Special Report by Joyce Landry, CEO, Landry & Kling
Rio 2016 Olympics comes to an end. My final posting includes our memories in photos.
The games are winding up with some exciting finals this weekend. I’ll be winding up the blog posts (and our time in RIo) with our photo book of memories from the Rio 2016 Olympics.
CLOSE ENCOUNTERS WITH THE NBA AND TEAM USA
The world knows by now that the NBA, USA Basketball, men’s and women’s USA teams & their families have been staying onboard the Norwegian Getaway and Silver Cloud. There have been a number of close encounters and fun times with the staff & crew. We have all witnessed 7 foot + players fold themselves into elevators onboard and brush the ceilings in the hallways. Between the players and their families, I’ve never seen so many tall men & women in my life! It’s been quite the experience.
Day 10: A word about Zika
Bom Dia! It was 79 degrees in Rio today. I’ve been here since August 3 and have yet to see – or feel – one mosquito!
After all the hype and fear that was created over the Zika virus, it’s amazing to me that few people talked about the fact that it’s WINTER in Rio. It is NOT mosquito season. Meanwhile, we have a ton of leftover mosquito repellant on the ship that will be making it’s way back to Miami where it IS summer!
Allow me to show you how people prepared for the “scare” by covering up… Not. These photos were taken when I took a little walk to the bank today…
This photo is just for fun because I like this mural so much!
Day 8 – The games begin for us!
Since arriving in Rio, we’ve been working on board the Norwegian Getaway making sure that sponsors and International Olympic Committee members have been happy. Today, I was able to take a break to get out to a venue and attend an event. And not just any event – the rowing finals (!)
Securing these tickets was difficult but I couldn’t come to the Olympics without doing this. This is my first time seeing an Olympic rowing event since I starting rowing myself a little more than 10 years ago. The whole day was a thrill – starting with an early morning arrival at the beautiful Lagoa venue!
Hovering over the stadium was Christ the Redeemer.
The day was glorious and sunny – perfect temperature for rowing and viewing. My husband, Gene (also a rower) arrived for the weekend and we represented The Miami Rowing Club at the event. After Olympic mascot Vesuvio warmed up the crowd, we settled into our front row seats overlooking the finish line and medal ceremony platform and watched the first of the single scull finals.
We sat amidst U.S. fans and realized that they were family members of the U.S. Women’s 8 “Dream Team” – gold medal Olympic winners wince 2006. And what fans they are!
The first U.S. medal today was in the women’s single scull, Gevvie Stone – a great race! We were front and center for the medals ceremony afterward. That’s Gevvie in front of the gold medal winner, Australian Kim Brennan, and bronze medal winner China’s Duan Jingli.
Then the BIG moment… We watched the screens as the U.S Dream Team came down the course. We held our breath at the 1,000 meter mark which they approached in 4th place… then… they made their move and powered their boat forward… unstoppable. They came into view and the crowd went wild! We screamed and jumped and shouted USA – waving flags and arms and body parts. The energy was unbelievable. The dream team crossed the finish line first and everyone around us erupted in cheers. There were hugs and tears.
The excitement continued with the medals ceremony, which was a sight to watch – 27 competitors receiving medals all at once – a very happy group of top athletes. These photos captured the moment.
The best part was afterward, when the team ran to their families in the stands. We saw their medals up close and personal and got a good look at the “thing” that every athlete was presented with, along with their medals. For those of you who have seen this on TV and didn’t know what it was. It’s the Olympic logo in 3D as a memento.
What a day! I will never forget it. This was an Olympic moment worth waiting for.
Day 6: Making new friends
This morning, I had the pleasure of meeting officials from Nairobi, Kenya; the Cabinet Secretary and Principal Secretary for the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts. We took a break from our tour at O’Sheehan’s Pub in the atrium aboard the Getaway. Pictured here are Ambassador Richard T. Ekai and Dr. Hassan Wario Arero. We really hit it off after I mentioned that I climbed Kilimanjaro and had a deep appreciation for their country.
They are both distinguished gentleman and extremely proper. However, when our tour stopped at the Getaway’s basketball court, they couldn’t curb their enthusiasm when they spotted the soccer ball. This folks, is the essence of the games..and why, ultimately we are all here at RIO 2016.
Day 5: The lighter side of our work
There comes a day in every event where the pressure eases up just a little, and as a team, we get to let off a little steam. This came today – starting with a fun breakfast in the dining room. Servers Mary & Marilee look like sisters (not!) and speak at the same time. They have a little routine serving breakfast sweets. Take a look:
It was also the first day that the entire team from Landry & Kling and Norwegian Cruise Line had a chance to sit down and “break bread” together. It was a night of surprises starting with two good humored Norwegian execs emerging from the galley wearing waiters outfits and serving us! (Pictured right: Fleet Security Manager, Ricardo Ceballos and VP Hotel Operations, Arturo Guerrero)
We started the day today giving out awards to crew who helped us pull off a fabulous opening ceremonies party last night for the families of the NBA players, who are on Team USA. They wanted a place to watch their star sons and daughters, brothers and sisters, walk with the U.S. team. Several of the crew went out of their way to make it happen and the NBA asked us to distribute tickets to the U.S./China game to them.
Here are some of the recipients in photo: Joyce, Don King (Utility Galley), Magnolia Encina (Hotel Director secretary), Klaus Lugmaier (VP Fleet Ops), Arturo Guerra (VP Hotel Ops). Both Klaus and Arturo are with the Norwegian home office in Miami, traveling with us to make sure that the charter sparkles. In this photo, NBA Mark Aronson awards a ticket to Orlando Gonzaga, waiter.
