Day 1, Sat., Jan. 5, 2012 ~ Ft. Lauderdale, FL

     Diamond Cab was at our home at 6 am yesterday and off we went to the airport.  It was very chilly, with frost on a lot of cars.  Our flight on Spirit was great and HAL was waiting for us in the luggage area.  We did have quite a bit of a wait after we collected our luggage for the shuttle bus to come.  There was another couple from NJ waiting with us.  When we reached the Westin our room was not ready, so we sat in the lobby for a bit and then went into JJ’s Restaurant for lunch.  It was a typical hotel restaurant, way over-priced.  Lunch, a personal pizza, order of fries and one drink was $25.41 plus tip.  Dinner, a hamburger and one drink was $15.24 plus tip.  The worst was our breakfast today, two buffets for $47.12.

     Our room was ready after lunch.  It had 2 queen beds, chair, long dresser, refrigerator, coffee maker and a nice bathroom.  We both took naps and felt much better.  I went downstairs at 4 to check in and get our shuttle schedule for today.  I saw lots of familiar faces and talked with Ann and Lorrin for a bit.  I went back to the room, watched some TV and we went down for dinner.  The dinner buffet was the same as the lunch buffet except instead of $17 each it was $21 each.  We ended up sharing a hamburger.  We had some rearranging to do with the luggage, so we showered so we could pack yesterday’s clothes.

     This morning we were up early and we were going to go to Duffy’s Diner for breakfast, but it was misting and everything was wet.  We started to enter the dining room, and the maître ‘d asked if we were with the cruise group.  Ray said yes and we were ushered to another room with a buffet.  We thought it was included.  Wrong!  There was a large assortment of food, but who can eat $20 worth of food for breakfast?  The desk said our room would have been $179. a night.  I would prefer the Cambria Suites or the Comfort Inn.  There is no free internet in the room, just in the lobby.  Our luggage will be picked up between 9 and 11 and delivered right to our room around 4.  We will just have to manage our 2 carry-ons.  Our shuttle is set to leave at 12.

     We left the Westin at 12:10 and it took about 20-25 minutes to get to the port.  We were able to get inside the building right away, but there was a hold while waiting to go through security.  Nothing was moving at check-in.  It took about 1 1/2 hours to get checked-in.  One woman, traveling alone, collapsed in the line and was taken out in an ambulance.  Our room was ready, so we dropped off the luggage and went to the Lido for a light lunch.  We walked around a bit waiting for our luggage.  We got our last piece of luggage just before dinner at 5:30. 

     We have a dinner table for 4, not 6, and are seated with Bonnie and Rich.  Our waiter is Oky and Mandla.  I will have to check on his name.  Service was a little slow, but it was okay for today because the show was not until 9:30.  We got everything out of the suitcases and put them in the shower, but we couldn’t find everything.

     Our cabin stewards are Dayat and Wayan.  Every night the captain and crew wish us a restful sleep as we look to tomorrow’s horizons with a quote.

“The best way to predict the future is to create it.” ~ Andrew Carnegie

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