per amica silentia lunae

or, across the ferny brae with the evil voodoo celt

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The cruise begins

Up bright and early... too bloody bright and early for me, but it's one of the hazards I face- I'm an extremely light sleeper, and even earplugs, a sleep mask and being next to the noise of the A/C won't always cut out the noise of people moving around... even if they are trying to be quiet. I suppose being excited about the cruise may have had something to do with it, too. It was a lovely day, but kind of breezy and chilly; I had wanted to board wearing one of my Hawaiian shirts, but I needed a long-sleeved one, even with my jacket.

mohnkern, ravenrose, ambug666, monsteralice and I caught the streetcar once again; ambug666 headed for a coffe shop where his brother's photos were displayed, while the rest of us walked up Decatur to Café du Monde. This time it was café au lait and beignets... had to get our powdered sugar quotient for the day...

Overheard from a nearby table: "I should have just left that Filipino midget on the boat."

ambug666 joined us at some point, and we headed back for the hotel- Kim had arranged for the hotel to spring for taxis to get us to the cruise terminal. We all assembled in the lobby with our bags- I think we added eddyfate, and possibly others, but memory fails me. On arriving at the terminal, we were sucked into a twisty maze of passages, all alike. Eventually, we went through a metal detector, and then ambug666 was pleased to find that more of his brother's photos were on display. monsteralice and I finally checked in, avoided having an embarkation photo taken, and headed for the gangway... another twisty passage, but one that got us on board the ship in relatively short order.

We gawked at the atrium for a few moments, then (thanking our stars that we didn't need to join yet another line at the info desk), went off in search of our room. It was on the "Upper" deck (which was third from the bottom and not even the uppermost deck with rooms... go figure), and our room was U-225... which sounded like a U-Boat to me. It was nice- about the size of a small hotel room, very comfy, with a curtained fake window alcove in it. The TV was showing the "welcome" program- a short tour of the ship given by the Cruise Director, "Big Tex". As it turns out, there is nothing Texan about him save his cowboy hat...* we would hear his signature opener "Well, ladies and gentlemen..." many times over the PA system during our cruise. We dropped our carryons, and went off to explore.

The Fantasy was very trim and clean- it had just been through a refit, and I later heard someone say that this was only the third trip after it left drydock. There were many interesting things, including weird mythological mosaics in the atrium. monsteralice made a manicure/pedicure appointment, and then we got lunch- Mongolian Barbeque, of all things- and boat drinks. The Lido deck (where we ate and drank) was sheltered from the wind, and relatively pleasant, but I was still glad of my jacket...

Back to the room, to find our checked bags waiting for us. Our stateroom steward (a sweet-natured little guy named Teo who turned out to be incredibly helpful) stopped by and introduced himself. Then it was time for the lifeboat drill, which I suppose went well (although we never got close to the lifeboats... too many people. When I pulled our lifejackets out of the closet, I discovered a 1/3 full jug of Bacardi lurking there. There was also a dust mask there, so I think that the bottle was stashed there by a workman during the refit, and nobody afterwards saw it (or saw fit to report it). We decided to take it as a sign that the lwa were happy with us, and left it where it was.

Then we were away. monsteralice went off for her appointment, and I spent some time in the bow area with ambug666, watching the river traffic go by. Then I wandered around the ship, finding the waterslide, the miniature golf course, and the wonderful Serenity deck- over-21 only, two hot tubs, waiter service during much of the time, and only steps away from food and two bars. Heaven. Eventually, I got myself a boat drink (there was a different special every day, and if you kept your glass, refills were a dollar off!) and spent some time people-watching. I crossed paths with Lori, and we found ourselves in the shopping area just as they were getting ready for a liquor tasting. We had a couple of samples each, then decided to leave- the guy running the tasting, a huge jolly Slav named Uros, kept egging people on, saying "you're not driving home tonight, come on!", and we knew where that could end up. Instead, we headed back to the Lido Deck and chatted until monsteralice came back with gloriously glowing finger- and toenails.

Sometime before dinner, the ship developed engine trouble. Somehow, monsteralice and I managed to totally miss the announcement about this. The first thing I heard was in the dinner line, when ambug666 came up to me and said "So, have you heard that one of the engines has cut out and we're all going to die?" Since he said this in his "I am making a humorous metagame comment about this LARP" voice, I didn't believe a word he said... and he had to convince me that the first part of his statement was true. During dinner, Big Tex made an announcement that we were anchored until we could make repairs, and kept saying that we were perfectly safe and that the ship was totally seaworthy... just the sort of thing to make you nervous.

The dinner, by the way, was amazing, that night and every night. The service was very good, too... and our headwaiter was named Gede, no fooling! We met most/all of the rest of the LARPers on the cruise, including satyr69, maethe, and wolfwalker... a great bunch of people. My lovely meal (the main dish was steak with a sublime pepper sauce) was in no way impaired by the noticeable list of the ship. After dinner, I did a short cast briefing with monsteralice, mohnkern, and ravenrose (the four of us would be playing the Loa NPCs in House in the Corner), and then it was time for bed. Big day coming up...


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