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Our names are Amanda & Megan. If you're reading this right now we can only assume that you are a fan of Straight No Chaser! We have had so many adventures in our journeys to see them that we needed a place to write them all down. Cue blog! We can only imagine the adventures will continue and we can't wait to see where they lead us.

12.27.2012

Better Late Than Never


When the cruise was originally announced there was absolutely no doubt in our minds that we would be on that ship. As we began to tell people about it, we heard many reactions like, “Why would you do that?” or “That’s crazy” but my favorite response (because it was the one with the outcome I liked best) was “That’s awesome, you should do it, while you’re young and still can!” Soooo, we did.




It was beginning to seem like October 11 would never come, even though the week we were leaving was only going to be a two-day workday for us.  All the hours spent laboring over what outfits would come with us, how many sets of batteries we would need for our lights, or what absurd color leggings we would wear for the 80’s party had finally paid off. Unfortunately for us, it was not possible for us to get to Miami the night before the cruise. We both had to work during the day (there was no way we could leave our classes for another day) and the flights at night were not late enough. So we settled for the first flight out of Logan Airport at 5:30 Thursday morning. This was a seemingly flawless plan until the alarm clock went off at 1:45 am. Neither one of us wanted to park our cars at the airport for 5 days because that cost of that would require a bank loan, so we decided to take the “Logan Express”. Logan Express is a place where you can park your car for a much lower rate then take the bus to the airport. The bus we needed to take was at 3:10 am. It was take this bus, miss our 5:30 flight, or pay $21.00 a day at Logan Airport. None of them were great but we went for the cheapest option. Once we got to the airport we had to wait again because of course we got there before they opened security. On the plus side, we were second in line and the guy greeting us was SUPER friendly. We made our way to the closest coffee place we could find which was conveniently Dunkin Donuts. After some serious waiting, and some nonsensical 4:00am banter, it was time to board the plane. We were in boarding zone 1 and we were pretty excited when we got to board right away. A kind gentleman in front of me offered to put my bag into the overheard compartment for me. He did not offer to do the same for Megan. She was left to fend for herself. We realized that our seats were the entrance row aisle so we couldn’t actually sit in our seats until the entire plane had boarded. Most people would be annoyed by this, but we were thoroughly amused and made friends with the flight attendants. One man told us not to worry because we’d get tips at the end, I quickly replied with “Well, had I known that, I would have been much friendlier to these people.” All in all, it was a good time. During our flight, we got to watch what to expect when you’re expecting. Trivial information, until I add that neither one of us could find the station with the audio for it. I found one but unfortunately it was all in Spanish and no hablo espanol. We laughed about this for a solid amount of time. Upon finding the correct station, we settled in and enjoyed our flight.
When our flight landed in Miami, we quickly realized that we had no plans for how we would get from the airport to the boat. Apparently that portion of the planning process had eluded us. We proceeded to do the only logical thing we could think of, wander around the airport aimlessly. Fortunately for us, our wandering led to a sign that said “Carnival Cruise” on it. I turned to Megan and said, “Well, that says carnival on it, maybe we should try there.” When we walked over, a lovely older woman came over and asked us where we were going and if we would like to check in and take the shuttle over. Well of course we did! We were given a pass that said “Airport Express” and told that we were all checked in and that we didn’t need to wait in line when it was time to board the ship. Things were seemingly working out to our advantage. A brief glance over to the other people waiting to board the shuttle revealed to us Carla and Rob. I bet they planned ahead. When we got the docks, we weren’t allowed to board that boat yet, but there was a giant waiting area. We found a nice spot and began people watching. We saw some of the guys arrive. We saw Don’s bright yellow sneakers before we saw him. That was great for an early morning laugh. After a while, Megan and I were chatting about how we were so hungry because we hadn’t eaten anything since our early morning excursion. We glanced over and saw Charlie with Hayden and we thought, “Hmmm, I bet he has snacks” (obviously referring to Hayden- kids always have snacks) Soon they called for VIP boarding. As they were boarding, a nice old man came over and told us that we could get in that line as well because we had the airport express card. We didn’t argue, instead we rushed over. It was so nice not having to wait in a ridiculously long line. 
When we boarded there was a sign with a picture of the guys and detailed instructions on how to get to the area where we needed to check in. Let’s see if I get there right: We were on the third floor to start, so we had to go to the fifth floor, walk all the way to the back of the boat, then go down to the third floor again. We were one of the first chasers on the boat so we were the first people to check in and get our wristbands. They had our seats on them for all the shows. We gave our last names to the guy checking us in and I told him, “I bet mines right on top.” He laughed because it was. When your last name starts A-B-A, it’s almost guaranteed.  Since our rooms wouldn’t be ready for a while, we decided that it would be a great time to explore the ship. We were going to be on it for a few days and we wanted to make sure we knew where everything was. As we were glancing around the boat deciding where to go next, we saw Ryan and Lauren seemingly doing the same thing we were. We then proceeded to play a weird game of “Where’s Waldo (Ryan)?” only he didn’t know he was playing. Every time we went to a different floor of the boat, we’d spot him either one floor below or above us, never on the same floor. It kept us pretty entertained.

