had a good wander around the city and then visited the Teatro Romano:







I didn’t even know there was a Roman theatre IN Lisbon - we just saw it on the Disney map and thought we’d have a look. There was a little (but good and modern) museum of Roman life there - it was free for kids and just €3 for me.


Lisbon Lows:


As interesting as Lisbon was, I felt more than a little bit GUILTY walking around the city. Tourists were EVERYWHERE (on a weekday in mid-September). And the streets of the historic districts were clogged with both people and stinky, noisy tuk tuks:



No wonder that we saw more than a few signs like these:






We didn’t see the touristy bits of Barcelona, so I can’t speak to that - but what Lisbon reminded me most of was Venice. It felt UNCOMFORTABLY touristy - like walking around the South Bank in August (No, thank you). And I can’t think that Lisbon gets its money’s worth out of daytrippers - we spent less than €25 all day.



Ponta Delgada (on the island of São Miguel, in the Azores) Highs:


Before we docked in the Azores, I only really knew them from Christopher Columbus’ log - but WOW! - what a beautiful island is São Miguel. I am quite keen to go back there as a family - I think R.C. would just love it. The views were jaw-dropping…





... fascinating…



...straight-up gorgeous.








Ponta Delgada Not-so-Highs - and Lows:

We felt it was necessary to book an excursion for PD - the ship was only in port for a few hours, and I wasn’t willing to risk “missing the boat” out in the middle of the Atlantic. And the excursion (while it stopped at beautiful and interesting places) was a VERY managed experience, and that was hard for me.

“We’ll be here for ten minutes - quick! - buy a postcard and get then back on the bus so we don’t leave without you.”...isn’t really my favourite way to travel. When we got to the Parque Terra Nostra (the Botanic Garden - and our last stop), I thought we’d be left to our own devices, but no...we had to “stay with the group” - as the bus dropped us off and picked us up at different points. There was an amazing volcanic pool/lake…



...and had I known I would have brought our swim things, as it was so lovely and warm. A goodly few locals were having a swim...so it wasn’t AT ALL embarrassing when a woman in our group yelled out, “Eew! How can they SWIM in that? It’s so BROWN!”


A few of you know that I have a recently-diagnosed neurological disorder. Luckily, I only had one problem with my (broken) brain the whole time we were on the cruise. As we were route-marched through the garden, I began to lose the feeling in my feet. And just as I reached out to take Poot’s arm...down I fell. In a mud puddle. Sigh, only me.

And an American man in our group thought my accident was hysterically funny and began to poke fun at me. Poot - who hates a bully (and who is now old enough to feel “responsible” for me, bless) - practically GROWLED at him. I didn’t really feel like I needed to explain to him about my brain problems, so I just stared at him until he walked away.

Poot: That man is VILE and HORRIBLE!

You’ll be proud of me - I said, “Well, now - let’s not use words like “vile” to describe PEOPLE, eh?” - despite the fact that I was thinking...hmm...I’m no cactus expert, but I know a pr1ck when I see one.


Sorry, I digress. Back on the excursion - my other not-so-high was with the guide herself. This is probably going to sound horrible, but she was Ukrainian - and giving the tour in her fifth language. And while speaking five languages is (more than!) commendable - it also meant that the commentary (and there was a lot of driving time to fill with commentary) was...dry.

But I’m still really glad we did an on-island tour, rather than, say, whale-watching - as now I know how beautiful the Azores are - and how much I want to go back.


St. John’s Low:

We missed our scheduled stop at St. John’s (Newfoundland), due to Hurricane Maria forming in the Atlantic.




This was the port Poot was most looking forward to (I’m still not quite sure why) - and I was eager to see the shooting locations for “The Republic of Doyle”.

There was a family on the ship FROM St. John’s - and they were planning to use the stop to pick up all their clothes for New York (I think they had a week-long stay booked after the cruise). So I felt really bad for them - but obviously no-one wanted to sail into a hurricane.


What WAS surprising to me (because we’re new to cruising, I suppose)? That we couldn’t put in somewhere else instead.



Entertainment/Activities:



We had three production numbers on our eleven night cruise. And they were all pretty good. “Tangled” is the newest - and looked it…





...but I am always keen to see ORIGINAL content. So yay! for “Twice Charmed”, even if the songs are a little hmm...and Franco (the Fairy Godfather) is the lamest Disney character since the cows in “Home on the Range”.



