Our 7 day Thanksgiving Cruise on the Holland America Line MS Westerdam

December 2, 2014

This is the second time Marty and I have enjoyed Thanksgiving on Holland America Line.

We spent the night before the cruise at the Hilton Garden Inn in Dania Beach.

I’ve learned that even though we live about a 6 hour drive from Port Everglades, bad things can happen on 95 South.

Some friends of ours left Jacksonville around noon (we left at about 4 pm) and they hit some HEAVY traffic.

A “wide-load” semi was going about 10 mph down I95 South and they were right behind it!

They couldn’t pass it because the wide-load took up both lanes!

Anyway, Marty and I left Duval county about 4 p.m. and made great time to our hotel.

After enjoying a great night’s rest and a full breakfast, our group of 30 people jumped on the free shuttle to the port.

We arrived about 11:15 a.m after a short 20 minute ride.

There wasn’t a line at check in and we sat in the waiting area for about 30 minutes before we boarded.

Next we dropped off our luggage in cabin 4076 (cat H obstructed view) and then headed down to the Vista dining room for our Mariners Luncheon.

I always choose the Reuben sandwich and I can’t remember what Marty ate!

Our 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise was mostly sunny, a little bit windy but VERY enjoyable.

Oh. The first night of the cruise I could hear the lifeboat right outside of our large window squeaking LOUDLY!

I called the front desk the next morning and it was fixed immediately!

Our first port of call was Grand Turk.

Marty and I met a very nice couple with their two teenage kids from Louisiana who were from the Carnival Breeze at the pool at Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville.

Next stop was San Juan where we took a $10 per person bus tour of the city. We’ve done that before, but hey, for the price, you can’t beat it!

On to St Thomas. Yeah. We’ve been there many times, but this time, Marty insisted we go see St John.

Thanks to my good friend Doug Parker of Cruise Radio, I was able to get us to Trunk Bay on St. John at a fraction of the cost of a shore excursion!

You can check out his article here: http://cruiseradio.net/getting-trunk-bay-cruise-ship/

Marty and I had a great time and enjoyed lunch on St. John at the High Tide Bar and Seafood Grill.

You can check them out right here: http://www.hightidevi.com/

Thanksgiving dinner on the Westerdam was great. Incredible service, amazing food and the best part of it…no cooking or cleaning up!

Our next stop was Half Moon Cay and we had a great time.

Back to Port Everglades too soon.

Another great Thanksgiving vacation on Holland America Line.

Our upcoming pre cruise stay at the Hilton Garden Inn

November 17, 2014

Marty and I will be driving from Jacksonville to Ft Lauderdale within the next couple of days.

As always, we will be spending the night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Dania Beach, Fl. before we board the MS Westerdam on 11/22.

The short 15 minute drive from the Hilton Garden Inn in the hotel provided shuttle to the cruise port is a breeze.

We love the HGI for many reasons including the friendly staff, the immaculate rooms and the incredible FULL breakfast!

Remember to pack an overnight bag so you don’t have to dig out your stuff from your suitcases.

Here’ a quick list for your consideration:

Men

——

Deodorant, Shaving Cream, Razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear, socks, overnight clothing, medication.

=====================================

Women

———

Deodorant, Shaving Cream, Razor, toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear, overnight clothing, medication and most importantly MAKEUP!

I hope this list is helpful.

Scott Lara

@scottlara1961 on Twitter

Scott and Marty talking about sailing on Holland America Line.

November 2, 2014
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Marty with our friend Glynda!

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Marty loves the free classes at the Digital Workshop powered by Windows!

As you may know, my wife Marty and I enjoy sailing on Holland America Line so much, that we have over 100 days onboard!

We are excited about our Nov 22nd (7 day) Eastern Caribbean Thanksgiving cruise.

Click on the link below and check out my latest podcast with Marty as my guest.

Marty talks about her favorite 3 things about Holland America and we share some tips!

If you would like to experience Holland America Line for yourself, shoot me an email at slara1961@gmail.com.

I would be honored to book your cruise!

Scott

http://scottlara1961.podbean.com/e/scott-and-marty-talking-about-sailing-on-holland-america-line/#.VFbamkoy9jA.twitter

Buying a house!

October 20, 2014

Hi Everyone,

I wanted to share an experience that Marty and I have been going through the last couple of months.

For 12 years we have been renting a 3 bedroom, 2 story townhouse.

The rent has been great, but I’m getting to the point where I want to own a home.

Lennar has some great homes in Jacksonville and they have a slogan, “Everything’s included.”

Marty and I have decided on a very nice 3 bedroom, 2 bath house very close to where I work.

The construction should be finished by Nov 17th (right before our Thanksgiving cruise on the Holland America Line MS Westerdam).

house1

I didn’t realize the amount of effort it takes to buy a home, but I must say Lennar made it VERY easy.

It’s been great driving by the home, meeting the construction folks and seeing the progress!

Stay tuned for pics, some tips and other comments!

Thanks Lennar!

