Embarkation Day!

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Slept soundly last night but had weird dreams. I blame it on the Philly cheesesteak.

Woke up to two notifications on my phone – Our state tax refund had been deposited. Yay! We have another medical bill to pay. Boo!

After eating the Hampton free breakfast, we took an UberXL to the port. We were assigned Group A for check-in which is supposed to be the earliest check-in group. We arrived at exactly the assigned time. On the last few cruises, except the South America one, the port made the cruisers who had arrived earlier than their appointed time wait outside until their check-in time. Not today. We entered the building to find a huge crowd of people already inside waiting. Wouldn’t be such chaos if people would do what they are supposed to do, and the port would enforce its own rules. Sigh.

Though the lines were long, we went through them pretty effortlessly until the scanning of the passports. Chuck’s passport wasn’t scanning correctly so we had to go to another section so it could be entered again. At that station, it scanned just fine. I don’t think the woman at the camera station was aligning it correctly.

We were then directed to the upstairs seating, but it was just as crowded as downstairs. Had to run the gauntlet of carry-ons to even find a seat. However, all in all, it took 25 minutes from the time we were dropped off until we could sit down. Not terrible.

The ship hadn’t started boarding yet. Other passengers said our boarding was delayed because of a medical emergency on board. Paramedics were there. Not sure if it was a passenger or crew member that needed the attention. Hope all turned out well.

Boarding started at 11:35. We went straight to our room and found we had no keys. An officer saw us standing there and went to track down our room steward. He brought the keys.

Once we opened the door, we found a tray of dirty dishes on the desk. We found the steward again and he removed it and sanitized the desktop. He apologized and said Room Service was supposed to have already come for the tray. Not the typical Holland America (HAL) experience. But, in their defense, it must be extremely hard to get all the cabins ready for occupants in 2 or 3 hours. The rest of the room was spotless.

We specifically asked for this cabin again since we liked it so much the first time. We will also have it on our upcoming cruise in the Fall.

We are also having some difficulty with Chuck’s account. He got stopped again at the ship entrance and had to show ID. His information is also not showing up on the electronic statement. I had to send a text message to Guest Services. Trying to avoid standing in the long line that has already formed. Will go tomorrow if needed.

For our anniversary, we’ll be doing a vow renewal on the cruise. HAL offers a nice package for this occasion and I was able to use HAL points to purchase it.

Our floral arrangement was in our room as promised. However, they had scheduled our complimentary Pinnacle Grill dinner for tonight at 5:00. Uh no. We didn’t want to get dressed up tonight and did not want to eat at 5:00. We got the reservation changed to March 12 at 7:00. I need to contact Guest Services to see when the actual ceremony will be.

Had lunch in the main dining room instead of battling the crowds in the Lido. The service takes longer but the lunch is relaxing. I had the roasted cauliflower and tomato bisque. I also had the half club sandwich and Chuck had the veal croquette. We had already inhaled them before I thought about a photo.

After lunch, we went to our muster station to check-in and then back to the room. We found that my suitcase had arrived but not Chuck’s suitcase. We know they were both loaded onto the same cart outside of the port. Disconcerting.

We relaxed on the balcony looking at the state park and the boats zipping back and forth until time for sail away.

Sail away on the Sea View deck was fun. Loud music. Prizes. Drinks were flowing.

So much different than our cruise on this ship in 2021. At that time, we were still masked up and social distancing was strongly encouraged which wasn’t hard because the ship was less than half full. I understand it is near or at capacity now. We did receive a letter in the cabin about the continuing health protocols.

Returned to the room to find Chuck’s suitcase had arrived. We were relieved. Now we could unpack and start truly enjoying our vacation.

Travel Trivia

Ft. Lauderdale, Florida

Known as the Venice of America due to its extensive canal system.

Fort Lauderdale was originally not one, but three forts during the Second Seminole War. The forts took their name from Major William Lauderdale (1782–1838. He was the commander of the detachment of soldiers who built the first fort. Development of the city did not begin until 50 years after the forts were abandoned at the end of the conflict.

After the war, the Stranahan House, Fort Lauderdale’s oldest building, was built in the 1890s. The house served as a trading post for the area and quickly developed into the city center along the New River.

Fort Lauderdale was featured in a popular 1960s movie, “Where the Boys Are,”about a college spring break. Soon college students flocked to the area en masse for a sun and sand filled getaway and still do today.

Just offshore, following the 24 miles of beach, is a coral reef tract. These coral reefs are a part of the Florida Reef Tract that run from Dry Tortugas to St Lucie Inlet (360 miles), the third longest barrier reef system in the world.

Fort Lauderdale is a major manufacturing and maintenance center for yachts. The boating industry is responsible for over 109,000 jobs in the county. With its many canals, and proximity to the Bahamas and Caribbean, it is also a popular yachting vacation stop, and home port for 42,000 boats, and approximately 100 marinas and boatyards. Additionally, the annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the world’s largest boat show, brings over 125,000 people to the city each year.

*Trivia provided by Wikipedia

Author: mmmtravelmemories

A retired college administrator who loves to travel. I write to remember the experiences and, I hope, to inspire others to make their own travel memories.

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