Captain Marco has been to the Short Hills Mall.

I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself.  That’s too far in the story, let me start over and set the stage: it’s Friday afternoon, and I’ve just gotten back to my cabin…


Holy Crap, What Just Happened?

What just happened? I’m still in freak out mode, I’m still processing, so forgive my ranting tone – but I just got back from a private tour of the Bridge this morning.  Yup, that’s a capital “B,” as in the Bridge, as in “Captain, you are needed on the Bridge” to, you know, sail the ship!  And why did I get to go to the Bridge, you might ask? Because I’m awesome (and because Maddi and James both had a +1 and I don’t start work until 2:30pm today, so I had nothing better to do).  You see, Maddi and James are moving up in the world, and they’re taking me with them!

It all started with a meeting in the Cruise Director’s office, where Ray met with us to get ready for our VIP tour – (and hey, there’s nothing like your own Cruise Director calling you VIPs to make you feel special), so there we were, Maddi, James and I, heading on up to the big man’s office.

The Bridge is on Deck 10, and all the members of the Steering Committee (Chief Officer, Staff Captain, etc) live just outside its doors.  It’s through here that Ray led us before leaving us at the end of the corridor.  He had to “prepare them” for our visit.  As soon as Ray was behind the extra-locked door, the three of us turned to each other, wide-eyed and giggling.  Then, Ray popped his head out of the door and beckoned us inside (“beckoned” probably isn’t the right word – in the moment it all felt so mysterious and sneaky).  The first thing I noticed, of course, was the view.  Gorgeous ocean as far as the eye can see (we were docked in Castaway, which has us facing backwards back out at sea rather than towards the island).  The second thing I noticed was the carpet.

Now, I’ve heard that the carpet on the bridge is the single most expensive thing on the ship.  Forget all the giant crystal chandeliers hanging in the atrium.  Nope, all of Disney’s money has gone into a rug.  But not just any old rug – this thing is a hand woven depiction of the world; a scaled map of all the continents and oceans, which has been spread out throughout the entire bridge, from end to end.  Now, it’s not like its useful or anything, but it does have a pretty nice novelty, and it certainly looks impressive in person.

The third thing I noticed was the cabinet full of hats.  Yep, there’s a cabinet just full of captain hats, you know, in case you need one and forgot yours back in your cabin.

But anyway, after saying hello to the First Officer on duty and him joking about calling security on us (yikes), we made our way out onto the port wing of the bridge, which hangs out over the side (complete with glass panels in the floor to see underneath), giving a full view of the side of the ship and all the gangways in operation on the ground. Here there is one of the control panels for driving the ship.  It’s only slightly more complicated than the ship simulator we have in the Oceaneer Lab…  Ray told us about what all the buttons do, how you switch between the different manual controls, and how all the radars work.  There are several of these control panels; three on the bridge (one in the middle and one of each of the wings), one in the engine room, and one in a room that is essentially a backup bridge.  The control panel in the middle is also the part of the room that has all the radars, the fire detection sensors, the emergency radio channels, and lots of other things, not least of all of course is the Captain’s chair.  Imagine the Captain’s chair in Star Trek.  Then imagine two of them side by side (perhaps Commodore Tom and Captain Marco don’t like to share…).  But by far, the coolest part of all the control panels in the entire bridge was none other than….drum roll please…the Mickey Horn!  In fact, there’s an entire AMX panel devoted to all the songs that the Disney Fantasy can play.  But just in case the AMX panel malfunctions, don’t worry, there’s a separate shortcut button just for When You Wish Upon A Star, our signature song.

It was then that Captain Marco himself came strolling into the bridge.  After some awkwardly nervous hello’s, Marco led us over to the starboard wing of the bridge, where we chatted some more. And this, my friends, is where I learned how much Captain Marco loves New Jersey.  Yeah, that’s right, he’s been to Summit, he’s been to Millburn, and he’s been to the Short Hills Mall!  And likes the Newark Airport more than JFK (duh).

“New Jersey is a nice place, I like it quite a lot” – direct quote from Captain Marco.

Yup, sorry Captain Mickey, sorry Captain Hook, and sorry Captain Jack Sparrow, but Captain Marco is officially the coolest Captain on board.  Ta Da.

Marco then soon left to deal was some Captain-y issues, and we got to move to on to the next room.  But before going back inside we got to pass another important table – the coffee table.  Now an espresso/latte/fancy shmancy coffee maker makes much more sense being in the bridge than it does in the Crew Mess (after all, I’d rather my bartender be sleepy than whoever is driving the ship), but I still felt a sharp stab of jealousy course through me.  Oh well, c’est la vie.  Next came the back room, which had even more buttons: buttons for emergency lighting, buttons for emergency generators, buttons for thrusters, and buttons for public announcements.  And then there were the infrared cameras.  Cameras along the sides of the ship detect any heat signatures on the open decks or balconies.  So the next time you decide to throw a cup of coffee overboard – don’t! (the cameras probably won’t be able to pick it up…but you still shouldn’t do it, that’s pollution.)

Ray ended our tour with another brief look at where some of the other members of the Steering Committee live, on Deck 9.  But the best part of these cabins is that they also have access to a communal balcony, which opens out from the hallway and has an equally great view of the open ocean.  In fact, since it’s considered a crew area, even we are allowed to go there, you know, if you don’t mind standing directly in front of someone else’s window, (but keep that on the hush hush – we don’t want our potential new favorite spot getting spoiled).  And since this balcony is right underneath the bridge, where there are no lights allowed, it’s the perfect spot for star-gazing. Ahhhh, lovely.

So, yeah, you could say that Friday morning was pretty bomb-diggity.

Now, you see, I had a bunch of other stories that I was planning on sharing with you all today, but all this excitement over the bridge has left me absolutely clueless as so what those stories were about…(which is probably for the best, seeing as I’ve already spilled out enough word vomit).

So, for me Grace – See Ya Real Soon!


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