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  1. I can't get that song out of my head. You know, the song by Van Halen? Even though it has nothing to do with the Panama Canal. I thought about titling this "The cruise that almost wasn't". Let me explain. My plan was to fly in the day before and stay on the Queen Mary. I was almost as excited about the Queen Mary (now a hotel in Long Beach, CA) as I was about the Panama Canal. Good ole mother nature had a surprise for me. Snow! Lots of it. At 5am I opened Lyft and Uber to compare prices and... no cars available. Rut Roh. Let's try again. Nope. Hmmm. A little bit of panic was starting to set it. A 3rd time. Ding! A car is on the way. I went out to my usual pick up spot in the falling snow. I wasn't going to let the driver get cold feet and bolt. By the time he arrived I had an inch of snow on my suitcase. It had snowed the day before but this is Denver so no shocker. However at this early hour the snow on top of the black ice from yesterday's melt made for very treacherous driving conditions. Cars were in ditches, accidents were seen all over. It was early in the season so people new to snow were learning the hard way how not to drive in the snow. It took almost 75 minutes for the normal 30 minute ride to the airport. My driver kept asking "Do you want to go back?. No flights leaving today". Then a text from Southwest - "SWA Flight 750 is cancelled". Odd, the inbound flight was on time, my plane was landing in Denver but the ongoing leg to California was cancelled. I wasn't about to miss my cruise, onward to the airport, even if I had to sleep there tonight I was determined to make it out of Denver on the first flight that I could. Southwest wanted to rebook me on the next flight out scheduled at noon that was delayed until 5pm. By this time I was at the airport. Delta had a 9:15am flight to Salt Lake. I stopped by the Delta ticket counter and asked if the 9:15am was actually going. Yep. Book it. On the spot I booked a one way to Long Beach on Delta. I've played this game with Southwest before and they tend to eventually cancel everything so I put my faith in Delta and for $500 I was on my way. Or so I thought. At the gate I discovered our flight and cabin crew were missing. They had overnighted in local hotels but they were stuck in the now worse traffic and accidents heading to the airport. We were delayed. Eventually they made it and we boarded. With 3 inches of snow on the plane we had to de-ice. Another delay. Finally we took off 75 minutes late. Late enough that I would miss my connection in Salt Lake. So much for getting into Long Beach in the afternoon. I was rebooked on a 5pm flight from Salt Lake to Long Beach. Salt Lake also had light snowfall. I heard the pilots talking as the plane boarded in Salt Lake - "We're de-icing". Another delay. After a 14 hour travel day I made it to the Queen Mary in California. Phew.
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