…a Lord of the Rings day on one of the in-house movie channels. They were showing all three movies back-to-back-to-back all day.

After unpacking and exploring our stateroom, it was time for our 4:30pm safety drill. This involved each of us taking our life vests and moving to our pre-determined “muster” station. This was our rallying point should there be an emergency. Our station was the theatre two decks down.

About two hundred people could fit in the theatre. For over 30 minutes, we listened to safety procedures and were shown how to don our life vests. When it all ended it was about 5pm and the ship was scheduled to leave dock at 5:30pm. Great, you’d think it’d be time to get out on the upper decks and wait for the ship to leave. You know, the traditional waving to people, the confetti, and watching as ship sailed underneath the Lions Gate bridge. Hell no, that did not happen!

Recall that my Mom is a travel agent. Well, she was an unofficial tour guide on this cruise for dozens of people that bought the cruise through her company. They had scheduled a “happy hour” in one of the bars at 5pm. Before that though, my mom had to hand out about 200 brochures and pens on the bar tables. Guess who had to help? Yep, good old Bart and Lisa Simpson.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind helping my mother out, but I thought the timing of the whole thing was poor. After handing out the swag, I had to help take photos during the prize raffle that was being done by my Mom.

To further irritate me, the people who came to this happy hour were the most impolite people I’ve ever met. This one guy was being very belligerent to my Mom. He was very rude with his questions and demanding unreasonable things. He was sitting down at his table and I stood right over looking at him. He looked up at me once, kinda wondering who I was, but he looked away. I was this close to telling him to fuck off, but hey, you know me, I’m a lover not a fighter.

Luckily, my Mom had co-workers on this cruise with her, and this one guy stepped in and told her she an important call to make. By the time this whole thing ended, my sister and I rushed outside. We looked behind the ship and we could make out Lions Gate, but we had passed it already.

The next few hours are kinda of a blur to me, but I’m pretty sure my sister and I did some exploring of the ship. We visited every deck to see what it offered.

We then went back to our stateroom and met up with our parents. Everyone came to the decision we’d try the steak house dining room for dinner. Our ship had four different dining rooms, each with a different theme: steak house, southwestern, Asian, and Italian.

The steak house dining room was quite nice with a lot of dark wood. It reminded me of Gotham downtown. The service was alright, we had this waiter who liked to get “involved” with his guests. He called my mom and dad “Mama” and “Papa”. My mom is not a humourless woman, but she has no patience for these things.

Nonetheless, I had an exquisite meal. I skipped soup and salad, but I did have an excellent scallop appetizer. For the main course, I had prime rib, medium rare from Nebraska. It came with some sides but I forgot what they were. This piece of prime rib was a monster. My sister estimated it at nearly 20 ounces of meat. I felt the meat sweats coming on, but darn it, I finished the damn thing. For dessert, I chose a sorbet. It was light and cleansing.

After dinner, my parents rushed off to catch the 10pm show at the theatre. Sis and I were too full, so we headed back to our stateroom to change into pants with elastic waistbands. After sitting for a bit, we decided to head off to one of the many lounges onboard.

We chose a really laid back one that played music you might hear from the classic Sinatra and Dean Martin days. We were the youngest people there by a longshot. From where we were sitting, we could see a couple ballroom dancing to the music. They were awesome. Because of some chairs, we couldn’t see the couple below their waist. It looked like they were skating on ice, their moves were so smooth. It was impossible to tell when a step was being taken. It was at that point, I promised myself, that someday, no matter how hard it would be, I’d watch about five minutes of ballroom dancing on TV.

My sister and I must have been tired because we barely got through our one drink. After finishing my Shirley Temple, we headed back to our stateroom. By that time my parents had come back from the show and our beds had been turned down. It was decided that my parents would each get a single bed, I’d get the sofa bed, and my sister would have to climb the damn ladder and sleep in the bunk.

Everyone got into their jammies and went to bed. I stayed up for a bit and watched some TV with the sound off. Their movie channels were actually decent. Soon, I turned off the TV and went to bed myself, but not before chucking aside the chocolate on my pillow.


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