I said we were aiming to leave by nine this morning - well, given the fact that we were all awake between 4:30 and 5:30, it was a pretty easy goal to achieve. We didn't want to get to the ship too early, since they didn't start boarding until 12:30, but as it turns out, the earlier the better. We checked in our bags and got in the first line at noon but didn't get on board the ship until 1:30. We stood in a line to get our id card, another line for security, then for our souvenir photos, then our id card photos. At each checkpoint we had to show a random and unpredictable combination of passports and id cards - whichever one I just put away was inevitably the one that was needed next.
When we finally made it on board we checked out the Lido deck cafeteria-style restaurant for lunch, then went down to our rooms. Our room has a window and it's actually reasonably big, or at least, bigger than I expected. Then it was off to the Casino Bar for the Welcome Aboard Trivia Game, where the team with the most correct answers wins a "ship on a stick," a little plastic Carnival ship-shaped trophy. I took one look at that thing and I knew I had to have it. I will not be satisfied in life until I win a ship on a stick.
Alas, it was not to be won on this game. My team - me, my mom, my dad, and for one question, my dad's ipod touch - got a measly 6 questions right out of 15. Brad, who benefited from some of our knowledge but went his own way on other questions, shocked us all with 10 out of 15. (Seriously, who knows what color laser they use to remove a red tattoo??) The team next to us, though, had 11 right and they took home my coveted trophy. No matter. This is just the warm-up round. I've got a whole week to win my ship on a stick. And next time, Brad's going to be on my team.
We had dinner in the Golden Pearl Restaurant. I had the pork spareribs and with it came an insight that has been true through when I am writing this on Monday night: the food's goal is to be non-offensive. The food is decent, but not fantastic. The barbeque sauce was bland. Tuesday's pesto sauce had no garlic. What makes food great (to me, anyhow, I know not everyone agrees) is impressive flavors - bold, spicy, complex, whatever. What I've eaten so far is fine but safe. None of this food would win anything on Top Chef. (That's not going to stop me from eating, and prolifically. And I'm not complaining, just pontificating.)
We put the littles to bed and my dad, Noah, and I headed to the Spectacular lounge for Gameshow Mania. They had three podiums set up with flashing lights and scores and Joe, the entertainment guy, asked for volunteers to be on the game show. I asked Noah if he thought I should do it. Frankly, as much as I enjoy trivia, I know that I'm only average at actually answering the questions. But you don't win a ship on a stick by sitting in the audience, and I'm not going to be seeing any of these people again if I make an idiot of myself, right? What I didn't count on was that my dad would run down to the room and grab his video camera. I can't upload the video right now, but suffice it to say that a) I didn't win, but I came in a respectable second and b) I probably should have expected that the person who answered "Shake Your Bon-Bon" would have to do just that. For my embarrassment and for participating I got a medal with a cruise ship on it. Oh, that wily ship on a stick, staying just out of my reach! I will have you, and I have a whole week to get you.