"" Writer's Wanderings: Road Trip--Cruise--Key Largo

Monday, January 09, 2023

Road Trip--Cruise--Key Largo

The evening of the 28th found us back at the hotel where we'd stayed the night our canceled world cruise was finished in January of 2022. No bad memories. The Hampton was bustling with people, many I'm sure spending the night before cruising as well. With the airlines having so many cancellations, lots of people were giving themselves an extra day at least to get to their embarkation port so as not to miss their ship.

 We were really tired and looking forward to getting on the ship and relaxing. It was only going to be five days but we needed the down time from our long drive south. Originally we had booked this cruise to see if we liked the ship because we had also booked another world cruise for 2024 in order to get to the places in the world that we hadn't seen and missed because of the other cruise being cancelled. 

We knew the Zuiderdam was an older ship in the fleet (20 years old) and it wasn't quite as large as some of the other Dam ships we'd been on. A cruise of 128 days could be a really long time if we didn't like the ship and its crew. Eventually we found two other cruises that took in the areas we wanted to see, eliminated places we didn't want to go that were on the world cruise and was less expensive. But, we decided it would be fun to take the five day cruise anyway. It stopped at our favorite private island, Half Moon Cay and a place we'd never been, Amber Cove. Who can argue with five more days in the sun?

Embarkation is a breeze with all the preboarding check-in procedures they have nowadays and with our four star Mariner status we were among the first to board. Amazingly, and to our relief, our stateroom was ready for us. Normally staterooms aren't available until around 1 pm on embarkation day. I think they had quite a few people who had stayed on from the previous cruise so there weren't a lot of rooms to "deep clean".

I hate to say we hadn't paid a lot of attention to our booking details. (We would discover our dining reservations weren't what we thought.) We knew we had a Signature Suite because, had we taken the WC, that's the suite we would have been in. It was very nice. Not quite as big as the Neptune Suite we'd pampered ourselves with for my birthday cruise and it didn't have access to a special lounge but we hadn't used the lounge all that much back in March. 

It was noon and time to go off to forage for food. 

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