Early afternoon: Our press group began embarkation at Port Everglades just before noon. Security and the health questionnaire checkpoint moved very quickly, thanks to the efficient setup on the first level of the cruise terminal. Next, we proceeded upstairs to check in. Check in was very quick, minus the minor wait for our room keys to be printed, but we were soon on our way towards the gangway. Very quickly, I found myself making the step from the gangway to the Nieuw Amsterdam. Crossing over from land to the sea is always one of my favorite moments of a cruise. It truly marks crossing over to another world.
Afternoon: Once we were onboard, it was time to check out our stateroom. Our verandah stateroom, 6169, was prepared and ready to become our home for the next week. I was lucky to find a plate of chocolate covered strawberries, a bottle of sparking apple cider, and a warm welcome not from the senior officers of the Nieuw Amsterdam. I quickly headed towards the balcony to take in the view. Docked across from us was Celebrity’s Celebrity Silhouette and Holland America Line’s ms Eurodam, my first Holland ship. After becoming acquainted with stateroom 6169, we made our way up to the Lido Restaurant to grab a bite to eat. The lunch rush was already in full swing, but many tables still found themselves without a partner. After grabbing some samplings of Indonesian and Asian cuisine from the “Around the World” buffet, we grabbed a table overlooking Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas. Today was truly a day for the ship lovers. The Lido lunch was excellent and was a great option to fill up before dinner later in the evening. I decided to spend the rest of the afternoon filming the fitness center, spa, and the Cabana Club. The afternoon quickly came to an end with the sounding of 7 short and 1 long on the ship’s horn. It was time for muster drill. The muster drill was quick and painless. After a quick roll call (Fun fact: Holland America Line will disembark guests who choose not to participate in the muster drill – a wise policy) and a lifejacket demonstration, we were released from the drill and made our way back into our air conditioned ship.
Early evening: Soon enough, our ropes were released, pulled in, and we cast off from our dock. The Nieuw Amsterdam was on her way, following Princess’ Royal Princess. As we made our way towards the jetties of Port Everglades, the entire port was treated to two round of the Royal Princess’ horns, which plays a short excerpt from the Love Boat’s theme song. (Video coming soon) I quickly looked around hoping to spot Julie throwing confetti or Gopher with his signature point and laugh. Soon, we were gliding out of Port Everglades past the John U Lloyd State Park jetty and the beaches of South Florida. The Nieuw Amsterdam had left the port and was heading towards Half Moon Cay.
Evening: The evening began with a cocktail reception, hosted by our Holland group leaders, Sally and Jocelyn. Both Sally and Jocelyn have been very warm and welcoming, ensuring we have a great sailing. I also met up with fellow cruise writers Chris Owen and Jason Leppert, who I’d be dining with later in the evening. Soon, Stan Kuppens, the Nieuw Amsterdam’s Hotel Director joined our reception and made his way over to me. I met Stan last year on the Eurodam and it was fantastic to see him again. We had a chance to catch up and become reacquainted. For those who have sailed with Stan, we all know how much he cares about his ship and guests. No doubt, thanks to Stan, Sally, and Jocelyn, this sailing will be a fantastic one. Dinner soon approached and our group made its way to the Manhattan Dining Room. I decided on a Caesar salad and the Prime rib au jus for dinner this past evening. As expected, the salad was fresh and tasty. The prime rib was cooked perfectly and was complemented by a sweet, light sauce along with a warm, baked potato. The meal was topped by a warm apple tart with vanilla sauce. My first dinner aboard Nieuw Amsterdam was perfect and a great start to a sailing full of excellent dining.
Tonight was to be an early night for me. After a day of traveling, an early night is just what I needed before our warm, sunny day at Half Moon Cay.
Editor of Cruise Currents, Mike Faust, is currently sailing on a 7 night western Caribbean sailing aboard Holland America Line’s Nieuw Amsterdam. While aboard, Mike will cover the Dancing with the Stars At Sea Finale.