As the sun rises over the Atlantic Ocean, my feet are kicked up this morning, resting at the South Seas Hotel in Miami Beach before a demanding week begins. I’m here attending Cruise Shipping Miami. It’s the world’s largest gathering of cruise industry professionals, and like everyone here (about 10,000 of us), my schedule is jam-packed from Sunday afternoon through Friday morning with meetings, receptions and other events.
I’m excited about meeting with so many of my industry colleagues and learning about what’s new and what’s coming down the pike for avid cruisers. With such a busy schedule, I’ll be listening more than reporting, however, so you may not see a lot of activity on avidcruiser.com until the conference ends.
I’d like to give a little “shout out” to the South Seas Hotel. We’ve been staying here for years, each time we attend Cruise Shipping Miami. I find the beachfront hotel to be not only a retreat from the conference at the Miami Convention Center, two blocks away, but also a good choice for a pre- and post-cruise hotel for out-of-towners cruising from Miami and wanting to experience Miami Beach.
In my travels worldwide, ashore and at sea, I’ve seldom encountered a warmer or friendlier staff than here at South Seas Hotel. Front Desk Manager Ana M Peñaranda greets us with a smile and hug after all these years of staying at her hotel and attending the conference. She follows many of us on Facebook, and says she lives vicariously through our travels. I live vicariously through her grandchildren, who she clearly loves, made apparent by the many photos on her own Facebook page. Ana certainly doesn’t look grandmotherly — she appears far too young — but she treats all of us, and her staff, with the matriarchal love.
This year, Ana (pictured with me in the photo above) surprised us by upgrading us to a gorgeous suite (pictured below), seven floors up and overlooking the pool below, the beach and the Atlantic Ocean.
When she saw me later in the day, Ana jokingly asked what I thought of the room. I told her I was disappointed that the sink did not dispense champagne. And wouldn’t you know it? Next time I returned to my suite, there was a silver bucket with a bottle of Perrier-Jouët cooling on ice and a hand-written note from Ana apologizing for the faucets that failed to pour bubbly.
Thank you Ana. Because of you, I not only look forward to the week ahead at the conference but also to returning to my suite and the friendly folks at the South Seas Hotel. And thanks for making my good day today a great day.