November 18, 2018

Arrival In Miami and the days that follow

Being the first visit to Port Canaveral by The Symphony of the Seas, when we departed last evening we were escorted by a US Coast Guard gun boat, and a harbor fire boat spraying water in front of us.  The gesture is symbolic, a traditional way of celebrating the arrival of important vessels. From a more practical viewpoint, I doubt the water streams could reach deck 5 if needed.

Alyssa arrives at my cabin to help me with my luggage. I can do fine on level surfaces, but sometimes I am not comfortable navigating the boarding ramps with two suitcase in tow when I would prefer to have one hand near the handrail. We leave the ship a few minutes after 8, probably the last of the self assist passengers.

The new terminal is more compact than some others. There is minimal delay in the process, a short wait for the elevator that actually has an operator. The building is packed with luggage. there is barely an empty spot anywhere with luggage piled well beyong the area they had planned.

We are probably outside within 20 minutes of leaving our cabin. Hot and humid as expected for south Florida. A quick inquiry and we learn where we should be picked up when Steve and Adrienne return with the rented vans for our trip home.

The sidewalk is wider than at the other terminlas in Miami, but that is the only thing that has improved at the newest terminal. Traffic is gridlock, there are hundreds of passengers trying to get cabs, every 3 or 4 minutes 1 arrives. About 75 passengers are wiating for a rental car shuttle. Eventually a minibus that will carry 20 passengers arrives. People are yelling and shoving, patience has worn thin very quickly. I have never liked the port of Miami, and the construction of a new terminal isn't doing anything to change my opinion.

After a two and a half hour wait, our vans arrive and we start our drive north.  I decide I need more than OTC remedies for my cold. I call my doctor to see if I can get in to see her late this afternoon.  Her last appointment will be at 3:20, I won't be home by then.

I take the opportunity to listen to the remainder of the book I started on the ship. Text messages are exchnaged with other travellers. Scott, Melinda and Eliza are in Ohio for a family get together. Eliza's first flight went well. Accoring to her mother "she loved it".

Pann and Terry, make it back to Ohio. They have another stroke of good luck, but I must go back. When they arrived in Barcelona, their hotel room was upgraded. Boarding the ship, they were upgraded from an interior to an oceanview. Waiting to board at the airport, they were upgraded on their flight. What are the odds? They deserve it, and I hope they bought a few lottery tickets this week.

I'm home just after 3:30. First order of business - a trip to urgent care for a dose of antibotics to kill my sinus infection. A week of rest and I will be as good as new, new being a relative term.


Day 12 Port Canaveral

The ship pulls ino port very early in the morning. Crew members are processed by CBP, departing passengers leave, and by about 8:00 AM the passengers begin to get off the ship. I decide it is easier to wait on the ship than in the terminal so I wait until about 10:30 to leave.  

Actually all passengers were scheduled to be off the ship by now, but only about 60%  have made it. The process is slow, there is no room in the terminal, so passengers are backed up onto the ship waiting for space in the terminal to get off. Even once off the ship there will be an hour or longer wait to be processed by CBP, the real bottleneck.

Over night my cold has come back with a vengeance. I get little sleep, and even comptemplate making a visit to a local urgent care facility. My son and family has met the others at the Grill.  I call them and ask that Scott be sent on a shopping trip for more cold medicine. I'm concerned I won't have enough to get me home Friday.

After his successful shopping, he picks me up at the terminal to take me to the Grill to meet up with the others. A diet Coke to wash down the cold medicine. We can hear the ship announcements as passengers continue to be disembarked. About 1:00 it appears everyone is off the ship, and by 1:30 passengers are starting to reboard.

The only good things I can say about our stop in Port Canaveral is that the weather was perfect, typical tropical Florida, and the Grill was reasonably priced. They were well staffed for the crush of cruise passengers with nowhere to go.

Scott drives me back to the terminal and I head to the cabin to rest.

At 5:30 I head to the Windjammer one last time. Over the last 10 days the food quality and variety has been deteriorating.Tonight the presentation is superb, the beef stew good, but the Orange Chicken not even luke warm.  

I meet up  with others at the Trellis Bar in Central Park prior to their trip to the dining room. We are entertained by the interior balcony guest that is oblivious to the fact that passengers can see in his cabin as he walks aroundwith no apparent clothing.

By 8:00 I am back in the cabin packing my suitcase. It has been decided we will do self assist departure in Miami to avoid some of the lines. Adrienne and Steve will get off before 8:00 to pick up the vans, and the rest of us will follow shortly afterwards.