There is always a wonderful anticipation on embarkation day. The morning just drags on while you wait to leave to board your ship. You arrive at the terminal busy with taxis, buses, passengers, porters, and luggage everywhere. There are so many passengers in what appears to be a never ending line winding its way to the check-in counters. All you want is to get on board. This embarkation process was different.
With the Caribbean being the most popular cruising destination and South Florida the cruising capital of the world with dozens of ship departures weekly, the embarkation process has been perfected. Unlike other smaller, less used ports like San Francisco, even Seattle, where chaos appears to be the norm, Ft. Lauderdale was calm, smooth, organized and the check-in process very speedy.
This cruise was by far the fastest check-in I have ever experienced. We arrived at the port around 11:30 where a porter got our luggage almost before our taxi driver had it out of the trunk of the cab, in a minute we were inside the terminal second in line. The pre-cruise check-in process (as annoying as it can be) has definitely expedited the boarding process. One of the friendliest and most courtious check-in agents ever, greeted us, engaged us in some friendly small talk, asked for our boarding passes and passports, handed us our little plastic cards which will control our life for the next week, and in minutes we were on the escalator to the second level of the terminal building. The most pleasant check-in ever.
After having boarding pictures taken we were on the ship where we were greeted by a staff member that informed us that the staterooms were ready. The carry-on items were quickly deposited in our staterooms and by 11:50 we were on the Lido deck at the buffet for lunch. What a wonderful start to what promises to be a fantastic week.