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AeroXWD

Trip report of MSC Meraviglia YC Dec 1-8. 2019 sailing incl. Ocean Cay

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06.12 - Friday - Sea day

 

Tonight was the second elegant night. Like the previous elegant night, there was a good blend of tuxedos and ball gowns, and worn out t-shirts, and anything inbetween.

 

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Something red in the glass. I'm horrible at remembering wines, and rely on Vivino at home, but this was the best red wine I had in the restaurant. 

 

Tonight's menu below:

 

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I ordered the asiago fritters for starter (good, but not extraordinary)

 

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For my entree, I ordered Beef tenderloin rossini, originally served with foie gras escalope, truffle shavings and red wine reduction, new potatoes and green asparagus, but I asked if I could have it without the foie gras. Absolutely, no problem. However, I wonder if that also meant that I opted out of the truffle shavings, because I could neither spot nor taste any. Nevermind, the tenderloin was delicious, and was perfectly prepared. 

 

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Tonight's dessert. I don't remember what it was called, but it was very good and reminded me of a now-discontinued ice-cream from back home that I used to love. The dark stuff is cherry flavored. 

 

Overall, tonight's dinner was very good, with good service. I know I drank 

 

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For those who have been laying sleepless at night, wondering what the (only?) public toilet in the YC-enclave looks like, here is a part of it. The eagle-eyed will notice that I didn't pack a tuxedo nor a proper suit. 

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On 12/16/2019 at 11:29 AM, AeroXWD said:

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NCL Escape and Adventure of the Seas ahead.

That is a cool ship tracking site! I just got the app. Thanks for the tip and the fun review.

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I find it interesting that the water in the showers is hotter than hades, but the hot tubs are only warm.  Why can't they send some of that hot, hot, hot water to the hot tubs?

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8 hours ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

I find it interesting that the water in the showers is hotter than hades, but the hot tubs are only warm.  Why can't they send some of that hot, hot, hot water to the hot tubs?

 

At first I thought it was a liability issue, but after a little googling around, one theory is that it may have something to do with regulations. According to the US CDC vessel sanitation program, whirlpools open to the public must have a mechanism to prevent the temperature from exceeding 40°C (104°F). Although if it is located in the cabin, and has a capacity of 4 or less persons, it doesn't have to comply to the same regulations. For "recreational water facilities" showers, the maximum allowed temperature is 43°C (110°F). 

 

The sign by the whirlpool on the YC pool deck states the temperature to be below 37 °C. Maybe they want to have a (large) safety margin? But still, I am pretty confident the temperature was several degrees below 37 °C - When I'm using an outdoor wood-fired hot-tub, I usually find temperatures of 37-38 in the summer and 40-42 in the winter to be hot.  Perhaps someone else could enlighten me?

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06.12 - Friday - Sea day - continued

 

 

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Racing ahead at 12 kts, approx midway between Cuba and Ocean Cay

 

After dinner, we had a quick detour to the cabin before we went to the TSL and ordered an Irish coffee

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21:00 - As usual, the TSL was pretty quiet. A few people at the bar, and a few others in the different sofas. Purely judging by this sailing, I would say the TSL is oversized, but at least the service is very good. Maybe it's more crowded on other itineraries or other sailings? Or were we always in the lounge at off-hours?

 

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A picture of the happy couple together, as requested by @Frode, playing with their phones.

 

After finishing our coffees, we ordered a glass of red wine to-go and went to our room where our butler had left us some papers and towels.

 

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2x YC-wristbands (which you couldn't use to open any doors), 2x towels, daily program, Ocean Cay information, and disembarkation information 😞

 

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Unlike previous port days, we were handed a towel each and asked to return them to our bathroom floor after usage, with a penalty of $20 in the event that we didn't return them.

 

In Ocho Rios, I had just grabbed a towel from the pool deck, but in George Town I saw a pool attendant nearby and asked him if it was permitted to take a towel ashore - "Sure, just sign for them and return them when you're back." And so I did, although he wasn't there when I signed them out, nor signed them in, so it seemed pointless to sign for them. 

 

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Pravin had also left us some treats 

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Was I supposed to use the fork and knife to eat these? The butler must have thought I was a pleb, eating with my hands.

