Sunday, May 28, 2017

Grand Panama Canal Cruise – Crystal Symphony – San Diego to New York – April 30 – May 19, 2017

We got an urgent email the day before we were due to fly to Los Angeles that the cruise would now embark in San Diego, CA.  To get passengers to the ship, Crystal was arranging shuttles to take people from the Renaissance Hotel LAX to the San Diego Pier on Sunday, April 30.  We indicated that we wanted to be included in the shuttle and were given a confirmation just before we left.

April 27, 2017 – Travel Day

We had a reasonable departure time on American Airlines 1571 (9:55AM – Arrive LAX 12:28 PM) but were seated in 18C/18D in the sardine seats (we might get lucky and get an upgrade per out request).  Our cab arrived a little early and our drive to the airport, check in via kiosk, and run through TSA Pre-Check set a new record.  We got to our gate H5, while the previous flight was in pre-boarding.  We did not get an upgrade - the list was long and it was a small plane.  I could not get a picture of the plane from our boarding lounge.
We took off on time and our flight was uneventful for the first three hours (I tried watching five movies on their nice entertainment system, but didn’t have the patience to get into any of them – maybe on the next flight or on cable). 

Getting there
About an hour from LA, there was an announcement asking for assistance from any medical personnel on board (“volunteer” your assistance).  Apparently, there was a medical emergency at the back of the plane – I could see a man kneeling helping someone assisted by two flight attendants.  We were in chop and the seat belt sign was on so I couldn’t see much.  I also needed the washroom – we had been in our seats over an hour.  I made a dash to the first class area and the flight attendant told me it was no problem to use the facilities.  In any event, the emergency couldn’t have been major because there was no ambulance meeting the plane and no one was taken off early.  A problem handled well.  No Facebook posts on this one.
The flight landed pretty much on time.
We got our bags quickly and took the shuttle to Sixt Car Rental (never heard of them but they had a drop off location in Beverly Hills, which we needed to return the car for the weekend).  The rental facility was quite different from the other off-airport locations - it had a little lounge with complementary bottled water.  Instead of queuing up to a long desk with several computers, the office had separate islands (people still needed to line up but it felt quicker).  The paperwork process was pretty fast and efficient.
We got a very nice Toyota Corolla and drove from LAX to the Home of Peace Cemetery in East Los Angeles to visit our parents and friends there.  The traffic wasn't bad and Google Nav got us there OK.  After staying a while at the cemetery we drove through light traffic to our hotel – the Hollywood Historic Hotel on the corner of Melrose and Wilton.  It’s a quaint restored hotel from the Golden Days of Hollywood.  There is a lot of memorabilia scattered all through the hotel.  The hotel has a fancy restaurant but there isn't much on the menu for us. 
Wall Decorations
Our room, 218, was pretty small (no phone – you called the desk from your mobile phone - a first for us).  The bathroom was OK – remodeled.  There was no breakfast but we had a great room rate (negotiated by Ellen at $80 per night).  We paid $18 to park our car overnight.  We will shop for our food.
We had a great dinner at my sister’s place – a few blocks away – attended by my brother and my other brother’s two daughters. We hadn't seen my nieces in quite a while so it was nice to get together.
We got back to the hotel early in the evening to rest from the long day. 
The hotel was a little noisy but earplugs combined with fatigue might result in some sleep.

No comments:

Post a Comment