It is Monday December 4, 2017. This is the day between two consecutive cruises, the last day of the first, and the first day of the second cruise. Somehow that sounds like the same day is being counted twice. The crew refers to this as turnaround day.
The weather is near perfect in Ft Lauderdale. Being a Monday, we are the only cruise ship in port today. Most ships are here on Saturday or Sunday. I have done back to back cruises before, but each time the process is a little different. We are instructed to meet in the pub at 9:15. We are checked off on a list of passengers staying on the ship, not once but twice, two different lists. We are all given our new sea pass cards (room keys), and a numbered sticker to wear.
Once all other passengers have disembarked we head to the gangway and have our old cards scanned to indicate we are off the ship. Once just inside the terminal we wait for a customs agent to come check our passports. Shortly we are informed there will be a delay because all the agents are tied up dealing with drugs that have been discovered in a disembarking passengers luggage. I have to admit it, that I am surprised given the demographics of the passengers.
After no more than a 25 minute wait an agent arrives, looks at each of our passports and we are allowed back on the ship. All in all, a pretty easy process.
With time on the ship without other passengers I take the opportunity to take some pictures of the ships interior. The dining room, the centrum, the blue cows, etc. I will post some of these after I return to Florida in mid December. Of I do have to correct something I wrote earlier. There is a slide on this ship! I just hadn't seen it before.
In addition to preparing all the cabins for new guests, this is also when the ship is re-provisioned with all sorts of supplies. It is a good thing, as last night I learned that the ship was totally out of a number of adult beverages, fortunately nothing that I cared about.
There are no less that 15 trucks lined up on the pier to bring new provisions. There are also 2 trucks hauling away the recycled materials. Hmm. 15 trucks in, 2 trucks out. Does it then make sense that the equivalent of the other 13 trucks was carried out in the bellies of the 2000 passengers that just got off the ship? Probably so.
There are also some trucks here that are not for provisioning, but for repairs. A team of 3 divers spends at least several hours under the stern of the ship. Doing what, I have no idea. A service truck from Coke has several repairmen working on the dispensers in the Vortex Lounge and the Concierge Lounge on deck 13. Something about a broken dispenser caused a pump to burn out. I'm sure a straight forward repair, but he does need to be off the ship by about 3:00. I wonder if the thought crosses his mind to delay the repairs and miss disembarking before the ship leaves?
Lots of areas are cleaned today while there are no passengers. The pool deck and pool furniture is one area where everything is pressure washed. Probably actually does a good job of removing all the suntan lotion from the previous 10 days.
Not something we would normally think much about but certainly makes sense when you see it. The life guards are all practicing and being instructed on CPR. A skill I hope they never need.
There is a special lunch for the back to back cruisers. The only extra perk we get, lunch without having to fight the crowds in the Windjammer. You would think this had never been done before. The hostess in the dining room asked to see our invitations, we weren't given one. She wanted to see our number sticker, most of us took them off once we were back on the ship. She asked to see our old sea pass cards, most of us left them in the cabin. She finally gave up and conceded we wouldn't be there unless we were the back to back cruisers as no one else would know about the lunch. About half of the consecutive cruisers attended. I wish I hadn't, the smell of fish was almost too much for me, an indication that maybe it wasn't real fresh.
This week the ship is hosting a "World Series Of Poker" tournament. One of the trucks on the pier brought their gaming tables, TV equipment, and other supplies. The tournament will be held in the conference rooms, and has no ties with the ships casino.
Another truck on the pier this morning was a brinks armored car. Bringing cash for the poker tournament or headed to the bank with the cash gathered from passengers in the last ten days? Maybe both.
The muster drill is at 3:15. This captain is efficient, the drill only took ten or twelve minutes. Our departure time isn't listed in the Daily compass, but probably will be about 4:00.
I am going to try and avoid the dining room all week. Skipped it tonight, only time will tell how successful I am.
We have almost exactly the same number of Loyalty passengers as last week. Tonight the lounge was packed by 4:30, but fairly empty after 7:00 while last trip it remained packed until after closing. The Coke service man did his job, there is now a working fountain drink dispenser in the Concierge lounge. Last week all the mixers and soft drinks were poured from cans.
Tonight's entertainer is Scott Henry, the same comedian we had the other night. Exactly the same lines, I listen to most of it, but escape before being trampled by the stampede at the end of the show. An advantage of sitting in the last row of the balcony, my departure disturbs no one.
The next two days will be sea days as we head to our first port of call, Antigua, the last island I visited last week.
As I prepare to retire for the evening, there is no motion to the ship as we head south.