Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day 1, May 4, 2015, Serenity Crossing – Leaving Miami

We got another restful night’s sleep.  Julie had purchased the cruise package with the hotel that gave us late checkout at 2pm.  Crystal had called last week to inform us that we could not board until 2pm, so the plan was to leave at about 1pm or so to get to the Port.

After another continental breakfast at the hotel, we decided to start the day with a walk.  We made it down to the ocean area where there was an excellent walkway behind all of the large buildings.  We just kept walking and made it out to Brickell Island where the Mandarin Oriental hotel was located.  As we rounded the east side of the hotel, we could see the Crystal Serenity off in the distance (it is the ship on the right, next to an NCL and a Carnival ship).

This building has the odd stepped architecture reminded Bob of the Q Bert video game from a long time ago.  Clearly he has been teaching video games too much.

We kept walking and then ended up by the Miami River where several very large yachts were docked.  

We watched the drawbridge go up to let a couple of boats through and then headed back to the hotel.  All in all, for the day, we walked 15,000 steps and 9 miles. 

We finished packing our stuff and ended up leaving right around 1pm.  We got a taxi this time as we were concerned that the port might have some kind of regulations that would make Uber not work.  This was not a factor and we made it to the dock without incidence.  We then went through security and were greeted by waiters offering champagne or other drinks.  We both had some champagne and waited in line to check in.  After that, we went to a holding area and were given a blue group boarding card.  They used the cards to send people onto the ship in waves so as to not overwhelm everything.  Eventually we boarded the Serenity at about 2:30.

Our rooms were not ready yet, so we went to the Lido and grabbed a quick bite to eat.  When we were eating, they made an announcement that the rooms were ready, so we headed to our room.  When we got there, we didn’t have any luggage and noticed that a different couple’s name was on some correspondence in the mail holder on the door.  We went down to the desk to see if we had the wrong room number.  Fortunately, we did have the right number (our luggage would have gone to the wrong place if that were the fact) and the piece of mail was wrong. 

In the meantime our luggage began arriving and we started to unpack.  It came in slowly, which was about perfect as we were able to get one piece unpacked and then another would show up.  We were able to get everything unpacked by about 4:30.  The next event was the muster drill at 5:30. 

After our muster drill, we met Les in the Crystal Cove for pre-dinner cocktails.  Les is a single cruiser that we sponsored.  After drinks, the three of us headed to dinner in the dining by reservations at 6:30 (we pushed the time back 15 minutes because of the muster drill). 

For the appetizer, Bob and Julie both had shrimp cocktail, which was simple, but excellent. 

Les had Tuna and Scallop Ceviche, White Meso Soup.  The presentation was amazing and Les said it was fantastic.

For the soup/salad course, Bob had Cuban Garbanzo Bean Salad with Peppers, Red Onions, Tomato, Lime, Cumin & Coriander.  Julie had a Caesar Salad, while Les had the Crab Soup with Brie Cheese.  All of us thought that they were very good.

Entrees were next, Bob had Grilled Black Angus Sirloin Steak, with Sauce Béarnaise, Baked Beans in Filo Cup, Grilled Zucchini and Country Fried Potatoes.  Bob thought that the steak was very good and the Béarnaise was amazing.

Julie had the Black Pepper Crusted Salmon with Celeriac Puree, Broccoli & Merlot Red Wine Sauce.

Finally, Les had Pink-Roasted Milk-Fed Veal Rib Eye from the Modern Menu.  That included Pumpkin Pearl Pasta & Broccolini.

For desert, Les and Bob both had an assortment of cheeses.  Julie had the Raspberry Zuppa Inglese, Vanilla Cream, White Sponge Cake, Raspberries & Soft Meringue.

After dinner, Bob and Julie decided to skip the welcome show and went to the movie: Selma.  After that, we went to the Avenue Saloon and then went to bed.  Unfortunately, tonight we had to set the clock ahead an hour, the first of many.

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