We followed the butler through to the security area where we had to go through the scanner and our gumpf went through the x-ray machine. We then rejoined our guide on the other side and he led us around to the right where we immediately had an awesome view of the ship! It was HUGE! We walked up a long ramp then over a bridge and entered the ship on deck 7. This is the promenade deck and I have it on good authority (though I never attempted to verify it) that this is NOT a wrap around promenade deck. A great shame this - it completely spoiled the entire voyage for us! Just kidding - I can’t say that this caused me any undue concern or angst. We did more than enough walking without feeling the need for additional promenading.
Very soon we had another glass of bubbly (water for me) and continued to enjoy chatting with our new German friends and gazing at the other ships in port. At one point I was asked to come to the Concierge and specify what paper and dining time we wanted. I was surprised to be asked to specify a dining time but I can understand that it helped them with their planning as the Yacht Club was travelling at full capacity. The Maitre D assured me that it was just an indication and that if we wanted to dine at another time it could be arranged. As it happened we did mix up our dining times significantly over the cruise and they took it in their stride.
It wasn’t long before our room was ready and we were escorted up to deck 16. I have to say that we were thrilled to bits with the location. The even numbered cabins on deck 15 tended to get a LOT of foot traffic past them as everyone seemed to exit the Yacht Club that way and the excursion groups were led past their from the Concierge Area each port day. We were on the 16th deck which meant I got to traipse blithely up the gold Swarovski staircase multiple times each day. In addition, our cabin (16029) was less than a metre from the stairs up to the 18th deck (remember that 17 is a ‘unlucky’ number for the Italians so the ship doesn’t have a deck 17) which was darned handy when we forgot something in the cabin. The only drawback was the traipsing blithely up and down the gold Swarovski staircase. I am a complete klutz and almost guaranteed to trip over my own feet at least once a day. With careful focus I managed to avoid embarrassing myself in front of the concierge by taking a dramatic tumble down the stairs. This was a huge win as far as I am concerned.
When we got to our room we spent the next half hour exploring all the amenities and features (with the exception of the port sockets on the TV).
We were delighted with the balcony and the lofty view it gave us. We could have spent hours watching all the little boats buzzing around the big ones like fruit flies round an overripe banana (guess what I have just had to deal with). Soon my husband’s suitcase was delivered, then a little later mine. We unpacked and then we decided it was such a shame to leave the bubbly unopened and it would be a crime to let it get warm - so we popped the cork and drank the bottle.
We were delighted with the balcony and the lofty view it gave us. We could have spent hours watching all the little boats buzzing around the big ones like fruit flies round an overripe banana (guess what I have just had to deal with). Soon my husband’s suitcase was delivered, then a little later mine. We unpacked and got ourselves sorted in our new home for the next week.
By then we were getting tired and hungry so I ordered room service and decided it was such a shame to leave the bubbly unopened and it would be a crime to let it get warm - so we popped the cork and drank the bottle with our snack.
By that point we were feeling quite exhausted to the point of not being able to see straight - I blame the jet lag not the bubbly! So we decided to pull the drapes and have a snooze. Goodness me those drapes were effective. The room was immediately plunged into darkness despite the fact it was a very bright day!
I’m not sure how long we slept - maybe 60-90 minutes. I seem to recall that I set the timer on my phone but I’m a little fuzzy on the details. This will be a recurrent theme for the next few days whilst my body was adjusting to being 11 hours behind its normal time zone.
We had a little less than an hour till muster drill so I ordered a pot of tea. Along with this came a note from another member (H) of Cruise Critic who was also sailing with his spouse in the Yacht Club on this voyage - on his honeymoon! He suggested meeting in the lounge at 3pm for drinks - by this time it was at least quarter of an hour after and I was in my pyjamas with a pot of tea that I couldn’t abandon. I dithered for a few minutes then decided that we would send him a note and aim to catch up after the muster drill. This was at 4pm - 30 minutes before departure. According to the print out on our bed, when the horns sounded we were meant to retrieve our life jackets from the wardrobe and then proceed to our muster station (Safari Lounge on deck 7) without using the elevators. The horn sounded and we duly did as instructed (we were dressed again by then).
It was like a migration of lemmings - everyone trudging in the same direction. It was the busiest I ever saw the stairs! And like most crowd situations, the collective intelligence was defined by the lowest common denominator. Despite instructions to carry and NOT wear your life jackets, once one bright spark decided to put theirs on so did almost everyone else. My eyes started to ache from rolling so much. It didn't help that the staff on each floor (standing in front of the lifts because obviously not everyone could read instructions) were wearing their life jackets. It just made the sheeple even more determined to put theirs on too.
I should note in my husband's defence that he only put his life jacket on during the muster drill when they instructed people to do so.
Once we got to the Safari Lounge my husband was a man with a mission. He was determined to find H & his spouse M and explain why we had rudely stood them up. I was skeptical - there were a LOT of people in the Safari Lounge - but my husband’s logic was impeccable. We knew H was Irish and M was Brazillian and therefore all he needed to do was to look for a couple where one was a startlingly pale white and the other was more olive toned. I didn’t have much luck explaining that in fact there were many Irish of varying skin tones and not all Brazilians were the typical color. Instead he dragged me across the lounge whilst he peered and muttered. I was both surprised and impressed when he found a likely looking couple and introduced himself and lo and behold it was actually them!!!
Next Post - Day 2: Venice Part E