Tuesday, February 9, 2010

New York Day One 12/12/09

I woke up at 4:00am, looked out the window...and saw LAND! Woohoo! I went back to sleep for a bit, and at 5:30am, our alarm rang to wake us up. We got ready for the day, finished packing, and had our last meal onboard the Norwegian Gem. The back deck was frigidly cold, but tons of people were crowded out there to get a good view of the Statue of Liberty and the New York skyline as we pulled into harbor at 8:00am.
We went back to our room one last time to get our bags. My stomach was still not feeling well, but I was ready to get onto dry land. At about 8:30am, we left our room and went down to deck 7 to disembark! We ran into Jonathan and Maureen, and walked with them to the Customs checkpoint. Since they are Canadian citizens, we had to say goodbye to them and go through separate lines. It was a breeze getting through, and once on the other side, we turned on our cell phones for the first time in over two weeks! We made quick phone calls home to check in, and then were just about to head out to hail a taxi, when Jonathan and Maureen found us again! They had planned on walking to their destination, so we decided to join them on their walk, as it would take us exactly where we needed to be...the middle of Times Square! It was a much faster walk than we had anticipated, probably due to the good company! We stopped in Times Square for a few photos, and then said goodbye to Jonathan and Maureen. I will miss running into them all the time!
After we said goodbye, Natashia and I headed to catch the metro over to Long Island City. Melissa Vogel was nice enough to let us stay at her apartment while we were there, and it was a very easy and quick commute from Manhattan. Once we got to her apartment, we were content to sit and relax for over two hours. A little after noon, we took the metro back over to Times Square and walked around some. Then, we headed past Radio City Music Hall to Rockefeller Center.

It was so crowded, it made it very difficult to get a good picture of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. We decided to return later when it would hopefully not be as crowded. Meanwhile, Catherine Knox, an old high school friend of mine who just moved to the NY area, was at Rockefeller that day with her sister and daughter! Even amongst the bustling Christmas crowds, we managed to find each other with the help of our cell phones! It was very exciting since I had not seen Catherine in almost 10 years!!
We all walked down 5th Avenue, passed Saks Fifth Avenue and St. Patrick's Cathedral. We went inside Trump Tower to warm up a bit, and that is where we said goodbye to the Knox girls. It was much too short a visit, but still very good to see them. After we went our separate ways, Natashia and I walked passed the Christmas window displays at Bergdorf Goodman. They were interesting, but did not photograph well due to window reflections. Next, we made a brief stop in the lobby of the Plaza Hotel. One day, I would like to have tea or lunch there.
After our stop at the Plaza, we walked across the street to F.A.O. Schwartz. We wanted to go inside, but the line was really long, and I was starting to feel pretty sick again, so we decided to stop to take our picture with the Toy Soldier guys and keep on our way.
We stopped at a little cafe for an energy boost on our way to Bloomingdale's. I think the window displays at Bloomingdale's were some of our favorites. After taking some time to look at them, we headed for the subway and took the train back to Melissa's. When we got back to her apartment, it hit me just how sick I actually felt. I decided that I really should try to switch my flight to go home a day early. Not only did I not think I could last much longer in NY, but I also thought that a full day at home before going back to work would be beneficial. I took a teensy little nap, and then a little after 6:00pm, Natashia and I headed to Lincoln Center.

