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JLMoran

Freedom of the Seas - Mar 31 to Apr 8 - Eastern Caribbean LIVE(ISH)

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T minus 4 days until embarkation...

I woke up this morning, realized that tomorrow we board our flight, and started singing, "One more dawn! One more day! OOOOONE DAAAAAAAAY MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORE!" My wife joined in.

Younger daughter (D14), while getting ready for school, cried out, "Just one more day of school! It's almost here!" She was up until midnight last night getting the school work assigned for break, plus the extra days we're taking off before and after, out of the way. 

Older daughter (D17), on the ride to school, "God, I can't wait for this day to be done and to finally see some palm trees!" She's been dealing with even heavier loads of spring break assignments and work intended for the extra days we'll be out. Such is the price for taking five AP classes her senior year. 😔

For me, wife, and D14, the bags are mostly packed; just need to get a few final things in there tomorrow morning. D17 hasn't even started yet thanks to the aforementioned workload from school, but will "git 'er dun" tonight. She wanted to be sure most of that work was taken care of before we left, but she'll still have to bring some school stuff and spend a little time each morning working on what's left.

This time tomorrow, we'll be pulling into one of the long-term parking lots next to EWR and taking the shuttle to the terminal!

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I can't even begin to say how excited I am for you.

It's the craziest thing, we all have our countdowns leading to our cruises ......... and your countdown..... We've all been getting pumped up with you and for you, and wish we could all be flies on the wall to witness your first reaction.....

It's going to be epic.

Have a GREAT time brother..... Welcome to Gold.......Finally!!!

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6 minutes ago, Matt said:

Thanks @Matt I'll let my daughter give it a try and will let everyone know her thoughts!! She is a sushi snob!! 😂😂😂

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28 minutes ago, Matt said:

Thanks for the link, @Matt! I had forgotten you had written this. It does confirm my thinking that it was more like supermarket sushi, which is certainly not bad (at least judging by my local Stop & Shop, which makes it fresh daily). But we'll have to take a look at the pricing and decide if we'll have any on board. Definitely going to let my girls know about this option, as they regularly have sushi from the grocery store when they need a "fix".

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@JLMoran, As we all have been saying, we are following you and so very excited for you and your family. Very sorry about your glasses situation, I hope it doesn't hinder you in the least. As @WAAAYTOOO said, Our Joey is finally going on his trip!  We wish you the best, and god bless you and your family. Looking forward so much to hearing from you when you can.

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Did online checkin for my hotel in FLL, and was able to select my room. Made my first (and I'm sure not the last!) cruising rookie mistake -- I didn't check which room would give a view of the port so I could see the ships coming and going, and more importantly so I could see our ship coming in on Saturday morning. I'm sure the room will be nice, but instead of a view of the port and the excitement that lies that way, we're instead going to be looking at 17th Street from our window.

And if you thought that you were done getting ready for the cruise when your suitcases were packed, think again! Lots of chores to do that only just got wrapped up a short time ago:

  • Getting the cats' feeders and fountains all cleaned out / set up
  • Making sure the bills for the coming two weeks are paid / scheduled with the bank
  • Getting the light timers set up
  • Making sure that we all have whatever movies we want to watch during the flight downloaded to our devices
  • Going over the packing list one more time to make sure I didn't forget anything (headphones for the flight!)
  • Checking through the fridge and making sure all the perishables we won't have with breakfast are cleared out (including 1 bottle of trippel and 3 bottles of porter; hey, someone had to fall on that sword!)

And now there are only 3 days until embarkation day...

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@JLMoran can I ask for a favour?  I'm currently trying to decide between Embassy suites on 17th street and Hyatt Place (also on 17th street) for our next cruise with the kids.  I normally am a Renaissance fan when going to FLL but this time with the kids, I might have to skip that one.  Anyway, if you could get some photos of the hotel and even the room and your thoughts on it after your stay, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

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9 hours ago, JLMoran said:

Did online checkin for my hotel in FLL, and was able to select my room. Made my first (and I'm sure not the last!) cruising rookie mistake -- I didn't check which room would give a view of the port so I could see the ships coming and going, and more importantly so I could see our ship coming in on Saturday morning. I'm sure the room will be nice, but instead of a view of the port and the excitement that lies that way, we're instead going to be looking at 17th Street from our window.

And if you thought that you were done getting ready for the cruise when your suitcases were packed, think again! Lots of chores to do that only just got wrapped up a short time ago:

  • Getting the cats' feeders and fountains all cleaned out / set up
  • Making sure the bills for the coming two weeks are paid / scheduled with the bank
  • Getting the light timers set up
  • Making sure that we all have whatever movies we want to watch during the flight downloaded to our devices
  • Going over the packing list one more time to make sure I didn't forget anything (headphones for the flight!)
  • Checking through the fridge and making sure all the perishables we won't have with breakfast are cleared out (including 1 bottle of trippel and 3 bottles of porter; hey, someone had to fall on that sword!)

And now there are only 3 days until embarkation day...

Do not forget of buying four bottle of wines :1_grinning:

And for sure I am following

Have a wonderful vacation and cruise 

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1 hour ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

@JLMoran can I ask for a favour?  I'm currently trying to decide between Embassy suites on 17th street and Hyatt Place (also on 17th street) for our next cruise with the kids.  I normally am a Renaissance fan when going to FLL but this time with the kids, I might have to skip that one.  Anyway, if you could get some photos of the hotel and even the room and your thoughts on it after your stay, I would really appreciate it. Thanks!

Will do, @Lovetocruise2002! With three nights there, I should have plenty of opportunity to get pictures and a full impression of the place. We're also staying there after disembarkation for one night, before we fly back home.

