Embarkation: Let the Fun Begin!

I’ll let you in on a little secret. My family’s nom de plume is Murphy.  That law that you’ve heard about?  We live it on a daily basis, and this day was no exception.

Sorta like being in the airplane’s middle seat, but with better beverages

I won’t bore you with the details.  Instead, I will share some helpful hints so that YOUR embarcation goes more smoothly than ours.

Parking at the port was easy.  We arrived a little after noon, drove to the terminal (entrance is on 55th and 12th Ave– the ship was berthed about another block or two south of the entrance) where porters were waiting to help unload the luggage.

If by any chance you have forgotten the preprinted luggage tags Disney sent out with your cruise package, not to worry.  The porters had extra and quickly solved the problem.

Dad parked the car, while mom, the girls and aunt (that would be me) made our way inside to a terminal that was not crowded at all.  Cruise parking at the Manhattan terminal is $40 per 24 hours, payable in advance.

The girls met some very friendly greeters.  In case you’re wondering, their shirts say “My aunt is the coolest”.

Two other members of our group (my sister/girls’ grandmother, my nephew/ girls’ uncle) who drove from Massachusetts, reserved off site parking that charged half as much as the port. The best part–their service included driving you to the terminal in your own car, and helping unload luggage.  Good thing too, because between more than one stretch of bumper to bumper traffic and getting lost, they almost missed the boat.  They had no time to spare, to look for a space in the Port parking lot, park the car and high tail it back to the embarcation area.  There’s a lot to be said for arriving the day before departure.

IF you arrive around 12:30 PM, with proper documentation, you could probably be on the ship by 1:00 PM.  If, however, you happen to be missing a legal document, such as an official birth certificate for a child, you CAN have someone either fax or photograph it and email or text it to you.  See if you can figure out how I know this.

By the time some of us were on board, (2:15 PM) our rooms were ready.  Checked luggage arrived around 5 PM.

All’s well that ends well, with everyone checked in and aboard by 4 PM. The wonder and glory of sailing out of NYC might have been lost on the smallest member of our group, who was far more interested in her burger, but the rest of us loved watching the city’s skyline and Lady Liberty roll by.

Mother, daughter, and a young, cool grandmother also known as my niece, great niece and my “little” sister

About those Fish Extenders (FEs) that I mentioned in a previous post?  This is what they

 

IMG_5176              IMG_5177

look like.  Notice the metal fish above the room number?  That’s where the name came from.  The idea is that group members leave little surprises for each others’ children in their FEs.

Wanna know how great some of the other passengers were?  My niece discovered the Facebook group (and FEs) about a week before departure–too late for her to create or purchase surprises for other group members.  Despite her inability to reciprocate,  people STILL left gifts for her girls.  The white board was one of the gifts–another was stuck inside the fish.  No extender necessary.IMG_5135

Lots of VERY kind, considerate shipmates were aboard!

Confessions of a GrandAunt

We’ve all heard that being a grandmother is way more fun than being a mother.  Well, the good news, for those of us with uncooperative offspring, is that being a grandaunt is equally thrilling.  Luckily for me, two of my nieces chose to reproduce, so I now have 3 little girls and 1 little boy in my life.  Unfortunately, 2 live in Massachusetts and 2 live in Virginia, so I’ve had to figure out how to make those magic moments together really count.  And since I’m in a figuring mood, I figured, why not share what I’ve learned with any blog buddies who have important little people in their lives?   

My most recent discovery is  the Providence Children’s Museum.  Here’s what you need to know:  

  • It is open every day except Monday. 
  • The parking lot is small, and there is construction next door that limits parking further, so arrive with lots of quarters to feed to the on street meters.  
  •  The museum offers the use of umbrella strollers for free. 
  • There is no food service, so you need to bring your own snacks.  These can only be eaten in the lunch room or outside.
  • Storage cubbies are free, and are easy to access so you can store your snacks and drinks there
  •  The $9 per person admission was so very worth it, offering hours of entertainment.  What better way to spend a rainy day?

Now that we have all of the ‘good to know’ stuff out of the way, how about the museum itself?  
In a word, it is absolutely FANTASTIC!  That place is perfectly sized for young children, with tons of fascinating, hands on activities.

For example, one whole room is completely dedicated to water fun.  It’s even educational!   “Let’s see what happens when you move those gray rectangles.” 


The museum supplies aprons so kids can splash away.  The blue aprons were a little large for the younger girl, so we downsized to red. 

There is something to delight everyone, regardless of whether you want to paint with water, or scrape an ice like substance from a table.  (No, I have NO idea what it was).

Notice the red and yellow circles on the walls?  Those are notes to parents, in English and Spanish, explaining the educational purpose of the activities.


The museum is spacious, colorful and loaded with child sized spaces to explore.  


Soft sculptures provide great photo opportunities for cell phone paparazzi (we are EVERYWHERE)!

There is something to delight the future cowgirl, 

as well as the budding heavy equipment operator…

Her grandmother is going to put these gardening skills to good use!