At the beginning of 2010, the opportunity came for me to take my first ever cruise. A friend of mine had already booked a cruise, but one person dropped out. I had never been on a cruise or out of the country before. So, I jumped a the chance to go on this one. This was in January or February and I had about 6 or 7 months to get everything together. I had to get a passport. In order to get a passport, I had to order a certified physical copy of my birth certificate because I did not have the original. Once my birth certificate came in, the process to get my passport was quick and easy. I filled out the passport application and went to CVS to get my 2 passport pictures. Then, I went to the post office, turned in my paperwork, paid the fees. I made sure to expedite the delivery of my passport to ensure that I received it before September. Make sure you get to the post office early because the lines can be long and make sure you have your paperwork and required documents completely filled out and ready. It won’t make the time prior to your cruise go by any faster, but it will make the process of getting your passport a lot smoother.
It seemed like it took forever to get to September. I was excited and kept looking at my travel documents that I had printed imagining how the cruise was going to be. We chose the latest dinner time because we were sure we were going to be eating throughout the day since all of our food was included. Since our cruise terminal was about 2 hours away in Charleston, South Carolina; we drove there the morning of our departure and left the car at the cruise terminal.
Prior to that day, I hadn’t been to Charleston since I was a kid. So, I was super excited. When I saw the ship, I started getting butterflies in my stomach. I don’t know if I was nervous, but I was ready to experience something that I had never experienced before. Checking in was a breeze for us. I was taking it all in and paying attention to everything that was going on around me. Because we had gotten there so early, we had quite a long wait before embarkation at 4 pm. So, I was just watching people and listening to what they had going on.
I heard 1 person talking about how they left their passport at home in Tennessee. I heard another person talking about how they only had their birth certificate because they were told that they did not need a passport. I heard another person trying to get their passport sent to them via FedEx. I heard a group of people talking about how they had traveled from up north and they were not going to be able to get on the cruise because someone in their party did not have all of their required documents. The entire time I was thinking that I was so glad that I made sure to get everything that I needed months in advance. You do not want to be stuck at the cruise terminal on the day of your departure and not know if you are able to go on your cruise or not.
Because I had not been on a huge cruise ship before, I did not know how it would affect me. So, I went to the doctor and got the patch for motion sickness. However, that patch did not work for me. Once we got on the ship and to our cabin, we went and checked out the ship. I was fine as we left, but that night, the sickness just came over me. I just knew that I was going to be able to watch my team’s game on the ship in one of the dining halls, but I did not feel good enough to even sit up. I went to the room to lay down and thought maybe I will watch the game in the room, but I was too sick to keep my eyes open. I thought there is no way I could enjoy this cruise being this sick. It was my first night on my first cruise and I just went to sleep.