Sunday, January 6, 2013

Island Princess Christmas Cruise [Day 11] - Disembarkation

So we arrived in port that morning with six other ships. Mega ships.

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Our disembarkation time was 9:45, but we were supposed to be out of the room by 8:00. We were told that we could leave our bags in the room until 9:00 and go eat breakfast which was a great convenience. After breakfast, we got our bags and waited in the casino.

We had been hearing over the loudspeaker that disembarkation was backed up because we only had three customs agents. Princess was sure to let us know that it wasn't their faut.

We finally got called to disembark the ship at 10:30. They were nearly an hour behind schedule. Once we got off the ship and collected our bags, the customs line was ridiculous. We were a little peeved that they called us so early because we were comfortable waiting in the casino and were having good conversation with our North Carolina friends. There was also no porter line at this terminal, so our porter waited in line with us. Luckily, he was a very friendly guy. He told us that because of all the ships in port, we had gotten unlucky with terminal 19. Princess owns terminal 2, so everything runs smoothly there, but terminal 19 is just a mess.

Finally, after waiting in line for nearly an hour, we were moved over to the handicap entry because we had a porter and they needed the porters to hurry up and get back to help more people with luggage. So we get through customs and our porter takes our things to the parking garage, and we tip him and send him on his way.

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We're waiting outside in the windy cold for like 20 minutes. I finally call Dad. "I can't find the car anywhere!" We ask around, and no one really has the answer in the parking garage. We realize this is probably not the parking garage we parked in... it doesn't look familiar at all. The terminal doesn't look familiar at all. Dad and I go back track to where we exited and asked around there. Finally, someone was able to tell us that we had entered in terminal 2, but we were at terminal 19 now, so we would have to take a shuttle back to the parking garage at terminal 2.

So you're telling me that with all of these announcements Princess was making about how this disembarkation mess wasn't their fault, they didn't bother to tell us that not only were we at terminal 19, but that we were at a DIFFERENT TERMINAL!?!?!??? There should've been signs everywhere! It should've been in the Patter! We should've been told as we exited the ship!!!

I knew that we were at terminal 19, but it had been ten days - I didn't remember that we had arrived at terminal 2! Why didn't they remind us? You would've think that they would've been announcing that over and over again.

We FINALLY left the port at 12:20. And yes, customs sucked, but I also blame Princess. It just really stunk to leave with such a bitter taste in our mouths. We had a great cruise. We really enjoyed Princess and will probably sail with Princess again. But disembarkation is the last place you want to make enemies. You want people to leave your ship remembering what a great cruise they had and wishing they could stay, not begging to go home and then unable to find their car.

We had originally planned to spend the rest of the day at a beach, but it was cold and windy.... so instead we drove by the beach.

First we headed down to Miami. Rachel had never been to Miami before.

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The we drove by the beaches of Fort Lauderdale...

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It looked like a really cool beach town, and I'd love to spend more time there when the weather is warmer.

We were meeting our table mates from Canada that we had met on our last Christmas cruise on the Adventure for dinner in Orlando. They had just returned from their cruise on the Freedom of the Seas and were spending a few days in Orlando, so we had to meet up!

This is actually the first time we've actually reunited with a family we met on a cruise. Often, we'll exchange addresses and emails but never contact eachother again. I'm Facebook friends with many people I've met and will continue to talk to them from time to time, but no true reunion.

They left the restaurant choice up to us. I called and got us a reservation for Boma at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge.

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We had a lovely dinner with the Smith family (I say their last name only because it's so common), exchanging cruise stories. It was almost as if it hadn't been a year since we'd seen eachother! It was so great to meet up with them, and we're even planning to book the same cruise next Christmas!