“Disney Dreams” is apparently the Magic’s “signature show”. But I thought the actress who played the principal role was...irritating. Sorry, “Dreams” fans. And I always feel slightly awkward when people all around me are bawling their eyes out - and there I sit, thinking, “Well, that was...fine.” Perhaps I’m just cold-hearted. I never cried at “Wishes”, either.

On the whole, I would class the evening entertainment as about up to the level of provincial theatre here in England. But I’ve seen musicals in Stevenage that featured better singing (especially from the men). Having said that, I grew up in the nightclub business - so I am fussy about singing. And I do think the actual ACHIEVEMENT of putting on several production numbers with a limited cast - on a ship - was rather remarkable.


As to the variety acts…they were OK. The one I was actually looking forward to most, though (the ABBA tribute act) was of ZERO interest to Poot - so we skipped that one. Fair enough, he wouldn’t know…



...from:



There was an all-male a capella group who sang well -



- and Poot enjoyed the English chap who juggled axes.



But I did appreciate the evening shows. I just thought they might be like park shows (something like “Aladdin” at Disneyland - or “Animagique” at DLP). And while they weren’t - they were more than good enough.

I definitely enjoyed the shipboard entertainment more than this lady...



...Oops - I was trying to get a snap of Poot dancing on the stage here...I promise! You can see his nautical shirt!



Onward...


Both Poot and I found the sea day lectures (from Disney historian) Jeff Kurtti fascinating...



...and I DEFINITELY learned things about Walt Disney that I never knew before - even if I did find Mr. Kurtti’s style rather off-putting. If you watch the new “Sky at Night” -



- and struggle...with...this...woman’s...pregnant...paus es...you know what I mean.

That pausing thing makes me nuts. Unless you’re Frank Sinatra, stop it!


With all the sea days on a transatlantic cruise, I worried about both Poot and I going a bit stir-crazy. We made a deliberate effort to take more exercise - and got good use out of the shuffleboard and the basketball court (since Poot wasn’t allowed in the gym):






I was more than a little bit disappointed that there was only one basketball hoop on the ship. It just would have been nice if there had been a better balance between EATING (everywhere, all the time) and exercise!



On Sunday mornings there was a passenger-led “church service” in the piano bar. A very sincere layman (a Southern Baptist, I *think*) led those of us assembled in a few hymns (I only knew one of them, poor Poot didn’t know any) - and then talked about his understanding of a few ship-related Scripture passages. It was very nice - and rather endearing. Disney never turned the music off in the club, though - so the whole thing had a “smooth jazz” soundtrack. I had to laugh.

Oh - and I noticed passenger-led Shabbos gatherings in the Navigator, too.



One More Not-So-High:



We were both a little down on the Kids’ Clubs for Poot’s age group. In his words, most of the organised activities were “for girls” - they seemed to just steer the boys toward video games. He did enjoy making “Flubber” one afternoon - but that was pretty much it. There were 400 kids on the ship - I hoped there would be more things on in the clubs that he’d be keen to do, but it wasn’t to be.

I know in the next age group, the staff takes the kids out around the ship to do scavenger hunts and play sports - that looked more up Poot’s street. Just a bad fit at this point, I think (as the Scottish family literally COULD NOT GET their daughter out of the clubs).


Lows:


We only had two REAL Lows on the cruise - and the first started out as a High!


If you read my Florida trippie, you know how much Poot loves Disney pin trading. And so he was OVER THE MOON when he was asked to be an “Official Pin Trader” on Officers’ Pin Trading Night. Now I didn’t know what that was...but if I had…



So...on Officers’ Pin Trading Night, some of the ship’s officers (and the honorary pin traders) are handed lanyards of brand-new, limited-edition pins - and then they are swarmed by people who want to trade for the pins. Kids, yes - but mainly adults. And some of them are...aggressive. Aggressive people eager to trade their 50p ebay fakes for the real, expensive pins on the officers' lanyards.


