Thursday, January 4, 2018

Report # 4 The second full day in Ft. Lauderdale January 3, 2018 Wednesday Raining, windy, and in the 50's 40 Pictures

Our second full day in Ft. Lauderdale wasn’t much better than yesterday, as far as the weather was concerned.  Seems that the storm hung around all night, and even got colder with strong gusts of wind.  It did not stop us from walking to breakfast, where the café was voted as having the best brunch item back in 2013.  Although we did not see it on the menu, they serve a special type of strawberry French toast.  Coated with a crunchy corn flake batter, the strawberries are mixed with cream cheese, and fill the center of the entrée.  Boy, that sure does not sound like a low calorie way to start the day.  Yep, that might put one in a food coma, as the article suggests.

Since the big Lotto jackpot has gotten bigger, we picked up a couple of quick-picks at Publix just for the fun of it.  At 4pm, the jackpot had grown to 440 million.  To win is a very long shot, but you never know.

Did we mention that some rooms around us on the eighth floor have been under renovation?  The clue was yesterday, when we noticed the hallway carpets were covered with plastic.  Then we began to see and hear noise from hammers and power tools.  Odd that they would put us right next to one of these rooms. 

Our travel agency sponsored a bus that began transferring those who wanted to shop at the nearest mall at 11am.  About 20 of us took the ride to Westfield’s, where we happened to walk to yesterday.  Riding was much easier, considering the high winds and sudden downpours.  Not that we really needed anything, it is always a good opportunity to seek out bargains.  We did find a few, of course.

The best stop was at Red Robin for a shared light lunch and sodas.  Back at the bus stop, we found many folks had made some significant buys.  There is a Target across the street, which is a great place for last minute things.  Even wine.  Not sure what the policy is on bringing wine on this grand voyage.  Sometimes their rules are relaxed.  This does not apply to us, as we don’t indulge with the wine, but we shall watch to see for the folks that are interested.

Our travel agency had set up a desk in the lobby, as usual.  But a surprise to us was seeing the HAL desk set up as well.  Seems that this is the preferred hotel for the HAL guests too.  We said hello and goodbye to the hosts in transit, then picked up our complimentary bags, new jackets, and tour tickets we had purchased.  More info on our transfer to the ship tomorrow should be available at the cocktail/dinner party this evening.

We made it a point to mention the construction noise at the front desk before heading back to the room.  Apologizing, they said they would come up with some sort of compensation for the inconvenience.  This was our first chance to get a little down time in the room, although only one of us did that.  The clouds had begun to clear away, and the rain stopped.  Good time for one of us to take a walk to get some pictures of the local wildlife.  The amusing iguanas were starting to come out of hiding to warm up in the sun.  They had better do it soon, because the temperature is supposed to drop into the 30’s tonight.  That is almost unheard of in this part of Florida.   Will believe it when we feel it…..

While getting ready for the cocktail party and dinner, our phone rang.  It was from the front desk with the message that they were refunding some of our bill, due to the noise.  That was not bad news at all.  We thanked them.

The party began at 6:15pm outside the ballroom.  We always show up 10 minutes after that time, and find that we are about the last ones to arrive.  It works better finding your sticky name tag, although this time, we thought to bring the magnet ones instead.  The sticky ones always end up somewhere in my hair.  And sometimes, they are not even mine.  We had time for one quick drink, mostly due to the fact we ran into many friends.  And much to our pleasant surprise, at least three couples introduced themselves, adding that they had followed our blog for years, or as recent as last year.  Always good to hear.

We also had the opportunity to meet one of the presidents and CEO’s of our travel agency.  John represented the conglomerate that currently owns the agency.  He was quite interesting to talk with, as he added lots of details about the business.  We got a bit worried about our buddies, Leta and Bill, who are always at this dinner.  Our host Wendy said that at least 40 people had not arrived yet from the airport.  Bill and Leta were among them.  With this unusual weather, many flights had been delayed or cancelled.  One good reason to come a few days ahead of time.

Promptly at 7pm, we were ushered into the dining hall, and seated with Gerald B, the Mariner Society Director,John, the other CEO, and six other guests we recognized.  Orlando hosted a table of the rest of the long-time clients.  The meal consisted of a Waldorf-style salad, dinner roll, and red and white wines.  The entrée was a chicken breast, rice, and mixed veggies.  Bill kidded the lady next to him that maybe they had a fish dinner.  She asked, and they said yes, they did.  However, her dish arrived much later, while the rest of us continue to eat.  Gerald OK’d it, since time was a factor here.  Finally, the salmon substitute showed up, and she was a happy camper.  The meal ended with a key lime pie….really tart and sweet.

During dinner, Gerald mentioned that there are a total of 102 President’s club members now.  At least 93 are active.  Ten more will be inducted into the club on this upcoming world cruise.  Four of our friends are among them.  Then he said there should be a total of 21 of us on this world cruise.

Orlando gave his speech last, and suggested we would like the changes that have occurred on the Amsterdam.  Other than new carpeting, he would not give up what the changes were.  We do know that some lanai cabins (lower promenade deck) will be added during the dry-docking in April.  We shall report on how well those will be received, since we should be coming back onboard May 10th.

Wendy came to our table to let us know our friends Bill & Leta had arrived safely, and made it to dinner just on time.  They had rolled their luggage and hand carries right into the ballroom, not wasting time to even check in at the front desk.  They had run into flight delays and weather problems, just like we thought.

This nice affair was wrapped up by 9:30pm, with final instructions given by Holly.  The luggage that will be transported by truck to the ship will be picked up from our rooms after 8:30am. The next time we see them, should be in our cabins.  Then we will need to follow the bus transfer times beginning at 9:45am.  We should have received this envelope upon check-in, but they failed to do it.  Holly went to the front desk to get it for us.

So we re-packed most everything tonight, and will set off for breakfast early tomorrow.  The rest should be a piece of cake.  We hope…..

Bill & Mary Ann

Testimony in the cafe

Red Robin

Westfield Mall

Inside the mall

Holiday decorations are still up

Rules of the Greenway

Canal map


Iguana coming out into the sun

There were three iguanas in this palm tree

Wild goose

Pair of geese

A Florida native perhaps


Iguana drying out

Warming up

They can grow rather large

Taking advantage of the sun

Surrounding ponds

The cocktail party with our travel agency

Grab your name tag and get a beverage of choice

Over 250 guests in attendance

Holly, our party planner & Mary Ann

One of the bar set-ups

Eddie and Lee – longtime cruisers

Mary Ann & Wendy, our host

Waiting for the dinner to begin

We filled the ballroom

Quick service

Many friends were there

We sat with Gerald, the Mariner Society Director

Fancy salad

Chicken breast entree

Key lime pie

Our tablemates

Getting ready for speeches

Annie, the vice president of the agency

Holly, the event planner

Gerald B.

Orlando A., President of HAL

1 comment:

  1. Looking forward to following your great blog.
    Barbara and Orlin