Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 – Lisbon, Portugal – Partly Sunny – 76F

Embarkation Day

Up earlier today and with the time change, I am able to witness a nice sunrise over Lisbon (now I know where East is).

20141028_Sunrise (Small)

Sunrise in Lisbon

Another nice (and final) breakfast at the Neya Lisboa Hotel.  We ordered a cab for 1:30 PM (the pier is only 15 minutes away).'

We spent the entire morning just chilling out in our room – the desk said we could stay in the room until 1 PM.  We had the leftover pizza and pasta (heated up for us in the kitchen) for lunch.  Still good even though the pizza slices all melted together.  It was a near perfect stay in the Neya Lisboa Hotel.

At 1:30 PM, we were off in our taxi to the Santa Apollonia Passenger Terminal.  The taxi fare was 8.5 Euros and the driver actually dropped us off across the street from the Terminal.  We knew we were in the right place because the Sea Dream II was docked. 

When we arrived, there were only about five people waiting there.  We met Josh Kesecker, the Club Director (aka Cruise Director) in the terminal.  Josh is an American living in Sonoma California. 

According to Josh, there are only 49 passengers on this crossing and everyone except the two speakers have done this before.  Embarkation is at 2 PM so there is no lunch.

We filled out our Health Questionnaires, which now included inquiries about Ebola contact and connections to West Africa – this is the dawning of the “Age of Ebola”.  Josh put tags on our suitcases and we had to wait a few more moments before going through security.

Once we were cleared to board, we took the short walk along the pier to the gangway – someone grabbed my computer bag and said they would take it to the room.  On board, we got a glass of champagne and sat down to sign in – we were issued picture IDs housed in a nice little wallet.  We settled down on the main deck to check out what would be the remaining 47 passengers booked on this crossing.

  20141028_On board SDII (Small) 

Ellen and Diet Coke on Deck

There are good views of the city of Lisbon from the open deck.

20141028_ Lisbon from ship 1-1 (Small)

20141028_Lisbon from ship (Small)

The Sea Dream II has six decks with three passenger decks – the Dining Salon is on Deck 2; the Grand Salon (the lecture and everything else venue) is on Deck 3.  Lunch is served on Deck 5 (Top of the Yacht Restaurant) and there is bar on the top deck.  The Golf Simulator is located Deck 6 Aft.

The Yacht has the smallest casino at sea – a single table for blackjack.

20141031_the Casino (Small) 

The Library is quite large and well stocked with books that don’t look like they get a lot of use.  There are two computers as well as printers if you need to touch up your PowerPoint Presentation or print out some material.  There is internet access for purchase.  The chairs are comfortable and it is a very quiet venue.

20141031_Library (Small)

Ellen in the Library

We checked out our cabin – 203 on the Yacht Deck – being on the lowest deck should help make this a smoother ride and we are also just down the hall from the Dining Salon.  Our room has two large portholes and the beds can be separated from the rest of the room with a full height curtain.

20141031_cabin 203 (Small) 20141031_cabin 203 1 (Small)

Cabin 203

The bathroom is a good size with a nice vanity containing ample storage space – the ship is stocked with Bulgari toiletries and the shower is a multi-jet unit with three nozzles.

20141031_ cabin 203 bathroom (Small) 

Back on the deck, we were treated to a five minute neck and shoulder massage by Spa staff decked out in Thai outfits.  Another crew member came by and cleaned my eyeglasses – a first for me.

Drinks are included so I tried a Margarita which was very good.

20141028_Me and margarita (Small)

We had our mandatory life boat drill at 5:15 PM and all of the passengers actually donned their life jackets and assembled at their designated lifeboat stations.  We met the other speaker, Steve Friedman, at the lifeboat station.  He will be talking about Broadway Musicals and singing as well.

The sail away took place in the dark but the lights of Lisbon still made for a nice view.

20141028_lisbon sailaway (Small)

20141028_et sailaway (Small) 20141028_hmt sailaway (Small) 20141028_ April 25 Bridge 1 (Small)

The Monument to the Discoveries along the Rio Tejo was lit enough to seen and photographed.

20141028_ monument of the discoveries 1 (Small)

20141028_monument of the discoveries (Small)

20141028_ monument of the discoveries 2 (Small)

Monument to the Discoveries (above)

The ship disembarked its pilot pretty early in the sail away and the bridge crew took the SDII out to sea.

20141028_pilot disembark (Small) 

The Belem Tower was not well lit and was nearly invisible from the ship.  We did pass under the Ponte 25 Abril (25th April Bridge) and were able to capture the lights of this neat bridge.

20141028_April 25 Bridge (Small)

There is a cocktail hour at 6:30 PM with canapés and drinks – people assemble there before dinner starts at 7:30 PM.  Prior to dinner, Josh makes a few announcements and previews the activities for the next day.

Tonight we had dinner with a couple we met from Grapevine Texas, a Swedish expat living in LA, and Steve.  Dinner on the ship is a long affair and we didn’t finish until about 10:15 PM.  The food was very good and I did have wine along with my dinner.

Waiting for us in our cabin were personalized pajamas…

20141028_personal pjs (Small)   

It was difficult to sleep all stuffed and the wine, though good, was messing with my sleep cycle. 

The ride is a big bumpy as we head out to the open sea.

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