Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | February 25, 2017

Another Dam Trip: Entry #1


February is a good time to trade sealskin boots for flip flops!

Approximately nine months ago, the Dolphin Whisperer sent me an urgent text that Air Canada was having a seat sale, and asked if I would consider taking another cruise with her once February rolled around. It had been a gruelling winter for the both of us, as neither of us had managed a winter holiday to somewhere we could feel the sun on our skin and warm our bones, and both of us regretted it dreadfully even as April and (relatively) warmer weather was rolling around. So a couple of vacation requests to our respective bosses and a couple of credit card entries later, the two of us were booked on another cruise with Holland America bookended by a few days in Fort Lauderdale, where I’m writing from now. This time we’ll be sailing on the ms Nieuw Amsterdam; all of Holland America’s ships end with “dam”, one may recall,  hence the title I’ve given this set of entries.


Yesterday was a long day of travel for DW and me. It was three legs of flights to get from Yellowknife to Fort Lauderdale, with our first flight taking off at 6:00 a.m. This meant a 3:45 a.m. wake up call. Then it was a stop in Edmonton, a stop in Toronto, and finally arriving at our final stop at 11:00 p.m. The cab to our hotel felt a little like a fourth leg, too, as DW joked, with a bit of crazy traffic and a cab driver who talked on his cell phone the entire way to the hotel.


The very comfy bed I’m sleeping in at the hotel.  

It’s a beautiful hotel, though; we are booked in at the Margaritaville Hollywood Beach Resort Hotel, which was a bit of a splurge on our part. It’s a beautiful hotel right off the beach, with a couple of pools and restaurants and really comfortable beds.  Of course we couldn’t get into those really comfortable beds right away, as even though it was nearly midnight by the time we’d checked in, we were really hungry.  Given the hour, we had to order in room dining service, which unfortunately had a limited menu, particularly since DW is a vegetarian and her only option was a Caesar salad. I had that as well, as it sounded the most appealing. I think it is a bit funny that seafood kept being offered when we asked about vegetarian. Fish is still meat!


By the time we’d settled in and gone to bed, it was two in the morning. We set an alarm for ten so we wouldn’t sleep our day away. The beds, however, are so comfortable, it might even have been worth it. By the time we got up and at ’em, we’d passed the breakfast hour, so we started our day with the lunch menu. I decided not to start with a margarita as I felt that might be a Very Bad Idea.  Breakfast booze is one thing; before breakfast booze is quite another.  The pasta I had was quite good, and had lots of garlic – a good thing, since I’m fighting a winter cold I can’t seem to kick.



We wandered a bit around the hotel to figure out where everything was, lattes in hand, after that, before heading to the St. Somewhere Spa, where we’d booked a side-by-side pedicure, which was on special for February. Our feet were scrubbed with a mix of brown sugar, coconut oil and fresh-squeezed lemon juice, which smelled heavenly and felt fantastic. Nails were trimmed, feet were filed, calves massaged, the whole works. I highly recommend the treatment, as does DW, who called it the best pedicure she’d ever had, and she didn’t even drink her complementary margarita, because they didn’t cheap out on the tequila at all and it tasted too strongly of it for her. I, however, drank mine and hers. This turned out to be a bit of a mistake on my part, because while it was gloriously delicious and I was very relaxed, between that and all the cucumber water I’d consumed, I had to leave my next treatment, the Tranquil Water body treatment, not once but twice in eighty minutes to use the bathroom.  Still worth it.  I was dry brushed and then my poor, thirsty skin had a body butter applied while muscles were massaged.  Absolutely blissful.

Purchasing treatments at the spa also gains you access to the jacuzzi and steam room, which I also made use of to complete my pampering.  By the time I left to meet up with DW, I was as languid as a cooked spaghetti noodle.  DW, in the meantime, had spent the rest of her afternoon in the sun and sand, exploring the Broadwalk of shops and cafes and whatnot just behind the hotel, when she wasn’t frolicking in the ocean. She found us a cute little taco place for dinner, called the Taco Spot, where we split some chips and guac and salsa, then she had a taco and I had a burrito.  The burrito was enormous, and for only $9!  Had I known, I wouldn’t have had any chips. I didn’t even eat my share and I still couldn’t finish the whole thing.  So tasty!  As was my white wine sangria. The fruit they put in it was cantaloupe and honeydew melon, which was really refreshing.



We parted ways for a bit after dinner (though not before stocking up on sunscreen for the cruise).  Even though it was dark, I wanted to spend a little time with my feet in the ocean and I wanted to take pictures, which DW wanted to check out a free concert they had going on in an outdoor theatre on the Broadwalk right by our hotel.  I needed a little quiet first, so I padded out alone.


Dancing with the energetic and awesome band!

It was mostly too dark for pictures and even the ones with flash are little off because of the light reflecting off the water in the air, but it was still nice to have my feet in the water, then I made my way back to where the band was playing after a while.


I only caught a few songs, but they were fantastic. I couldn’t find DW in the crowd, so kind of swayed to the music alone, my feet itching to dance but too shy to just join in.  Also, they were a bit sore since I’d been barefoot on skin only recently pumiced because I haven’t mastered flip-flops yet, so that cut things short.

Tomorrow I’m not sure what plans are, though I think mostly I am liking not having plans. Another day of rest before adventuring on a new side of the Caribbean.  I look forward to it, and to sharing more with you lovely readers! Stay safe out there!




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