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We departed home around 7:00am and had a pleasant and uneventful drive to Port Everglades down in Fort Lauderdale. Following a couple of rest stops, a coffee break, and a refueling, we arrived at the port a little after 11:30. I deposited Mom, Pop, Libby, and Emerson at the terminal with the luggage and proceeded to park the car. Unfortunately, our terminal (#29) was some distance from the garage and required me to ride a shuttle bus back to the family. As luck would have it, I managed to catch up with Libby’s parents on the shuttle. The bus ride took quite a while due to traffic. And, we arrived back at the terminal at nearly 12:30.

Thanks to Pop’s needing wheelchair assistance we sped through security and check-in. However, we were forced to wait (along with others) for over an hour before boarding the ship. You see, RCI seems to now require a change of wheelchair / staff to assist passengers onto the actual ship. As such, a queue formed of passengers waiting for the only two assistant-waiters-turned-wheelchair-jockeys (one lazy and the other lazier still) to assist them aboard the ship. Totally unacceptable treatment of elderly and/or disabled passengers. I’m also starting to think that Port Everglades just sucks as I’ve now had both my worst embarkation and disembarkation (on a Nov 2009 cruise aboard Navigator) experiences at this port.

After finally(!) boarding the ship, we headed to lunch (at 2:00). Since dinner was in only a couple of hours, we all ate very light. After lunch, we moved into our cabins (three balconies in a row on Deck 7), unpacked, went to the muster drill, and dressed for dinner.

Our table in the MDR is on the middle tier (of a three story room) and in the far back corner. It has lots of room around it and is somewhat isolated from the other patrons. In short: ideal. In the interest of brevity, I went mention what everyone ate–I’ll just say that the meal seemed to be universally enjoyed by the family and of pretty high quality for a mass market cruise ship’s MDR. Emerson–as on Vision of the Seas this past summer–was a dream. She ate her ‘mole’ with gusto and despite the usual chaos of the first night amused herself for nearly two hours. Bravo!

It’s good to be back aboard Navigator. She remains the most architecturally impressive ship I’ve sailed upon. And, she might be a contender for being my favorite. But, she also feels perhaps a wee bit crowded.

Tomorrow’s our first day at sea.

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