The Gory Details....from Colorado to Friday Night
I left Colorado Springs Thursday at 3:20pm, headed for Ft. Lauderdale. The first flight was uneventful, the second flight was a bit of a nightmare that I thankfully survived. The plane got in an hour late, so I didn't arrive until midnight, or a little after. I met Mike at the airport, then off we went to Miami.
The hotel was a bit frightening, also. There was a police man standing guard outside the lobby and the signs in the heavily fenced parking lot urging us strongly not to leave valuables in the car. The guy behind the desk could have been one of the shadiest Cheech and Chong characters and the doorframes in the hotel were reinforced.
It was in the lobby that I realized that I'd forgotten my formal dress at home. Doh! Mike assured me we could find the nearest mall in the morning and get another one. (It was still frustrating as all get out!)
We checked in, headed upstairs and went straight to sleep.
The next morning, we tried to call Maxi, but got no answer. (We found out later she'd been there, but her phone wasn't working.) So, we left a message for her at the front desk letting her know we were off to buy what I'd forgotten.
We checked out, had breakfast, and headed for the mall. Now, I hate clothes shopping, so I tried to make it as quick and painless as possible. I found a simple black dress and we puttered a bit more and headed for the cruise ship around noon.
The ship was an awesome sight to see. I'd seen the brochure, but those suckers are Big! We checked our bags (never occurred to me that would happen on a cruise ship!) and headed inside. They looked at our i.d., issued our cruise cards, and off we went to board.
We went up the gangway and entered the plush lobby of the ship. A guy (bellhop? usher?) led us to our teeny little cabin. I'd meant to use this time to unpack, but our luggage hadn't made it yet, so we just kicked back and decided which shore expedition we wanted in Nassau. We tried to call Maxi's cabin a few times, but there wasn't an answer.
Once we picked our expedition, we filled out the form to reserve tickets and dropped it off downstairs. Then Mike and I went off to explore the ship. We hadn't heard any official times for the con festivities, so we had some time to kill.
The ship was beautiful. We walked along the promenade deck (7th level), checked out a couple of the lounges and then headed for the sun deck, on top of the ship.
It's a wonderful place, with two swimming pools, two hot tubs, and two bars at either end. We ran into the Clan Denial up there, and they told us the Con had opened their booth for registration, so off to that table we went.
At the con table we received our official HL cruise pins and the schedule of events. Much to my surprise, it mentioned two JB concerts and a 'Meet the Guests' party. The first concert wasn't until 5:30pm, so off we went to find Maxi again. We managed to catch her this time and talked with her for a while.
At 4:15pm, we had the mandatory muster drill. Everyone puts on the life jackets in the room and goes to their 'muster station' as they would should we encounter trouble while at sea. Ours was right below our room, so we left at the last minute and wandered down stairs. Mike grumbled over the fact that women and children were put at the front while the men were stuck in the back. I personally didn't see a problem with it... ;)
Once we'd filed back to our cabins and dumped the life jackets off at the room, we met up with Maxi and headed up to the Music Man lounge for Jim's first concert.
We arrived at the Music Man lounge about a half hour before the concert. There was a table up front that we sat at, but it turned out it had been reserved by the people at the next table for their friends.
I led the way to the second level of tables, but the first two had signs saying 'Reserved'. The next two tables had their view of the stage blocked by a watcher symbol ice scupture, so we sat at the third one over.
Now, the Music Man is a fairly small lounge that must have been hard pressed to fit 300 people at the tables, though we didn't feel cramped. The stage is front and center, with two doors on either side leading to an outside area that faced the front of the ship. Directly in front of the stage was a wooden circular dance floor. This is then surrounded by a 3/4 circle of tables, two rows deep. Behind that was a slightly higher circle of tables (where we were), with one last higher row behind that. All in all it was very cosy.
Suddenly, my sixth sense went off and I turned to face the doors at the back of the lounge. There was Peter, in the flesh. He was wearing black pants and a gray shirt. The pants fit him very nicely. *bg* I quickly turned back around, so as not to be staring obviously. Gypsy (a wonderful forumlander I'd met earlier) was waving to get my attention, mouthing "Peter's behind you!" I nodded and and mouthed "I know!" back at her. He stayed near the opening, signing autographs and being very charming. Soon, Jim was added to the mix and signed autographs, too.
