December 12, 2018

Headed to The Harmony of the Seas

I am all packed and set my alarm for 7:00 AM. Ft Lauderdale is about a four hour drive. As I head to the car the AC is turned higher, and the heat turned lower. I need to leave the water on as some new plantings still need a little more water than provided by the regular sprinkler system. I do remember to turn the hot water heater off.

The turnpike to Ft Pierce, and then switch to I-95 after a quick fuel stop. Though I know the way, I turn on Garmin.  Within a few minutes it warns me that I-95 is totally blocked in both directions about 30 miles ahead. I switch back to the turnpike, as do many others. Modern technology sometimes is good.

Having saved me from inevitable delays on 95, Garmin wants to extract payment as I near my destination, it directs me on local roads to get to my parking lot instead on staying on the expressways. do I listen to garmin or follow the expressways? Garmin saved me once today, I better pay attention. I take the local roads. No big deal but probably adds 15 minutes to my travel time, or saves me hours, I will never know.

Park-N-Go is extremely busy but very well organized. Within 5 minutes I am on the shuttle headed to the ship.

The security line extends outside the terminal to the sidewalk. The lines slowly weave back and forth. Once past security it should be directly to the ship as everything was done online including uploading a photo and collecting complete credit card information.

Another failed plan. Somehow Royal lost all that information so all passengers must wait in another line to check in at the counter. My status helps as there are only a few passengers ahead of me instead of the hundreds in most of the lines.

Finally an hour and a half after stepping off the shuttle I board the ship. The cabins are open so I drop off my carry on. When I open the door I immeadiately notice a strong odor of sewer gas. I will deal with that later, the first order of business is a bite to eat. Park Cafe is close, and usually undiscovered on the first day. 

I grab a sandwich and send messages off to the kids that I am safely on the ship, even anwering the inquiry "...are you there yet?"

Back to the cabin. Yes there is defininitely a bad odor.  I don't remember if I actually splurged on this trip, or it was the only cabin left, but I have a virtual balcony cabin.  This is an interior cabin where they have added a 48 x 72 display on the end wall. The image displayed comes from a camera pointed off the side of the ship. Visually it is surprisingly realistic, but with a minor issue. The view is off the port side, but the room is oriented fore and aft. I can't wait to see the effect if the ship starts rolling or pitching. The visual image is 90 degrees rotated from the motion of the ship. Certain to mess with your brain.

Oh you say, just turn it off. Well that is another issue, the remote control doesn't work.

Not knowing if I will see my room steward, I leave a note on the bed for him if he returns and I am not in the cabin.

With the weather a mixture of of sun, clouds, strong winds and showers I am glad my muster station is in the theater. Opportunity for a quick nap and then wait for the lounge to open.

I remembered to reserve all my shows from home, and RC has an app that connects on the ship. I expected to be able to see my reservations on the app, but no that doesn't work either. A stop to introduce myself to Mohamed Sayeth, the concierge host, he insists he remembers me from a previous cruise, I have no clue as to which one. He is able to retrieve and print a list of my reservations. One problem solved.

The lounge is over crowded, I shouldn't expect anything else on a ship with nearly 6,000 passengers and a lounge for 60. I am lucky and find a seat.

Many guests are initially turned away, but seats come available once people begin to leave for early dinner. As usual I have no plans to even look at the dining room.

A few hours after departure the weather improves. I grab a cup of chili in the windjammer and then find a seat for the aqua show. My memory says the similar shows on the Allure and the Oasis were better, but that may be because they were the first I saw of this type of show. Regardless, aquatic performances that I won't seen at my local pool back home.

A short stop at the Jazz club, and then back to the cabin for the night. My suitcase is in the hall along with dozens of others, the note is gone from the turned down bed, but the odor of sewer gas is still in the room. Something to deal with tomorrow.

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