Let’s cut to the chase: all the students were on time, we made good time on the drive down, everyone was good-humored about being wedged into a van, all the luggage actually fit in the van, the ship is delightful, the food is excellent, and I’m pretty sure everyone has already learned at least one thing. All in all an outstanding departure day!
We–12 students, 2 leaders–left Macon at 5:30 a.m. after Chris executed some heroic luggage Tetris to get everyone’s bags into the back of one van so that we were able to all ride together. These students and their family members are champions: most of them had had practically no sleep but managed to show up on campus by 4:45 to make sure we got away on time.
So awake-looking! So cheerful! Most of them slept through most of the ride down.
We took this photo to make sure we could reproduce the arrangement on the way back.
The drive was long (6+ hours) but not difficult. Check-in at Port Canaveral was hectic but only in the way that getting 5,000 people and their bags out of cars and onto a ship inevitably is. Our students showed good problem-solving and communication skills from the beginning: one spent an hour or so of the drive on the phone between her bank, her boyfriend, and her mother to locate a deposit that had mysteriously vanished from her account. She was unflappable, though she did say afterward that she’s probably going to change banks.
Once we got on the ship (around 1:30), things moved very fast: into our cabins, upstairs for lunch, over to a quick program meeting, and then off to muster drill. Muster drill is the cruise ship equivalent of an airline safety presentation, but everyone has to show up to their muster stations and they literally take attendance, so it doesn’t go nearly as fast. Most of us caught a quick nap between muster drill and dinner and showed up to dinner looking much more perky than we had been before. For the first time in my short life as a cruiser I slept through our actual departure from the port! (I have an excuse: I’d been up since 3:00.)
Our neighbors at Port Canaveral were a Disney ship and another Carnival ship (Elation).
Everyone on deck for the sail away party!
Waving to people on other boats is more fun than it should be.
Program meeting: downloading the Carnival Hub app and adding ourselves to a group chat, going over the rest of the day’s schedule, handing out some homework.
We are doing a door decorating contest and students are already hard at work.
Group dinner in the restaurant was great fun as everyone tried new food and got to know each other better. I think we’ve got an excellent team here and I can’t wait to see what happens over the coming week. Tomorrow is a sea day (my favorite!) so we’ll be doing some team-building and reflection activities as well as having a little time to recuperate between our travel day and our first service-learning day in the Dominican Republic on Monday.
Not bad. Not bad at all.