Travel fun, delays and challenges Part 1

PHOTO INTENSE…..fair warning…… (this is a multi-part post)….

I’m back from a week of travel with my sister.  Travel can be fun, but not always!  Some parts of it are just a pain in the neck!!

It was a GOOD week to be away from Delaware where the temperatures were in the single digits during the night and a flurry of snow turned into 3 inches!  The Saturday morning I departed from home “in the dark” and was at the airport only a few minutes when the morning light caught my eye.

Waiting for sunrise in SBY

Those quiet dawn moments on the flightline are one of the few things I miss about going to work.  Then I remember it was the ONLY good thing about working the midnight shift, and that dawn’s early light meant the shift was going to be over soon.

Hubby always teases me about getting to the airport so early. I had an 8:30 am flight, which according to TSA rules meant a 6:30 arrival.  Well, I guess I can tell you that our little airport knows how to handle the big crowds! I got comfortable and put my feet up watching the folks check in !

All checked in

Then of course, once TSA opened the security line for the flight, I breezed right through….only to find myself at odds, waiting on a 4 hour delay. Seems the flight crew didn’t want to fly, and we had to wait on ANOTHER crew to arrive from Charlotte to take our aircraft out.    I kept myself entertained while I waited patiently.  I wrote out  16 invitations to the upcoming Cruise Critic Meet & Greet for the officers onboard the Regal Princess.

4 hour delay

Then, I studied the ship map….again….just to make sure I knew where everything was once I boarded the following day.

Ship map Regal Princess

Finally at 12:05 we were out on the runway, ready to depart!!

Time to go

What a way to start a vacation~!!~  It was a lovely day for flying and taking photos from the airplane window.

heading to Philadelphia

Our 29 minute flight from Salisbury Maryland (SBY) to Philadelphia PA (PHL) takes you along coastal Delaware before crossing the Delaware Bay and flying over New Jersey as you approach the Philadelphia Airport.

homes on the beach Delaware

The funny part of this story is, by car, we live 30 minutes or so from the Salisbury Airport, and 2 hours from the Philadelphia Airport.  I often take the flights out of Salisbury to avoid that 2 hour drive!  It really didn’t pay off on this occasion. My “next” trip in March will be out of Philadelphia!! (Really, those reservations were made months ago, it was just a better deal!  But, that means the dear husband will be driving  me to the airport and home again, and overall that is 8 hours for him in the car for my trip, which I hate to do!)

Anyway, when I finally arrive in Philadelphia, my “new connection” required another wait once I arrived.  So, I stopped for lunch and a well deserved adult beverage!  I enjoyed an Angry Orchard cider with my “Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich” while I relaxed and waited 2 hours for the “new connection”.

Waiting on flight in Philadelphia

I had a view of a cruise ship leaving Port Everglades as our flight approached Ft Lauderdale!

Approaching Ft Lauderdale

This day of travel was a good reminder of why I always, always, always, fly in the DAY before the ship sails.   I am glad that was not the Regal Princess !  That would not have been a good finish to the day.

I finally arrive in Fort Lauderdale, much later than I had originally planned. Rain greeted me while I waited for the shuttle to the airport hotel.  My sister had arrived from Nevada a few hours earlier, had the room, and had dinner ordered from a local place that delivered.  I dropped my luggage in the room, opened the suitcase to “dry out”, and relaxed for the evening.  Note – I always always always pack my clothing in Space Bags (available on line or in your local big box stores).  This is NOT the first time my suitcases has gotten wet in transit! It was easy to take out the space bags, wipe them with a towel and let the suitcase air dry in the hotel, then reload them in the morning. The suitcase dried easily overnight in the hotel room, set near the air conditioning vents.  If it had not been dry, I would have used the hotel hair dryer!

The morning view from the hotel room window was nice, but there was a bit of drizzle to start the day.

