We’re On The High Seas

Aboard the Norwegian Star

A little recap is in order. We spent last night at the Westin at LAX. We must be getting smarter because we knew to put our bags on the movable rack and then keep them with us in the room.

Today was definitely a day of hurry up and wait. First to LAX where we met up with Norwegian Cruise Line’s ground staff. We waited for the bus to the docks. Once we got there we stood in line to register and stood in line again to go through security.

The company Norwegian hires to do their security at San Pedro is very sneaky. I’m very observent, and it was only luck that let me realize these weren’t TSA screeners!

Their uniforms, methods and equipment and all reminiscent of what you’d see at the airport. I thought it was especially funny that all the old men wearing hats had to remove them, briefly.

We got on the ship and went to our cabin on Deck 11. We’re in a mini suite with a balcony. If you’ve never been on a ship, it is so small you’d wonder how they could call it a suite – even prefaced by mini.

I am typing this while on the balcony. Let me say now, a few hours into the trip, I’m going to love this balcony. I love it already.

Leaving San Pedro aboard the Norwegian SunAs we left the pier in San Pedro, I stood outside and watched. At walking speed, we made a sharp right turn and headed into the channel. The bow thrusters swung the rear left as the hsip pivoted. It was awesome as we slowly picked up speed. The Star moves effortlessly.

The night is cool and the ship is gently rocking. The moon is high in the sky directly to my left as I type. Its reflection is lighting the sea surface. Off in the distance, I still see the lights of the California Coast. The won’t be visible much longer.

This is living.

We have done a few things on the ship. We ate – twice.

Aqua dining room aboard the Norwegian SunFirst we had a ‘snack’ right after coming on board. We’ve just finished dinner in Aqua, a very nice restaurant a few decks down.

Norwegian has what’s called “Free Style” cruising, which means you can eat where and when you want. There are a few restaurants that charge a little extra, but mostly everyhting’s included.

Helaine and Stef also made arrangements for at least one shore excursion. They won’t tell me what it is, but they say my camera will be very happy.

Over the next few days I’ll let you know more about the ship. I really don’t know much yet. It’s large – I can tell you that. It’s full of people of every shape, size, color and age. It is beautifully decorated.

I’ve already registered for a poker tournament in the casino. It’s a $50 + $10 sing table sit and go. I am hoping it is a table full of poker neophytes – not that that guarantees success.

Busy Day On The Radio

Our station’s promotion department was wondering, would I be able to go to WPLR and be on the radio with Chaz and AJ… and, oh – can you be there by 7:00 AM?

I so wanted to say “no,” but decided it was better to be a team player. Seven in the morning is early for lots of people, but I normally don’t wake up until the crack of noon. This would be way before my normal waking time.

I got home and went to sleep ‘early’ last night – around 1:00 AM. By 3:30, my body said, “nice nap” and I was awake. A little time on the couch, on my side and I was back to sleep until the alarm went off at 6:00 AM.

If you normally wake up that time of day, I do not envy you.

I hit the road by 6:30 and stopped at Starbucks before getting on the parkway. Memo to Starbucks: You are not Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m sure you’re nice people, good to your parents, but your coffee is too strong. Above and beyond that, I don’t want to have to say “grande” to get a medium&#185.

WPLR is located in a nice mid-rise office building in a quiet area in Milford. They are owned by Cox and share space with Star 99.9 and WYBC (though much of WYBC’s programming is syndicated and doesn’t originate in Connecticut).

The studios are very nice and modern. AJ and Chaz sat on opposite sides of the console with Chaz ‘driving.’ Billy Winn, who had come downstairs to let me in, was at a corner of the desk.

I’ve known Chaz for years since I used to go on his show over the phone when he did nights there. We sat and schmoozed for about an hour. I thought it went pretty well. During a break Helaine called to tell me if I wanted to sound hip, I’d need to stop making references to people who were famous forty years ago.

Why is she always right?

As is always the case when I’m in a studio, I became enamored with the freedom to speak your mind on the radio – especially morning radio. It’s not that I said anything profound or controversial. It’s just that I could say anything with little forethought.

When my hour was up, I took off the headphones, said goodbye and began to make my way out of the building. It was then I decided to see if I could have a “Bob Hope moment.”

Back in the Johnny Carson Tonight Show era, every once in a while, right in the middle of an interview, the band would begin to play “Thanks for the Memories” and Bob Hope would stroll out to the set. It wasn’t planned. Johnny never knew. If Bob was in the neighborhood, he had carte blanche to walk right in.

I walked into the Star 99.9 studio.

The morning show with john Harper and Randye Kaye was in progress. There was no “Thanks for the Memories,” but without missing a beat John started talking to me (even before Randye realized I was in the studio) and we were off to the races. I probably stayed for 15-20 minutes.

I’ll admit it. I’m still a sucker for radio. Heck, I would have walked into WYBC if not for the fact that Tom Joyner’s show comes from Chicago.

&#185 – Forcing me to speak your language also goes to the rootin’ tootin’ folks at Denny’s. Sorry.