CruiseWorld 2014, November 8, 2014 - DAY THREE

And now, it's Friday...the moment I've all been waiting for. Up and running again at the crack of dawn, running over to the Convention Center to test my equipment, make sure I had all the right plugs and adapters. Everything looked good, so I headed to another breakfast, this time sponsored by Mexico Tourism, who hooked everyone up with a nice juice pack to charge devices. And then the General Session with my personal favorite CEO, Kevin Sheehan. He is such a regular and sincere guy, with a sense of humour, it's hard to believe he was an Economics professor.

After breakfast I did a panel with 4 colleagues on Social Media Success Stories. I don't know how I did, but I was impressed with the others. In particular, Jennifer Doncsecz (sp) impressed me, and I was disappointed to find out she was doing a break out session at the same time as mine. I wanted to hear more of what she had to say about Pinterest.

Then, off to lunch where I was invited to sit at Andy Stuart's table, and had a fun conversation with Hall of Fame travel agent, Joanie Ogg, while poor Andy had to go up on stage and repeat everything Kevin Sheehan had just said over breakfast.

Then it was time for my big breakout session on Facebook Groups. Sadly, the folks who had threatened to show up en masse and heckle wussed out (as keyboard cowboy-type bullies usually do). So, without that distraction, I was forced to actually do my presentation, complete with powerpoints I slaved over for 3 months, etc. I choose to accept the positive feedback I got as sincere. But I wasn't impressed. ;-) I missed a few points, and I always have a tendency to talk too fast, so I finished earlier than intended. However, the audience was AWESOME. And since we had plenty of time after, I got some great questions, and an opportunity to answer them fully. Which, frankly, is okay with me. I think I am better at extemporaneous Q & A than I am at preparing. And I think that ability is a better sign someone has truly mastered a subject, than the ability to read a speech. Like I said, I got a good bit of positive feedback, so I am thinking I did okay. I did receive some negative comments about some of the others, and I think all I can say to that is...if you ain't willing to get up there and put it on the line, be a little charitable to those who are. Taking potshots is easy. Standing up and making yourself a target requires a tad more.

Personally, I think the concept Mary Pat Sullivan came up with, of having Friday's panels and breakouts done mostly by "amateurs", people who are experienced experts in various areas of travel, but not as public speakers is brilliant. It does make for a less consistent product than a line up of people whose primary job is public speaking. On the flip side, actual front line agents, speaking from real world experience sometimes have more valuable information than people who are good at speaking, but may not have worked in the field for years, if ever. Just My Humble Opinion.

So, all in all, I am happy with how it all turned out. I can't tell you what a relief it was to be done, though, and I do want to thank those who told me afterwards they enjoyed it, and/or learned something. It's always gratifying to know you reached someone.

And that, for me, was basically the end of CruiseWorld. I hung around for a while as my friend Craig was using my laptop for his presentation, then collected up my goodies and went home.

That's when Friday really started. Gretchen and my agent Dillon had already managed to reach the bar and pickup a lovely lady from my neck of the woods, who had just flown in to catch a -dam ship Saturday for a Master Chef cruise. I got there, said hi to everyone, went to the room to take off those hateful shoes and clothes I was forced to wear all day, ran back down and joined in the fun. We all decided since the previous nights dinner was moved from tacky tourist side of A1A to the somewhat respectable Shula's, we needed a do-over. So with our new friend in tow, we promptly jumped on the wrong water taxi and a 10 minute ride became a 1 hour round trip. Listening to the slightly resentful pilot recite the owners name, net worth and property value of every water front home in Fort Lauderdale has a certain charm. For the first 15 minutes. Sadly, there are more than an hours worth of billionaires with homes there...

Anyway, we finally got on the right boat, going in the right direction, and got ourselves down to A1A, and the Casa Del Mar, a nice Mediterranean restaurant between the Rock Bar and the Funky Taco. There was an awesome guitar player/dancer combo that ran the gamut from Flamenco and Middle Eastern to Stairway To Heaven. And a giant slab of a ribeye steak that was every bit as good as Shula's. And Trish, our new best friend had to share her life story, and endure ours until the wee hours when her friends flight finally landed, so we all Uber'd back to the hotel together, which ended with a group selfie in the driveway as Gretchen, Trish and Dillon had all developed a crush on him during our 8 minute ride. I think alcohol may have had something to do with that, seeing as how I was the only one sober, and the only one that didn't fall in love with the driver.

And then we all got to meet Trish's friend Debz. And go home and pack for the beginning of my Amtrak Adventure from Fort Lauderdale to Victorville, Ca, with stops in D.C. and Chicago. I'll get to that in the morning . Promise!

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