We are on our first Crystal Cruise and are currently cruising with Crystal Cruises on the Serenity. Our itinerary is Monte Carlo to Barcelona. I will blog throughout our journey but this first blog is about our flying experience to get to Nice (the closest airport to Monte Carlo).
September 26th, alarm set for 3am. Showered, finished packing by 4am. Taxi arrives 5 minutes early 4:10am. Pleasant drive to the airport. Simple check-in with West Jet. Time for tea from Tim Horton's. No line up at security. Upstairs at the gate, crew arrives for this 5:45 am departure for Toronto. Then it begins. First announcement - the flight will be one hour delayed. Not good news as we are now going to miss our connection in Toronto to Montreal. We had a one hour connection there. No problem. I jump up to the counter, first in line. All we need is to be rebooked on the next Toronto to Montreal flight. This cuts our time a little short in Montreal before we need to catch our Air Transat flight from Montreal to Nice, but no problem. We can make it happen.
While the West Jet customer agent is helping us, she looks at me and says "one minute, I am expecting a call to come in". Then it comes .... The second announcement. The Saskatoon to Toronto flight will now be leaving at 12:00 noon. 6 hours late. Now we will miss all our flights to Nice.
Thank you TRAVEL PROTECTION. We call RBC our Travel Insurance provider. They open a claim for us. They inform us to make arrangments to get to Nice, and that the flights need to be booked in Economy class. Off to the Air Canada counter we go. We are not first in line there. Others are also trying to rebook to Toronto on the 10:55 flight. We panic a bit thinking we are not going to be able to buy a ticket. Our turn comes and we are right, that flight is now sold out. We tell Calvin, the wonderful Air Canada agent " Calvin, anything, just book us on anything that will get us to Nice tomorrow so we can catch our cruise". He punches away on the computer for about 5 minutes (seemed way longer then that). He covers his face with his hands then drops them to the computer to slowly turn the screen around. He did it, he pulled an itinerary together!! Saskatoon to Winnipeg, Winnipeg to Toronto, Toronto to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Nice. Price .... $4754 per person!!!!! All economy seats just like RBC instructed. The Saskatoon to Winnipeg flight is leaving shortly and closes in 7 minutes. Brian runs to the West Jet counter and retrieves our bags. We pay for the tickets and shout out "Hallelujah for Travel Protection".
Okay people out there who decline Travel Protection, one more story from us. I often hear people say "I am not cancelling". Okay, but what about the Interruption insurance. If I did not have Travel protection would I have forked over another $10000 to go on this trip? I don't know and I am really glad that I did not have to decide.
Here goes …. Ixtapa Travel’s first Blog.
It is me… Barb, the Owner/President of Ixtapa Travel, Saskatoon
I just arrived home late last night from a Board Meeting in New York. (I am a
member of the Ensemble North American Board. Ensemble is a Consortia that our
offices belongs to).
I love New York. Heaven only knows why I booked my flight to arrive in on Sunday afternoon, just in time for the Board’s events and then left on Tuesday right after the last meeting. Next time I will stay longer or go in
earlier. Or maybe both!
But let me tell you about my quick trip.
First of all, I flew Air Canada from Saskatoon to Toronto. I only had carry on luggage. My new way to travel!
However, if you do have bags that will need to be transferred from your Domestic flight (flight within Canada) to a
Transborder flight (flight to the USA) you no longer have to reclaim your bags when heading in to the“Preclear US Customs” area. It is all automated. Your name even comes up in lights when you scan your boarding card once you enter this area. Kind of cool. US Customs was very quick and I was soon at my gate with an hour to spare.
I arrived at LaGuardia airport. It always makes me nervous when we come in on that “water meets runway”.
A $45 cab ride and I was at the Affinia Shelburne on Lexington Avenue in Murray Hill. Murray Hill
is a neighborhood in midtown Manhattan in New York City. My room was clean with a perfectly well designed bathroom. No complaints from me. A nice touch at the Affinia Shelburne ... wine-tasting every day in the lobby from 5-6pm!
Sunday night my Board of Director colleagues and I went to the Carlyle Hotel, a Rosewood Hotel, for a site inspection. The Carlyle, in the Upper East Side is all about First Class, Luxury! First stop, the Central Park Tower Suite. WOW! An amazing view of New York and Central Park in 1200 square feet of living space. Bigger than most Manhattan appartments. A nice touch at the Carlyle Rosewood Hotel ... each Elevator still has an Elevator operator 24/7!
After our meetings on Monday, we headed to the James Hotel in SOHO. My has this area boomed in the Real Estate Market. The shopping down here is amazing! Up to the Penthouse Suite where staff from The James were waiting to host a small cocktail party for us. Another WOW! The view from here is amazing. This is where I took my picture of the new Freedom Tower at Sunset. I definitely would stay in this luxury boutique New York Hotel. A nice touch at the James .... rooftop bar called Jimmy's.
Tuesday meetings and a quick Taxi ride to Newark Airport ($75). I boarded my West Jet flight to Calgary. I thought I would try out West Jet's new PLUS Seats. Seats in Plus include extra legroom, advance boarding, giving you first access to the overhead bins, a complimentary food item and alcoholic beverages from their onboard menu. Well worth the $45 that I paid when I checked in on-line 24 hours prior to departure. Made this 4 1/2 hour flight go by quickly!
And of course it is always great to come home to see my Little Grandson, Lennon.
Ixtapa Travel Staff