April 22, 2024

April 21 - Reprovisioning

Technically today is the end of one cruise and the start of the next. As a passenger having combined 3 cruises into one, it is just another day.

Just to be sure, the alarm is set for 7. Totally unneeded as we are up long before then.  The ship is tied up before 6:00 and by 6:45 passengers are beginning to disembark.  We have breakfast in the 270 lounge as that is where all the back to back passengers are to meet by 9:30.  We get special treatment to be processed by customs.  There are about 60 of us, 40 of which are Pinnacle members.

As we gather we are given special tags identifying us as "consecutive cruisers" We are given new sea pass cards in an envelope, but given very strict instructions not to open them until we are asked for them as we reboard the ship.

At the last minute I accept wheelchair assistance. It is probably nearly a mile nonstop walk to get off and back on.  We leave the ship, scanning our cards for the last time. The ship has to get to a zero passenger count before any new passengers are allowed on board. The crew member can go no further, and I am handed off to a shoreside worker despite the crew member being told earlier not to leave me. There is confusion and discussion among all the parties. I just sit there silently and play dumb. (An easy task.) This is not the place to raise questions.

Once settled that the crew member would wait for my return to the transfer point, I proceed to customs. Facial recognition works flawlessly. We wait for the magical zero. The wait is short, and we start back to the ship.

First step is to read our new cards. They are not activated to allow our boarding.  With 60 people people behind me they let us on anyway, but ask that we go to guest services when you get aboard and have them fix the problem.

Probably 20 of the 60 cards didn't work. The one staff member at guest relations is initially overwhelmed as he couldn't figure out why any replacement cards he made wouldn't work either.  Eventually after a conference huddle the cause was found and they were able to make new cards for those that needed them.

The perk for doing a back to back, as the cruise line calls them,  is lunch in the dining room. The only problem, I don't think anyone in the dining room knew about this, well at least not the people near the entrance. They just kept telling everyone that the lunch was just for "Key" members.  Eventually solved when we just went in the dining room and spotted several waiters ready for guests and none present. They were eager for our arrival. Less than half the back to back passengers attended.

After lunch we go to see our new cabin. Basically in the same section of the ship but 2 decks higher with a very large balcony. A result of the cabin being located on a corner. A few minutes to put everything away. 

Many pallets of provisions are being loaded into the hold. Supplies for 4,000 passengers and about 2,000 crew members for 2 weeks plus extra just in case of an emergency.

As a Pinnacle member I get extra amenities. The only thing I possibly could use is soft drinks, 18 cans  are waiting on the counter.

A stroll to the Solarium finds it closed for a private function. They are setting it up for a welcome aboard reception for Crown and Anchor members. We will come back on our way to dinner at 5:00.

At 4:30 the Solarium is already packed. The majority of the passengers are here. Royal did a nice job of having appetizers for the guests. Drinks were the usual Champagne, wine, mimossa, or fruit juice. If you want anything elese, it is on your dime.

All of the officers and many of the upper staff are on hand to greet the passengers.

By 5:00 we are on our way into the dining room. Our assigned table is table 6 in a small dining area adjacent to the main dining room. Smaller and much more quiet, our table is by one of the few windows.

Despite numerous attempts, the staff is unable to close the shades half way. They either go all the way up, blinding many guests with the afternoon sun, or all the way down blocking the view. Only resolved after we leave port and the ship turns so the sun is no longer an issue.

There is the usual disorganization of the first night. It is obvious the staff has been warned of the many Pinnacle passengers that have been delegated to the dining room. I have fried chicken, corn on the cob, and mashed potatoes. It was excellent. 

The first nights show is a comedian. The biggest joke is that not more people walked out before he finished. To say he was not very good would be and understatement.

The seas are slight, the skies clear and we are on our way to the Azores. Six days away at 20 knots. I am sending my children, and therefore grandchildren, our polar coordinates every day so they can look up on a globe exactly where I am located. A basic lesson in map reading. Good training for future cruisers.

April 20 - CoCo Cay

We share the pier with The Freedom of The Seas. Passengers begin heading to the beaches before 8:00 AM. The weather is absolutely perfect making the slogan accurate, a perfect day at CoCo Cay. The seas are flat, temperatures in the upper 70's, winds very slight.

The helium ballon rises up and down all day long. The zip line is busy, and the youngest kids are having a ball in the water park. Royal has increased the number of shuttle trams and greatly increased the staff to assist passengers with directions.

We take a ride around the island, take a few pictures and head back to the ship. I should say a nearly deserted ship as most passengers have gone ashore.

Tonight we have our last meal in Coastal Kitchen. there are so many Pinnacle passengers on the next voyage that all of us can not be accomodated. Honestly I am looking forward to a change. The service and food presentation is very good in the CK, but the menu is limited when compared to the main dining room. The final show for this leg is a comedian. Again good entertainment.

It has been many years since I had to change cabins mid voyage. Every ship and every port may be different.

We need to pack everything except hanging clothes by 9:00 AM. Our room steward will then move everything to our new cabin while we are dealing with customs and immigration procedures. We complete the majority of packing before retiring for the evening.

The voyage to Port Everglades is relatively short, and we cruise at a little over 10 knots. A number of other ships are on the same course.