Weather: Hot, sunny, clear Place: Los Angeles, CA to Miami, FL

Jay dropped us off at the Los Angeles airport at 12:01 AM for a chartered United Airlines flight at 2 AM. While waiting in the terminal we uncorked a bottle of champagne given to us by Bruce McGuire. The cork blew off, putting a dent in the ceiling and our trip was starting off with a real bang! Of course we were immediately observed by all of our fellow passengers. Seated nearby was the Martin family who later became our table companions aboard ship.

Our Royal service started as soon as we were airborne with sandwiches, an open bar the entire flight, and a continental breakfast before deplaning. Our luggage was sent directly to the ship, while buses picked us up for a morning tour of Miami. While passing through an exclusive residential section, I missed getting the best snapshot of the entire trip. A gentleman exited his palatial home clad only in pajama bottoms to retrieve something from the front seat of his car. Bending over, he revealed a huge hole in the seat of his pajamas, with the morning sun shining on his rear for all to see. After the tour we were taken to the Jamaica Inn Pub for a nice lunch where we met and sat with Irene and Leo Gregory from North Hollywood, and Jean and Hal Martin from Westminster, California. We boarded the ship at 2 PM where our luggage was awaiting us in our cabin. After locating the Martins and Gregorys we got a lovely table assignment in the main dining room with a window view. The Martin's were celebrating their 25th anniversary and we asked for a special table. Next came signing up for daily massages and tour tickets. After unpacking and getting completely settled while we joined the Martins in the Gregory's cabin for a champagne bon voyage. A safe deposit box was obtained for valuables, and we went up to the beautiful Viking Crown lounge where we joined Kathy and George Munday from Huntington Beach, and Sandy and Joe Goalsky of the same city, for cocktails before sailing. After lifeboat drills and the gala throwing of confetti and streamers, we pulled anchor and set sail at 5 PM. Despite the fact that we’d had no sleep the night before, we embarked on a full evening of entertainment including a lovely dinner, the movie “Airport 77”, and a festive midnight buffet.