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Published: April 30th 2019
Hello folks. This is a little late being posted but it is the story of our return from the cruise. Spoiler Alert – we did get home.
The ship docked in Los Angeles about 5:00 AM. We weren’t up at that time, but we had officially completed 10,030 miles of cruising. We did not get up until 7:00 because our departure from the ship was late in the morning, but we had to vacate the cabin by 8:00 so they could start cleaning for the new passenger who would come aboard later in the day. So we put our remaining items in the roller bag and backpack and we went to the Horizon Court for breakfast.
Many people had early departures from the ship, so they had come and gone through the breakfast buffet. It wasn’t particularly crowded and we ate with a couple Janet knew from her knitting. We were able to sit around until about 9:00. Then we headed down to our departure station, which happened to be the Portofino Dining Room. Our airline flight wasn’t scheduled until late so we were one of the last groups to go through Customs and back into the real world. So our departure did not happen until 10:45.
We went through the long line to have our passports examined, but it was such a cursory check that it amounted to nothing. We then went to the luggage area and found our 3 suitcases. A porter helped us get everything out to the buses and we got seated pretty quickly. But the buses seemed to be waiting until everyone was on the other buses because these were the last trips to the airport. Anyway, we headed out about noon and drove to LAX.
We arrived at the American Airlines terminal and we wrestled our bags inside to the kiosk where we were supposed to get boarding passes and luggage tags. The later did not work so we waited in the line for counter assistance. After paying for our suitcases Janet asked how far it was to the gate. The agent told us we could have Passenger Assistance get her a wheelchair, so we did. It took a little while but it was worth the wait. The wheelchair person kept pushing to the front of each line and got us through the TSA and to the gate much faster than we would otherwise. The PRE-Check x-ray machine broke down as we were arriving so all the lines got reshuffled and we just pushed to the front and right on through. This lady was certainly worth her tip.
We got to gate 40 about 1:00 and we watched as the preceding flight boarded for Atlanta. About 2:00 David got a pizza for us to split while we were waiting. For airport food, it was a pretty tasty “wood-fired pepperoni” pizza, but also pricy. Then they announced that our 5:00 flight was delayed until 5:50 and was moving to another gate. We ordered another wheelchair and eventually got to gate 47B. We also arranged for a wheelchair to be waiting in St Louis when we arrived.
By the time our plane arrived and was ready to board, they had Janet marked as needing “pre-boarding services” and we got on even before the First Class folks. They also moved our seats so we each had 3 seats on opposite sides of the aisle – this flight was not particularly crowded. After about an hour they passed out drinks and pretzels. David had gotten a tuna sandwich and bag of chips for us to split, so we had something of dinner on the plane. Then it was uneventful the rest of the way to St Louis.
We were supposed to land about 10:00 St Louis time, but the delay made it close to 11:00. As we deplaned there was indeed another person waiting with a wheelchair for her. The airport was pretty empty that time of night but we made it to the baggage claim quickly – 10 minutes ahead of the suitcases. David rented a luggage cart – many places are free but St Louis Airport always charges for this basic necessity!
Elizabeth and Mike had come to the house Saturday afternoon and brought our car to the off-site long term parking. Unbeknownst to us, the airport had reconfigured their parking pickup and their signs were misleading. Our wheelchair guy did not know where the pickup was either, so we went to a couple of places and even called the lot twice trying to find their bus. Eventually our helper left us sometime after midnight and David pushed the luggage cart and the wheelchair to an elevator in the garage to go up one level. On the outside of that level was the bus for parking pickups. The bus finally came and drove us to our car.
Mike had sent us text messages with a picture of our parking spot so we could tell the driver the exact location. They had also left a coupon to lower our fee. THANKS! We drove on home and finally finished our vacation about 1:00 on Sunday morning. The cat was extremely enthusiastic to see us after 4 weeks, even though Valerie and Elizabeth had taken good care of her. But she was a self-appointed greeting committee and “meowed” for about an hour before finally everyone went to bed.
To summarize we can say that we really did have a good vacation. The last day was kind of long and tiring, but we still had a terrific time. You would have to be someone who can enjoy a lot of Sea Days, but if so then it was a trip we can recommend for others.
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