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Published: March 2nd 2020
Today the Regal Princess returned to port in Ft Lauderdale and our cruise came to an end. At 7:00 we got up and put our last few belongings into the Roller Bag, back-pack, and into Janet’s large purse. These bags got a little heavy, but we were able to fit everything inside. We had to vacate the cabins by 8:00. The four of us met in the corridor outside our cabin and said goodbye to our cabin attendant (Nellie). We managed to catch an elevator with enough space for us and our bags, and then found an empty table for four in the Horizon Court for a buffet breakfast.
After our last shipboard breakfast, we went to Vines on Deck-5. This is where everyone who needed wheelchair assistance was supposed to assemble. We waited about half an hour before it was our turn to be taken off the ship. By then just about everyone else was gone and the massive crowds that normally occur at Customs had all dispersed. We had a Princess Agent wheel Janet and a porter took all the Garvin and Siebert luggage all the way to the rental car pickup point. We called the Hertz number on our reservation form, but they said they did not run a shuttle to the cruise terminal. What? We were told to take everything over to the taxi station and catch a cab to the Hertz office. That would have meant undoing most everything we’d done since clearing Customs.
Then a Hertz shuttled pulled up in front of us. That was good! We talked to the driver and he said he only took people to the nearest office and our reservation was partway across town. That was bad! We begged him for a ride to the nearest Hertz office so we could at least get out of the cruise terminal, but he wasn’t supposed to do if we didn’t have a reservation at that local office. Finally, we played the “poor cripple lady” story with 6 suitcases, and the driver allowed us to join the shuttle. That was very good! There were more people with legitimate reservations and we were afraid we’d be forced back off the bus. But with the shuttle heavily overloaded with people and bags, we all made our way to the Hertz office right outside the cruise terminal.
After unloading everything and everyone, the office was swamped with customers. We got a place for Janet and Kathy to sit while Jim and David took an Uber across town to the office where our reservation was. We got a Dodge Caravan and then drove back to the first Hertz office to pick up Janet and Kathy, along with the rest of the luggage. Once we were all loaded and ready to start, there were still people from our bus waiting to get to the counter to get their car. So it wasn’t how we expected things to work, but it didn’t turn out too badly after all.
We made a quick stop at McDonalds for a restroom break and some drinks. Janet was thrilled to find they have iced coffee with Hazelnut here in Florida. Anyway, we headed off for the interstate and drove north for about an hour. We arrived in West Palm Beach about 12:20. We found the Red Roof Inn but we were ahead of the normal 4:00 check-in time. They had our reservation but could not find the Sieberts, so this was looking like another possible problem. Eventually they found both reservations and we each got in our rooms early.
We put our bags in the rooms and then went in search of a light lunch. We found a Panera’s and had a little soup and sandwich lunch about 2:00. Meanwhile Jim contacted an old college friend and arranged for us to all meet for dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. We went back to the hotel and unpacked and settled in for the next few days. Janet got a short nap and David was also able to spend half an hour in the hotel pool, which was enjoyable since he never got to the shipboard pool anytime during the cruise.
About 5:15 we met up again and headed to dinner. We found our way to the restaurant and there was a parking spot directly in front. Steve Pounds and his wife Gretchen were there already. They are old friends of the Sieberts so there was a lot of “catching up”. But we all had a good dinner. But after all that food, nobody had enough room for any cheesecake dessert. We got back to the hotel a bit before 8:00 and that wrapped up our day. Tomorrow we will be seeing some baseball, but that is about everything for today.
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