Today we return home. After a late breakfast we waited in the hotel lobby for our limo transfer to the airport!
Our flight was scheduled for 16:35 p.m. and we were there early enough to see the Boeing 747-400 series arrive from London. There are only a few of these aeroplanes still used by major carriers. These planes changed aviation and travel since their introduction in the 1960s, but more modern materials and avionics have left these relatively slow and clunky aeroplanes behind.
It was fitting that as we taxied to take off we passed the 1950s Pan-American Airline’s Terminal and Control Tower with what was then a futuristic design. Now the Boeing 707s and 747s are not to be seen in its shadow.
We departed westwards turning over the Pacific, passing San Diego, to head northwest over the deserts of the southwest USA to Lake Michigan and Lake Huron before following the St Lawrence River to Labrador (Canada) and then to the Atlantic Ocean.
Sunrise saw us to the northwest of Ireland with views of snow covered southern Scotland, landing at London Heathrow nearly 30 minutes early. This was because of the push from 174 mph winds.
We transferred to Manchester where we caught views of the Pennines close to Mottram. It was not the usual approach as traffic was light and we were allowed a shortcut. In 3 weeks we have travelled more 20,000 miles.
We arrived in Los Angeles before sunrise and had to have an early breakfast in preparation for disembarkation. All passengers were divided into groups determined initially by those who had aeroplanes to catch or those that had independent transfer arrangements. We had to meet our car for transfer to the hotel at 09:30 a.m.
We arrived at Pier 93.
Whilst waiting for our disembarkation time we witnessed some of the 180 tons of food to be loaded as well as the removal of waste and the arrival of some new crew.
Our hotel is in Downtown LA which has been transformed in the past couple of decades and has been described as the “Wall Street of the West” with bank and other financial companies surrounding some of the original 19th century buildings like the Bradbury Building built in 1893. Many buildings like the Bradbury as well as suburbs and road names, call to mind films and TV programmes as one travels around the city. We are close to the 2.5 billion dollar LA Live Project which is the home of Staples Centre, the LA Lakers, the Microsoft Theatre, the Grammy Museum as well as other museums.
We have just had dinner and returned to our room. This is the view we got on entering the room.
So it is Goodnight from me and Goodnight from him!
At daybreak this morning we were still working our way northwestwards off the coast of Baja California.
By mid-afternoon we still had some 260 miles to go to reach Los Angeles.
This morning we took the opportunity to watch a cookery demonstration by the Executive Chef Antonio Constantino assisted by the Maitre d’Hotel Giuseppe Castino.
This was followed by a tour of the Galley. Everyday a grand total of 385 crew members, including 179 waiters and stewards in the dining rooms, prepare and provide the wonderful food that we have eaten three times a day whilst we have been on board. Each dish is hand made from the 180 tons of food loaded onto the ship before departure. This food is kept in cold rooms which maintain the temperature at +2C unlike a home refrigerator the doors are only occasionally opened and so the temperature remains constant so that the food and ingredients will last the voyage. Pasta, pizza and bread are cooked freshly each day. We saw the massive and spotlessly clean preparation and cooking areas, in fact we saw the carrots that were available to eat as part of the salad only 30 minutes later. The statistics of food preparation is amazing. 700 kilos of fish, 1600 kilos of meat and 4 tons of vegetables are cooked each day. It takes 28 gallons of detergent a day to wash all the crockery and utensils used.
Tomorrow upon arrival everything that has not been used, apart from the alcohol, will be offloaded and replaced with fresh food for the next voyage. They will have to replace the Cotes du Rhone as we had the last bottle 3 days ago!!
After lunch we went on deck for a short time and just before we left we saw 2 whales, probably Minke, off the stern of the ship, but out of camera range.
We have just returned from our final evening meal where Baked Alaskas were paraded around the restaurant and everyone the friends made on the cruise.