Trip Review: Rhapsody of the Seas Vietnam (Hanoi and Hue) and Sanya Feb. 16, 2008 + Hong Kong Review
This was my 54th cruise. The first day this cruise came out for sale in December of 2006 we grabbed it. We've been planning an Asia cruise for years and this seemed like a great itinerary as well as giving us a chance to go back and have fun in Hong Kong again; it's been a few years since we last had that opportunity. Our original plan was to arrive into Hong Kong a couple of days early, take the cruise, and have a couple of days before we went home to visit either Macau or Shenzhen. Last fall, a friend of ours decided to come with us, and he later added his sister to his booking as well. They are both big Disney fans and convinced us to try out Hong Kong Disney instead of going to either of our other two options.
To Hong Kong
13Feb08 AS 212 F PDX-SFO 737-900 N319AS Seat 2F
Again our original plan changed slightly. At exactly 329 days before departure of each flight, I was able to obtain business class seats using miles. Our original routing was via LAX, but since our friends were flying from SFO, I was able to change our connecting point a couple of weeks prior to departure.
Our new flight left at the 650AM, which meant we had to leave the house no later than 435AM. We got out right when we planned and had no traffic on the way to PDX. Shockingly we found a great parking spot in Economy Blue lot and I managed to get all of our bags onto the bus and we arrived at the counter and were checked in by about 515AM. Security was very quick this morning, and my wife was soon in line for her Starbucks fix before we headed off to Alaska's Board Room. We had a couple of munchies (and used the nicer bathrooms in the Board Room) and off to the gate where our flight was already boarding. We left right on time, and a snack was served which consisted of a muffin and 3 pieces of fruit. A quick hour and twenty minutes and we arrived to a beautiful day in San Francisco. Since our aircraft was continuing on to Puerto Vallarta, we arrived at the International Terminal which saved us a walk.
13Feb08 CX 879 J SFO-HKG 747-400 B-HOX Seat 11K
We had our bags checked straight through to HKG, but we did have to go back out to the Cathay Pacific counter to meet our friends as well as to get our boarding passes and lounge invites. Our friends had purchased the lowest coach fare they could get, and after we had checked in, they asked how much it would cost to upgrade to business class with us. The answer was $1700 per person and to my surprise, out came the AMEX card, and now we were all in business class. We schmoozed for a while before going though security which again was very empty and then on to the British Airways Terraces Lounge which Cathay Pacific uses. My status on American Airlines allowed us into the first class part of the lounge. We didn't have a lot of time until we boarded, so I just had a drink, while my wife and friends had some snacks. The aircraft was boarded directly from the lounge, so we didn't have very far to go. We were downstairs on the 744 which I prefer and the seats were the previous business class type, 2-3-2 and not the new 1-1-1-1 configuration. I like the older seats, and since this was a day time flight, I wasn't planning on sleeping very much.
The menu order was supposed to be Lunch/Snack/Dinner, but our ISM instead organized it as Lunch/Dinner/Snack. Menu choices were:
Lunch: Starters: Seared ahi tuna and a seasonal salad with Asian vinaigrette. EntrEe choices: Grilled Beef Tenderloin, Sea Bass, Braised Chicken, or Wild Mushroom Risotto After: Cheese plate, fresh fruit, marble cheesecake, tea, coffee, and pralines
Dinner: Starter: Fresh seasonal fruit EntrEe choices: Pan Roasted Chicken Breast, Stir-fried egg noodle with shredded pork, or Seafood congee After: Pear frangipane, tea, coffee, pralines
Snack: Smoked chicken Panini Baked barbecued pork bun Wonton in noodle soup
CX has a great AVOD system (audio visual on demand) in business class, and I watched three movies plus a couple of TV shows and still had time to read my book on this leg. We had beautiful views all the way to Hong Kong. Horrible head winds made for a more northerly flight route that went directly over the Anchorage airport, over Siberia, and then south off of the west coast of Japan, skirting Taiwan, and arriving into HKG 14 hours and 46 minutes after taking off from SFO. We had great service from CX across the Pacific.
It took a bit for our bags to come out (CX did not intercept the bags and put a business priority tag on the bags like they usually do), but we took one of the hotel busses and got to our hotel around 9PM and collapsed soon after.
