So excited to be cruising again. Our last cruise was this month in 2019. I was not even sure that this cruise would sail when we booked. We have booked others only to see them cancelled so I was trying not to get my hopes up.
We did all the paperwork and the only thing left yesterday was the COVID test. For vaccinated guests, we were allowed to do a rapid antigen test. The problem is that there are no places around here that will do them for a low cost if you are not experiencing symptoms. I decided that we would try the online method with Emed.com which is approved by many cruise lines.
Luckily, I ordered the tests about a month ago. I learned recently, they have sold out and people are on a wait list. I watched a YouTube video on the process but I decided to use one of my tests and did a practice video call last week. Chuck watched the process and it went well.
The tests must be done no earlier than two days prior to embarkation. I logged in and did my test and got my Negative result on my app and in email. Chuck logged in on my laptop and did his test. Waited for his information. And waited for his information. Nothing – no notice on his app and no email. I looked at my app and email again and there was another notice. I got his Negative test results but WITH MY NAME ON IT.
Can we never have a trip without some sort of SNAFU? I called the only number I could find and was on hold for 45 minutes. When I finally did get someone, they transferred me to another number. Hair pulling time. The gentleman who finally answered said it could be fixed but it could take up to 15 hours or more as they would have to go back through the video.
I asked him if Chuck could just take another test. He said yes but to ensure that my info doesn’t show up again, I should clear my browser history so that my app information would be deleted. Okay. I got everything removed and Chuck went through the whole testing process again. I held my breath just staring at his email – Success! He got his negative results on his app and an email. The cruise is suddenly back on!
Had a restless pre-travel night like always. Got up with the alarm at 5:30. Pumpkin came in for his breakfast at 6:30 and knew something was up when I would not let him back outside. He went from door to door demanding to be let out but I ignored him. He gave up and went under the couch to sulk. I know he prefers to be outside but it is safer for him to stay indoors when we are gone. His sitter will come and take care of him.
We left at 8:15. Atlanta traffic was terrible as usual but at least we got to use the HOV lane so that helped speed things up at Spaghetti Junction. Stopped at our favorite Waffle House in Forsyth for a late breakfast. Stopped for gas at exit 2 right before you enter Florida. They are doing some roadwork so it was not as easy to get on and off that exit as it used to be. I am sure it will be fine once they are finished.
We cut across to Jacksonville on I-10 and then down I-295 and I-95 toward Cocoa Beach. Traffic was really heavy on those interstates. We finally arrived at the La Quinta at 5:45. Just the same as I remember from all the other times we have stayed here. Our park and cruise package gave us 8 free days of parking here so we only had to pay for 6 extra days. Not a bad deal considering how expensive it is to park at the port.
We went to the hotel bar and got drinks to have by the pool. Then we went back to the bar to order wings and tacos for dinner. Met two other couples that are also cruising on the Magic tomorrow. This is a popular hotel for cruisers as they offer a very good shuttle to the port as well as free parking. We were the only ones planning a back-to-back cruise.
After dinner, back to the room to get organized for tomorrow. Breakfast starts at 7:00 and we are on the 9:30 shuttle. Weather calls for partly sunny and in the 80’s. Hoping tomorrow goes off without a hitch.
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