Embarkation Day finally arrived! It was a lovely morning weather-wise. We were allowed to board at Noon, so we had the whole morning to explore more of the Inner Harbor and grab some breakfast. There was a Starbucks in our hotel, then we just walked around the Harbor some more. We found this right across the street from our hotel:
Why did we not see this earlier?! It was a Sunday and they didn’t open until Noon. We’d be boarding the ship by then, I was so disappointed.
Anyway, back to the real reason we were in Baltimore!
We arrived at the Port around 11:45am. We got in a long line of cars, many of which were being told to leave and come back later. We were fortunate enough to have Priority boarding, so we were waved right in. We drove down to an area where they were loading luggage onto big carts. All we had to do was open our back hatch and they were right there to take our luggage. We then parked, walked over to the terminal and got in line. We went through security and got our sign & sail cards. 45 minutes after arriving at the port, we were on board!
Within 30 minutes of being on board, these were ordered and in our hands. There is nothing more satisfying than your first umbrella drink. And it was as delicious as it looks.
We were able to access our room right when we got on board since we were in an Ocean Suite. (We splurged for a suite, and it was SO worth it!)
With the suite came some nice amenities, such as Priority Embarking and Debarking. This alone was a fantastic perk. We also had a load of laundry done for us. Not to mention, we had a giant room, with a Jacuzzi tub and a HUGE balcony. I think we’ll have a hard time going backwards after having all of this luxury.
This kind of shows how large the outdoor space was. We had 3 chairs, a table and a lounge chair. And plenty of space to move around.
After settling in, having our first drink and attending a “Meet-and-Greet” for a group we met on Facebook, we wandered around the ship to figure out where things were. Our cabin was on Deck 6, the Empress Deck. This was a nice centrally located area.
Deck 2 was the Promenade Deck. The Main Dining Room and the Alchemy Bar were here, as well as the Casino, the Sports Bar, the Red Frog Pub. The Atrium is also on Deck 2 as well as a new Sushi restaurant. Also on this deck is the main entrance to the Taj Majal.
Deck 3 was the Atlantic Deck that had an outside Promenade. Deck 3 was the deck with all the shops, the Photo Gallery, Piano Bar, and an entrance to the Taj Mahal and Comedy Club. There was also the “Sunset Garden” Promenade, which was a lovely, quiet area to walk or relax with portholes to gaze out into the ocean. (Top right photo above.)
Deck 9 was the Lido Deck. This is where all the action is as well as the buffet. The Serenity (adults 21+) area is at the back of the ship on the Lido Deck.
Those were the places we visited the most. And our room was right in between all the fun. Plus it was very quiet on the Empress Deck. We’re active people, so we took the stairs pretty much the whole week. A little exercise is a good thing while you’re on vacation!
It started raining just before the sail-away, which didn’t make for nice photographic opportunities. We got a few pictures, but didn’t stay outside very long. The nice thing about the rainy sail-away, it was just about the last bit of rain we had all week. So if it was going to rain at all, I’ll take it on the first day and be done with it.
We dined in the Main Dining Room (MDR) every night of the cruise. The first night we were without table mates, so it was just the 2 of us. I’ll do a post about the food and experience in the MDR later in the week. We enjoyed dining there and had a fabulous wait staff.
After dinner, we went to the Lido deck for the first of many “Dive-In Movies.” The first night was “Ghostbusters 2.” We had already seen the movie, but it was fun, so we hung around. After the movie, we were beat and headed back to the room. It had a been a long day and we needed some rest.
Our first “Fun Day at Sea” tomorrow! Stay tuned for another post.