Hong Kong Pre Cruise
I used Marriott points for our stay at the Renaissance in Kowloon. It has a great location, and we woke up to an overcast day. As I mentioned, this was not our first visit to HKG, and we easily moved into our routine, which is grab a quick breakfast at the closest Delifrance, and then get on with our day. Today, Feb. 15 meant a ride on the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island, a ride on the Peak Tram up to Victoria Peak, and lunch at one of my favorite restaurants anywhere, Cafe Deco. My wife will tell you that there was also some shopping involved here. Later in the afternoon we reversed our tracks and dropped the shopping bags back at the hotel. We tired out our friend's sister, but the three of us had dinner at Murphy's Pub on Nathan Road.
The next morning both of our friends were still tired out and wanted to save their energy for the cruise; so we went back to Delifrance for our breakfast. We could see that the Rhapsody was at the pier. When we were done with breakfast, we made our way back to the hotel via Mody Road. Again, my wife will tell you that there was shopping involved on our walk back.
We left half of our bags with the bell desk since we would be returning to the Renaissance after the cruise, and we started out walking to the pier; our friends grabbed a taxi. Our documents stated that check-in took place at the Marco Polo Hotel. In front of the hotel, porters were readily available to grab our bags, and we were directed via an outside passageway to a ballroom at the rear of the hotel to the actual check-in desks. We arrived at about 1130AM and checked in at the Diamond/Platinum line and had just started the process when our friends started checking in next to us; we beat them by about five minutes. We were advised that boarding of the ship would start at 1PM, and once on we could not disembark. The ship was docked at Ocean Terminal which is a combination cruise pier and shopping mall. Since we had some time, we wandered around the mall, and decided to have lunch at the Quarterdeck Restaurant. We figured that we would have five days of cruise food, but we love to eat in Hong Kong, and it did turn out to be a good choice as you'll soon see. After lunch, we wandered some more and my wife will tell you that there was one shopping stop on the way to the ship. There were plenty of port employees showing the way to the ship. We joined the relatively short line to go through the doors, but once through doors we were directed the back of a humongous line that was parallel to the ship. While in line we went though a cruise card check, and then security. The line lead up the gangway to the ship and we entered on deck four. We were lead into the dining room, and passed through Hong Kong exit immigration. Time elapsed from when we joined the big line, until we passed immigration was a little more than an hour; it was 230PM when we were finally on board and on the ship.
Our departure was delayed by 90 minutes as we had to wait for Vietnamese authorities to board the ship to process us for our Vietnam arrival. We ended up with an after sunset sail away to a spectacularly lit up Hong Kong harbor.
A couple of days before we left the upgrade fairy paid us a visit, and upgraded both of our cabins to an Owner's Suite. We had cabin 8502 which as with all the top suites on Rhapsody was forward on deck 8. We had two large rooms, lots of storage space, and a bathroom (complete with bidet) that was bigger than some cabins that we have had on other ships. You could tell from the soft goods though that this is a 10 year old ship.
The Rhapsody is almost 11 years old and she shows it in some places; while we were waiting in the long line to board I saw quite a few rusty spots that could have used some paint, and some dents that should come out in the next dry dock. The interior/deck space however is in good shape, especially the Solarium (covered pool) area with its Egyptian dEcor. The restaurant was in very good condition as well. You can tell that the Windjammer buffet restaurant was recently re-done. It was much easier to get around and less cluttered than some of the other Vision class ships.
I had heard rumblings about the service on board before we ourselves boarded, but for the most part, we had no complaints. Our waiter Ronald was outstanding. He has been with RCI for 8 years, and you can tell. He did let it slip later in the cruise however that he was recently transferred to the Rhapsody because some newly hired staff weren't working out as planned.
I do unfortunately have to mention one event which made quite a few cruisers upset. Upon boarding in HKG, all passengers had to relinquish their passports to RCI, so that Vietnam immigration authorities could have access to them while we were sailing to our first port. The night we left our second port in Vietnam, we were told to reclaim our passports at 930PM. We had second seating dinner, and so we went to the conference center on deck 6 to claim our passports after dinner. We joined the line, and it didn't move. No announcements, nothing was said while we were in line. Almost an hour passes and the time is getting late (plus we had to set our clocks an hour ahead as we were entering China), and you can hear the rumblings of a riot as the line is stretching all around deck 6. Eventually, close to 11PM, they let a few British citizens into the room, now making it two lines, one for Brits, and one for everybody else. Again, there were no announcements from anyone. Finally at about 1115PM they started letting people into the room. The entire time, we never saw a uniformed Royal Caribbean representative letting people know what was happening. When we got back to the cabin, my wife called the purser's desk who was blissfully unaware of the happenings a deck above. They said that the problem would be taken care of.
