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Navigating the Bureaucratic Maze

And Figuring Out How to Get There From Here


View 2022 Cruising to Hawaii in a Pandemic on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

This trip is more complicated than any I have ever taken. Just getting there requires almost more in the way of logistics than the landing in Normandy in WWII. I have to figure out how to get myself, my luggage, my scooter and my rollator/walker from my home to the ship when I can't walk very far, can't stand for long, and can't carry anything. This time, I am going with my third daughter's mother-in-law Phyllis. Both she and my daughter live in the Houston area. This will be a group cruise arranged by our travel agent for his customers.
Original cruise

Original cruise


I booked the cruise in Sept 2020 - to go to the Baja of Mexico out of San Pedro which is the port for LA. . It was the first part of a B2B (back to back) - first Mexico and then Hawaii. I booked the same hotel (the DoubleTree) that I stayed at with Polly on the previous cruise out of San Pedro. Then I found out that Phyllis had Hawaii on her bucket list. I really wanted to check that off for her, so I switched to the second part of the B2B.

When I went to switch the hotel dates, it was WHAMMO. Because the new date (12 February) was the weekend of the Super Bowl which was to be in LA. The rates went up over 200%. But I knew where the hotel was, and they had a shuttle to the port, and I didn't think I could get anything much cheaper. I did eventually call the hotel and ask them to reduce the rate, and it looks like I am being charged less now, but I think they've already charged my card and the reservation is one which does not allow change or cancellation.

I decided to get Princess EzAir, and they gave me a direct fight from Houston to LAX on American and a direct flight back from LAX to Houston on United. It was a very good price, and George Leppla, our travel agent added a transfer from the ship to the airport.

In August the ship changed the itinerary - we were going to land at a dock in Maui instead of having a tender port. At that point Hawaii was not allowing any cruise ships in at all because of the pandemic. But when I got back from the cruise to the Galapagos I started trying to make excursion reservations. Phyllis wanted to go to Pearl Harbor and I knew that Honolulu was the only port where we would be there late enough to do a luau, and I wanted to do one with her. So we booked Germaine's luau for both of us and an early excursion to Pearl Harbor for her. I also booked excursions on Hilo and one other island, but nothing was available for Maui yet.

In October, I tried to fill out and email to Princess a mobility questionnaire. I tried three times to two different addresses and then George tried to two different addresses and it always bounced saying that the mailbox was full. I began trying to do the Medallion sign in. It had to be done on a smart phone, and could not be done on the computer. I got onto the Princess website and the person I talked to got some of it done, and even eventually got the mobility questionnaire accepted. I was signed into the Green line for quick embarkation. Or relatively quick. Phyllis had a new computer and had some problems with this but she eventually got signed in also.
Princess medallion

Princess medallion


In addition to checking you in quickly (because it has your passport and vaccination information in it), the medallion is supposed to work in the way your key card worked before. It has your photo on it for when you check off the ship, and it unlocks the door of your room automagically when you get to it. If you order a drink, it lets the server find you to give your drink to you. It is about the size of a quarter, but thicker. Mine is red because I am Ruby with Princess - your class is based on the number days you have cruised. Ruby is 4 to 5 cruises or 31 to 50 days. This is my 4th cruise. I already have 41 days and I will add 15 on this cruise which will make me Platinum I think. Phyllis is gold (one cruise)

In November, I booked my SW airline trip to Houston using the leftover trip I had not taken to go to my grandson's graduation in 2020. I phoned all the airlines involved (Southwest, American and United) to explain that I was bringing a scooter. Sometimes this meant being on hold for several hours.

