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Published: September 8th 2018
After a long period of anticipation and planning, today our vacation has finally begun. We were up bright and early and headed for the airport. Well it certainly was early - earlier than when it was bright outside. Valerie was kind enough to stay at our house last night so she could get us to the airport by 5:00 this morning. The flight was not scheduled to leave until 7:00, but we wanted to avoid any possible TSA / airline problems. Anyway, she got us and our luggage loaded in her car and delivered at this really early hour – we kind of had an overnight Uber Driver. THANK YOU.
We made it through the formalities at the airport without any problems and still had time for a light breakfast before boarding the plane. The flight was a mid-sized plane (probably about 80 seats) and was fairly full, but they had a seat waiting for each of us. We have gotten used to the “surprise announcement” of not being able to bring the roller-bag suitcase inside the cabin and having to “gate check” it instead. So we had a backpack and tote bag inside and we put practically
everything from inside the bag in them, both of which were allowed in the plane. These were things like the computer, the camera, the medications, and the travel documents which we certainly did not trust to the tender care of the airline. Our nearly empty carry-bag went in the luggage bay.
The flight was a little bumpy but no real problem. As we approached New York we were able to see the Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, and the overall Manhattan skyline. Happily we landed on time and got to deplane at the gate. Our small (empty) bag was brought to us fairly quickly and then we found all 3 of our checked bags in the baggage claim area.
We will be sailing on a Cunard ship tomorrow, so we decided long ago to book the one day pre-cruise package so they would handle all the logistics of getting to the ship. Their representative met us at the Luggage Claim and took us to a van for the ride into Manhattan. We are both convinced we would NEVER want to drive here – much too crowded, slow, and confusing. But our driver delivered us
safely to the Midtown Hilton on the Avenues of America. We checked in about 11:30 but either had to sit in the lobby until 3:00 before getting into our room, or pay a $45 Early Arrival Fee. Since we were holding all the bags and were kind of tired and hungry, we paid the fee.
Our room is nice but not amazing. It is on the 31st
floor which is about 2/3 of the way up the building. We took our stuff to the room and then went to get a light lunch in one of the lobby restaurants. After having some sandwiches and drinks, Janet went back to the room to read/rest and David went to stretch his legs on a walk around the local area. He found a place to buy a couple of bottles of wine to take on-board the ship tomorrow and a box of little desserts to finish off today’s lunch. He then went for another walk with the camera to take a few pictures. We have not been to New York in almost 20 years, so we thought about taking one of the open-top tour bus rides around town, but it
was only 66 degrees today so that idea fizzled. We settled for a couple of full-fledged naps and we are finally beginning to feel more like we are on vacation.
David had spotted a nice looking Italian Restaurant just a couple of blocks from the hotel, so we went there for dinner. We remember having gone to Little Italy previously, where there are plenty of picturesque Italian restaurants, but we didn’t feel that adventurous today. Instead we had very tasty dinners and then walked back to our hotel for the evening. It was drizzling to and from dinner, so we didn’t explore any further.
One disappointing aspect is that the room is chilly and the thermostat does not make the room any warmer. We called the desk and they said they were only providing air conditioning to the rooms at this time and that we needed to turn off the system for the room to warm up. We are still running the fan to keep the air from getting stuffy - hopefully it works. This is not what we expected from a fancy New York hotel.
Attached are a couple of pictures of New York. Our hotel is located a bit south of Central Park and just north of Radio City Music Hall. During his walks David found himself on Broadway, walking past a number of the theaters. He then headed down Broadway to Times Square. So even without a tour bus, he did get to see a little of town. Maybe someday we will visit again and plan to spend enough time to actually tour the city again. Well, that’s all for today – see you tomorrow when we will set sail on the Queen Mary 2.
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