Live From Norwegian Sky - 5/30/16-6/3/16

A couple of hiccups in Fort Lauderdale. I am not sure why or how, by my favorite Hilton there just loves puting holds on anything and everything. I checked in at 8am and one of our two rooms was, amazingly, ready. So we got all our stuff stashed and headed out to breakfast, then just chilled in the room til noon. When the other room was ready. When we checked in to that one, the lovely clerk but ANOTHER hold for both rooms plus parking plus incidentals, and she put it on the card I have on file with HHonors instead of the one I had used earlier (on purpose, to leave the one I have on file free for the cruise). So I end up with a total of $700 in credit card holds on a $218 bill. Crazy. And it's not THAT big a deal, cuz yeah...they'll fall off. But not this week, without a phone call to the CC company. And it's just that they always do this sort of thing, and are so cavalier about it, not telling you first, and not really giving a shit when you complain because "it will come of in 3-5 days". At this point I am not sure why I keep patronizing that hotel, except the B Grill has awesome nachos, and the pool is nice.

But I digress. The rest of our party slowly drifted in (one of my IC's, and her daughter flying in from New Jersey, her friend from LA and Margarita driving down from Delray Beach). By 5 we were all at the pool, kids swimming grownups drinking and eating nachos. At 8 we headed over to the Quarterdeck for dinner. I love that place. Honestly, besides good food, the staff is so awesomely accomodating - opening up the section where "my" table is, letting my favorite server, Lauren work our table,, whatever...they just try real hard to keep everybody happy. So we spent 2.5 hours having dinner and talking and playing musical chairs. Fun.

The next morning we finally got out of the Hilton at 10 for the drive to Miami. We were in the cruise terminal checking in by 11. Sat in the VIP lounge about 20 minutes and were escorted on to the ship. Had lunch at Cagney's while we waited for our suite to be ready. The staff is, of course, fabulous. And one of the real advantages to cruising with the kids is how the staff goes out of their way with them. Lotus has been called "Princess" at least 100 times in the last 24 hours. A photographer said something mildly flirtatious to the boys, causing poor, nerfy, 15 year old Etheric to blush, stutter and smile for 15 minutes. Our butler, Isisdro was in the room several times to bring goodies and explain where all the buttons and switchs are, and finally to bring a pile of cookies I doubt we'll get thru in 4 days.

Our suite is fabulous. One fo the forward facing. Huge balcony with 3 chairs, table and two loungers. Double bed, a couch in front of the tv that folds out and a little cubby hole with 2 bunks. Plus a ginormous bathroom with shower and whirlpool tub. The rest of the ship, I'm gonna be honest...I'm not in love with. Having been retrofitted for the Freestyle thing, all the specialty restaurants were put in odd places that hamper the overall flow. It's not horrible, but it's not the *aways, either. On the other hand, as I said, the staff and crew are, so far, perfect. So, I'll take it.

And there is plenty for the kids to do, even without all the fancy waterslides, etc. Lotus and her new friend Alexis were all over the ship, swimming, shopping, arcading...whatever it is tween girls do. And the boys hit the batting cages, the pool, the basketball court, etc. They even signed up for the Teen Club, so they could play in a dodgeball tournament last night. I didn't think they'd get within a mile of the club, because they just never do that sort of thing. So that was cool.

Dinner was at Cagney's. Awesome. We all had a shrimp cocktail. I had the 32oz Porterhouse and darn near finished it. E did the Ribeye and did finish it. Om, being a simple kid, opted for the ribs. About a rack and a half. Lotus had lobster (she is, after all, the princess). Several orders of Cagney's Fries were consumed, along with a few other sides. Everything was excellent and the service was outstanding.

After dinner the boys went off to their dodgeball tournament, Lotus and I watched the welcome aboard variety show, which was actually quite good, even for those of us not much into traditional cruise ship shows.

After that, it was pretty much bedtime for everyone. It's been a busy couple of days, with little sleep. So, 11 o'clock, lights out.

And now it's 9am, i'm sitting in Freeport, fixing to wake those lazy punks up to go ashore and see what Lucaya has to offer.