Ft Lauderdale

Hi Everyone …

I wanted to let you know that GD, GW and I made it Ft Lauderdale, Florida (that’s where we are getting on the ship, which is called boarding).  We had no problems and no delays so GD didn’t really want to help me write about our journey.  The first day Uncle Dave drove us from Palm Springs to Ontario (these places are in California) in his brand new truck.  GD and I sat in the back and it seemed as if we were miles away from Uncle Dave and GW in the front seat.  Uncle Dave knew just where to go and didn’t even have to ask.  He dropped us off right in front of US Airways – which is the airlines we were flying on.  After breakfast and hot chocolate for me, we got on the airplane and flew to Phoenix, which is in Arizona.  We spent the night in Phoenix so we could be on time for our flight to Ft Lauderdale in Florida.  Last year, our first plane was late and even though GD ran from one end of the airport in Phoenix to the other, the second plane left without us.  That made us sad, so we came to Phoenix a day early this time.  We had a really fun dinner at a restaurant that GW likes a lot called Ruby Tuesday’s and it was right next to the hotel.  The next morning we went really early to the airport so we could have breakfast there.  As we ate breakfast, the sun came up over the airport and the airplanes.  It was very cool.  After breakfast we went and got on our airplane.  We had a really nice cabin attendant named David (like Uncle Dave) and GD said he spoiled us.  I guess he did because he brought me everything I wanted.  I did remember to say please and thank you … and it was easy because David was so very nice.

 

Embassy Suites We finally got to Ft Lauderdale, collected our luggage and got into a taxi to our hotel.  It is the same hotel we stay at every time we are going on a Grand Cruise. (It makes me feel very proud to be able to say WE!)  It is called the Embassy Suites and we have a living room and a bedroom.  GD asked if we could have a room where we could see the boats, so they gave us one.  The hotel has a big hole in the middle and our living room looks out on all the other rooms.  When you look down, you can see the place where we go to eat breakfast.

Breakfast Courtyard

Tonight we are going to a restaurant called Longhorn Steakhouse that GD’s friend Ramona told her about.  We rode in a taxi for a very long time (and the taxi driver did not want to go so far away – at least that is what GD said.) but we finally got there.  There was a really long wait, probably because it was New Year’s Eve, but GD had called to say we were coming, so we got to eat right away.  It was really, really good and we brought home lots and lots of steak!  It is a very good thing we have a refrigerator in our room!

The second day we picked up the car and watched football all day – at least GW and I did.  GD, of course, went shopping!  That night we had dinner with our cousins Carolyn and Maureen at a really neat restaurant called Johnny V’s on a street called Las Olas in Ft Lauderdale.  Our waiter was Michael, who has worked there a very long time and was really, really nice. GD had Duck Duck Duck, GW had pork fixed two ways, Carolyn had a King Crab Cake and Maureen had Mussels.  We all had salads and I shared everyone’s dinner – there was more than enough for sharing.

The Third  day, it just seemed as if all we did was eat or drink with friends.  First GD and I went to Starbuck’s with our friend Patty from Connecticut.  She talked about birds and her daughter and also about some of the places that GD told her we ere going.  I had a hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles and it was really, really good.  Then GW picked us up in the car and we drove to a really neat restaurant called the Aruba Cafe, right on the beach, to have lunch with my friend Sharon.  Sharon is an acupuncturist (which means she sticks really tiny needles in people to make them feel better).  She is really nice and lots of fun because she laughs a lot.  Sharon is from Texas, so she talks a little funny.  GW, Sharon and I all had fish and chips.  It was really good, but they gave us so much, that Sharon said she will have lunch and dinner for two days.  GD had a salad with strawberries and fish on it.  She said that was really good too.  After we left Sharon, we took GD to meet the people that sell her stuff to take her camera underwater and then we went home to the hotel for a little while.  That night we drove to a place called Boca Raton – and if you are from Boca Raton, you just call it Boca.  We met my friends Brandon and Diane at a restaurant called Abe and Louie’s.  I don’t know who Abe and Louie are, but they cook really super food.  I had the best hamburger ever and the waiter talked to me because all the grownups were ignoring me. The last day, we did some more errands and had lunch at GD’s favorite lunch restaurant called Pei Wei that has Chinese food and the coolest soda machine ever – with about a million flavors.  I am only allowed to have one glass, so GD says I have to choose very carefully.  That night we had a really fun dinner with Auntie Anne’s college roommate Jennifer, her husband and her two kids.  Rachael is eleven and very grownup, but Emily is nine and I thought she was really fun. We went to Chima, which is a Brazilian Barbecue Restaurant in Ft Lauderdale.  That is where they have a salad bar but all meat comes to the tables on Swords and the Gauchos slice it off for you, while you hold with a pair of tongs.  You can have as many different kinds of meat as you want, and if there is one kind you really like, they will bring it back over and over again.  Then we had really yummy deserts and we were all so stuffed, we could hardly walk.

 Bebergels

Now it is the day we board the ship.  GW and I were ready to get on the ship about 7:30 AM, and I really didn’t think GD would ever wake up.  GW said I could not make noise on purpose because sometimes GD snaps like an angry bear if he wakes her up.  Finally she got up and we all went downstairs for breakfast.  It is a busy day at the hotel.  There are a bunch of kids staying there who are going to a foreign language school, and then there are lots of people for the Orange Bowl (BIG football game) stay there – they even have a shop set up so you can buy Orange Bowl tee shirts and hats and stuff.

Orange Bowl Souvenirs

GD said I could look but she was not going to start buying stuff for me before the trip even started.  Then there are lots of people going on cruises too.  There are seven cruise ships in the port today – two for Holland America Line (the Amsterdam that we are taking and one other), two for

Princess Line and three for Royal Caribbean.  My friends Jan and Dick are on the super huge Royal Caribbean ship.  They will get off that one and get on the Amsterdam with us.  Jan and GD text all morning long to tell each other where they are and what they are doing.  When it is FINALLY time to go to the ship, it looks as if the whole world is leaving too.  All the kids, all the football folks and all the cruisers.  Then, on top of all of that confusion, lots of the people who have been on the ships are coming to the hotel.. You can hardly more in the lobby.  We are so happy when our taxi comes to take us away!  When our taxi drives into the port, we all have to show our driver’s licenses, except me – I have to show my passport because I am not old enough to drive.  Out ship is way out at the end of the port so it takes quite a while to drive there.  We get out of the taxi, give our luggage to a porter and enter the building to check in.  First we have to fill out a piece of paper that says we have not thrown-up for two days or had lots of poops.  Then we go and talk to a nice man who takes our passports so we don’t lose them, takes our pictures so the people at the gangway will recognize us and gives us our cabin keys.  He says he hopes we have fun.  I tell him I am planning on it and he laughs!  We go up an escalator and because we have a special card, we get to break into the line.  We get our pictures taken – just for fun, this time and get on the ship.  When we walked through the door, my friend Gene, the Cruise Director from the Prinsendam last year and my friend Henk, the Hotel Manager are there and give us big hugs.  They tell us they are glad to see us and we, of course, are very glad to see them.  It is fun that Gene is now on the Amsterdam with us … I like that!  We find our room, then find lunch along with my friends Kay and Paul from the 2012 World Cruise and finally we find our friends Dick and Jan.  They are moving closer to us and we are all very happy about that.  At dinner we meet Susan and Norm from Australia.  They are going to be our table mates until we get to Sydney.  Then they are going to get off and go home.  They are really nice and I like them.

Port Everglades

 

We are going to be at sea for three days before we get to Puerto Limon in Costa Rica.  I will write from there next.

Loads of Love,  Flat Stanley