Sunday, March 31, 2019 — Miami
We had the buffet breakfast at the hotel and hung around until about 11:00 when we checked out of the hotel and called for 2 Lyft rides. Barbara, Jay and Jeff had a friendly, flirty woman driver named Vinda. Anne, Chris, Henry and Jamie had the driver from hell. Shlomo (an apt name) got lost, honked at and almost hit. Anne wrote an honest review and got a $5 credit for the bad experience. We met inside the port terminal and were amazed how how efficient the embarkation was. Embarkation day is busy and crazy onboard and sometimes the elevator wait is a little long with the hordes of people using them. We went to the Windjammer buffet for lunch and then walked around checking out the ship. It’s really amazing—like a small city on the sea. The schedule shows many trivia games each day and the ship is just buzzing with all the cruisers seeming to want to fill the entire day with activities. The boys went swimming and the adults familiarized themselves with the ship. Finding your cabin is more challenging than other ships we’ve been on that have long, straight hallways. These have all kinds of turns in these hallways but the signage is pretty good. There are only two sets of elevators (but 24 elevators in all). We had an early dinner at the Central Park Cafe, which we’d read had the best beef au jus sandwich on any ship. It wasn’t anything special, but it was fast. Jay and Barbara spent about an hour fixing problems that turned up. Royal Caribbean has a very useful app that we all downloaded before we left home. Show tickets are on it as well as your own calendar with all the activities, events, dining and shore excursion reminders. You can also see the dinner menus. The problem was that we had booked some complimentary shows a couple months ago. We all had Mamma Mia tickets, but the other two shows were only on B & J’s app so we had to go to Guest Services. Luckily the tickets were still available. The other problem was that Jay hadn’t gotten his bag by 6:00 so we called and were told that he had a prohibited item in his checked bag. We went down to security and saw lots of bags and many irons that had been confiscated. Jay’s crime was having an extension cord. The guy said it was a fire hazard, but I told him we’d just been on a cruise and had the extension cord on our desk entire time (so we could charge more than one device at a time). Maybe the smaller ships on HAL have more lenient rules. They will give it back to us at the end of the cruise. We went to the Amber Theater to see Mamma Mia about 7:30 for the 8:00 show. It was a very professional performance and the actress playing the mother, Donna, had an outstanding voice. It lasted about 2 and 1/2 hours and the boys made it through the whole thing! They’re both familiar with the story and hopefully didn’t totally get the more explicit parts. Barbara was glad she had brought earplugs as the play was SO LOUD! The adults tried the casino for a short time—fun but no wins.
Central Park on Deck 8
Henry and Jamie in one of many pools
© JAY 2020