When we entered Sanya, the Chinese authorities kept our passports and returned them en-masse to the ship. This time, there were plenty of announcements (in fact it seemed like we were being begged to pick up our passports) and plenty of uniformed personnel around.
Service around the rest of the ship was fine.
Ports of Call
The reason we took this cruise was for the ports. We called on Hon Gai port which is where Ha Long Bay meets land and you can get to Hanoi, Chan May port which is the port for both Danang and Hue, and finally Sanya on Hainan Island. At the Captain's reception, he told us that we would be sailing through a channel to get us closer to land than the last couple of cruises. Previously it was a 30 minute tender ride, but he would get us close enough so the tender would only be a few minutes. It meant sailing through Ha Long Bay in the pre dawn hours. When I got up that morning, it was shortly after sun rise, and you could just start to make out the limestone monoliths. As the sun came up, the view got better and better, and it looked spectacular as the Rhapsody let go of her anchor.
We did take the trip to Hanoi. I knew it would be a long day with lots of time on the road, but I still wanted to see the city. The trip into town was just about 3 hours with some interesting scenery on the way. There was one comfort stop about half way into the trip. My wife will tell you that there was some shopping at that comfort stop. When we finally got into town, the first place we went was to Ba Dinh Square and Ho Chi Minh's mausoleum. We were not allowed inside the mausoleum because Uncle Ho only allows visitors until 11AM and we were there at 1130AM. We did however get to see the changing of the guard there. We then went to the Temple of Literature which was beautiful and from there we went to lunch. The Intercontinental Hotel in Hanoi was our lunch provider this day, and they put out a very nice repast. After our lunch break, it was time for old Hanoi; our options were walk or cyclo (think bicycle taxi). We decided on taking a cyclo, and that was a great option. We were zoomed in and around traffic as we got to see sights from street level. After the cyclo ride it was back to the bus for the long drive back to the port. We again had a comfort stop about half way through the ride, although this time there were no bargains to be had according to my wife. Back to the ship we went, again fighting the motorbikes and bicycles all the way back into Ha Long Bay.
The next day we docked at Chan May port at 10AM, and immediately set out on our tour of Imperial Hue. We still had a bit of a drive, but nothing like the day before. One of the other passengers on the bus asked the guide what people in Vietnam thought of Americans. It was an interesting answer, "we forgive, but we do not forget." Our first stop was actually for lunch at the Century Riverside hotel. Again the food was very good, and varied, but not as good as the day before. This time there was a local musical group entertaining us during lunch. We were given an exceptionally long lunch time, so once we finished, we took a walk around Hue for about half an hour. My wife will tell you that there was much shopping involved. When we got back on the bus, we headed over to the tomb of Tu Duc who was famous for his 104 wives. The garden area around the tomb is gorgeous and very picturesque. Our next stop was the Citadel and the Imperial City. We saw quite a bit including the Forbidden Purple City. There was a good deal of the area that we could not see because it was bombed by the U.S. during the Tet Offensive. It was again time to board the bus and head back to the ship; this time making one stop for photos - rice patties on one side of the road and beautiful mountain scenery on the other.
Our last port of call was Sanya, China on Hainan Island. This was Royal Caribbean's inaugural call in Sanya and the Rhapsody is largest ship to date to dock there, so there was plenty of pomp and circumstance for our arrival including a loud band, and media interviewing passengers as we disembarked. The port building is beautiful and clearing Chinese immigration was very quick. Our original excursion that we signed up for was Luhuitou Park and Yalong Bay. A couple of days before we left home, the excursion was cancelled for English speakers, and was only available for Chinese speaking passengers, We weren't thrilled by the rest of the options, but ended up on The Big Shopping Trip or as it is known in our household, The Big Bust. Our first stop was the Sanya Jungrun Pearl Cultural Center. We learned about Pearls and of course there were some available for purchase. My wife will tell you that the Pearls here were very nice and reasonably priced (the only place on this excursion that you will hear that). Next up was a government tea house where we had a tea ceremony, tea tasting, and of course the opportunity to purchase any tea that you wanted. That was not our favorite stop. Next up was a government silk shop where we bought some placemats, but figured they were probably over priced, but we did like them. Nothing else appealed to us there. A few passengers ganged up on the guide and told him to take them somewhere that they can buy bags. We drove around for a bit, and ended up at a store that was probably owned by a friend/relative of the guide, but instead of copy bags that people wanted, these were gray market bags, so prices were still high. No one on the bus purchased anything there. Our last stop was at the beach promenade where we were given some free time and were able to look at shops that were not government owned. We didn't have very long here so all we did was walk around the local mall where prices were just OK. One thing we did notice in that area was that there were a large number of signs in Cyrillic. Apparently the island (which granted is a resort island) attracts a large number of Russian visitors. While wandering around the local mall, my wife kept getting addressed in Russian. We were only in Sanya for half a day, so it was back to the ship after that.