When he was swarmed, Poot looked shell-shocked - there’s no other way to describe it. I was just about to go and stand next to him, when I saw a Frenchman we had been talking to earlier approach him - and I thought, “Well, that will be OK.” But apparently not - as he tried to get Poot to GIVE him one of the special DCL Star Wars pins for nothing - because they were "amis"! I’ve written before about Poot’s “elevated sense of justice” - and said sense did not cope well with this event. None of the lanyarded ones are allowed to refuse a trade (just like at the Disney Parks) - and within ten minutes all he had left was a lanyard of fakes. Not an authentic pin in the bunch.

At the end of it all, he was given a certificate - and some pins - but it wasn’t a good experience for him.



I tried to jolly him along as we got settled in the theatre, but we should have gone back to our cabin - because Poot was a wreck. He was only ten years old, after all. While we waited for that night’s show to start he went ON and ON about the fakes and the pins and the shoving - and the Frenchman. I had to shush him - more than once. And I know that the couple sitting in front of us in the theatre that night were English - I’m very sorry if you were Dibbers. But perhaps now you understand why he was in such a state. It was totally my mistake not to take him back to our stateroom.


The Other Low (what went trough when we sailed into New York) - or how we went from this:



...to this:



...in five minutes.



My father used to love the following joke. It’s an oldie, but a goodie.


Jimmy and his brother Ralph both lived in the same town. Jimmy lived with their 90 year-old mother, and Ralph lived across town with his 12 year-old cat, Silky.

Ralph was obsessed with Silky and treated her like a queen. The two were never apart. But one day, Ralph learned he had to go to Australia on business. Cats had to stay in quarantine for two weeks in order to get into Australia, so Ralph couldn’t take Silky with him.

Ralph asked Jimmy to care for his cat - and Jimmy agreed. So Ralph brought Silky over, spent an hour explaining the nuances of caring for the aging feline - and departed for Sydney.

Every night Ralph would call and ask "How's Silky?". The first four nights, Jimmy, holding in his growing irritation at his brother's cat-obsession, answered, "Silky's fine," but the fifth night, in response to the question - he blurted out, "Silky's dead!"

Hearing that, Ralph almost died of shock himself. When he recovered, he said to his brother, "Jimmy, that's not the way to break news like that to someone. You don't just blurt out information like that. You have to prepare a person."

"Tonight, when I called," Ralph went on, "You should have said, 'Silky's fine, but she's up on the roof.' Then tomorrow you could have told me, "Silky fell off the roof and I took her to the vet." Then, the next day, you could have said, "Silky didn't make it, Ralph, she's dead," and I would have been able to handle the news."

"By the way, Jimmy," Ralph asked, "How's Mum?"


"Oh, she's fine," said Jimmy. "But she's up on the roof."




Why did I make you read all that?



Well, I was a wee bit anxious about R.C. driving back from Barcelona alone - especially as he then had to drive all the way back to England just two days later. So I asked my neighbour (the kindest man on God’s Earth) to PLEASE, PLEASE call me on the cruise if anything should happen to R.C. I gave him the little satellite phone (?) card that was in my Disney paperwork and secured his promise to call.

I have 3 - so I was able to call and talk to R.C. from Lisbon and the Azores. And he had made it back to London safely. I put the card out of my mind and told him that we’d talk again once the ship docked in New York.


Because of the hurricane, we docked at New York a full day early - and both Poot and I were eager to speak to R.C. We found a spot on Deck 4 (because the upper decks were CRAZY CROWDED) and turned on the ‘phone.


R.C.: Hello?

Me: Babes! We’re sailing into New York right now! How are you?!

R.C.: Not so well, darling. I’ve actually just gotten home from hospital.

Me: Hospital? What happened?

R.C.: I’m still not quite certain. I was crossing the road in front of my office - and then the next thing I knew I was waking up in hospital.

Me: What?!

R.C.: Yes, a man didn’t stop at the light - and apparently - he hit me. I went flying through the air and landed in the middle of the road. I’ve been two nights in hospital.

Me: Because of a concussion?

R.C.: No, though I HAVE a concussion. I also have a dislocated shoulder, a torn tendon, a chipped bone in my foot - and I look like Frankenstein’s monster. One arm’s in a sling - and I have to walk with a stick.

Me: Oh my Lord, R.C.! Why didn’t you call me?!

R.C.: What could you have done from the middle of the Atlantic Ocean?

Me: Do you want us to come home tomorrow instead of staying here in America?