Donna, Gillian, and David A. made themselves comfortable at the reserved tables and I realized who they'd been reserved for. Sure enough, a bit later, Peter came and sat down with them. Jim made his way to the stage and settled himself on his stool. The con organizer welcomed us and introduced Peter. Peter came up and also welcomed us, to loud applause. He introduced Jim and the concert was on it's way. Liz showed up a bit later with her new guy (I'm assuming it's the investment banker she told us about at CCC.).
The concert was wonderful, as usual. About three songs in, people started to get up and dance. I was still shaky from having been so sick, so I stayed out of it, but Maxi jumped in immediately, soon followed by Mike.
Jim played "Sweet Home Chicago" and "All Over You", but I don't really remember what else. I was torn between watching the concert and unobtrusively watching Peter out of the corner of my eye. (I know, it's a tough life... ;) )
A bit later, I was stunned to see Peter and Liz heading for the dance floor. It was a fast song, and I was almost afraid to keep watching. It would be a sad thing to see such a beautiful man dance like a white boy. I needn't have worried. He danced better than most men I've seen. I'm getting goosebumps even now remembering the way he moved... Anyway, I couldn't resist, I had to get out there and dance. I stayed for about a song and a half before Jim and the band took their break. I was a very happy haremite!
So, Jim came back and started his second set. Maxi, Mike and I headed back for the dance floor and ended up right under Jim's nose, on the edge next to the reserved tables (in plain view of you-know-who)! If I'd been a touch more sober, I never would have done it, but...well...I wasn't. We stayed in that spot because it was close to the rapidly melting but very cold Watcher symbol and needed the breeze off of it.
Regretfully, the concert ended and we stayed until the Guests had left. Then we headed back to our cabins to change for dinner.
We went back downstairs and got in line to be admitted into the dining room. Jim was also in line nearby, not that I noticed... ;) We talked with Gypsy and her husband until we were let in.
There'd been a mixup, so Maxi ended up at a different table across the room. I really wish I could tell you the names of those who were at our table, but as I'd warned them, I've forgotten (except I remember Carol, go fig (she was the only one not there when we were introducing ourselves). oh, and John.) They were mostly members of the Dreamers of the Dance Clan. Everyone was nice, though.
The dinner was unbelievable. Our head waiter, Umit, was a very attractive man from Turkey. (He had Methos's delicate facial structure, deep brown eyes, and curly brown hair). I had the fruit cup, beef broth (I was amazed how delicious such a simple thing could be), salad, pasta, and orange sherbert. And I could have added a few more courses if I'd been so inclined. Absolutely delicious.
Midway through the meal, all of the waiters lined up and sang 'O Solo Mio' for us. Liz received cheers as she walked up and down the line of waiters, her camcorder filming away.
Eventually, not another morsel would fit, so we waddled back to the cabin.
The cinema was very comfortable and steeply tilted so that everyone could see. The theater was small and packed, so they were also showing the surprise in cinema 2. Donna and Gillian came in and revealed that the surprise (not very surprisingly) would be the episode we were missing by being there (Ususal Suspects) and the one from the upcoming week (Justice). They then left to give the same intro in the other theater. They'd also revealed that the ship would be playing HL, European versions, on channel 33 on our cabin tvs, 24 hours a day.
As the episode started, we cracked each other up by reciting the opening monologue with Joe and cheering at 'there can be only one'. We also cheered when AP, EG, PW, and JB showed up in the credits. (PW's was loudest by far, IMO.) It was a lot of fun. I won't go into spoilers, though you've all probably seen it, but I really enjoyed this episode. Sure, it was stolen from Agatha Christie, but I loved it anyways.
Showing the second one was a nice gesture, but probably a mistake. It's got BKC #3 and is a much more serious episode than Usual Suspects. I actually started to drift off during the middle of it. (It was now around 1:30am!) If anything, they should have played them in opposite order, because US would have at least kept me awake.
After the episode, we stumbled back up to our cabins and pretty much crashed immediately.