… and your room has a lovely view of a tank farm

Posted: August 2, 2010 in Cruising, Travel

Yesterday I told you of our thrilling journey to Fort Lauderdale (or Fort Liquordale, as The Management refers to it). Today, we will look at the accommodations at the Embassy Suites and also at the port transfers.

So, we arrived around 4:00 PM. It’s a pretty long drive down through Florida, so it was a relief to get in. Mike and I unloaded our cars, got checked in, and finally got a straight answer about parking. I had called three times to find out what it would cost to leave the car at the hotel for the duration of our cruise. One guy told me $5 a day, one $13 a day, and the other $15. Turns out it was $5.00. Not too bad, considering Port Everglades gets $15 a day. I’ll take that.

We were on the eighth floor and immediately started seeing people from our group. I checked in with our fearless leader, Fred, who came up to the room to invite us to the pre-cruise meet. It was a very nice affair, including a grand prize won by our friend Julie. After the meet, back upstairs to organize the suitcases. One downside to travelling by car is you take too many clothes. Not a bad idea this trip… it was a lot of two and three shower days.

We woke up the next morning, opened the curtains and noticed our view was of a tank farm. Forget the beach. Sigh.

The Embassy Suites staff collected our bags and we went and had breakfast. They have an excellent selection, complete with omelet station. After breakfast, I went out to feed the koi.

 There’s something very zen about watching the fish swim and, well, beg. I kid you not. There was a big old fish who kept sticking his mouth out of the water. It was pretty funny, actually. As it turns out, the gift shop sells bags of Cheerios at vastly overinflated prices. The fish love the Cheerios.

We got everyone loaded on the bus and headed to the port. It’s about a five-minute ride from the hotel, but it’s quite a sight to see this giant white cliff towering 11 decks above the waterline. The ship, Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas, is actually a smaller ship as cruise ships go. It’s beautifully appointed, though… glass, marble, open atrium. Our stateroom was not ready when we boarded, so our group found some space on Deck 9, where RCCL was providing a buffet lunch.

 If there’s one thing about cruises, you learn the meaning of the word buffet. You can have buffet three or four times a day. We were able to kill time until our room was ready. Maybe we were spoiled by our Disney cruise, but the room was a little cramped. Could also be that I cheaped out and didn’t get a balcony. We had a window, though, which let us see the outside world. The Captain, who apparently moonlights at The Improv on his off nights, came over the PA to say that our itinerary was being changed due to the Coast Guard closing the port at Key West. This did not make me happy, as I really wanted to visit Key West.

 So, after that and the obligatory muster drill, we got ready for dinner. We had a great table… it was The Management and myself, Mike and Mary, Jamie and his wife and kids and one of our resident travel agents, Annette. Our server, Jeffrey was from India and had a monobrow that you could do chin ups on. The assistant server, Lido, was Filipino and I kept hearing the Boz Scaggs song in my head every time he came by. All in all, the service was excellent and only got better as the cruise went on.

 RCCL does a nice job making nutrition info available and they have a selection of lower calorie fare on every menu. The first night, I had an excellent tortilla soup as an appetizer. There was a nice heat to the dish and plenty of vegetables. My main course was a roasted sea bass with veggies that was awesome. For dessert, I had sugar-free vanilla ice cream. Total caloric damage, near as I could tell, was about 800 calories, so not too shabby.

Post dinner, it was determined that we would meet up at the champagne bar, located on Deck 4. There was a band playing that wasn’t too great, but it was here that we met The Joker.

 The Joker is not known to us. He and his paramour (wife, mistress, concubine?) were cutting a rug over by the band of questionable talent. We were taking note of his skills or lack thereof, when someone noticed the pair headed toward our group. I thought maybe The Joker was ready to rumble, but he stopped, and for no apparent reason, began to tell long rambling “jokes” with no discernible punch lines. As he is telling the “jokes”, we notice that The Joker’s left hand has began to grope his paramour’s left breast. This is not the bad part. At the same time, The Joker’s paramour has began to, well, fondle The Joker’s dangly bits.

The Joker works it in the morning

The Joker’s right hand had began to rub the shoulder of on of our people who shifted so far toward me that she was practically in my chair. We laughed heartily at The Joker, and he eventually left, paramour in tow. The next morning, The Joker was spotted at breakfast, looking suave and debonair.

Suffice it to say this is not the last we will see of The Joker, however, he was danced into submission twice. Tomorrow, we will talk about the Mr. Sexy Legs competition.

Oh, and even after a cruise and a Disney vacation, I weighed in yesterday morning at 293.4.

  1. kristajill says:

    Brian…..I CRACKED UP reading this today! At first I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get to meet The Joker, but you do such a great job telling the story, I can almost picture myself there! I hope you have more Joker stories. 🙂 And great job on the weight loss on vacation! That’s next to impossible, and you did it! 🙂

  2. […] With other guys. With his foot up on the bench. No towel within 50 feet. Just a guy (who looks like The Joker) wandering about the locker room waving his junk all over Hell and creation. I’ve never […]

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