It was time for a holiday. Since getting home from Hawaii, winter still had a grip on southern Ontario. We had a busy time preparing and holding a large family gathering for Easter, occupational therapist sessions for my right hand which is still recovering from dislocating three fingers, doctor and dentist appointments and more.
The night before flying to Fort Lauderdale to start our 11 day Caribbean cruise, the forecast snow arrived as scheduled and promised a good 6" or more causing us to worry there could be flight delays. If we happened to be delayed more than 3 hours there would be a good chance we'd miss our cruise departure and who knows what we'd do after that.
Not to worry. The plane was there on time. De icing took 30 minutes. The plane was only 30% full, so we had lots space to spread out making for a relaxing start to our adventure. The pilot easily made that up the 30 minute delay and we arrived on time. We met a couple on the plane, Gord and Patty from Midland, who were booked on the same cruise we were. We shared a cab ride to Port Everglades where we found the immense Equinox moored next to an equally large Royal Caribbean "Empress of the Seas". Check in was the usual necessary evil, but soon we were aboard beginning the
process of getting to know the ship.
3:30 pm brought us the reasonably well organized "emergency procedure" and "evacuation procedure" exercise where all passengers are required to go to their designated muster station. Once completed we were free to really start enjoying our stay aboard Equinox. Shortly after 4pm our ship pulled away from the port. It is always a magical part of the cruising experience to watch the ship being carefully backed out of its slip, seeing the bow and stern thrusters turn the ship in its own
length and point to the open ocean giving three long blasts on an air horn that you can feel vibrating
through your body. How very elegant.
Right behind us, Empress of the Seas performed an identical procedure. Once clear of the entrance channel, the Pilot Boat came along side to pick up the Port Everglades pilot who was responsible for our safe exit from the harbour. Again, another horn blast from the pilot boat and we were off, cruising due south along Florida's east coast at about 15 knots.
After unpacking and showering, we dressed "smart casual" and we were off to dinner at Silk Harvest, an Asian Fusion specialty restaurant, whose upgrade fee was discounted this first night aboard by 30%. There was a light crowd in this intimate location and a great tasting style menu with a good variety of Asian cuisine with a twist. The photos below demonstrate the variety and why we ate more than we should have. What a wonderful treat, while we watched Miami and other ports pass by as the sun sets.
As we'd been up at 3:45am to make our flight, we were now dog tired. I don't think we managed to
stay awake until 9pm. The slight swaying of the ship and vibration of the engines lulled us into a
deep sleep in no time