Noisy Departure From Miami

Saturday, April 14, 2012
Miami, Florida, United States
Today the cruise begins. One can usually start boaing a cruise ship from around noon. But the seminar organizers had arranged for some of us to do a ship inspection of the Regent Seven Seas Navigator, docked in Fort Lauderdale. RSSC is luxury cruise line, which are smaller than mainstream cruise lines. The Navigator takes only 490 passengers while the largest cruise ships carry 11 times that number. Regent has two other ships - the Voyager and Mariner - which have a capacity of 700 guests.

The interior was as remarkable as one would expect of a luxury hospitality setting . Some staterooms are bigger than my home, and every single one has a walk-in closet, something not every cruise ship can boast, and certainly not my home. There was also a presentation with cocktail drinks and snacks. But I get the feeling everyone was looking forward to the lunch on board, including the Regent staff looking after us. Actually I suspected that was the main reason most of us signed up for the "ship inspection".

After stuffing ourselves with fine food, it was time to disembark and make way for paying passengers (who could also have lunch if they boarded early). From the pier in Fort Lauderdale, we were to transfer to that in Miami. Getting off the bus in Miami Port, our bags are taken by porters and will eventually end up outside our cabin door, if we had tagged them properly. Passengers just have to go through the security clearance and check-in process, which includes the painful part of providing your credit card for shipboard expenses. I was boarding the much-lauded Celebrity Eclipse .

Our timing was such that our boarding time coincided with the emergency briefing on board. We did not have to put on life vests and stand next to a lifeboat. We just sat in the comfort of one of the many specialty restaurants, which was my designated mustering point. We watched a presentation on a projection screen and listened to instructions. I wonder how things will be in an actual event. I got an idea when passengers tried to make their way to their cabin after the drill. That is a lot of people I thought. Hope it is not like this everyday.

Found my cabin 7299 after exploring a few of the decks (not intentionally). My cabin mate for the week was Abu who owned an agency in Toronto. We both needed some rest after a long day, before the Cocktail Party and Group Dinner. Unfortunately any hope of undisturbed rest (for me at least) were interrupted by the delivery of my bag, followed not long after by noisy passengers of the passing Carnival Valour which sailed astern of the Eclipse to turn around, as we sailed out of Miami Port first. I joined our own the noisy passengers on the upper decks, as the ship sailed past others in the port and the impressive skyline of the city into the vastness of the open ocean.