April 2 – Embarkation Day
This was the fastest embarkation day ever! We left the hotel room at 10am, and checked out. Had to deal with one final screw-up on Westin’s part (tried to bill us for parking when we didn’t have a car there). We asked the bellboy for a taxi; he said they have a shuttle that usually waits until noon to do the run, but he had them take us to the port right then and there.
The boarding process was the fastest we have ever experienced. No waits whatsoever. From the moment we left the taxi to the boarding the ship we did not have to stop to wait at all.
We were onboard and up by the pool at 10:45am. It was raining, so we explored the ship for a bit, comparing the refurbished areas with our memories of our past Vision cruise, and then went to the Diamond Lounge to wait until the Windjammer opened for lunch.
The Diamond Lounge appears to be new to the ship, as it seems like it was carved out of the ‘Some Enchanted Evening’ lounge.
We had lunch, registered the kids at Adventure Ocean, and then went to the room after they were opened at 1pm. Luggage arrived just moments later, so my wife unpacked while I took my son to register us for a special excursion for us in Belize.
We were in cabin 2532, a Family Ocenaview room. It was fantastic – clean, great space, and large – 280 square feet. It seemed more like a hotel room versus a cabin on a ship. We stayed in cabin FO-4032 on our last cruise. There is the main area with a bed and sofa (with a lot of room between the end of the bed and the sofa as well). At the other end of the cabin is the bathroom, and across from that is a tiny room the size of a walk-in closet that has bunkbeds and a tiny closet for clothes. The bathroom is nice, very white, accented with creams and greens. The shower still has a curtain rather than the hard shell unfortunately, but that would be my only complaint at all about the room. The room is perfect for my family of 4, and you could probably get a family of 6 in there without issues. I highly recommend this room if you have kids and can get it.
Muster drill. Why do some people think the drill doesn’t apply to them and wander in 10 minutes late?
Before the cruise I went back and forth over whether I should buy the drink package. As a Diamond member I get three free drinks per evening between 5:30 and 8:00 PM, but they can’t be used in the dining room, and you have to select from a limited menu of simple drinks – rum and coke, gin and tonic etc. I really enjoy watching the bartenders create cocktails, so I decided to purchase the Premium drink package. It was great – when I used it, they took the card and delivered the drink, and didn’t require me to sign a slip. Less pressure for an additional tip. It also let me purchase what I wanted, when I wanted, and if I didn’t like a drink I could just leave it and order something else.
Had dinner in the MDR with some nice people from the west coast. Eric an anesthesiologist, his wife Carol a teacher, Brad and Kristi, a teacher as well. Very nice people and made for good conversation at dinner since they all like kids.
My son is allergic to peanuts, so each night the headwaiter brings over a copy of the next night’s menu and has my wife choose things he can eat from it. The next day the chefs then prepare his food in a completely segregated area so that it isn’t potentially contaminated by other foods in the prep process. I greatly appreciate this level of concern from the staff.
My favorite aged rum was not available in the MDR, and I was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to find it onboard. After dinner we went to the shops and explored a bit more. The kids were a bit tired so my wife took them to the room while I had a few more drinks and then finally went to bed. I did, however, discover that the Schooner Bar carried my Ron Zacapa rum so I’ll be stopping there before dinners from now on.
Food not salty at all which I greatly appreciate; I could always add salt if I wanted it, but can’t take it out if I don’t. I had the seafood spaghetti, but have forgotten which appetizers I selected.
Our waiter was Enron and his assistant is Jan.
Overall, one of the best embarkation days ever. Thus far this pre-cruise and first day were absolutely fantastic! An unbeatably welcome start to the cruise.