Each year, Cruise Specialists invites their Holland America World Cruise guests for an pre-cruise overnight stay at the wonderful Renaissance Hotel in Fort Lauderdale.
This is a chance to meet the onboard cruise hosts, mingle with the Cruise Specialists staff whom they may have only talked to on the phone in the time leading up to their voyage and last but not least, a cocktail party and dinner!
It’s just one of the many exclusive amenities our guests enjoy!
Upon arrival at the hotel, most guests are welcomed curbside by Cruise Specialists, luggage is sorted to be stored to be taken directly to the ship or to their hotel room, saving lots of time and energy.We’ve heard each year from clients how much they enjoy the hotel due to the great staff service, rooms and location, but this year had a little bonus which our hosts Steve and Wendy spotted:
As we walked around on Saturday at the hotel, we noticed several imposing looking men, who were quietly giving autographs to local kids. Then we got in the elevator with one of them and he needed his key card to get off at the 5th floor. We found out later that the entire Miami Dolphins team stays at this hotel the night before their home games.
The 5th floor can only be accessed by them – thus the special key card. Apparently, the coach wants to keep an eye on them in preparation for the Sunday game. They did keep a very low profile, but it was fun seeing them all in one place and we were told they won!
We also know that last day is an important time to double check your packing list and without a car, we want to make it easy to pick up any essentials. During the afternoon, Cruise Specialists offers a courtesy shuttle to the nearby Broward Mall.
Then it’s time to conclude our shore activities with cocktails and a wonderful group dinner! Our friends from Holland America always join us for the festivities to welcome our guests in advance.The cocktail party is a wonderful time for repeat world cruisers to share their thoughts with first timers, for solo cruisers to meet those they may have connected with on message boards and for our hosts Tom Mullen and Steven and Wendy Bodenheimer to begin learning what guests are going to need on board!
In fact, we often have past and future guests stop by because they’ve come to know our team and other cruisers so well!
On sailing day, we transferred all guests via private shuttle to the ship, ensuring that they are the first one’s on board to avoid lines during embarkation. Our staff was curbside waving them a warm bon voyage.
As Wendy says:
We rode the shuttle bus to the ship with some of our Guests and were delighted at the quick and easy boarding process. We didn’t even have to wait in the terminal.
The first day is spent finding our way around the ship, unpacking, and making sure our Guests are settling in. Many of them have sailed on this World Voyage multiple times and are experts on this ship – Holland Amercia’s Amsterdam.
Making things easier is that every Cruise Specialists guest receives an embroidered fleece jacket, so they’re easy to spot in the get-togethers! As Cruise Specialists guests get settled, they have access every day at 11:00AM, to our hosts for any questions, problems or just a moment to say hello!
We are working closely with our co-host Tom, a veteran of 36 years as a World Cruise host, including 20 of Holland Americas’s World Voyages – the one we are on now. He is a treasure trove of information about every aspect of this Voyage and has a fabulous memory for people and places. We are trying to soak it all in. Since we have dinner together most nights, we’re hearing lots of great stories. And Tom knows almost everyone on board, so we are meeting many of the people who help us keep our Guests happy.
We’ll be providing more updates throughout the 2016 Holland America Grand World Voyage! From the ports to the dancing to the food, you’ll find out why we have so many guests begin planning their next world cruise before finishing the first!
Just a few of the places we can’t wait to share Delhi, India, and Siem Reap, Cambodia. Each day brings something new from onboard fun to port stops, to special excursions with our hosts.
Tom Mullen is excited to lead our guests on two special tours: an overland trip to Siem Reap to visit ancient Angkor and an a thrilling overnight stay in Dubai.
From our team to yours Happy New Year and we hope to help you enjoy an amazing journey round the world this year!