Our eyes popped open after having a delightful night’s sleep at the Marriott and the realization quickly hit that it was embarkation day! First though, we needed some sustenance, so off to the morning buffet we trekked, we happened to meet Barbara and her significant other at breakfast and we all had a lovely time together. I neglected to take any pictures of what I ate, but, if I remember correctly, I had a bagel and cream cheese, a little spoonful of eggs and a couple of links of sausage. Everything was hot, fresh, and very tasty. Of course I had a couple of cups of tea as well, I was ready to go after that meal and conversation time with my lovely friend.
The Marriott offered a shuttle service over to the cruise port when we checked in. We signed up for the early shuttle time of 9:30am and committed to pay $10 each which we felt was a reasonable cost. I’m glad that we did the early shuttle (there was also one offered at 11am) as it took us a long time to get the short distance from the hotel to the cruise port, I’ll explain. The bus was extremely crowded, well let me back up for a second, the bus became very crowded because our bus driver stopped at various locations, 5 not including our stop, to pick up more and more passengers so as to fill the bus I would imagine, and that took some time. Regardless, once the bus was good and full, we headed on over to Port Everglades. We had chosen to sit right in the front seat, so I was able to get a few little pictures of our trip over to meet our beautiful cruise ship the Royal Princess.
Those familiar butterflies started to flutter in my belly when the beautiful Royal Princess came into view…my goodness she is quite a site to behold. The bus driver pulled right up to a line of Princess baggage handlers standing beside large rolling carts. We did not have to touch our suitcases, instead, the baggage handlers took possession of them and placed them in one of those large carts and the next time we saw them was when they were sitting at our Stateroom door once we boarded. I did not take a load of pictures of the cruise port building, they don’t like you taking pictures in there…and being that I am a rule follower, I didn’t take many pics…haha. Regardless, the check-in process went super smoothly as it always does. You are directed by Princess representatives every step along the way. Because we are Platinum members of the “Captain’s Circle” club, we get priority boarding, so we were directed to our seats and that is where we stayed until it was time to board. Princess Cruises has recently refurbished the cruise port building in Ft. Lauderdale, so when I sat down, I looked up and this is what I saw. Now, forgive me for not taking a longer video, but, I didn’t realize I had my video on, I thought I was taking a picture…hahaha…go me…But, you’ll see the movement of those pretty turtles and such as you look into what looks like an aquarium.
Wow, that was one of my very best videos huh? LOL <Slapping Self On Forehead> I did take a still shot of it though:
It wasn’t long before it was time to climb aboard the Royal…Here I am taking my first step onboard…yippee skippee!!
One of the first sights I saw as I walked on board was the beautiful Piazza, check it out!!
As I’ve mentioned, we were cruising with 3 of my lady friends and their significant others, and our plan once aboard was to meet in the Piazza and then figure out what to do first from there. But before I go further, let me show you the Princess Patter for Embarkation Day:
Our Staterooms wouldn’t be ready till 1pm (a first for us truthfully). We were aboard around 11-11:30am, so of course, we were famished by this point. There was one Main Dining Room (MDR) open for lunch on Embarkation day, the “Concerto” dining room, so we headed right on over there and were seated immediately at a lovely oval table for 8. Here are some of the wonderful things we chose to eat for lunch…(Bless their hearts, everyone was so patient with me knowing that I am a blogger and knowing that I’d want pictures of their food…haha…they took turns placing it right under my camera view).
Well *that* was delicious!! YUM!!
After lunch, the girls and I headed over to the Crown Grill which is one of the Specialty Restaurants (meaning that one needs to pay an extra $29 per person over and above what is covered in the cost of the cruise), we wanted to make reservations for the first formal night evening. And the fellas headed to our Staterooms. So we made our reservations and then we separated and each went to our Staterooms to unpack and get settled in. We made a plan to meet at our Stateroom after the Muster Drill took place for our own little sail-away get-together.
Chris and I got lucky with our Suite, yes, yes, I said Suite this time around. We did this cruise in March, and had booked a mid-ship Mini-Suite and were quite satisfied with that, honestly. BUT, when we got an email in January offering us an “up-sell” to a Suite, we jumped at the chance. We did have to give Princess a little bit more money, but, it wasn’t an exorbitant amount, and wait till you see the tour that I’ll post below. So, that said, in our Suite we were going to have a separate bedroom and sitting area and we were going to have a bath tub *&* separate shower, BUT, wait till you see our balcony. Chris and I were given the choice to upgrade to any available “Penthouse Suite” onboard the Royal. We chose an aft facing Penthouse Suite. That means we were sitting right on the back of the ship looking at the ship’s wake…glorious I tell you, just glorious. So first, let me show you some pictures of our very lovely Stateroom, and then I’ll give you a link to my YouTube Video tour.
Also, here are some of the special perks that Suite passengers enjoy:
And here is a link to my YouTube video tour of D727, The Hilo Suite aboard the Royal Princess:
All right, we were getting settled into our room for the week, we’d met our Steward Kalim, who was awesome from the first moment that we met him until we said goodbye to him 10 days later. I’d also managed to unpack *some* of our clothes. It was then time to head off to the “Guest Safety Assembly” (the Muster Drill). One major thing had changed since we’d cruised, we didn’t have to take our big, bulky, cumbersome life jackets with us!! Woohoo, this girl was doing the happy dance about that. That meant that after the drill we could walk around the ship and be more relaxed instead of being stuck in a hoard of people trying to make their way back to their Stateroom to put their life jackets back away. What a pleasure!
Here is a little snippet that I barely caught of the “Love Boat” song with the words changed to safely assembly speak…hahaha. 😉
After our Assembly Drill was over, we headed back to our Stateroom and everyone came on over to just relax for a little while. Here are some pictures and a snippet of a video of our time on our aft balcony. 🙂
And here are some pictures of the group. 🙂
And we were off and sailing away from Fort Lauderdale on our way to Princess Cays (Princess’ private island). We were having a blast already, I know without a shadow of a doubt that spending time on this cruise with these wonderful ladies and gents was going to be just awesome! ❤
All 8 of us met for dinner that night in the Anytime MDR, “Symphony”, I didn’t take one picture of that time though, but, trust me, everything was fabulous; the food, the friends, and the fellowship!!
WAIT: I did take two pictures of dinner that evening, well, o-k-a-y, it’s just dessert, but, trust me, it tasted wonderful!!
When my head hit that pillow on that night that I was out like a light and was rocked asleep by the gentle swaying of the big, beautiful, Royal Princess.
Next up, a couple of “Sea Days”, one planned and one not. 🙂
***If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***
~Until next time, y’all take good, good, care! ❤