|Pre-Cruise Fun, Embarkation Day|
This year we decided to do something a little different and drive down to Fort Lauderdale a couple of days early. We stayed at the beautiful Coconut Cove Guest House located on the beach, about a mile South of Sunrise Blvd and about five minutes from Port Everglades. Several other bears were staying there too. It was nice being able to relax and unwind a bit before the cruise. It was also nice to be able to sleep in every morning (no alarm cat) and to relax in the hot tub. On Friday afternoon we attended the Chumley's pre-cruise party at the Schubert resort. There I was pleasantly surprised to run into my friend Andy from New Hampshire whom I had not seen in several years,.
The next morning (Saturday) Andy and his buddy Hux joined us for the drive to the port. As in past years, we decided to pay the extortion and park at the terminal. And parked next to the Costa Atlantica was the Crown Princess (the ship for Chumley's 2010) and Royal Caribbean's new Oasis of the Seas. The Oasis was huge! Most everyone we talked to can't wait to take a cruise on her at some point.
Check-in was a bit chaotic, but we managed to get through it and get on board pretty quickly. The ship's interior was definitely Italian ornate to the point of gaudiness! Once on board we headed to the buffet for lunch. Then when our cabin (8186) was ready we stopped by there to drop off our carry-on luggage and to enjoy some champagne and canapes I ordered up for David. After that we explored the ship a little.
That evening was a private welcoming party in the Coral Lounge on deck one, forward. There we got to see all 300 bears in the group, including a couple dozen or so guys from prior Bear Voyage cruises. We also caught up with several friends, including Tim and Darin from Delaware and Dr. Don. Information was given about the week's activities including our private excursions. The party also featured an open bar. The bartenders and servers were kept busy trying to keep up with all the drink orders (bears drink a lot). Plus servers were walking around with trays of premixed cocktails for everyone. After the party we all staggered up to the dining room for our first group dinner.
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