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25 Jan 2009

The Adventure Begins; Cruise Day 0

Tomorrow, we set sail on a four-month long Ring of Fire Cruise on Regent’s Seven Seas Mariner.
 
It is really eight different segments that travel from Ft. Lauderdale to Vancouver, via South America, French Polynesia, New Zealand, Australia, Asia and Alaska.
 
I will be blogging daily.
 
There are about 80 of us who are doing all eight segments (referred to as The Ring of Fire Cruise).


 
Today we were treated to a special “Thank You” by Regent Cruise lines. They put us up at the beautiful, stately Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables, Florida.

Mark Conroy, President of Regent Cruise Lines (pictured above), hosted a lovely dinner. It gave the 80 of us an opportunity to create a special bond for this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Well, maybe it is not once-in-a-lifetime, because I learned that most of the passengers at this event had been on previous world cruises. This is definitely a group of experienced high-end travelers.
 
A limo picked us up at the airport. Upon arrival at the hotel we were greeted by name as we exited the car. They checked us into the hotel room AND the ship at the same time. Then, they took our pictures for the security passes and ran the credit card. The entire process took less than five minutes. What a pleasure. The cruise line even prepaid the limo transfer and all gratuities for the car and the bell staff.
 
We attended a cocktail party "get-together" followed by dinner. During dinner, we were entertained by a group of singers who gave a Three Tenors type of performance. If this is any indication of what is to follow on ship, I love it.