Throw-back-Thursday. This entry from the Royal Caribbean Blog was first posted in June of '08. A young
Skylar was the www.RoyalCaribbeanFan.com teen moderator, and keeper of his own web project. To begin this review, there is one thing that all of you must know. I am only 13 years old. I may not be an adult, but i can tell you how fun my cruise was from my point of view. What was a cruise ship? I wondered what it was when my parents told me we were going to Mexico on a cruise ship. At the time, it didn't seem really exiting to me, but more than a year would pass and i would soon find out. When the time came to leave from our hometown in Woodland to head to Los Angeles California, the thought of going on this cruise seemed to get better. We drove for 6 hours before we reached L.A. We booked a hotel that was a block away from the port. I remember drive to the port a day earlier and seeing to Celebrity ships depart, it was so cool. The next day we packed and headed toward the port. Our ship lay next to another ship, this ship was Norwegian cruise lines Norwegian Star. And as we drove closer I saw the name Vision of the Seas displayed on the side. We boarded the ship about 5 hours before we had to depart for our 7 day Mexican round trip. We had to do a little life boat drill before we could leave. We departed at about 5:00 PM. We were at seas all of the next day, this gave me time to explore the ship. There was a Centrum, theater, inside and outside pool, a rock wall, dance clubs, and a cool round window lounge at the top of the ship called a viking crown lounge. Not to mention all of he other cool things. The ports weren't so great. I didn't get to go to Cabo San Lucas because my parents went alone. In Mazetlan, we went to a beach and everybody tried o keep selling us things, not fun. But in Puerto Vallarta, we got to go Horse back riding in the forest, that was very enjoyable. We had a whole day coming back to our port before we had to depart the ship. I think i liked the cruise ship more than the ports. Departing was fairly easy, they checked our cards and we got our suitcases and we were gone. Well theirs not much more i have to say. You really have to go for yourself to get a real feeling of what its like. My parents want to go on an Alaskan cruise on either Radiance or Serenade of the Seas.
The Royal Caribbean Fan
Getting off at the pier I was able to totally bypass the check-in desks and proceed directly to the ship. The only delay was the first of many obligatory photographs taken, next to a sign noting the sailing date. I walked down a long long balcony overlooking the staging area below and walked up the gangway to the Main Deck.
Since 1999 the Royal Caribbean terminal has been radically upgraded, so you can safely ignore the photos I include here. These days, you don't walk outside while boarding the ship. That is a shame in some ways. One of the most memorable moments during my entire cruise, was that awe-inspiring moment when I saw Sovereign in person. As much as you read about these ships, when you finally are in its presence, it's a feeling you have to experience to understand.
At 11:30 they began to group people by the color of their tickets to board the buses to the pier. The trip took about 20 minutes. Our driver gave us a mini-tour of the area on the way to the pier, and was more than happy to accept tips.
There are a lot of chances to get photos on the bus ride from the airport to the Port of Miami. College football fans will appreciate the view of the Orange Bowl. The RCI headquarters can be seen to your right as the bus, taxi, or dog sled crosses the bridge to Dodge Island.
Dodge Island hosts the Port of Miami. It is an artificial structure, built in the late 1960s, and since its conception, has hosted cruise ships. Prior to its construction, the hand full of cruise ships calling on Miami, docked near the site of the NBA's Orlando Heat's stadium. Dodge Island is used extensively in filming movies. Indeed, if you have ever seen the films Bad Boys or Bad Boys II, with Martin Lawrence and Will Smith, you've seen more of the island than you know. Most of the chase scenes were either filmed using the same small stretch of road leading to the port, or running beside the waterway. More on that some other time.
The cruise terminals were first built along with the island. Despite reading on the matter, it remains unclear to me as to who exactly owns what among the lines and ports. However, the terminals as seen here, have changed much since 1999. There is serious talk of expansion at the port, which would include larger, new terminals on the south side of the port.
It is on the south side of the port, where you can find the Headquarters of Royal Caribbean International. It is actually shaped like the company logo. There aren't any vital computer systems located below what would be the third floor inside of any normal buildings. This is to protect against storm surges in hurricanes.
The trademark blue neon can be seen across the waters on other RCI ships at night. You can see the ships in port from the air as you fly into Miami. It is only as you drive up to them that you realize their true size.
The Leeward, with Sovereign of the Seas abeam, and the Carnival Fantasy abeam of her.