2019 World Cruise - Days 1 & 2

Thursday 01.03.19 - A day in Sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida

My wife Shelly & I have spent nearly a year and a half planning for the trip of a lifetime; an 111 day world cruise aboard the Pacific Princess.

Today, all that planning has come to fruition, as we climbed into our van from Spring Royal Limo. We scheduled a 7:30am ride to George Bush Intercontinental Airport.
Shortly after arriving, we find our gate at C12. We have a little bit of a wait, until our 10:04am flight, so we decide to grab some grub at Ember. Although our waitress, Perez, took great care of us, we were not especially impressed with our food. You order via a tablet, then it becomes full service. It was nice that there were free drink refills, even on juice. Also, we were able to pay with our United MilagePlus points, including the gratuity. My breakfast tacos, were mediocre at best. The menu says flour tortillas but I was served corn tortillas & they were barely heated. The potatoes would have been better if they were crispy. My bride chose the breakfast sandwich, that she said had dry bread that crumbled, the egg was a bit overcooked, but the bacon was perfectly crispy and she liked the flavors of the jalapeno aioli. 
Breakfast Tacos
Egg, chorizo, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, cilantro crema, Maggi pickled jalapenos

Breakfast Sandwich
Folded egg, jalapeno, pepper jack cheese, choice of side

Shortly after eating, we boarded the plane & enjoyed a few cocktails while we waited for our in-flight snack. The flight wasn't long enough for an actual meal, so a snack was all we got. Talk about first world problems.

Inflight snack - strawberry, dried apricots, & grapes; 3 different cheeses; cream crackers; prosciutto; almonds & a salted caramel chocolate candy

After we landed, we took an Uber to our hotel at the Hilton Fort Lauderdale Marina. They booked us into an Intracoastal King Balcony in the East Villas. That all sounds so swanky. Room 3316 was a nice size with a great view, however the A/C was left completely off. Our bathroom seemed to always be hot. We left my travel fan in there whenever we left. We kept the AC set on 65°F for our entire visit & the room was comfortable.

Our Balcony view!  This yacht happened to be docked beside us the entire stay so we didn't exactly get an intracoastal view

We hung out at the hotel until it was time to take another Uber to dinner. I had made us a 6:30pm reservation at Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar. The menu looked so good, it was hard to choose what to eat. After ordering a couple of cocktails, our waiter Michael, gave us some great recommendations. We decided to share a few appetizers & an entree (molcajete carne). Soon after the amazing apps arrived, we realized that we would not have room for the entree, so we had Michael cancel it. Next time we are in the area, I want to go back & try the dish that got away. The only negative things I found were the hipster paper straws, plus charging for chips & salsa.

HOUSE MARGARITA w/ Passion Fruit
Tradicional Silver, Triple Sec, and Housemade Sour Mix

Patron Silver, Citronge Orange Liqueur, Rocco’s Housemade Sour Mix

First to arrive was the Totopos (chips & salsa). These were wonderful, I loved the seasoned chips, reminded me of Jimmy Changas. All 3 salsas were really good. My favorite was the small bowl of red/rojo. Shelly’s favorite was the large bowl of red/house.
house (tomato, onion, cilantro); verde (tomatillo, jalapeno); rojo (roasted chiles, red peppers)

Next was the Queso Fundido w/ Carne Molida & corn tortillas. This was especially good.  It is served sizzling hot in a cast iron skillet with fresh cheese crumbled on top and a small dollop of sour cream. We were delighted to find peppers & onions underneath all that glorious cheese. They serve either flour or corn tortillas with it.  In my opinion, the only thing to make it better would be more meat, or maybe steak fajita meat.
chihuahua cheddar cheeses, chile rajas, & carne molida baked in a skillet, served with corn tortillas

We finished up a half order of nachos. These were pretty damn good. It seems like they used a thinner chip than served with the salsa. We opted for no black beans.  A few more jalapenos would have made this dish amazing. The cheese was melted on top of the meat, then sour cream, pico, and guacamole dressed it. I highly recommend these nachos.
NACHOS (1/2 order)
spicy beef, guacamole, pico de gallo, sour cream, chihuahua cheese, pickled jalapeƱos
Look at this menu!

After dinner, we took an Uber back to the hotel. It was time to rest up for the next day...

Friday 01.04.19 - Another day in Sunny Fort Lauderdale, Florida

We had a 9am reservation to attend the Everglades Holiday Park VIP Tour (with transportation included). Our driver, Tom, was a very humorous guy, that seemed to have a deep knowledge about the area and loved his job. There were 14 people on our van, then 26 of us on the airboat, steered by Capt Steve. We ended the excursion with a short live demo with the star of Gator Boys, Paul Bedard. I had a blast & took over 150 photos. Here are a few samples:

Cpt Steve making a flower necklace for Shelly

She was so excited to hold a baby alligator

At the end of the tour we asked Tom, instead of taking us back to the hotel, to drop us off at a local restaurant. While we couldn't go directly there, he was able to get us within a few blocks. A 3 minute, 0.1 mile walk took us to Coconuts.