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1 hour ago, Traveler said:

Do not forget of buying four bottle of wines :1_grinning:

And for sure I am following

Have a wonderful vacation and cruise 

Thanks, @Traveler! I'm actually skipping the four bottles of wine since I invested in the drink package. I'd rather not skew the "break even" tally. :3_grin:

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31 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

T-minus 3 days until embarkation...

Right now, with everything packed, last-minute jobs taken care of, and our flight not until 2:45, I can only think of Tom Petty.

"The waiting is the hardest part."

Sorry, this immediately came to mind LMAO!
 

 

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54 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

T-minus 3 days until embarkation...

Right now, with everything packed, last-minute jobs taken care of, and our flight not until 2:45, I can only think of Tom Petty.

"The waiting is the hardest part."

Are you planning to eat lunch at EWR  ? they used to have nice stake house at terminal C but than everything change and now it is one big restaurants , same vendor different names  and IPAD to order from.

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So we left home right at 11:30 as planned and headed out to EWR. And I took the long way there, instead of the more direct route, adding 30 minutes to our trip. By the time we found the long-term parking lot and took the shuttle to the terminal, it was already 1:10. Our flight was scheduled to board at 2, and we still had to get our checked luggage tagged and stowed, and then get through security! Lesson learned: Even when you think you know the way there, double check to be sure! Especially if you’re not using GPS!!

We made it to the terminal at 1:55. We only had time to grab some sandwiches and chips from the grab-n-go place next to the terminal, then quickly scarf them down. The only luck here was that the plane was running about 15 minutes behind.

After that, things went much more smoothly. Even though our flight took off 15 minutes late, we actually arrived in Fort Lauderdale 20 minutes early! We were all shocked, but happy as well.

After grabbing our luggage, we needed a few minutes to find the ride sharing pickup area, not being familiar with the terminal. I hailed a Lyft and we were quickly at the hotel; definitely can recommend Lyft Plus for the hotel haul with luggage, and will use them again to get to the port 

The hotel is absolutely gorgeous! I’ll post more about it tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to better look around and get some pics, but it is worth every penny!

Once we were settled in, we took @Lovetocruise2002‘s suggestion and went to La Bamba for dinner. The food was very good, but we were all so hungry I forgot to take any photos of anything except my Perfect Margarita (which lived up to its name!)

2AD33BA1-4BA9-4252-AE4A-E6101FE8E306.thumb.jpeg.b5007e6227d6858eb373fb1f0b2624ad.jpeg

Here’s a pic of the place from our table:DA79EA21-C01C-43A8-BB26-93A08BD66A67.thumb.jpeg.3ee3ee26a321f7ce2ffdff981be54fca.jpeg

After dinner, we headed back to the hotel. We’re pretty wiped out and ready to call it a night. 

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Hey .....

Am I the only one that feels like we're all on this cruise with Joe and his family?

We all know the thrill of the anticipation of an upcoming cruise...... and being the first cruise, it is ramped up a bit ....

But in Joe's case, this is an incredibly unique case in which he already has an entire family (us) going along with him for the ride.

Joe ..... Thank You for allowing us to be a part of your vacation.

Mark

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2 hours ago, coneyraven said:

Hey .....

Am I the only one that feels like we're all on this cruise with Joe and his family?

We all know the thrill of the anticipation of an upcoming cruise...... and being the first cruise, it is ramped up a bit ....

But in Joe's case, this is an incredibly unique case in which he already has an entire family (us) going along with him for the ride.

Joe ..... Thank You for allowing us to be a part of your vacation.

Mark

YES !  I do feel like I'm there with them !  How cool is this ??  I'm as excited as he is !  Well....maybe not quite AS excited...but very excited.

2 more days ?  Can we make it ?

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T-minus 2 days to embarkation...

Today in Fort Lauderdale is gray, windy, and a little cool. Plus, there’s a riptide warning until Thursday. No beach for us today, and even the hotel pool is unlikely since it’s outdoors. We’ve decided to just make today a day to relax and hang out at the hotel. Which means @Lovetocruise2002 starts getting some pics of the place!

Main lobby

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Atrium where the complementary breakfast is served

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While it only says “omelets” here, I found you can get fresh eggs cooked any way except scrambled (since they already have a platter for scrambled eggs in the hot buffet line). Many people were ordering eggs over easy or sunny side up.

In addition to the fresh egg / omelet station, they have fresh grits and oatmeal, cereals, yogurts, assorted pastries (muffins, mini danishes) and breads, a juice station (one of those dispenser types, which my wife said came out really watered down), and a coffee dispenser that actually served good coffee (same flavor profile as a blonde-roast Starbucks). It’s really a step up from most complementary breakfasts and another element that makes you feel you’re getting your money’s worth for the higher price.

Next is “The E Spot”, the hotel’s bar and restaurant. It’s right next to the atrium area and from a quick glance didn’t appear to use separate seating for those having a meal.

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To take advantage of the free happy hour, you need to show your room card. Drinks appear to be anything you want, as I saw multiple mixers and spirits getting poured along with bottles of beer and fountain sodas. There’s probably some limit on it, but the line was long and I didn’t want to hold it up asking a million questions of the poor bar lady.

I’ll try and get a pic of the menu later today; I got a glance yesterday, and it’s typical high pricing for a hotel restaurant. E.g., $20 for a chicken quesadilla. I’d say just go the regular restaurants like La Bamba that are in easy walking distance.

Last up is the hotel’s outdoor pool, which includes a whirlpool tub at the far end and a nice little waterfall.

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