Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Fort Lauderdale Here we come - January 8

Seattle to Fort Lauderdale

We are up early, of course neither of slept well. We never do, it is either excitement or strange environment, or afraid to sleep in and miss flight. But it happens every year.

We get the car from the parking lot, load up the bags and head over to Seatac parking to park the car for the three weeks. They have a great long term parking rate. We love that you park your car and you take your keys. The shuttle comes to you, loads the bags and you are off in a flash to the airport. And when you return the shuttles run so often you don't have to phone them to pick you up, they just show up, and deliver you right to your car. In total we parked there for 3 weeks plus 2 days and the total cost was $149!

Check in was a little slow, not all the check in stations were open. I still wonder what is the bonus of checking in online prior, it certainly doesn't save time. While waiting in the queue two younger women were directly behind us and one was so loud (now remember this is 430 am - where does she get her energy), and her topic of conversation was really not appropriate. She kept going on about drinking, boyfriends, other friends boyfriends, how drunk she got.... All I kept thinking was "please don't be on our flight". If she was on our flight we didn't hear her, so I doubt she was on our flight.

We cleared security, a lot smoother than we did last year, and luckily because we were travelling within the US and not Canada to the US we were allowed to bring a carry on. A quick stop at Starbucks for my espresso and then we head to the gate.

This time we flew Delta to Fort Lauderdale via Atlanta (total cost $260 US each). When we touched down in Atlanta I was shocked to see snow on the ground. "What it snows here" We have about a two hour layover so we decided to get a bite to eat. As we are walking this woman cuts me off to get on the escalator and she starts talking loudly to her friend, who is behind me... and guess who it is. Yup the same two women who were in the check in line in Seattle. I stayed close, so I could overhear where they were travelling to, thankfully they were not going to Fort Lauderdale. We are freezing in Atlanta, guess we were not really prepared for colder weather here and the airport is freezing, can't wait to get to warmer climates.

Because of the weather we are delayed a bit (an hour) and was even more shocked to see some planes needed to get deiced!

We touch down in Fort Lauderdale and we go get our bags, and suddenly the turnstile stops and there are no more bags. But there are over a hundred of us still waiting for their bags too. We go to the counter upstairs to inquire and to put a claim in. The lady states that there was a human error and a large shipment of bags never made it on the flight. The bags may come in on a later flight or overnight and will be delivered to our hotel. We quickly glance the boards to see the next flight for Atlanta isn't for almost 3 hours so we decided to go to the hotel with just our carry on bags.

I booked the Renaissance Fort Lauderdale http://www.marriott.com/hotels/travel/fllbr-renaissance-fort-lauderdale-hotel/ thru Priceline (got it for $100). The location is perfect, right across the street from Port Everglades.

We are exhausted, we drop the items off in the room and call our friends Larry and Amy who are from Orlando and will be travelling with us on the Crown. They are not too far away, they were hoping we could go for dinner, but because we were late they allready ate, but we met up just outside our favorite wine store (Total Wine) for a quick chat and to meet their daughter. We arrange to hook up once on board tomorrow.

Bernie and I picked up four bottles of wine and a bottle of champagne for the voyage. Then we go next door to Publix and pick up a few essentials, one being an cheap blow up air mattress to use on the beach in port.

Once we get back to the hotel I look at Bernie and say "I am not got to rest until I know I have our bags, so I am going to the airport and get the bags, hoping they are on the 9 pm flight". Thankfully the airport is very close, only a $15 taxi ride (including tip). I walk in the terminal and right away the bags are going around and voila, there are our three bags. I grab them and grab a cab and I am back at the hotel. The entire trip took about a half hour, and now I can rest easy knowing we have our bags.

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