Turnaround day - the day that one cruise ends, the majority of passengers depart, new passengers board and a new cruise begins.
The very busy crew has a lot of extra work to clean the ship from stem to stern in preparation for the next group of guests. Tons of luggage, food, booze and other supplies must be transferred off and on the ship.
For the back to back passengers there are special procedures we must follow to keep Customs and border patrol happy. Every port and every cruise is different as the procedure is dictated by the authorities not the cruise line. This morning was one of the easiest I have ever encountered. We gathered in one of the bars, and were issued our new sea pass cards. After a short wait we checked off the ship, walked by an agent that checked our passports, turned around to board the ship, had new ID photos taken as we boarded, and within 30 minutes were sipping champagne.
All regular passengers had cleared the ship by 9:00 AM, again a very quick disembarkation. I don't know how long luggage claim and customs took for them.
As we sit near the atrium sipping our champagne, crew are busy cleaning and setting up to receive thousands of new guests. At 10:30 new passengers are streaming aboard, and by 11:00 storms were rolling in and the rain is pretty heavy, keeping everyone inside.
There is a special lunch for back to back passengers. This week that is about 75 passengers that don't have to fight the crowds, last week it was nearly 200. I choose grilled chicken and green beans.
At 2:45 it's time for the muster drill. The drill is being held indoors so no one will get wet. I get my second indication that this cruise is going to be quite a bit different than last week. About an hour earlier there was a serious altercation between two grown adults, I can only assume a couple traveling together. They were screaming and yelling at each other, in a language I did not understand. That is probably a good thing. Just as the elevator door closed, she could be seen swinging her heavy purse at him, and he attempting to protect himself.
As we gather in Michael's club, one couple staggers in. Seats are limited, and it is very crowded. They are so drunk they are unable to stand and slouch to the floor in a corner. I wonder how they will be by midnight? Passed out? Not the passenger behavior expected on any ship. Somehow they make it through the drill, and stagger out of the room, probably headed to the nearest open bar.
The rain continues until just as we untie from the dock and head to sea. Again we are the first ship to leave port and pass The Seaside and a Carnival ship that will follow close behind.
It is a short 148 nautical miles to Key West where we are expected to arrive about 7:00 AM. The seas are calm, and by sunset the skies have mostly cleared, and the full moon rises over the ocean.