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Embarkation Day - Saturday, May 21, 2022

FTC Disclosure: Through business relationship with our suppliers, some may provide complimentary or discounted access to their locations and products to provide hands-on experiences to better assist my clients.

Kara: I’m starting out today’s journaling. Why? Because I slept the worst! We both had some up and down during the night but I was wide awake at 4 a.m. and never went back to sleep.

But, it’s embarkation day and so that means we persevere.

I got ready and grabbed breakfast for us while Gayle got ready. We met Hugo, the shuttle bus driver, promptly at 8 a.m. to head to the airport. There was one other guest with us on the bus. She was boarding a Southwest flight so instead of having Hugo drive all the way around the airport to drop us off on the B side, we got out and walked across the terminal and then down to the B side. We walked down to where the Disney Cruise Line waiting area is and checked in by 8:15am.

Our first official selfie of the trip at the Orlando Airport

We boarded the bus at 9am and left the airport by 9:10am. When we checked in we had our two checked bags and then my rolling backpack was full of bottled soda and water that we’d picked up at a convenience store. We checked all three bags which could have been a VERY BAD THING! So, note to all other cruisers and to our future selves - drinks are to go in the carry on bag and not in checked bags. We’ll get to what happened a bit later in the story.

Gayle: This was my fault. We never bring beverages, so I only kinda thought you had to carry it on. As “the planner” and travel agent, I should have double-checked. This won’t happen again! I was so upset with myself that even by the time we got to the Terminal, I couldn’t let it go….

Kara: We arrived at the port right at 10 a.m. and were in our testing tent by 10:10am. Testing was VERY efficient (especially since they were now using antigen tests) and we were waiting in our holding tent by 10:15am. The ship wasn’t even clear for people to enter the terminal yet so everyone was holding in Tent A even as they started to get cleared. The terminal opened just moments before we exchanged our masks for our lanyards and headed to the terminal.

Ahhhh … to be back in Port Canaveral with mostly proper Disney Cruise Line Castaway Club Platinum Check In. We breezed through security and headed to the waiting area by 10:40am. We took turns with restroom breaks in which Gayle - feeling concerned over our realization that our beverages would be confiscated - got some more water from the vending machine in the terminal (and at $2 a bottle there - it’s still way cheaper than on the ship). So, six bottles of water now were rolling along in her backpack.

We got our first mask free selfie since our return to cruising while we waited in the terminal.

Boarding began and we were on the ship in Boarding Group 4 by 11:45am. We stopped in the Atrium for a moment and grabbed a photo of Mickey Mouse and Goofy who were welcoming guests on board from the overlook of Deck 4.

We headed straight to Cabanas - arriving a few minutes before it officially opened - but they let us in!!

We enjoyed our regular buffet lunch (serving ourselves for the first time post - COVID). I don’t think either of us tried anything new at lunch today. We ran into Tony who was our server on our 8 night in October. Tony was on the path to become a head server and is now a full-time head server - and - BONUS - he’s our head server so we’ll get to visit with him more on this cruise.

After lunch we headed to our Muster Station which was at the Buena Vista Theatre. We met Marco, our safety officer, who is a server in our dining rotation and works near us so we’d get to see him again. He commented on how much he liked Platinum passengers because he didn’t have to go through the whole spiel.

We found seats in La Piazza and planned out some things for the week in the app while we waited for our room to be ready.

We headed to our stateroom where I called my dad (and my puppy) and bonus, my sister was also home so I got all three! Our bags arrived at 3:15pm and we met Neil from Indonesia (I think) - our stateroom host. We unpacked the bags like machines and then I grabbed a quick nap - or to coin a phrase - "our sail away party was a pajama party."

Dinner tonight was in Enchanted Garden with a menu we LOVE. We met our server Carlos from Honduras and our Assistant Server Amar from India. We also had a second assistant server Rafik. We’re not quite sure why we had two assistant servers so that’s something to explore.

Dinner was DIVINE!!!

I got the cucumber roll in addition to our typical lobster ravioli and sea bass. This sea bass was the best we’ve ever had on the ship. It was absolutely perfectly cooked tonight. The sauce was extra creamy and delicious.

Dessert was a Sundae for Gayle and a Pecan Tart for me. We even managed to solve the crayon puzzle tonight!

We "club hopped" for a bit - the start of the family dance party in The Tube and some quiet time in Skyline. Then it was time for our 8:30pm show, which was a new to us variety act - an a Capella group called Moonshot.

They were entertaining and as variety acts go, probably one of the ones we’ve enjoyed the most. That said, they were only okay - except for their “drummer” who was spectacular.

Side note: This is the YouTube video for Moonshot. Interestingly, only ONE of the members in this video (which was released in April 2021) was in the group on the ship. The “drummer/beat-boxer” was the only similar performer. The group said in the show that they had performed at all kinds of places around the Walt Disney World® Resort so not sure if this is a Disney-owned group where performers swap in and out regularly or something else. If you want a sample of what we heard, take a listen.

Now, we’re doing our typical room service and catching up on notes of the day before heading to bed.

Disclaimer: I (Gayle) am a travel agent with Authorized Disney Travel Planner agency - Off to Neverland Travel. Contact me today for a no-obligation quote!

As to Disney artwork, logos, and properties: ©Disney | Ship Registry: The Bahamas | CST# 2090317-40 / Fla. Seller of Travel Ref. No. ST37203

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