Before 2 am the rain was so heavy in Fort Lauderdale that it could be heard over the room’s air conditioning. I was still having trouble sleeping because of jet lag and was wide awake.
I went out onto the balcony and took pictures of the late night traffic passing by the hotel.
Our cruise through the Panama Canal started in Fort Lauderdale and would take us to Aruba, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and finally San Francisco and then onto Monterey.
On Thursday 12th October we left a wet Fort Lauderdale and boarded Princess Cruise’s Coral Princess for our first night at sea.
SE 17th Street just before 2 am
Leaving the hotel
After our early morning cups of tea we still had time to finish up the last minute packing. The cases were all left in the dining room area of the suite ready to be picked by the hotel porters while we were at breakfast.
Breakfast in the Atrium was even busier than the previous days with free tables being in short supply. After a short queue I had my cheese/mushroom/onion omelette plus some slices of bacon. My request for fillings was again the simplest that I heard in the queue!
The suitcases had gone by the time we returned to the suite. A walk across SE 17th Street to the supermarket for last minute items took a few minutes.
Check out was before 11 am and this was then we discovered the cost of calling the toll free and local numbers when I had been trying to sort out transportation to the Sawgrass Mills shopping mall.
Waiting in the lobby for the Princess Cruises’ representatives was fraught as we were surrounded by seniors brandishing walking sticks oblivious to everyone around them. The good news was that we could see our cases in the corralled area waiting for our transport to the docks.
When the representatives arrived we had to identify our pieces of luggage which then received a yellow sticker.
There were to be two coaches, each with 40 passengers, to the port. We were on the first bus and after queuing in the rain we had our names checked once again. Our hand baggage just about fitted into the overhead lockers so that we could have some room to sit.
By now our fellow passengers were getting frazzled especially as we had two passengers missing from the coach. We were treated to an explosive outburst when the representative was told by passengers at the front of the coach that this was the worst experience for a port transfer EVER!
Once everyone calmed we were told that once at the port we had to wait on the coach until the driver had put all the suitcases kerbside. After the representative had left, the driver explained that the cases could be on either coach(!) as the hotel’s porters simply loaded all the cases with yellow stickers from the lobby.