Embarkation onto Explorer of the Seas – Miami, Florida, United States

We slept in a bit and then got everything together to make our embarkation time. After grabbing a cab we drove the 15 minute ride to the ship. As we pulled up, I could feel everyone`s excitement growing as they gazed at the enormity which would be our home for the next week.

The check in went by smoothly and we found our way up the gangway with no trouble at all. The ship, named Explorer of the Seas, was shiny and glittered as if she were still brand new. I must give it to the cleaning staff, they certainly know how to do their job. In fact, through the entire week, there was not a moment that would go by that you wouldn`t see someone with a mop, squeegee, or vacuum nearby.

After taking the glass elevators to the seventh floor, we passed through the library to the mile long corridors filled with doors. We ambled down the long teal carpeted hallways checking the numbers on the staterooms. Our room was pristine and the towels were folded just right. Every fixture gleamed and all the mirrors were without a single spot. I dropped my suitcase on the two seat turquoise couch and flopped onto the soft thick duvet covering the bed.

Erin went off to find the others while I relaxed and did a little writing. I managed to evade the dreaded muster drill and congratulated myself on this minor victory. It is one of the most annoying parts of the cruise where everyone gets herded onto the deck near the lifeboats for a safety demo. A pile of bored passengers standing around in the oversized bright orange lifejackets muttering complaints is not my idea of a fun time. No, this time I just stayed in the room and ignored the loud drone of the buzzer that permeated the entire ship for two minutes.

I made my way to the Guest Relations to get my internet sorted out and found that the info I had been given upon booking was wrong. I expected to have unlimited access to their Wi-Fi network for the price of $100 for the week. But apparently the unlimited deal only applied to Dial-up connection from your stateroom. And…they had already given out all 20 of the machines. If they had told me that less than one percent of the ship would be so lucky I would have been a little more discriminate when booking.

The receptionist offered me the alternative of 50 cents a minute Wi-Fi in certain hotspots around the ship. I explained flatly that this would not be an option considering I need to be online for minimum six hours a day in order to do my job. I was put off and they said they would see what they could do. Feeling defeated and dejected, I dragged my feet back to my stateroom to think of what I would do. I worked out how much this cruise would cost if I stayed on board and realized it was not feasible. I thought of going into port and working from an internet café every day but even that would be pushing it.

I decided to let it go until I heard something back and tried to put myself in a better head space. I met the others up on the top deck for a sunset drink before dinner. Everyone was all smiles as we sat back in the deck chairs to appreciate the scene before us. I have to admit that I was able to forget my worries for a short time.

The fiery sun sank heavily into the horizon splaying brilliant shades of cherry and peach through the sky. Only the deep blue sea separated us and what was left of our day. I glanced over at the row of new friends getting acquainted laughing joyfully with one another. As I inhaled the salty sea air into my lungs, I felt a sense of renewal mixed with a touch of nostalgia. A quickly reeled past the jumble of cruise memories I had accumulated throughout the years and wondered what would become of this next week.

We all met up for dinner in the Columbus formal dining room. After all nine of us were seated, we chattered away about how amazing and glamorous our ship was. The menu was up to par and I was glad to see my table mates getting into the swing of things already ordering dishes to share. There are far too many yummy choices to choose just one but we all know, one has only so much stomach space.

After eating we were all pretty exhausted and turned in relatively early. I think a few went out for a drink or two but I was happy to snuggle into my bed. I remembered how tranquil it was to let myself be rocked to sleep by the ever so gentle motion of the soothing ocean.

Grateful for sharing.

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