Thursday, February 19, 2015

Caribbean Running Cruise Day 9 - Debarkation Day

Woke up today feeling a little sad, and dreading the travel day ahead. Peeked out the window and we were already back in our berth ... right where we started.

We got up and headed upstairs for our morning run -- on a glorious, sunny morning.

Four and a half times around for a quick mile... pretty funny when the boat doesn't appear on the satellite map picture:

We grabbed a bite to eat -- our LAST MEAL ON BOARD -- and went back to get cleaned up and say goodbye to our lovely cabin. We'll definitely miss the surprisingly comfy bed (how smart to round the foot of the bed -- makes it much easier to move around it in a confined space!), the oddly firm sofa (maybe there's a hide-a-bed in there?), the tiny vestigial curtain, our lovely balcony... and of course our amazing cabin attendant, Maureen, who fussed over us, folded stray gear, and sang love songs in the hallway.

Then the waiting game began... a game in which there are no winners, only losers, and would take all day...

We had asked to be late off the ship -- might as well stay somewhere comfortable, rather than rush to the airport to sit around for HOURS. But we vacated our room promptly, and then wandered around a little.

We rode the elevators for the first and only time from the tippy top to Deck 4.

Royal Promenade from the elevators
We poked our heads in the dining room, which had been designated a "departure lounge" ...

dining room atrium
but we were feeling a little restless, so we decided to keep meandering along. We bumped into a few friends in the Royal Promenade, got our last "free" soda (ha ha), and then, because they pried the railing from our fingers, finally left the ship.

If a cruise can be heavenly and relaxing, "debarking" might as well be called "coming back to earth with a thud". Slow-moving lines to get off the ship, through the baggage pickup area, and then through customs, everyone looking tired and a teensy bit miserable. The bright fluorescent bulbs in the port hall serve the same purpose as they do in a club at closing time -- the party's over, get out.

Forty minutes later, we emerged into the bright sun and chaos of the pick-up / taxi / shuttle area. We figured we would just grab a taxi to the airport ... But the taxi line was loooooong and didn't appear to be moving. So we allowed ourselves to be piled into an airport shuttle... along with some running cruisers... and just got out of there.

It is meant to be a quick 10-15 minute drive to the airport... but traffic was crawling, and it took about 45 minutes. We had toyed with the idea of grabbing a rental car for the day when we got to the airport... but seeing the traffic snarls (there was a large bike ride that had a lot of roads closed) made that much less appealing. 

Of course, it was a decision we would revisit and question several times over the next few hours, since we couldn't drop off our bags until hours later. (Note to self: never fly Alaska to Fort Lauderdale again.)

Wil and I found a reasonably peaceful spot outside, circled our suitcases, sat down, read books, and occasionally went in search of refreshments or a change of scenery.

ad campaign of the year???
Finally, the Alaska counter opened so we could drop off our bags, breeze through security, and wait a couple more hours on the other side. We had a very nice veggie burger at Shula Burger -- one nice feature was this cute "branded bun" (LITERALLY branded!:

Finally, it was time to get on our flight home. The less said about the flight, the better... but we made it home safely and had a bit of quality time with the cats before collapsing into bed. 

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