Day I - Setting Sail
Another early morning, but not quite as bad as the previous. This time, we’re up at 8edt|12gmt, have a (La Quinta standard) great continental breakfast, clear up a slight mix-up with the room rate, and catch a shuttle to the port. On the way, I noticed an intense urge to play GTA:Vice City again. As we pulled into the port, the cruise really occurred to us; we have been planning for this for nearly a year, and it’s finally happening. Excited would be an understatement.
After handing off our bags again and submitting to another search and surrender (this time, my banana and pringles. WMDs to be sure.), it was again time to wait.
Thanks to Angry Birds, the time passed quickly, and it was our turn to board.
Walking up the gangplank and onto the ship was a semi-surreal experience. On the outside, we’re walking along a creaking pathway next to a giant hulk of machinery. Crossing the bulkhead into the casino, we were instantly transported to Vegas. With the staterooms not yet ready for us and our bags still being loaded, it was time to explore.
It’s been said that cruise ships are floating hotels, but this place seems more of a city; possibly a metro. Within the roughly 140k square feet footprint, they have crammed a 5-star hotel, several uptown restaurants, a couple fast food joints, hundreds of feet of all-you-can-eat buffet, a casino, two bowling alleys, a few theaters, a small mall, a water park, and that’s just what we’ve seen so far.
We finished our first drinks onboard, and did a bit more exploring. Eventually, the announcement came that our rooms were ready, so we made our way to our new home away from home. The studio rooms are definitely designed for singles, but are also a great fit for newlyweds who don’t plan to spend much time in them. Our bags still hadn’t arrived, so we got acquainted with the room and relaxed a bit before the mandatory emergency drill. After the drill, we found a good spot on sun deck and waited to leave port. Shortly before we were under way, the air was filled with a cacophany of music, cheering and streamers.
A short time later, we were guided out of the bay and into open water. Before long, Miami was a speck on the horizon, and the only thing around was water and a couple other cruise ships. By evening, they would be distant neighbors.