The food was typical Royal Caribbean fare with the addition of some Asian specialties. The Asian food was excellent, and the standard food was fine. The Windjammer buffet was always busy and the food there was decent. Spa
When we walked in soon after boarding, I was ready to make an appointment for a massage, and as soon as we entered we were asked if we wanted to take a spa tour. We said OK, and you would have guessed that you were on a Caribbean cruise - we were shown everything including the teeth whitening demonstration. I did have one massage at the Spa on the first day out which was our only sea day. The massage was very nice, and there was no hard sell at all for their products. Entertainment
We had such a busy five days; we did not attend even one show the entire week. There was some music around the ship that was nice, and we went to the casino twice for about a total of 20 minutes between the two visits. We came out over $300 USD ahead, so no complaints about the casino for us.
Shortly after leaving Sanya, our captain advised us that we would have some headwinds on our trip back to Hong Kong and it was possible that we would be a little late. He also said that disembarkation might take a while. True to his word, we docked about 30 minutes late at 930AM, but since it was a later arrival than most for a cruise ship, we were able to watch a very beautiful arrival into Hong Kong harbor. Remaining true to his word, disembarking did take a while. We had white tags and were invited to leave the ship in the first group, but again we had to go through Hong Kong immigration in the dining room of the ship. We had to take a walk around the pier to get to our bags, but once in the baggage claim area, the authorities were allowing taxis to pick up passengers instead of sending us back out to the street. So we hopped into one taxi and our friends into another, and within a few minutes we were back at the Renaissance Kowloon.
Hong Kong Post Cruise
The hotel was very good and let us check in early, even though it was only 11AM. Again I used Marriott points for our stay, and was very happy with our room. We were reunited with our bags that stayed in HKG, and we got our stuff together and out we went for the day. We wanted something light for lunch, so we made a stop at our favorite Delifrance before heading out. Our immediate goal was the Tsim Sha Tsui (TST) MTR (subway) station, but we walked there via Mody road again, and again my wife will tell you that much shopping was involved on the way to the MTR. We took the MTR north to Yau Ma Tei, and walked to the Ladies Market where we spent a couple of hours. I can tell you that way too much shopping was done there, and we walked back to Mong Kok station and took the MTR back to TST. We collapsed at the hotel for a while and decided it was time for dinner. When we called our friends, they were already in their pajamas and about to call room service, so we headed out on our own. Our original thought was the San Francisco Steak House, but they keep moving (when I first started to go to HKG they were across from the Hyatt Regency which itself is gone these days, then they moved to one of the malls by the pier and then they moved again to a bank building in Kowloon), and I wasn't in the mood for tracking them down, so we ended up at Outback of all places. I will say that we had a very good dinner before heading back to the hotel. OK, I have to admit that after dinner, I did buy myself a new pair of shoes.
The next day, Friday Feb. 22 was our last in HKG. And we did promise our friends that we would go to Hong Kong Disneyland with them, so after our usual Delifrance breakfast stop, it was back on the MTR to Disneyland. It was very painless to get to, and the last leg from the Sunny Bay station to the park in the special Disneyland train cars was very cool. Admission was $295 HKD (about $38 USD) and the park was not very busy on this day. The major difference between Hong Kong Disneyland and Disneyland/Disneyworld in the US is that the park in HKG has fewer rides, but more shows. I still managed to get on Space Mountain twice (no wait at all), and go on a few other rides as well as seeing a couple of attractions that are not in the US yet (the Festival of the Lion King show and Mickey's PhilharMagic) and of course what would be a day in Hong Kong Disney without quite a bit of shopping (for Hong Kong Disney items) involved. We actually really enjoyed ourselves at the park, more than we expected to. We headed back to the MTR after having our fill of Disney and our friends wanted to go back to the Ocean Terminal Mall to pick something up, so this time we took the MTR back to the Kowloon Airport Express Station and then took the free shuttle bus to the Marco Polo hotel. After making their purchases, our friends wanted to go back to the Quarterdeck Restaurant again, so after a very nice dinner, armed with bags, we jumped back into a taxi and was back at the hotel within a couple of minutes.
