Monday, December 5, 2016

12-4-16 Embarkation day:

Our short 4 day stay in South Florida was over.  It was time to make our way to the cruise port.  So we jumped into our rental car and headed off to the Budget Rental Car location on 17th street across from the cruise port.  They offer a free shuttle to the port, so we've used this return location a few times.  It also offers a free shuttle from the port, so it was a busy place.  No Fastbreak line there, but they were anxious to get the returned cars so they have cars for the people from the cruise ship, so the wait wasn't too bad.  By 11 we were on our way to the port.  I shot this picture from the shuttle as we were entering the port.  Not too busy for a Sunday---only 3 ships in port.  I had read about the mobile passport app and while we were waiting to board the ship, I went online and downloaded it.  It's suppose to get you through customs much quicker.  Unfortunately, the app wasn't good for port entry with a Samsung phone yet.
 Our wait wasn't long.  Soon we were on the ship and eager to check out our spa cabin.  I had originally booked an oceanview Guarantee for $1199/person.  About a month ago, the verandahs dropped to that amount for an obstructed view (VH) with metal wall category, so I called to see about switching.  It was past final payment, so I knew no refund would be given.  They did have a category (VF) Guarantee(non obstructed with plexiglass wall) for $100 more/person, so I went ahead and paid it.  About 10 days before our cruise, I was offered a paid upgrade to a verandah suite for another $599@, but didn't think it was worth that.  A few days later, we got our assigned room---VQ 10031 (spa verandah--I think that's the highest verandah category).  Also got another upgrade offer for $499, but that was still too high and I was curious about the spa cabins.
Our cabin was nice (more pictures of it in my Koningsdam post--- (click here Cabin VQ 10031 )  It had a few extra amenities since it was a spa category: yoga mat; Bose speakers; pedometers; and was suppose to come with 3 complimentary bottles of flavored vitamin water and 1 large complimentary bottle of plain water, but ours were missing.  We called the number on the flyer in the room and inquired about the water.  Took 3 days to get them, but they were handy for taking on shore.  We also liked the new features of USB ports, large mounted tv, lots of tv channels,  and throw blanket, didn't even mind not having a tub.

Looking from the verandah door towards the front door.

I think our verandah was shallower then most verandahs, but it was adequate.  Being on level 10 near the forward elevators, we had great unobstructed views. 
I also really liked that HAL offered a free web page with the daily Navigator on it, as well as dining menus, and some other stuff right on personal smart phones.  Came in handy the whole cruise!
The ac in the cabin worked quite well---as I discovered each time I took my DSLR out to the verandah to take pictures!
Around 4 they did the muster drill.  We had planned to take the elevators down to our muster area and wait for it, but they announced for everyone to go to their rooms and view the instructions on the tv.  Then we were told to take the stairs to level 3 to the casino where our muster station was.  Ken was not too happy---his knee didn't like that and was sore and swollen for several days!
Soon we were on our way.  I guess our pilot boat wanted us to do doughnuts.
 We got to watch sun set as we sailed away.

 We were the first to sail away, so we got to watch the others leave port, too.
 Probably the best sunset of the trip!

 One last shot before heading off to dinner in the lido.
Loved that the Lido served basically the same choices as the Dining Room.  Actually you had more choices in the Lido.  There were several stations in the Lido and we never waited long as any of them.  The food was very good.
One of the many stations.  (more of that in my Koningsdam post)
 Later that night, we watched the featured Poolside Movie---Central Intelligence with The Rock.  Cute movie and I hadn't seen it before. 
 I didn't think I'd like watching the movie by the pool, but it turned out that I really did.   
Great start to another great cruise!

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