Dec 6, 2010 Embarkation Day, Introduction to Oceania
This is my first actual personal experience with Oceania other than to sell it as part of my consultation work with Expedia CruiseShipCenters. I have known the relative value of this cruise line from training and from hearing about it from others who have sailed with her ships. This is where the real learning begins.
As I have accepted a remarkable upgrade from inside guarantee stateroom to Concierge Veranda, I get all kinds of extra perks for a relatively low price. This is how to experience luxury. I highly recommend accepting the wonderful opportunities as they come along. This is the “gravy” or “icing on the cake” of life. When the offer comes, and it is possible, it is always worth accepting with gratitude for the opportunity. I am in that space now.
I arrive at 10:30 am in the pier at Barcelona after a very short taxi ride, saying good bye to our temporary home at Raco Del Pi in the gothic quarter and very boutique shopping district just off Los Ramblas. I can see the ms. Insignia off in the distance, next to a few other European cruise ships similar in size. Insignia is white on white. Classy, many balcony staterooms and more than that – it is the physical embodiment of the promise of what is to come. The anticipation from the past 18 months since I made the booking. All the excitement is pounding through my body and my mind races to try to capture the picture as a photo, a moment in time and space. Oh the beauty and the promise.
We have priority embarkation. The words and realization fall over me. We are priorized on this ship as a reward for our investment and gratitude and as well as acceptance of worthiness to experience luxury. We are invited to arrive hours before the other guests. To board the ship that has been refurbished in dry dock for almost 2 weeks. We are the first guests to enter the hallways and walk that gangplank to experience her offerings. Ms Insignia opens her arms to us and we accept her invitation.
Relative ease of embarkation never before experienced on a cruise ship. A few couples speak of the ordeals of travel to get there to this moment …. delays in London due to weather, extreme cold and a dump of snow, or the 24 hour air strike in Barcelona. Now we are together, as was the plan. We are here all having accepted the offer to luxury and upgrade.
The decision of what to wear has been made lightly by some who have not yet received their luggage, while others have carefully selected an appropriate Country Club Casual match of dress slacks, jacket and in many cases tied together with contrasting scarf. Hair done and make up carefully applied, even though there are no pictures taken on embarkation. No photographers jostling for attention and opportunity to sell their particular skill and talent at capturing the anticipation and preparation for years to come on a piece of photographers film. All photos are taken by the mind, some captured in time, some, no doubt, fleeting and ordinary and not to be remembered hardly at all.
A arrives out of the blue to assist my mother with her carry on luggage. We are directed by a staff person every 10 to 20 feet or so. Directed in to the ship, into a welcoming area of the lounge on the 5th deck. Carpeted reception lead to a podium where more staff are eager to welcome us on board and take our passports, invite us to have our picture taken for identification purposes for future embarkation, and of course to take our credit card imprint for future purchases while on the cruise.
We let the realization of cruising the Mediterranean on this beautiful little ship sink in. We allow the ambiance to wash over us like rain on the thirsty garden. It is all perfect and we have arrived.