The last time I went to Hawaii, I shipped my suitcase to the ship. I found I could do that again so I booked the luggage forwarding just before Thanksgiving. The bag could not weigh more than 50 lbs, and could not include anything except clothing. No medication, currency, valuables, electronics, or batteries. A little later, I asked them if I could also ship the rollator, and added that to the Luggage forwarding. I have gotten the labels, taped up the bags, and they were picked up on Friday Feb 4th, to be delivered to Princess in LA. At the last minute I thought of the luggage tags with our room number on them and taped one of them to each bag/box.
Luggage tag

Luggage tag

Sometime in December, Princess modified the schedule again. We were going to Honolulu first and we wouldn't arrive until late morning - too late for the Pearl Harbor excursion which now conflicted with the luau. Also that luau was canceled. Signed up for a different luau. That luau was canceled. Signed up for a third luau. All the Pearl Harbor excursions are full and they all overlap with the luau in any case.
Schedule change

Schedule change


Changing the schedule meant that all the excursions on the other islands were on the wrong dates. We finally had an excursion for Feb 19th on Maui to Haleakala and the Ocean Center but it wouldn't let me book it because it was on the same date as an excursion for Kaui which had been on Feb 19th and it would not let me delete the excursions on Kaui. Did an internet chat with Princess and got it straightened out. Finally got excursions booked on each island on the appropriate date.
Hawaii regs

Hawaii regs


Hawaii requires that you fill out a Safe Traveler form. So I did that. It gave me a QR code, which I was not sure what to do with it, but I have it. And eventually I uploaded a photo of my covid vaccination card to the website.
QR code

QR code


In addition to being vaccinated, we are required to be tested two days before embarkation. I would be in Houston then, so I ordered test kits from the Princess provider.
Test kits

Test kits


They came in a nice box, so I put three dresses in the box (to wear at my daughters) with three test kits and mailed them to her. We will also have to be tested at the pier. I tried to select an embarkation time and this time it would let me do that - we are in group B.
Air change

Air change


Princess sent me a change to the flights. Instead of a direct flight Houston to LAX, they are having us change planes in DFW. It looks like there is about an hour to do the change. At about the same time, due to a comment on George's zoom call, I found out that there is no longer a shuttle from LAX to San Pedro. So I booked a Lyft.

I also looked at my SW flight and found that instead of being a direct flight, they were routing me through NY which meant that although I would not have to change planes, a three hour flight was now 6 hours. So I modified my reservation to leave later and go through Atlanta instead of NY - the flight is still 4 hours, but the times are better.

I got my medallion a couple of days ago. I wear it on a lanyard around my neck -
Medallion on a lanyard

Medallion on a lanyard


I have been having an on going discussion with Bob about the scooter. I wanted to ship the scooter to Houston in the scooter bag and just have a wheelchair at the airport. I would have only my cane and one carry-on. Bob didn't think that our daughter could fit the scooter bag into her car.

Scooter suitcase 3 feet x 2 feet x 16 inches

Scooter suitcase 3 feet x 2 feet x 16 inches

But she can, so the only problem is the weight of the bag. - it is 72 lbs with the scooter in it. Bob showed me how to open the bag and he put the scooter into it, so it is ready to go. I will have the battery in my carryon. I'm all packed and my traveling clothes are on a hanger. I just have to put my computer and the cord to it and my medications and a pair of shoes and the scooter battery into my carry-on.

When I fly to LAX, I will have my carry-on and my cane and I will ride the scooter through the airport (leaving the bag at my daughters because neither Phyllis or I could lift it) and gate check the scooter for each flight. At least that is the plan for now.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:41 Archived in USA Tagged cruise pandemic Comments (2)

The First Step Completed

Flying to Houston

sunny 56 °F
View 2022 Cruising to Hawaii in a Pandemic on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

9 February 2022

This morning we got up a little before 7. Bob went down to do the cat boxes (He is having trouble with his knees - kneeling is painful so he has an appointment with the orthopedist on the 22nd - the first one I could get) and have his breakfast. I ate a banana and finished up with the computer and packed it. I almost forgot to put on my watch. We left the house a little before 9,
Leaving the house

Leaving the house

Selfie in the car as we left

Selfie in the car as we left


and were up at the airport by 10:30ish.

Bob decided to park the car and take the scooter case in and let me use the rollator to help me walk. But there were no handicapped parking places and it was a really long walk to get to the Southwest ticket counter. He put the computer bag (which is a small roller bag) on top of the scooter bag and I had the backpack on the rollator. We ended up at the International counter (it was the closest to the skyway- the overpass from the garage) and the national flights were down another corridor. I walked partway and then sat down and told Bob to go down there and get me a wheelchair. Which he did.

