Every cruise has several moments you never forget. Departure is among those moments. Starting at about 5 p.m., the assembled cruise ships cast-off, and each begins a run down “Government Cut.” Government Cut is the channel leading to open water. Nearest to the Miami Heat's stadium, is the turning basin. Since there isn't enough room for ships to turn-around, they do so in the basin. Often, Royal Caribbean ships will turn around before docking the night before.
By long tradition, passengers gather and are encouraged to visit the upper decks. Although they no longer throw confetti as you might see on Love Boat reruns or in the movies, it is still a festive time. The cameras are always out in force, a ship's band rounds out the Caribbean themed music, drinks are being sold at every corner of the ship, and the excitement on board builds.
The ships make their way, under the control of a harbor pilot, towards open water. At the Port of Miami, you get to view some of the most expensive real estate in the country to the north, but you'll notice as ships leave port, there is a lot of fresh paint on the docks. The crews that paint the hull while vessels are in port tend to leave their calling-cards along the normally unseen space along the water.
Early dining often causes people to leave the deck party above. Some ships will wisely delay the first seating to allow people to fully enjoy departure. Were it not such a thing to not be missed, I personally would love to simply stay on deck sometime.
Some of the more interesting sights are noted in the illustration below.