Good Morning from Quito, Ecuador
Good Morning from Quito, Ecuador!
When we checked in for our Toronto-Miami flight early yesterday morning the gate agent told one of my friends that she wanted to check her carry-on bag. When we arrived in Miami she found out that her bag had been checked all the way to Quito instead of Miami so she would not be able to retrieve it…. This bag was full of valuables and some medications so to make a long story short it took 2.5 hours to get that bag back. After a number of discussions with staff to make sure the bag was going to be retrieved, the two of us waited in a special baggage claim area and had to re-clear security after the bag arrived.
Yesterday on both flights a number of carry-on bags had to be stored because so many bring large wheeled carry-on bags and once the overhead bins are full there is no place to put those pieces except for in the cargo hold. When I first restricted wheeled carry-on bags on my tours I took some grief from a couple passengers but now I have so many that thank me for that policy.
A carry-on bag is usually the most important piece of luggage that we carry as it contains our most valuable items. Most don’t want to give that bag up so if that bag is a manageable size there will not be an issue getting it on a plane – unless the current airline rules change.
The moral of the story is – only keep what you need in your carry-on bag and make sure its a smaller manageable size – that way there will be no issues.
Our American Airlines flight from Miami to Quito was oversold. The crew worked hard. We enjoyed a snack followed by a hot meal which I feel was much better than average. The only downfall was we flew on an older aircraft.
We arrived in Quito earlier than scheduled. Even though I am traveling with friends due to my years of travel experience they have put me in charge so just like on my scheduled, “Travel With Bradley” tours we all gathered when we got off the aircraft and I directed everyone through the many customs/immigration procedures. The staff was so friendly and welcoming but there was a number of formalities to get through and I know my friends are pleased knowing they can rely on me.
When we finally reached the arrivals hall this is where we were first introduced to the SilverSea operation staff. It didn’t take long to understand why this cruise line receives so many accolades.
Staff graciously took our checked luggage so we didn’t have to carry it to the motor coach, to save time I went through all our names with other staff members so we could be checked off a list. We were given a short update so we knew what to expect and we were soon on the road.
These procedures were looked after quickly, efficiently – I was so impressed.
We transferred to the JW Marriott – when you see JW in front of the a Marriott name its an indication that the hotel is top of brand. This Grand hotel is stunning – large lobby – arrangements of roses and other local produced flowers are displayed everywhere – welcoming staff.
More of the Silversea team welcomed us with a local cinnamon, sour tasting local drink – an experience! To speed things up I looked after our check-in and was able to change our cruise departure details so we can all remain together. The Silversea staff was more than accommodating to provide whatever I needed.
WOW is the best word to describe our rooms. Oversized, hardwood floors, with long entrance hallway, massive bathroom with a deep sunken glass surround tub, separate shower and commode areas, large flat screen tv’s and beds that are as comfy as sleeping on a cloud – thick duvets, soft linens, lots of pillows.
This mornings breakfast buffet is impressive too – smoothie bar, omelette station – big variety of breakfast selections and smiling, friendly staff who’s goal is to make sure we are happy.
Looks like a beautiful day – Quito is close to the equator so the temperature/weather is consistent here year round – 60’s. We are at a high elevation but nobody is having any issues with the altitude. I’ll make sure we don’t overdo it today.
We depart in an hour for a full-day private tour. I made ensure that we are going to see the best that this area has to offer. We all are looking forward to it because our journey to the hotel last night was in the dark so we didn’t see much other than many florists that were still open for business.
Tonight we are dining at one of the Quitos finest restaurants.
I’ll report on our tour and dining experiences later!