An Incredible Vacation Experience

Coco Cay
View from my beach chair at Coco Cay

I think I’m finally recovering from my vacation… not that I’m complaining!  I’ll take the clear blue water in the Bahamas over Minnesota’s negative double-digits any day, but it is funny how stressful returning from vacation can be.

So, first, yes… in case you hadn’t heard, I was on vacation again.  This time, I spent four nights in Orlando with Hubby at Disneyworld for a Children’s Ministry Conference and then met a couple of girlfriends, Bingo Bud GF and Norwegette (yeah, I know it’s not a word, but it’s my way to refer to The Norwegian’s wife now!), for a four night cruise on Royal Caribbean.  What was the best part of the cruise?  Well, there were a lot of great things, but the best, by far, was the surprise that got before we even left port on Monday afternoon!

Let me catch you up… I noticed something was up when we checked in and were given Gold Sea Pass cards instead of the regular blue cards, but the rooms weren’t ready yet so I didn’t think too much about it as we made our way to the pool deck to hang out for an hour or so until we could get into our room.  After checking in with home and sending text pictures of the view from the deck chair, I decided to head down to find our room and drop off my carry-on bag.  Well, much to my surprise and the surprise of the couple already in that room, the key did not work on the door to the room that was listed in my check-in paperwork.  So, I diligently headed off to Guest Services to find out how to resolve this issue.

The very nice attendant at Guest Services explained to me that there was no mistake; the key did not work for the room on Deck 6 because we had been upgraded to a Family Suite on Deck 10!  He said this very nonchalantly as he watched what he had just said sink in.  He then explained that he was actually our personal suite attendant and so it was good that I was meeting him now.  He arranged to have our bags redirected from the first room to our new room, gave me his card, and pointed in the direction of the elevator so I could find the new room.  Of course, I went straight there while calling Hubby on my cell to share my unbelief and excitement!

The room was pretty amazing… there were two bathrooms and two bedrooms with a queen-size bed, two twins, and a sleeper sofa – more than enough room for three women and their bags.  There was also a small dining table with chairs and a balcony!  The suite attendant had explained that the room came with several additional perks as well and that I could get more information in the room – as a brief overview, those perks included several invitation-only events with appetizers and complimentary drinks, snacks delivered to our room each night with our turn-down service, a personal escort off of the ship at each port so we did not have to wait in any lines, and VIP seating in the theater for all production shows.

Once I’d recovered enough to find my way back to the pool deck I headed up to find Bingo Bud GF and Norwegette who, by this time, thought I had gotten lost on the ship or fallen overboard!  Yes, I immediately told them about the upgrade, and we all headed back to the room so that they could be as shocked as I had been!  On the downside, cruising in a regular outside-view or balcony room again may never compare to this experience…  I’m thinking this is a cruise line marketing ploy!

The rest of the week was pretty great, too – we had a day to lounge around on Coco Cay.  That day was relaxing right up until the end when there was an emergency evacuation off of the island due to high winds and the need to take a small boat across the open water back to the cruise ship.  Essentially what that means is that they closed the island two hours early and made everyone go back to the ship.  No worries, though, we made it safe and sound if maybe a little wetter than we wanted to be because of the spray from huge waves breaking against our little boat.

We spent the next day shopping in Nassau, Bahamas – well, some shopping and some collecting free necklaces and bracelets and earrings.  It was like a treasure hunt!  We even wandered over to the Atlantis resort and walked around the public areas for a while before getting back on the ship for the journey home which gave us a full-day at sea the last day to simply lay in a deck chair and watch the ocean pass by!

So, I definitely relaxed while I was on vacation – one of the joys of being on a ship is that you can’t check email even if you want to – so I really do unplug which, if you know me, is a difficult thing for me sometimes!  It was good to be back home with my family, and, now that I’m over most of the stress of what I loving refer to as “re-entry” I am excited to head into February which promises to be as busy if not busier than January and December were!  Hmm…  is it too early to plan my next vacation?

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