Pre-cruise time in Miami

Pre-cruise time in Miami

PRE-CRUISE TIME IN MIAMI

Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022

Suddenly Travel Day was now 48hrs earlier than originally planned. A turn of fate had me waking up to my COVID test result (finally) from Friday: Negative! Phew! However, Kara didn’t have time or access to get one closer to our travel, so we’ll see how that goes?!

We left Kara’s around 8:30am to go to the Panera closest to the airport. We got a full lunch meal to immediately eat in the car since we would be masked for COVID precautions non-stop until we arrived at the hotel closer to supper time.

Kara: Nothing like a full Panera lunch at 9:00 a.m.!

One of our many masked selfies. This one is in the Indianapolis airport.
One of our many masked selfies. This one is in the Indianapolis airport.

Due to our late change in flights, our seats weren’t together and I didn’t even have an assigned seat for ATL-MIA. However, we didn’t care as long as we could escape Indiana. Clearly everyone thought something similar as both of our flights were completely sold out.

The Delta App suddenly stopped working, but the gate agents did a great job of altering us and having us claim print boarding passes long before boarding began. To ATL I simply closed my eyes and listened to my calming travel playlist.

Kara: This is a place where I am always prepared. While I LOVE technology, I almost always get a print boarding pass either the night before or when I check in and drop my bags at the airport. That one thing has saved me so much hassle over the years. It did today too as some folks couldn’t get into TSA Pre-check until they went back and grabbed print boarding passes. Thankfully Gayle’s worked at TSA but it did stop working later and she got print passes at the gate.

Our layover in ATL was only 53 minutes, and being experienced at ATL, prepared ourselves for the dash to the underground train to change terminals and scurry to our new gate. ALAS! It was a miracle! We landed at B7 and were departing from B2! What?!

My App still wasn’t working, but I was immediately able to get my seat assignment and paper boarding pass. A quick “pit stop” and we were back in the air. By the time we got to bag claim our bags were already circling.

There was a slight miscommunication about our airport transfer to the hotel, but we really didn’t care, as we were outside in the sun and breeze without winter coats!

Kara: I have to say that the breeze in Miami was fabulous. I can get very impatient waiting for things like this but that breeze was so lovely that the 40 or so minutes we waited was no problem at all.

HOTEL #4

I know, I have a problem. Yes, in the travel changes, I changed the hotel again. Since we would be here for 3 nights instead of 1, that changed the approach. Sadly there was nothing near the water with a kitchen that we wanted that wouldn’t bust the budget. So I simply chose a different Residence Inn - Residence Inn Doral Mall Area. Why? This was slightly further away from the airport, provided complimentary shuttle service (which apparently isn’t as common as one would expect), full kitchen, and hot breakfast. Plus the hotel was only about 6 months old and just blocks from some basic shopping centers.

Kara: I had no idea she had booked four hotels! I’m happy with the one she picked in the end.

Upon check-in we were voluntarily offered an Accessible room. While it didn’t have the usual bar area in the kitchen, the extra square feet were appreciated since we both had to work remotely for 2 days.

Living area of our hotel room
Living area of our hotel room
Kitchen area of our hotel room
Kitchen area of our hotel room

That night we decided to go ahead and stock the kitchen. So it was off to… Publix! (When in Florida….) It definitely wasn’t the biggest Publix, but it had what we needed/wanted for the next couple of days. The biggest win? Peppermint Ice Cream - in February! (I could barely find 1 carton of that in Indiana at the holidays!)

Elusive peppermint stick ice cream
Elusive peppermint stick ice cream

Neither of us could get the Uber App to work, so Kara switched to Lyft. Upon arriving into MIA I received a 10% off my next 3 Lyft rides, so we decided to save that for getting to the Port/back to the airport. What a great choice, because of our outing to the grocery, Kara received a 50% off the next ride! This is great, as it’s probably close to 30-40 minutes from our hotel to the port! Score!

After a dinner pack of taco fixings, it was easy to fall asleep to an early round of Olympic Curling!

Kara: This is what I’d describe as a Publix Neighborhood Market. It was very small but it did have the things we absolutely had to have. I lived in Florida for 18 months early in my career and I miss Publix regularly.

Also, our Lyft back to the hotel from the grocery store was terrible. He was talking on the phone the entire time, missed turns, and was not driving safely. I reported it to Lyft via the app and had a 50% discount off of my next ride which I can only imagine was related to this complaint. I would rather have just had a safe ride.

Thursday, Feb. 3 & Friday, Feb. 4

We were pretty much in self-imposed quarantine as we both dealt with work tasks and phone calls.

Kara watching the snow storm in Indiana on her security cameras.
Kara watching the snow storm in Indiana on her security cameras.

A big shock on Thursday was getting roughly a 1 hour notice prior to an urgent Travel Agent call with Disney Cruise Line. (Let me assure you this is not the norm, which kind of freaked us out! Were they pausing operations? Was our cruise canceled? Was the new Wish going to be delayed?)

Indeed the last of that was the cause. The new Disney Wish scheduled to launch in June is being pushed to July per COVID-related work slowdowns at the shipyard in Germany. Thus my night was spent with a couple of impacted clients, including a large family on the Maiden Voyage. (And just let me say Disney Cruise Line is handling this in an Oprah-like fashion. I and my clients are very happy!) We did squeeze in a 30 minute walk to get some fresh air and movement after full days of sitting (just like at work! Boo!)

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Tonight Kara made her infamous “Stuff”. (If you know, you know.) Then we dug into the Peppermint Ice Cream. (How “terrible” that we’ll just have to finish it all tonight!) I foolishly forgot to take any caffeine and ended up with a migraine at bedtime, so it was a very restless night - even after taking in night 1 of the Olympic figure skating team event. (I adore both Nathan Chen and Hubble & Donahue!)

Tonight will finally be time to turn off all the work, repack, and enjoy more Olympics (& try to limit the anxiety of having to COVID test at the port tomorrow!)

Kara: I was excited to tick a lot of tasks off of my list while my puppy, Kona, is hanging with my dad and sister back in Indiana. I love that little guy a lot, AND he is also an easy distraction now that I’m running my own business and controlling my own time. The two days in the hotel without the distraction of a puppy allowed me to get all of my business paperwork completed and get several appointments scheduled.

Disclaimer: I (Gayle) am a travel agent with Authorized Disney Travel Planner agency - Off to Neverland Travel. Contact me today for a no-obligation quote!