Thursday, March 7, 2024

February 10, 2024 – Embarkation Day – Mostly Sunny – 70s

The room was quiet and comfortable so I got some sleep.  I went down to the Lobby Area for breakfast at 7:00 AM.  It wasn’t too crowded and I got a seat away from most of the people.  I am wearing my mask in the elevator so I am scaring some people – not wearing the mask in the eating area because I am avoiding people.  I had some Frosted Flakes with milk, a waffle, a premade cheese Omelet (OK but kind of rubbery) and some pretty good coffee. 

I ate pretty quickly – Ellen went down by herself to have breakfast.

We had plenty of time as checkout is 11 AM.  I was going to call an Uber but when we got to the lobby to make the call, a guy was shouting that he was going to the port right now and that it would be $10 pp.  We hopped on and after just a couple of stops, he dropped us off at Terminal 2 at the Port of Tampa.  We have taken cruises out of Tampa before but I did not remember anything about the port.  In any event, we handed off our bags to a porter and went inside to check in.  We checked in with the Pier Coordinator and in a few minutes we were on the ship.  Our first stop was the Oceanview Café when I had a nice Cesar Salad and some pizza (which is very good if fresh). 

There are some amazing views of Tampa from the ship.

Our cabin is a passenger cabin – 2098 – Midships starboard.  Probably the best location in rocky seas.  It’s a real nice cabin with a large window, large bathroom, lots of charging options, a sleeper couch and two real nightstands.  Those knobs on the wall have something to with the beds that come down from the ceiling so can accommodate four passengers in this room.

There was no letter waiting for me from the Entertainment Department.  I called the Activity Manager, Bradley Sulayao, and his assistant who answered told me that Bradley wanted to meet at 6 PM at Guest Relations to go over things.

We walked around the ship and things started to look familiar.

A little before 6 PM, we went to the room to change before my meeting with Bradley.  Bradley did show up at 6 PM and gave me a list of talks with my first one being tomorrow at 10 AM in the Celebrity Theater.  However, the list of talks was not the one I had submitted to Celebrity and was actually the list I did when I was on this ship in 2022.  It looked like someone pulled that one out of a file (either on ship on shore side).  It was too late to change tomorrow’s talk because it was already in the app.  Bradley and I would figure out what to do about the rest of the cruise. 

Bradley and I went to the Entertainment Office, which is behind the door on Deck 3.  I met Sue Denning, the Cruise Director, and we chatted for a while about the topics.  I told Bradley that I would email him the titles submitted for this cruise and he would figure out a way to get the real topics in to the program somehow.

We had dinner in the Oceanview Café on the back deck – very nice out there and still warm.  Pizza and salad were the choices tonight.

It was a bit breezy on the open decks and there were no seats (due to embarkation) so we watched the sail away from Café Al Baccio. As happened in 2022, Constellation was escorted into open waters by a series of gunboats.

On the way out to open waters, we passed under the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, a very long bridge that was lit up in red and gold.  Spectacular.

We went to the Welcome Aboard Show at 7:00 PM.  Sue introduced the Entertainment Staff

Michelle Dowdy was the headliner tonight. I hadn’t heard of her but she was a stand in for “Hairspray” on Broadway and would up doing 400 shows (the star must have been prone to illness).  She was very animated and had a good voice.  

Her show was entertaining. She will be back later in the cruise to do a Broadway Show.  At the end of the show, Sue gave a nice announcement about tomorrow’s talk.  It looks like I am the only speaker on board.

We caught some of the live music in the Rendezvous Lounge. Then it was back to the room to relax since I had a presentation in the morning. 

Every cruise ship has its own signature noise – Constellation has a different noise that it had when we were on her two years ago.  Now she had a sound like rushing water that comes on suddenly lasts for about a minute and then suddenly stops. So I had to resort to earplugs and I don’t generally sleep as well with plugs.

Hoping for a quiet room.  With this new noise, who knows.

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