After the game, we were asked to arrange a birthday cake for NBA player Demar Derozan who brought some friends onboard to celebrate his birthday in the Teppanyaki Restaurant. With very little advance notice, pastry check Alen made a fantastic creation – worthy of any winners of Food Network’s “Cake Wars”.
Take a look at this… a basketball court complete with hoops! I was passing by the restaurant to take a look and Demar graciously agreed to a photo with pastry chef, Alen. What a fun night for them….
Tonight was the first night that we were able to change for dinner (out of uniform), and have dinner ourselves! Klaus, Joyce and Errol Bailey, Hotel Director. All smiles after successfully setting up a formal dinner for Brazil’s second largest private bank, Bradesco.
Well, I’ve already started my pin collection. This is just the beginning. Let’s see how much this changes by the closing ceremony (!)
Rio proved to the world today that they are on their game with the opening ceremonies! Behind the scenes, it’s good to see the benefit that the Olympics is having on the city’s infrastructure. When we first came to RIO to prepare for the games in 2012, the pier area was not particularly attractive. There was an elevated highway that blocked access into the port. The area was dark, dilapidated and scary.
Now, 4 years later, the elevated highway is gone; turned into a pedestrian boulevard with a modern tram, and slowly, the area is transforming into an artsy warehouse/entertainment area with “street art” – does this sound familiar Miami? (Wynwood). In fact, the most visible art has been created by Brazilian artist, Eduardo Kobra – of Wynwood fame. This photo was taken from my balcony cabin on the Norwegian Getaway – my “living room” view. And, the Kobra artwork from street level.
The best view in town has been from the top decks of the Getaway – no one else has this view! Locals who have visited the ship are going crazy taking photos of their “new city”…. Including Rio’s new visual showcase, the Museum of Tomorrow. Oh and check out the yacht at the lower right of this photo. It is rumored that Leonardo DiCaprio is staying onboard :-0
These are the boys who greet us when we come back to our shipboard home, Sly and Harley (the dogs; not the handlers!). They have been checking out each piece of luggage coming onboard and it comforts us all that they are with us onboard ship for the duration of the games.
I want to end this day with our view of the opening ceremonies from the Atrium of the Norwegian Getaway . It was like a huge living room of many nations. Lots of cheering from the crew, who represent over 30 of those nations. You definitely get the feeling that we are in this together spinning around on our big blue ball…
Day 2: Our Ship Comes In!
While having breakfast at our hotel this morning overlooking Copacabana Beach, our team spotted the Olympic Rings and ran over for a photo op. On the way, we were approached by a reporter from Mega TV Chile and they asked if anyone on our team spoke Spanish! Maria Isabel stepped forward and did a beautiful and poised job on air, explaining who we were and why we were in Rio (pictured below is a photo of her interview).
We then piled into two taxis and flew (that’s how they drive here) over to Pier Maua to prepare for our “ship to come in”. At 4:30 pm, we received a ship to shore call from our onboard staff Bobbie, who had been at sea for 11 days (!) from Miami. She could see land and proved it with this photo taken from the ship. We ran out to the pier and yes, we could see her too.
Soon, we all started gathering on the pier – teams from L&K, Rio 2016, Norwegian Cruise Line, Pier Maua… All of us who have working on this project ..some of us for over 5 years.
There were tears of joy as we saw the familiar colorful bow of the Norwegian Getaway coming around the corner (photo of Lisette Martinez of Norwegian Cruise Line with L&K staff: Maria Isabel, Marianne, Joyce, Otavio)
Finally the joy of a successful collaboration with our client Joao Ferrer of the Rio 2016 Host Committee (pictured, left)
We were checking people in and boarding well into the night. A long, tiring, emotional day. But we’re settled in now and here for the duration.
So…Let The Games Begin!
DAY 1: Arriving in Rio
Well, it was an Olympic event just getting to RIO today! – epic thunderstorms in Miami delayed our departure by 5 hours. We finally left at 3:00am for Belo Horizonte, connecting with Tam Airlines to Rio.
This turned out to be the most cost effective way to get to the games, but not the easiest. However, I heard from a Brazilian friend that the beauty of arriving at the domestic airport, versus international, was a guaranteed scenic landing, and yes, he was correct. This was our first glimpse of Rio (photo on right).
We were so happy to see out first Olympic signage at the airport that my colleague, Marianne Schmidhofer and I stopped for a selfie (below). After 20 hours on the road, we were not looking our best, but those smiles say it all.. we made it!
After all the negative publicity leading up to these games, it would be tempting to stay away, however, all concerns melt away once you see the Olympic Rings and you connect to the energy that is the Olympic games.
Everywhere we went today, we saw teams in their uniforms – from Haiti, Canada, U.S.A. There is bustle and beauty in the final preparations and the city is humming with activity. You can feel the spirit and it’s the anticipation of knowing that something great is about to happen.
Someone will break a new record, someone will win against all odds, and someone will have the supreme heartbreak of losing. Dramas will unfold and we will all be watching – either from our living room, the big screens on our “home away from home”, the Norwegian Getaway, or being in the stadium or in the stands to witness it live and in person.
As testimony to the magic of the games, is a close encounter that we had today with NBC News Anchor, Lester Holt, checking into our hotel (!) We were standing in line together and he couldn’t have been friendlier. I can’t imagine this scene in a hotel in LA or New York – but here there is a common bond.
Our “accommodation ship” arrives tomorrow, so stay tuned for videos of that event. In the meanwhile, enjoy this video. We are staying on Copacabana Beach tonight (well, someone has to!) and stumbled upon one of the soon to be famous Olympic spectacles – a light show on the famous Copacabana Palace Hotel. Check this out – each butterfly represents a different country. All I can say is WOW and get out the tissues…