The Story of 12 Women Who Went on a Cruise, Part 4: On the boat!
photo by Whitney Loibner
Part 4: Embarkation
There is really no way to describe that first glimpse of your cruise ship.
I mean, I’ve been amazed by boats before. I remember when my uncle bought a brand new ski boat after we had spent years of weekends on the lake with boats that only sometimes started up.
I was so excited for him to take us all out on its maiden ride on the Arkansas River. As we filled up the seats and rode up and down the river, I imagined myself laid out with my sister in the front of that boat all summer long.
My daddy schemed every minute he could for us to get away to beautiful Lake Ouachita during my junior high and high school days.
It’s a full moon tomorrow night. Can you skip school?
Those were common words at the Loibner household.
I can’t decide if Daddy was just anxious to take me away from my current sketchy scene as much as possible or if he was just glad I was finally old enough to drive the boat so he could ski. Either way we both loved to sneak away and I always felt my heart skip a beat at the first sight of the boat. And the water.
However, none of my stolen weeknights away on Lake Ouachita prepared me for the sight of a cruise ship.
When we stepped outside the hotel in Mobile last summer after breakfast, we could see it.
It was GI-NORMOUS! We were all giddy at the sight. Still, I am astounded at just how big cruise ships are! I had read how many people were going to be on this boat and I had wondered how in the world they were all going to fit. Then I saw the boat, and it was just way, way bigger than I had ever imagined. I still feel a little dumbfounded by it.
8 of the 12 of us had never before been on a cruise ship. The anticipation and enthusiasm just kept building as we headed over to the cruise terminal and got in line. We all wore our swimsuits under coverups and carried on bags with our beach towels. Our travel agent had warned us that we might not get our rooms and luggage until late afternoon, but not to let that stop us from getting on the boat and getting the party started early.
We all got through the embarkation lines at different times. Whitney and I made it on somewhere in the middle. We entered the boat off a long, hot ramp and into a chilled lavish lobby full of bright colors, round leather couches and tall glass elevators. I felt like a little girl and I wanted to get in that elevator and ride up and down until I had seen it all. However, someone with an Australian accent was telling us via the loudspeaker to proceed to the Lido Deck where lunch was being served. (Incidentally, we now all pronounce Lido Deck with an Aussie flare.)
When we found our way to the Lido Deck, we were greeted by Elle and Skeeter who were carrying fruity umbrella drinks and grinning ear to ear. We squealed when we saw them.
photo by Whitney Loibner
We practically ran all around the deck checking everything out, oohing and aw-ing at the perfectly lined blue deck chairs. We took a gazillion pictures, texted our families and yelled over and over again, We’re on a cruise!
The excitement was beyond contagious. Each time another pair of us came through the doors out onto the deck the rest of us would yell,
Hey! Look at this! Isn’t it amazing?!? We’re on a cruise!
This went on for approximately four hours. I am not even kidding. We were just so excited.
We pulled out our towels and claimed a bank of twelve chairs and then found all kinds of wonderful things for lunch. Hey look! You can just walk right over there and get a hamburger if you want! Or if you don’t want, you can have a salad. You can wait an hour and eat when you get hungry. Whatever you want!
We jumped in the pool, slid on the water slide, drank more umbrella drinks and took more pictures.
Sometime after 4pm the Australian gal came back on and told us we were about to leave port and that the Sail Away Party was happening on the Lido Deck. Sail Away Party is just a fancy way of saying the ship is about to leave. I think they call it a a Sail Away Party so you will be more excited. And you know what, it totally works! The ship’s big horn blew and suddenly everyone was yelling,
We’re moving! Look the boat is MOVING!!!
Like we had expected to just stay docked in Mobile forever. We were AMAZED I tell you.
There was all kinds of fun music and silly party games happening. Some joined in. Some watched. But we all laughed.
You could feel it in the air, that wonderful light-hearted anticipation,
This is going to be the MOST fun!