Sunday, June 19, 2022

May 14, 2022 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL – Party Cloudy - 86°F

Embarkation Day

The room was indeed quiet – one earplug muffled the fridge, which wasn’t loud but always in the background.  I slept until 7:15 AM and then went down to see what had happened to the “Bright Side” Breakfast.  Gone were the signature waffle makers.  Offered was coffee (using individually wrapped coffee cups), individually wrapped whole wheat bagels, wrapped muffins, hard boiled eggs, packets of instant oatmeal (not Quaker), and cold cereals.  It was OK and I ate fast and went up the room.  Three masks total in the breakfast area (this is Florida, land of Freedom, after all).  I found it ironic that all of the precautions are aimed at the food and not at the real transmission process for COVID. 

I am live now at 11:15 AM in the room.

Cunard had informed us that we had to arrive at the terminal at 1 PM.  Knowing that we would be hungry, I finished off the remaining couple of pieces of pizza and Ellen had the last of the bagels from the flight.

At noon, we went down to the lobby and I called an Uber to take us to the Cruise Port.  Wislot, our Uber driver, came within five minutes and the fare came to $24.24 including a $4.86 “booking fee”, which is a pandemic construct intended to bring in revenue.  Wislot got a little confused about where our ship was but he did eventually find it. 

We dropped our bags off with a porter and headed for the terminal.  Our instructions were to get priority boarding as a guest entertainer but people were confused as to what that meant.  One person did check out our vax documents and COVID test results and checked us in but then we were told that we would be checking in with the regular passengers.  What we didn’t know was that the computers were down rendering the check in process glacial.  It took about 90 minute to complete check in.

We embarked the ship and headed up to the Lido Restaurant on Deck 9.  Before lunch, I went out on the deck and got a nice picture of the FLL harbor area including a panoramic shot of the entire area.

The Caribbean Princess docked near us.  I had full houses on the Caribbean Princess some years ago when we sailed from Quebec City to Houston.

We tried the tuna and egg salad and found them to be too salty.  I hope that was a one off situation and that the tuna will be better as the cruise goes along.  There was pizza that looked OK and maybe that will be an option going forward. 

We went to our room, Cabin 1045, Deck One Midships.  

The room was nice with a large window with no obstruction.  The bathroom was good size and the water pressure was very good.  While I went up to the Lido Deck to get some air, Ellen went to the Britannia Restaurant to get us a table for dinner.  She got us a permanent table, 300, near the entrance of the restaurant. This table would provide needed social distancing during dinner.  

I stayed upstairs until the Elegant Duo started playing 

and then I went back to the room to get ready for dinner.

Notes on COVID:  Masks are mandatory indoors; only four people per elevator at one time.  The Queen Elizabeth seems very serious about COVID – no doubt due to the recent experience the Cunard ships experienced around the end of the year.  COVID mitigation signs were everywhere.  

In my welcoming letter, I was asked to meet with the tech people to test out my presentation in the theater.  I went to the theater at 6:15 PM to take care of that check.  It took only a few minutes to see that my laptop was compatible with the ships AV system and then we were off to dinner.

Dinner tonight was in the Britannia Restaurant – HMT – Greek Salad (different but OK); Beetroot Salad with Feta (very little beet); Salmon with baked potato (very good); and some veggie soup thing that was mostly mushrooms – it was OK but too much.  ET: Smoked Fish patty; Salmon; Potato Pancakes.  For dessert, I had the cheesecake; ET has the chocolate cake.  The coffee came quickly and I even got refills.  Getting coffee quickly (along with refills) was a rare occurrence on a ship.  Overall, the service was really good at dinner and the table was perfect in that a) there were very few people around us and, b) it was nice and quiet.

We went to the Royal Court Theater to see tonight’s entertainer – vocalist Jenene Caramilio.  The ship does not allow photography of any kind (must be a UK thing) so I had to use a picture of Jenene from the advert.

Mask Monitor on Duty

The theater required that everyone wear a mask during the entire performance and no food or drink is allowed (so you have to keep your mask on).  There was even a crew member at the front of the theater serving as a "mask monitor" and making sure that everyone was wearing their masks properly.

She sang opera, “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina”, “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”, and a medley from “Mama Mia”.  Even her operatic numbers were great.  She was one of the best vocalists we have seen in our cruising career – great stage presence and absolutely wonderful voice.  It was a great show.

The ship did not depart at 7:00 PM – the Captain indicated that the QE had engine trouble and it would take several hours to fix the problem. 

After the show we went to the Queen’s Room, where the other orchestra and two singers (Michael Burke and Rebecca Southard) were performing.  

We just had to find out if the curse of the Queen's Room was present on this cruise, so I went to our room while the Queen’s Room was really rocking, and I DID NOT HEAR A THING.  Our biggest source of anxiety related to this cruise was now removed.

We went back to the room and indeed did not hear anything.  By 10:00 PM, the ship had not yet left.  Google Maps confirmed that we were still in Port Everglades.

Lights out – we were tired.

FYI Passenger Count – The total number of passengers is 1300 – total capacity 2081 – around 65% full.

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