Sunday, January 7 was the day our 10-day Japanese Caribbean cruise ended. Once I wakened simply after 6am, it was nonetheless darkish and I observed that we’d beat Caribbean Princess to port. It departed Antigua about quarter-hour earlier than we did and I noticed that we have been following it the final two days (sea days). I additionally confirmed it on a cruise tracker.
A couple of minutes later, one other ship following our path, Movie star Ascent, pulled in. I used to be joyful I’d scheduled a rideshare prematurely utilizing Lyft as a result of I knew there have been at the least three cruise ships arriving to Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale) on the similar time. Turns on the market have been a complete of 5, together with a Disney and Royal Caribbean ship.
I feel all cruise traces are the identical, the place everybody disembarking must be out of their cabin by 8am and off the ship by 9am to allow them to prepare for the subsequent passengers. It’s really exceptional how environment friendly the crew are to get the cabins rotated so quick. I want accommodations may do the identical.
The identical effectivity takes place with getting everybody off the ship in a well timed method. I hadn’t disembarked a cruise ship within the U.S. because the pandemic and I can’t even bear in mind what it was like. All I do know is that we had an 11:38am flight out of Fort Lauderdale (FLL) and wanted to be on the airport at the least 80 minutes prior since we have been checking luggage.
Talking of luggage… We had three massive checked luggage. One was winter garments from our Christmas week in Toronto, the opposite had Christmas presents and different miscellaneous gadgets my mother-in-law had given us and the final was our cruise garments.
The way in which disembarkation works is that these checking luggage are given a chosen time and color-coded baggage tags. Baggage have to be left outdoors cabins earlier than going to dinner and then you definately retrieve them as soon as off the ship however earlier than going via U.S. Customs.
We determined to not go away our luggage because it’s safer and we didn’t know what it will be like attempting to retrieve them. Seems that was a mistake as a result of the luggage is all very organized and straightforward to retrieve.
Additionally, there are lengthy waits for the elevators and huge luggage make happening the steps a problem. After 10 minutes of full elevators, we determined to get in an elevator going up. We have been on deck 15 so it was just one additional degree. But it surely labored.
We took the elevator to deck seven, which was our designated spot for disembarkation but it surely seems it was simply the assembly level. To get off the ship, we wanted to make use of deck 6. So I ended up having to hold the baggage down a flight of stairs with the assistance of my brother-in-law. It wasn’t a giant deal.
Additionally, having massive luggage mechanically places you within the line with elevators as a substitute of the escalators when you’re off the ship. Surprisingly, it takes simply an additional 5 minutes. I used to be really shocked how briskly we, and everybody else, obtained off the ship.
The identical may be mentioned about going via U.S. Customs. I requested if there was a World Entry line however a pleasant cruise agent guiding everybody mentioned we don’t want one. Nor have they got one. They have been proper. The machines use facial recognition expertise so that you don’t even must take your passport out. Simply stroll up, stand nonetheless for a second and that’s it. We went from ship to curb in 17 minutes and it may have been even faster if it weren’t for some rookie errors.
A type of rookie errors was pre-ordering a Lyft. We ended up having to attend round till the time I’d set as a result of I didn’t suppose we may get off the ship that quick. It didn’t actually matter as a result of we have been ready someplace, both on the port or the airport.
As a result of we waited on the port, we obtained to say goodbye to my in-laws once more, who have been touring with us, and extra importantly, see first-hand that they obtained a rideshare (they used Uber) faster and cheaper than we did as a result of they hadn’t pre-scheduled. So lesson realized: Don’t schedule a rideshare however go away loads of time as a result of it took our driver quarter-hour simply to get into the pick-up space.
FYI: The cruise traces inform passengers to not e-book any flights out of FLL earlier than midday. It’s solely a six mile, 10-minute drive. Once we arrived to the airport, there was no line at American Airways top quality (I’ve elite standing so I can use that line).
There was additionally no line at TSA PreCheck however there was one for CLEAR so we didn’t use it once more. Not that this has something to do with our cruise but it surely’s price noting that the AA agent checking us in was essentially the most unfriendly agent I’ve ever encountered and that’s saying one thing. Happily, our flight to Dallas and LAX have been on time and we made it dwelling safely with our luggage earlier than I obtained actually sick for every week. It hit me the subsequent day.