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Economical Web Design
Allan J Sagot

8/31/03: Boarding the ship in Miami (Cheryl won't let me call it a boat)

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Of course, too excited to sleep much and got up about 6am. Mi gawd...the sun isn't even out yet. Took our time taking showers and getting ready for the day. We dressed comfortably, figuring if we couldn't dress for dinner because we didn't have luggage, they wouldn't refuse to serve us dinner. (Last cruise we didn't get our luggage until after 8 and got stuck with shorts for dinner. I also did not feel like carrying bags around since I knew we were going ot the port early and cant go to the cabins til after 1. ) After getting showered and dress we decided to go to the same places as we had dinner. They have an all you can eat breakfast buffet. I only wanted coffee. I am not a breakfast person. Joe got the breakfast and said it was good. The buffet was 12 bucks. Even included juices. Guess excitement was curbing my appetite and I knew I could eat lunch once onboard the Voyager. We left the hotel about 10:30, took a cab that was waiting outside to the port. The cab was $16.50 and we gave him $20 bucks. Arriving at the port a few minutes later where porters were ready to attend our bags. $1.00 a bag here.

Embarkation: We arrived about 10:35 and were told to go to a room to wait as they will not let anyone start checking in until 11. They will not open the ropes until everyone is seated. They let people in the security area by rows. Starting with the first row of seats as you enter the room. (Stay on that side if possible., Of course Joe and I are on the other side.) Our time comes and we put our carry ons through the x-ray machines. Then to the next area where your actual check in begins. There are cookies and water being served but we were one of the first 50 or so on so who had time for that... Get me on the ship. It took us over half an hour to check in because the computers kept shutting down. We were seeing people getting checked in within 5 minutes after arriving. Joe took it upon ourselves to move to a new person to get us checked in. Which worked out well. (The kids checked in within 10 minutes of getting to this point) They were actually onboard by 11:30. At this time there is a huge line built up behind us. They do move very quickly though.

After getting our sea pass card we go to another line. Which we can get our pictures taken for the Embarkations photo (9.95) or bypass that line and get in another line to take the picture for the sea pass card. (This allows them to know who gets on and off at the various ports) I wanted the photo as it is one that I usually buy so we waited about 5 more minutes. We started in about 11am and got onboard a few minutes before noon. All in all it wasn't too bad, We cannot go to our cabins until 1pm so we explorered the ship. Nothing could prepare me for what I was ready to sail. All those pictures I saw do not do this ship justice. We took a quick peek at the various places then went to the Windjammer for lunch. Lots of available seats at this time and ws not very crowded. We took a table back in Island grill which is past the Windjammer area.. We sat by the beverage counter. Lemonade, Ice tea (which is brewed and you sweeten it yourself) There is a worker here who keeps glasses full of each. A very nice touch so the area is not full of people making messes or standing in line waiting to get something to drink. (Side note**) The only thing I did not like here is the size of the glasses. They are to be about 6-8 ounces. So we had to use a lot of glasses to quench a thirst especially when eating. Joe could use 3-4 of these juices in the morning for orange juice. It is better to take your own insulated mug- especially if you are a coffee drinker in the morning. Just hand your mug to the waiter and he will pour it for you.

We were amazed at the number of people that were asking the waiter where to get a soda and the waiter directed them to the bar up front-there is a charge for soda unless you have a soda card) We then would see the same people come back and g4et iced tea or lemonade. Sad that a lot of people don't read their documents for then they would have seen there is a charge for soft drinks.

After we ate our lunch I wanted to check on our dining assignment before heading to the cabin. Early in our planning stages we met Tammy and Heather and Debbie and Duane. Plus my son and his 3 friends. I wanted to make sure the table that we had could handle 10 people comfortably. We had the Carmen Dining-Which is located on deck 3. early seating at table 346. In the back on the right hand side Table was good- sat 10 of us. Rather oblong. (Sat us all comfortably) I was happy. We had the bottom of the three tiers. The dining room is awesome when you first enter. Its all so very rich and elegant.

