Day 2

When we returned to our room I pulled out my camera cleaning stuff, took of my lens and cleaned the mirror like I have done numerous times before.  Still fuzzy when I looked through.  I pulled out my camera manual to see if I could find anything in there.  Jackpot!  I found that there is small turn knob thingy on the camera that adjusts the clarity of the view finder.  It must have shifted when the camera was in my bag.  Whoa.  I adjusted it and I was able to see pretty clear now but I still had that stupid shadow.  I ran the sensor clean on the camera, but that didn’t help.  I figured I could deal with the shadow though, at least it wasn’t completely blurry anymore and I went to bed happy.

Day 2 was a full day at sea.  Immediately after breakfast the boys wanted to go check out their clubs…we made a plan to meet up with them at lunch time.  Sydney wanted to go to Bingo. Hey, you can laugh, but the prizes were something like $400, $450, $500 for the first 3 games and a 7 night cruise for the last game.  It cost $37 to play but you got 6 boards for each game, so a total of 24 boards.  We bought one pack that we shared.  Needless to say we didn’t win but we had fun playing.

After bingo I *attempted* to take a few pics…thank goodness I chimped, so I knew something was up.  I had half a picture and the other half was black.  WTF.  I tried again and again, switching my orientation.  Still the same results.  Then it dawned on.  I remember when the same thing happened to my friend.  I knew what was wrong and the tears just welled in my eyes.  I pulled off my lens and was right.  Then the tears fell.  Here I was on this great vacation and my camera breaks, the mirror had dropped.   Yes, I had my video camera which can take stills, yes we had Matthew’s point and shoot and yes, the photo area sold point and shoots but that is not what I wanted to hear.  I was devastated.  We had a little time before lunch so we went to the internet cafe.  Shawn had bought internet time so he could check his work email every few days.  We learned that the mirror dropping is common in my camera.  Lovely.  We also found a temp. solution.  Short ending to this long story… we “fixed” the mirror after lunch and my camera functioned.  The focus thing still wasn’t fixed and I was still seeing a shadow but for the most part my camera worked.  I uploaded the pics I took to Shawn’s laptop and they were fine, no shadows, not tack sharp, but not blurry.  Such a sigh of relief.

We spent the afternoon finalizing our plans for our day in Nassau…we did this pool side as the kids swam and participated in pool games.   Of course we took a break to hit the pool and hot tub too!   The weather was perfect… music was playing, the overall atmosphere was fun.  I was hopeful that only good things from here on out…

Night 2 was our first formal night.  Since our cruise was 9 nights, there were 2 formal nights.  The nice thing about the ship is there are other places to eat, so if you don’t want to dress up and go to the main dining room, you don’t have to but we thought it would be fun.  They clean up pretty nicely, don’t they?

(I snuck this pic in at the photographers spot when she left on dinner break.  Every night after that the backdrops were rolled up when they left on break.  LOL.)

At the table…

After dinner I took Syd to the bathroom.  When we walked out onto the deck to meet up with our guys….this is what we saw… I knew I had to snap a pic.  My men in black!


first night

After dinner, we explored the ship, attended the Welcome Aboard show, played some foosball with a nice kid from NY and watched the Welcome Aboard parade at 10:15pm. ( Oh and through all this I was fiddling with my camera trying to figure out what the heck was wrong with it).

The Welcome Aboard parade was internationally themed…covering the many nationalities that were on board whether crew or guests.  Staff from every department participated.  It was very fun, the costumes were quite elaborate, not to mention colorful and the dancing and music was fantastic.  I’ve heard that the entertainment on cruise ships is great and I would have to agree, every show/comedian/parade we saw was excellent.

The lady on stilts kicked off the parade…Syd was amazed by her

This is just a taste of what we saw.  You can imagine how crowded the parade route was so please excuse the less than perfect pics.

sail away…

the sail away was so fun, watching the land surrounding us become further and further away.

The coast guards saw us out of the NY harbor…we were surrounded on both sides by them.  I guess it’s a safety thing, who knows.

approaching the bridge, you know you are going to clear it, but from the looks of it, you def. wonder if you will…

but of course we did, even if it was by inches ;)  I am sure it was more than that and just deceiving

After we cleared the bridge the sail away party started to break up…after all it was dinner time.  We skipped the main dining room (only twice we skipped it) and went to the buffet.

