Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010 - Travel Day - Grand Panama Canal Cruise

It’s a cool sunny day in Libertyville but we are eager to get rolling. Our cab was right on time at 7:45 AM and the ride to O'Hare was traffic free.  We boarded our MD80 on time at 9:50 AM for our 10:20 AM departure.

MD80 ORD (Small)

American Airlines has a new system instructing passengers to put their “conforming” wheelies on the 3-side of the aircraft (where they will actually fit).  This moved boarding along pretty well.  Departure was delayed while some mechanical work was done on one of the ailerons.  The delay was minimal and soon we were on our way.

That steep bank on takeoff never gets old.

climbout chicago (Small) 

Climb out from Chicago

High pressure dominated most of the Midwest so our flight to Dallas- Fort Worth was smooth- a sky full of fluffy, fair weather clouds.  We only had an hour between flights but our connecting gate was only a few gates from our arrival gate. 

Soon we were on another MD80 bound for Ft. Lauderdale.  The main problem on this flight was the carry on luggage – it took the assistance of all of the flight attendants to get everyone’s wheelies into the overheads (this crew did not implement the same plan for wheelies as our earlier crew). 

As we climbed out, we had a great view of the Dallas Naval Air Station and Mountain Creek Lake.  Lots of airports in the Metroplex area.

Climbout DFW airport (Small)

Climb out DFW – Dallas Naval Air Station

The flight to Ft. Lauderdale was smooth except for the portion where we crossed the Gulf of Mexico approaching the Florida Coast.  The air smoothed out as we approached FLL

final approach FLL (Small)

Final approach – FLL

It looked hazy and warm down there and it was (76F).  Our bags appeared quickly – thank goodness - and we made a quick call to our La Quinta Hotel from the airport hotel phone.  The van picked us up in 15 minutes and soon we in our room, which turned out to be a suite.  We signed up for the 11:00 AM shuttle to the Port Everglades Cruiseport.

We spent most of the evening in our room resting for tomorrow.

Grand Panama Canal Cruise – Island Princess –April 29 – May 14, 2010

This is our second Grand Panama Canal cruise.  In April 2009, our cruise on the Pacific Princess was effected by the H1N1 outbreak, which forced an itinerary change bypassing all of the ports in Mexico.  This resulted in five consecutive sea days to San Francisco.  Unfortunately, the sea days were not the relaxing variety as cool weather and bumpy seas made them seem longer than they were.  In addition, the transit through the Canal took place on a rainy and cool day so we couldn’t spend the time on the deck seeing the sites.

The H1N1 pandemic is pretty much in control so we are looking forward our 15 day cruise aboard the beautiful Island Princess.  This time around our expectations are for a sunnier, warmer, Panama Canal transit, and finally stopping in Mexico.