Sunday, February 24, 2013

Eastern Caribbean Cruise – Celebrity Silhouette – February 17-24, 2013 – Round Trip Ft. Lauderdale

Pre-Cruise – Florida

Travel Day – February 14, 2013

We have a Valentine’s Day flight to Ft. Lauderdale that leaves at the crazy time of 7:10 AM – factoring in the taxi drive and security and all, I am up at 4:00 AM to get the whole day started.

The Taxi came on time – our seats got changed but at least they kept us in an exit row - (note: Exit Rows are the best bargain in the air – kudos to American for not charging for those seats like UAL does).

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AA568 Ready to go at Dawn

The flight was smooth most of the way…

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Climbout Chicago – Above the clouds

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An hour from FLL

I had seen the weather forecast for Ft. Lauderdale – scattered T-storms (some heavy).  I knew the descent would be exciting and I was correct.  Although the plane was only 100 miles from FLL, the flight would still take another 40 minutes or so because the pilot would need to maneuver through the storm clouds.  Once the seat belt sign went on, it was – as they used to say back in the day – an “A” ride.  Lots of bumps then smooth and then more bumps.  The flight attendant even gave advice to those who were queasy (adjust the blowers so you get lots of air).  The pilot did a great job of getting through the mess and although the plane came in hot, he managed to brake smoothly.

We rented our car (a black Corolla) from ACE Rent a Car. 

IMG_20130215_Our Corolla Rental (Small)

The process at this rental agency was unlike any we have yet experienced.  So many restrictions and initialing of agreements may not have been worth the low rate.  The car’s nice, though.

We are staying at the Quality Inn Golf Resort in Naples, so we headed out to I-75 (about a 90 minute drive at 70 plus MPH).  However, we drove through the Everglades the whole way.  We stopped at one of the rest stops to get some pictures of the glades.  We got some bonuses from this stop.

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Ellen at the I-75 Rest Stop

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One of many seabirds in the glades

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Gators make an appearance

You may not be able to tell from the pictures below (taken from our room’s balcony) but it was raining all afternoon (sometimes in buckets).  We are in a balcony room at the Quality Inn Golf Resort.  Seems like a nice place but it will be noisy (when we checked in, we were told that Karaoke would go on until 11 PM – our room is right above the bar where the singing is going on as I write this).

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Room with a view (the driving range and bar)

After searching for “salad bar restaurants” on my phone, we wound up going to Spanky’s Speakeasy, about a 10 minute drive from the hotel.  The place was very interesting and the food was good (we are going to finish the rest tomorrow night).

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Spanky’s and our self shoot in the mirror

As we drove through Spanky’s parking lot, we came across a car that didn’t fare too well against a wall.

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Now in the room listening to Karaoke – some of the singers are good but for four hours (really?).

We decided that we could not take the Karaoke until 11:00 PM so we moved to an efficiency (a monster room) for the night.  It was easy since we hadn’t really unpacked.  The efficiency faced the parking lot so it was really quiet.  Tomorrow, we will speak to the desk about another move back to a quieter location with a view of the golf course.

Hope to get some rest tonight and walk around Naples tomorrow – the forecast is for rain so who knows.

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