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Day #1, Fort Lauderdale

We departed for Fort Lauderdale today to our 11-day cruise to partially transit the Panama Canal. Libby and I have considered this itinerary a number of times over the years only to opt for some other travel option. Why? The dates have typically been less than ideal for Libby’s schedule, the cruise tends to be pricey relative to others, and we’ve never been especially jazzed about the large number of days at sea. But, this year we’re doing it — I liked the idea of not flying and not being especially busy. Plus, it’ll add four new countries for us, which is a difficult to achieve haul for us these days.

Last night, I received an email saying that our boarding would be delayed due to “technical difficulties.” Holland America instructed us to arrive mid-afternoon. Fine. We still left early, but we went to he Sawgrass Mills mall to shop and have lunch @ Matchbox in Sunrise before driving to the port.

The port–on a random Wednesday–was very quite compared to the bustle that’s more typical of a Thanksgiving cruise weekend departure. Our fellow guests–mostly retirees–seemed to have ignored the instructions from HAL re: boarding. I have to imagine that there were delays earlier in the day when boarding was denied, but we waltzed at our appointed time from the parking lot, thru the terminal, and onto to the ship without any delays.

We have an aft balcony cabin (#7145) on Zuiderdam. Our cabin is typical of this class of ship (we’d sailed on a sister ship, Westerdam, with the entire family a few years back), although the balcony is extra deep. Mom and Emerson have an inside cabin opposite us, though their door is around the corner.

Zuiderdam, Cabin 7145

View of balcony, Zuiderdam Cabin 7145

The rest of the first day was typical. We did the requisite muster drill. We made speciality dining reservations (limited on this ship). We ate dinner in the main dining room (generally decent or better with fairly good service for a first night aboard).

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