Jan and I were awakened by the ship shuddering as it turned and maneuvered through the harbor to dock 26. It realllly shimmied when the Capt. made the hard left! I ventured out on our porch and it was still dark. A check of my iPhone tells me it’s not quite 6am. Across from us is a park/wetland. It runs for quite a ways south of us and ends with a Coast Guard Station at the entrance to Port Everglades. Beyond that is the Atlantic. You can see a few cargo ships lit up in the morning darkness. The sunrise is blocked by dark clouds. You can see the clouds, and the rain falling from them, move north. The sun IS trying to come out from behind the clouds, but… Still, it’s quite warm and muggy out. Oh, joy! Mugginess! I had no shoes on and left wet foot prints on the floor.
The luggage went out last night, before bed, so there is a lot more room to move around, this morning. We each had a little pile of ‘today’s clothes’. A quick shower and I’m ready for breakfast. THE FINAL MEAL! HA! NO Explorer coffee run…they are closed for business!! Jan, Kyle and Kathleen went to the dining room. I still prefer the Lido. 2 eggs over medium, some nice ‘English’ bacon, raisin toast and fruit. Hopefully, that will hold for our long day.
The announcements are already being made for people to disembark. It’s just about 8am. They don’t fool around…get off the ship! We are in the last group to be called, roughly, 10-10:15am. There is a lot of activity on the docks. There are BIG shipping containers filled with construction equipment and materials being craned up to the Sea View [back porch pool] area. It’s all roped off and a few people are displeased that their paths are blocked. Construction equipment is also being loaded around the Lido pool on pallets that have been laid down to protect the teak decks.
More announcements…and she keeps saying to bring your passports and Customs forms… Ummm…what Customs forms? None were sent in our disembarkation packages. So, I trudge down to deck 1 and the Front Desk. GREAT NEWS! We no longer have to fill out the Customs Declaration’s! YIPEEE! There WERE a waste of time. No one looked at them as were went through Customs. Someone just collected them for…what?
We’re hanging out in our rooms and listening to the stewards tear down the rooms, cleaning and redressing them. The rooms will be assigned to the 2000 workers that will sail after we get off. I found it very interesting/telling that ALLL of the liquor was removed from the rooms. NO passengers to buy them and no chance of letting the work crew get ahold of them! The stewards are hooting and hollering down the halls…and it echoes! Funny! The ship IS deserted! We’re just waiting to be called. And, we finally are. We were just about the LAST people off the ship. We WERE the last US citizen’s in line at Customs. I tried to use my Mobile Passport app…but they had it disabled [in the terminal] for some reason. It’s only good for Ft. Lauderdale’s port, at the moment.
We got to the big hall, rounded up our luggage, repackaged, regrouped and took our place…last…in line for US. The non-US line is still quite long!! We meandered over to the taxi line. There was a Broward Co. Sheriff acting as taxi starter. He looked at us, asked how many, saw the luggage and said, wait over there for a van. Most of the taxi’s are small eco cars. Several vans pulled up and the Deputy pointed to groups and pointed to cabs. The driver got our luggage loaded, we got loaded and we were off! It is a short distance, as the crow flies, but takes about 10-15min to get there. We’re flying jetBlue, so it’s terminal 3. The driver gets us all unloaded, Kyle pays him and he is pulling away when Kyle cries. ‘Oh NO!’ She’d left something in the van. Luckily, he didn’t get too far, due to traffic, and she chased him down and retrieved it! Whew!!
Check in at many airports now, are done at kiosks. We got our tags and boarding passes, went to the luggage drop off, and we were free!!!
There was, at one time, a possible plan of taking the free shuttle to downtown and finding a place for lunch and seeing the sights. NOT TODAY! It’s too hot and muggy and the consensus is, straight to the gate! We go through security and hike to the gate F8. There are restaurant’s and a few bars as we work our way in the terminal. There is a bar, how handy, right by F10. It’s a bit early for me for alcohol, so I opt for the ‘charging table’ to charge my phone and sit. A few later, I get a text. They’ve found food…the TV Test Kitchen restaurant a few gates back. I went to join them and we had Stella’s [beer] and fries! Kyle and I had sweet potato fries and Kathleen had some with Parm cheese [I think] and other spices. Our sweet little waitress let us sit there and veg. We had a LONG wait for our flight. It’s only noonish and our flight is 5:50pm! We’re finally set to go and &^%$#@ the bill is huge for 4 beers and 3 fries! I think, other than leasing the name TV Test Kitchen, it’s just a ruse to get you in there. And I DO realize that airport food is usually higher, but…really…$17.50 for a beer and a not so big container fries? Jan recognized the company name on the bill as one that has places, here in Old Town.
We trudge back to F8 and find seating. It’s still gonna be awhile. The poor people waiting for their Nashville flight, have been delayed 2-3 times, already. They had to find them a whole new plane! Time passes… We take turns charging different devices, taking strolls, trying not to fall asleep and snacking. I forget who noticed, but they looked at the big board and our flight had moved to gate F7…luckily, just across from us! And then, it’s finally time to board! YEAH!!
It always makes me laugh when people get snarky at boarding. We ALLLL have assigned seats, we are boarded in small groups and people still feel the need to cut in line or tell people the END of the line if over there! I boarded near the very end, b’cuz I have an aisle seat. Why rush! They’d kept announcing that this was a full flight and asking folks to please check–free of charge–their carry on. It must have worked b’cuz there was room for my backpack in the overhead! YEAH!
The flight is about 5hrs long. We’re airborne at 6:05pm EST. I reset my watch to local time. 4hrs. 55min to go! The flight has free Wi-Fi, for access to more movies, and such. I don’t use it, but I did watch one of the featured movies…’Baby Driver’. Interesting! There is also live TV, so I watch a few things. They’ve turned the lights of, shortly after take off. I tried to nap. Impossible! We hit bumpy air, several times. About an hour outta San Diego, and just NW of Phoenix [I had my flight map up] the intercom cracked with a very rushed ‘Medical Crew!!’ The attendants at the rear, raced forward. I don’t know what the problem was, but I could see a crowd around someone on the floor and the oxygen was taken out of it’s cabinet. Several passengers got up and went forward. I would guess/hope, people with medical training. That lasted for a bit. I was waiting to see if we’d be diverted, but the group slowly dissipated and everything returned to normal. I never did find out what the problem was. There was lots of rubbernecking [me too, once or twice], but…
We landed just before 8pm PST. HOME!!!! We had to wait a bit for the luggage. They all came at different times. We were all going different directions, so as we got our stuff, we took off. Of course, mine was the last to arrive! No one was available to pick me up…Marie offered. But, I KNOW she is in her jammies and I would never do that to you, Marie! Lauren was at a concert. There was a short line for cabs and I was on my way home! It was so hot, earlier, that Lauren and Marie had turned on my AC. Because the front door was closed, I couldn’t hear Sassy screaming…as she does when I come home. I dragged my luggage up stairs and dropped it inside the door. I’ll deal with it tomorrow!
Sassy and I had a good scratch and brush and lots of kisses. And then, I asked her if she was ready for bed…at 9:30pm! She was! She ran down the hall, as she does when I start turning out the lights. HOME SWEET HOME and MY OWN BED!