                  Soon we decided that we should at least go and see what the outside of the boat looked like. We wandered around aimlessly, enjoying the sun. I was in my own little world at one point, and while I was drifting off in my own mind, Megan had stopped to say hello to Jerome.  Jerome asked her where I was going and she said, “Don’t worry, she’ll figure it out in a minute.” I turned around and said out loud “where did you go?” the response was laughter from Megan and Jerome. I walked over and apologized for not noticing anything around me. Jerome introduced us to his girlfriend and then we just chatted for a few minutes. We told him we were so lost on the boat. He asked us where we were trying to go and we both (simultaneously) said, “I don’t know.”  We explained our flight situation and how early we had gotten up and his suggestion was that we get drinks. We parted ways and continued to explore. It wasn’t very long before we would see Jerome again, though. This time he was up at the mini golf course on the ship (which, at the time we didn’t know that’s what it was) and he was waving and yelling something at us. We were 2 decks below him and couldn’t quite make out what he was saying, so we yelled back “what?” All the sudden we just heard “PUTT-PUTT GOLF!!” there was a collective “ohhhhh” from us, and a shrug of her shoulders from Jerome’s girlfriend as we all just kept walking and laughing.

During all of our exploring, our room was finished and we were able to go in, except none of our stuff was there. Luckily, Megan and I had packed some stuff in our tote bags to get us through. We told Tara and Jenn that our room was ready and that is where we would be, getting ready for our mandatory safety drill and subsequent departure. And by getting ready, I mean catching a few minutes of sleep, which hopefully would provide us with enough energy to get through the rest of the night. Tara and Jenn met us in our room and foursome was complete. The captain come over the loud speaker and made an announcement that when the alarm sounded we should all 

Ready for our safety drill
head to our muster stations. We didn’t wait for the alarm we just went up there. We were at Muster station A (which stands for awesome, in case you were wondering.) We were pressed up against the wall as rows of people filed in front of us. The lovely family directly in front us decided that they didn’t need to follow directions during this time and therefore spent most of the time getting a stern talking to from the crew.
Crazy hair
When the safety drill ended, we were able to depart. Jenn wanted to go to the deck and wave to all the adoring fans wishing us bon voyage, so we made our way outside. As we were standing up there, we noticed DR standing very close to our location. We made small talk and he introduced us to his wife, Sara. Other guys were starting to make their way over to where we were standing as well. We paid them no mind, and continued on with our silly antics. At one point, a woman asked me to take a picture of her and her friend. I was happy to do so. After I took the picture, I realized that Don had unintentionally made his way into that picture. He noticed as well and gave me a concerned look. I said, “Don’t worry Don, you looked great!” He laughed and the lady standing in between us was very confused. She took her camera from me and left. After that Megan, Jenn, and I discussed all our hopes and dreams for the cruise. (for example, we wanted to avoid having to reenact any scenes from the movie Open Water.) It was starting to get very windy on the deck making any normal conversation nonexistent. Our hair most accurately resembled a lion’s mane. While we were trying to tame the wild beast that was our hair, we noticed that Seggie and family had joined us on the deck. They were in the midst of taking a lovely family photo when we noticed we were intruding on their picture. Seggie noticed as well so as politely as possible he turned around and told us to “GET OUT OF MY PICTURE!” We decided not to and let our wild hair flow in the background of the picture. Soon after we were done waving (to all the invisible people standing on the pier) we had the good sense to go and start getting ready for the first show we’d be seeing. Obviously by good sense I mean Seggie told us he had to leave to get ready and we followed his example.