We had tickets to see the Nutcracker Ballet. The show was ok. I have definitely seen better versions of the Ballet, and I was very annoyed that there were some culturally uneducated people in the audience who clapped after every single lift or spin instead of holding applause until the end of the piece. I wanted to scream, "We are not at a sporting event, people!" Lol! After the ballet, we walked just a few blocks south to go to a Christmas party. When we got there, I was slightly overwhelmed by the amount of people crammed into such a small apartment, and the noise level that went along with it. I know I was not the most pleasant party guest, but I really did not feel well and could not even muster the strength to fake being in the Christmas spirit. I was glad when Melissa offered to give me her keys and directions back to her apartment. Right as I was standing up to leave, Katie Couric arrived at the party! I was happy that I at least got to "rub elbows" with her before leaving. So, I went to grab my coat and purse, and headed to the elevator. As I was walking down the hallway toward the elevator, I heard the apartment door open behind me, and I saw that Katie was leaving the party, too! I slowed my pace, and when the elevator doors opened, I hesitated, hoping that she would catch up to me before the doors shut! Success! She and her daughter got on the elevator with me! I smiled and said, "Hello!" I then said, "That was a crazy party, wasn't it?", to which she replied, "Yes, it was! They are crazy, but we aren't so crazy!" She then got on her cell phone and spoke to someone whom she asked to "bring the car around." When the elevator landed on the first floor, we got off, and I wished them a good night. She cheerily returned the sentiment. :-) As I walked by the doorman, he whispered, "Was that Katie Couric?!?!" It was so cute how star struck he was!

Anyway, after leaving the apartment building, I walked down the street to Columbus Circle, got on the metro, headed back to Melissa's, and promptly fell asleep on the sofa.

See more pictures from New York HERE

Saturday, February 6, 2010

At Sea 12/11/09

Since I had already slept for 30 hours, I woke up at 3:00am and could not fall back asleep. I decided that I needed to get up, move around, and clean up a bit, so I took a long, hot shower. I was also pretty hungry, so I ate a few more crackers. Under the Tuscan Sun was on the movie channel, so I watched that until Natashia woke up. There was also a rainbow over the water since it was stormy.

The sea was still pretty rough, but I needed to get out. I was glad that Chad and Scott had invited us to join them at Cagney's for breakfast. While eating, we had a view of the pool deck, and we noticed several railings that had been blown out during the storms! Crazy! After breakfast, we went to the Shore Excursion desk to inquire about a discrepancy with the refund we were to receive for our Granada excursion. It seemed that they were trying to cheat us out of about $20 each, but we finally got it cleared up! We went back to our cabin for a bit to rest, and we watched some old Bugs Bunny cartoons on TV! I still was not feeling 100%, and my stomach muscles were very sore from vomiting and then not eating for a whole day. Around noon, Natashia and I went up to Chad and Scott's suite to relax and hang out for a while. They had ordered a pizza special from La Cucina, which was not open until later that evening! It was tasty, but I think my stomach was much too weak for it still. I had a stomach ache the rest of the day and most of the next. After lunch, we decided to watch a movie. First, we tried The Riddle. but it was very strange and very difficult to understand the accents of the actors, so we decided to turn it off after about 10 minutes. We then watched The Secret with David Duchovny. It was weird, but the plot was interesting enough to hold our attention. While we were watching, we had a good view of the stormy weather...and snow flurries!

After The Secret, we started Victor, Victoria, but only got part way through. Suzanne and Barbara stopped by for a tour of the suite, and we also gave our input to help Chad and Scott decide on their menu and guest list for their farewell cocktail party and dinner that evening. Eventually, we went downstairs to our room to get dressed for dinner. At 6:00pm, we went back upstairs for the Asian themed dinner the boys had planned. The food was all amazing, so I was so sad that I was only able to eat one bite of each thing because of my stomach ache.
After the lengthy dinner and conversation, we hugged Chad and Scott goodbye. :-( They let us take their VIP position at the Chocoholic Buffet at 10:30pm. We met Ryan, the concierge, downstairs, and we were allowed into the buffet before anyone else to take pictures! They were not able to do the full setup because of the rough seas, but the spread was impressive.

We each tried a bite, and thankfully it was not very good! It kept us from eating too much chocolate!!! We went back to our room, filled out comment cards for each employee that we had a good experience with on the cruise, and packed all of our things back into our suitcases. Between the two of us, our tummies were so upset that night, its a wonder we got anything accomplished! But, the weather had finally calmed down, and the ship felt like it was sailing on glass! It was a very welcome change!!!