At the appointed moment the campground shuttle pulled up in front of our motor home so we would not have to lug our cruise bound suitcases any further than necessary. We shared the drive to the port with another couple from the campground who have never cruised before. However, they sounded extremely well traveled having spent two years RV’ing in South America and traveling to Antarctica from there. They also RV’ed in Norway and sailed a boat many places. They had been away from the US for 17 years and sounded quite dubious about cruising. It seemed like they had heard so much about it, they thought they better try it. If we run into them again, we will have to pick their brains for more great travel adventures to add to our bucket list.
The shuttle dropped us off where the porters took our luggage away, we checked in quickly and efficiently and we were on board in no time. I was hit with an odd feeling of deja vu. I used to feel like I only had one home. These days I feel equally at home in the RV, but getting on that ship made me feel just as at home. We had just spent a month on the little sister of the Voyager of the Seas in November and and it all felt so familiar and comfortable.
It took about eight hours to sail away from New Orleans and into the ocean. New Orleans feels like a sea port, but it actually is 150 miles way from the gulf. Although we passed a small town now and then, the entire route was full of petroleum related industrial looking complexes. This is the infamous Plaquemines Parish that was in the news so much when the Deepwater Horizon exploded. We heard a lot about crude oil getting into all the nooks and crannies of the waterways here, but judging by what we passed sailing away, it could have hardly been a pristine area in the first place.
We have finally reach Diamond status on Royal Caribbean because we have sailed 180 days on RCL and its sister lines. This entitles us special treats and amenities above and beyond what we have enjoyed in the past. Every late afternoon/early evening we can enjoy the hemispheric lounge at the top of the ship that provides 270º views of the sail while sipping free champagne and wine. ID’s checked at the door to make sure no low class riff raff get in. That will be hard to get used to. We also have a special breakfast area where the waiters will bring us anything we want away from the hoi polloi. This week will go by all too quickly.