Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 1, Island Princess Cruise
November 2009

Embarkation, Port Everglades, Fort Lauderdale

The hotel was comfortable and we slept well. And woke up early. We wanted to get to the parking lot around 1:00 and get in line for boarding around 2:00. We had read on that lots of people always got to the ship early and there was less waiting in line if you arrived mid-afternoon.

Oh, well. We killed as much time as we could and arrived at Park 'n' Cruise at 11:30. There was no waiting for a van and we were beside the ship at the registration desk at 11:40. At 11:50 we were in our cabin and at 12:55 our luggage arrived. The fastest boarding ever.

Our cabin steward is from the Philippines, as many of the staff of cruise ships always are. He is quiet, serious, friendly but not warm and clearly we will not get to know him at all. Not a problem.

At dinner we meet our waiters. Our senior waiter is from the Philippines, the junior waiter from Thailand, both are quiet and very serious. Not naturally warm personalities, but they are good waiters. The head waiter for our section of the dining room is Nelson from Portugal. Nelson knows how to do it. He gives a little bit of extra service to every table and he is always 'on.' It is amazing to watch him in action.

Throughout the cruise the food is good to excellent most of the time. Coming up at the end of the cruise there will be a post on our dining experiences on the Island Princess.

Royal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, click to enlargeRoyal Caribbean's Oasis of the Seas, the biggest passenger ship ever built.

In addition to the Island Princess, there were four other big cruise ships in port: Oasis of the Seas, Seven Seas Navigator, MSC Poesia and Bahamas Celebration.

The Oasis of the Seas is the biggest of them all. It is brand new and will have its first voyage with paying customers in a few days. So far in Port Everglades she has been taking travel writers, the press and various travel industry VIPs on two-day excursions. We got to see it as it departed this afternoon and it is really big.

While the Island Princess, was waiting to sail the Christmas decorations were going up. Here's a photo of the atrium's holiday decor.
Island Princess atrium, click to enlarge

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