I’ve been trying to write this recap/review for the past two hours and have been pulled away with laundry, dishes and all the other things returning home brings. But honestly, putting this trip into words is probably the most difficult part.
When I booked this trip back in April 2018, I had no idea if my BF even liked cruising, I booked this trip as a hopeful vacation for us. I booked it because I had never been to any of the four ports and had never cruised longer than 4 days.
I planned and planned and planned and honestly, nothing could have prepared me for how incredible of a trip this was. The people, the places, the memories, very few things I would change (more on that later).
Let’s start from the beginning since that’s where all great stories begin…
Day 1: As I mentioned before, I worked until 3:30am the morning we left. I got off on time, thankfully. Rushed home, showered and off we were to the Orlando Airport. Easy peasy check-in, through security (I have TSA Pre-Check and it was 5 mins for me, 12 through normal security.) Our plane was at the gate from the night before so we started boarding on time and left on time. I was not able to sleep on the flight other than just keeping my eyes closed, but also because the flight was only about 40 minutes long. There was no beverage service, we went up and came right back down. I found out on our return flight that the trip only takes 35 minutes, but Southwest Airlines budgets 1 hour and 9 minutes for the flight which I found interesting. We landed and were off the plane to get our luggage by 8:15am. We realized it was WAY to early to go to the terminal so we found a place near the terminal called Joes Café to have breakfast. Not that the food was bad, but we probably would skip that in the future. I hadn’t eaten in about 12 hours by the time we got there so I was ravenous but that meant when we boarded I wasn’t hungry. Joes was right next to La Bamba in Fort Lauderdale and was about a 5 minute ride to the port. A lot of people at Joes had just left their ships and were killing time before going to the airport. We left Joes and went straight to Terminal 29 at Port Everglades.
Honestly, I felt like I had been transported to the early 2000s when my mom cruised for the first time. I know it is a cargo port but I feel like they really could modernize it and make it nice. On top of it being essentially a warehouse, the boarding process wasn’t great. We came in and were told to go through the switchbacks, as we went through them the women directing people through security, opened up a shortcut and let all 30 people behind us through and then was laughing and joking about it without apologizing, we were pissed to put it lightly. The whole check in process was fine but for some reason, when we got to the area where we would get on, they weren’t boarding yet and this was 11am. They finally started boarding (or so we thought) and were finally called before we were directed to another holding corral. This just seemed very inefficient and also seemed that no one knew what was actually going on. We finally got on board at 11:45-12pm.
Once we were on board all our troubles went away. We went to Café Promenade to utilize our drink packages with COFFEE. It was much needed and I ended up getting specialty coffee every single day, sometimes multiple times a day. We walked around and tried to get food at the Windjammer… It was packed and at that point realized that we weren’t hungry yet. At that point we video chatted with the BF’s nieces who had never seen the ocean before as they are landlocked in Missouri. They were awestruck by the concept of a cruise ship and the ocean it was adorable. Then off to a bar, a lot of the bars were packed since it was sail away but we found a the Champagne Bar on Deck 5 and stopped there for the drink of the day (DOD) a Margarita Azul. The two bartenders Jeinrick and Nino were amazing and honestly this became our bar. We were there every single day, multiple times a day and by the end of the trip we had such a bond with these bartenders and bar patrons that it was so hard to leave. We have now named it Cheers, since it’s where everyone knows your name.
After 2 drinks our rooms were ready… Thank heavens, I was DEAD. We got in, unpacked our carry on, took some photos, our luggage arrived, we unpacked and napped until a hour before Muster. I needed that nap so much, it’s the only thing that kept me going until the end of the day. After muster, we went straight to our 5:30pm dinner (last year we had early dining and it was at 6pm, this time 5:30pm, I’m curious as to why the half hour change).
We had tablemates this time. They weren’t bad tablemates but the BF and I rarely have time to dine together on our own so it wasn’t ideal setup. After that straight to the bar, where we met people and basically hung out there until the 10:15 Adult Comedy show… I’m not even sure the name of the comedian, but uh, it wasn’t adult. He literally made fun of the fact that he changed a word from Poop to S**t and there was the “adult”. After the show off to bed.
I'm going to break this into sections since as we can tell, I'm a chatty Cathy, I plan on doing a review at the end since I'm still gathering my thoughts on a conclusion.