Thursday, March 2, 2023

Azamara Onward – Central South America and Mexico – Back to Back – Roundtrip Miami (Callao) – January 27 – February 28, 2023

January 26, 2023 – Travel Day

We are about to go on what would be the longest cruise of our seafaring career – 34 days (to 16 day segments – to and from Callao via Miami.  We are going to be on Azamara Onward, which is the reincarnated Pacific Princess, that we last took transatlantic to Iceland and the UK.  She has been refurbed and we are hoping that new public areas have been spruced up. 

We are on good flights today – UA1930 departs at 10:53 AM (boarding at 10:13 AM) and according to the app is ON TIME.  I scheduled a taxi for 9 AM but because it is snowing lightly, I called the cab and asked him to come 10 minutes early – just in case we run into some traffic due to the visibility.  Ider, our taxi driver, came right on time and took our suitcases down the stairs (not all cabbies do that).  We got to the airport at 9:20 AM and decided to check in using the curbside kiosk.  No charge since we had already purchased the bags (part of our ticket set up).  I used my digital boarding passes since we had nothing to print out and our bags were dropped.  TSA pre-check is off to the left of the counters in Terminal 1 and our time through there went relatively quickly.  The guy in front of me was at his “first rodeo” and kept asking the agents what he needed to put on the belt.  It was my lucky day since I was randomly chosen to participate in the “do I have a bomb” survey.  My hands were swabbed and I never saw what the TSA agent did with the swabs.  I got my stuff off the belt and we were off to our gate.

We are in Concourse C so we crossed under the tarmac – no new age music today – and up the giant escalator.  Our gate, C21, was really close and we settled down. After my last episode with flying and the flu, I am still masking at the airport.

There was a plane there – in spiffy red, white, and blue livery.  It was not typical United colors and it was not a 737-800 and the gate was not very crowded and we were supposed to board soon.  I checked the app and it said we were now at C-23, where, indeed, a 737-800 was being gassed up and deiced.  

We are in Priority Group 2, which doesn’t mean that much since just about everyone is in Group 1 or had special boarding.  We are in sardine seats. 36C and 36D – aisle across – just two rows from the back of the plane.  My knees were touching the seat in front of me.  I usually upgrade to Economy Plus seats but on this flight – and due to corporate greed – the seats were ridiculously pricey. 

We were in the children’s section because there were at least five kids in the two or three rows in our area.  The kid in my row had the window seat and her father was in the middle seat and partially in my seat also.  Noise, screaming, and general annoyance kept me company for the plus three-hour flight.  I basically made it through the whole flight without a bathroom break. Ellen had made delicious egg salad sandwiches for the flight and along with the plane supplied pretzels and Biscott made for a very nice lunch.

The flight itself was smooth enough – we departed about an hour late due to some mechanical issue and the fact that passengers can’t find their seats.  You can tell because they keep looking at their boarding passes and then compare those passes with other passengers to make sure they are in the right seats.  It was a plane full of flying rookies.

We landed in Miami about 15 minutes late, which is a result of the padding they put into flight times.  When we got to the baggage claim – some 3500 steps later – our bags were not on the carousel but in a row of suitcases sitting there.  It’s like they came in on another plane.  I called the hotel for a shuttle pickup and I was told to exit baggage and go across the street to the hotel shuttle stop (number 23) to get our van.  It was a veritable miracle but our shuttle showed up in about five minutes.

The ride to our hotel – Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Miami Airport East – was less than five minutes away.  The hotel is literally across the street from MIA and planes come in right over our hotel as they land.  (NOTE – unleaded gas was $5.99 a gallon at the station next to the hotel). 

We checked in and are in Room 202 – a tad too close to the elevator but with no neighbor on one side. 

We were a bit hungry so we ordered from Fabios Pizza and Caffe – using a menu we found in the hotel lobby.  We ordered a medium mushroom pizza (the smallest they had and it was good once reheated in the microwave), a garden salad with Ranch Dressing (a lot of Romaine Lettuce and sliced tomatoes stuffed into a small clamshell container), and two bottles of water – I didn’t get an itemized bill but the prices had increased significantly from the published menu and the total came to $31.01 (maybe with tax and the delivery charge, that made sense).  The food was delivered to our door and the delivery guy had one of those wireless charge units.

After dinner, we went down to the pool area and sat in the comfy couches outside of the pool proper.  The treat for me was watching the jets come in to MIA – they were landing every 30 seconds on so.  I missed a huge ANA jet but I did capture another pretty big plane.

It started to cool down so we went back to the room.  We are right across the street from MIA so I took two pictures from our room - one early in the evening and one at night.

The third party shuttle to the port of Miami runs $12.00 pp so we will probably take an Uber to the port. 

We are going to need earplugs since the hotel has some noisy guests – lights out at 10:30 PM.

No comments:

Post a Comment