Adoring fans?
We needed to make sure our outfits were exactly what we wanted to be wearing for the remainder of the night, as we wouldn’t have much wiggle room to meander about and swap outfits. We were on a pretty tight schedule. We also needed to decide which set of lights would be joining us for the show. Since it was the best of the Atlantic City show, we decided there had to be leis there. Although we both had leis on, we had decided to wear different colors. Megan wore her pink one and I wore my bright orange one. We took these themed shows very seriously. When we were ready, we took the long trek up one flight of stairs to where the show would be taking place. Our wristbands that we got at check in were the key to getting in. They also had all our necessary information on them, the most important of which (at this time) was our seat row and number. Much to our relief, we found ourselves smack in the middle of the theater and perfectly aligned with the center of the stage. It’s happened on several occasions where we didn’t know where our seats were until we got there and it’s always nerve-wracking. It seemed so early to be at a show but since our scheduled dinnertime was 8:00, I guess the show had to be that early. When the show started, the memories of all the good times had in AC came rushing back. While we peered around us to take in all that we could during the show, we couldn’t help but notice all the people with fancy drinks. It was at this time that we decided to follow the phrase, “When in Rome!”  Jenn ordered us some sort of drink, to be honest; I have no idea what it was (to be clear, it is not that I have forgotten what it was, it’s that I never knew from the beginning) it definitely had some sort of rum in it though. The combination of a strong drink, very little food, and very little sleep made for almost instantaneous giddiness from the two of us. It’s quite possible that drink was all it took to put us in the drunken category.

After the show, it was time for us to head to dinner. Apparently, Jenn, Megan, and I were late because everyone seemed to have been seated already when we arrived and we were put in what we referred to as the “Time out” section of the dining room. Jokes on them though, because we had the great pleasure of having Dexter as our waiter. The first thing he said to us was, “My name is Dexter, but not like the TV show.” As unhappy as we were that we were separated from the rest of the group, we ended up having a great time. Dexter kept us laughing all throughout dinner. As soon as we finished dinner, it was off to the deck for our awesome cocktail party.
gifts that were waiting in our rooms for us

very silly/exhausted
When we got to the deck, we all went to get a drink, which just so happened to be on the guys. Megan was almost instantly carded. We all had a great laugh about that. Some of the guys came out and gave a nice little speech and then they came down and started mingling. At one point, Tyler looked at us and asked what we were drinking and neither of us had any idea. He laughed and told us that he suspected it was rum punch. We made the rounds and made sure we chatted with all the guys at least for a little bit. To talk about every single conversation we had on this would be mass chaos and would hurt my brain a lot. So I figured I would just touch on some random things from the night. Mike was kind enough to introduce us to Joel Dalton. Joel was there to perform during Mike and Jerome’s solo show. He was fantastic. While we were talking, Blake joined our conversation. We began talking about teaching and sharing some stories. We all had some sort of connection to teaching in one way or another. We were also introduced to the members of The Leftover Cuties. Then suddenly, the conversation shifted to a topic that Megan and I had nothing to contribute so we politely bowed out and moved on. We were naturally harassed by Jerome about Hyannis Sound (he REALLY doesn’t like that we like them so much) but we decided to take matters into our own hands. We both knew karaoke would be coming up in just a little while, so when Jerome least expected it we (rudely) interrupted the conversation he was having and casually said “sorry to interrupt but we were wondering, what Hyannis Sound song should we sing at karaoke?” This sent him into a laughing fit and he then explained “DON’T EVEN!” We strolled away quite pleased with ourselves and laughing almost uncontrollably. Our comedic timing was spot on for that one. At this point, both of us were exhausted but we were still going strong. As the night went on, we hugged, chatted, laughed, and took pictures with so many people and it was fantastic. Throughout the entire night, Jenn took the liberty of photo bombing as many pictures as she possibly could. We were asked by several of the guys if we were going to karaoke. The answer was obviously yes.

When the time came for the cocktail party to end and the karaoke to begin, we all shuffled our way there. It had been a very packed day and if you recall, ours had started at 2am. We were just under the 24-hour mark. We had come to the mutual agreement that no matter what was going on, at the 24-hour mark we were going to leave karaoke. First we went back to our room to get into some comfy clothing, which was probably a mistake because we ended up basically falling asleep in our seats. I will say though, as much as we all came to hear the guys sing, there are many chasers out there with singing talent of their own. One of the many highlights I would like to mention from that night was the “karaoke challenge” given to Don. It was comedy gold. A karaoke challenge is when a person is called up to sing and have no control over what song was chosen for them. In this case, Don was required to sing “Man, I Feel Like A Woman!” (a song chosen for him by Ryan) He claimed to have never heard the song before but I suspect it was a bit of a cop out. Never the less, he went for it and pretty much had us in tears from laughing so hard. At 2am, Megan and I kept the promise we had made to ourselves and exited the venue. I have no knowledge of what went down after that, but I’m sure there were lots of shenanigans. I suppose, technically, we had transitioned into day 2 of the cruise but it’s so hard to tell where one day ended and the next one began so this is as good a stopping point as any.  stay tuned

(not my video - it's Vicky's)

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