The wheelchair guy got a baggage tag for the computer bag at a kiosk and he and Bob were at the desk with it and I was stuck in one of those wheelchairs that you have to push down on before they would move. When I got to the desk, Bob said that the lady couldn't deal with the scooter bag. We should have gone to the oversized luggage desk. But she brought back the oversized luggage lady and that lady said we would have to open the bag so she could see the scooter. Usually they just accept the bag and x-ray it.

This meant that Bob had to get down on the floor with his sore knees and open the bag - it isn't the kind of bag that you can crack open for a look. And then he had trouble getting the scooter back in the bag. The wheelchair guy helped.

While they were doing this I decided that the computer bag was too heavy for me to carry so I asked if I could check it. So the wheelchair guy got me another luggage tag. I told them that the scooter battery was in it and they asked if it was a lead acid battery. I replied truthfully that it was not. I did not tell them that it was a lithium ion battery which is on the list of things that you absolutely cannot bring. In addition to my computer that bag also had all my medications. I was living dangerously
My boarding pass - it had the luggage tags pasted on the back which the one on my phone didn't have

My boarding pass - it had the luggage tags pasted on the back which the one on my phone didn't have


Bob left to go back home. After he figured out how to backtrack and found the car, he didn't have any more trouble, and he picked up my last prescription at the base on the way home.

Meanwhile the wheelchair guy took me through security where I had to take off my coat, sweater, camera vest, passport case, etc., and then have my hands swabbed for explosives or something. I didn't get everything back on right away. I was wearing a sweater and a lined coat so that I didn't have to pack them.

We went down a long hallway to the A gates, and he let me stop and get a sandwich (I got a Boars Head roast beef for $8.50) and he filled my little water bottle. They have an actual bottle filing station next to the water fountains He parked me at the gate. I tipped him $10.50 (I didn't have any place to put the 50 cents change from the sandwich).
View from a wheelchair at the gate 2 hours before the flight

View from a wheelchair at the gate 2 hours before the flight


We were way early - it was only about 11:00 and the plane wasn't going to board until 1300.There wasn't even a plane there. When we got to the gate (it was A15- at the end of that section) there were some employees relaxing in the chairs - out of sight out of mind. They left soon after we got there.

Another wheelchair was parked next to me - he was from Africa and was traveling from RI to Atlanta to see his son who was in the Army there. I ate some of the sandwich
Boars Head roast beef and cheese $8.50

Boars Head roast beef and cheese $8.50


Gradually more people filtered in- that included a man on a scooter which he said had two automobile batteries which weren't spillable batteries. We were late boarding because the flight attendants were late. But eventually they came and got my chair and I sat in the second row window seat.
View from my window after I got seated

View from my window after I got seated

Safety card in the seat pocket

Safety card in the seat pocket

A man came and sat in the aisle seat and went to sleep. We took off about 10 minutes late.
Taking off from BWI

Taking off from BWI

River sparkling in the sun

River sparkling in the sun

Fields in the winter

Fields in the winter

Golf course below in the winter

Golf course below in the winter

A river in Virginia?

A river in Virginia?


I got a snack mix bag which, except for two pieces, were all pretzels. I really don't care for pretzels although I ate them. Plus a cranberry juice which I had to ask for twice. I ate the rest of the sandwich. I started to worry about whether the checked bag people would take exception to the battery and take it away from me.
Coming in to Atlanta

Coming in to Atlanta

A big parking lot outside Atlanta - at first I thought it was a field of solar panels

A big parking lot outside Atlanta - at first I thought it was a field of solar panels

Trailers near Atlanta

Trailers near Atlanta

View from my window in Atlanta

View from my window in Atlanta


After we landed in Atlanta, all but 9 of us got off and I decided that was a good time to use the bathroom. We changed flight crews here. The lady that took me down to the plane confessed that she flew out of BWI but she lived in Atlanta and she had been away from home for 12 days. She thought that was a lot. And I guess it is if you aren't in the military.

