WELCOME TO SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA
Although we are calling this day 3 our travel was over two days given that we flew to Los Angeles on February 7 with a lane night departure from LAX airport to Sydney. On top of this because we crossed over the International Time-Line we arrived to Sydney the morning of February 9.
The wait was finally over and we boarded our flight to Sydney, Australia. Keith is the logistics guy for our flights and realized that next time around we will do this differently. There are other airline options but also we could come to Los Angeles one day early and do something during the day of our evening flight.
The good news is that the boarding was completed expeditiously and we pulled away from the gate on time. After sitting in another location for fifteen minutes the pilot gave us the news. The winds along the runway planned for our takeoff were preventing us from takeoff given the weight of the plane between fuel, passenger count, luggage and the total weight of the plane. The pilot said there were two options. First option was that they were working with the folks in Dallas Fort Worth to determine if we could still take off “safely” on that runway as planned by making some adjustments. The other and preferred option was to use a runway in the opposite direction with the winds behind us. The only downside was this could delay our departure by an additional hour. After another thirty minutes the pilot announced that we would use the alternate runway and would take off within ten minutes.
Although we took off late we made up most of the time in the air. The flight crew including the team in the cockpit and the flight attendants were terrific. We flew in a Boeing 787 and were fortunate to be in Business Class. The flight was full between Business, Premium Economy and Economy. Some people were waitlisted for the flight. This is a popular time of the year for travel to Sydney because of tourism including many cruise ships sailing this area of the world.
Total flight time was a little over fifteen hours.
Unlike flights which leave in the afternoon/early evening, dinner was served efficiently with the appetizer, salad and entrée served at once followed by dessert. Shortly after dinner we both went to sleep. Normally Anne Marie will watch a couple of movies and Keith a portion of one, however, given that we had each been up for a day or more we each passed on the movies.
Overall the ride was fairly smooth with just a few times where we encountered moderate to somewhat rough turbulence.
We decided to use a service which provided a meet-and-greet for us as we entered the terminal from the jet-bridge. This is only the second time that we have done this when traveling for pleasure (from time to time Keith had this on international business trips to save precious time) but knowing that we might be very tired Keith arranged for this service. This turned out well and the greeter stayed with us as we claimed our luggage, went through customs/immigration and met by the driver provided by the hotel.
We were driven to the Shangri-La Hotel located in downtown Sydney. Our first stay at this hotel brand was last June in Paris and since we enjoyed it so much we looked at this Hotel along with a few others in this area of downtown. The hotel is located within ten minutes of the Circular Quay Pier where we have docked on all of our previous Crystal Serenity Cruises.
Our room was ready upon check in and we've included some photos. We have a beautiful view of Darling Harbor.
We stopped by the Club Lounge which is absolutely beautiful and provides beautiful views of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Circular Quay.
Our daughter Jennifer met us at the hotel and it was so nice t see her. It has been almost eight months since we saw her and the rest of the family. Thankfully we speak, text and email often along with seeing the family using an smart phone app. After a nice chat we walked from the Hotel to The Rocks over towards Circular Quay, by the Opera House and over to the Botanical Gardens where we sat and enjoyed a picnic lunch that Jennifer prepared for us.
We will see the family later for dinner somewhere near the hotel and will post about that tomorrow.
We are thrilled to be in Sydney, to be with the family and we are adjusting well to the change in time zones.
Anne Marie & Keith