 

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Exhausted after having completed over 3100 steps this day (although my walk aft to the aqua park and down to the deck 7 spa not included), we just wanted to watch a movie. it's not a large library of movies by any stretch of the imagination, but I found the selection to be OK, and pricing was fair. We paid $4 to rent Rough Night.

 

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Midway through, my girlfriend went to the TSL and ordered two more glasses of wine. The bartender was very generous with the pour, as seen below.

 

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Edited by AeroXWD

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6 hours ago, AeroXWD said:

 

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A picture of the happy couple together, as requested by @Frode, playing with their phones.

 


Ha, ha - great photo of the two of you....NOT 🤣

Anyway; you seemed to have a nice evening 🥂

Edited by Frode

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6 hours ago, AeroXWD said:

06.12 - Friday - Sea day - continued

 

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Exhausted after having completed over 3100 steps this day

 

Wow - THAT many steps during a whole day... 😱  😂   You must be kidding....that's nothing (anyway, not when you're a Norwegian :classic_rolleyes:)!

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8 hours ago, AeroXWD said:

 

Unlike previous port days, we were handed a towel each and asked to return them to our bathroom floor after usage, with a penalty of $20 in the event that we didn't return them.

 

In Ocho Rios, I had just grabbed a towel from the pool deck, but in George Town I saw a pool attendant nearby and asked him if it was permitted to take a towel ashore - "Sure, just sign for them and return them when you're back." And so I did, although he wasn't there when I signed them out, nor signed them in, so it seemed pointless to sign for them. 

 

 

Does anyone know if this is a new thing in the Yacht Club? I asked our butler about it when we cruised on the Meraviglia and he said that  there would be no fees for "lost" towels in the Yacht Club. (He almost laughed at me for asking such a stupid question!)  

Edited by sverigecruiser

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When we were at Ocean Cay earlier this month, the towels were provided in the Yacht Club area on the island.  No need to schlep them around.  I find that a much better system.

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5 hours ago, Frode said:

Wow - THAT many steps during a whole day... 😱  😂   You must be kidding....that's nothing (anyway, not when you're a Norwegian :classic_rolleyes:)!

 

Of course, I thought that was a given! Although we were in fact tired, it was not from excessive walking. You can clearly see which were the port days and which days were spent at sea (Dec 2. and 6.). 

 

1 hour ago, Happy Cruiser 6143 said:

When we were at Ocean Cay earlier this month, the towels were provided in the Yacht Club area on the island.  No need to schlep them around.  I find that a much better system.

 

I find it amusing that at their own private island, where if the towels are simply forgotten, they are not lost to MSC, but at other ports you can grab as many towels as you can carry. Perhaps they had lost a significant amount of towels during our previous ports, and somebody made a snap decision to suddenly introduce this new rule? 

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07.12 - Saturday - Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve

 

I woke up at 07:15, and opened up the curtains and stepped out on the balcony to these views:

 

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The little tugboat that could

 

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It was very quiet and serene to have a cup of coffee overlooking the ocean here, but after a while I was curious to see what was on the other side of the ship, and headed out to the main pool deck.

 

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We were informed over the PA (one of the few messages I managed to hear, as I could often barely hear that they were making announcements if we were in the cabin) that while we had docked, the staff were getting the island ready for us, and we could disembark at 10:00. So at at 09:00, we headed up to the YC restaurant to have breakfast. The One Pool deck buffet was closed, so it was quite busy at the restaurant, but we were seated straight away. 

 

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"MSC Express"

 

After breakfast, had another look around while waiting to get on the island.

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The small tent, just above the large canvas sail is where the YC-line was. 

 

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09:55 - back at the cabin to grab our towels and other things

 

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07.12 - Friday - Ocean Cay continued

 

At 10:10, we were ashore at the long awaited Ocean Cay. After walking between the clapping employees welcoming the passengers ashore, we went to the YC-line to wait for the shuttle. I saw that some of MSC management were present, including Ken Muskat.  

 

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Thankfully, the butlers don't have to wear their normal uniforms on the island. 

