"Cruising" Day Ten
Diane and I woke at false dawn. Voyager was already docked. In just a few minutes the sunrise could be seen in the glass of the buildings outside our balcony. I took a couple of pictures. We dressed without saying much to each other. We did not have to. Diane put on a red short sleeve lace up shirt and white Capri pants. I think I put on one of my new Liz Claiborne for men tees, brown and off white linen shorts. We packed our dress clothes from the evening before in our carryons as well as all our personal care stuff. I grabbed a bottle of wine that Wanich sent to our cabin the night before and padded it with some Royal Caribbean shopping bags and stowed it away in my bag. I did an idiot check (make sure you don’t forget anything or you will feel like an idiot). We took a last look at Diane’s beautiful roses, still blooming. They were the best looking roses that I have ever bought. I picked up the Voyager Art Catalog and zipped it into my bag. We took a last look at our animal collection; made sure the balcony was locked, grabbed our bags and then just stood there. After a moment or two I said “We have to go Diane, on the count of four we roll... 18.104.22.168”.
Out the door she went, I followed.
We hoped to see Collin, but he was not to be seen and I really did not want to disturb him. I figured he was having a busy morning. We made it a point to leave him a very good tip and Diane wrote a very personal thank you on the envelope. He was the best.
We passed the Egyptian art in its case for the last time and took the elevator up to the Windjammer. We assembled our normal breakfast after receiving a cheerful good morning from the plate person. How they can stay so cheerful all the time is quite a skill. We sat with another couple and talked about building a house and a little bit about cruising. I forget where they were from. We met a lot of nice people on this cruise, if only for a brief time.
We ran into Dondi and Joe from our catamaran trip at Cozumel the night before. They went with Diane and me on our last tour of the ship. I wanted to see the Sky Chapel and the “Who’s Next?” men’s room. That is a very large bathroom on deck 11 next to the florist with water cascading down a marble wall that you, well if you know the Who’s album cover you should understand. It was different. Dondi and Diane snuck in to see it.
We finished breakfast and decided to find a chair out on deck 4 (seemed logical to me) until our blue tags were called. We expected to be late since we were not flying out that day. We turned in our customer satisfaction forms on the way down. Deck 4 had quite a few people sitting around. We rolled our bags next to an empty chair and in just a minute our Tennessee friends came by with a couple of Labadee walking sticks. They were quite ornate but I wondered how difficult it would be to take them on the plane. They also had blue tags. We chatted awhile about South Beach which we could see in the distance and then I asked Diane if she wanted to play a game of shuffle board. She agreed but after awhile it was obvious her head was not into it. We played only one or two games. We heard a few colors being called, but it seemed to be a long time in between. It was over an hour before we heard “Blue, would all passengers holding Blue tags please proceed to customs and baggage claim” We said good bye to our tablemates. They left but we were in no hurry. We sat and looked at the South Beach skyline for about another half hour and Diane announced she needed to find the ladies room. We rolled our way back into the ship, she made her stop, a RCCL staffer moved a yellow nylon ribbon out of the way of the exit and we were off the ship.
The line through customs was not too bad. We found out that because it was Columbus Day they were short handed. It’s always something. It took about twenty minutes to get through the line, show our proper IDs, head down the escalator (ironically island music playing) make a right turn and roll our way to baggage carousel D. All the baggage areas were quite busy. We needed three bags to come off, hopefully all in one piece. Diane had one floral bag, easy to distinguish and I had two black Kenneth Cole bags. They looked like every other black bag. Diane’s bag and my largest one came around together and I pulled them off to the floor. I looked for my second bag but it refused to show. I walked around thinking that I might have missed it. A porter walked over with his handcart and asked if he could help. Diane said that we had not found all our bags yet. He suggested that I try the other carousels; they sometimes come down the wrong one. I did, but to no avail. I was just about to announce that I was sure it was lost and find a RCCL baggage agent when Diane spotted the bag. Relieved, I lifted it to the floor. Right then I decided that when we got home, one of the first things I was going to do was buy some gigantic bright neon tags for my bags. A large friendly porter with a full gray beard (the same porter who refused to accept Liras as his tip) asked to take our bags. I had already strapped my three together and Diane’s two and we were ready to roll. He said Man, don’t hurt your back now. I told him I could handle it just fine. I pulled the first bag onto its wheels and the other two followed. It is quite a sight actually. We had one more customs desk to go through, declared all our expensive vitamins which surprised him and we went out the exit to the bus terminal. I looked back at the ship, shrugged it off and rolled toward our bus. Diane was right behind me. We dropped off our luggage climbed aboard the bus and we were told by the driver it would be about fifteen minutes before we would leave. Diane and I both opened our books.
Twenty minutes later, after some more passengers boarded we were off to the airport. Up the terminal ramp, our departure view of the Voyager running in reverse. Soon the ship and our trip were behind us. The bus arrived at Miami airport departures terminal. We sat while the entire luggage was being unloaded. I noticed that Quinn and Mary were on board the bus. Diane and I said hello and then goodbye, they looked tense, I guess they were squeaking it to their flight. We got off the bus and hitched up the bag train again. I saw an Avis bus and tried to flag it down, but it kept right on going. A security officer walked up and told us since 911 the buses will not pick up at departures only arrivals one floor down. He escorted us to a large elevator, pushed the button, we loaded up and headed down. Once the elevator opened we exited outside and saw our bus. I waved at it, it stopped, and we loaded on board. The bus drove us to the Avis rental center and dropped us off right in front of the counters. Diane tipped the driver and watched the luggage while I went in a rented our car. I had a reservation for something mid size like an Alero, but the agent saw our bags through the window and said we needed something larger, only six dollars more per day. Sounded good to me. I signed for a Buick Century (a grandpa car according to my son). She gave me directions to Melbourne and a good map and I went to get the car. It was in spot 188, I pulled it over by Diane and we loaded up. I could not get all the bags into the trunk; two went in the back seat. We got in the car, I familiarized myself with the location of the important controls for the radio, air (it had a temperature control for each seat) lights, wipers and such. Then we pulled up to the exit booth, handed the agent our contract, she scanned it and we were on the road.
We had a two hour drive up I-90 to Melbourne. Diane called Jeri on her cell to let her know we were on our way. Soon we were passing through Fort Lauderdale, past the airport where our cruise began almost.
Sometime later in some small town, we stopped at Burger King for lunch. It was not the Windjammer. By four that afternoon we pulled into Jeri’s driveway. The cruise was now officially over. We would spend two days with Jeri. We were staying at the Courtyard Marriott located close to her house. The next morning we planned to visit Downtown Disney and we would be flying out of Orlando at eight thirty Tuesday night. Right now though, I was tired, needed some dinner and I knew that there would be a ball game on later. As I said before one of the drawbacks to cruising in the fall is missing the playoffs. Being with Jeri and Mark, and watching the Angels play the Twins would help me a little to readjust to the real world.
I hoped it would anyway.