Wednesday, January 20, 2016

January 19, 2016 - Turn Around Day in Fort Lauderdale

As we slowly wake we realize we are docked. One thing about this cabin it is certainly quiet when arriving or departing.  It is just six am and we both know we have to get moving to accomplish some things.

Bernie gathers all the clothes that are needing washing.  We decided prior to boarding that we would do laundry each turn around day.  Wash everything we had.  Sure we have laundry service on board and we do use it but we find that often if there is a mark and it doesn’t come out from the ship’s laundry doing the wash ourselves the item then gets clean.  We did this last year (doing two loads on turn around day) and found it worked great.  This way each leg we start out fresh.

Wash and drying cost $3 each.  The ship has a system where you swipe your card and the machine charges your account and spits out a token.  You can also buy tokens for fabric softener/soap too for $1.50 each. 

Since it is turn around day the laundry is dead quiet and takes no time at all.

While the clothes are getting washed we start to pack up the room.  This doesn’t really take much time.  You leave all the items on hangers on the hangers and then just pack the suitcases.  Our method is simple.  Put a small bag in the bathroom to pack everything there, another one in the closet to pack up all shoes and stuff from the closet.  Another bag goes on the bed to pack up stuff from side drawers and around the room.  We use the Princess Tote bags to move all stuff from the fridge - sodas/wine/mini bar etc.

Once all the bags are packed we place them in the closet area and we head up for a quick bite.  But the Horizon Court is CRAZY.  It is just before 8 am and it is prime time.  

Everyone is buzzing around -- passengers and crew and we grab a bit of fruit and sit out in the aft area near the Outrigger Bar.  But boy is it cold out.  Brrrr I need a sweater for sure but it is packed.  We don’t last long here.

We return to the cabin with the last of our laundry and inform our cabin steward that all our bags are packed and she can access our cabin now and we are free to move whenever they are ready.  Within the hour they are moving our stuff to our new cabin.  Which is a mini on Riviera deck forward R212.

But I tell Bernie lets head down to the International Café and sit and relax with a tea and coffee for a bit.  While down there we meet a nice couple from Vancouver.  I actually recognize them from our flight here just over ten days ago.  Then I have seen them on board many times but have not spoken to them.  Today they are sat right beside us in the IC so I talk to them for almost an hour.

Bernie is buzzing, he is ready to get settled in the cabin so I say “hey go for it” and he heads off and when I return about an hour later he has emptied the bags.

They have just called for all In Transit Passengers to meet in the Princess Theater.  They seem to be running early today - not surprising since we are the only ship in port.  

There are a lot of In Transit this trip.  We are told that there are around 600 In Transit!  WOW - I remember when there use to be around 75 and we thought that was a lot!  With that many In Transit we gather our passports and our tote bags and head ashore just prior to the meeting time.
If you are interested in what is involved with In Transit and doing a back to back check out my blog all about it.

Oh I wanted to add that the night prior we received our new cruise cards and the paperwork with detailed instructions on back to back.  I was very impressed too that we even received a map that outline the entire port area and where the ships are docked and what was nearby identifying the main stores along 17th Street.  Very smart Princess!

If you do go ashore you need to bring your Passports.  You need to go thru Customs and you even have to fill out a customs form.  But the line was moving very fast.  However if you just meet up with the other In Transit in the Lounge and head into the terminal as a group and wait for zero count you don’t have to fill out a declaration.  Note you cannot bring anything ashore that is going to stay ashore.  Since you are In Transit you must be in transit and basically just touching US soil but going out right away again.

Once ashore we walk quickly to our favorite nail salon - Ultimate Nail Salon which is located in a small strip mall off 17th Street right beside Bravo Restaurant.  I have a manicure/pedicure and Bernie has a manicure. 

Bernie also needs a haircut so he heads off to get that while I finish up.  We meet back up just outside Publix where we head in to get some items we need, Perrier, Coke and Ginger Ale.  We decided again to trade in our mini bar for two coffee cards so we buy small cans of soda and drink those.  We also need more conditioner and a few cards.
We agree to have lunch ashore and go over to an Asian restaurant in the same strip mall.  I get the Bento box and Bernie enjoys a lovely chicken lettuce wrap.

After walking back to the pier we are there around 2:45 and it is very quiet here.   We show our In Transit Cards and go right thru security line.  We have two more bottles of wine so we go to the wine table and show it to the two guys there and they mark off on their paperwork we are bringing two bottles.  I am sure we could of brought more as we are doing a 20 day leg now so technically we could of brought two bottles each but we didn’t.

Once thru security we just show our cards and we are led right onto the ship. Very quick, maybe ten minutes in total from entry into building to arriving in cabin.

I spend the next hour cleaning up things, putting things in their rightful place etc.  Since we don’t normally get mini suites it is new for us to figure out where items go. In a regular cabin we have our routine and we both know exactly where to store things.

There is a knock at the door and a plate of chocolate covered strawberries arrives for Bernie.  A gift from our friends Karen and Allan from Detroit for his birthday.  What a lovely and very thoughtful gift, and much appreciated.  It has been a very long time since we have sailed with them but we love hearing about their adventures and hope to sail together again at some point.

Today for sail away we agree to just relax in the cabin. We head out on our balcony and meet a lovely couple Lynette and Dan from Wisconsin next to us.  Right away we hit it off.  Like minded spirits.  You can see that they are fun, easy going people who are so excited to be on board.  This is why I love cruising.  It doesn’t matter if this is your first cruise, your 10th or your 100th it is exciting, or it should be.  It certainly is for us.  We hope to get so spend some time on board with them and get to know them better.

Tonight we have decided to head to the Crown Grill.  We are sat at a booth with Ramon from Mexico as our server.  I start with the French onion soup and then the beet and goat cheese salad.  For my entrée I get the fillet served with garlic fries and asparagus with a side of Béarnaise sauce.  This is my usual meal here.  Why change when it is just so darn good. 

Service tonight was prenominal - so far both specialty dinners on board have been excellent.  I see that waiters work more as a team helping each other out.  Even when we get a bottle of wine the Head Waiter Marius opens it and pours it allowing the waiter the time to serve food to other tables.  It is noticed and it is nice to see.  Sure it isn’t packed in here but they are still serving quite a few tables.
After dinner it is almost ten pm and we are both tired after a busy day and sadly no nap so we are back in the cabin, in bed and watching the wake show by 10:30. 

But there is a lot happening all over the ship.

The Patter has outlined the Entertainment Highlights for the cruise and it looks like we have two new comedians on board Eric Lyden and Steve Caouette.  The Production Shows have stayed the same and the movies to.  The band Atomic is still here too.  Welcome Aboard show is 8:15 and 10:15.

The Family Karaoke is happening and if you do well here you could move on to the Voice of the Ocean. 

Drink of the Day is the Royal Rita.

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