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March 19th 2022
Published: March 19th 2022
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Friday, March 18, 2022

Port of Miami

This voyage across the Atlantic will transport us from Miami to Rome. We have rescheduled this trip multiple times – all thanks to a global pandemic. And here we are FINALLY on-board Riviera and ready to relax and sail the seas over the next month. Yes, you read that right – 28 days from Miami to Rome – with a few stops in between.

We spent the last week in Naples, Florida with the dearest of friends – some who came from California and Boston to bid us farewell. Now that’s friendship, or perhaps love. Our “family of choice” as we have referred to this particular group consists of a rag-tag bunch of global wanderers who seek adventure at every turn. Most of us are retired. Some are still working for “the man” and to a person, all love to travel and have been with us on previous sailings. It all started for the two of us at a Villa in Siena. We met and were adopted by this group and our life has been better for it. When I say we are lucky, I’m not kidding.

OK…so the car service picked us up this morning at 10am in Naples and delivered us to the Port of Miami before noon. Yes, he was flying low. The porter who took our luggage said we took the prize…10 pieces of luggage. We pack light – NOT. This is a truly special trip because we don’t plan on a return to the US. Our plan to move to Italy, after years of planning and a LOT of LUCK has finally come to fruition. Arezzo, here we come.

Because of Covid, the entire process of checking in, boarding and such has changed. We checked in at home, took pictures, entered all pertinent information which made the “day of sailing” much, much easier. The only hang up, if one wishes to call it such was the covid screening. We had to present results of an antigen test (not older than 48 hours) as well as proof of vaccine and booster. Done and done.

The line moved quickly, but there’s ALWAYS one in the crowd who has to complain about something (everything?). A woman behind Christopher started out with “we didn’t have to do this when we sailed from Barcelona two years ago” – let’s see…probably BEFORE the pandemic AND in a foreign country. This process is regulated by the CDC. Then she went on complaining that “this is more like Celebrity than Oceania, I. AM. ANGRY.” Poor dear. I wonder how she’d handle a serious issue. She left the line MULTIPLE times to complain to anyone who’d listen…when she returned to the line, she became MORE irate because “no-one is DOING ANYTHING.” First world problems. The line lasted no more than one hour and if one followed directions, the process was quite simple. I think some people just like to complain and hear the sound of their voice – no matter what they say. Tiresome.

Finally on board, we went straight to the room. Our “upgrade” came through and we moved from the Concierge level to the Penthouse level – for a voyage such as this – with so many sea days, a nice comfortable room is essential. Check.

We had lunch at Waves on the pool deck – hot dog and strawberry shake for us both looking over the port of Miami – our eyes focused on the Zaha Hadid building (the exoskeleton) which is a work of art. Back to our room to unpack…which took a while. Nothing from the peanut gallery!!!

After we unpacked, we went to the Spa to schedule a massage. Tomorrow, we get pampered. It was supposed to be a sea day – but as it happens, we’ll be docking at Nassau, Bahamas. Evidently, there’s QUITE a storm at sea with 30 ft waves on the way to Bermuda. Mind you, prior to embarkation, we had to jump through hoops and pay a fee to be able to disembark in Bermuda. Oceania has graciously offered us all a refund. Class Act. In an abundance of caution, the captain chose to take a more southernly route to Lisbon. So, tomorrow, the Bahamas – which we’ve not experienced previously. I’m SURE the crazy complainer is beyond consoling at this point. Hope we never see her again.

After making spa appointments we took a soak in the hot tub at the bow, just off the spa. GLORIOUS. I just love a jetted hot tub. We soaked. We relaxed. We’re off to a good start. Back to the room, a rest, shower a few phone calls – before we “go dark” – Airplane Mode – and it’s now time for dinner.

On our way to dinner, we stopped at Horizons Lounge to watch the sail away, scheduled for 7pm – dinner reservations were for 7:30. By 7:15 we hadn’t moved. Engines weren’t even rumbling. Hmmmmm.

We had to leave for dinner so we walked along he deck and just stopped to look at the wall of high-rise buildings along the port. Condos and hotels I’m guessing – the view must be tremendous from there. Anyway, I looked down and saw a sad situation. An ambulance, with lights on was parked alongside the ship. There was a man looking at his watch standing by his luggage. I saw a gurney being loaded into the Ambulance. How unfortunate. After going through all the tests, cancellations and such to finally get on board only to be sidelined by some malady and instead be carried off to who knows where. Of course, we shall never know what happened – I only wish “good health” to whomever were affected. So sad.

Dinner tonight was in Polo. We aren’t HUGE Polo fans, but the meals are always great – it’s the portion sizes that throw us off. SO…tonight we shared. We each had the Fois Gras appetizer, then split the Rack of Lamb, two ribs each – plenty. When the waiter brought the lamb to the table, he wanted to deposit that most foul of jellies…The DREADED MINT JELLY. Now anyone who knows either Christopher or me KNOWS we HATE mint. SO he dips the spoon into the dark green kryptonite knows as mint jelly and Christopher, with the speed of a gazelle and the force of a defensive lineman for the 49ers blocked his progress with a LOUD NO! NO. MINT. JELLY. Reduced to a mere shadow of himself, our waiter understood our seriousness and skulked away from the table. At least that’s how I remember it. Our sides were steak fries and green beans – just enough. We washed this down with a glass of Duckhorn Merlot which was a perfect pairing. We finished with the traditional “jellies” – LOVE THE JELLIES – but left half of them on the tray and finished the meal with a slice of Key Lime pie. At the end the Host came over to the table – I had mentioned to Christopher that he looked familiar. Turns out he was on the Norway and British Isles trip we took in 2019 on Marina.

Dinner was over just before nine. We were a bit tired – so back to the room for an early night. Stay tuned, more to come. Tomorrow: Nassau.


19th March 2022

Well I never...
So glad you're off and on your way! Longing for updates on that artichoke thingy, I can almost taste it, thank you in advance for your support on that. I do like the thought of Christopher getting his hair corn-rowed in the Bahamas...who needs Bermuda anyways (quite telling that their signature drink is the dark & stormy now isn't it)...xoxo
20th March 2022

Bon Voyage!
LOVE reading your blogs, Jim! Hope you have an entertaining and relaxing crossing, and keep posting these gems.

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