Sunday, November 4, 2018 – Embarkation
Knowing that the ships rarely board until after 11:00 and not wanting to sit or stand at the Port, we opted to sign up for the 11:00 hotel shuttle. By doing so, we were able to have a relaxed morning at the hotel. I slept better last night but Chuck said he slept fitfully.
Could see out our window that it was a beautiful sunny morning but that it must have rained hard during the night. I didn’t hear anything. Local TV weather said it was 78 degrees and 93 percent humidity. Welcome to south Florida.
Went downstairs for their free breakfast. A large group in the lobby, apparently waiting to be taken to the airport, had wiped them out of the hot food earlier in the morning so the ladies were busily cooking more breakfast potatoes and bacon. I had the oatmeal, a banana, and split a bagel with Chuck. He got the eggs.
While we were sitting at our little table just outside of the food area, an elderly man (or at least someone who looked older than me), walked into the food area and as he was waiting for his waffle to be cooked, let loose a loud long fart. Chuck’s eyes got so wide and I nearly spit out my coffee. The man just got his waffle and walked back to his table where his wife was sitting. I assume that she either didn’t know what happened or just chose to ignore him. I didn’t see her scolding on him. Wow. I told Chuck that if I saw him on the ship, I was definitely going to stay upwind of him.
Since we had time, we decided to walk 30 minutes around the hotel area. Whole area had nice sidewalks so we picked a direction and headed off. Humidity jumped on us early. Yesterday it was a brisk 50 degrees. Today, an oppressive 80. We walked for 30 minutes but it was definitely not the pace that we had yesterday.
Got back to the room and cleaned up and went downstairs to checkout and wait for the shuttle. Well, the front desk lady said there was a lot of traffic around the Port (duh) and the driver would be about 15 minutes late. Well, 30 minutes later, he was getting our bags as well as 8 other people. There were 4 ships in port today. Four people were sailing Carnival Conquest, 4 of us were on the Zuiderdam, and 2 people were on the Royal Caribbean Adventure of the Seas. Nobody on our shuttle was sailing the Nieuw Amsterdam today.
Porters were there to get our bags (and tip money). We began the long, slow process of going through security (empty your pockets before you get to the scanner, people), standing in line for our sail and sign cards, and waiting for our boarding number to be called. We were group 18. They were just starting to call group 7. Sigh.
Once we had our number called, we had to navigate the picture line. We have longed stopped getting the pictures as we don’t buy the pictures so it is a waste of their time, our time, and paper, but you have to wait in line and then tell the photographers, no thank you, to keep moving past them. Finally, we were on board and up to our room on the 10th floor by 1:00.
The observation deck (10th) has a small number of inside rooms and balcony rooms far forward. We have never been up this high. I hope I can deal with the motion. We typically book a guaranteed room so we take our chances on where we will be on the ship. The Zuiderdam is a sister ship to the Westerdam which is the ship we took to Hawaii in February. At that time, we were on the lowest floor near the middle, very convenient to guest services and the area to get off the ship at ports, but it was a trek every morning to get coffee from the coffee bar on the 10th floor.
Our room is just down the hall from the Crows Nest which has the coffee bar and a regular bar combined. Very convenient. On the other end of the hall, you can walk outside to a promenade deck that will take you all the way back to the Sea View pool area (one floor down) as well as the Lido pool and buffet. I really like that point too.
We ate lunch in the dining room and had a nice conversation with two ladies from Canada and a gentleman from Colorado. The women have been friends since College and always take a trip together every year, leaving husbands and children behind. One was from Ontario and one was from Calgary. Either the man was traveling solo or his significant other/spouse was not with him for lunch. I didn’t ask. We each had a steak sandwich. I just ate the steak off the sandwich. We each had a piece of carrot cake.
After finishing, I made our Pinnacle Grill reservations for Thursday evening at 7:00. On some ships, they assign you times since it is a free meal as part of the Explore 4 promotion. If you don’t like the assigned time/date, you have to call and see if you can change it. Other ships, you make your own reservation. We then went to the Mariner reception. Reception was kind of lame or maybe we just missed the opening. We didn’t see any officers walking around greeting people, etc. Just waiters passing out cheap champagne and mimosas. The appetizers looked good.
Went back to the room and our luggage arrived shortly. The room is different. We have a lot of floor space. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a couch but only two chairs. I guess because the last time, they put us in a room meant for 3 to 4 people and this room is designed just for 2 people. But it did make it nice to spread out all the luggage for the unpacking. I was able to get everything in closets and shelves. Very limited drawer space. Got the luggage under the bed. All just in time for the announcement of the safety drill.
We were herded to our life boat stations in the sweltering heat and humidity. Some elderly people who were clearly not able to take the heat and looked like they were going to faint were ushered into a special room inside. Then a baby started wailing and that family was also ushered inside. I thought about getting Chuck to start wailing to get us out of there but then I just figured they would think he was drunk and disorderly and would end up in ship’s jail.
Thankfully, it didn’t last too long and we were released to join the sailaway party. The Conquest had left at 4:00. We were scheduled to leave at 5:00 but it was closer to 5:30. The Nieuw Amsterdam took off before we did. Not sure what time the Adventure of the Seas was scheduled to depart.
Had a good time talking with people at the sailaway party. Then Chuck got his information about his free play money and took it to the Casino. They gave him his chips and he played some cards while I went to the liquor store and ordered 2 bottles of Grey Goose. Been a while since we have driven to a port so we can easily bring home the bottles. Holland America also delivers the bottles to your room the night before disembarkation. I don’t buy the bottles from Carnival any more because they make you line up the morning of debarkation and get your bottles. I don’t need that stress on the day you have to leave.
I listened to the piano player in the Oceans Bar for a while and then went to the dualing piano bar and listened to them. By then, Chuck was ready for dinner. We went to the Lido because Chuck had shorts on and you have to wear slacks to eat in the main dining room. The Lido had already closed. We decided to try the main dining room. They let Chuck come in as it was the first night and the dress code is more relaxed since people are still getting luggage. However, they told him that all other nights, slacks were required. We had a very nice dinner and shared a table with two women from South Carolina. Chuck had the scallop appetizer and jerk pork dinner and I had the potato soup and pasta dinner that had various vegetables diced up in it. We skipped dessert.
We were out in time for the 9:30 evening show which was called “Preview” and it did just that. It previewed some of the upcoming stage shows for this trip. I think the one featuring music through the decades is going to be the best one. They also said there would be a couple of comedians and one of those BBC movies that have the ship musicians playing along with the scenes. I have really enjoyed those movies on other ships so I hope to catch this one too.
Chuck played a few more hands of cards and then we went to the BB King nightclub for their last set of the evening. Excellent musicians and two singers. Played songs that got people up to dance the entire set.
By the time we got back to the room it was close to midnight. So glad the room cooled down to a nice sleeping temperature. I think the towel animal is a crab. Chuck thinks it is a shrimp. We filled out the room service breakfast card to be delivered between 7:30 and 8:00.
Tomorrow is Half Moon Cay. It is the Carnival Corporation private island and the beach there is beautiful. However, it is a tender port and that is always tricky. Even if the weather is nice, if the current is too strong, the tender boats can’t run safely. We hope to snorkel off the beach. If not, we dragged all of our snorkeling gear on this trip for nothing. The tendering is to begin at 8:30 so we will let the crowds go on and we’ll probably take a 9:30 or 10:00 tender. We’ll snorkel for a while and then come back to the ship at 12:30 or 1:00. The last tenders will be at 2:30.