When we arrived Friday night we knew we would just be here for a couple days, for right now anyway. On Saturday, Bob's grandson had a full day planned for the two of them. He had fine tuned his driving since our last visit and was anxious to show Papa Bob some places he'd discovered in his travels around the area. They had a great day, even drove out to Santa Monica, having lunch at the Pier. Papa Bob explained to this young man that you don't have to pay the $10 or $12 for public parking at the Pier. You merely park at Sears, walk the few blocks to the Pier, then make a purchase when you come back to Sears and show the receipt to the Sears Parking Attendant and you've got 2 hours free parking.
Sunday was a busy day. We had to drag our suitcases out from behind the front seat of the truck and get them in order for Monday's departure on Royal Caribbean's Monarch of the Seas. It was a day of ironing, making decisions about which clothes to take and which to leave behind, give one last pressing to those that need it, where are the Passports, the cruise documents, secure the proper tags on all the luggage, etc. etc. I decided to leave the shirts and blouses until Monday morning to be packed, then they'd only be in the suitcase a few hours.
Bob's Pasadena daughter is such a good cook. We had scrumptious meals everyday we were there. So our weekend dinners were to die for.
Monday morning it was the final packing, and loading the bags in the back of the car....and by noon we were heading out to San Pedro, CA and the Los Angeles Cruise Ship Center. It's about a 45 minute drive at that time of the day. Fortunately we'd just been there in March so we knew the way and remembered "don't go over the big bridge!" They are so organized at these places. Hope pulled up to the curb, after hugs good bye, we got out and Bob unloaded our bags, there was a man right there with a big flat cart and onto the cart went our bags and away he went. You're given tags with your name and Cabin # on each ~so they can get your bags to your cabin with in a couple hours. With over 2,00o passengers on most of these ships~that's amazing.
We'd completed the on-line check in but still needed to get in line and step up to the counter to show our Passports and complete the process. Which included each of us getting our Sea Pass. The Sea Pass is your personal ID on the cruise, it's linked to a credit or debit card for on-board purchases and also identifies you as you depart and re-enter the ship.
As we proceeded to the ship, we handed our Sea Pass to a man, he puts it in a machine, you stand on a line and look into a camera affair & they take your picture~your face is now attached to your Sea Pass. When you go ashore, you have to have your Sea Pass handy and they pop it in the machine and look to be sure it's really you. Even the little ones do this.
By the time we got all checked in and on board we headed to our cabin and found my bags already in the cabin & Bob's showed up about 15 minutes later. The first thing I like to do is pick my drawers & get everything unpacked. We are "home" now for the next four days so lets make it look like home. We stow the suitcases in the closet and head up to the "Welcome Aboard" buffet. Lunch ~ yummy!! They have so many good things to eat, it's hard to choose. After eating lunch we headed up to the pool deck. The "Sail Away" festivities were in full swing and there were lots of people already splashing about in the big beautiful pool, some even in the hot tub.
This is a very beautiful port and once again the weather was gorgeous. Sun, gentle breeze, we're on board a beautiful cruise ship. Ahhhh this is the life.
At 4pm everyone dons their life vest and heads to their assigned Muster Stations. This is a mandatory activity and all passengers must participate. I understand if you decide to skip out on this they come looking for you later & you still have to do it. They did mark each of us off by cabin number as we entered the deck area where the drill was held. The ship does not leave the dock until this drill is over. We always hope that this will be the only time we have to put those life vests on........
Soon the Port Police boats turned and went back and shortly after that the Pilot boat pulled up close and the Pilot jumped off the ship onto the deck of the Pilot boat. We were own our own heading out to sea.
We sat on the deck for an hour or so, watching the people and since we had a late dinner seating (8pm) we had some time to re-explore the ship. We were just on the Monarch in March, so it was pretty easy to find our way around. After looking over the excursions list, we headed to the appropriate desk and got signed up for an excursion in each of the ports we would be visiting this week.
We eventually went back to the cabin where we met our cabin attendant for the first time. He was such a nice fellow~I chuckled each time he called Bob "Mr. Robert." We freshened up for dinner and took off down to Claude's Dining Room ~ table 440. That first dinner you always feel a little apprehensive....most of the tables in the large dining rooms are for 6 or 8 people so you never know who you're going to be eating with. Once again we were blessed to have 2 couples who were delightful dinner companions for the week. Allen & Kathi from Pennsylvania and Howard and Grace from Vancouver, BC shared our table. Every evening with these 4 other people was delightful!
Tuesday morning, we'll be in San Diego~