What a wonderful day we had aboard the Emerald Princess! We woke up bright and early at the hotel (Cambria Suites) and took a shuttle to the cruise port at a $5/pp rate. The extremely nice driver from yesterday took us to the port as efficiently and quickly as possible. We left the hotel just after 10:00am. When our driver saw traffic all backed up in one direction, he drove across a few lanes of the road to a highway that took us along a different route. He navigated us to the ship and we were able to fly past the security checkpoints at Port Everglades as everyone knew our driver – he was awesome! The porters took our suitcases and we lined up outside. It took a little while to get indoors, but we were lined up pretty early at 10:45am. Once we were inside the terminal, we went through the metal detectors. Then, we lined up for our cruise cards. After that, we waited in a seated area until we were allowed to board the ship.
We went straight to our cabin, which was located on the Riviera Deck (deck 14), room 709. R709 was located aft, or near the back of the ship. This proved to be an excellent location as we were close to the Terrace Pool, the Horizon Court and Cafe Caribe buffets – very useful first thing in the morning when we were ready for breakfast! Our room had a balcony with wonderful views. We were at the very top row of balconies along the Riviera deck, so it was very private as no one was able to look down on our balcony.
We hadn’t eaten all day so we headed to Cafe Caribe for some lunch. Justin and I ate outside at a table and ordered our first fancy alcoholic beverages of the trip! We got the West Indies Yellow Bird (Bacardi rum, Galliano, and Banana Liqueur, shaken over ice with orange and pineapple juices) and the Caribbean Cooler (Coconut Rum, Melon Liqueur, Banana Liqueur, Citrus Mix, and Pineapple Juice). The Caribbean Cooler was a little bit better than the West Indies Yellow Bird because it was just so tropical and delicious!
After lunch, we took the opportunity to check out the rest of the ship. We saw all four of the swimming pools, Movies Under the Stars, the Sanctuary, the Lotus Spa, the Fitness Center, and the Piazza. We enjoyed some delicious coffees from the International Cafe and I got us a coffee card (even though I still had a few stamps left over from my old card from the last cruise). Mmm!
Justin taking a video with his Lomokino film video camera
Movies Under the Stars
Movies Under the Stars pool and hot tubs
Emerald Princess alongside another Princess ship – there were 8 in total at Port Everglades that day including two other Princess Ships (the Ruby and the Crown)
When we got back up to our cabin just before three, our suitcases were already in our room for us waiting to be unpacked! So, we did just that. For those who aren’t familiar, when you board the ship you are allowed to bring your smaller bags or carry-on luggage with you. As for the larger pieces of luggage, you leave them with the porters and they load everything on to the ship. Those larger pieces of luggage are delivered to your room at some point that day. We were thankful to be able to unpack everything early on before the Muster Drill.
As we just got everything settled into place, it was 3:15pm – time for the Muster Drill! This was the safety protocol where everyone was taught how to use their life vests, the emergency procedures, and where to meet in the case of an emergency.
We took the two life jackets that were stored in our cabin down to Club Fusion, which was where we were instructed to head for the Muster Drill. We sat with two very nice couples from Vermont and Ohio. At the end, we were told to put on our life vests. Justin and I were giggling as we saw some passengers enter Club Fusion already wearing their life jackets – some people just break all of the rules! The one man sitting across from me during the drill was making me laugh. We were specifically told not to play with the Velcro on the life jackets as this would be very loud and irritating. He would very so subtly and quietly tear the Velcro apart to make me laugh. Despite these few funny things, I think that everyone took the drill very seriously, even though I’m sure that many passengers have sat through these types of drills many, many times. It was incredibly important to discuss these emergency procedures as there could have been the possibility for a crisis situation on board and everyone should know the best way to act.
The Emerald Princess was set to sail away from Port Everglades around 4:30pm, so we headed up to the upper decks for the sailaway party!