|At Sea 4|
Saturday April 25th, 2015: Embarkation in Ft Lauderdale
I was trying to remember to both tie up loose ends at home like getting all out seedlings planted and mulch spread and pack for the cruise to Europe. But when you added in assembling and testing the necessary gear for a bicycle trek, I ended up feeling like a juggler with too many balls in the air! Inevitably I would drop one; I just didn't know which! But the first "Dropped Ball Award" went to Monika for forgetting her swimsuit!
The proximal worry the day we left was getting to Washington National Airport on time. I had combed the Yelp reviews for reliable taxi services, but all the major chains including the much-vaunted Uber, had only an average 3 star rating (out of a possible 5 stars), with many, many negative reviews. Good grief. Finally I found a small, local outfit in Reston that had mostly 5-star ratings and the owner had taken the trouble to respond reasonably to the two negative ratings, so I called and called until I got him on the line and arranged for an 8 a.m. pickup. He came quite punctually, 5 minutes early in fact, and we left our home with everything blooming in the front yard. Our driver (the owner) drove very smoothly and was quite courteous and personable, so the time invested in finding a good taxi seemed to pay off.
I was surprised how nice JetBlue airline service was, as I had considered it an economy airline. But we each received an allowance of 1 free bag, plus I had plenty of legroom in my seat, and we were served unlimited beverages and snacks on the 2-hour flight to Fort Lauderdale. Who could ask for more? When we picked up our orange-striped black luggage and turned ourselves over to the Princess shuttle service at the airport, I finally started to relax.
We had signed up for the cheapest balcony, but our room, R517, on deck 14 had a desk, two chairs, and plenty of space, so obviously we had been upgraded. We were directly below the pool and buffet deck, which had been built out to the sides, so we had a HUGE overhanging roof above us. That overhang sheltered us not only from the rain as we left port that evening, but also shaded us from the midday sun as we steamed eastward across the Atlantic, which allowed us to use the balcony for much longer stretches of each day.
After the obligatory lifeboat drill, we unpacked. We had smuggled two 1-liter wine boxes in our luggage, and both survived quite well. With a pre-dinner drink in our hand, we watched the other ships sail through the channel out to sea and enjoyed the Royal Princess' signature departing horn sequence, which mimicked the Love Boat theme.
Finally we too inched off the dock and sailed out the channel. Then we had our first wonderful dinner and went to bed early.
|At Sea 4|
|Map of Transatlantic Cruise||Map of Bike Trip|