The Adventure Begins
A little before noon we were down in the lobby ready to check out of the Embassy Suites and call an UBER for the short driver over to Terminal 26. The lobby was empty and there was no line to check out. I pulled up my UBER app and requested an UBER XL which is guaranteed to be capable of carrying 6 people or lots of luggage. We fell into the ‘lots of luggage’ category. Three minutes after I pressed “Confirm” a large SUV arrived. After our bags were loaded, we were on our way arriving at Terminal 26 eight minutes later.
The area outside the terminal was empty of any other arriving guests and we were greeted by several porters who took charge of our bags. A few minutes later we were in the terminal and cleared security without difficulty.
Once past security we headed over to some tall tables, that were being used by about 20 people filling out the standard health questionnaire and an expanded questionnaire that required self-certification that our required Yellow Fever shot was in order and write in the expiration date. We wrote in INDEF for the expiration date. Based on the wording of the questions it seemed that you wouldn’t be refused boarding if your Yellow Fever situation was not quite right, but you may be refused entry into the affected countries. No one inspected our yellow fever booklets in our presence during the check in process, but they were retained by the ship along with our passports.
The form also asked if we had already obtained any VISAs that weren’t in our passports so we wouldn’t be charged for them twice. We got the Australian ETA on our own so we circled that block and indicated we already had the Australian ETA.
After we had filled out these two forms we headed over to the 4 star and above line, which seemed to be about the same length as the 3 star and below line. However, the 4-star line had about 7 people processing guests and the 3 star line had maybe 5 people so our line did move a little faster.
We got into line at 12:22 and were at the counter at 12:50 – and on the ship and in our cabin at 1:05.
Along the way we stopped for our traditional sail away photo – always fun.
We are in a Vista Suite on Deck 6, starboard side. The room was ready on arrival and we met our Cabin Steward, Darma, shortly after we arrived. There was a note from the Hotel Director asking everyone to give the crew until 6 January before inquiring about the many special gifts and packages that were ordered because processing so many orders would take some time.
Our bags from the FEDEX shipment were first to arrive and we started to get unpacked. After we got most of the FEDEX shipment opened, we went out to get a snack at the LIDO and visit a few friends we had met on our 2016 GWV. Five of the 7 people from Table 52 are back and we are now at table 303 along with 5 other wonderful folks who we will share many dinners with in the days to come.
During the routine muster drill at 4:15 we ran into several folks from the 2016 cruise along with our favorite entertainers – Terry, Anne and Kat from Abba Fab and the Piano Man. They will be aboard thru Panama City and we are looking forward to their wonderful shows.
I took a quick spin thru the casino and was pleased to observe that the Amsterdam still has live dealers for Texas Hold’Em and is scheduling 2 $30 tournaments a day vice the $60 tournaments on other ships. This lower buy in should get more people involved. We were pleased to learn later that many of the old regulars from 2016 were back and ready for more Hold’Em action.
The sail-a way party, complete with a live 3 piece band, started at 7:30 by the Lido pool – It was very lively and fun to walk around and bump into more people we had met from previous cruises. We couldn’t stay long as we had to get to dinner at 8pm.
Our First Dinner
The first dinner was fabulous – we had the prime rib and our 10 top was filled with engaging conversations. We were pleasantly surprised to see Presty, the assistant dining room manager, swing by our table for some quick hellos and to pass out roses to all the ladies. Presty is an outstanding manager and brings energy and enthusiasm to the dining room and makes sure everything run smoothly.
The menus will be posted on the blog along with the When and Wheres every day – internet permitting.
There wasn’t a show tonight, so we headed back to our cabin to finish unpacking.
PS Internet is blazing tonight – 5.6 mbps!This entry was posted in Uncategorized