Turn around day is always an early day! As we dress and pack up to change cabins we can hear everyone around us getting ready to disembark.
Our new cabin isn't ready yet but Danny our steward is working hard to have it done as early as possible.
We had booked a guarantee obstructed balcony and we were assigned an unobstructed balcony just a few doors from our old cabin with the same stewart.
The people in that cabin don't vacate until 8:30 (note it is suppose to be 8). And Danny works on that cabin as soon as they vacate. It is ready at 9 am! We really appreciate his hard work.
We move our own bags and clothes on the hangars to the new room (just a few down) making sure to return empty hangars to the old room. Of course if we would of needed they would of moved our items, but we were totally capable of moving the stuff.
We don't need to unpack as much as we won't need the sweaters, jackets and long pants - so they stay in the suitcase. We travel rather light so the whole process goes very quickly and we are totally settled by 9:30.
Today is unique because this is the first time the Royal is docking back in the US after a long time away.
|Can you see the crew lining up - it was so long they were lining up outside|
Every crew member needs to go thru US Customs. This means crew (during their break) must head to the pier to queue up. We later hear the process took hours - up to four hours for some.
Even our steward had to work hard all morning then head to customs, then right back to work to deal with embarking passengers.
The faces of the crew really show their exhaustion and I feel for them.
For us we meet in the Princess Theater at 1045. There are not a lot of us, just over 100 but we are warned the process will be slow today.
We are lead to the port building (bing out our old cards with security) lead to the first floor of terminal 2. There are still a lot of past passengers queuing up to get thru customs. So we are told to wait until it dies down. We wait around 40 minutes.
The Custom agent scans our passport and we are cleared. It really is just a formality as we are not officially entering the US. We will do this after this next voyage.
I should add those leaving today have to fill out a Customs Declaration form. We were not given one as we are in transit. However while waiting in the Princess Theater Purser staff said we had to fill it out. So who are we to argue so we fill it out (one per household) although in the end we never did require it. Note if you are heading ashore you will need to fill one out.
Back to waiting. After sitting on the first floor a second time for about 20 minutes we are lead upstairs to wait again.
However some passengers are also being sent up. They are being led to an elite lounge right beside us. But direction is not that clear. As usual Princess falls down heavily with their embarkation facilities in Fort Lauderdale. This is not because of customs but because there really is no defined flow -- even under perfect conditions. But if you throw in one hiccup it truly falls apart fast.
My advice is to totally revamp terminal 2. Just take a look at Pier 18 where Oasis and Allure dock - now that flows.
We are now upstairs at pier 2. It is noon. Coast guard are on board the ship conducting drills. No passenger are allowed on until this finishes.
Around 1230 the in transit passengers are allowed on but regular embarkation did not start until 1300. Not passengers were warned that embarkation would be delayed.
Once we are back on board we drop our stuff in the cabin and head to Alfredos for pizza. We are the only passengers there! Pierre sits us, and he is tire! But his professionalism shows, he fights thru and never stops smiling.
I forgot to add earlier before we did customs there was a knock at our door delivery of our mini bar. We asked right away "can we trade it all for 2 coffee cards" she says we have to call bell hop after sailing. Okay we are use to this and will do it afterwards.
But Princess save yourself time, have elites fill out what they wish for the mini bar set up ahead of time. Send it via email or let it be part of your personalizer. This way you can have it set up beforehand. Or at least for those in transit, send us a form to fill out near the end of the first cruise with our preference.
Right now we have to call the bell hop or room service after sailing. But we couldn't get thru all evening. Finally got thru at 830 am the next day.
By having elites notify ahead of time it will save us from calling. Save bell hop from answering and then writing down the request and then getting that request and then delivering. Not to mention the passenger will have less frustration with having to try and get thru to bell hop.
After lunch I walk around taking pictures. When I run into Karin and John. We later head down to our cabin for drinks.
Muster is at 1615.
|The flow of passengers from one building to the next then back again|
I should add embarkation was so late due to uncontrolled circumstances beyond Princess' control. They actually had people drop bags at terminal 2. Then head to terminal 1 to check in then head back to terminal 2 to board.
If you were platinum/elite and got preferred boarding it went relatively smooth. If you were not it was longer.
For sailaway we went up to the Sun deck aft in the shade (it was hot). Larry and Amy our friends from Orlando are on and they joined us.
While sailing out a helicopter is flying all around us. All kinds of advantage points for filming. We wave and wave. The helicopter is there to film the ship for Princess as we are the first ship with the painted bow with the seawitch.
Oh forgot to tell you that Facets has closed and will remain closed for a few days as they transform it an Effy store. Big reveal happens in a few days.
We received our Most Travelled Party invite. Not sure what the cut off will be. Will try and find out later. It is a cocktail party held in Club 6.
Also the Platinum/Elite Lounge is back in Club 6.
We meet Larry and Amy in Vines at 7:30 for a drink then dinner in Concerto. It is busy here. Have to say the food and service were lacking (which rarely happens on this ship or this cruise). I will not judge harshly since I know the crew are suffering due to a very very long day!
After dinner I am so tire and I know I am getting a cold. That cold made the rounds last voyage and looks like it has finally landed on me.