Today the trip began. Early on we had decided to fly to Florida a day early, just to make sure there were no airline snafus that might impact our getting to the ship before it sails. If we were to miss this sailing, the next chance to rejoin the cruise would be in about a week. Therefore today’s only goal was simply to get to Ft Lauderdale with our luggage and with a minimum of stress.
We packed our bags with as much as possible, and our friends Ken & Terry Schmalbeck have kindly given us a ride to the airport. Our flight on Southwest Airline was scheduled to leave in the middle of the afternoon, so we had plenty of time to get to the airport. This is the only non-stop flight available from St Louis to Ft Lauderdale, as well as the perk of Southwest permitting us to bring free “checked luggage”.
At the St Louis airport Janet was approved for TSA pre-check, but David had to go through the whole shoes-off, show the liquids, take out your laptop, etc. But the line moved pretty quickly and we didn’t really have any problems. That allowed us to get a nice lunch at the airport before boarding the airplane.
We ended up being in the last row of the airplane and it was a fully packed flight. The flight left on schedule and eventually arrived in Ft Lauderdale pretty much on-time too. It was kind of bumpy for the first 30 minutes, but most of the rest of the flight was fairly smooth. When we landed in Ft Lauderdale, they had deplaning from both the front and rear of the plane, so we were the first ones off through the rear exit (didn’t even need to slide down the emergency chute). Happily we found our luggage came with us without any issues, so our primary goal was accomplished today.
There is a free shuttle bus that took us to the hotel where we have stayed previously, and we are now all checked in to the Fairfield Inn for the evening. Unfortunately we had just missed one pickup time at the airport, so we had about a 45 minutes wait for the next shuttle. But the Florida weather is very comfortable and we had a seat on a bench while we waited.
Being somewhat later than our usual dining hour, we went promptly to a nearby seafood restaurant we’ve liked from previous trips – “The Rustic Inn”. The restaurant offered a free shuttle which took us door-to-door and back again. We had some delicious fresh seafood for supper. Janet had Fresh Maryland-style Crab Cakes and David had fresh caught Swordfish. During our vacation we expect to have more seafood, but this was a very good start to our dining. After dinner we met another couple (waiting for the return shuttle) who will also be on the cruise tomorrow – so we already know somebody on the ship.
Now we are back in our room and settled down for a good night’s sleep. Tomorrow will be more event-filled and we will try to start adding photos - not much to take pictures of today. But we have arrived in Florida safe & sound and are all ready to hit the high seas tomorrow.
Here is an apology in advance for all the future blog posts. We try to not go into tedious detail when describing our days (that might get boring as well as taking extra time away from the fun times of our vacation), so we will mainly cover the highlights. If we do not adequately explain something or if anyone has a question, please click the “comment” button on the blog and we will try to respond during our next posting.