Our flight on United was at 7:30 so this gave us enough time to head down and check in and then grab a bit to eat. With one quick stop in Houston for an hour and a half and then on to Fort Lauderdale.
All flights were on time; however we did run into an issue.
When we got our bags we noticed one had been ripped open at the seam. Looks like one of the machines got a hold of it and it tore. So we took the bag to baggage services and right away they filled out a claim form, taped it up for us and told us to present it at the counter in Vancouver for a list of places that can fix it. We are not sure if they will fix or give us money but at least they are going to fix.
The bags are just under three years old and we do travel a lot with them but it is disappointing but we always say it could be worse. It could have been totally ripped open with all my items strolling down the luggage carousel. Trust me I have seen this. We will pick up some duck tape in Florida so we can use the bags and for our flight home we will get them to put suitcase in bag to ensure nothing more happens.
We then proceeded to the rental car counter. We had arranged a reservation thru Advantage Rental Cars ahead of time. We noticed prices were crazy this weekend, and not surprising with so many ships in this weekend and it being a long weekend in the States we settled on Advantage. I had read on line ahead of time many issues people had with Advantage, especially with all the added charges. Now we are use to the added charges like added fees for location, taxes, etc. But boy oh boy was this check in ever a pain.
The guy tried to sell us everything, we kept telling him no. No to insurance, no again to added insurance, no to gas, no to replacement, no! He just didn’t want to take no for an answer and kept warning us of what “could” happen. Sure we got a great deal ($111 for three night for a full size) but we are wondering if maybe we should of went with one of the big names and paid two and a half times?
We did get a nice car and we walked around and made very detailed notes of any previous marks and even video tapped the entire walk around to ensure we did not miss anything. Note we also video the walk around after we return the car to make sure they don’t try and ding us for something we didn’t do. And something tells me with this rental car company I may be glad I did.
After leaving the airport we were on our way to the hotel. We booked a hotel near Sawgrass Mills Mall. We knew with having a car we could go further out and away from the port. Plus hotels near the port were CRAZY expensive.
Hotels we normally stayed at for no more than $75-$100 a night are going for $200 - $250 a night. So we booked the Double Tree By HiltonSunrise at Sawgrass Mills and the price was right. They also include free parking (I believe they also have the option of leaving your car while you cruise but you are such a distance from the port, not sure it would be a good option).
Unfortunately our GPS had other ideas and kept sending us South towards Miami and I knew that was not the right way so after about a half hour of arguing with it (yes I did have a few words with Tom Tom you piece of ……!) I decided to go with my instincts and my amazing sense of direction! Yeah I do have a great sense of direction and know my way around quite easily one trait I was born with, why do you think I am bus driver by trade. So we overrode the GPS and headed North West and found the hotel with no real problems.
So this was number three of frustrating things, suitcase tear, rental car and now GPS. When we walked into the hotel we met with Denise Miller the night manager that day and we breathed a big sigh and she quickly made our night brighter. The hotel is full and we were given room 414 which seemed like a great room but we were concerned with all the noise that would come with being so close to the elevators and ice machine and housekeeping closet. But tonight it will do just fine.
Denise made us even happier when she gave us two free drinks in the lounge… I really like this hotel! And also two coupons for 20% off in the restaurant.
We took advantage of that complimentary drink right away and met a lovely couple from England who is sailing on a Blue Jazz cruise on Sunday.
And around 11:30 we were tucked into bed and quickly feel asleep, well Bernie did, I was restless. I kept hearing all the sounds from the elevator, and guest out in the halls. Also new surroundings kept me tossing and turning but in the end I did get some sleep, but I think we will need to change rooms for the next two nights.