Sunday, March 22, 2020

November 8, 2019 – Miami, FL – Partly Cloudy – 80s

Distance from Grand Turk to Miami, FL 599 Nautical Miles

Total Distance Sailed: 3,889 Nautical Miles

Happy Birthday to me.  I also got a birthday card from the Captain.

The seas were smooth but I was still up at 4:00 AM – what gives.  The decaf/not decaf hypothesis is probably the most viable.  I’ll be able to test that out when we get home.

I went up to the Marketplace when it opened at 6:30 AM (the ship was just pulling in) and it was just like another other day.  There was a full buffet layout and not crowded at all – tables everywhere.  Usually, disembarkation is everyone for themselves – crowded – no tables – abbreviated choices.  Not on the Symphony.

I brought breakfast down for Ellen – a fried egg, walnut pancakes, and a cheese and mushroom omelet.  We are so close to the buffet that the food was still plenty hot.

We had enough time that I could even take a shower – I will miss the showers and the super water pressure.

We finished the packing and pulled our bags down to Deck 6 and within a minute or two we off the ship.  Even though the trek to Immigration was pretty long, the actual face time with the CBP agent was limited to a quick look at the passports and a “welcome back”.

We stepped outside and within five minutes, a van driver approached us and told us he was going to MIA now and it would be $10 pp.  That’s what we have paid for several years and taxi rides can be anywhere from $27 to $36 (similar for Ubers).  We were the last two on the van.  The ride to MIA took about twenty minutes and we were dropped right in front of the United Ticket agents.

I explained to the United agent that I had paid for Ellen’s ticket with my United Explorer Visa Card and was still being charged for checking her bag.  The agent asked for my credit card, did some keyboard punching, and pulled out two luggage tags and checked both of my bags.  Small but satisfying victory and kudos to a helpful ticket agent.

Our flight, UA303 departs at 12:23 PM from Gate H12.  We went through TSA pre-check quickly and are now at the gate waiting for our boarding.  We had hoped to use some United Club Passes today but MIA has no United Club.  Not a lot of United Gates – that’s why.

Our plane boarded on time – seemed like half the plane had priority boarding – we will have to get in line earlier next time.

We are in 7A and 7B again on this A319 – again, I have a window and plenty of legroom in the bulkhead seats.  There was no room in the overhead compartments in the front two thirds of the plane so I put the computer bag under the seat in front of me.  This plane has those openings for items in bulkhead – most other planes have a solid partition.

Took off on time and the flight was a little bumpy – 

the flight attendants had to sit down a few times – in the first hour or so.  We were flying through some very high thick clouds which had unstable air. 

This pilot gave everyone early warning of the upcoming chop – I like to know what’s coming.  The air smoothed out about half way to Chicago.

We had lunch we brought on board so we were set.

We landed on time at ORD.  We had to cross underneath the tarmac to get to the bags and then all the way to last carousel to retrieve them.  They emerged pretty quickly, I called a cab, and were home.

A really nice cruise on board Crystal Symphony.

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