The plane was fuller for the trip to Houston. We had 104 pax on a plane that seated 146 (737-700). This time a couple came and sat with me - the man was mostly watching a movie on an iPad. I had the earphones that I got for the Galapagos trip, but they don't plug in to my new phone. So she and I talked - they were visiting their son who is an Air Traffic Controller and their grandbabies age 17 months and 6 weeks. She said he gets 10 weeks of paternity leave.
Atlanta airport

Atlanta airport

Taking off from Atlanta

Taking off from Atlanta


We landed in Houston early and E was stuck in traffic.
Coming in for a landing in Houston

Coming in for a landing in Houston


The wheelchair guy got me to the baggage claim really quickly and claimed the two bags (which were almost the first ones off), and E was still 10 minutes out. So he took me out to the handicapped pick up place and then eventually left. So I didn't get a chance to tip him - I had thought he would help her get the suitcase into her car, but he didn't E did it by herself.

On the way home we picked up Chik-fil-A, and had that for dinner. E has cleared out the bathroom next to As room of all J's stuff (A is at college) so I have that to myself, and i have gotten all settled in. Including logging on to her modem.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:35 Archived in USA Tagged airports Comments (3)

Two Day Interval in Katy TX

Testing, Testing, Testing

10 February 2022

I am taking this trip with Phyllis who is my daughter E's mother-in-law. So we are two mother-in-laws together as I am E's husband Bill's Mother-in-law.

After a good night's sleep, I took care of my emails. My daughter E took off a half day of work so I came downstairs (they have more stairs than we do - I counted 15 and we have only 12 +1 at the landing) and E and I discussed possible scenarios. She had to open the box I sent her. I realize I am going to have to have something to cut tape so I can get into the rollator box and the suitcase on the ship because they are wrapped with tape. So she found a pair of scissors to put in my checked bag.

Normally Phyllis picks J from school, but today we are going over to her house for dinner, so E and I went and picked J up. She was doing some film work after school. She texted E to ask when I was on Jeopardy.
J on her phone with their dog on the footstool

J on her phone with their dog on the footstool


After Bill got home from work, he took the scooter in the bag out of E's car and put it in his car and we all drove over to Phyllis for dinner. There Phyllis had a wonderful surprise for me. Although she said that after her husband Bill died, she had gotten rid of the scooter he had used, she had just remembered that he had gotten a rollator too, and she still had that. It is just like mine at home, and she said I could use it at Es. It is much much easier for me to walk where I have two steady things to hold onto instead of a wobbly cane in one hand.
The Rollator that Phyllis lent me

The Rollator that Phyllis lent me


She had a really nice dinner for us - starting with salmon, and ending with strawberries and cookies. There was a separate thing of mac and cheese for J. String beans with mushrooms, rolls, coleslaw ... I should have taken a photo because I can't remember everything.

After dinner, Bill and J watched curling on Phyllis's TV, and E unpacked the scooter, we unfolded it. Phyllis learned how to fold it for gate checking - how to put the battery in and take it out, and then she charged it - which didn't take very long.

11 February 2022 - Friday

This morning, I have unpacked the backpack bag so that I can put the battery box in it with one set of pills and all the rest of my IDs. And then I can put the charger into the computer bag which I think I will check.

After lunch, E repacked my computer bag so it has the fleece in it plus the charger for the scooter. I have the battery box, both sets of pills and my Canon camera in the carry-on. I still have to wear my coat.

I looked at one of the test kits because I had heard that we have to have an appointment. I already have the app on my phone so I went through to the place where it said I was ready to start the test and then didn't start it as apparently you don't need an appointment to do it. I did learn that you get two kits in case of a false positive from contamination.

Then, I got a message from AOL that said Bob had removed my address from his account and it would be inactive. So I emailed. He called me on my cell phone, which (most unusually) was on because I had been previewing the test. He said Navy Federal Visa had called about my charge card being compromised and wanted me to call them. His email had gotten screwed up somehow so that he couldn't get email and he couldn't figure out how to recover it because it didn't have an alternate email or a cell phone. He only knew my cell phone number because it was in our landline phone from when I called on my cell to be picked up at the pool. Without his email, he didn't have any information on how to get in touch with anyone and even with his email, all he had was emails - he didn't have any phone numbers.