Rain threatening to spoil the day

I used the hotel shuttle to make a quick trip to K-Mart near the hotel and picked up a few necessities (2 bottles of wine for the ship).  It was too drizzly to make the walk to the store and I wanted to make sure I had the essentials for the cruise.  Later in the morning the sky cleared up nicely and I was able to take a nice walk before it was time to board the shuttle to the ship.  My sister and I planned for one of the latest shuttles (Noon), to avoid some of the crowds at the hotel and at Port Everglades.

Shuttle to the cruise

Our hotel uses a service for that transportation which was quite efficient. We were READY to go.  Streamlined boarding was wonderful. A good tip to the porters at the port got our luggage taken care of quickly, and having our Cruise Medallions already made it the fastest check in ever. No waiting. We walked up with our boarding pass, our Medallion, were given our cruise cards, and we were on the ship within minutes of arriving at the port.

It took no time at all to settle into our “Deluxe Balcony Cabin # R509 ” on the Regal Princess.   A big improvement from the original inside cabin we had booked, and the upgrade was well appreciated.

Deluxe Balcony R509 Regal Princess

This cabin had a love seat and a significantly smaller bathroom than our mini-suite on the Regal in December. But the extra space was nice in the cabin and we enjoyed having the balcony.

Our pre-ordered water, and my cup for the “soda” package was already in the room.  (In December when Hubby & I cruised on the same ship, they had a shortage of the cups for the “soda” package, and compensated us with multiple large bottles of water in lieu of the cups.  We never use the cups on the ship, we just bring them home, so it was not a big loss).  I do like the new design!  Much heavier tumbler than “last spring”.

New Soda package cups

I just had to add the wine to the fridge. A call later in the afternoon for room service to deliver the “liquor & beer” and we were ready to sail!  We made plans to attend the Platinum and Elite pre-dinner cocktail party every night.  I liked the new drinks being offered daily. These were “specially priced” for the cocktail party and we were tempted with many of them.

Exclusive Elite Lounge specials

As we wandered around the ship, we enjoyed looking at all the other ships and the activities as they all prepared to depart.

Departing Port Everglades

As we sailed out of the channel, the Regal Princess played the LOVE BOAT theme with the ships horns.  I’m sure the residents hate it, but I loved it!!

Our itinerary was to take us to Princess Cays, Bahamas, a tender port for Monday.  The dawn was beautiful.

First sunrise

Sadly, there was just too much wind and choppy seas for us to safely tender and the Captain chose to skip the port.  Later in the day we had to endure the rain that accompanied that wind, and it made for a soggy sea day. The crew was quick to arrange new “onboard activities” in the Piazza, the center of the ship; and in other public spaces. I enjoyed my time “under cover” on the Lido Deck.

Deck 16 Regal Princess

I worked on my “never ending hexi project” for an hour or two, out in the fresh air with a nice drink in hand.

working on hexi's during the rain

Over the course of the cruise, I met most mornings with the “Knitters and Knatters” and did a little hand stitching. I met a nice group of “stitchers”, and am glad that the ship offers the gathering every cruise.

Monday rounded out with cocktails, dinner and a comedian, Steve Caouette, in the Princess Theater.

Tuesday was a scheduled sea day as we sailed towards Falmouth Jamaica.  It was also the day for the Cruise Critic Meet & Greet, which I had coordinated before we sailed.  I had my fingers crossed that everyone would “show up”.  I was delighted to see the number of people who attended along with the ships officers.  One member came with his fancy camera and took a group photo and some random snaps of people mingling with the officers.

The manager of the Medallion department presented each attendee with a little “clip on” device to hold our medallions in.  The clip was nice and a real benefit for attending the Meet & Greet.  If you like to cruise, check out the “roll calls” on CruiseCritic.com

The weather on Tuesday was perfect for an afternoon spent by the pool.  I enjoyed using the Adults only pool area on Deck 17, were there were loungers and shade. It was a beautiful place to spend a few hours, have a nap, read etc.

pool area deck 17 Regal Princess

As you can see, the weather improved dramatically. Blue skies, blue water, sunshine and warm temperatures are what make for a perfect day at sea!

Part II coming soon…………………..

 

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