Galapagos Here We Come!
Most importantly today , “Congratulations to Schyler” my nephew who has turned 16! Sorry I am not at your celebrations Schyler but thinking of you! Time flies way too quickly…. Do you remember when you turned 16? I recall that learning to drive was my priority.
I’m currently sitting on an American Airlines jet en-route to Miami.
Some wonderful friends of mine asked if I would join them on a Galapagos Cruise so I jumped at the opportunity.
We gathered in Tavistock, ON a couple weeks ago with 2 representatives from SilverSea Cruises and for over 2 hours we reviewed our journey. This type of exploration tour is more involved so everyone very much appreciated the pre-departure briefing. This is another part of the World that has banned plastic bags so had to be mindful when packing our luggage – no any plastic bags.
The Galápagos Islands is a very protected part of the World. Very few tourists are allowed in. There are a number of ships sailings these waters but they are all very small.
We will be cruising with SilverSeas Cruises – almost all critics rate SilverSeas the very best boutique cruise line in the World. Their Galapagos cruise ship is the most luxurious vessel in these waters and holds just 100 passengers.
Securing air space was very difficult for this Sailing so without SilverSea’s block of air seats I could have possibly secured cruise space but not air so I had SilverSea look after our air. Originally when the SilverSea air department started to confirm our flights we put on many different flights so I asked the Canadian SilverSea representative to get involved and he solved everything . We are all on the same flights going and returning.
Last night we all stayed at the Hilton Toronto Airport. This hotel is a great choice especially during the winter as they valet parked our vehicles in a covered garage and on our return they’ll have our cars ready for pick-up next to the hotels front door.
The night was short as we gathered at 3:45am to board the shuttle to the airport.
Check-in with American Airlines is fully automated. This is the way everything is going so if you are traveling on your own you need to be somewhat computer literate or it’s going to be a challenge. Even if you are computer literate its still often a challenge!
Automation is great IF it works!
This morning the US Custom/Immigration computers were down. After we cleared security, the lines of passengers came to a dead halt. An hour later their computer problem was partially solved and officers started to process passengers. Luckily we all made the 6:30am on-time departure but many others were not as lucky.
I often hear grumblings when I tell passengers that they need to be at the airport far advance of their departure time. If everything goes smooth that means you’ll have time to sit, relax and grab a coffee. Today there was no time to sit, relax and grab a coffee. As we stood in long lines we kept looking at our watches thinking – are we going to make our flight.
Todays flight time to Miami was a fairly quick 2hrs 40minutes. The American Airlines crew were quite friendly and apologized that they were only given 4 boxed breakfasts to sell….. They of course were gone in a couple minutes.
The crew asked us to keep our window shades down so those that wished to sleep could.
Early on I had a difficult decision to make in regards to our Toronto/Miami flight. I could have picked one of 2 flight times – the one we are currently on or the next American Miami flight. If I would have picked the 2nd departure that would have mean’t that our connect time would have been very short. When talking to the SilverSea’s rep we both agreed that the only sensible choice was the early flight. It was just too much of a risk trying to make a quick connection especially this time of year.
The early Toronto flights means a lengthier than usual layover in Miami but I gave everyone money that will cover their lunch and then there will time to stroll a bit before boarding the connection flight Quito, Ecuador. They will serve dinner on that flight because its an International Departure.
We will arrive in Quito around 7pm this evening. After we clear custom/immigration formalities, there will be staff that will direct us to our coach. We will shuttle to the deluxe downtown Marriott for a 2 night stay.
Tomorrow I have arranged a full day of touring. Our luncheon will offer some local flavours while dinner at one of the finest deluxe restaurants in Quito will feature an International Menu.
Quito is at a high elevation so we know not to run a Marathon. Temperatures especially in the evening will cool off.
We will still need to fly a bit more in order to reach the SilverSea Cruise Ship. Temperatures in the Galapagos have been in the 90’s so it will be time to wear our shorts/short sleeve.
I look forward to blogging about our adventures so be sure to follow along.
Hope the current milder temperatures at home in Ontario remain with you. I must admit I’m glad to get away from this years old-fashioned Canadian winter!