YouCruise 2008 – Leaving Jacksonville

I have returned from my fabulous vacation aboard the Carnival cruise ship, Celebration. This trip was suggested by a YouTube vlogger, Pipistrello, as a fun way to have a gathering. The voyage was absolutely perfect. I did not have any problems or disappointments.

Since a blog can serve as a journal, I want to extensively document my vacation with detailed blog posts. If I don’t write everything down the trip will become a blur later on and I don’t want to forget anything.

I feel this was the most awe inspiring experience of my life. Some people may be less impressed by a cruise to the Caribbean, but I tend to be very sensitive to my surroundings and virtually absorb the essence of a place. I think I have a profound soul so things effect me more deeply than the average person. Also, awe inspiring sights tend to resonate in my mind in a curious way which can heighten the aesthetic depth of the experience with associated imagery. During the cruise I daydreamed that someone ought to peer into my soul to value this experience as I do. It is a shame that cannot be done. Mere words will never capture the depth of my vision. If I’m getting too literary it is because we visited Key West where Hemingway had a house and Tennessee Williams wrote "A Streetcar Named Desire".  LOL

I arrived at the IPT Williamsport Regional Airport at 5:00 AM to catch a commuter flight to Philadelphia. I think all flights from Williamsport have to be US Airways Express flights to Philadelphia. I was surprised to see someone I know on the flight. It was a manager for McDonalds were I used to work during a dark period of my life. This guy was a major asshole so I did not talk to him and he did not seem to notice me. Security was very courteous because this is a very small city with a small airport. There was some turbulence during the flight. After a short 30 minute flight I arrived at the Philadelphia airport where I took a shuttle from terminal F to terminal C (a minor detail I want to remember for future travel). I got aboard a US Airways Boeing jet and had a 2 hour flight to Jacksonville airport. Another travel detail I need to note is that there was no baggage check for this connecting flight. I was a bit worried that I should have claimed my checked bag but this was loaded aboard the plane for me. I did not need to claim my checked bag until I reached Jacksonville. I have not flown anywhere in years or since 9-11 so I’m really new to air travel.

I bought a pair of sunglasses at the Jacksonville airport because it was very bright outside and I didn’t think to bring sunglasses. I had bought a transfer ticket for transportation from the Jacksonville airport to the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal where the cruise ship was docked. This shuttle left immediately and I got to see lots of Florida palm trees on the way to JAXPORT. At the JAXPORT Cruise Terminal I gave my checked bag to a baggage handler and took my carry on bag through security. I was given my sail and sign card which is like a credit card that you use onboard instead of cash.

After boarding the ship I spotted LittlePandaExpress, one of the vloggers I chat with in NutCheese’s Stickam room, in the lobby waiting for other YouTubers. I did not introduce myself immediately and instead waited until Onemon22 arrived with his wife. We went up to the Wheelhouse Bar & Grill where Onemon22 bought us drinks and we had lunch. Later on Pipistrello arrived and stopped at our table. I was thrilled to meet Pipi because he is a great rant comic on YouTube and I often watch his Wings Span Radio show on Stickam. After that VioletKitty411 arrived and sat at our table. VK is definitely my favorite vlogger of all because she is very vivacious and has a lot of personality. She is extremely popular on YouTube and one of the few people who tries to be a nice person. Believe me, some people aren’t trying at all! VK mentioned having breakfast with Gothreaper which surprised us because Gothreaper was causing a lot of drama. But as I said, VK goes out of her way to be nice to people.

After talking for awhile we split up to tour the ship and I took some video. Being on the YouCruise made me feel obligated to film as much video as possible but I did not see the others shoot much video. Maybe they just wanted to be on vacation. I went to my cabin, R68, where I found my checked bag outside my door. Now for some more travel minutiae that needs to be noted. The cabin only had one electrical outlet and I had several rechargeable devices (electric razor, Pocket PC, hairdryer, and Panasonic PV-GS120 camcorder) so I had to continually plug something else in. My cabin had a perforated plastic keycard that I had to keep on me at all times. I always made sure I had my keycard and sail and sign card. I had a cabin all to myself which cost me extra but gave me plenty of room.

At 3:30 PM there was a lifeboat drill. I reported to muster station C with my life jacket where we were shown how to put them on after a long wait. However we were not shown the life boats. After that I think I wandered around until dinner was served at the Vista Dining Room at 6:15 pm. There were 9 people on the YouCruise and we all sat at table 110. There was Pipistrello with two friends, Onemon22 and his wife, VioletKitty and LittlePandaExpress, Max Smith (the mystery vlogger nobody knew until dinner), and me. Due to my inability to make myself clear to the waiters I was not served a main course and only got an appetizer. The ship finally left port during dinner after waiting for several hours for late passengers. I watched a few passengers make their way along the winding gangway during dinner.

After dinner we went to the Endless Summer Lounge for Karaoke. VioletKitty, Onemon22, and Max Smith sang some songs which I have on video. The Endless Summer Lounge was decorated with the hulls of kayaks or canoes. Then we went to the Astoria Lounge which was a large theater with a small stage and saw the Welcome Aboard Show.  The show was hosted by Cruise Director Paul Santley,  a comedian with an Irish accent. We also saw the comedy act of  Tony Esposito. I think everyone went to bed after the show.

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