I called the number he gave me to call and got a recorded message and after I went through the phone tree, I got to a place where it said their computers were down and to call back later. So I called a non-800# and got to talk to a person, but she couldn't help me. She transferred me back to where I was originally and I got the same message again. Apparently I tried to buy an Ad Blocker for my phone and they charged it twice, and then charged another $2.00 charge. They blocked the two $37.00 charges, and allowed the $2.00 charge. I decided I didn't want the program and deleted it. I'm a little worried about the charge card, but I don't want to freeze it.

The plan for today is for Phyllis to pick J up at school, and then for them to come here where we will take our tests together. So after Phyllis got there, I started my test again and E watched. After you go through telling them your name and birth date and where you are, they connect you to a proctor. The proctor wanted the test materials to be on the table so she could see them and see me. E put a pillow on the coffee table to prop up my phone held horizontally.
Selfie as I was when I was taking the test

Selfie as I was when I was taking the test


Then we were to put 6 drops of a liquid into a hole in the card. After that we swabbed our nose (both sides) a specified number of rotations. We were then to insert the swab into the card, and remove a plastic strip, and close the card to seal it. Then we were to wait for 15 minutes for it to develop. After 15 minutes the proctor came back and had us show her the card and tell her how many pink lines were on it. There was a pink line at the top - that was a control. But there was no line at the bottom. If there was, it would have indicated that we were positive.

Now E was able to help Phyllis. She had a problem understanding the accent of the person proctoring the test as they talk very fast with an accent. We were both negative. Phyllis left to go home, and E and J and Bill and I had dinner. I didn't sleep that well.
Negative test email which I made into a photo on my phone

Negative test email which I made into a photo on my phone


Saturday we will leave here about 9 with Bill driving Phyllis's car with the scooter in it, and after he drops us at the airport he will bring Phyllis's car back

Posted by greatgrandmaR 05:29 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Struggling through the Airports

A Scooter and some Wheelchairs


View 2022 Cruising to Hawaii in a Pandemic on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Saturday 12 Feb 2022

I told E that I might need a wake-up call. She asked how long it would take me to get ready and I estimated about half an hour. She asked me what I wanted for breakfast and eventually we settled on a scrambled egg and bacon wrap. But I did not sleep well, and I woke up about 4 and tried to see the time on my watch. Couldn't find the light, so I went to the bathroom and looked. And then stupidly left my watch in the bathroom and went back to bed. When I waked up again, of course my watch was in the bathroom and I didn't know what time it was. So I dressed and put everything in the bags and came downstairs. It was about 6:30. Bill was making breakfast.

Then we watched the MU and Southampton soccer/football game until about 8. E and Bill got J up. Bill drove their car to Phyllis's house and we switched cars - Phyllis had a bigger car for the luggage.

E and Bill dropped us at the airport - me on the scooter - and drove Phyllis's car back to her house and retrieved their car and picked up her dog Max - they are going to dog-sit him at their house

We went to check in and they tagged the scooter and checked our bags through to LA - although they charged us $30 each and put our names on the wrong bags.(That is they put my name on Phyllis's bag and her name on mine) We went through security and they not only tested my hands, but did little test wipes of all the scooter surfaces. The man asked us if we were over (I think) 72 and announced to everyone there that we didn't have to take off our shoes.
Waiting for the plane in Houseon

Waiting for the plane in Houseon

Since the flight was about noon and we knew they wouldn't feed us Phyllis bought hamburgers. Or it was supposed to be hamburgers. One of them was some kind of pulled pork.
Hamburger

Hamburger

Hub Cap Grill receipt

Hub Cap Grill receipt

There was a lady there in a wheelchair and she had a rollator. She was going to gate check it, and I wondered how that would work. But since I was on the right side of the plane I could see both my scooter and her rollator get loaded
Rollator being gate checked

Rollator being gate checked

Putting the scooter onto the conveyor

Putting the scooter onto the conveyor

Loading the scooter

Loading the scooter

Scooter going into the plane

Scooter going into the plane

Rollator going into the plane

Rollator going into the plane

The flight to Dallas was short and not full so the seat between us was empty.
USB plug

