Sunday, April 13, 2014

Disembarkation - April 5, 2014

We prepared for the worst - and boy it turned out a lot better than we expected.

When we disembarked two years ago in San Francisco after our South America trip, and last year's Grand South America trip both experienced horrific disembarkation.  This was mainly because after visiting so many foreign ports where drugs can be an issue and first port back into the US after almost two months sometimes draws a red flag.  Customs agents last time came on board and we all had to clear customs before getting off.  Sniffer dogs were all over checking bags.

This time completely different.  

We were assigned a disembarkation time of 9:00 in Da Vinci.  Of course there was a Platinum Elite Lounge.  But with so many in that category they actually had two lounges.  Club Fusion and Explorers, your location was based on your cabin location.  

We stayed clear of those two lounges as they were packed.  We agreed a quick breakfast in Horizon Court and then we would head to Da Vinci.

Horizon Court was quite quiet... and we grabbed a simple breakfast, may as well get use to smaller meals just like home.

We head back to the cabin to grab our carry on and then down to the International Cafe to grab a coffee and relax until our meeting time.

Things seems to be going smoothly as walk offs are off and a few of the first groups.  There are two gangways on Promenade deck, one just outside of Club Fusion and one right beside Explorers.

We head to Da Vinci and take a seat.  They are a bit behind but nothing too serious.  

Johan wanted us to contact him before getting off so we head towards to the aft gangway and get in touch with him. Since our group has just been cleared we head off and give him big hugs and have to say I will miss him dearly.  He is such a sweet man and so kind and even though he has only been on for the last leg you can see how much smoother the ship has run since he got on.  He is very good at his job.  Love you Johan.

We are off the ship.... wow where did those 49 days go?

The line up for customs was divided between US citizens and Non US citizens.  Even both lines were rather long they moved fast and I think it took us about 20 minutes to clear.  

The bags were all lined up in a huge warehouse.  I stood near the front where our first bag was while Bernie went looking for our final bags.  While standing there a few bags behind me fell down. A few minutes later this passenger was trying to get by and said loudly to me "can you please move these bags".  

Well I kind of lost it, I had been holding it in for so long trying to be polite and patient and today I am sad and I am now off the ship and I just look at him and say "why should I have to pick up other people's suitcases" and his snarky response was "well it looks like you would be strong enough" and I said (okay don't hate me) "you seem so full of hot air that you can probably blow them away".  Then turned my back.  

We quickly leave the building which was a zoo with porters, lots of suitcases and passengers in a daze on where to go....   

We have been here so many times we know exactly where to go and we head outside and cross the first lane to the small island where the shuttles and taxis are.

At first we were going to take a shuttle to the airport but when we got there and there was a large group waiting around the shuttle area and not a big queue for the taxis and after seeing the prices for taxis we both agreed that for the small amount extra we would just take a taxi.

Taxi price to LAX from the pier was quoted at $57 and that is just about right I think it came to $55 plus tip.  A shuttle is normally around $17 plus we would of had to pay extra for the added baggage and we would of had to share with others and we just really needed our space right now.

We made it to the airport in great time, only a half hour, but then again it is a Saturday morning.

We are dropped off at terminal 2 for the Air Canada flight.  There is a bit of a queue for check in.  Why is there such a long queue?  Seems check in is still long no matter that we have pre checked in... why is that.   We then drop off our bags for scanning.  Have to say that LAX, at least the few terminals we have been, is poorly designed.  Just is not wide enough at check in for the queues and then the baggage drops.

We head to the Security line and we are disappointed that they don't acknowledge our Nexus Pre Clearance that gives us Global Security Entrance and access to that line in security.  Not sure why, it works fine in Seattle, San Francisco, Fort Lauderdale and New York recently.  ARGH so into the normal security line which took about a half hour to clear.  

Our flight isn't for another two hours so we have time and we head to Wolfgang Pucks for a meal.  Then of course I need a Starbucks, it has been a while but it goes down so well.

I decide to stop in and check out the Duty Free Shop.  Prices here are higher than on the ship but the selection is much bigger.  I decide to buy a bottle of the Hendricks Gin as the ship didn't have that brand and I am now addicted to these Bramble drinks that call for it.  The price was $44 for the bottle, and is a little cheaper than Canada.

The flight was quick, full, and crowded but on time.

We get off and head to the Nexus Line and scan our iris and we are out of there... simple!

Our bags are off and we are out the door and Bernie is off to get the car and an hour later we are at home and starting to unpack and well reality sets in.

To an amazing trip... and yes we would do it again in a heartbeat.

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