Jan 9 - Embarkation - beautiful day in Ft Lauderdale ( in fact we had 2 gorgeous days there). Besides the Westerdam there were 7 other ships in Port Everglades - Costa Mediterranea, Costa Atlantica, Star Princess, Jewel of the Seas, Millenium, and Dawn Princess. The Westerdam was docked at pier 29 - an old freight dock that is used when there are a lot of cruise ships in Ft Lauderdale. They can handle a cruise ship as there is a passenger waiting area - very few seats. We left the hotel at 11:15 and got there by 11:25. Checked in only to find that the only thing they could give us at the suite embarkation desk was our folder. Pictures could not be taken or anything else as there was a computer problem. Then the Miami coast guard arrived to check out the building. Ft Lauderdale ran out of coast guard and called upon Miami. They would not clear the ship. For some unkown reason they wanted the cars that were parked right outside the second level of the terminal to be moved. Well this couldn't happen as this is not a regular cruise ship terminal and no one knew where all the workers were working. Finally after a lot of discussion, they let us board the ship at 12:20. Due to the lack of chairs many people were getting a little tired of standing around. We got to the Nepune Lounge within a couple of minutes. And everyone had to start lining up to have their pictures taken and to register their credit cards, and do whatever else they needed to get done. We decided to just sit down and snack a little. At 12:50 suite passengers where able to go their cabins. Once the line diminished in the Neptune Lounge we got our pictures taken. We were only in our suite a few minutes when we got a call from the Pinnacle Grill wanting to know if we would be taking advantage of our free dinner that night (American Express) - never had them call us before - usually a note on the bed or in the mail box depending on the ship.
All other passengers had to go to the Hudson Room to have their pictures taken and register their credit cards - heard from others that at times the line was quite long in spite of them having several computers. An annoucement was not made until 1:50 that the cabins for the other passengers were ready.
Due to so many ships in Ft Lauderdale we didn't sail until after 6 inspite of what the cruise log said.
The first suite get to gether was from 7:30 - 8:15 PM in the Neptune Lounge for cocktails - a lot showed up and we met cc'ers "sea-n-me" who had a cabin right next to us.
Jan 10 - Nassau - a short day here - 7 AM until noon. Lovely sunny day - nice temperature. We talked to several people who were disappointed that they did not have enough time to get over to Atlantis and spend some time there. For people doing their first cruise to this port, they really don't have a lot of time to do anything.
On the roll call board a meeting was scheduled for CC'ers to meet in the Crow's Nest at 2 PM. Well - we were there - no one else showed up. We did not set the time or place.
This was Formal night - not a lot of people dressed up.
Jan 11 - A Sea Day - the ocean was a bit choppy. There were a lot of activities - we chose to do a kitchen tour - have done several on various ships. On a couple of the walls, they display the various meals that will be prepared during the cruise so that the meal preparers know what the finished product should look like - too bad someone didin't look at the picture of what my meal was supposed to look like at lunch that day in the dining room (I ordered the mandarin salad which was supposed to have a piece of salmon on top - no salmon came on mine). Afterwards we all went over to the Queen's Lounge for the cooking demonstration. Once again they prepared the crab cakes that are served in the Pinnacle Grill. Other who have gone to these demonstrations asked if they ever prepare anything else - answer - yes - every month something different is prepared at these demonstrations. WRONG! - until all the ships get the new Culinary Arts Program in place, all they prepare is the crab cakes. As I said we have been to several kitchen tours and cooking demonstrations on several ships over the last 3 years since the Pinnacle Grill was installed and that is the only dish we have ever seen them prepare.
As I mentioned we chose to have lunch in the main dining room. We were seated at table # 193 - aft - lower dining room - we felt and heard the engine noises. Horrible table.
Even though this was a sea day, it was a casual evening.
This was also the night of the VIP party (according to one of the ship's officers - Chris Hewitson - Environmental Officer - this party isn't called this any more (another discussion). It was held in the Crow's Nest because the Hudson Room, the Half Moon Room, and the Stuyvesant Room were reserved all week for a special group of bridge players. Of all the VIP parties that we have attended over the last several years, this one held in the Crow's Nest was the best because of location and people being able to move around and talk easily without being jammed in a small area.
More to come - but not right away.