Friday, June 28, 2024

Crystal Serenity - Panama Canal - Miami to San Diego - June 8-24, 2024

Excited to be back on the re-incarnated Crystal Symphony as she goes from Miami to San Diego.

June 7, 2024 – Travel Day

The cruise line had given us two options for flying on this cruise – we chose the United Airlines option because it was $200 less than the American Airlines option (I also thought we might be able to use the United Club passes we had).  We were blinded by money as the two itineraries were quite different.  The United flight (UA2090) departed ORD at 7:10 AM.  Although that would give us an entire day in Miami, it required getting up before dawn to get to ORD on time.  This is the view I got getting up.

I scheduled an American Taxi for 5:30 AM – he was right on time and the ride to ORD, mostly on the streets, took almost 40 minutes to get there.  We printed out luggage tags at the kiosk and handed over our bags. The TSA PreChek line was just a few feet from this bank of kiosks and we went through screening very quickly.

Our gate B10 was just a few gates from the screening exit so we were ready to board at 6:30 AM.  I’m pretty sure I won’t be doing this early morning thing again since we could have been late if we’d run into any issues on the ride to ORD.  We are in Priority Group 2 and boarded smoothly.  I paid a small fortune for Economy Plus seats – 15C and 15D – aisle across.  Our aircraft was a Max 8 and the seats seemed a little roomier than our last United Flight.  The Exit was behind us so no one would be kicking our seats on this flight. Because we are on the aisles, there was no opportunity to take any photos during the flight.

The flight boarded quickly and we pushed just a few minutes early.  I checked the UA App and saw that there no weather at all on our straight down route to MIA (could still run into CAT along the way) but that was a good sign.  

The plane got a runway assignment and took off a few minutes early; the flight was as smooth as you might think based on the radar map.  

We had our usual bagels and salmon spread for second breakfast – I had my usual two cups of coffee and glass of orange juice.  The flight attendants were terrific on this flight – again, we had no issues and no crazies aboard a United Flight.

The landing was smooth and on time.  I called the hotel and was told that the Hotel Shuttle would pick us up on the Arrivals Level at doors 3-5.  That’s a bit unusual but that’s the system here at MIA.  It did take a few calls to the hotel until the shuttle did finally show up.

We are staying at the Element Miami International Airport Hotel on NW 25th street.  It’s a big new hotel alongside a lagoon.  It is, however, in an industrial area so there are no restaurants within walking distance.  Today, that is no problem since we are having dinner with Danny, Dova, and Macie in Ft Lauderdale.  Danny picked us up and then picked up Macie and her friend, Grace, at the Aventura Mall and then we headed for their condo.

It was a great dinner (hamburgers and hot dogs) and much better than we would have had were we to look for a place to eat around our hotel.

After dinner, Danny took us back to the hotel Our suite, Room 230, is very nice.  

It has a separate kitchen area and sitting area and the bedroom can be closed off to muffle the loud frig noise.  I did have to turn off the in room A/C because the fan was so loud.  We just have to hope that it doesn’t stay hot overnight.  By the way, it was a bargain at $168.37 including tax and breakfast.  

The room was quiet for the most part and the bed was comfortable.  The room also had a huge bathroom.  The location of the room was such that workers on the street (there was some kind of repair work going on) could be heard in the room throughout the night.  It was handled pretty well by earplugs. 

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