 

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10:16 

 

The transportation provided were golf cart shuttles hitched to a loud diesel powered tractor. In the pamphlet we were given the previous night, MSC stated the following: "Ocean cay is easy to get around on foot, with the farthest area from the arrival plaza only 20 minutes away, and the island electric tram service makes it very easy to travel from one stop to another *Golf carts are available to YC guests only", emphasis mine. They had only opened the island two days prior, so I understand that it's still a work in progress. The ride took approximately 13 minutes before we were dropped off at the bridge.  I remember feeling silly taking the slow shuttle when I could have easily walked the short distance (and quicker), and letting someone who actually needed the seat have it, but not knowing better, we just went with the flow. Next time I'll walk. 

 

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10:35 - Drop-off point for the shuttle we took, the bridge over the lagoon. I love the color of the water! 

 

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The YC beach area

 

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Towards the restaurant

 

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Beautiful clear water

 

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As I needed to use the restroom, and there is only one single restroom at the YC-restaurant where there was a queue, I went on a short walk to see if I could find another restroom nearby. I'm not sure if they thought that one single bathroom for a couple of hundred pax was sufficient (Hint: It's not, judging by the line), or if they just didn't have time to finish the others?

 

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Ocean front cabanas

 

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Bimini beach

 

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North beach and the lagoon, the Meraviglia seen in the background.

 

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Lots of small fish. You can also see that although the sand is fine grained, there are some small pebbles and rocks on the seabed. 

 

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As I was standing nearby the lifeguard overlooking the lagoon, I saw this creature approaching

 

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There were some children playing in the shoreline, but the lifeguard didn't say anything, so I guess this little guy or girl wasn't of any imminent danger to anyone. 

 

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Restrooms just to the right of the picture. 

 

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There were plenty of available loungers, and it felt really uncrowded. Such a different experience to the Royal Palm beach club at seven-mile beach.

 

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Back at the lounger with a cold glass of prosecco

 

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Followed by a short swim. Although not the warmest water I've encountered this year, it was nice to cool off. The lifeguard warned people not to swim too far ashore, although some didn't heed his warning at first 

 

At 13:30, we went to have lunch. 

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Inside the restaurant - Bar to the right. 

 

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The menu

 

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I ordered the burger with sweet potato fries. I wanted a Bahamian beer that was on the menu, but they were all out, so I settled for a Corona. I found the patty to be decent, but the rest of the burger to be very plain and boring. For dessert I had the creme caramel. 

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There doesn't seem to be a lot of beach umbrellas?  If you wanted one could you have gotten one easily?

 

That's a shark, isn't it?  I thought they had shark netting around the beach area.🤔

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9 minutes ago, mafig said:

There doesn't seem to be a lot of beach umbrellas?  If you wanted one could you have gotten one easily?

 

That's a shark, isn't it?  I thought they had shark netting around the beach area.🤔

To me, it looked like a barracuda, but I'm not an expert. 

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13 minutes ago, psmarkle said:

To me, it looked like a barracuda, but I'm not an expert. 

 

You're probably right.  No expert here, either.🙂

Maybe they have a sign "no sharks allowed" so the barracuda felt welcome.

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27 minutes ago, mafig said:

There doesn't seem to be a lot of beach umbrellas?  If you wanted one could you have gotten one easily?

 

That's a shark, isn't it?  I thought they had shark netting around the beach area.🤔

 

21 minutes ago, psmarkle said:

To me, it looked like a barracuda, but I'm not an expert. 

 

It wasn't that hot that I needed one and it was my last chance to get a slight tan, so I didn't inquire. But I saw plenty of umbrellas, so I don't think that would have been a problem. 

 

They do have a net around some of the beaches and the lagoon, but it may not be a very fine mesh so that smaller fish/sharks can swim through. I'm certainly no expert, so I wasn't sure if it was some sort of shark or just a scary looking fish,  but I overhead someone else saying that the lifeguards had found small sharks that made their way through the net, but that's just hearsay. 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Cruisennerable said:

What dock did you port in Ochos Rios?

James Bond or Turtle Bay?

 

Turtle Bay. The Club Med 2 was docked at the other pier that day. 

 

 

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07.12 - Friday - Ocean Cay continued

 

After lunch, we returned to the beach. While service was slow at first, after a while they were coming around often and asking if we wanted anything if they saw our glasses were nearing empty. It might take a few minutes for your order to arrive, as they have to walk all the way to the restaurant and back to the beach, and I guess that may be the reason for when I asked for a Corona, I was given two. 

