Saturday, January 9, 2016

Canada – Atlantic Coast Cruise – Caribbean Princess – 10/18 – 11/4/15

It may turn out to be a chilly voyage but we are all set for our cruise from Quebec City to Houston, Texas.  We are sailing on the Caribbean Princess and this cruise is no doubt a repositioning cruise so the Caribbean Princess can begin its warm itineraries in the Caribbean.

We have a pretty early flight this morning (UA4318 departs O’Hare at 8:45 AM).  To make sure there are no issues, we ordered a cab for 6:15 AM so that meant a 5:00 AM wakeup. 

Our cab was right on time and we arrived at the airport before 7:00 AM.  We checked our bags in Terminal 2 and then went over to the Air Canada desk nearby to try and get seats for our connecting flight from Toronto to Quebec City.  I didn’t even know that this was an Air Canada flight until we checked in with United.  We got seats but they are not next to each other.  We will check again when we get to Toronto.

We are now sitting at Gate F27 (out of 28) waiting for our plane to arrive.

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UA4318 (Embraer 145) Getting Ready

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Pre-Flight Meal

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Pre-Flight Selfie

Our flight took off a little late due to the plane coming in late.  Boarding was quick and we have pretty good seats (8C/8D) in the two side of the 2X1 configuration.  This jet doesn’t have any leading slats so no need to check them out (I learned this about these size jets years ago but not before dropping a lot of sweat as we rolled down the runway). 

The weather is just about perfect so the climbout was smooth.  Without slats, it seems that the little jets get tossed around a little more at low airspeeds.  No big deal.

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Chicago Climbout – Bottom – O’Hare Airport

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Heading Out Over Lake Michigan

Flight time to Toronto (where we connect) was only 1 hour 20 minutes at 35,000 feet.  Although the flight was smooth, the seat belt sign never went off.  Soon, we were on approach to Toronto International Airport.  Lots of clouds and wind, which tossed the plane around a little (no slats and minimal flaps I am thinking).

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Final Approach to Toronto

The process in Toronto was interesting.  We walked a few thousand steps to Passport Control.  After clearing Immigration, not a long wait, we retrieved our bags and walked them over to the Air Canada agent, who put them back on the conveyor for out next flight.  We then walked to our new gate for our connecting flight to Quebec City.  Entire process just under an hour. 

Our connecting flight is on a Bombardier Q400 turboprop operated by Jazz Airlines for Air Canada.  This is our first prop in a long time but at least, it’s a decent sized aircraft.  We got our seats at O’Hare for this flight and we are in the same row but we each have window seats.  Our plane wasn’t at the gate when we arrived but it did show up shortly after.

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Air Canada Express 9816 – Bombardier Q400

We boarded a bit late – the pilot told us that they had to take care  of a mechanical problem.  I traded seats with the passenger who had the aisle so Ellen and I could sit together.  It’s a pretty big plane – 2X2; we were in row 16,  which is right opposite one of the landing gear housings.  So the view is obstructed.

The sounds were so different with the props but the takeoff was smooth and the flight was short (1 hr 30 minutes) at 22,000 feet.

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Climbout Toronto

Soon we were on approach over the St. Lawrence River.  The trees are well into their Fall color change this far north.

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Quebec City Approach – Fall Foliage

We got our bags quickly and found our way easily to the Taxi area. 

I had previous information that the taxis take plastic and that the trip to the hotel would cost about $35 CDN.  The intel turned out to be true (although the cab driver first told us his card reader was broken – it did actually work).  $34.60 later and we were at our hotel – Relais Charles Alexandre on the Grand Allee.

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Our Hotel

Check in was easy – the girl at the desk was very friendly.  We hauled our suitcases up one flight of stairs to Room 15.  This is a good room since we have only one neighbor.

The desk gave us some directions for finding a place for dinner – on Rue Cartier - within walking distance.  The only problem was the temperature – below freezing with a pretty brisk breeze.  We did look at several restaurants and settled, after much thought, for a Subway Restaurant.  We were hungry and just didn’t want to wander around in the cold and dark looking for a nice dinner.  The tuna sub was very different than the US version but it was OK – the iced tea was sweet but the chips were good.  We will do better tomorrow.  We bought some water at a convenience shop – the owner let us pay in US dollars per the exchange rate (1 CDN = 0.76 US). 

We spent the rest of the evening checking e-mails and watching Canadian TV (OMG).  It has been a long day and we are tired.

The room seems quiet…

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