Saturday, October 12th. Time to unpack after returning home from the Mariner of the Seas, and pack for 32 days on The Vision of the Seas. This may sound like an overwhelming task, but a detailed packing list makes the process very easy. the list reminds me to take razor blades and Q-Tips, it is just up to me to pack the quantity I need for almost 5 weeks of travel, travel with limited access to the comforts of home.
Gail will be traveling with me for half of the trip, departing in Los Angeles to visit friends in California before returning to Florida.
My ship leaves from Miami, Fl and will be returning to Ft Lauderdale. The plan is to drive to Ft Lauderdale, spend the night, park the car at Park N Go, my favorite parking vendor for Port Everglades. From the parking lot we will take Uber to the ship in Miami.
The drive is boring but uneventful. with several stops along the way we arrive at The Marriott North about 5:00 pm, just in time to use the concierge lounge. Unlike many concierge lounges, drinks are expensive. Dinner is in the hotel restaurant. Many of the offerings are prepared offsite and just heated in the kitchen. Food, not great, but better than driving to a chain restaurant.
Sometimes I amaze myself with the new experiences encountered. I think everyone has encountered cold showers with no hot water. The shower here definitely had hot water, only hot water, in fact scalding hot that could not be turned colder. Fortunately I checked first and wasn't burned. Oh well, I can shower tonight on the ship.
Once in the car I enter the address of the parking lot into my GPS. It is immediately found, but is unable to connect to any satelites. I reseat the cables, the usual fix, still no luck. Maybe the tree canopy is just too heavy, I move the car, still nothing. Other than being in or near Ft Lauderdale I have no idea where I am or what direction to travel. Plan two.
I bring up Google maps on my phone. Within a minute or two it is giving me directions. First I need to make a U turn as I was headed away from my destination. A few blocks down the road my car GPS begins to function. I now have two electronic devices telling me which lane to be in and which way to turn. Surprisingly they agree, with neither always being quicker or more detailed.
Within 15 minutes I check in to the parking lot. The attendant is initially confused. The Vision of the Seas is not in Port Everglades. He doesn't know whick line to put me in. I explain about Miami, Uber, being back in a month. Twice, and then he gets it. No problem, park in the left line and I will direct your uber driver directly to your car.
We actually use Lyft. $26 to the ship in Miami. Very reasonable we feel. Being a holiday the traffic flows smoothly. The driver has a little problem finding the ship as it is not listed on any of the directional signs at the port.
The process for security, check in and boarding is simple and quick. It was not a goal, but we are among the first dozen passengers to board. If I didn't walk so slow, we would have been first.
Time to kill before before the cabins will be ready. A stop in the Viking Lounge to message the kids.
The luggage soon arrives. Despite being an older ship with less efficient cabin design, everything finds a home. I shower, finally, before heading to the Diamond lounge.
The muster drill seems to take forever. Immediately following the captains dismissal there is a medical call to one of the life boat stations. Not the way to start a vacation.
The Diamond lounge on this ship is a small room at the aft of the ship on deck 6, possibly with room for 30 people. With over 600 Diamond and Diamond Plus passengers they have allocated the entire 300+ capacity Some Enchanted Evening (SEE) lounge for us. Nearly every seat is soon occupied.
I open up my Royal app to check reservations, excursions, and OBC to find no dining reservations. I am 99% positive I made them months ago, but have no way to be sure. A quick stop to see Karen, the concierge host, and she is able to either book or confirm our table for 2 every night at 5:30. Based on overheard conversations, I think on line reservations were lost from the database, not an infrequent occurance. The Royal app seems to have some bugs.
As we leave port the Navigator of The Seas is just a few hundred feet behind us, She is headed to Coco Cay, the same itinerary as last week.
The skies are clear, the seas calm as we head to Columbia South America, where we will arrive in two and a half days on Thursday morning.