It was scarcely 5:30 in the morning, the October morning sky was still pitch black. The Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina afforded a sweeping view of Port Everglades, the 17th Street draw bridge and beyond them the condo lined channel leading to open water. Bleary eyed I managed to drag myself to the balcony and turn on my camcorder then flop in a chair. My son and daughter surprised me entirely by waking up as though it where Christmas morning. Ben emerged first and marveled at the twinkling cityscape. Vicky, two years his senior came out next. The show I had promised them for weeks could be seen at the two mile bouy outside the channel. The Oasis of the Seas was holding station awaiting the harbor pilot, her bow facing the port. With all the lights forward of the bridge dark while at sea she was almost invisible. The ship began to make her way into the channel. Midway in the channel the Oasis slipped behind a block of condos and hotels. Vicky asked again where the ship was and her brother pointed to the condos and replied "If it doesn't move, its a hotel."
The morning ahead would be the culmination of decades of following cruise travel that began with scouring old editions of Sea Classics, touring historic ocean liners to watching the Love Boat depart the Port of Los Angeles. The adventure that started two days ealier as we began our drive to Florida was more than just a family vacation. Here I was about to have the classic "family vacation" but also share a deep personal love for cruising.
In 2019 Royal Caribbean International began to celebrate its fiftith anniversary. The first scratch built cruise line, which decades earlier had eletrified the emerging industry with the first purpose-built caribbean cruise ships sailing out of Miami was the first I sailed on. During the next year I am going to share my experience of cruising and how from that I began the Royal Caribbean Fan in 1999 from a single HTML webpage. I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I have living it.