Port Canaveral

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Our welcoming party

16 January

We have now arrived on the USA East coast time at Port Canaveral with a long wait for the US Immigration in store.

As we mentioned, we were in the Kennedy Space Centre last October so didn’t want to go there gain so soon afterwards, the other tours were to a shopping mall / Cocoa Beach, transfers to Universal Studios or one of the Disney parks in Orlando along with an Eco tour boat tour.

None of the tours really appealed but as there was precious little to do at the port itself, we opted for the Eco tour on the nearby Banana river – part of the inter coastal sea route that hogs the Eastern Seaboard of the USA.

We are asked to congregate in the Royal Theatre between 8 & 8:30 for immigration before then boarding our coach for the tour, and as it is an early start it means that we are missing Eggs Benedict which is the Monday special in the breakfast room!

After a two hour wait in the Royal Theatre we are finally called for immigration at about 10:30, and immigrated within a further half hour and on to our coach for our Eco boat tour.

Why the tour to nearby Kennedy Space Centre ( you could see it from the ship ) left earlier and why all the immigration booths were not manned earlier, only P & O and the US Immigration service can answer.

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Kennedy Space Centre buildings from the Banana River

We heard that only three or four immigration booths were initially open out of something like 12 booths.

John & Deirdre were not so lucky, choosing a transfer to Universal Studios that involved congregating at 7:30am to 8am. They were called for immigration only just before us so would have left Port Canaveral just before 11am not getting to Universal Studios until probably nearer half twelve than midday.

However, whilst waiting in the Royal Theatre they discovered that today was a US Bank Holiday so Universal Studios was likely to be crowded. They and about 8 others decided not to go and argued about getting money back with some of the conversation broadcast in the Royal Theatre as the staff member forgot to turn her microphone off.

They then had to get an independent traveller ticket to get off the ship and were not off until about half two effectively wasting a day!  They were not amused especially as there is nothing to do at the Port or in the immediate vicinity.

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Who’s looking at you?

Anyway, back to our tour, a coach ride past the Holiday Inn Express we stayed at last October and inland to a small boat centre just off the West cocoa Beach causeway near “Florida’s Seafood Bar & Grill” where we set off in two boats each with an individual commentary.

The tour took us around the bay hugging, mostly, the coast line, looking for Manatees, Dolphins, vultures, egrets, pelicans and other wildlife including Cormorants.

Lots of nice looking waterside properties, many of which were being refurbished.

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Riverside living

The properties were built many years ago when at the behest of NASA for their workforce at the (then) new facility of the Kennedy Space Centre.  However, ownership is now by many different professions.

Lots of little islands of Mangroves, some with no land, others with too many Australian Pines, all adding to the Eco system of the area.

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Paddlers on the Banana River

Sand is being dredged to make the channels bigger; a job that hasn’t been done for many years but it is still a haven for some tourists in the know who come in all forms of transport.

Sadly the Manatees were not particularly in abundance and the two dolphins we saw (Atlantic Bottle Nose ) seemed to be a bit shy after their initial appearances.

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Atlantic Bottlenose dolphin

A nice tour, well organised in the circumstances of the time it took us to get off Oriana and through immigration but not sure I would choose a cruise that had a port call here again.

Back to the ship and some good internet access in the Cruise ship terminal before a late lunch/early tea and a Skype with Flic & Gary as well as Mel & Simon.

Too late for the Cinema so watch Josh Young, an American singing songs from Broadway.

We are off to Port Everglades tomorrow although of course we are only there for one day instead of two!

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