Excitement ran high today. We were going on the biggest cruise ship in the world. We made the short drive to Port Everglades where I was dropped off at the terminal with the children and the luggage. Mal and Dad dropped off our now beloved rental giant at Alamo. Malcolm reported that rental return was easy but the shuttle service back to the port was slow. We waited for an hour and a half for Malcolm and Dad to return to the terminal!
We found the entry for Suite guests easily enough. One of the perks was not to have to queue for security. For some reason, they found Jonah’s bag to be of interest. The security officer took it aside to inspect and pulled out car after car. After a while, content that the contents were mostly only cars, he allowed us to proceed to the check in desk. We had the loveliest gentlemen check us in. From there though, it was a bit disappointing from the viewpoint of entering the ship as suite guests. We expected more of the kind of service for suite guests as what we experienced on NCL where we were escorted privately onto the ship and shown around. However, this didn't really occur. We walked straight in because of the delay in the car rental return, but it was a bit of an anticlimax. We walked onto a non-descript deck and into the lift area with no staff member in sight. There was no welcome in a beautiful atrium like on DCL! We had to find someone to ask where we were able to have lunch which ended up being the buffet at Windjammers. We joined the line and waited for a table to become available. We were able to attack the buffet offering about 20 minutes later. As we ate, we were distracted by the view of the non-existent line at Flowrider, RCL’s wave simulator. We hurried though our meal, dumped our stuff in our stateroom and headed for it. Unfortunately, Jonah was not tall enough. He waited patiently whilst the other members of the family had their turns. We explored the other gazillion pools, and the top decks. From there, we were able to gaze upon a multitude of other cruise ships docked at the port, seven to be precise...
|The non-existent lines were beckoning us...|
|We rushed to our stateroom which was at the end of a very long corridor...Here is the entry area of our suite|
|Immediately captivated by a smart, interactive TV. Watching the instructions for the Flow Rider|
|The kids picked it up very quickly|
|Lara went on her knees the first go|
|Jonah unfortunately was not tall enough and so had to amused himself in other ways. Here on the putt putt course|
|After the Flowrider, come the pools|
|Jonah found his area|
|which brought big smiles!|
|The "middle" of the ship. You can see the central park are below|
|Won't be running out of deck chairs in a hurry|
|On the Central Park level, inspired by New York City's Central Park|
Unfortunately we didn't have time to explore all 17 levels of the ship (minus level 13 as the children pointed out). We had to be satisfied with walking through Central Park, the central open area full of greenery, to return to our stateroom. We had to get showered and changed for the the fire drill. While in our stateroom, we met our room hostess, Andrea, who was an absolute hoot. She simply loved adored Elliot and offered to adopt him. The Aqua Theatre suite has a spacious living area and an extremely generous balcony. The balcony started on the ocean front and then continued to wrapped around the back of the ship to face the inside, where we had a commanding view of the Aqua Theatre and the Boardwalk hence the name. The master bedroom and bathroom was a decent size but the second bedroom though was a little cramped as was the second bathroom.
|The ocean facing side of our balcony|
|The part that protrudes towards the back of the ship|
|And the part that wraps around for a view of the inside of the ship|
After the mandatory fire drill, the family split up. Before we did, we had work out where the concierge lounge was as that was going to be our rendezvous point! The children and the grandparents returned back to the room to watch the sail away party down at the Aqua Theatre from our balcony. Malcolm, in the meantime, went up to the concierge lounge ahead of us to arrange a few important things. The rest of the family followed up shortly to join him and enjoy the complimentary pre dinner hors d’oeuvres and beverages. As RCCL charges for soft drink, it’s the only place onboard for me to get my coca cola fix for free.
|The very impressive open lift well|
|The "Main Street" of the ship|
|Finally time to count down|
|Let's hope the penguins don't take us to Madagascar|
|Great to be able to watch the party from our balcony|
|and watch it in style...|
|Shrek doing his thing|
|Fiona not to be outdone|
|Oma and Opa enjoying the sunset sailing out of Fort Lauderdale|
|The lower level of the concierge lounge|
|The fine dining area upstairs|
|Enjoying some pre-dinner munchies|
Dinner at the dining room Adagio was pleasant. Our servers were nice but not ‘special’. The children always enjoy being able to order whatever they wish off the adults menu. Following our meal, the family split up again. Malcolm and children played putt putt and pingpong where they met other family from Sydney. My parents and I walked along Promenade, the ship’s ‘main street’ lined with shops and restaurants. We saw Princess Fiona from Shrek enjoying a bit of latin dancing at Boleros. Boy could she move!
|Not sure how he does it, but the sambal made it to the table|
The rest of the evening was spent unpacking and enjoying the show, OceanAria, from our balcony. It was an amazing show of diving and acrobatics performed on a stage of water, a great way to end our first day on this mega ship.
|The pre-show clowns|
|Incredible moving stage in water|
|This man incredibly jumped from the top of the stage. You can see where he jumped off in the photo below, the little platform next to the top of the RCL symbol.|