Who: Jelle Collignon and Heidi Willekens
When: March 2016
Destinations: Fort Lauderdale, Georgetown (Grand Cayman), Falmouth (Jamaica), Labadee (Haïti), Orlando
Sights: Royal Caribbean Navigator of the Seas, Everglades, Orlando, Walt Disney World, Premium Outlets, Florida Mall, Mall at the millennia
Day 1 – 25/03/2016 – An early departure
Our trip started 1 day earlier than planned due to the terrible events on Brussels Airport. Jetair really did all they could to get us to Florida on time. They were able to book us on a flight from Frankfurt. Thank you!
We didn’t want to risk getting stuck in traffic in the morning, so we left a day earlier to Frankfurt. So at 5pm we started driving to Frankfurt. We thought it was about 4h to Frankfurt, due to border controls and the Easter Holidays that were starting. But no border control and no heavy traffic! We arrived at the hotel after only 3 hours and 15 minutes. We booked a night in the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport. This way we could just walk to the terminal in the morning.
We have to be at the airport at 10am for our 1.30pm flight to Newark. (Jetair told us to be there early in case there would be problems with the rebooked ticket). It should be a 8h45 flight to New York. There we have a layover of 2h14 before flying to Fort Lauderdale. We should land around 10.34pm.
Day 2 – 26/03/2016 – Frankfurt – New York – Fort Lauderdale
We were still tired in the morning. It was quite warm in the room and at midnight the TV suddenly started playing.. Scary! The breakfast buffet was amazing! Different kind of eggs and bacon, croissants, cake, pastries, pancakes, Belgian Waffles, but also fruit and vegetables! We ate good because it would be long before we got something on the airplane.
At 9.30am we left our room and headed for the terminal. Good thing we were on time! Jelle had called Lufthansa on Friday to confirm seats so we could sit together on the side with a window seat. And we would not have anyone in front of us. But we got other seats when we were checking in.. We asked the Lufthansa personel why our seats changed. The lady told us we were upgraded to Economy Plus. OK, nice, but now we were sitting in the middle of the plane, in between 2 other people. We really don’t like to sit there, so it was worse than our previous seats. We asked for our original seats. The lady went to see her supervisor to check what they could do. After 10 minutes she returned and told us that she would try to do something for us, but she couldn’t promise us anything. First she told us to ask for other seats at the gate. We were told this before, on our trip to Florida in 2013, and they didn’t do anything for us then! We were starting to get very nervous about this trip..
Then suddenly Heidi saw that 2 other seats were highlighted on the lady’s screen. She told the lady and yes, the seats were changed by the supervisor. We were still in Economy Plus, be we were sitting together with a window seat. Ideal! We thanked the lady from Lufthansa and could start our vacation!
When we got on the plane we were impressed by the Economy Plus seats. It was a recent plane and the seats and service were great! The seats were wide with a large screen WITH remote control and a toiletry bag with a toothbrush. To start we got an orange juice with mint and a menu so we could see what we were going to eat on this flight. It was a salade for starter, pasta or chicken for entree and chocolate mousse as dessert. The flight went very well and we even arrived 45 minutes early. Another nice feature of the plane was the outside view camera system. There was a camara in the nose and one on the bottom. We could follow take off and touch down and could see the ground passing below us. Jelle filmed the landing in Newark. You can see the movie on youtube.
We had about 3 hours before our flight to Fort Lauderdale. Time enough… But then there was US Customs and Border Protection. There were rows of people waiting. We had to stand in line for 40 minutes before it was our turn. Since we have been in the usa several times before the talk with the Border Patrol officer was short. We also didn’t have to take all fingerprints. We had 2 hours left to get on the plane, but also the security check was very crowded. Heidi passed the check easily, but Jelle was beeping, again… He had to pull up his pants higher?! Hahahaha! In the end we had 30 minutes left to get to our gate. We quickly ate a slice of pizza because we wouldn’t get anything during the flight.
Our flight was delayed by 30 minutes because the plane arrived too late. The plane was a lot smaller than our previous flight. We were flying with United Airlines. We had to pay to watch a movie.. We arrived about 1 hour later than planned in Fort Lauderdale.
We picked up our luggage and took a cap. Our hotel, Quality Inn Hollywood, was close to the airport. It was more like a motel, very basic, but good for 1 night. When we checked in we also reserved a place on the 12.30pm shuttle to go to the cruise port tomorrow.
It was already 1am. We were exhausted since we have been travelling for 21 hours, so we went to our room and immediately went to sleep.