Scott Lara

My choice for the best pre and post cruise hotel in Ft Lauderdale

October 8, 2014

Marty and I have sailed from Ft Lauderdale (Port Everglades) many times.

In the old days, we would drive 6 hours from Jacksonville, but no longer.

The fact of the matter is, we would have to leave Jax at 7 a.m. to make sure we arrived at the port by 2 p.m.

I was a nervous wreck (and that’s back when I did have a gall bladder!)

Now we leave Jax the night before the cruise and leisurely drive to our favorite pre-cruise hotel, the Hilton Garden Inn in Dania.

The lobby and rooms are spotless, the staff welcomes you with a big smile, and the FULL breakfast is out of this world.

If you buy the park and cruise special, you get free parking with your stay!

The next time you are sailing out of Port Everglades, be sure to stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Dania and tell them Scott Lara sent you.

Here’ s link to their website: http://www.hgifllairport.com/

Great door to door limo service in Jacksonville

October 5, 2014

The fact of the matter is, Marty and I live only 15 minutes away from the Carnival Fascination in Jacksonville. Most of the time, I can ask a relative to drop us off and pick us up at the port.

No longer.

I recently learned about Maxim Transportation.

Our driver picked us up at our home in a beautiful black, very clean Cadillac and whisked us to JaxPort.

He loaded our luggage at our door and handed it to the porter at the port.

When we returned to Jacksonville, our car and driver were waiting for us for our return ride home!

Check out this video and be sure to tell Maxim Transportation that Scott Lara said hi when you use them for your luxury transportation needs!

Thanksgiving cruise on the Holland America Line MS Westerdam

September 27, 2014

Last year my wife Marty and I enjoyed our first Thanksgiving cruise on the Holland America Line Eurodam.

Thanksgiving will never be the same again!

Great food, incredible service and time with family inspired us to make a Thanksgiving cruise on Holland America Line an annual tradition.

This Thanksgiving we will be sailing on the MS Westerdam with 20 family and friends.

Stay tuned for pics and video from our 7 day Eastern Caribbean cruise!

 

I can’t believe why people don’t take cruise vacations.

September 19, 2014

Hello (again) from the Carnvial Fascination!

As you may know, Marty and I live only 15 minutes from the ship.

I was on the Carnival Fascination Aug 30th for 5 days and it’s great to be back!

It amazes me how many people live so close to a cruise ship and don’t take advantage of taking a cruise vacation.

I’ve enjoyed meeting people on the ship from California, North Carolina, Chicago and even Australia. They have travelled many miles and have spent hard earned dollars to sail on the Carnival Fascination, yet so many people that live within 3 hours driving distance have never experienced a cruise vacation!

The reason why Marty and I enjoy cruising so frequently is because it’s so affordable, most everything is included and for the duration of the cruise you don’t have to cook, clean, do laundry or take out the trash!

When you consider the cost of a typical land based vacation, add up the cost of lodging, transportation, entertainment and food (3 meals a day), the cost can be overwhelming and out of reach for most Americans.

A cruise vacation is mostly all inclusive!

I urge those of you who haven’t taken a Carnival cruise to give me a shout at slara1961@gmail.com.

I would be happy to help you plan YOUR cruise vacation, and who knows, Marty and I will probably be on the ship with you.

Stay tuned for videos and pics from this cruise and check out my links to the right for all my social media channels.

Scott Lara

@scottlara1961 on Twitter

 

Back on the Carnival Fascination on Sept 18th

September 10, 2014

One of the benefits of living 15 minutes from the Jacksonville-based Carnival Fascination is that my wife and I can jump on the ship at a moments notice!

Yes, my friend Dwight and his two grandsons and I enjoyed the Carnival Fascination way back on Aug 30th for 5 days.

We went to Nassau and Half Moon Cay. The weather was absolutely perfect in every way!

No rain, the seas were calm, just perfect.

Marty and I will be on the Fascination on Sept 18th for 4 days going to Freeport (no comment) and to Nassau.

We will be sailing with my doctor, her husband and her office staff.

Stay tuned for pics and all the details.

Scott

Carnival Fascination cruise update

September 2, 2014

I can’t believe what a great time I’m having on the Carnival Fascination. Actually, I can believe it. This will be the 9th time I’ve been on the Fascination!

Cruise Director Adam is one of the best.

He’s very approachable, friendly and funny.

We had a great day in Nassau on Labor Day. The weather was perfect at the Atlantis. While I’m NOT a big fan of waterslides, I did enjoy time relaxing by one of the pools and enjoying the aquarium.

Today (Tuesday) has been amazing at Half Moon Cay.

The weather is great, not too hot, not too cold.

I enjoyed a cold beverage at Captain Morgan’s bar which is always a cool place to meet new friends.

Tomorrow is an at sea day and then on Thursday back home to Jacksonville.

It’s ok though.

Marty and I will be returning to the Carnival Fascination on Sept 18th with my doctor and her family.

I will be posting pics and YouTube videos when I’m back on land.

Scott


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