April 15, 2010
Hello from the middle of the Atlantic. This is our 5th day on the Independence of the Seas and, as always, we are having a great time. Quite a few of our friends are on board with us and we have been having daily Happy Hours with them in the Diamond Lounge. The drinks and appetizers are free to Diamond and Diamond Plus members between the hours of 5 and 8:30PM but the real perk is having the time to schmooze with our good friends from other cruises. Here is a picture of some of the friends in the lounge:
Last night 14 of us went to one of the specialty restaurants on board called Chops, where we had a gourmet meal which unfortunately took quite a long time because of the slow service. But the food was fabulous!
This adventure started last Thursday when Elaine and I drove to San Diego and stayed with her son, Darran, and his partner, Marielle. It was another beautiful day there and we enjoyed walking around on the Mission Bay pedestrian path. Friday morning we got up at 2 AM and Darran drove us to LAX where we boarded a flight to Miami at 6:05AM. This was our first try at using a companion fare and flying standby, which we were able to do because one of our Boy Toys, Martin, works at American Airlines and put us on his buddy list. The flight was very full and we felt lucky to get on it, although we didn’t get into First Class, and Martin and Roger often do. After landing, Martin & Roger picked us up and took us out for a lunch at a Cuban restaurant we had enjoyed the last time we visited. We also stayed at their condo and we all used the hot tub in the evening, along with Roger’s brother and his wife.
The next day we worked out in the exercise room at their condo, then joined a bunch of friends for lunch at Sweet Tomatoes. The guys then dropped us off at the Ramada in Fort Lauderdale where we shared a room with our good friends David and Diane Wilson, and were just down the hall from Jim & Jan Sylvester. Both of these couples hosted us on our recent trip across the south as we returned to California in our RV, and we are also sharing a table at dinner with them on this ship. Here we all are at our table on the first Formal night:
Sunday we all took the hotel shuttle to the ship. Too bad the weather was cool and rainy on Sunday, and our suitcases even got wet while being transferred to the ship. It has also been the coolest crossing we have ever experienced, even while we were still in the Caribbean area between Florida and Bermuda. The swimming pools and lounge chairs aren’t getting any use on this trip so far!! We are hoping for better weather soon, especially as we approach our first port which will be Punta Delgada in the Azores.