It wasn’t so much the sound of her phone that woke me up at 5 am, but the light beaming off her cell phone from her bed that told me it was time to get up. “Are you really awake at this God awful hour?” I asked. Yes, she was because when Anna is back home, she is always up this early getting ready for work and getting her three kids off to school. I’m fortunate that I can sleep in until 5:30 am, but on my last day of vacation I was hoping not to have to wake up so early. “You’re killing me!” I said and then rolled out of bed to get ready to begin the hustle that was ahead of me for the day.
|Opus dining room|
Since our bags went out the night before, we only had our carry on bags with us to worry about as well as getting dressed and getting off the ship. For breakfast we decided on a quick sit down breakfast in the main dining room, Opus. I thought everyone would be up in the Oceanview Café, but no — we were all getting squeezed into tables here so obviously people were thinking like we were. They had a regular breakfast menu with eggs and waffles and the like so you could enjoy once last meal before heading home.
|Edie and Gloria in the Sky Lounge|
We quickly hurried back to our cabin to grab our bags, passports, and cabin cards to head down to the Tuscan Grille where they had a special departure lounge for Captain’s Club members. Who did we see on the way there? Our little friends, Gloria and Edie from Philadelphia, and we sat and chatted with them for a few minutes. What I love about cruising is really the people you meet and their stories. I don’t know if we would have ever had the opportunity to otherwise meet people like Edie and Gloria outside of our cruise, but I’m so glad we did. Before we knew it, our bag tags were called and it was time to leave. The bag tags are assigned based on your flight times and my flight was at 10:45 am and Gloria and Edie’s was shortly thereafter so we were right on time for simply walking off the ship.
|Deck three Foyer|
Meandering our way from deck three up to deck five, the same way we came on the ship was almost the same way we left. Instead of leaving by the Gelateria, we walked a little farther down past Café al Bacio, scanned our cabin cards and we were soon on our way. I say soon because Edie and Gloria, who I should add work together, were bickering and couldn’t find their cards. These two were so funny together the entire cruise that we joked that we would pay to watch them on TV or listen to them on the radio. Someone has to give them a show! I’m sure they didn’t find themselves entertaining, but if you were within 5 feet of them, you most certainly did.
|Baggage claim area inside the port|
Down the walkways and into the port building we went and finally came upon the luggage area. Every time I depart a ship, it always seems to be just a little different than the last time. Sometimes the bags are neatly lined up waiting for you to simply walk up, grab your bag, and go and other times, like this time, you had to search for your own bag. Similar to a baggage claim area at the airport, the bags were snaking their way around on the conveyor belt and on the yellow columns were the baggage tag numbers. These numbers, however, were not in chronological order so you really need to pay attention. Porters are available if you need assistance.
From this area you walk over to another line to exit the building. Be sure to have your passport and customs form filled out and ready to go. There was a Customs officer and a large German Shepherd sniffing bags as we went by them (Yes, I did quietly say, “Hi doggie!”) and like that, we were outside. I had discussed taking a cab with Edie and Gloria to the airport, but they were nowhere to be found and you cannot wait back in the building as they won’t allow you in or in front of the building. They certainly keep things moving along.
|Jeremy from MJS|
Anna had arranged for a ride to the Fort Lauderdale airport with Jeremy from MJS (gomjstrans.com) and the price? Only $13 and she got to ride in style in a super clean Mercedes shuttle. She had gotten a card from Lori and Ellisa when we met them in St. Maarten and she had called Jeremy before breakfast this morning. He said to call when she was getting her bags and she only waited five minutes before he was there. When she arrived at the airport, she put her bags in storage and spent the day with a friend at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, FL. She was able to leave her bag for up to 24 hours at $6 a bag in Public Baggage Storage by Bags-to-Go-Enterprises. They are open Friday through Monday from 9 am – 5:30 pm only.
|Miami International Airport|
Still no Edie or Gloria in sight and I knew I had to get to the Miami airport so I got in the taxi line. Cab rates are set at $24 from the port to the airport. While in line, Rocky and Lynn from North Dakota asked if I wanted to go with them to the airport and I said, “Yes.” What an incredible nice couple they were! Rocky was an absolute gentleman as he sat in front and allowed me to sit in the back with Lynn and we ended up chatting the entire ride to the airport. When we arrived, Rocky even paid the tab for all of us. Not often you meet extremely nice people like this and it definitely makes me think a trip North Dakota is definitely in order.
When you arrive at Miami International airport after a cruise, you can expect long lines no matter what airline you are flying back home on because usually there will be a few other ships arriving into port along with yours. As I went over to check my bag, some guy with one of those double wide strollers ran over my foot all in an effort to cut me off in line. Just as quickly as I believed in chivalry with Rocky, in an instant I was back to my old way of thinking. The security lines were long and I am so thankful to be working on my TSA Pre-Check to fly through the TSA screening lines. I’ll keep you updated on that as it happens.
|My favorite bartender, Agus!|
With little fanfare, I made my way through security and to my gate, which was boarding and I got onto my plane headed back home to Boston. What will I do tomorrow when Ozy isn’t there to make my bed? When Agus isn’t there to make me an incredible martini? What will I do when I have to don a winter coat and gloves instead of my flip flops? I think I will wait until that time to think about it and for now I will bask in the glow of the residual warmth of Miami and the Caribbean and my soon to fade suntan.
In the next few days I will offer my review of the ship and also my interview that I conducted while on board. If you’re wondering about my posts from the Celebrity Summit, they’ll be up soon!