This started as just a simple 4 day cruise for Lynn and I with my eldest daughter Adrienne and her husband Steve. By the time we boarded, my youngest daughter Alyssa and her husband James and family friends Stephanie and Greg also joined us. Other friends are on the Disney Wish and will meet us in Nassau.
5 homes, 8 people and many suitcases requires multiple cars and some planning to all arrive at the ship on time. We all arrive at the McDonalds near the parking lot for a coffee and rest room stop within a few minutes of each other. First hurdle mastered.
Parking is painless and we are soon on the shuttle bus. The shuttle from the parking area to the ship takes us through residential areas near the port that I had never seen before. We have to make a stop for some Carnival passengers first. That explains the unfamilar route.
We arrive at the terminal precisely at our designated boarding time. The process is quick and easy. Such an improvement now that everyone has a scheduled boarding time and much of the checkin process can be done by the passenger. There is some good that came out of Covid.
Speaking of Covid, I was a victim about 5 months ago. A very mild case but covid none the less. Recently I have gone through a series of sinus infections and a stuffed up head, three rounds of various treatments and my doctor shares this is another common long term effect from covid. Congestion and non descript sinus infections that just won't clear up. So be it, life could be worse. Breathing may be over rated anyway.
We are soon enjoying lunch in the Windjammer and await the opening of cabins so we can stow our carry on luggage.
Lunch and luggage out of the way and we take a tour of the ship. The busiest of any ship I have been on in two years, but still not at 100%.
The first stop is at the dining room to try and change from early dining to mytime.They are willing to do it but warn us about the ramnifications of some recent changes. MyTime dining is now from 6:45 to 9:00, a much later starting time than historically, and a much shorter duration. The lines are usually long. I elect to keep our table in the main dining room despite others wanting a later dining time. I decide the early time is the lesser of the various evils.
Royal has never fully endorsed the concept of "My Time Dining" and this is probably their next step to kill it.
Dinner is so so at best. Food fair, service less than attentive. I should have seen the warning when the head waiter gave me his card as soon as Lynn and I were seated still awaiting the arrival of the other 6. A card with the mesage to call him if there were any problems. He Knew.
At the conclusion of diner we become aware that the ship is headed north instead of south. Not a good sign. No announcement had been made about pirate attacks, mechanical issues or other emergencies.
Soon we learn that we are enroute to meet with a coast guard evacuation helicopter from Jacksonville. We head North as the helicopter comes south, an attempt to reduce the meetinging time as much as possible. A passenger needs immediate medical attention.
From personal experience I know the cruise line wants to get rid of any medical liabilites as quickly as possible. How and why the decision to airlift a passenger instead of just returning to port for transfer I can not figure out.
The passenger was lifted to the helicopter about 10 PM and still needed to make flight and land somewhere. Had we just returned to Port Canaveral we probably would have been tied to a dock by 8:00 or 8:30. Of course I don't know any other factors that are considered in the decision. Definitely above my pay grade.
Major entertainment tonight is the ice skating show. I still find it amazing how skilled they are at performing on such a small peice of moving ice. The theater is nearly full but not overcrowded. The show is excellent.
The cabin is quiet and a good nights sleep concludes the first day.