Our ship is sailing. Literally. We are heading out on a cruise today. Leaving from Tampa and heading across the Atlantic with stops in Portugal, Ireland, Belgium and Holland. Fifteen days of pampering, good food and whatever else we feel like.
Yesterday we left our home (with Molly and Otto in it) after much preparation including an unscripted goodbye pep talk with Molly. It’s now a 2 hour hike to the airport instead of 40 min. Therefore when Air Canada texted us the notice that our flight was delayed we were already en route. We planned a pit stop in Campbellville and now we had some extra time. Shopping!!
Even with our extra timed stops we arrive st the airport super early. We have parked off site for the first time as we are leaving from terminal 1 and returning to terminal 3. I found a budget parking lot ($400 cheaper than the airport option and $200 less than parknfly). Just in case, we left the car with no gas. Would be thieves beware!! They shuttle us to the terminal. Already we feel ahead of the game since we didn’t have to do the usual terminal marathon from parking garage to check in counter.
Rudy’s bag (as usual) is overweight so he removes a book for my bag. I even added items from our shopping pit stop (new bras and sneakers). The stereotype is not valid in our household!!
Nexus saves us more time (which we have to spare) from the endless security line ups. And we breeze through to the gate area. Rudy has a tender knee (pickleball mishap) so he’s in favour of finding a quick resto for a beer. We find our perch for the next couple of hours. Rudy has a beer and I have Perrier… airplane toilet?? No thanks. We use the time wisely to play word games and make sure our airline apps are functional for the inflight entertainment.
We are ready to board. I always get aisle seats even if we’re not together. It’s only a 2 hour flight and comfort is key. (For our return flight from Amsterdam we have booked club seats as it’s 8 hours).
Rudy is kitty corner ahead of me by 2 rows. I am seated next to a nice young man who fits in the seat without extra body parts migrating into my space. I set up my iPad and start watching The Favourite. This was an Oscar winning movie that Bails wanted to bail out on in the cinema when she went. I couldn’t resist. Plus I really liked Olivia Coleman in Broadchurch (Netflix binge!) I enjoyed the movie thoroughly … so wicked in many ways. During the film the snack service trolly went by. I ordered cheese and crackers and water. My seat mate ordered 2 scotches … I didn’t take it personally. As the movie ended we were preparing for landing. Perfect timing.
We make our way off the plane and to the luggage area. A slight marathon and I feel for Rudy and his knee. So I suggest Rudy sits with our carryons while I retrieve the big (equally not overweight) bags. The carousel is moving. I glance back at Rudy as we are among the last passengers left waiting for bags. How can this be I wonder? We were so early … were we too early? Is that as risky as flying stand by??
Then, in a last minute flurry, a few more bags pop out and ours among them. Whew!! I had visions of scrambling for toiletries at midnight in Tampa. Not good.
We take our bags out of the terminal and walk into a moist heat. Ahhhhh. The air of Florida. Fuck yeah! We find a bench for Rudy and I contact Uber. Osmel is on his way. His reviews said “great music”. I wondered if that was a good thing. His car is a Dodge Caravan so there was hope. I’m further assuaged when I see a text from Bails; her and Otto are on the couch yawning. All is well.
Uber arrives quickly and we set off to the Barrymore Hotel at Riverwalk. As we pull away from the airport Rihanna is serenading us and her video is on a small screen. This is followed by Miley Cyrus and then John Legend. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched music videos. It was a good trip.
At the hotel we are greeted by an energetic young man with the worlds brightest smile. Rudy asks how far we are to the cruise ports and smiley says: “it’s not how far.. it’s how CLOSE!” He’s cute.
We get to our room and the AC is on. That’s a beautiful thing.
Ship ship hurray!!