Day 19 – Saturday – Oct 13 – Disembark in Ft Lauderdale

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October 14th 2012
Published: October 14th 2012
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Today is the last day of our vacation, so understandably it is the least enjoyable day. But all turned out well, so we did not have any catastrophes at the end of the cruise to ruin everything. Read on to hear the details.

First, be advised that we have updated a few additional paragraphs to yesterday’s entry, so there are some more items for you to read there.

We were scheduled for Self-Help exiting of the ship, which made us the first two groups to get off the ship. However we had to get up pretty early (5:45) in order to be ready. We went up to the Horizon Court for a “final breakfast” and said goodbye to Francis once more. They were not making custom breakfasts today, so we had mass-produced scrambled eggs and lots of bacon. Of course they had pastries, fruits, etc, so we left with a full stomach.

We did get to check the Cardinal’s baseball score on the TV and were pleasantly surprised (maybe even shocked) that they had won the game late last night and now advanced to the NLCS against the Giants. Since our cruise originated in San Francisco, there were a lot of people following their progress throughout the cruise, and we got a nice note from Rebecca making sure we knew the Giants were winners, so we will just have to see which team moves ahead to the World Series.

Janet’s cold has gotten progressively better and her cough is about gone. She seems to be fine to fly home and fortunately the cold never got bad enough to interfere with any of her planned activities.

We said goodbye to our cabin for the last time. David is going to especially miss the little mints on his pillow each evening. Janet is going to miss having Ferdinand clean the cabin every day. Anyway, we had to take our luggage to the Deck-5 dining room (the Bordeaux Room) and be ready to leave by 7:20. Figuring that everyone would be scurrying around the ship at the same time, David was concerned that we might have trouble getting an elevator for ourselves and all our bags, but we actually got an empty carriage right away and had no problem getting a place to sit in the waiting room.

They let Self-Help 3 leave just about on-time (people going to Miami airport) and we in Self-Help 4 got to leave soon afterwards. We have no idea why they started numbering at #3. The cruise terminal had a wide gangway, covered to keep us out of the rain, and without the usual ripple effects on the ship’s own gangway that would have been difficult to roll your luggage across. So we put our Princess Card in the reader and got a final “ding” to clear us off the ship, and away we went.

We actually were somewhere around the 100th people off the ship by doing it ourselves, so there weren’t long lines at Customs (still about 1820 people behind us). We also did not have to search through the neatly arranged wave upon wave of suitcases, comprising a sea of luggage for all the following people to search to locate their own bags. Anyway, we cleared customs and immigration without much delay and were ushered out to the taxi stand.

The transfer service offered by the ship (which they could not guarantee us getting to our flight in time) would have cost $19 per person, whereas the taxi cost $14 for us both. It also got us to the airport just about 8:00, and we might still have been on the ship otherwise. A nice tip to the cabbie, and a few bucks more for the skycap, and we were still well ahead of the other fare, plus much earlier. We are having trouble finding a problem with this approach, at least here in Ft Lauderdale.

The flight home went well. We checked 3 bags since “checked luggage flies free” on Southwest. We had been able to print our boarding passes yesterday and we were in the “A” group for boarding, so we got to pick aisle seats across from each other, and had no problem getting our bag in the overhead compartment. The flight was quite full but it left pretty much on time. Upon takeoff, the plane flew past the cruise liners in the port and David was able to wave goodbye to the Island Princess. They served a bag of nuts and crackers, and a glass of soda – a far cry from cruise line fare – for our meal, but we weren’t very hungry yet anyway. The flight actually arrived in St Louis early and had to wait for a gate to deplane the passengers.

We collected our checked luggage and Valerie & Tessa were waiting to pick us up from the cell phone lot. We appreciate them giving us a ride home and for tending the cats sometime. Elizabeth and Mike took care of the kitties most of the time, so thanks to them too.

For those who are curious, the wineskin worked just fine – the bottle was not broken. It had been further wrapped in bubble-wrap, packed in the cardboard carrying case, and packed in a suitcase with lots of clothing packed around it. Anyway we are happy to report that nothing broke.

Also for the curious members of our readers, we did get back in plenty of time to attend the Richardson-Woodford wedding reception. We had a very good time, but are getting kind of spent for today.

So this wraps up our vacation. We do have a couple other cruise adventures booked, so here’s a preview of those coming attractions:

1) In August of 2013 we have booked a cruise to the Baltic Region, which will leave from Southampton England and visit many Scandinavian countries. The highlight of that cruise will be an overnight visit in St Petersburg Russia. The cruise will return to Southampton. If Janet’s brother is still in Germany we will plan to visit his family either before or after the cruise. So that’s the big plan for next summer.

2) Then in March of 2014 we have booked two cruises in Australia. The first leaves Sydney and goes for 13 days to multiple locations in New Zealand. It then returns to Sydney where most folks will disembark. We however have reserved the same stateroom for a second cruise along the eastern coast of Australia. So on that occasion we are going to be able to sit on the deck and watch everyone sadly leave for home, knowing that we have a second cruise to enjoy. We will most likely take some additional days (either before or after) to actually explore some of the other areas in Australia.

So those are our future cruise plans. As we said sometime previously, we are considering 2015 to go back to Alaska, if we can find others who want to go explore the northern regions. But that is a long way off and just a thought to maybe stimulate a little interest.


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