This was the beginning of an 11 day Caribbean cruise aboard the Holland America ship Noordam.

The sun peaks out from behinds the clouds just before sunset silhouetting the giant container ship loading cranes on the shores of Port Everglades, Florida.

The cruise would visit ports in Martinique, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, Barbados, St. Martin, and St. Thomas in the US Virgin Islands.

For those of use old enough to remember the beginning of the television show Love Boat, you think every passenger is greeted by a member of the senior ship’s staff when boarding, and when the boat leaves the dock, there are crowds of people throwing confetti and waving goodbye to the lucky passengers going on a cruise.

Well, that’s not how it works in the real world of ships pulling in port at 7 AM, passengers disembarking by 10 AM, and the new passengers getting on the ship starting at noon with the ship leaving port by 5 PM. You most likely will never see the Senior ships staff, they will never greet you upon boarding, and the ships are now so big, they mostly load and unload in secure docks that can accommodate 1,000 foot cruise liners that can hold 5,000 people.

Fort Lauderdale Sunset

Now that I’ve shattered your dreams of taking a cruise, I will say that there were people on the shoreline of the Stranahan River that leads out to open ocean waving to our ship as we passed by. I don’t know if they knew anybody on board, or just thought our ship going by was cool and decided to wave at us. Seems like anywhere in the world where people are close enough to the ship, they wave goodbye.

After entering the Atlantic Ocean, our ship headed due South towards the Caribbean Sea. As the sun was setting in the West behind these cargo loading cranes in the Port Everglades Terminal, I was able to capture this wonderful sunset photo from our room’s balcony.