Sleep. Do you think that I could have slept on the night before we were to leave on our 10-Day Southern Caribbean adventure? Noooooooooooooo, not this girlie–My mind was a whirlwind of activity and I could not find my “off switch” to save my life that night. So I watched tv until around 2am in the morning and then I tripped on off to the shower to ready myself for the day’s travel. 🙂 Chris and I left our house at around 3am, we were on the first Jet Blue flight of the day out of the Richmond International airport. We live about 1-1/2 hours away from the airport, so of course we needed to back our time up from our flight’s departure time, add in even more time to check in and get through security (although we now have TSA Pre✓, so that helps immensely…I highly recommend that btw–or even better Global Entry which we’ll be obtaining once our 5 years are expired with our Pre✓). So when calculated out, we had to leave *really* early in the morning! Here I am all ready to depart, the butterflies in my belly were fluttering away at this moment in time:
Thankfully, we had no issues getting to the airport in plenty of time. We even found a fantastic parking spot in the North Garage at the airport. 🙂
We zipped on through the check-in process and then through security…y’all know that saying “Hurry up and wait”…Yep, that was us that morning…
We finally boarded the jet…which was very nice btw, I love Jet Blue! The seats are just a smidge larger and so are the seatbelts which makes this fluffy girl happy. 😉
And off we go:
***Let me pause here and say that Chris and I *always* travel the day before we are to climb aboard the cruise ship. Long story short, we learned that we needed to do this after our our first try…yes, I said *try* to go on our first cruise, an Alaska cruise in 2007. On that fateful day, we didn’t know better, and we had decided to travel on the same day as our cruise was to begin. We were flying out of Dulles airport in Northern Virginia, and once on our jet and taxied out onto the tarmac, an “innocuous” light came on in the cockpit. The captain told us that an engineer was on the way and that we’d be on our way very soon. THREE hours later, they pulled that plane back up to the terminal and proceeded to cancel our flight!!! So, in turn, we had no choice but to cancel our cruise (what?!!!!) because there were no other flights out of ANY of the surrounding airports (and there were several to choose from) that could get us to Alaska in time to catch our ship. Princess was actually wonderful with us and we did manage to go back to Alaska later that same cruising season…but, can you imagine the ugly tears that were falling while on our way home on that day that we had to cancel that first cruise? Yeah, I never want to feel that again, so we ***always*** go a day early no matter how far we live away from the embarkation port.***
Soooo, we landed in Ft. Lauderdale 2-1/2 hours later on this, the day *before* we were to climb aboard our cruise ship. 🙂 We had reservations at the SpringHill Suites by Marriott and we had been instructed to give them a call upon landing and they’d send a free shuttle on over to pick us up. Ft. Lauderdale is not a very large airport, so it didn’t take us long to collect our luggage and head on out to our waiting area.
I’m kind of mad at myself that I didn’t get any pictures of the Uber drivers trying to hone in on the regular taxi drivers and the scheduled buses and van transports that dotted the semi-circle pick-up area. I thought we might see a fight break out honestly! Let’s put it this way, the Uber drivers weren’t being respectful *at all* and the other drivers who were scheduled to be there to pick folks up were more than frustrated with their rude ways…it was not a pretty site and one from which I was completely happy to escape once our shuttle driver showed up. Whew…*that* was an experience!
ANYhoot, we were whisked off to our hotel the SpringHill Suites by Marriott Ft Lauderdale . I highly recommend this hotel, it was lovely and the staff was extra lovely. We had pre-arranged for early check in and low and behold our room was ready when we checked in (around 9:30am), not to mention, they allowed us to partake at their buffet breakfast. We were happy campers for sure because neither of us had had anything much to eat or drink up to that moment in time. We took our luggage on up to our room and zipped right on back down, I needed a cup of tea and Chris needed a cup of coffee, and we each had a bagel w/cream cheese and some other little breakfast items. 🙂
I did manage to take a little video of our room that day, so here we go with that:
And here are some pictures:
Alrighty then, it was finally time for us to head down to the lobby and wait for the arrival of my friend Barbara and her significant other Kirk who drove to the hotel from their home not too far away –They’d be staying the night at the hotel too…I was brimming with excitement and so looking forward to that first sweet hug! And it didn’t disappoint, wow, was it ever good to have that dear lady in my arms and yep, I was crying and squeezing her really tight. 😉
Barbara and Kirk got themselves all settled in at the hotel and then Barb and I whisked off in her car, we were heading to our other friends, (who are sisters), hotel to pick them up. We’d be heading to the Inner-coastal Waterway and catching a Water Taxi tour. I was too busy hugging and blubbering over those two ladies that I unfortunately do not have one picture of our first meeting. <sigh>
Here are the 4 of us on that sweet day. Front row left to right, sisters, Barbara & Pat. Back row, left to right, Barbara and me. 🙂
Quick, funny story as to how we procured this picture. This poor, innocent, older gentleman was walking toward us at a quick pace, I eyed him and thought that maybe I could stop him and ask him if he wouldn’t mind taking our picture. So as he was approaching, I said “Are you out for a walk to exercise? Well, he kind of started to take a wide berth around me…LOL…and then I explained that I didn’t want to interrupt his walk if he was indeed exercising, but, we’d sure appreciate it if he would stop for a moment and capture a picture of us. Once he figured out that I wasn’t trying to rob him or something, he gladly and very kindly stopped and took this picture. lol Oy vey…My mouth can get me in trouble sometimes, I have got to remember that not everyone is as talkative and approachable as I feel that I am…hahaha. 😉
ANYhoot, we had a lovely time on the Water Taxi and I did manage to take a few pictures and a small video:
As you can see, it was a lovely day filled with beautiful sites and lovely friends!! I was in Heaven. This was the perfect start to our vacation! Once we finished our Water Taxi ride, we headed back to our hotels to freshen up for dinner; we’d be meeting at Dave and Buster’s. We had a wonderful dinner that I caught not one picture of…go me! 😉 Dave and Buster’s does have an arcade section that looked to be super fun, but, we decided not to venture into that portion of the restaurant, we were all bushed from traveling and decided to go on back to our hotels and try to get some rest. We knew the next day would be a very busy and fun day, that’d be the day that we’d be boarding the gorgeous Royal Princess and embarking on our 10-Day Southern Caribbean Cruise! Trust me when I say that I literally did not feel my head hit the pillow that night–by that point I’d been up over 36 hours straight…me and my excitement for travel…huh…what’s a girl to do. 😉 I really need to work on finding my “off switch” on the night before we depart for a new adventure. 😉
All that said, I can’t wait to bring you along for the rest of our journey, but, for now, I’ll just say…Until next time, y’all take good, good care!
**If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there Your hand will guide me…Psalm 139***