Always frustrating when your flight arrives at an airport early only to find that there is no one to operate the jet bridge and you end up waiting till your original arrival time to get off the plane. But that is far better than arriving late and having to run to make a connection so we were happy to be in Atlanta and in the same time zone as our final destination.
Our arrival and departure were both in the A concourse, so we avoided the long walks and a train ride and spent our 2 hour layover relaxing in the Skyclub.
The plane for our final leg was a Boeing 757-200 with the new Sky Interior. Very nice and complete with the “new car smell”.
The weather approaching Fort Lauderdale was a little overcast so we couldn’t see the ground very well on our final approach from over the Atlantic heading west. As we ducked under the clouds for the last time, Port Everglades appeared all at once out the right window and what a view – 6 cruise ships in port at the same time: Constellation, Island Princess, Maasdam, Emerald Princess, Zuiderdam and the Serenade of the Seas.
The airport is going to be crowded – but we snuck in after the big wave of arrivals yesterday and the flood of departures later today and tomorrow. As we came down the escalator toward baggage claim, we spotted a Princess rep holding a sign next to a Celebrity rep. A little further back were the HAL rep in a little pop up booth next to the NCL rep. We had arranged for a driver service to meet us with an SUV so we could avoid trying to find a cab that could handle all our bags and the case of wine. They had those little push carts to rent for $5 and we used two and went to our belt to await our bags.
You know the day is off to a good start when your bags are the first to arrive. They were so close together, I had to scurry a bit to get them off before they disappeared back inside, but I managed.
The Box appeared OK but was wrapped in TSA inspection tape, so I was relieved that I didn’t see this soggy red box on the belt. I used a specially made wine container I bought on Amazon Wine Packing Foam for $16. It worked great and I think you could have dropped this from 10 feet and it would have survived.
The driver was waiting in the cell phone lot so we were quickly on our way to the Hyatt Pier 66. Here I realized I made a mistake with my Hotel selection. Sure the hotel was close to Port Everglades, but I wasn’t going to walk, and the taxi price for this short trip was not going to be that much less than a hotel 5 miles away. The Hotel was a madhouse.
Six ships were turning around – so we had everyone getting off the ships staying here after there cruise, along with the people who stayed here last night waiting to get on those same six ships. If there is ever a day you may get a early check in, it would be a Monday – but not today as the hotel was jammed with those “Cruise People” in both directions!
The front desk clerk asked for my cell phone number so she could call once the room was ready. But after she heard the 619 area code, she paused and said she could only call a local number…really…this is 2016 (does anyone worry about domestic long distance anymore?) I was tempted to tell her she could send me a fax, but I smiled and said I would be in the lobby and check back later.
We ended up waiting in the lobby for 3 hours till our room was ready. Judy made good use of the time knitting her latest project.
Once in the room, we inspected all the bags – and finally opened The Box. Everything was A-OK and ready to make the final trip to the Amsterdam tomorrow.
We took an Uber to a Walgreens about 1 mile away for a few things – I needed some tape to put The Box back together.
Back in the room, we were getting more and more excited as we realize our Grand Voyage is right around the corner and the final journey – The Check In – will consume most of the day tomorrow.
Coming attractions: Checking in as a 3 star (100 days on HAL) in a sea of 4 stars and above – will my line be so short might it actually be faster? We plan to leave the Hotel at 10:45 to try and get in front of the rush. Time will tell so stay tuned.
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