Today we were back in Fort Lauderdale at the turnaround point in our cruise. Last week we cruised the eastern Caribbean. This week we explore the west. Many people were just on board for the 7 days so there was a big exodus this morning, around 1500 people got off, and 1300 got on, so we will have even more space this coming week.
We had some business to attend to as well. US regulations are that even transit passengers like ourselves have to be tested for covid, get off and pass through immigration again. It sounds like more of a pain than it was.
We had to go to one of the lounges at 745 this morning where they had set up 12 testing stations manned by personnel from the medical centre. They administered each of us with a lateral flow test. After that we went for breakfast.
At 915 we assembled again in a lounge and were escorted off this ship, into the cruise terminal, through US immigration (very very cursory) and then back on board. We were back in the cabin for 1015. We hadn’t had to pack up or anything, we are in the same cabin as last week. I dont know whether anyone actually tested positive. If so, they would be taken off, but I doubt anyone did. No sign of it anyway.
We went up to the Retreat, the adults only pool area for the rest of the day. Not that there are any children on board, but it is a quiet area. No music or activities going on. Really nice actually. I think we will make it our base from here on in. It has its own bar so service was good.
We set sail at around 430 complete with Love Boat blasts on the horn and everyone waving again. Very hot day today. We are all very brown now.
Tonight we had reserved to eat dinner in the Crown Grill, one of the speciality restaurants aboard, available at extra charge. It is the premier steak and grill restaurant aboard and it costs $29 (£22) per head for a potentially multi course dinner.
It’s a very lovely room, golden and wooden at the same time. Nice atmosphere. We met for cocktails in their bar area and then went in. I started with a steak tartare, charred on the outside and served with polenta fries and parmesan crisps and a quails egg fried. To be honest, I prefer a classic raw tartare. This felt like it had been homogenised somehow to appeal to a sqeamish audience. The charred outside somehow turned the tartare into a blue burger…. not sspecial.
Then I had a seafood appetiser that was truly delicious. Fresh, large scallops and clams in a veloute of wine and cream. Delicious.
Main courses were steaks. Bob, Stuart and I had the 22 oz porterhouses. Fi had a fillet. The porterhouses were a bit sinewy in parts. But very well flavoured and nice. They were served with garkic fries, creamed spinach, steamed asparagus, mashed redskin potatoes.. It was a lot of food. We had to have a break before dessert.
Bob and Fi had rhubarb cobbler with ice cream, Stuart had key lime pie, I had a chocolate and blonde toffee brownie bar.
It was a delicous meal and thoroughly worth the supplement. Afterwards we sat in their bar and marvelled at how quiet the ship felt.