Liz and John's South American Grand Cruise 2014 travel blog

Sunday 5 January

Day 5 - We leave Fort Lauderdale

We were in real anticipation mode this morning. We'd done most of our packing up yesterday so had time to have a relaxed breakfast, settle our bill and wait for our transport to the docks. The transport arrived an hour early so I'm glad we were organised. There was an amazing array of ships in the various docks. The driver said it could accommodate up to 20 cruise ships at a time (Gold Coast go eat your heart out!). There were about eight in ranging from our little MV Prinsendam with 780 passengers to a massive Carnival Cruise ship catering for 6000!

We were processed incredibly quickly and before we knew it we were on the ship. Like all HAL ships it's beautifully appointed and with a similar layout to their larger ships but it felt much more intimate. We were actually met at the gangplank by the English Captain who hailed from Yorkshire. We went straight to our State Room and I must admit we were pretty impressed. It was beautifully furnished, larger than I though it would be and had plenty of storage space - just as well considering the amount of stuff we took with us! After lunch, we unpacked our cases, got our room into ship shape and went to explore the ship. The ship wasn't leaving until 11pm so there was no rocking and rolling yet. A storm was forecast and I thought about John and his usual problem with sea sickness. We hoped he wouldn't be affected this early!

We had dinner quite late and met our dinner companions for the cruise. There was an English couple and an American couple and they were pleasant and talkative. The sea ended up being like a millpond so no problems there. We were talking so much we missed the first show and at ten we were both half asleep so it was a mother early night. Tomorrow we have a sea day and pure indulgent relaxation.

Monday 6 January

Day 6 - Sea Day travelling through the Bahamas and around Cuba

A glorious indulgent day of relaxation, exploring the boat, starting to make friends and the battleground of Trivia! John's got rid of his cold and is full of energy. My cold is lingering a bit but I'm better than yesterday. We were up at six, had breakfast in our room at half six and were ready to do some exercise. John walked around the deck a few times while I was going to swim, but the nets were still over the pools so I had to delay it until later. However I did do the Tai Chi and that was great. I'm going to try to do it daily. We did our first Trivia game and we teamed up with three Americans and another Aussie. All denied they were in to win and were laid back about the games, but when we started to get most of the answers right, competition mode set in! We ended up coming second. The prize was actually in cruise dollars which can be spent at the end of the cruise. We won $2! I then had a swim and getting into these pools always produced a few problems. A bit like levering a whale into a tank. But once in, though cold, it was glorious. John then went off to play golf and came second winning more cruise dollars. Is this going to be a way of paying for our next cruise? While we were resting after our sporting attempts, the captain said he had to change the ship's course because of extremely bad weather and rough seas, so we went around the Western side of Cuba instead of the East. It's good to see we don't have an Italian Captain. The rest of the day was spent doing very little. Oh this is the life! We'll attempt the show tonight if we don't talk so much at dinner!

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