Its now after 1 and we wanted to head to the cabin. We booked 8692 direct aft way back in January. Took the elevator to deck 8 and walked back. It wasn't the long walk I was expecting. Maybe since the aft elevators are where the ship bumps out so that puts a curve in the hallway and the walk doesn't seem like one endless hallway. We entered te cabin which is at the end of the hallway. And Joe requested the room to be decorated for my birthday He was quite pleased they had it all done and decorated before we arrived. He was sure they would have done it later in the day. It was a nice surprise and added to the festive atmosphere.. Enchanting. The balcony is huge. A lot bigger then the one we had aft on the Victory. The cabin has a sliding door instead of a door that opens out. (The cabin next to us had a door that opened out and this was a deciding factor of booking this cabin. The balcony held two lounge chairs, 2 regular chairs and a small cocktail table. There was till lots of room to move around The balcony is 3 feet wider compared to the cabin. Yes, there is a lot of steel and metal. I was kind of taken back by it at first. But after awhile it didn't bother me.

We stayed in the cabin until 2:30 then went to check out the Royal Promenade deck to check out the Voyager Expo. I have seen this is various compasses and asked on the message board about it but a lot of people never heard of it. Basically its an advertisement of the stuff Voyager will be selling during the week. Daily excursions to the ports. Portofinos was represented with a chef making a garlic rice dish. Spa was handing out information on spa tours, Casino was giving out information on the tournaments, brochures on how to play various games. The bar was set up with information on the soda card. There is a drawing at 3:30 that was giving out nice prizes. Surprised at the number of people that names were called who were not present to win. Damn. We sat in the Cafe Promenade for about 20 minutes and had coffee and cookies while we waited for the drawing. By 3:30 it was very crowded. Too many people with all the tables set up made the area very congested. I cant imagine a parade here. We are thinking of only seeing the parade on tv.

Headed back to the cabin after the drawing. Our luggage has arrived. Since there isn't much room in the cabin Joe unpacks first. Above the tv is where the safe is kept. And another cabinet on top of that with 2 shelves. (Where we stored my 6 pack of soda, water, and cameras. There is a closet with way too many hangers. They even hand hangers with clips to hang pants. In the closet is 6 shelves. Joe took three and I took 3. Very much space to unpack for 2 people. Bathroom space is at a premium. There is a small medicine cabint that is long and narrow. (It holds a sneeze if that) I you don't like a cluttered sink area use the over the door shoe holder. I picked my up at the dollar store and it worked well.

It now time for the muster drill. We left the cabin when the alert was sounded. Doing it this way you wont have long to wait. But you will have to take the steps as the elevators shut down during this drill. Its for your safty as to see how do you get to the exit in case of an emergency. It wasn't too bad- a total of 10-15 minutes of sweating. They did take a roll call and they will wait for everyone to show up. So for people who think they can skip it, think of the other people waiting. Although I cant imagine where you can go on the ship to miss this drill. Cabin stewards go in to the cabin to see if you are gone along with the life vests. Stick a little card in your key place to say emptied. I can only imagine that the ships crew are chasing people out of the public areas to get to where you are supposed to be.

After this was over it was back to the room to get ready for dinner and watch us sail away.This was supposed to be at 5. Dinner was at 6:15 that first night and we were still at the dock at 6:30. We never did find out what the problem was. Dinner was great. The only option we had to drink was water or iced tea. Of course bar service is available. Asst waiter then told us milk or choc milk is available. He bought us each a small glass full. He learned after this first night and many trips to get us all choc milk just to leave a pitcher at the table. A bar server will be around during dessert to sell those after dinner shooters. At $6.95 each a little rich for my blood. (Its only a shot) but the glasses are oh so cute. Joe bought the first one. The girls wanted one for each night as they have a different color for each night. They are glass and make nice souvenirs.

This is the night for the Welcome aboard show. Which is held in La Scala at 7:45. So after dinner we head to La Scala. Nice show! Awesome juggler. Richard Spacy was the Cruise Director- lots of energy. The show is basically to get you informed of the goings on during the week. The show was nice. Not crowded at all. After the show Joe and I went to the casino to do our nightly ritual. Slots then Roulette. Then it was off to bed as this day was truly exhausting.

McNabb looking at Miamiview from hotelView from hotel
Approaching the shipApproaching the shipCheryl dying to get on
Line behind us to get on the shipCheryl on shipMiami from ship
Miami from shipMiami from shipMiami from ship
Miami from ship

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