2023.01 New York City and Caribbean Cruise (Part 1)

If you’ve been reading since I started posting about our trips since […flips back to first post…] 2017, we’ve predominately preferred choose our own adventure. This time was quite the opposite with almost everything planned as we were joining Little Miss’ family (parents, sister & children) for a cruise. Cruise ship. Not car cruise, like 2019.


The reason, selection and basis for this trip was Littls Miss’ parents wanted to go on a family cruise. They selected a Caribbean cruise based on amenities onboard and ultimately our cruise would sail from New Jersey.  With Manhattan being across the Hudson river, Little Miss and I had not visited New York City together yet. With the opportunity to visit this world class city, we scheduled a few days in the city before the cruise started.  The cruise’s scheduled ports of call were Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, St. Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and, Antigua and Barbuda.

Toronto Pearson, like most Canadian airports have a US pre-clearance border facility. That results in landing at the US airport as if it’s a domestic flight. The line for US Customs can be extremely long during peak periods, and in addition to NEXUS, Customs offered an app “MBP” to speed up the customs process.  As our flight occurred in the mid-afternoon, the customs hall was quiet, however using the MBP app was still faster than the regular line.  When her family flew a few days later the app saved them a significant amount of time as their flight was during the morning block of flights from Toronto Pearson.

Maple Leaf Lounge Toronto, US Departures

Once through security and customs, we headed upstairs to the Air Canada Maple Leaf Lounge. It too was not busy and we easily found a seat. From there we headed to the buffet for a late lunch.

Hot food at the buffet were beef sliders, a sesame style chicken, soup and pasta. Tortilla chips with salsa, salad and some fruit were also available from the buffet. The most important part of the buffet, the chocolate chip cookie!  They were so tasty that I ate mine before taking a picture of it.  Below is a slideshow of the buffet during the early afternoon:

At the time of this trip, Toronto Terminal 1 flights that use regional sized aircraft are located at a semi-permanent section of the terminal.  It is a little bit of a walk from security and customs.  Give yourself plenty of time to get to these gates.

This pier is smaller as everything is ground level.  To keep departing and arriving passengers properly separated, there is a narrow hallway between the gate and waiting area that is used to move arriving passengers to customs and border services. The upside of being on ground level was how close we were to the planes and support equipment.  There was a second Maple Leaf Lounge in this area, however we didn’t visit it.  This pier is designed to be semi-permanent in that it’ll last many years, however can easily be removed, if, or when, the airport expands Terminal 1 and this area is replaced with a full sized pier with gates.

Air Canada Flight Toronto to New York City (LaGuardia)

Air Canada flight 8992
Scheduled Departure: 15:20
Scheduled Arrival: 16:50
Seats 8A & 8C

Our aircraft was swapped at the last minute to a smaller aircraft, a CRJ-200. Given the small interior of the plane, our carry-on had to be checked outside before boarding the plane, and then once in the plane I couldn’t stand up properly.

Flights between Toronto and LaGuardia are frequent and short, being just over an hour.  I was happy to only spend an hour on this plane.  There was no requirement for de-icing, and the flight departed on time.  This is how much seat room greeted us, and we had an exit row!

Once in the air and above the clouds the sun was a great sample of what we expected to have plenty of, once were in the Caribbean.

Upon landing at LaGuardia, and after a short taxi our aircraft arrived at its gate.  The jet bridge took over 20 minutes to be connected, and then a further delay occurred as we were not able to disembark the plane until the gate checked items were available.  Normally this isn’t any issue, however being on a plane where I cannot stand up straight, the delay certainly felt longer than it actually was.  Upon exiting, collecting our carry-on, we discovered that LaGuardia airport is undergoing a massive renovation.  I had flight in 2005, and recalled the airport was tired, overcrowded and in need of a renovation.  For aging purposes, 2005 LaGuardia felt like Terminal 2 at Toronto, and that was demolished in the 2000s to make way for the US/International pier of Terminal 1.  Being greeted with a new, clean, high ceilinged terminal, it was a breeze to navigate from gate to baggage carousel and then taxi stand.  Here’s a few pictures from the new Terminal B:

Once we were reunited with our checked luggage, we joined the taxi line and were in a off to our hotel for the next four nights.  Seeing the lights of New York as we approached Manhattan helped to build the excitement in visiting such an iconic city.

As the taxi was navigating the streets of New York, it stopped beside a clinic that offered valet parking.

Explore other parts of this trip:

Part 1 – Air Canada Flight Toronto to New York City, LaGuardia (this post!)

Part 2 – Millennium Hotel New York, One UN Plaza

Part 3 – Things to do in New York City

Part 4 – Caribbean Cruise Introduction

Part 5 – Things to do while Cruising

Part 6 – Cuisine onboard

Part 7 – Port, Puerto Rico

Part 8 – Port, St. Maarten

Part 9 – Port, Antigua and Barbuda

Part 10 – Port, St. Lucia

Part 11 – Port, St. Kitts and Nevis

Part 12 – Maple Leaf Lounge LaGuardia, flight New York to Toronto

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