From Hong Kong
Here we parted ways with our friends. They were booked on the Cathay Pacific 210PM flight back home to San Francisco (and they did fly home in coach), but since we were using miles, we had to take what we could get, but what we got was pretty good.
23Feb08 JL 736 C HKG-NRT 747-400 JA8087 Seat 2A
We took a taxi from the hotel and got to the airport at about 730AM. Japan Airlines had just opened up their check in, so there was no wait at all, and soon our four bags were checked all the way to Portland, and boarding passes were issued. There was only a short line at outbound immigration and we were through security in a very short time as well. We immediately headed for the Cathay Pacific first class lounge, and had a very good breakfast (their catering is done by the Peninsula Hotel) before taking the long walk to our gate. My wife had a hankering for strawberry gummi candy, so we made a stop at the Aji Ichiban store where a huge bag was purchased. Boarding started right on time for our flight, and we found our way to our business class seats in the nose of the 747. This was one of JL's older 747s with the regional interior. Take off was right on time and shortly the service started.
Lunch: Starter: Crabmeat terrine, salad EntrEe choices: Tenderloin of Beef Steak, Guinness Pork Stew or Japanese Lunch featuring Braised Mackerel with the appropriate starters After: Cheese and crackers, pineapple crumble and coffee and tea. There was also an ice cream service after the dishes were taken away.
Our in-flight service was very nice and soon it was time to land. My wife kept looking across the aisle because the passenger on that side looked very familiar, I finally told her who it was (Karl Rove - no political commentary here as much as I would like to) as we were getting ready to land. We arrived at Tokyo's Narita airport 3 hours and 16 minutes after leaving Hong Kong.
We arrived at the terminal 2 satellite building and were off the plane quickly, and through the very professional and polite security recheck extremely fast, and we took the train over to the main building to go to JL's first class lounge. As soon as we entered we each signed up for one of the complimentary 15 minute massages, and went to wait our turn by having a bite in the lounge. I had been to this lounge once before, and remembered that the beef curry was to die for, and it was again. The time for our massages rolled around, so went downstairs to the business class lounge where our massages would take place. That was the fastest 15 minutes of my life, but I did feel quite a bit better when I came out; my wife also thought it was a great perk to have. We left the lounge and took the train back to the satellite terminal to await our flight.
23Feb08 JL 2 NRT-SFO 747-400 JA8076 Seat 20A
I still like a window seat when I fly, and when I am on 747s, I prefer the main deck over the upper deck because the viewing is so much easier. However, when I changed our flight to connect via SFO instead of LAX, the only seats together were in the upper deck. I admit it is much quieter and feels like your own private jet, but I still like having the big window downstairs. Again we pushed back right on time, but we stopped our taxi to the runway as the runway closed temporarily due to a disabled aircraft (this seems to happen quite often at Narita). The runway re-opened fairly quickly, and we took off to the north, before making our turn east. Dinner and breakfast were served on this flight as well as a snack between meals if desired.
Dinner: Starters: Terrine of Foie Gras, Tartar of Crabmeat and Scallop with mackerel, terrine of Pike Conger and Shrimp, and salad. EntrEe choices: Grilled Filet of Japanese Beef Steak, Meuniere of Grouper and Rockfish or Japanese dinner featuring a choice of Braised Beef Roll or Red Snapper and Greenland Halibut with the appropriate starters After: Chocolate Nuts with Custard Sauce, coffee and tea.
Mid flight snack: JAL noodles - Ramen de Sky, Udon de Sky, or Soba de Sky. Sandwiches
Breakfast: Western: Grapefruit, Apple Crepe with Blueberry Sauce, Scrambled Eggs and Sausage, Yogurt, coffee and tea Japanese: Gilled Fillet of Salmon, Japanese Poached Egg, Braised Spinach with Mushroom Radish Sauce, Grilled Fish Cake/Yuba Crepe Roll/Pickled Plum, Fresh Fruits, Green tea.
