Day 2…Cruise to South America…Of course, we’re having fun!

As we rode the shuttle from the Fort Lauderdale Hilton Hotel, we spotted our cruise ship. Check-in was a bit slow, but by 12:30 pm, we were checked in and aboard the ship.

“Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising”

We saw the Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas in port, ready to head out to sea from our veranda.

We’re taking a risk offering “Sightings from the Veranda while Cruising.” There may be days while out to sea that we don’t see a thing other than the vast horizon of rolling seas. 

However, whenever a time arises with several photo ops, we’ll share them over several days. Would you please bear with us if some of the photos aren’t of major significance or interest? We’ll do our best as usual. 

 This US-decorated fuel tank is located at the port of Fort Lauderdale.

At the moment, at almost 11:00 am, I’m running a little behind. After breakfast in the dining room (I had herbal tea with coconut cream and Tom had bacon and eggs), we attended the first Cruise Critic get-together. After the meeting, Tom decided to participate in a lecture on the Panama Canal at the Celebrity Theatre while I worked on preparing today’s post at El Bacio cafe.

Over the past many Celebrity cruises, we’ve always worked on the post in this same-named cafe, most of which are similarly designed with comfortable seating and premium coffee drinks.

Tom was watching the Minnesota Vikings game before we had to leave for the muster drill.

We don’t have a drink package on this cruise (at a minimum of US $60 per day per person), an outrageous expense based on the fact we have free drinks every night from 5:00 to 7:00 pm as Elite members of the Captain’s Club, we don’t order beverages while in El Bacio Cafe.

Fortunately, one doesn’t feel obligated to purchase something to spend time in any of the areas of the ship. If we want a beverage, at any time, we can take the elevator to the 10th floor to the Oceanview Cafe, where we can fill up on coffee or tea at no charge. 

Our tiny 170 square foot cabin,

Since I remembered they don’t carry any herbal teas I like, I brought along plenty of tea bags of a favorite organic cinnamon tea I found in Costa Rica. The Oceanview Cafe is a short ride up the elevator from our cabin, and it takes only a few minutes to grab some hot water for my insulated mug.

Last night, when the complimentary cocktails weren’t offered for members on sail away, Tom never ordered a cocktail. Having lost all the weight he’d gained in Costa Rica from eating fruit every day during the first few months, he’s avoiding fruit, bread, starches, and dessert or, in this case, too many cocktails, all of which contribute to passengers gaining as much as 10 or 15 pounds on a 30-night cruise.

Not too luxurious but adequate for our needs.

For me, it’s easy. Last night I had a romaine salad with prawns, grilled salmon, avocado, and my usual full-fat sour cream as a dressing with a side of steamed vegetables…no appetizer, no dessert, and I was satisfied I’d had plenty to eat.

Last night before dinner, our bags arrived at our cabin, including the smaller box of clothing and supplies.  With our cabin much smaller than on most cruises, once the bags were inside and with limited cabinet and closet space, we wondered how we’d manage to unpack.

There’s our yellow Costco bag, still surviving after all these years.

Tom busied himself watching the Minnesota Vikings game at the casino bar while I tackled the unpacking. In no time at all, I had all of my bags emptied and decided to tackle Tom’s as well. 

By the time he returned to the cabin to collect me for the “muster drill,” I had a massive handle on it. Unfortunately, the muster drill required so much time, and he missed the second half of the game.

In most balcony cabins, we have a full-sized sofa which we rarely use.  In this case, we left our open supplies suitcase since there wasn’t enough room in the cabin to remove many of its contents.

Once we returned to the cabin after the drill, I encouraged him to continue to try to stream the game’s balance on NFL GamePass, which he hadn’t been able to stream on past cruises. With a high degree of patience and sheer will, he managed to get the game to stream on the ship’s slow Wi-Fi signal and watch the exciting finale.

I continued to unpack, finding little nooks and crannies where I could put things. The result was surprising.  We had a spot for everything we needed and still had room to walk in the little cabin. 

On other cruises. The Celebrity Infinity is an older ship built in 2001 (remodeled in 2015), and balcony cabins are typically around 170 square feet, compared to many we’ve had over 200 square feet. , we included these photos to illustrate the size of the cabin.

The clouds rolled in before setting sail at 5:00 pm when the rain began to fall.

It’s all fine for us as long as we can fit our belongings and empty luggage, which somehow we managed to do.  Tom pushed most of the bags under the bed except his suitcase, which didn’t fit. No worries, we found a corner spot for it.

After dressing for dinner, we headed to the Trellis Dining Room for our usual “My Time Dining.” Part of the pleasure of cruising revolves around the opportunity to meet new people at every meal. We don’t like being locked into any specific time or sitting with the same people every night.

Last night, I had the privilege of sitting next to Angie (and her husband, Rick). She was a US Navy nurse stationed in Antarctica. Wow! The conversation flowed freely when we discussed the mysterious part of the world along with many other topics. 

Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas took off shortly before our ship.

Tom, who sat to my right, was engrossed in conversation with the couple sitting next to him at our table for ten and, at times, the entire rest of the table. It was a purely delightful evening. By 10:00 pm, tired from the busy travel days, we headed back to our cabin for what proved to be a much-needed good night’s sleep.

Tom just found me here, and he’ll spend some time online too. Soon, I’ll go work out, which I’m planning to do frequently during the cruise, and again at the hotel in Buenos Aires, which has a fitness center.

So far, so good! The day will unravel as it often does to our liking and sheer enjoyment of a lovely day at sea.  Tomorrow, our first port of call will be Grand Cayman Island, where a lovely couple we’ve met from our site, residents of the beautiful island who also plan to travel the world. More on Susan and Blair’s story with photos in a few days.

Be well.  Be happy. 

Photo from one year ago, November 24, 2016:

Our ship, Royal Caribbean Radiance of the Seas, was taken while walking to the train station in Adelaide, South Australia. For more photos, please click here.