R.C. (after a long, LONG pause): I’m not certain.


...and then I lost the signal. The ‘phone went dead.


Just then, the kind couple from Arkansas walked up behind me, and at the sight of a friendly face I promptly...burst into tears. Hard as nails, me.


So then I had to tell Poot. Now he’s a good kid - but like ALL young kids he still struggles with PUTTING OTHERS FIRST.

“Do we have to go back to ENGLAND? Are we going to miss New York?”

Me: You have GOT to be kidding me. Is that really your first concern right now?!

I should have spoken to him more kindly, but I was in a right dither. I think I would have handled things better if my neighbour had called me on the satellite phone and let me know that R.C. was on the roof!

When I rang my neighbour later in the day and asked him how R.C. was (REALLY was), I reminded him of his promise.

Neighbour: But R.C. was so determined that we not tell you. And it seemed to me that his request superseded yours…
Me: Harrumph! It’s not R.C. who comes ‘round with freshly baked cookies for you!


So the photos above were taken right before and right after my chat with R.C.. You can see my “Let’s get a nice photo of the two of us with the Statue of Liberty in the background and then email it to Papa to cheer him up idea” didn’t work so well.


And then no matter where we went on the ship, we couldn’t pick the telephone signal back up (at this point no one could leave the ship - customs/immigration/Homeland Security/whatever were still doing their checks).


So...I thought we’d better get on the ‘net and look into tickets back to London. We didn’t have a laptop with us (just my Kindle Fire) and hadn’t purchased the wifi package (because $$$) - but I decided to throw myself on Disney’s mercy.


And Disney absolutely SHONE. We went straight to Guest Services - and they just SNAPPED into action.


(Wonderful) Jo: Go back to your stateroom. I’ll be there as soon as I can with a laptop that’s all ready for you to use so that you can book your flights. Do you need one of the (kids’ club) team to come and sit with Poot? Is there anything else at all we can do to make this situation better for either of you?

Me (sniffling): No, thank you. We’ll just wait for you in the cabin.


So kind-hearted Jo brought a laptop to our stateroom. And I researched all the possible flights back. There were loads - and the Norwegian flight in two days’ time was actually pretty cheap. Once I saw that, I felt a good deal calmer. We returned the laptop to Guest Services (“Come back for it anytime you need it.”) - and walked off the boat.



And now those of you who helped me with my hob dilemma (in another thread) know why I couldn’t yell at R.C. about wrecking the kitchen...


But for those of you who didn’t…


When Poot and I got back to England I saw this:




...and I said, “Dear...what...exactly...happened...here? What is this...black muck?”

Old hands out there will remember that R.C. is the ABSOLUTE MASTER of the incongruous reply. Need I remind you of “I thought I saw a wolf!” and “Here’s a photo of him with his fencing medal!”?


Need I? I thought not.


But when he replied, “I tried to make fig jam” , well...even I was surprised.


Me, unable to take my eyes off the hob: You tried. To make. Fig jam.
R.C.: Yes.
Me: You had to walk with a stick, your arm was in a sling...and yet you tried to make FIG JAM?
R.C.: Yes.
Me: Good Lord, R.C. - WHY?
R.C., exasperated: Well there were a lot of FIGS, weren’t there? What a silly question!



What could I say, ladies? Apparently there were a lot of figs.


Many thanks to Bianca, Cazzius and unixgirl for the cleaning tips. A combination of bicarb paste and Barkeeper’s Friend (and about three hours of scrubbing - NO LIE) got the muck off the hob.


OK, this is getting crazy long (other people’s “Highs and Lows” run for 20 pages too, right? ) - so I’m going to stop here for this post!


Sorry, I lied - if you want the latest TF Update, it's Post #20.
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Old 8 Dec 17, 12:24 AM  
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Poot's Justin Timberlake pun is quite funny I think. Even if it was just that he didn't know the name Timberlake
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Old 8 Dec 17, 12:48 AM  
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Originally Posted by Skittl1321 View Post
Poot's Justin Timberlake pun is quite funny I think. Even if it was just that he didn't know the name Timberlake
Lol...at first I thought he WAS making a pun. It took a second for me to figure out that he was serious, bless him.

But later in the holiday he did try out his new joke (on a CM working at Pirates of the Caribbean). I bet you can guess it...