JL's AVOD service is not as complete as Cathay Pacific's. There was a choice of about 6 moves (compared to 50 on Cathay), but I opted instead for about 4 hours of sleep after dinner. This flight had JL's shell flat seat which doesn't go entirely flat, but close enough so I can get a decent sleep. Before I knew it, the California coast appeared through my window. I knew before leaving Tokyo that it was supposed to rain (OK make that pour) at SFO later in the afternoon, but that the winds were already present. So I was not totally surprised when we landed opposite of normal on runway 10 at SFO, 8 hours and 31 minutes after takeoff. Again, fantastic service from the JL crew.
There was a bit of a wait for US immigration as three flights came in at once (our friends' included, and they got through before we did), but once through, our baggage was already on the carousel, and we got through customs very quickly. Instead of dropping our bags at the transfer desk, I opted to just wheel them to Alaska Airlines. We never have good luck with baggage being interlined, and we had a cart for the bags, so off we went to terminal 1.
The AS counter quickly checked in our bags, and it was off to security. The lines were short, but for some reason, I beeped going through the metal detector (WTMD). I walked back through the other way to try again and no alarm as I went back. OK, so I tried a second time, and alarmed again. The only metal that I have is my wedding ring and a belt with as little metal as possible, I call it my airport belt, and I never have an issue, anywhere. The TSA rep gives me a bit of a hard time and says to always take my belt off. I ask him why I didn't beep when I walked back through to line up; he didn't have an answer. Anyway, my wife wants a bit to eat now, so we stop at the Max's deli in the terminal so she could have a matzo ball soup. When she was done we headed to the AS Board Room for a few minutes before our flight was to depart.
23Feb 08 AS 345 F SFO-PDX MD80 N960AS Seat 2F
I noticed that the plane was already at the gate when we were going to Max's, and I was sort of surprised that it was there so early. Our flight was scheduled for 1PM, with boarding at 1220PM, and at 1225PM the crew boards, only to walk off a couple of minutes later. I overhear the captain saying to the gate agent that he would not accept the aircraft, and the gate agent replied, that yesterday's captain of the same flight said the same thing to her. So the aircraft had been at SFO for at least 24 hours. Maintenance is called, and they post that more information will be available at 115PM. There is still no word by 125PM, so I very quietly ask the gate agent to protect us on the 445PM Horizon Air flight, just in case. A couple of minutes after I sit back down, they changed the more information time to 3PM. We head back into the Board Room and after about 2 minutes I over hear an announcement from our gate about bussing passengers to San Jose. The Board Room concierge calls the gate for us, and gets all the info, and tells me to recheck at the gate for rebooking. I go back out to the gate and of course the line is horrendous. Right as I am pulling out my cell phone to call reservations, a further announcement is made that the counter (outside of security) will also help rebook passengers, but we would also have to go out to baggage claim to reclaim our bags no matter what. I go back into the Board Room and get my wife and we head back out to the counter. Instead of being bussed to San Jose, since we were protected on the later Horizon Air flight, we were issued new boarding passes and instructed to reclaim our bags. Back downstairs to baggage claim we go, where things were very organized, and our bags were already waiting on the side of the carousel. I asked the luggage rep if she could just recheck them for us since we were one of the lucky ones not going to San Jose, but no, they couldn't do that, so we pick them up, take an elevator back upstairs, and recheck them at the counter.
Now we have to back through security again. It's the same check point. Did I take my belt off this time? No. Did I alarm the WTMD? No.
23Feb 08 AS 2524 Y SFO-PDX CRJ-700 N613QX Seat 4A
Since it's Saturday, the Board Room closes at 230PM, and of course it's now 235PM, so we wait at the gate as the weather gets worse and worse, and it starts to pour. Flights all over the place are starting to have 2+ hour delays. An Alaska flight coming in from Seattle diverts to Oakland. Alaska busses people that were on the outbound flight back to Seattle to Oakland to meet up with the airplane. Our aircraft? It arrives only 20 minutes late, and we board quickly. Due to the weather we have a nice tailwind and the captain announces a quick flying time, but with plenty of turbulence as we leave SFO. After we stop bouncing, the flight attendants come through with an express beverage service and before I know it, we are landing at PDX. We have only an hour and ten minutes flying time today with a very competent Horizon crew. Our bags are again on the carousel very quickly, the bus to the parking lot is waiting for us and closes its doors after we get on and we make it home to the joy of our three cats. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves on this trip! Read Less