 

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Lots of small fish!

 

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15:09 - I heard the lifeguard warn a person that was swimming that a stingray was approaching

 

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People were out in the water walking close to it and taking pictures

 

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@mafig  There was no shortage of umbrellas

 

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On one of the walks to the restroom facility on North Beach, due to there only being a single shared restroom at the YC restaurant. 

 

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16:40, and we were going to go to the Sunset beach to watch the sun set

 

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Sunset beach

 

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However, we ran into the group of Norwegians that we always seemed to run into, and went with them to the Lighthouse Bar to watch the sunset there instead over a cocktail.

 

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Very nice atmosphere in the late afternoon 

 

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Along all the walkways were Bose Free Space speakers (the army green thing that just juts out of the ground), playing music, but thankfully not very loud. 

 

 

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15 hours ago, Cruisennerable said:

What dock did you port in Ochos Rios?

James Bond or Turtle Bay?

I'm only guessing here based on what I've seen but think JB/bauxite can only handle smaller ships.

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07.12 - Friday - Ocean Cay continued

 

The Lighthouse bar was very busy at 17:00, and after standing at the Lighthouse bar for 15 minutes, we were finally successful in getting a barman's attention. It seemed like the bar was understaffed, so I hope they rectify that in the future. To ensure we could get our drinks before the sun had set, one of our fellow countrymen offered to put it all on his card. We weren't sure if our drink package covered it or not, but he kindly offered to pay for the whole group in the event that it did not. He didn't have to sign for anything, so I don't know if that means it was covered or not?  

 

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17:24 - The final sunset of the holiday

 

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17:55 

 

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After having another round of drinks, we started to walk back towards the ship for dinner. At this time, a band was setting up their instruments at the lighthouse bar. From what I could gather from the MSC for me-app, there would be live music from 18:30 or 19:00 (I've forgot to mention it earlier, but when I first downloaded the app, I thought it was rubbish. But once onboard, it worked really well. You could see where on the ship you were, and how to get to other areas, opening times, and your onboard bill, etc.). 

 

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There would be a beach party here later in the evening which we did not attend

 

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Plan-status: expired 😞 We had now used up our 6GB of data and contemplated purchasing a little more, but we decided we could live without data until we arrived back in Miami and save the $50 or so it cost to recharge our data-plan. 

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Top-Notch review- one of the best I've read!! Have enjoyed every post. Thank you for taking the time to share your amazing pictures and commentary!

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13 hours ago, CarrieAP said:

Top-Notch review- one of the best I've read!! Have enjoyed every post. Thank you for taking the time to share your amazing pictures and commentary!

 

Thanks! I'll try to wrap this up soon, I've just been pretty busy the last week. 

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07.12 - Saturday - Ocean Cay continued

(I made an error in a previous post, it was of course Saturday and not Friday)

 

Once back onboard the ship, we went to the room to start packing, shower and change. I stepped out on the balcony to have a look for a few minutes (and if I followed my usual pattern, had a Corona while doing so).

 

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Perhaps we should have gotten a room on the other side of the ship..

 

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Looking down.

 

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Looking aft

 

After showering, I changed into a pair of pants and a tropical shirt I was given as a present from my family a few months back and promised to wear on the cruise. My girlfriend just laughed and thought it was almost so ugly that it was funny, and thought I wasn't being serious. 🤷‍♂️"You're not seriously going to wear that to dinner?" Being a casual night, and having seen what others were wearing, I didn't think I'd be too out of place. 

 

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Tonight's menu

 

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We both ordered the potato lentil soup for starter (tasty enough)

 

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Magret de Canard for the main course (good). 

 

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The dessert menu. I ordered the warm apple strudel, she ordered the crispy tulip.

 

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The warm apple strudel with vanilla sauce. Somehow, I had misread the menu and thought it said vanilla ice cream, so I was surprised by the sauce. The dessert was unmemorable. 

 

After finishing our dinner, we went to have a look at the lightshow at the lightouse from the pool decks. 

 

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Final night onboard for most passengers

 

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Around midnight, we set sail to Miami.

 

I hadn't finish packing, so I packed for the next hour and just got the luggage out the door before the stated deadline and then headed to bed. 

 

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