Last year we made the decision to go on a cruise with a group largely made up from our area. We thought it was a great way to meet people on our new community. We mentioned our trip to Dave and Ginny, friends of ours from Mullett Lake. They had never cruised before and they were so interested, they decided to go on the cruise with us. We welcomed the company.
After driving down to Fort Lauderdale, we chose to stay at The Hyatt Place, a higher priced hotel than we normally stay at BUT they had free parking for up to 2 weeks. The next morning as we waited for the shuttle bus to take us to Port Everglades, we met Ann and Paul, another couple staying at the same hotel going on the same cruise as us. We became fast friends and even more so once we found that Ann and I shared the same birthday!
Once we were on board The Noordam (A Holland America Line) we immediately went to the Lido deck for the buffet lunch. You didn't really think that there was going to be a meal that we would miss? After we had our stomach filled, we found our room. We were on the 5th deck, about midship which is exactly where I like to be - close to elevators, and I don't have to walk from one end of the ship to the other end.
We made our reservations for the specialty restaurant - The Pinnacle Grill - which charged $20 per person as well as the Italian restaurant which needed a reservation but there was no extra charge. These restaurants fill up quickly and we were anxious to get our reservations in as soon as possible.
We toured the ship and one of the surprises that I found was that they had a Culinary Arts Center which offered cooking lessons as well as cooking demonstrations. I signed up for one of 12 slots for the chicken stuffed with banana and prosciutto class. The spa salon was really nice and they had many services to offer BUT they were very expensive - I didn't book any spa sessions.
After dinner, we went to the Vista Lounge for our first show. While sitting in the audience prior to the show, we were asked, as well as our new friends Ann and Paul, if we would go on stage in participate in a game. We said sure...it sounded like fun. Our game was called "Make the Bed". On stage were two twin beds on platforms. Our challenge was to compete against Ann and Paul and see which couple could make the bed in one minute. You are probably thinking that it sounds easy but wait......we also had to make a towel animal. We were doomed. We made the bed (barely) and I quickly scrunched up the towel in a pile, grabbed my husband's glasses and put them on our towel creature. When I was asked for the inspiration of my creature, I mean animal, I proudly stated "My husband". Next I was asked what was my animal's name and all I could think of was Big Bird's friend Snuggleupagus. The other team had no inspiration, so name. By a round of applause, we won the game. Our prize, a book of instructions for making towel creatures and a picture frame. We quickly gained some notoriety among our fellow cruisers as the couple who put glasses on their towel animal.