Saturday, July 29, 2017

Day Two: Setting Sail, a Nap, & Growing Up

Day two of Alaska 2017 started with a lovely breakfast at Ace Hotel. We packed our bags, grabbed a Lyft, and arrived at the cruise terminal around 11:00am. Check-in was smooth, and uneventful. We are sailing on the Explorer of the Seas, with Royal Caribbean. Immediately upon entering I realized I had been on this exact same ship just thirteen years earlier (well, not confident it is the EXACT same ship, but the same model). feels a bit surreal. 

Ace Hotel, Seattle
Explorer of the Seas
We were greeted at the door with an option of juice or champagne. The gentleman handed my 18 year old champagne, and I quickly realized how much things have changed since we started this adventure six years earlier. My girls are growing up. 

Paradis and her Champagne, Photo by Paradis
We walked around the ship navigating from the front (forward) to the rear (aft), and committing to memory the port and starboard sides (all while thinking "can't they just use regular terms like front-back-right-left...we aren't joining the Navy?"). Our first stop was the library by the request of Annelies. Annelies has volunteered endless hours at our local library. I wouldn't say she reads any more than the average teenager, but libraries are her Happy Place. I am not sure if it is the organization of the books, the simplicity of the belongings, or the quiet, but she feels at home inside any library. Paradis sipped her champagne. 

Annelies in her Happy Place
At 1:00 our room was ready, and we dropped off our carry-on bags. We went to lunch at the Windjammer Cafe', which will be our main dining option all week (a buffet). At 3:00 we were told to report to deck for a muster drill (again, why not "Safety Drill"?). Annelies is a rule follower, and her anxiety demands listening to every.single.word. I try and respect that, but as we are at port and I am anxiously considering the fact I am going to quickly lose cell service, I can't help but take selfies, text, and Facebook Numb while listening to "get off your phone mom", "mom, seriously you need to put your phone away". I admit I rely on her to listen to all the details during these types of things. I dig that kid. 

In line during our safety...I mean, muster drill
Around 4:00 we set sail for our adventure to Alaska, our 50th state. 

Photo by Paradis

After setting sail it hit me I had been up since 5:00am, so I suggested a nap. I like naps. We always set an alarm, so we do not 'piss away the day'; after forty-five minutes we were up and walking around the ship once again. I admit the three of us felt a bit lost. We like schedules. We like having a plan. We wandered. We looked at the daily newsletter to see if anything appealed to us. But we just wandered, and explored. At 7:15 we went to the theater, which is another Happy Place for my girls. We settled into the seats, and the girls talked about the lack of catwalks, and Paradis made comments on the lighting. We enjoyed a forty-five minute show which was a teaser of sorts for the shows that will occur every evening. We will be back.

At 8:00 we left the show a bit early because the Optix had a Meet & Greet. The Optix is the teenagers Night Club. Since arriving on the ship, and receiving the Optix schedule of events, I could tell Annelies wanted to check it out. Teenage years are awkward. The three of us stood outside the Optix for nearly half an hour as I used every motivational speech I could think of to get her to enter...I offered to walk in with her, but the sign "for the safety of our teens, NO ADULTS allowed sign" discouraged me from entering (well, the rule follower wouldn't let me). Finally, I convinced Paradis to walk in with her, and when the staff asked for their SeaPasses to verify age Annelies told Paradis she could leave. We told her we would be in the library.  

Blogger taking photo with MacBook since she only
gets wifi on one device at a time, and can't use her phone. Sigh.
Paradis and I sat in the library; she read, and I knit. I am knitting a blanket for the Welcome Blanket project - check it out. After an hour, Annelies joined us and said she was going to return. I cannot tell you how happy that made my heart.  

Paradis, at the Library

Rae Ann, at the Library

At 10:30 Paradis and I returned to our cabin. While in bed I realized it was the first time I was worrying about Annelies. Of course my Motherly-Worrying-Skill is well honed from having an overly-mature 18 year old, but this was the first time I felt the same about Annelies. At 11:15pm Annelies returned. Paradis and I drilled her with a million questions, and she said "I am going back for the dance". As she walked out the door with fresh breath, for the first time ever I shared my favorite motherly advice "make good choices". My girls are growing up. 

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