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mk-ultra

Allure 9/29 - 7 Night Eastern Caribbean

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Yawn.  It's 0330 and I didn't need my alarm to wake me up for my 0720 flight to Fort Lauderdale this morning.  I'm always gunning to go when a cruise is pending.  Might as well burn off some energy with my first stab at live-blogging a trip.  😀

Basics

Ship: Allure
Sailing: 9/29 7 night Eastern Caribbean
Cabin: L2 Crown Loft (1722)

View from the backyard.  That isn't a sunrise.  It's city lights.

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Timing feels really good on this trip.  It's always a crap shoot during hurricane season.  Hurricane Lorenzo took a nice early turn North, and Tropical Storm Karen has been meandering around like a drunk while dissipating the last two days.  Weather on my flight route today SFO-IAH-FLL all looks decent.  Yay!

If you're a weather nerd, or just like keeping tabs on the Atlantic before an upcoming cruise, you can burn a lot of hours while pretending to be busy at work at:

https://www.reddit.com/r/TropicalWeather/

and

https://tropicaltidbits.com/

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Man I love early AM flights.  Quick 15 minute ride to SFO.  Security Pre-Check line was literally 30 seconds.  I'm now camped out at the Centurion Lounge in terminal 3 (opened at 0500) and there is a massive crowd of 3 whole people to contend with.   I see 'em cooking breakfast in the kitchen, so I'm 100% sure I'm not going to perish from hunger.  Too early for the bar?

Food's ready!  Their timing is impeccable.

Fruity selection:

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Spinach & bell pepper scramble.  Chicken apple sausages.  Steel cut oatmeal.  Mushroom frittata.  French toast.  Vegetarian farro dish I eyed suspiciously, but it was actually really tasty:

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Flight is on time.  🤙 Won at gate roulette.  Gate changed from 90 (ass end of nowhere) to gate 61 (stumbling distance from a variety of places that serve alcohol).  Next up: IAH (Houston) layover.  If there's an airport I hate with a burning passion, it's IAH.  80% chance of it being a cluster-f*ck.  I'll be brave and wear my big boy pants.

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1 hour ago, WAAAYTOOO said:

Not sure with whom the Centurion Lounge is aligned, but that breakfast looks a far sight better than what they offer me in the AA Admirals Club !

https://thecenturionlounge.com/

Centurion lounges are offered by Amex for Platinum and Centurion cardholders.  

@mk-ultra the breakfast options look 🤤!  I was there at 5am in August for a 6am flight, but most of the hot food wasn't ready until after 5:30am.  Have a awesome trip!  Looks like you've had a great start so far 🥃

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I never buy in-flight WiFi, but I’ve got some UAL credit to burn up, so here I am at FL350 trying it out.   Speeds are laughable, and the 700ms latency tells me it's geosynchronous sats.

I’m going to attempt to use my blazing .3Mb/s upload speed to post a photo.  Not to worry.  I’ve got 3.5 hours.

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35 minutes ago, mk-ultra said:

I don’t know who at United concocted this awful egg white breakfast sandwich thingy, but I’d like to hunt them down and make them eat six of them.

If this wasn’t breakfast #2, I’d be feeling stabby.  😆
 

Last time I ate a dish containing eggs on a United flight, I had food poisoning and was hugging the toilet for a week.  Never again.  Thankfully it was on the return flight.  Smart move to stay away from that!

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Happy to report: completely uneventful flight.  Did the terminal E to terminal C hustle at IAH in about 15 minutes.  IAH-FLL flight was held at the gate briefly so a passenger on a late connecting flight could make it.  This is a recent United policy, and it's a good one.  Pilots were able to make up the time en route by shoveling a little more money into the engines.  Pilot Flying absolutely plastered it onto the runway on landing.  Much shrieking.  I thought it was funny; others not so much.  I'm easily entertained.  Lead flight attendant started his post-landing announcement with, "You may have noticed we've arrived in Fort Lauderdale..."  High-five to him.   Cockpit door remained shut during deplaning.  Yeah, door of shame.  Stand in the galley and take your ribbing, coward.

Taxi ride to the W Hotel on the beach in Fort Lauderdale was, um, interesting.  It was totally a breeze until we hit A1A for the last couple of miles.  Construction has necked-down a segment from 2 lanes to 1, so we spent the last mile watching pedestrians outpace us.  No skin off my nose.  I got a better chance to ogle what I may want to explore on foot tomorrow. 

Note if you're taking a taxi from FLL airport to anything close to it:  Flag drop at the airport is $13 minimum with an additional $3 fee for whatever.  So, $16 to move 100 yards if that's how far you want to go.  Once you've used $13 worth of mileage/time, the meter starts ticking up like normal.  FLL to the W was ~$25 for the 6.5 mile trip.

This particular W has a pretty stellar reputation for the property, service, rooms, location and food.  I'm digging it so far.  Super smooth check-in.  Met by their "Welcome Manager" Brian while I was being checked in.  Very nice comp room upgrade.  This is one of those places that does Amex "Fine Hotels & Resorts" bookings perfectly.  Late check-out.  Free breakfasts.  $100 credit to spend on-property (to which the W added a surprise additional $50).  Amex is also running a bonus right know that will knock another $100 off of my bill for spending 2 nights.  [I'm not trying to pimp Amex, but if you travel a lot -- that Plat card pays for itself many times over.]

Ate at El Vez tonight, the Mexican restaurant in the W.  Excellent service.  Great Margaritas.  The mahi mahi fish tacos though.  Erm.  No.  I saw tons of excellent looking food on other tables.  I think I just ordered a dud.  Prices are surprisingly non-extortionate for a hotel restaurant.

Plan for tomorrow: wake up at an ungodly hour and lament still being on West Coast time.  I wake up at 0530 in CA.  That's 0230 here.  It's gonna be a loooooong morning.  Once the sun is up it'll be a walk across the street to the beach, then a saunter south to the cool looking venues on A1A facing the beach in search of brekkies. 

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11 hours ago, almondmilktea said:

@mk-ultra the breakfast options look 🤤!  I was there at 5am in August for a 6am flight, but most of the hot food wasn't ready until after 5:30am.  Have a awesome trip!  Looks like you've had a great start so far 🥃

Doors open at 0500.  The fruit, coffee and pastries were out right away, but the hot food matched your experience.  Came out at 0530.  It was really good.  This lounge can be packed later in the day, and was starting to fill up when I left for my gate at 0620.  It was blissfully empty this early.

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15 hours ago, mk-ultra said:

Yawn.  It's 0330 and I didn't need my alarm to wake me up for my 0720 flight to Fort Lauderdale this morning.  I'm always gunning to go when a cruise is pending.  Might as well burn off some energy with my first stab at live-blogging a trip.  😀

Basics

Ship: Allure
Sailing: 9/29 7 night Eastern Caribbean
Cabin: L2 Crown Loft (1722)

View from the backyard.  That isn't a sunrise.  It's city lights.

IMG_2444.thumb.JPG.cee083d6a5a6b55cf01e362b921b1f0e.JPG

Hi we are in that same sailing:11_blush: see you on board!!!!

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