I am waiting at the airport and thought I would do two things. I want to drop you a photo of one of the most magnificent sunsets I have ever seen (taken last night at sea off Florida from the 14th deck).
We did all the usual stuff: Put our luggage out the night before, kept clothes and carryons to get off with, had breakfast in Baristas, told Massimo goodbye, packed up and got out of our stateroom by 8:00.
Disembarkation from the ship was a little delayed. The first people were not allowed off until 7:45, so please take that as a warning if you think you will just be able to walk off to catch an early flight. We got off with the first group.
From that point on, we split into two groups. Mike and Cathy were driving home to Wellington (just 40 miles or so north), and I needed a ride to the Avis office to get a rental car for the day. Mike, Cathy and I were some of the first to exit under a covered awning and then into an air-conditioned room warehouse-like room where all the luggage was located. We got their luggage (Kathleen, Jamie and Steve would get ours when they got off), and we were on our way. Their driver met us right outside the building, and we didn’t get too wet getting in.
I talked them (and their driver) into taking me the two miles (as the crow flies) but nine miles (as the car drives), which was awesome of them. We had a heck of a time finding it because our driver was only letting his phone show written directions and not a map. We came very close to hitting a median barrier head on. It was about as scared as I have been while driving in a while. But we did finally get there.
People had warned me about this particular Avis office. That they would not start their shuttle to the port until 9:00 am (when you have to be off the ship) or that they would not have cars ready when you got there, no matter when you reserved them. I was hoping this would not be the case with me, but alas, it was. I was the first customer in the door at 8:00 a.m. when they opened. The lady at the desk said that they were cleaning my car and that I would have to wait. We had reserved a Chevy Suburban because there were five of us with all our luggage, and when I came in, I had seen a white Suburban about a block away in their parking lot.
Did I forget to mention that when we got up this morning on the ship, there was a light rain, and it was 85 degrees? And that as soon as we left the ship, the heavens opened up and literally dumped water. Thunder, lightning and the equivalent of a firehose of water. So, getting from Mike and Cathy’s ride to the Avis counter left me soaked to the skin.
Inside the agency, I was told to have a seat. There were four chairs and room for about eight other people to stand, and by the time I left (25 minutes later) the place was full. Not sure what was going to happen when their 9:15 shuttle arrived.
In the meantime, while waiting, I was watching the white Suburban out the window. No one was cleaning it, or anywhere near it, so I kind of assumed it was not my car. Wrong again. After seeing it sitting there with nothing being done to it, my name was called, and I was told that it was my car. Since it was still POURING, I asked if they could possibly pull it up to the office for me so I didn’t have to get the two bags I had with me (and myself) totally soaked. I was told (by the three people working there—doing nothing) that I should just walk the block…which I did, getting myself and my bags thoroughly soaked. I mean, I looked like a wet dog who had been walking in Seattle rain for at least an hour.
And when I got to the car, I could not figure out how to open it. I got the front door open but not the rear cargo area. I knew it was on my key fob, but I couldn’t see through the water on my glasses which little icon it was—I finally got it figured out and got into the car to try and figure out the car’s systems. It was at this point that I wished I had paid better attention in high school Spanish because all the controls on the cars were programmed in Spanish, and I was darned if I could figure out how to change them back to English. In the meantime, 9:00 am had rolled around, so I needed to get back to pick up Kathleen, Jocelyn, Steve and Jamie at the ship. So I had to use my phone to navigate, and I was back in front of the cruise port within about 20 minutes…just as they were walking off. They jumped in the car, and we were off.
Off to where? Originally, we had wanted to do a Miami tour because all of us were leaving in the late afternoon. But at the last minute, Steve and Jamie’s flight got moved way up (it’s 3:30, and they are already in the air), but ours didn’t. That’s why I rented a car. I also found a Miami driving tour app that did a nice 1.5-hour tour of Miami with narration and GPS. It worked fairly well, but it still needs improvement. When we were done with the tour, it was time to drop Jamie and Steve at the Fort Lauderdale airport. Once we had them off to airplane land, we headed into downtown Fort Lauderdale to grab lunch. We found a great Mexican place downtown—El Camino. Give it a try if you are downtown, but remember, the portions are enormous.
And that led us back to where we are now, Fort Lauderdale airport at 4:30 p.m., waiting for our 5:40 p.m. Alaska Air flight. We will get back tonight around 9:00 PST (which will be midnight based on when we got up), and then we have about an hour ride home. Whew. I am tired just thinking about the six-hour flight coming up. Thank goodness we are in First Class. And thank goodness we are heading home. See you tomorrow with a ship tour in photos, provided I get out of bed. Otherwise, it might be Monday.
Oh, and we have all decided it was basically a great cruise and a great trip, no matter how many rental car snafus there were🤣 .
Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts. —Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.