USB plug

What I thought originally was a place for a USB plug - under the seats

What I thought originally was a place for a USB plug - under the seats


Phyllis figured out how to plug in our phones to charge them and I actually got the QR code to work and watch some of the Olympics.
Taking off from Houston - into the clouds

Taking off from Houston - into the clouds


Although I hesitated to do much of that since I have no headphones.
Landing DFW

Landing DFW


When we got off, there was a wheelchair there for me, but Phyllis had un-collapsed the scooter so I got on it. I had tried to figure out how we could get from a B gate to an A gate in a different terminal and was not sure that we could. So I asked the wheelchair guy if Phyllis could use the wheelchair and he agreed. We walked a long way and then had to wait for an elevator.
From the train

From the train


Then we got a train. Then we walked some more. We got to the DFW to LAX gate about 10 minutes before boarding started. And I had lost my water bottle out of my dress pocket on the trip and we didn't have enough time to get another bottle of water
Larger airplane to go to LAX

Larger airplane to go to LAX


This flight was full and so Phyllis moved into the center seat and let the guy that was supposed to be in the center seat have the aisle. This was a longer flight - they did not feed us anything or give us anything to drink on the IAH to DFW flight. This time we got cookies and a drink.
Marina from airplane

Marina from airplane

Taking off from DFW

Taking off from DFW


Selfie on a plane

Selfie on a plane


As everyone got off, I stopped at the bathroom, and I didn't get all my clothing back together - in trying to get my skirt out of my underpants, I didn't get them pulled all the way up. My under pants hung out, half way up until I got to the hotel and used the bathroom when they gave up and fell all the way down

Here again they let Phyllis ride in my wheelchair. I didn't understand the directions that the Lyft people gave us. I didn't see where Tom Bradley Terminal was, and I didn't know where the Sky Way was.

Pick-up and Drop-off
Pick-up Los Angeles Airport (LAX), Tom Bradley International Terminal
Drop-off DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Pedro - Port of Los Angeles (2800 Via Cabrillo-Marina, San Pedro, CA 90731, USA)

After you land and collect your bags, proceed to the "LAX-it" lot located off of Sky Way in lanes 5, 6 or 7. Once you're at the pickup zone, please call +1 646 809 7322, so we can send your driver to meet you. It's that easy!

Last time (2017) we had to go outside to the street to get to the checked luggage because of construction - it is still the same. There was some confusion because of the wrong names on the bags - when my bag came around, I recognized it but Phyllis said that the name on it was wrong and she let it go around again (She needs glasses for reading and she didn't have them). After we piled up all the smaller stuff in the wheelchair and me on the scooter and Phyllis pulling her bag, we got to a place where there was a bus and everyone was telling us that we had to get on this bus to get to a Lyft pickup.

But the directions didn't say anything about a bus, and when I tried to call dispatch, they wanted my invoice # which was in my email, and it was so noisy that I had a hard time hearing them They extended the ramp so I could get on with the scooter and we gave in to get on the bus. They got us off the bus and told us where we were in the lot. I called Jayride again (it was a NY phone number which was confusing to me) and they said we would be picked up in a black Hyundai hybrid driven by Jose. We also got his license plate number which was good as there were a lot of black cars. And we were picked up and he drove us to the hotel. Everything was unloaded and I went up to the desk and the guy logged my phone onto the internet and gave us keys and cookies.

Our room is a long way from the elevator. A long long way. The door is very heavy. We have had dinner at the very expensive restaurant . ( I had a cup of clam chowder and both of us had fish and chips and it was $64.00 plus). We ate with two people I picked up at the restaurant Carolyn and Oliver who it turns out are going to be on the cruise with us. Caroline can TALK.
Fish and chips

Fish and chips

Hotel restaurant bill

Hotel restaurant bill


I asked the lady at the desk if I could buy a water bottle and she gave me one for free. When we got back to our room there was a wedding the the wing right across the courtyard from us and the music was LOUD. Phyllis could hear it without her hearing aids. She went to sleep. I was watching the Olympics
Notice inside my computer at the hotel

