Sunny Embarkation!

Tuesday, April 18, 2023

There was no doubt I was exhausted. As soon as my head hit that pillow, I was asleep.

We woke up to a day that Florida uses on all its advertisements – bright blue skies, white fluffy clouds, and a slight, pleasant breeze. Storms? What storms? This is south Florida – nothing but sunshine, baby!

The shower had great water pressure and an abundance of hot water. The in-room coffee was abysmal. However, the free breakfast items and hot coffee available in the lobby area were very good. The attendant kept the area clean and the items well stocked.

Once we finished breakfast, we walked across the street to the shopping center to Dollar Tree. We needed to purchase a couple of forgotten items. Another reason to like this hotel location.

We passed on the hotel shuttle to the cruise port and called for an UberXL. Unlike last time, UberXL was very quick this morning, so we ended up at the port 30 minutes prior to our check-in time. Wasn’t sure if we would be allowed into the building but the port officials ushered us right on in. We moved through security and the HAL facial recognition section quickly. We were seated by 10:40 to wait for boarding.

We were allowed to board at 11:35 a.m. Once we dropped off our carry-on luggage to our room, we headed to the main dining room at noon. I chose the Pannekoek – a Dutch pancake- a thin pancake topped with bacon and apple slices. Chuck had a spicy spring roll and a quinoa bowl. I really liked mine. Chuck liked his spring roll – the quinoa bowl – not so much. We sat with two other couples. Pleasant conversation.

Once we finished lunch, we were too early for the safety drill, so we went back to the room. We had chosen the same veranda room that we had when we were on this ship for the Voyage of the Vikings in 2022. We liked its location on the ship. We discovered that since that cruise, HAL had installed the new interactive TV’s and I thought some of the furniture looked new too.

We found that both suitcases had been delivered so we started unpacking while listening to the safety information on the television. You have to watch the information to unlock the rest of the channels and features of the TV.

We paused our unpacking to go to our lifeboat location and had them scan our room cards. Safety information watched – cards scanned. We were officially ready for the cruise.

I went back to the room to complete the Canadian declaration form as it had to be turned in by that evening to Guest Services. I found that we had received a nice HAL canvas bag instead of the usual plastic one. Not sure why the upgrade – maybe because HAL is celebrating its 150th birthday or maybe because this room is considered a Vista Suite on this ship (although it just looks like a veranda room on other ships). Either way, I liked the bag.

I also discovered someone left a large piece of clothing in back in one of the drawers. I assume the person disembarked today. If not, how long has the clothing been traveling? Although I am a fan of the book The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants – I wasn’t trying it on for size. Needed to go.

It was fortuitous that almost as soon as I made this discovery, Raka, one of our room stewards knocked on the door to introduce himself and see if we needed anything at that moment. Yes, thank you, as I matter of fact I do. Here is a piece of clothing that someone may be missing. He gave it the same look that I did but then smiled and said he would deliver it to Guest Services. (Yep, let it be their problem).

I also thought the room was warm even though the temperature was set low. I didn’t report it as I wanted to be sure that it wasn’t just because I was hot from unpacking and/or that we weren’t moving yet so maybe the system wasn’t working at capacity. If the room stays hot, I’ll have to report it. Hard to sleep in a too warm room even with the portable fan I brought.

While Chuck went out and about making new friends, I went to a presentation- Tech for Travelers – I found out that it is a new presentation series that is being tested on a few ships to see if it will be offered fleet-wide on HAL.

Our Cruise Director was the presenter. I used to attend all the Microsoft presentations that HAL offered in the past, so I was glad that this presentation was informative and useful. I hope to attend the rest of the ones he has planned.

At 4:00, I dropped off the declaration form and then met up with Chuck at sail-away on the Sea View deck. Time for our traditional sail-away selfie.

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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