Yep!

Who's a pirate's favourite singer?

Feel free to pass this one on to all the 10 year olds you know! - and thanks for stopping by.
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Old 8 Dec 17, 12:49 AM  
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I think RC may very well be related to me ... or rather my late Father as they definitely think in the same style. Brilliant post as always April
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Old 8 Dec 17, 12:53 AM  
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Originally Posted by duchy View Post
I think RC may very well be related to me ... or rather my late Father as they definitely think in the same style. Brilliant post as always April
Thank you, my friend.

And what about my lovely hubby reminds you of your father? Is it the incongruous replies, the fear of Spaniards - or his general handiness in the kitchen?
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Old 8 Dec 17, 09:09 AM  
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So many funny things that had me laughing the plush in hair particularly! But what a stressful time you’ve had, glad all was ok with Poot but a nightmare end to the cruise .
Loved reading this though
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Old 8 Dec 17, 10:49 AM  
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Originally Posted by i love jack View Post
So many funny things that had me laughing the plush in hair particularly! But what a stressful time you’ve had, glad all was ok with Poot but a nightmare end to the cruise .
Loved reading this though


Emma! How lovely to hear from you!


As I've gotten older, I've begun to give some thought to what garments and accessories I own that *might* be a little mutton-y...so all credit to that Frenchwoman - who HAD TO BE in her fifties - and yet OWNED that stuffed Pascal plaited into her updo!

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Old 8 Dec 17, 01:14 PM  
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Well life certainly isn't dull in your household April

I now understand why you were so forgiving about the hob incident! Hope R.C has made a good recovery. I'm glad other non-slatterns were able to come to your cleaning aid

Would you go on another Disney cruise? My DS is 6 and I must admit your report has made me rethink taking him on one at the moment. He's not a screen/computer game kind of child either, and needs a lot of physical activity (he certainly does not get it from his mother!).
We're off to Barcelona in April, I booked it before I knew all about the huge tourist influx...fingers crossed we're not run out of town!
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Old 8 Dec 17, 02:00 PM  
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Originally Posted by MrsSilverStar View Post
Well life certainly isn't dull in your household April

I now understand why you were so forgiving about the hob incident! Hope R.C has made a good recovery. I'm glad other non-slatterns were able to come to your cleaning aid

Would you go on another Disney cruise? My DS is 6 and I must admit your report has made me rethink taking him on one at the moment. He's not a screen/computer game kind of child either, and needs a lot of physical activity (he certainly does not get it from his mother!).
We're off to Barcelona in April, I booked it before I knew all about the huge tourist influx...fingers crossed we're not run out of town!

Oh, Tara - we just found out last night (after I posted) that R.C. is going to have to have surgery on his arm.

Obviously, though - it could have been MUCH WORSE. I think that's what made me cry in front of Mr. and Mrs. Arkansas. All of a sudden it hit me - if he'd "hit the road" differently...that could have been it.

On to happier topics!

Would I take another cruise with DCL? Yes - but I think I want to try another line (like Royal Caribbean or Norwegian) first. DCL is often twice as expensive...and I'm curious as to whether or not it's worth that - especially since Norwegian has gone all-inclusive. Having said that, my kid is older - when he was six I doubt very much whether the entertainment on the other lines would have appealed to him.

If any experienced cruisers are reading this (I know, probably not ) - I'm sure both Tara and I would really appreciate advice about other lines vs. DCL!

As to the clubs - the younger children really did seem to be having fun, but I took Poot's point about the activities being a bit more geared to girls. A lot of arts and crafts and that sort of thing. But I think Poot would have enjoyed the club WAY MORE had he been 6 or 7.

And I think he'd enjoy the older kids' club - since they seemed to have the run of the ship for a lot of their activities.

Movement-wise, Disney DID arrange "hunts" (go around the ship looking for particular paintings, signs, etc...) for all the sea days - and we did ALL of those. And I know the bigger ships have mini-golf, too.

Poot's favourite days, though - were the port days. I think the next cruise I book will be a port-heavy itinerary on Norwegian. I booked this one because in addition to looking like fun - it was a way to get to North America before the gymnastics without having to fly. But there were a LOT of sea days.


Gee, this is a lot of waffle - PLEASE let me know if you have any specific questions that I didn't/can answer!
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