We boarded our boat, the River Anuket, next. [Hey! I just checked, and Grand Circle's put up a virtual tour! Check it out!] We won't even pull out of the dock until day after tomorrow, but the beauty of the system is that once we unpack in our floating hotel, we don't have to worry about it again for a week. All our meals are provided on board, and the same service crew will do our rooms, etc. Marvelously convenient.
And marvelously luxurious, too! As we crossed the gangplank we were met with a flying wedge of uniformed stewards and attendants who handed each of us a cool, moist, lemon-scented washcloth to wipe our hot faces, necks and hands. This was the norm every single time we left and re-boarded the boat! We had very little time to gawk at the lovely main desk
because we were on our way up the curving staircase to the Lounge, the boat's main meeting place.
As we entered the lounge, more attendants handed everyone their choice lemonade, bright-red, sweet hibiscus tea called karkade, or coffee, and there was a table of light snacks (croissants, hors d'oeuvres, etc.) to nibble. By the time we were done with our snacks, our cabins were ready.
Far from the coffin-like closet we had expected, our cabin was surprisingly roomy! We had a little table and chairs at one end, by the sliding glass window, and at the other there was a built-in closet on one side and a small but adequate private bath on the other.
The ship's corridors were attractively paneled in warm wood,
and there was a "card room" - card tables on a landing - which was immediately taken over by a couple of bridge foursomes.
Our cabin was on the second deck, the lounge (and a lot more cabins) on the third deck, and if you climbed all the way to the top of the boat, you arrived at the Sun Deck:
Most of the pool was wading-depth, with a "plunge" section deep enough to get all the way under water (they must have left out some cabins on the third floor to make room).
The back half of the sun deck consists of a bar surrounded with glass-and-rattan tables and matching chairs. I don't know if I can stand the hardship, though - the bar is only staffed when we are under way, and until then I'll have to walk all the way down a flight of stairs to the bar in the lounge where I can sign for whatever drink my little heart desires.