Well it was that time of year again, girls cruise! This year our cruise was booked during the Halloween on the High Seas time frame.
Since we love to get every last minute of vacation time in, we were off to Florida Friday right after work. Plus we are paranoid and like to be in town prior to our embarkation day.
Since I was coming from work the ladies met me at the airport. We promptly ordered a bottle of prosecco. We always start our vacation off on the right foot. Cheers.
We have stayed at several different area hotels in Cocoa Beach prior to cruising. This trip we mixed it up and decided to give the Radisson Resort at the Port a try. They offered large over-sized rooms and suites at very reasonable rates, the option to book a shuttle from MCO for a fee, the pool area was appealing, and they had a shuttle to the cruise terminal.
We were initially skeptical of the pool area because our hotel the previous year had lovely photos online and it was practically in a parking garage and zero sun. So we had a low bar of what to expect.
Hotel check in was smooth, it was a bit of a maze to find our room, but we were very happy with our double queen bed suite. It was well appointed with two queen beds, over-sized vanity outside of the separate shower/bathroom. There are also french doors with curtains that separate the sleeping area from the living room, which is equipped with a sleeper sofa, accent chair, dinette set, and wet bar that had a small fridge and coffee pot. I think this set up would be great for families. It certainly worked well for us. The pictures on the the hotel website are very accurate.
The next morning we awoke to a beautiful view of palm trees and were ready to grab breakfast and hit the pool.
Since we did not have a car we ate breakfast at the hotel restaurant. Everyone was happy with their breakfast. We just ordered ala carte from the menu. Very standard breakfast options. The pool area was much better than we expected. It was very pretty and the layout was nice. Plenty of chairs available and we were able to move to a nice shaded spot once we needed a break from the sun. The one pain was that the bar did not seem to be manned, we had to track someone down every time we needed a drink. It could have been a fluke, who knows. We took an Uber to Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar for a dinner. It was 1.5 miles from our hotel. We sat outside by the marina. If you get lucky you can see some of the cruise ships come and go. That is pretty cool. The food was pretty good. We had fish tacos and salads.
The next morning we headed out to the cruise terminal. The hotel shuttle to the port was very easy, the night before you schedule your time, check in at the front desk in the morning and we waited all of 5 minutes to be called for our ride. It cost us $6 per person for our one-way ride.
Once at the cruise terminal we had our luggage picked up and went to the security line. I think the security line opens at 10:30 or 11:00 am. I will need to check this next time. This was our longest wait of the trip. Once the line opened it moved pretty swiftly. We were cruising Concierge this trip (when it’s just the ladies we splurge) and there was no wait to get our boarding docs turned in and our key to the world cards and lanyards. After check-in we were moved to the Concierge Lounge to wait for the ship to start boarding. Around 11:30 am the Concierge team made their way from the gangway to inform us of some special events and ask us if we had any questions. A few minutes later we were escorted to board. Since we have cruised several times we always bypass the welcome aboard photos and continue to the ship. We were then escorted to a private Concierge Luncheon in the Royal Table. This is a new offering to the Concierge guests. It was a very nice addition to the services for Concierge. The lunch was amazing, we had the Lobster Salad, Sparkling Wine, and Welcome Aboard Sundaes. During lunch another member of the Concierge team stopped by and asked if we had any questions and then escorted us on direct service elevators to the Concierge Lounge and our room to drop our luggage. The direct elevators are also a nice touch.
After we unpacked and were settled we headed to the Concierge lounge to grab a drink and a treat and to finalize our activities. We had Dinner at Palo one night and a Tequila & Margarita tasting scheduled as well. Here are some pictures and video highlights of the first couple days of our trip. The video is from Concierge Sun Deck showing how empty it is. We can never believe that people do not take advantage of this.
We always have a great time, and yes we think Concierge is a splurge but we love it, so to us it is worth it. The ship was decorated beautifully. We have traveled during Easter and Christmas as well and it is always a highlight to see it all decked out.
Stay tuned for part 2