"" Writer's Wanderings: Passed Our Test! Bon Voyage!

Thursday, January 06, 2022

Passed Our Test! Bon Voyage!


There is no denying it. A little anxiety mixed with excitement as we started our day. We had flown into Fort Lauderdale and rented a car for our three day stay in Homestead before boarding the ship. We took care over those three days to social distance, wear masks (even though that seemed to be very optional in most places) and in general plan things to do outdoors. Still, who knew if COVID would have the last laugh?

There was a short stop to say hi and goodbye to our Florida kids as they visited a few minutes outside their front door before we headed to Fort Lauderdale again. Overly cautious? I think not. Our hope was to be sure to make it through all of the planned 128 days aboard Crystal Serenity. The drive to the airport car rental was pleasant enough although there was a bit of rain. The plan was to return the car and then meet the scheduled private town car (a perk of the Grand Voyage) at baggage claim where the flight from Cleveland would arrive. From there, we would go to the port of Miami.

Our driver was there even before the baggage from the flight was arriving so we got an early start. I think he was a little confused that we hadn't come in on the flight. About a thirty to forty minute drive and we arrived at the ship. What baggage we had was tagged and taken off to show up in our room later as long as we tested negative for COVID. The rest of our baggage that had been shipped in late December was somewhere inside awaiting the same result.

It was early, about 11:15 and we had to stand outside and wait for those inside to get set up for all the testing. The whole procedure was a lot smoother than when we had cruised in November. Temperature taken, we signed in at the first station and received forms to fill out. The health questions for a cruise have changed their focus to COVID symptoms rather than flu. Noses swabbed, we were led to another area to await results. In about fifteen minutes, our phones buzzed with a text message. "Your results are negative." We happy danced (in our heads) to the final checkpoint on shore to show our results and get a boarding card. Another short wait and we were called to board.

Security checked our tickets and we were led to another station where the tickets were collected and we received our wrist trackers. Rooms were not to be ready until 3 PM but the dining areas were open for hungry guests. All in all it took us about an hour and a half to go through the whole procedure. 

Lunch at the Tristan Grill followed by coffee at the Bistro and before we knew it, the announcement that rooms were ready was made. In our rooms were our room key cards which we collected and went to check in at our Muster Station. Instead of gathering everyone together you are asked to watch the video on your room TV and if you need a demo of the lifejacket they will do that for you. Years of cruising, we said we thought we knew how to don a lifejacket.

Now for the greatest task. Seven suitcases full of clothes and sundries and of course Bob's new paddle ball racket to find space for in a small room where we hoped to spend the next four and a half months. To my amazement it all fit. Of course finding where we stashed everything may be a whole new adventure.

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