La Quinta, California: The Norwegian Bliss docked several hours early. The bright lights of the massive NCL terminal woke us around 4:30a. Then we noticed SO MANY other cruise ships docking as well. Half the ships in the world must have converged on Miami and Fort Lauderdale this morning. My Relentless Driver actually donned his work-out gear around 5a and hit the jogging track on the upper deck. I did not. It was dark, and it was five o'clock in the morning. Coffee and fruit were delivered to our room at 6:30a, and by 7:30, our bags were closed and we were on our way off the ship. As previously mentioned, before we left on this cruise, I had upgraded to "Priority Boarding" only because it allowed us early access off the ship on the last day. (We had an 11a flight to LAX.) When I saw 6 (?) cruise ships docking in Miami this morning, I had a little melt-down, thinking we would never make our flight, find a taxi, find an Uber, get through TSA, on and on and on. (SIDE NOTE: this $250 upgrade also gave us breakfast delivered to our stateroom each (15) morning, no-line exiting at every port, appetizers/cookies/snacks delivered a few times a week to our room, and other perks.)
Turns out that $250 investment saved our
my stupid butts today! Two of the first people to exit the liner, we rolled our own bags off the ship without assistance, sailed through American customs/immigration, walked outside and caught a taxi to the airport. Except here's the thing: there are TWO airports in the Miami area and I should have been more specific... or actually LOOKED at our itinerary? Our taxi dropped us at Miami airport and we were flying out of Fort Lauderdale. Jeez. It's like we are old people. Didn't even think to tell him FLL, not MIA. Easy fix, just another ride. Uber this time, and we arrived at the correct airport, breezed through TSA and had to hang-out for over an hour before we boarded. Lucky break.
I won't go into our bad experience here with Alaska first-class. We used our miles for these tickets and our seats and floor were DIRTY, the bathroom was ancient, my tray table was broken (!) and it was generally just a very bad ambience. Food was good! Flight attendants were chatting loudly together all flight. So annoying. We love Alaska Airlines, use their famed VISA card like it's our job, and are very loyal to the brand. Not happy campers today.
Arriving in Los Angeles around one o'clock in the afternoon, there is a temporary 500 mile walk to the Uber pick-up area. OMG. After waking up on a ship in Miami, visiting two airports in the area, taking a six hour flight to LA, the last thing we wanted to do was walk the entire peripheral of the airport parking garages, schlepping our bags, to get a ride to Lisa's house. (NOTE: there is a shuttle.) Exhausting. Our Uber driver was great though and had us to Lisa's very quickly. Lenny had our Jeep was ready for us. Our Hanukkah gifts were loaded into the car, we waved to the kids (both wearing masks to protect themselves from their probably-COVID-contaminated grandparents - they are going to Hawaii for a week in a few days, so are COVID-diligent), and we hit the highway to the desert.
Then we sat in traffic for two hours. Even in the car-pool lane! It was another of the worst drives between LA and Palm Springs a person can suffer through, and it really isn't even a holiday weekend (yet). There were no accidents. No roadway construction. No reason for traffic to be stopped on a major interstate freeway. We left Lisa's before 3p and arrived home at 6:30p.
Thankfully we live in a community with a restaurant! We freshened-up (okay, not so much) and went up to the Clubhouse for dinner. We actually took our car, instead of the golf cart, as it was 52 degrees. Yes, we each had a salad and grabbed the basket of dinner rolls to-go so we would have something to eat in the early morning as we watch the 2022 FIFA World Cup final at 7a. So excited.
There will be a cruise update (of course) and I think a post about how I pack for 16 days in a carry-on. Would you all be interested in that? Until then, I am going to bed. Its a long way from Miami to La Quinta.
Until my next update, I remain, your "ship, taxi, uber, plane, uber, Jeep" correspondent.