So our cruise started out wonderfully, we arrived the day before the cruise left in Fort Lauderdale, stayed at the Courtyard Inn by Marriott off of Griffin drive, They also provide a shuttle service in the evening which take you to local area restaurants and shopping. We ended up at Bass Pro Shop, for dinner and the Islamorada. Was spectacular so we had a great dinner and afterward we went to Kmart for a package of water and some forgotten stuff ( I left my shaving kit and flip flops at home).
Next Morning, we got up, arraigned for our shuttle to the Cruise Port, which the hotel now charges, the shuttle to and from the Cruise Port. It was a $8 per person charge each way which is new now, but I guess that's how it goes. I don't mind, cheaper than renting a car. We headed off to Pier 21, which is way in the back of the port, never been there before.
Since we are now Platinum members, we got to board really quickly and the boarding went fast so no problems there. Now once on board, we checked out our room, we got upgraded to a Mini-Suite, D627. Great size room, with a large bathroom but I told my wife not to get used to this, it's nice but I wouldn't pay extra for the sofa. The balcony was great too, it had a painted surface, but no problems as others have mentioned. Yeah, there is a little water on it in the morning, but hey, your at sea, what do you expect.