We arrive in Port Everglades under blue skies with a gentle offshore breeze. The seas are almost flat. The air temperature is to be near 90.
In addition to disembarking and boarding new passengers, today there is going to be a USCG inspection before passengers are allowed to board.
The first passengers start leaving @ 7:15, before 8:45 they are calling for all remining passengers to get off the ship. As one of 60 consecutive cruisers, we leave as a group by 9:00. Within 30 minutes we are back on the ship, but unlike other times we are confined to the Vortex lounge until about 10:30.
The inspection must have gone well, boarding of regular passengers begins at 10:45, only 15 minutes later than usual.
There are a large number of upper level Crown and Anchor passengers booked on this cruise. I expect the lounges to be packed.
Several passengers go to the Windjammer, gather food, and return to the concierge lounge to eat. A behavior I haven't seen before. With no servers, and no support staff I don't see the benefit of all the extra work.
In addition to the usual provisions, a half dozen rolls of carpet are brought on board. Considering this ship is 16 years old, she is in good condition. A testament to ongoing maintenance.
My oldest daughter Adrienne, her husband Steve, my son Scott, his wife Melinda, and thier 6 month old daughter Eliza, and family friends Pann and Terry will be boarding shortly. They had ben told by Royal that boarding would be delayed by the inspection.
While I await thier arrival, I venture to the spa to see how badly the scales are broken. Much to my satisfaction it still reads less than when I boarded over a month ago. Would the cruises lines be successful selling cruise travel as a weight control program? It seems to work for me, but the final verification will be when I am back home.
I wait at the railing for my arriving family and friends. The plan is to let them store some of thier carryon luggage in my cabin prior to when they can access thiers. I had forgotten how much extra stuff one carries when traveling with a baby. Carriers, diapers, strollers and of course clothes, but at least they are small clothes.
It is a struggle to get to my cabin as rooms are still being cleaned and the hallway is filled with suitcases for incoming passengers. We manage, some of the luggage is temporarily stored and we head to the windjammer so they can get some food.
At 3:15 it is time for the usual muster drill. My station is in the theater, and I grab a seat near the back in my assigned eating area. One thing you don't want to mess with is the crew and the muster drill. This part of passenger safety is taken quite seriously. You won't be tested to see if you know how to fasten your seatbelt, but verification of attendance is very important.
One passenger didn't want to understand this. Just as instructions begin I hear an argument between a passenger and a crew member. I couldn't understand most of what the passenger was saying, but when he turned to walk out of the theater it becme quite clear.
"Sir, you cannot leave."
"It is mandatory that you attend the muster drill."
Within seconds two additional security officers and a ships officer were on the scene. The passenger was escorted somewhere, where I do not know. Maybe to face the captain, maybe to the gangway and put off the ship. Whichever, this is not the way to start off the first few hours of a vacation.
I was wrong about the lounge, it is busy, but not overcrowded. I have a couple of drinks with Adrienne and Steve, and then return to the cabin to clean up for dinner. Dinner at 8:00, usually the time I am nearly finished for the evening.
The dining room correctly has the reservation I made last week, 4 different cabins linked together. Our waiter is Hurry, the same waiter I had several weeks ago.
After dinner I walk thru the Schooner Bar, Chester has a good crowd, often unusual for the first night. Scott and Adrienne want to play a game of pool, but the tables are both busy. I wander back to the cabin and go to sleep on a full stomach.