Notice inside my computer at the hotel


The last thing I did before I went to bed last night was check what I had been charged for the hotel, because Phyllis wanted an accounting and I think they overcharged us for that. In August, they charged me $754.36 for the hotel ($600 something plus taxes. When I called in December or January, they gave me a much better price, but they hadn't refunded the difference. But I saw a $100 charge on my card for Feb 13th which I didn't understand and I thought I had paid enough already.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 06:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Boarding the Grand Princess

Friday the 13th on Sunday this month


View 2022 Cruising to Hawaii in a Pandemic on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

When we waked up in the morning, Phyllis had slept well (she said 9 hours) and we were feeling somewhat recovered from the harrows of airplane travel of yesterday. We had looked at the prices of breakfast yesterday at the San Pedro Doubletree, and the cheapest breakfast was $19.00, so we decided not to eat breakfast - we just had the cookies that they gave us yesterday. When we went down to the lobby, I asked again about the charges. I had thought the $100 was for the shuttle, but the shuttle was actually free. It was a security deposit. So we had a long conversation about the $754.36 amount that the hotel charged me originally, and they eventually refunded $303.00 to my card.

I had asked to go on the 11:00 shuttle - we were in group B 11:30-12:30 and were strictly enjoined not to get there early. I thought by the time everything shook out that an 11:00 shuttle would work. In fact no one ever asked us what group we were in. They added a second van to the 11:00 shuttle and some people in group C were on it.

Phyllis had not printed out a luggage tag, but she had the room number, deck and cruise number written on a piece of paper, so she put her name on that and we took my tape and taped it to her luggage. we got in the second van - Caroline and Oliver were in our group - he is 6'8" and she originally suggested that he sit up front, but I told him to sit in the second row in the seat with no seat in front because the van had the seat beside the driver all the way up with the sea almost touching the dashboard.

We got to the port and a guy named Robert took the checked bags - Including Phyllis's bag. She tipped the van driver and Robert. They herded us through a maze, asking us if we had filled out the Hawaii form and then gave us a wrist band to wear. They asked us if we had uploaded our vaccine card and when we said yes they put a sticker on the wrist band (which didn't stay on very well, the floor was littered with the stickers which had come off people's wrist bands). Then we were give a red piece of paper with the number 6 on it and we had to write our name, DOB and a phone number on another piece of paper and directed to a station to have the covid test done.
Waiting for the Covid test results

Waiting for the Covid test results


After that we were herded into a section labeled 6 with white metal folding chairs. My back was starting to hurt by this time. We sat waiting in this section for about half an hour, and then we were released. I heard the lady in charge say to someone - You can't go. So I assume that when someone tests positive, they pick them out of their group, but that if no one in the group tests positive that they just release all of them. There was a lady in our group with a walker/rollator - she was complaining that she had not intended to do this much walking.

Anyway we were exited the building (we had to cross the line of people coming in so there was someone to direct traffic) and they decided that I needed a handicapped bus to get to the pier. I would almost rather have just ridden the scooter over. It took some time for the handicapped bus to get to where I was and then they had one of those wheelchair ramps and I was supposed to back on. I couldn't see where I was so they eventually told me to just go on forward. And of course that meant that I had to back off.

We went into the special assistance line and they scanned our medallions and asked us to show our vaccination card and our negative test from 2 days ago. Phyllis had hers but they said for me not to bother - after all we had just had another test. Then we went through security. I had Phyllis' red bag and my cane on the scooter - they put everything through the scanner but the guy at the beginning of the scanner said the cane didn't need to go and didn't see the red bag and they caught it at the other end and Phyllis had to take them back to be scanned.

Now we were OK to board. My back had gotten more painful and I was hungry and a bit nauseated, so I said I needed to go to the room and lie down but I didn't remember the room number. They wanted us to scan in to the muster station first, but they told us our room number and we went to the room. I lay down and we looked at the information in the room. There was a Princess Patter and I saw that the dining room was open until 1:30 and I thought we should eat.

The steward came in and told us that he would only be our steward for 9 days and that he would be doing the cabin once a day. Which was OK with us. We went down to the dining room - the elevator nearest us takes us down to where we go through the casino (Phyllis needs a map of the ship) and the only handicapped ramp to get out of the casino puts us at the Elite dining room section. So they led us over to the plebian side.
Chickpea soup

Chickpea soup


I had chickpea soup which was hot and very welcome, and a salad, and an apple tart which was all I could really eat (no entre).
Apple tart

Apple tart


Then we found our muster station and signed in with our medallions and went back up to the room to watch the video. Our lunch mates told us that they hadn't thought that they needed to - they had been on many cruises and seen lots of videos, but the ship insisted that they watch it anyway.

