The trip to the Magic and a disappointment

Well, the trip is underway, and things have been going fine, although we’ve had a few issues so far. Let me talk about the good things, first.

After arriving yesterday, we were ushered to a private Mercedes for the ride to the JW Marriott Grosvenor House Hotel. It was a plush hotel, although our hotel room had a view of HVAC equipment and the roof of the ballroom. Why was this annoying? Considering that it was one of the most expensive hotel rooms we’ve ever stayed in, it would have been nice to have a view.

Second, the iBahn Internet service at the hotel was horrible. We couldn’t get the iPads to connect to the network, nor would our iPhones connect. We figured the next day on board the ship we’d get better service, so we decided to actually keep the computers off for a day.

As Barb may have mentioned, we ended up going to the London Eye and took a champagne “flight” on one of the capsules on this new London landmark. It takes about 30 minutes to do a single circuit on the eye, and we enjoyed the incredible view of the city.

After this, we went to the steakhouse in our hotel, where we each had a small filet. We both agreed that it was probably the best steak we’ve ever had. We had a table out on the terrace overlooking the busy traffic, and we both were amazed at just how much better the air quality is now than it was on previous trips to the UK in the 1980’s. All of the old diesel cabs are gone, and many of the buses are hybrids.

This morning we had breakfast at the hotel, followed by a two hour bus ride to Dover. It would have been faster, but the “Trooping of the Colours” for the Queen’s official birthday ceremonies was diverting traffic all over the city.

Upon arrival in Dover, we went through the usual pre-boarding fun, which was actually much faster this time since we had done a lot of the checkin at the hotel. We ate a quick light lunch on the ship, and then went to our cabin. We were immediately upset, since the cabin was right across from a guest laundry. Barb’s asthma started kicking in thanks to the smell of bleach and other cleaning chemicals, at which point she decided to go talk to the guest services people about changing our room. We won’t know about a change until 5 PM today, about two hours from now.

In the meantime, we had to get out of the room. We’re both a bit miffed – this is our fourth cruise on Disney and we were essentially assigned a sub-quality room. At least the Internet service works well on the Magic, which is essential to our well-being (Ha!). We’re hanging out in a bar for a while until we sail to keep away from the stateroom.

Some thoughts about London while I’m writing this – we were both impressed with how good the old city looks right now. Seeing it for the first time after 23 years, it looked pretty darned good.

On our trip to Dover, we kept seeing the Channel Tunnel high speed rail tracks, although we didn’t see a train. On the outskirts of Dover we drove past a huge ventilation building for the Chunnel, which was already well underground by that point. We’d both love to take the train from London to Paris someday.

More later: we’ll keep you updated on the stateroom issue.

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