I woke up at 6:45 this morning. I made a cup of room coffee and headed for some exercise. The hotel was very quiet, I guess because it’s a Sunday morning. I was surprised to find a small but nicely equipped fitness room. I only did 30 minutes on the elliptical and then climbed the stairs back to our 5th floor room feeling ready to face the world. Showered, dressed and to breakfast. Everyone else was just finishing when Kay and I arrived.

We still had about 2 hours before our shuttle ride to the port so David, Li, Kay and I decided to walk a bid. We went around a couple of blocks which registered about 1 mile on the Fitbit. After returning to the room we finished packing and settled down to read while waiting. At about 10:30 Janet called and said the driver was ready when we were so we left about 30 minutes early.

The check-in procedure at the terminal was painless and we were on the ship before 11:30 and in our cabins at 12:00. Although food was available on the Lido, we checked and a Mariners Lunch (for repeat cruisers) was available in the main dining room so we chose that. The interesting thing is that these are not announced and if you haven’t sailed previously with Holland America you would probably not know about them. A full menu is available and I had an excellent maple glazed baked salmon served over rice with fresh steamed vegetables. This was followed by a fresh fruit tart and coffee. The meal was excellent.

Some views of our “Home away from Home”

After lunch we went our own ways. Kay and I returned to the cabin to find our luggage. We did our unpacking and settled into our home for the next 3 weeks. At 3:15 we had to attend the dreaded mandatory Life Boat Safety Drill. It actually went better and faster than usual. This could be because within a minute of the alarm sounding our cabin steward was at our door to rush us out. We have previously joked about the passenger’s on the upper floors always being late to the drills, perhaps HA is prodding them to speed up a bit.


Fresh fruits ready to be loaded for our soon to be meals..

Following the drill, we did some additional “housekeeping”. We signed up for unlimited laundry service, an absolute must at $7/day. Thankfully after this cruise we will be 4-Star Mariners {200+ sailing days with HA) and will qualify for FREE laundry service along with additional discounts on wine packages (50% off) and other goodies. We also signed up for a spa special, unlimited visits to the Thermal suite & Hydropool. I hope it’s as good as it sounds “ ..the ambiance of a Turkish bath. Multiple grottos and chambers release a variety of dry heat, hot steam and aromatherapy vapors. De-stress in a heated ceramic lounge that is designed to match the curvature of your spine and melt away muscle tension. … Hydropool is enriched with mineralized water, heated to body temperature which gently embraces you with warmth while jets massage your body..” Well we will see.. While there I also scheduled a haircut for the first sea day – Tuesday.

It never ceases to fascinate me how the crew works continuously on the upkeep and maintenance of the ships. These guys were painting literally outside our veranda on a crane about 5 stories high.

We have early dining at 5:15, which is a bit too early, but late dining is just too late. Tonight I started with baked scallops with a fresh fruit chutney followed with barley and mushroom soup. For my entrée I selected a baked tuna steak with vegetables and fingerling potatoes. The tuna was a perfect medium rare. I must confess that I also ate about half of Kay’s huge serving of prime rib which was also delicious. I followed this with a banana crisp dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream and coffee.

Janet, Carl, Kay and I decided to watch the movie in the theater tonight since we had already seen the scheduled show in the show room. David and Li were just planning to go to the upper deck. We were expecting Wolverine, but instead it was Great Expectations so we decided to bail on that one. Instead we walked the promenade deck four times, 1.15 miles. Well we need all this exercise if we plan to keep eating like we are…

It has been a long day, so we just returned to the room. Kay read awhile and is already asleep while I finish this post. We will be in Key West tomorrow afternoon. We don’t have anything planned since we have all been here before (and will be back in 2 weeks).

So… good night, I will see you tomorrow.