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Ft. Lauderdale, USA

Embarkation Saturday, March 13, 2004
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Ft. Lauderdale
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Ft. Lauderdale

Sunny Ft. Lauderdale

Port Everglades

After waking up to an in-room breakfast, I ventured out for a walk to explore the intra-coastal area. There is lots of good mega-yacht viewing in this area. The area is highly accessible for walking and biking.

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Lunch by the Marina

Dockside in Lauderdale

After a long walk, I had lunch at the cabana behind the Marriott. The Cuban sandwich was excellent, but my favorite was the previous days lunch at Ugly Tuna, on the Riverwalk.

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Embarkation

Cruise Ships at Port Everglades

The ship states embarkation at 3:00 p.m. While you can board earlier than that, your stateroom is not ready, so you have to wait in a public area with your carryon, so I recommend boarding when your cabin is ready. I got a late check-out at the Marriott and left just before 3:00 p.m. The short 10 minute taxi to Terminal 25 at Port Everglades was $5.00

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Boarding the Ship

Champagne in Stateroom

After a very brief check-in pier side, I got my cabin card and had them swipe my credit card to onboard charges. All within five minutes I was aboard the ship and escorted to my cabin.

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Stateroom 857

View of Stateroom

Towards the back of the ship, my stateroom had a separate walk-in closet, a generous sitting area and balcony. The cabin is in Voyager style, with beautiful marble bath area. There are plenty of outlets for charging your computer, camera, or video equipment. A bottle of champagne was waiting for me along with a selection of two bottles of liquor which is brought later to your cabin. Radisson is very classy with it's cabin preparation and providing a fully stocked refrigerator bar.

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Touring the Ship

Deck Party at Departure

After unpacking and sending the tuxedo off for a pressing, I got my camera and started exploring the ship. With Radisson, the Navigator, Mariner and Voyager have very similar ship layouts. Maps are located throughout the ship, so you are never without direction.

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Departure

Departing Pier

After the lifeboat drill at 5:15 p.m., there was bon-voyage deck party where the staff is introduced to the passengers, then docking lines are dropped as the port Pilot assists the Captain backing the ship out and then proceeding through the channel and out to sea. By the time we were out of the channel, the Sun was just setting on the horizon.

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Sunset Cocktails

Sunset over Lauderdale

After changing into evening attire (jacket and tie) I went up to Galileo's Bar which is on the top of the ship, aft, for a pre-dinner martini. Usually on the first day, they have a get-together for solo travelers. Attendance is usually sparse, and you're better off meeting fellow passengers on your own.

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Dinner at Compass Rose

Ship Headed to the Open Ocean

At 7:30 p.m. a group of us went to the Compass Rose for a very nice dinner. As with all Radisson ships, the food is excellent.

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At Sea

Newsletter Front

Usually the first night on a cruise is when you'll find most of the lounges empty, and this was no exception. I retired early to my stateroom to order some late-night room service (soup and pizza). The TV monitor in the cabin lists the ships position and speed, which was an average 18 knots. For most of the evening we shadowed the Florida Keys, staying about 12 miles offshore (as checked by GPS).

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Ship Vibrations

Newsletter Back

Out of 15 cruises, I've never experienced ship vibrations like this. On Voyager, they had a ship vibration problem at the back of the ship, but it did not translate into the cabins, as far as I know. This is different. The shaking is so bad, that different fixtures in the room were rattling. The TV was so bad, that I had to stuff some towels under it because it was so loud. At times, the vibration was teeth chattering. It took a long time to fall asleep, since the engine hum was so prevalent. When I asked about the Voyager vibration, I was told by a number of sources that it was the nature of the flatter bottomed ships, produced by Mariotti Shipyards in Italy. If I had a ship like this, I'd send it back to get it fixed, it's that bad. In this day and age, there's simply no reason for a bad ship vibration. On all the ships I've been on from the Swedish and Finnish yards, there is not vibration whatsoever. The next morning I inquired at the Reception Desk, and I was told this was normal ship movement. I can accept the rolling and pitching of a ship, but vibrations certainly are not normal movement.

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Additional Photographs: Embarkation

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Photo Highlights from this Day ... for all photos, please click on the < or > as indicated above. There are as many as five sets of photos for each day of the cruise.

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