Thursday, January 29, 2009

Galapagos - Return Home

When we checked back into the JW Marriott Quito after the cruise, we were given a sheet of paper with the times for airport transfers depending on your flight time. As I've mentioned in my previous post, we had a 11 PM flight from Quito, so we didn't need to get to the airport until around 9 PM.

We had asked the Celebrity representative if we could have a late checkout and he said that would be no problem. In the morning before we left for our excursion to Mindo Cloud Forest, we stopped at the front desk to ask if a late checkout time was possible. They said it was and asked what time we wanted to checkout. We explained that we didn't have to leave until 8 PM for the airport and they said that wasn't a problem. They told us that when we were ready to leave just come down and checkout and they'd call for the van to take us to the airport.

After our tour we went back up to our hotel room, took showers and packed the last minute items in our suitcases. We went up to the Executive Lounge for some food and met a group of passengers that didn't have flights until the next day. We talked to them for awhile and then said our good-byes and went to get our luggage.

We were still early, but figured we'd wait in the lobby. After checking out, we asked what time the van would be here. If you are ready to go now, we'll call them for you. A few minutes later, we were on our way to Quito Airport. We arrived at the airport and checked in with the airline. It is necessary to pay the exit tax, so we did that and got stickers to put on our boarding passes indicating that we had paid the fees.

Since we still had some water bottles left, we sat in the lobby for awhile and finished our water. Just like back home, you aren't allowed to take bottled water or other liquids past security. It acutally is even more strict in Quito. You can still have the 3-1-1 bag for your personal liquids.

We went through security and proceeded to the gate. Our flight was delayed due to weather elsewhere. At the gate, your carry-on luggage is searched by hand and every passenger is searched with the wand. You surrender your boarding pass when you pass this security checkpoint. No liquids, other than those in your 3-1-1 bag are allowed in the waiting area.

Unfortunately, our flight was delayed for a couple hours. We could get our boarding pass back and go to the rest rooms or shops in the area. Each time you returned, you were searched once again. That got quite old, but we got used to it.

Our plane finally arrived and we began the boarding process. We had connecting flights and would have had plenty of time between them. Now, we would only have enough time to claim our bags, go through customs, recheck our luggage and head to the gate. It worked out fine.

The flights home were without incident other than the initial delay in Quito. We got home on time and returned to our normal activities.

Celebrity Xpeditions did an excellent job from start to finish. From the time we stepped off the plane in Quito until the time we got back to the airport for our departure flight, everything worked like clockwork. They really know how to put a schedule together and execute on it.
This was the most organized cruise vacation we've ever taken in over 20 years. We'd go back in a heartbeat, so if anyone has room in their cabin for two more people, let us know.

No comments: