Saturday – 2/11/12 – Cloudy – 60s on and off showers
Most of Saturday was spent reading and relaxing. We tried sitting out by the pool but the occasional shower and flock of noisy people drove us indoors. We did take a long walk down Oakland Road (the main drag in this part of Ft. Lauderdale). The road has car dealers, car washes, a Home Depot, a fancy Design Store, a Walgreens, and assorted other small shops. The walk was nice.
I was able to finish “Nefertiti” so I don’t have to worry about the book disappearing and going back to the digital library (like the last book I checked out from the Library). All of this Ancient Egypt stuff is starting to become a bit of a hobby. It all comes in handy when I give my King Tut Forensics Talk (background information about the various players).
Dinner consisted of a Subway Tuna Sandwich and stuff from the non-descript Breakfast Buffet.
Sunday – 2/12/20012 – EMBARKATION DAY – Partly Cloudy – Cold – 40s now
Eastern Caribbean Itinerary
Got an early wake up call at 2:44 AM from a crank caller asking us if we were the honeymoon couple – he told us to take the phone off the hook so the computer wouldn’t call us back every 5 minutes. He sounded so professional (the hotel claims they were not responsible).
I spoke to the front desk and added the call to the list of other problems with the room (safe, toilet). Hoping to get an adjustment on our room rate.
At 7 AM we went down for breakfast (cereal, bagels, and mini-donuts) and are all set to depart at 10:30 for the Cruise Port. Although we did get $40 off our bill for all of the issue, we are scratching this one of our list of possible Ft Lauderdale Hotels.
I checked the location of the Solstice on an on-line Cruise Ship Locator site and it gave me the Google Earth picture below. The Solstice is docked at Port Everglades but the disposition of the other ships is not the way it really is. This must be a historical photo of the port and the ship. It is interesting in any event.
Solstice at Port Everglades (Google Earth)
The shuttle was a little late returning from its last run so we departed about 10:50 AM. There are a lot of ships here today: Two HAL cruisers, the Allure of the Seas, the Navigator of the Seas, a Princess Ship, and the Celebrity Solstice.
Traffic was nasty at Port Everglades and we were diverted around the back way to the Solstice. We checked in our bags, whizzed through the check in process and on the ship by Noon.
The lunch buffet was just as I remembered it – yummy and extensive.
Right now, I am in the Solarium taking in the warmth and light.
From Deck 12 Starboard, I can get some nice pictures of the port area (below),
The rooms were cleared so we dropped off our stuff – our suitcases were also there so we started to put everything away. The room – Cabin 3519 (behind the door- Deck 3 Portside) is pretty big (and long) but the bathroom is tiny. It should work though.
The Life Boat Drill – which took on greater emphasis due to recent events – was held at 3:45 PM. Since we are “behind the door”, we were alone in Muster Station F (at least we will get some personal attention from our muster station guide).
The ship pushed at 4:30 PM – the bow thrusters seemed quieter than usual. We watched the Sail Away from the Solarium.
Sail Away – Aft View
The sequence below was taken from the Port Side of the ship:
There is a “Bon Voyage” Sign on one of the top floors of this condo (above)
We followed another cruiser out to open water
Bye Bye, Fort Lauderdale
Ellen and the Sail Away
We are going to eat all of our meals in the Ocean View Cafe (no gratuities deducted and a much more peaceful place to eat). Tonight, I checked out the pasta bar (pretty good) and had a Cesar Salad. There were no more that 20 people in the Buffet this evening.
After dinner, we arrived a bit late to the Welcome Aboard Show. Hosted by CD Stewart Turnbull and EM Esperanza Gambroudes (yes the same Esperanza from our Holy Land Double Cruise in 2010), the show consisted of the requisite A Cappella Group – Neptunes, Comedian Louis Johnson (seen him before and he is very funny), and the Stars of Celebrity Singers and Dancers. The Enrichment program was plugged a few times.
At 8:00 PM, I met with Stewart and Esperanza in the Cellar Masters Room (Deck 4). Stewart and I filmed a video that he will use in his Morning Show (I did better on this video than I usually do). Esparanza told me that I would be doing all five of my submitted titles on this cruise including two on port days. I gave her my revised versions of the titles. The first one is tomorrow at 1:15 PM in Celebrity Central. The other speaker on board, not at this meeting, is Melinda Bates, who will be talking about “Life in the White House”. She was the Director of Visitor Services during the entire Clinton Administration.
After the show, we listened to the Voyager String Trio in the Ensemble Room.
Michael’s Club still has a piano but no piano player-vocalist. The Ensemble Room was pretty empty. I am starting a new book - “Solomon’s Key”.
We hit the room early since we have an early morning.
The seas have calmed down considerably (they closed the Solarium Pool this afternoon because the water was being tossed from the pool by the ship’s motion).
A nice first day on board.