Right after the video started, the room steward arrived. I had found that we had two information papers for the elite people in room 238. I tried to call the front desk but could not figure out how to do it. The insert in the phone that has what the buttons on the side were for had come off the phone. The steward replaced it.

There are only two plugs in this cabin and they are over by the desk. I want to plug in my computer and the scooter and I don't want to do it by the desk. So the steward got a huge long industrial strength extension cord, and ran it on the floor along the wall, under Phyllis's bed and wrapped the end around the desk lamp on my side. (So we wouldn't trip on it) I plugged my multi plug into the end of the card so I can have my computer and Phyllis can charge her hearing aids there. I put the other mult-plug into the other plug at the desk. After that we finished looking at the safety video.

Phyllis went out to get something to drink and she wanted ice, so the next time I saw the steward, he got ice and put the bucket into the refrigerator. We had not at that point gotten our luggage. I was worried that if it didn't come, I would have only 2 dresses and one pair of underpants. The rollator came first. Then the two suitcases together - Phyllis brought them in and we unpacked.

I was looking at the Super Bowl - well it was really the pre-Super Bowl. Then it was time for the sail-away. Phyllis went out first and I finished what I was doing on the computer and then I went out. I met George and Becca and ordered a virgin pina collada. I took some pictures
Harbor Pilot Boat

Harbor Pilot Boat

Angel's Gate Lighthouse

Angel's Gate Lighthouse

Wake

Wake

LA Skyline

LA Skyline

IMG_6081.JPGIMG_6090.JPG
Angel's Gate Lighthouse

Angel's Gate Lighthouse


IMG_6094.JPGRed Cranes in the harbor

Red Cranes in the harbor

Angel's Gate Lighthouse

Angel's Gate Lighthouse

Almost full moon

Almost full moon

Angel's Gate Lighthouse

Angel's Gate Lighthouse

Pilot leaving the ship

Pilot leaving the ship

Dredge in the harbor

Dredge in the harbor

Standby tug

Standby tug

Lighthouse on the point

Lighthouse on the point

of the lighthouse again. The virgin pina collata arrived about when I was ready to go back to the room. I managed to carry it back - Phyllis was already there and helped me to open the door.

Came back to the room and decided to go to dinner - it was about 5:30. Wrong side of the dining room again. They told us I had made a reservation at the other dining room for 5:00. To get there we had to go up to 7 and back to the stern and then down to 6 on one of the only 2 elevators that go down to that deck. A white jacketed silver haired man took us up the elevator, across and down the elevator and presented us to the people at that dining room. The seating lady said she didn't know if our reservation was still available and I said that I didn't know that I had made a reservation so they said they would check to see if I could still do it.

They took us to a table for 4 but I said we would like to share so they put us at a table for 8 with two people from the San Pedro area - Gary and Lillian. She looked Hawaiian. Two other people from Palm Springs area came and eventually two large men from near Charlotte NC
Dinner menu of what you can have every night

Dinner menu of what you can have every night


My back was hurting again so I just ordered the everyday shrimp cocktail (which Bob would approve of - it came with cocktail sauce),
Princess Shrimp Cocktail

Princess Shrimp Cocktail

Noodles Alfredo

Noodles Alfredo


and noodles Alfredo and I couldn't eat much of that.

Phyllis's Hawaiian Luau Pork

Phyllis's Hawaiian Luau Pork


Princess favorites for dessert (available every night)

Princess favorites for dessert (available every night)

Make your own sundae

Make your own sundae

Cheese and fruit

Cheese and fruit


I got ice cream for dessert, plus the cheese board which came with grapes. I ate the grapes and took the cheese back to the room.

The Supe Bowl was over so I watched the 'best plays' on the computer. Phyllis went to the show. I tried to make another dinner reservation and could not.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 22:15 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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