On Thursday morning we woke up and made our usual breakfast reservation at Coastal Kitchen. Note: the breakfast menu at Coastal Kitchen did not change during our cruise. If you would like some variety go to the main restaurants or the buffet.
After breakfast we all went outside to enjoy some fresh air. We walked around for a little while but it was incredibly windy. It was windy enough to take my friends baseball cap off of her head and send it flying underneath a full row of chairs. Luckily a glass partition caught the hat and we returned it to her. Inside we watched the bumper cars for a little bit before exploring the spa, gym, and solarium.
The kids were getting a little restless so we went to the suite lounge and let them play while we enjoyed some coffee/tea. In the afternoon we enjoyed some cocktails and just relaxed.
That evening we dined at Coastal Kitchen again. Note always listen to the servers suggestions. Our server was wonderful and would tell us his favorite dishes each evening. On this evening he steered us to a couple of specific dishes and my friend didn't listen. Needless to say she did not enjoy her dinner and jokingly admitted she was wrong and should have listened to him.
After dinner the kids were ready for bed and Greg and I headed back to the pub. We sat at a table, ordered a couple of Bourbons, and enjoyed the acoustic music!
On Friday morning we dined at Coastal Kitchen. The weather outside was beautiful this morning so we headed outside and enjoyed the fresh air, the music, and the scene. The drink service outside wasn't the best though. The bar area near the pool was inconsistent, the servers circling the area ignored a lot of people, but the water/soda cart was very friendly.
Inside we finally had a chance for the kids to sit in the wicker furniture outside of Vintages. I knew they would love the teardrop chair but it was always occupied. I finally was able to snag some adorable pictures of them in it. Next up was bubble time. Sometimes it really is all about the small things. The tone/lights of the elevators, bubbles, and snacks can make people very very happy.
For lunch we tried Izumi. The staff either weren't prepared, weren't very good, or didn't like that we had kids with us. We got a very jumbled welcome and were seated in a tough area. We ordered cocktails and beers to start and munched on the complimentary salted Edamame. We ordered chicken kara-age, poke, sushi, and chicken skewers for the kids. The cocktails were a little on the weak side but the food was delicious!
We went back to our rooms to start packing and then to get ready for dinner. We finished packing and I Greg was just stepping out of the shower when we heard Oscar Oscar Oscar over the speaker system. I figured this couldn't be anything good but never heard it so I Googled it. In case you don't know Oscar Oscar Oscar means man overboard. Our ship was now stopping, then turning, then circling. We also saw that the Norwegian Gem was heading back to our position (they were a short ways ahead of us). The Captain made an announcement that someone had jumped overboard and they would like everyone to stay off of the main decks so staff could prepare for a rescue.
Over the next couple of hours we saw staff prepared to rescue, we circled the area, the Gem searched, there were multiples planes searching, and the Captain kept everyone informed. The person who jumped was a young male with family on board. Our thoughts, prayers, and hearts were with the person and their family. A few hours later and the Captain announced that we would continue on our way to New Jersey and the Coast Guard would continue the search. I was very impressed with the entire staff's professionalism, effort, and empathy.
I'll add my two cents like everyone else. We all need to be more aware, be more empathetic, and talk more about mental illness. It breaks my heart thinking that anyone feels they have no way out and/or there's no one there for them.
We called down to customer service to see if dinner would still be happening and were told that everything would be business as usual. I completely understand the staff keeping things business as usual to help keep everyone calm and safe. It did feel strange though to be in this happy environment and continue on enjoying a vacation when such a tragedy was happening around us.
After dinner we needed to get some cash so we went to the cashier in the casino (much faster than customer service lines). We decided to bring a couple of cocktails back up to our rooms. We cheered to health, happiness, family, and friends. This experience will always be with us, we'll always be there for each other, we'll remember to live life fully, and be thankful for all that we have.
Saturday morning we were up very early to be off of the ship first thing. We grabbed our bags, met up with our friends and made our way down to the Chops Grille restaurant which would be the Suite departure lounge.
Inside the restaurant we had coffee, juice, and danishes. We were right next to the rear elevators and so naturally my friends son wanted to explore. While I was playing elevator search we witnessed an older child getting sick right in front of the restaurant entrance. I felt horrible for him and the parents. Right after that Ricardo was ready to walk us off of the ship. We were escorted through security, into the port, and over to where the suite luggage. The staff called over a porter to help us since we had so many items. The porter brought us to a different line than the main line for customs. We were off the ship, through customs, and waiting for our car all within 20 minutes.
The six of us said our goodbyes and drove back home separately. Greg and I made our way to my parents house where Fred was waiting for us. Once we were home we separated again. Greg headed to get a haircut, I went grocery shopping, and we reconvened to start the laundry and get ready for the new week.