Cruising -Day 1

Saturday the 15th was a fairly relaxing day that began with breakfast for the third day on the rooftop of our hotel. They had thin-sliced chocolate cake again which I must confess to having tried, although I didn’t eat it all. We went to the shopping area to select a couple gifts then went back to the hotel to pack then transfer by taxi to another hotel to wait for our bus to the port.

Royal Caribbean is such a customer-centric cruise line! There was a welcome desk at the hotel where we handed over our luggage and didn’t see it again until right before dinner in our room. The company representative running the desk was very helpful and personable and remained with us on the bus and into the terminal until registration. Denny had a small lunch while we waited until we could get to the ship for a larger meal.

We arrived at the port after a 90-minute ride through the countryside and were able to go directly through security to the registration area. There were cruise line representatives available to help and guide everywhere which made the registration and boarding process go very quickly. It was a tad disconcerting to give up our passports before boarding, however it was required. We’ll get them back when we go to Israel.

The boarding process was the best we’ve seen in all our cruises — no confusion, no lines, no waiting. They need to patent their process and use it everywhere! A big plus was no gauntlet of photographers to run before boarding — what a breath of fresh air that was!

When we booked the cruise the lady I talked to guided us to a particular balcony room telling us the balcony was much bigger than a regular balcony room — and she was correct! Our room is on the rear left corner of the ship, 10th floor and is trapezoidal in shape, or could be described as a truncated pie wedge with the point bitten off, so it’s definitely larger than a typical room. The balcony doesn’t just have two chairs — it has two regular chairs and two pool-type reclining chairs plus a small table with plenty of room left over. We’re very pleased with the Royal Caribbean rep’s recommendation!

Waiting in our room was a small bouquet of red roses which was a lovely surprise. Just a couple minutes after we arrived a tray with chocolate-covered strawberries and a bottle of champagne were delivered– a free gift for booking the cruise just prior to Valentine’s Day. Denny’s tux was already in the closet, so he verified it fit (have had prior experiences with delivered tuxes that necessitated some returns).

By the time we tracked down the tux guy and booked shore excursions for our two Egypt replacement stops, it was time to head to our stations for the muster drill. Afterwards we stopped at the computer center to purchase a wi-fi package , so we can keep up to date on emails, your comments and our blog. (sorry, but no work allowed — M’s rules!). Back at our room we relaxed a bit before our bags arrived then had champagne while unpacking everything and stowed our suitcases. It’s great not to be living out of a suitcase!

Dinner time arrived for our My Time reservations. We enjoyed a seat by the windows as well as a great conversation with the couple from Montreal sitting at the table next to ours. The food was outstanding — plus we were hungry after missing lunch — so we’ll definitely enjoy eating (of course we always do – sometimes more than others).

It was an early night for us — we’re still catching up on sleep. Tomorrow we’ll be in Messina, Sicily.

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