January 1-3, 2017
A light drizzle escorted our four-thirty a.m., shuttle to the Eugene airport. This was much better than last years’ trip in twenty-four degree weather with a dusting of snow, and waiting for the plane to be de-iced.
Thankfully, the flight to San Francisco was uneventful and we were met at the gate by a wheelchair for Larry. We hadn’t arranged it, so I suspect the flight attendant might have seen Larry’s difficulty with walking and benevolently called ahead. It made his passage to the next gate ever so much easier.
Our original flight was Eugene to Denver and then Denver to Ft. Lauderdale. We were happy when the first leg was changed to San Francisco, so we could relax as we flew across the United States, once we were onboard. We snoozed a bit after breakfast to make up for too little sleep the night before. The rest of the trip seemed short thanks to the entertainment available and the opportunity to see a movie that was on our “list.”
Our flight was very smooth, for which we were grateful. Weather reports the next day included tornado warnings over the southeast. Coupled with a huge computer glitch that disrupted flights, we’re pretty sure people flying then were very happy to finally reach their destination.
Finding all our luggage on the carousel is always a relief! An Uber driver arrived within minutes of my request. In less than an hour we were checked into the Embassy Suites, 17th Street and ready to enjoy their complimentary happy hour. It was warm and humid, but not uncomfortably so. Flying cross-country seemed like a time warp from cold to warm. The decorations still in place at the hotel were a reminder we’d just celebrated Christmas the week before.
The only thing missing was our friends, Cindy and Bruce. We chose this hotel because they planned to stay there before embarking on the 2017 World Cruise. We met on the 2016 World Cruise and enjoyed many good times together. Sadly, they cancelled, but we stayed anyway. After a light dinner, we were happy to retreat to the comfort of our two-room suite and relax. With no obligations the next day, sleeping in was heavenly!
January 2, 2017- We slept past time for the complimentary breakfast, but found Waxy O Conner’s Irish Pub across the street for lunch. The hotel is conveniently located between Winn Dixie and Publix grocery stores, and several restaurants and other stores within walking distance. The CVS pharmacy was just two blocks north to pick up a few things we hadn’t packed. Proud of ourselves, for surviving the walk and hauling our purchases back to the hotel, we were rewarded with another complimentary happy hour. Our chat with Maria, our server, was so delightful she hugged us when we left.
January 3, 2017- Feeling fairly well caught up after a good night’s sleep we were up in time for the free breakfast. It included choices to please everyone, with cooked to order omelets, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, bacon, sausage, pancakes, a variety of breads for toast, muffins, sweet rolls, fruit, oatmeal, grits, cold cereals, yogurt, juices, coffee and tea.
Soon it was time to board the shuttle for the cruise terminal. As we neared the security check, I saw Dina, whom I’d met on last year’s world cruise! It turned out she was the first of many passengers that we’d met on that cruise who were doing this one as well. Check in was a breeze and within a matter of minutes we were in our cabin.
With a king size bed, placed so we had access to the window, a small sofa, coffee table, desk and cabinet with the tv, and walk-in closet, we were very pleased. We’ve enjoyed a few balconies over the years, but usually on shorter cruises. For a cruise of this length, we’d rather spend the extra money on shore excursions.
At the champagne reception we met Pam and Bob from Devon, England, and Juliana and Brian from Hobart, Tasmania. This was the start of fun times with delightful new people! Happy hour in the Crow’s Nest was hurried so we would be on time for the mandatory emergency muster drill. This is always a lesson in patience. Not everyone on board is agile and possesses all their cognitive skills! And, no matter how many muster drills one has attended, some people just seem to forget in between what’s required and how to go about it. The crew members exercise tremendous patience!
We survived and returned to our cabin to unpack our luggage that had been delivered. The new hard-side suitcases don’t fit under the bed as well as our older soft side ones. So, our cabin steward, Adi, removed them to storage for us. By then it was time for a light dinner and time to chill. We were fighting a slight cold, thanks to our son, and ready to settle into being gently rocked to sleep.