Friday, January 8, 2016

We are HERE – Fort Lauderdale that is.

Bonaventure Resort and Spa - photo courtesy of hotel's website

For us the worst thing about travelling is flying.  Hands down!  We both commented how different flying is now than when we first flew.  Some things for the good and some things for the bad.  But it is the necessary evil to get on a ship out of Fort Lauderdale.

After a very very very restful night at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport we woke at 4 am for our 7 am flight.  So nice to leave the hotel at 5 and be at the check in counter at 5:05! 

United check in was smooth and effortless.  I think the biggest issue this entire day was dealing with many people ahead of us who were just not prepared.  If they ask for your passport out they mean they need your passport out.  When you are in line to check in, have your paper work out too.  Okay I have said my peace.

One nice thing about flying to the United States from Vancouver (and many Canadian airports) is as soon as you check in you have to go thru and drop your bags (noticed they take our pic of us when we do this, see more about this later).  We then go to thru security check point.  So happy to have Nexus which provides us with TSA pre screening and Global Entry.  Then you go thru US Customs right then.  One thing we screwed up on is we brought an orange and apple to eat while waiting for our flight, but you can’t bring fruit or vegetables into the United States.  So we threw those out. 

I wanted to mention that when we were with the Custom’s Agent when he scanned our Nexus cards two pictures appeared of us, one when we dropped our bags and another when we were doing our declaration.  They know we are going on a cruise, because all that info has been pre entered into our cruise personalizer and is linked to our passport.  He asked us what ports we would be visiting and I rambled  off the few off quickly – I am sure they ask this to see how easily you answer the question.  I guess someone who has no idea or stumbles would send up a flag, but hey you are talking to Vickie of Cruising Princess Cruiseline with Vickie.

We have about 30 minutes before our flight starts boarding and I need some caffeine to enter this body and I mean fast.  Thankfully I was able to fulfill that need easily along with a breakfast sandwich.

The flight to Houston was a little late leaving but they made up time in the air and after 4.5 hours we were in Houston.  I would love to give a shout out to the lovely couple I was sitting beside.  We must of spent two hours chatting about travel and I learned some new things and some new apps I need to check out.  Hope you enjoy your trip you two – cause I know you are going to be reading this.

We had a nice layover in Houston – 2.5 hours but after getting off the plane and changing concourse and getting a meal (with a drink) at Cat Coras (near gate E10) restaurant (highly recommend) we were ready to get on the next flight.

Thankfully the next flight is shorter – just over two hours.  But once again we were able to get some good winds at our back and we arrived early. 

Oh wanted to say.  When we were getting on Bernie recognized the head coach of the Vancouver White Caps Carl Robinson and President Bob Lenarduzzi.  They were on both our flights and we got a chance to chat with them briefly.  I told them how I remembered serving Bob and his family (the kids were very little) back in the mid 80s when I worked at the Spaghetti Factory.  They are heading down for the Super Draft Pick. 

A few things about United Airlines.  Their crew is outstanding and very friendly.  As I too work with the public I commend them on being so friendly and helpful for so long, I don’t think I could do it.  The first plane was great but the second one was much more crowded – and I mean with leg room.  How can the exact same plane type be so different (well the first plane was brand new).  Another thing about United is they have an APP that you download ahead of time to allow you to watch their entertainment.  I have been on 8 United flights in the past 12 months and on none of the flights was I able to access this entertainment!  And I wasn’t the only one.   So with regards to their entertainment it just plain sucks and they should scrap it and start again.  So if you are flying United be prepared and bring your own entertainment.

So we are at the airport in Fort Lauderdale… seems weird cause we were just here six weeks ago. 

This time we noticed a few changes (but I am sure there are more) since we were here last year.  First we noticed a Starbucks – yeah for us as this is our drug of choice – caffeine, besides wine.  There is a Starbucks on the arrival level near the baggage claim that is new.

Also while waiting for our bags to arrive the buzzer goes to announce the bags are coming and it is not the usually sound, it is a ship’s horn that sounds.  How cool and put a smile on my face.  The best thing is our bags were some of the first off. 

I had reserved a full size car with Alamo for two nights and we had our car within ten minutes – a lovely Nissan.  Within 30 minutes of touching down in Fort Lauderdale we were on the road heading to the hotel. 

This is just too good to be true.  Early flight, bags right away – no damage to any bag, easy car pick up and no problem finding hotel.  Very different from last year’s adventure (which you can read by clicking here).

We arrive at the Bonaventure Resort and Spa in Weston 15 minutes later (note this is with very little traffic, easily double it during prime time). 

As soon as we enter the stunning lobby we are greeted by Rafael at the front desk who welcomes us.  You know there is nothing better than feeling welcomed when you arrive somewhere.  It is nice to feel like they are glad to see you and are happy to help you.  Trust me this doesn’t always happen.  But Rafael greeted us, asked us how our trip was, asked what he could do to make our stay enjoyable.  We asked for a quiet room and he checked the system and ensured we had a quiet area in the hotel for the next two nights.  I asked about printer and he directed us to the business center, but added if I had a memory stick he could print it right now.  Since it is my luggage tags for the cruise I need to print out I will have to come back later.  He gave us details on the pool, spa and the Wi-Fi access. 

Ahhh… so we proceed to our building and our room feeling more relaxed than when we arrived.  Our room is spacious with two queen sized beds with a small kitchen and a large bathroom.  The view from our balcony is out to the water but at this hour we can’t see much.  Will take photo in daylight.

The room is lovely and it will do.  I will say that the resort is older (I am guessing built in the 80s) but it is well maintained but some areas do show their age.  Rooms are well appointed and clean with the obvious signs of wear and tear you will find anywhere.  

We decide to just stay in for the night.  Both of us are so tired and I still have an ear ache (although it is considerably better than it was Wednesday).  We watch some tv and I read and we are both asleep just after 10 pm.


  1. Well, it sounds like you're off to a great start!! Enjoy Fort Lauderdale.... :)

  2. Exciting exciting! We would love to be with you!