Now, don’t let these pics fool you.  From the minute I took my camera out on the ship I was having trouble with it.  Every time I looked through the view finder everything looked blurry and there was a shadow.  And as if that wasn’t enough, I was having focusing issues.  Sometimes I manual focus and sometimes I don’t.  It all depends on the situation.  Well guess what, shortly before I left on my trip, one of my lens (28-75mm, my everyday lens.,..use it all.the.time)was giving me focusing issues or so I thought.  I didn’t have time to send that lens in before I left so I ordered myself new lens (not the same one, cause no sense in having 2, the 35mm prime, so my wide angle would be covered.  I already had other primes so the other focal lengths I had covered).  Not picking up my camera before I left on my trip because I was busy, was a huge mistake.  Turns out, it wasn’t the lens but rather the camera.

So through the blurriness the screen showed and the shadow I pushed on and manually focused every last pic this whole trip.  But wait, don’t think that’s it…there’s more to the camera story…

Bon Voyage!

First order of business once we got on the ship was too check out our rooms and drop off our carry on bags.  I was warned the rooms were small, and they were on the small side but def. manageable. The bathrooms were tiny though but again, we managed.  Truth be told, the only time we were in our rooms were when we were sleeping or getting ready for dinner.  We were never there.

After we dropped off our stuff, we set out to start exploring the ship.  We decided we would check out the Royal Promenade (deck 5), since that location was close to where we had to be for the mandatory safety drill (more about the ship and the royal promenade in a different post).

Once the safety drill was over (it was about 15 mins),  the ship came to life and vacation was in full swing!  We went up to deck 11 (the highest full length deck, aka the pool deck) for the sail away party. We couldn’t have asked for better  weather to sail away in.  It was in the low 70s with clear, blue skies…just perfect…

The music was playing, the views of NY were spectacular, everyone was happy…we were officially on vacation, it was so fun!  We moved up a deck to better spot but since these 2 decks are open to each other, we still enjoyed the music, etc.  Both decks were one big party!  Deck 12, looks down at the pool and has a track around it, a few other things are up there (the spa, a bar–there’s a surprise…lol)

Shawn and I  kicked off vacation with…the “Bon Voyage” which was the drink of the day…yum!

From the right side of the ship, you could see this 9/11 Memorial (it’s located on Cape Liberty).  We were just leaving port when I took this.

From the left side, we had spectacular views of NYC since it was so clear out (all these were taken with 70-200)

leaving NY behind us…

and from the front… the Verrazano bridge…the gateway to/from the NY Harbor.

We’re ready…

Meant to add this pic in the previous post….we took this after before we boarded the ship, after waiting in line for security and to check in…so we look kind of messy, plus we didn’t really want to stop for a pic…we just wanted to board the ship! But, I like it, cause it’s one of the few family pics we got…(don’t mind the quality, this is a pic that we bought…yeah, I was sucker and paid too much money for this…lol, and I had to scan it in)  Don’t you just love the fake backdrop…lol,  I do think the background  with the seapass and stuff is cute.

and so it begins….

the vacation that we planned back in January, when we were getting hit with a snow storm every week.  This trip gave us something to look forward too….something that promised us no snow.  After months of waiting, lots of time spent preparing and packing, the time had finally come…. we packed the car on Wednesday night and at 8am Thursday morning, we got in the car and headed to NJ, to Cape Liberty so we could board our cruise ship.  Our home for 9 nights, taking us to 3 different ports of call and giving us some fun days at sea.

For as happy as I was to move out of NJ (and have never looked back on that decision), I can admit, that they do have a few things going for them….1 of them being pizza.  That’s right, hands down, the best pizza in the world is in the NY metro area… what a coincidence that we landed in Bayonne just in time for lunch ;)  We kicked off our vacation with lunch from here…and it did not dissapoint.  (And only in NJ can you get 2 pies for 12.99.  Gotta love that).

from here, we went over to the dock/terminal.  First thing we had to do was drop off our luggage

from there we parked the car (snapped a pic of the ship), went through security, checked in, and finally made our way to the ship…

We went on the Explorer of the Seas (Royal Caribbean).  These ships are best described as a floating city.  No lie.  Wait to you see the rest of my pics and you’ll understand, if you don’t already know.

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