When it was time for Sail-Away, we all ended up by the smoke stack. The lights came on, and we watched as they lit up the sky as dusk turned into darkness. A bagpiper walked the decks as he played patriotic songs, and other melodies. It was a beautiful and moving moment, as Captain Alcaras stopped our ship in front of the Freedom Towers. Their red, white, and blue made the depature out of NYC more memorable. As I stood there, with the other Cruise Critic Members, and said silent prayers for those who perished, as well as the families who were left behind, I realized that I was lucky to be such a huge part of a rememberance of 9/11.
I don't have any complaints about our cruise. The entertainment was great. I do give the person who was the juggler credit, as he had a few near misses, and played it off very well. That was at the later show. The other memorable entertainment was our Cruise Director, Malcom in the Middle's Silent Films Cast. He chose audience members to participate. The two shows we saw were very exciting. They were also very funny. I give them a lot of credit for having the guts to stand up in front of strangers, and making us all laugh.
The Meet and Greet went well. The Cruise Critic Members all enjoyed themselves. The bar staff in Frankie and Johnnie's Jazz Lounge were wonderful, and served us with drinks throughout the one hour open bar. I must admit, they were also one of the reasons why I love Carnival. They really make the atmosphere a positive one. It's so nice to see their friendly and smiling faces, when they're so far away from their home, and family and friends. I never got tired of hearing them say, "Good Morning." I usually am the cherry one in the morning, even without coffee. It was nice to see so many happy people, who were working on the ship.
The other events that the Cruise Critic Members had scheduled were a Cabin Crawl, where everyone went from one category to another, an independent trip to the Blue Hole Caves, and last but not least, a Slot Pull, where everyone loads their money into a slot machine, and they each get five pulls, at around $15 per person. We did miss meeting the NCL Gem Cruise Critic Members, as they got rerouted to Florida and the Bahamas. I missed having their ship in the dockyard with us.
We were in the lovely Maria's path, and had a lot of gail forced winds, with a lot of water splashing up onto the pier. I didn't want to stay on the ship, or in the room for that matter. So, I wandered through the dockyard, and ran into some fellow Cruise Critic Members, who had the same idea. The staff and crew did their best to make sure that we were all safe getting on and off the ship. They all told us to be careful, and watch our steps, as they were genuinely concerned for our safety. A few of us ended up getting splashed with water from the ocean, as it came up on the pier. Another couple were standing by the edge of the water, on the pier, and ended up almost getting blown into the water. I'm so glad that wasn't George and me.
The food was tasty. We never complained once about the quality of the food. We had Your Time Dining, and were always seated promptly. A couple of times we were handed pagers, but it didn't bother us one bit. We were glad to have the extra time to wander outside, and wait for them to beep us when our table was ready. The waiters and waitresses were wonderful as well. I was so glad that the Matire 'D was there to say hello to us. He didn't just pop up on the last night of the ship, with his hand out for the money. We were very pleased that he took the time to go out of his way to say "Hello".
Captain Alcaras is a wonderful person. The Cruise Critic Members and I presented him with a plaque and a coin. The plaque had a picture of NYC's skyline, with the two lights that light up the sky. It reads "10 Years Later We Will Always Remember, 9/11 We Will Never Forget". The coin has the State of New York on it. They put it in the display case, where the stores are. It's all the way at the end, near the stairs and the water fall, heading towards the front of the ship. The stores are at Midship.
I am very pleased that Captain Alcaras, the NYC mayor's office, The Port Authority, and the Carnival Administrators, all went out of their way to make our delayed sailing a reality. I'm especially thankful for the one and only, Cruise Director, John Heald, for keeping us posted as the details progressed. If it weren't for the wonderful staff who worked tirelessly to pull this off, the delayed sailing wouldn't have been successful.
Also, thank you to all of the Cruise Critic Members in being instrumental in planning and setting up all of our activities. It's been a wonderful cruise. I am very glad that I was able to share some fond memories with my fellow Cruise Critic Members. If it weren't for all of you, we wouldn't have had the successful cruise that we all enjoyed and participated in together.