02 Aug

Well, we now have 95 days before we set sail on our cruise and the anticipation is growing!  While everything hasn’t gone precisely the way we planned it, there are only a couple of things left to do and I’m getting quite itchy.  For me, the fun is in getting there more than doing whatever once we’re there.  The logistics are a pain in the ass – but it can also be a lot of fun when you’re working something and times have to be closely watched.

I’m still pissed with the airlines and their flights to Miami!  They have hundreds of flights going there… but only two (that we saw) that gets us there when we want and need to be there – WTF?  I suppose that if we could fly in the night before, there’d be a ton of direct flights suitable for our needs.  Traveling on a budget is a lot harder in this regard; we could have gotten juicy prices for our airline tickets IF we could get there the night before…

What’s funny about this is we looked at alternative modes of travel and found that we made out better biting the bullet on the fares we paid; taking the train, which would have gotten us there the night before, turned out to be much more expensive than flying; just getting a compartment cost more than their plane ticket – and that’s an additional cost on top of what it cost to get a seat on the train!  We thought about taking the bus – threw that one out quickly; we even considered renting a nice car and driving down but when you think of the associated costs, well, when you have X-amount of money to spend on this, it becomes wishful thinking.

That plus I thought about the 20-something hours it would take to drive there… then we’d have to drive back.  Oh, hell no!  Easier and cheaper to fly, if you can believe that.  We happen to live relatively close to several airports:  Philadelphia (PHL), Baltimore (BWI), and Atlantic City (ACY).  We could have gone to Washington (DCA) or even into Virginia to fly out of Dulles (IAD) – but…

The logistics and costs to fly out of anywhere other than BWI are mind-boggling.  In all the years I’ve been flying, I’ve never understood why it’s cheaper to fly out of BWI than it is PHL.  We toyed with the idea of flying out of ACY on Spirit or AirTran… except Spirit doesn’t go to Miami and the price to fly on AirTran for one person was more than what we paid American for both tickets!  That crap Southwest talks about their low fares?  How about they only go to Fort Lauderdale (FLL) – and the tickets would have cost almost $400 more than what we paid!  I saw the other day that we could fly out of New York (LGA) for about $198… but why drive all the way to New York and then have the plane fly right by where you started from?  Something about that doesn’t make a lot of sense to me.

Then there was the flight that blew my mind:  It started at BWI, then went to ATL – then from there to LGA and then to MIA!  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!  Now, I know that connecting flights tend to take the scenic route but damn!  Whoever planned that route was smoking some serious rock!  All I could do was sit here and stare at the screen in utter disbelief; the funny thing about it was that if we were stupid enough to take this flight, it would have gotten us to MIA within the window required… for an equally stupid price, almost $600 per person.  Once upon a time, the cheapest flight you could get was the one that bounced you all over the country first – not anymore!

We had to think about getting to BWI a lot and whether either of us would want to be driving at 3AM, especially when our Jeep needs some work done to it.  The last time we drove to the airport, well, it was a fiasco – my fault, mostly for taking us to the wrong parking facility.  It was all good but just being up that time in the morning, braving the cold weather and the parking lot drama took some of the fun out of the trip – so we decided to take the airport shuttle and leave the driving to them.  It’s not cheap but we figured that with what it would cost in tolls and parking fees, fuel and the possibility of breaking down along the way, it was cheaper to take the shuttle.

Besides, if they make us late getting to the airport, we can ream their asses until the cows come home…

We still haven’t decided if we’re going to take separate bags or one big bag for the both of us; American’s baggage fees are on par with the other major airlines and will cost us an extra $100 if we each take a bag – or possibly more if we take one big bag; I’m leaning toward separate bags myself but we still have some time to work on that one.  This will be the first trip I’ve taken without my laptop and it makes me feel kinda naked – but getting through airport security will be less of a hassle if I leave it – and its gear – safely at home.  I travel with it in its own backpack and contains everything I need, including the software to fix it if necessary.  It’s a bitch to pack, only to get to the airport and have to unpack it to be scanned and, well, it’ll be rough – if nothing else, it has everything I need to keep me occupied, from games to music to movies.  The only “problem” with not taking it is that I’ll have my camera with me and if I manage to run out of the 4GB of memory in the camera, I won’t have the computer to unload the pics – but I’ll also have a ton of smaller memory cards so I’m covered.

Oh, man, the logistics are really a nightmare but they’re also a lot of fun to work through.  We talk about cruising, traveling together – Linda is fun to travel with – and our minds are a-whirl with all the things to do once we get on board the ship, let alone the sites we’ll see at the ports of call.  Hell, we haven’t even gone on this cruise and we’re already looking at some cruises for next year!

Cruising is some expensive shit; the various lines will nickel and dime you to death – but it’s up to you to get the full value from the dollars you’ll spend doing this.  I still remember my very first cruise and what it cost me – one of the most expensive things I’ve ever done short of buying a house.  I spent several thousand dollars… and it was worth every penny of it and, yeah, even all the hassles of getting the logistics to line up correctly.  It’s contagious; you take one cruise and you wanna do it again!  After my 10-day cruise of Hawaii, I can’t make any sense out of taking a cruise for just three days; you’re just starting to have fun and then it’s time to go home.  So, we’ve been looking at future cruises of 5-10 days and, yeah, it ain’t gonna be cheap or even easy to plan for – but it’ll be fun!

T-minus 95 days and counting… and all systems are go!

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Posted by on 2 August 2010 in Life, Living and Loving



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