In doing research for the trip, I read about their Danish Baby Back Barbecued Ribs & just knew that's what I wanted to order. First, it was time for a couple of local brews. A bottle of La Rubia Blonde Ale for myself (this was another typical blonde ale. Decent beer, but nothing to brag about) & a Pineapple Beach Blonde Ale for my bride. She loved this beer with its light citrus taste & subtle hint of pineapple.
La Rubia Blonde Ale by Wynwood Brewing Company
La Rubia is the lightest beer we brew. However, this beer does not lack in flavor. It has a nice crisp bitterness to it with a slight bready and sweet flavor. This beer is brewed for the beautiful hot weather we get here in Miami. La Rubia is a combination of German Pilsner Malts, British Crystal Malts, Czech Saaz Hops and German Ale Yeast, making this beer a true American Blonde Ale.
Blonde Ale with Pineapple
Put your feet in the sand with a beer in your hand. Our tropical and refreshing blonde ale is kissed with gnarly waves of juicy pineapple. A dose of floral, American hops and crisp pilsner malt makes this beer ideal for any sun-soaked day.

We can't help ourselves when it comes to raw oysters. If they are on the menu we must order at least a half dozen, especially if they come with a mignonette sauce. Today was no exception. These were served with crackers, a cocktail horseradish sauce, a mignonette sauce & sriracha sauce. Yummy, clean oysters with a creaminess to them. Shelly loves any type of mignonette sauce and this one had a good vinegar note.
½ Dozen Raw Oysters

Now about those ribs... They tasted GREAT, with nice charred bits every once in a while and the meat fell off the bone tender. The glaze was not as spicy as I expected or would have liked, but still a tangy citrus taste. The French fries were cooked to perfection. The coleslaw was done with a honey mustard sauce, a tangy addition to this fresh slaw. I might do this at home.
Danish Baby Back Barbecued Ribs w/ chipotle-pineapple bbq sauce, fries & coleslaw

Extra chipotle-pineapple bbq sauce

I saw that they also had a signature dish called Snow Crab Scoobies. So of course, we had to get those as well. These ended up being our favorite dish here! I loved the garlic butter sauce with big slivers of garlic and a little heat from the pepper flakes! They include a few slices of thick bread that is perfect for sopping up all the butter and drippings of the claws. You have to order these Scoobies!
Snow Crab Scoobies - crab claws in a herb, garlic & pepper flake butter sauce.

We finished our delectable meal with Coconut Cheesecake with a strawberry/raspberry sauce. This was a bit spongy but creamy and we loved the tangy berry sauce and all the fresh coconut scattered on top and garnished on the plate. The Graham cracker crust incorporated coconut flakes carrying the flavor through out. 
Coconut Cheesecake

We got back to the hotel around 3:30pm & promptly took a nap. Upon waking up at 7pm, I wasn’t feeling up to going out to dinner. I think it was a combination of getting too hot earlier in the day & having such a late, large lunch. We opted to order pizza from MidiCi The Neapolitan Pizza Company. I know, big shocker there, ordering pizza while traveling! How else can I try the local pizza places that deliver to hotels. I'm really glad we did though, it was incredible. We selected THE DEVIL’S PIZZA (Neapolitan style) It lived up to it's name with a great spice level that was still enjoyable. The crust was perfectly thin, slightly crispy, and terrific little burnt edges. All the toppings blended well together. I really enjoyed this and would definitely try more of their pizza creations.
THE DEVIL’S PIZZA (Neapolitan style)
Italian tomato sauce, fresh mozzarella, housemade spicy sausage, spicy Italian salami, red chilies (spicy). 

As if that pizza wasn't enough, we added on a side of magnificent meatballs. They were so tender, juicy, and served with a large ladle of tasty marinara, probably the best marinara I've had. This comes with 2 meatballs and 2 slices of toast drizzled with balsamic vinegar. Great side dish to cool off from the spicy pizza.
angus beef, fresh mozzarella, Italian marinara sauce, parmesan, basil. 

Shelly got excited when she saw their SIGNATURE NUTELLA® CALZONE. So of course, we got one of those too. After the first bite she said, "This is so yummy! Warm nutella mixed with fresh berries in a soft dough. OMG this was divine!"
Nutella®, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries.

Next we forced ourselves to go to sleep, it was so hard with the anticipation of boarding the ship in the morning. Pacific Princess here we come!


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