When we first started cruising, Caribbean bound ships left from Miami. When that port became over crowded, Ft. Lauderdale's port called Port Everglades opened up. Leaving from there was a slightly lonely experience. Not any more! The harbor was stuffed with seven ships parked nose to nose and the area was a frenzy of people leaving and new people boarding and a massive suitcase migration. Most likely the same sized crowds were also here yesterday since weekend departures make sense for most people. Eighteen wheelers pulled up to loading docks and brought millions of delicious calories for us to consume in the week ahead. Getting 2,500 people on board does take awhile, especially with the additional security procedures required these days. We showed our passports and tickets about every fifty feet. However, cruise staff were as efficient as could be and we were on board in plenty of time for the buffet lunch.
Suitcase loading took much longer than our experience would dictate. For about two hours one of the lobbies on our floor was totally blocked with a mountain of luggage. Ours did not make it to the cabin until after we had already sailed. Contrary to Ken's optimistic predictions the ship is full. The marketing staff kept lowering the price until every cabin was filled. A lesson to be learned here. We got a good price, but should have waited til the fat lady was about to sing.
The Magica belongs to the Costa line which is owned by Carnival, the mega cruise ship company these days. It retains some of the European/Italian feel we remember from past sailings. All important announcements - the life boat drill procedures for example - are recited in English, Italian, Spanish, French, and German. Takes a bit of time, but as we wander around we do hear lots of language that does not resemble ours, so perhaps this babel is for the best. A past course is part of every dinner; it's the Italian way. The decor is slightly over the top as it was on the Carnival Pride we sailed on last. The same designer decorated both ships and his style choices reflect his flamboyant personality.
We receive network TV so we should be able to stay on top of the news. However, all the network channels are from Denver which will be three hours behind us. Once again Ken wrestles with the question - will he be able to watch the Bears game tomorrow? Stay tuned!