OK except for the fact that it's 30 degrees warmer and 1942% more humid.
Friday, April 25th
8:20 AM: I wake up and check my Email to find that our wine is on a FedEx truck for delivery. Fingers crossed, if it doesn't get here today we are pretty much screwed, we will just have to buy our wine on the ship. Oh the horror.
Oh yeah, the ship has a wine bar. A WINE BAR. This is going to be a problem. But a good one.
10:00 AM - Tracey sleeps a bit longer which seems fair since she didn't get to sleep until around 4 AM (which I know because she woke me up around that time with the death cough).
11:00 AM - The Bear is awake!! And not nearly as grouchy as one might expect given the tough night of sleep. Could have something to do with the fact that we are getting on a cruise ship tomorrow I suppose.
Up and at 'em and we are headed down to Costco to check out their wine selection and see if there is anything we can add to the wine that is hopefully going to arrive today for the cruise. The cruise ship has a decent selection of wine but it's nice to have more variety (granted we don't know how much variety the wine bar will have, this is the first Norwegian ship to feature a wine bar), not to mention save a buck or two. Having said that, Norwegian's wine prices are really pretty reasonable. They have Opus One for less than we could buy it from the winery. I have told Tracey that she is allowed no more than two bottles. We'll see how that goes.
We find lots of good stuff at Costco and resist the urge to buy 4 cases of wine....but we pick up a couple nice Brunello di Montalcinos, a Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon and a Sauvignon Blanc from Duckhorn which we are planning to drink tonight. One of the Brunellos is a big and bold one from 2010 which is known as the 'vintage of the century' so we may actually send that one home....or let's face it, we'll get drunk and open it on the ship. But it's nice to dream that we'll put it in the cellar for a while :)
So we get to the cashier with our goodies and my credit card is declined. That's a bit concerning. Oh well we'll use Tracey's. Declined. Hmm this is not a good thing. I call BMO (both of our USD Mastercards are with them) and find out it's a 15-20 minute wait to talk to someone; at this point I'm assuming they are blocking our cards because they are worried about fraud?? But it's odd because my card worked at the hotel in the same city last night. So since I'm not going to stand there and wait that long, we just pay with debit and bend over to take it hard with the exchange rate we are going to have to put up with. As we are paying, it occurs to me to ask them if they actually take Mastercard! Nope, AMEX only still in the US. They are switching over in a month or so, but they are switching to VISA, and they still won't be taking Mastercard. LOL. I'm such an idiot. Guess there is no need to call BMO and figure out the problem :)
After Costco we head to Publix to pick up some bottled water and pop for the cruise (seriously, the only thing that drives me nuts about Norwegian is that it's a Pepsi BARF ship and the pop isn't included anyway). We couldn't get that stuff at Costco because we really didn't need 35 cans of pop or 48 bottles of water.
1:30 PM - Back to the hotel with our purchases and I get an Email indicating that FedEx has delivered our wine, thank goodness, so that's taken care of. MMMM that is gonna be quite a treat on the cruise.
The Chardonnays are a longtime favorite, readers of my wine blog may remember it...reviewed here.
The Pinot Noirs are new releases but both just received spectacular scores of 96 from renowned wine critic Robert Parker, and we've had many great Pinots from these guys in the past, so we are eagerly anticipating these as well.
3:30 PM - Time to return the rental car so I take it back to the nearest Hertz dealer, which is basically right at the Port. Talk about great customer service. When I drop the car off, the guy writes "7/8" on my form indicating that I dropped it off with slightly less than a full gas tank. Fair enough. I get into line, and I'm about 5th in line. The shuttle driver comes up to me and asks me if I'm a gold member. I say 'yes', and he tells me that I don't have to wait in line, just give him my paperwork and be on my way. He takes the paperwork, changes the 7/8 to 8/8 so I don't have to pay, and then asks me where I am headed; when I tell him where my hotel is, he says it's well out of his normal shuttle range but if I don't mind waiting for him to drop a couple people off at the port first, he will take me back to my hotel. Probably saved me a $25 cab ride.
Oh, and if that's not enough....during the ride he asks if I'm renting from Hertz again after the cruise. I say that I couldn't because they didn't have any convertibles available and I wanted a convertible for our 2 weeks in Orlando; he says that if I see him or one of the other Hertz shuttle drivers after the cruise, to flag them down and they will be happy to take me to the pickup point where I am picking up my rental car FROM THEIR COMPETITION. Seriously, Hertz rules. Their customer service is second to none.
6:30 PM - Relaxing in the room, we are packed up and ready to go in the morning. The hotel has three defined shuttle times, but we need to go a bit earlier than that so they arrange the shuttle to take us on a special trip at 10 AM. More awesome customer service.
7:20 PM - The Sauvignon Blanc was just OK but whatever, I suspect we are going to get our fill of great wine in the next 3 weeks.
While sitting here typing this blog, three pizza flyers have been shoved under our door. Two from the same place. I guess they really want to sell us some shitty pizza.
Tomorrow: the cruise begins! Can't wait.