Friday, 18 August 2006:
We were once again rudely awakened by the sound of the PA in our room, saying all guests who have white, lavender, or grey luggage tags could disembark. Who cares? I'm still asleep, and we were assigned green tags anyway.
So instead of sleeping until 7:45 like I had planned (we had to be out of the room by 8:00), I woke up at 7:00. Oh, the pain.
After journaling the events of last evening, we left the room to meet the others up in the Windjammer for one last meal onboard. And I needed to grab a new customs card, since the one I picked up last night was actually in Spanish. My customs card filled out, we waited patiently upstairs for our color tags to be called. And we waited. And then the restaurant closed down, so they wanted us to leave, but fortunately, on our way out the door, the announcement came for our green tags and Chad and CJ's purple tags, so we were ready to go!
Down to fourth floor, wait in line, scan our SeaPass cards at security, and then leave the boat from the opposite side from where we came in. Down a hallway, down an escalator, and to the baggage claim carousels. Then it was time to actually cross through customs, for which there was a rather long line. Fortunately for us, one of the porters pointed out that there was actually a second line with literally no one in it, all we had to do was cross around to the other end of the barricades to enter - so we did and passed right through!
By coincidence, we found the same taxi driver (Lorenzo) that had brought us to the cruise port on Monday, so we hired him to bring us back to the hotel, where we would sit and wait until it was time to go to the airport for our flight tonight. We checked our bags with the bell man on duty, and sat in the hotel lobby for the next considerable amount of time, reading, talking, doing stuff on our laptops, whatever we could to keep us entertained. I even wrote a few letters that I won't need to deliver until next year!
One benefit of having all this spare time to just sit and do "nothing" is that I could spend a lot of it calmly going through some of my post trip "processing", such as downloading my pictures from my phone (I used my RAZR as my camera for the whole trip), moving voice records from my voice recorder onto my laptop for later transcribing and actions, and going through a few of the emails I didn't have time or interest in addressing yesterday, thus getting me closer to being back "online", or rather, up and running, so to speak, when I finally get home.
To the relief of myself and CJ, our group of four that was leaving today (Matthew, Chad, CJ, and myself) got to the airport plenty early, checked through their security, and then waited. We boarded about 5 minutes early, left about 5 minutes early, and landed 5 minute early, so not a bad deal. I called Mom and Dad as we taxied to the gate, and then met them at baggage claim a few minutes later. It's good to be home.
A couple of random cruise notes remain, but I wasn't able or didn't remember to work them at the times, so this list stands as thus:
We were the only table in our dining room (that we noticed) that drank milk with dinner. Everyone had their water and wine glasses, of course, but we were the only table that added goblets of milk each night. And our servers were very cool about it, too - they were slightly confused the first night when we were all asking for milk (I started that trend), but each night since they brought out a pitcher and a tray filled with full milk goblets - they learned quickly.
I never did make my way to the exercise studio on the boat with all their fancy machines, but I did get plenty of exercise by almost always using the stairs instead of the elevators (I took a total of three elevator trips). This is significant when one considers we lived on deck 2, while the Windjammer is on deck 11, the pool (where I often met up with the others) is up on deck 10, and the balconies looking out to the oceans were only on deck 7 and above. So I got lots of exercise on the stairs, which made me happy.
And I never got sea sick. I was worried, as I had felt a little queasy-like back in July when we took the ferry over Lake Michigan, but I never felt nauseous at all on this trip (well, not from the waves - the over abundance of food did admittedly cause an amount of stomach discomfort on more than one occasion).
That's it. It's "tomorrow" - Saturday - and, though I had a decently good time, I'm very glad to be home again.