December 17, 2019

Dec 15, Disembarkation and Home

I am awake long before the 7:00 that I set on the alarm. A trip to the Windjammer for a glass of juice and a roll.

I wander to our decided upon meeting spot on deck 4 near the theater. Before 8:00 everyone has arrived. Shortly Raphael leaves with the suite guests, we follow behind as instructed.

I takes about 10 minutes to get to the luggage area, and we proceed towards the customs agents after we gather our luggage. Again Raphael is there to direct us into a special line, a very short one just for the priveledged. 

Within 20 minutes of leaving the theater, we are standing waiting to board our shuttle bus. Just as the bus arrives, my son realizes he forgot to pick up Eliza's car seat from baggage claim.

If you think getting off a ship and thru customs can be cumbersome, don't even think about getting past customs to go back a get a piece of checked luggage. It can't be done!

The proper supersvisor must be found to retrieve the luggage and bring it thru customs to you. This process takes a little over an hour as the rest of us wait and watch bus after bus take passengers to the parking lot.

By the time Scott returns with car set in tow, there are a number of passengers waiting for the shuttle. All civility has been drained from their bodies. The last to arrive mange to push their way to the front of each line. It doesn't help that where the bus is going to stop is determined only by where he can find a space, not a designated slot. There is no organization.

Eventually we get a bus,  and are returned to our awaiting cars.

I am not nearly as tired as I was 8 days ago. The drive home is mostly uneventful from this point on. My plan was to stop in Ft Pierce for fuel and a rest stop. Suddenly the "range" of remaining fuel drops about 30 miles. Why? If the car instrumentation is accurate I will have 27 drops of gas left in the tank when I reach Ft. Pierce. The prudent decsision is to stop at the next service area on the turnpike. Ultmately we determine the fuel price is within pennies per gallon of the price in Ft Pierce. Stopping was a wise choice.

Next stop is Alyssa's house where most of the luggage and passengers are left. I head to Clermont with 3 others.

Soon I am home. Water turned on, Hot water heater started. A command to Alexa to turn on some music. "....unable to connect..."  I have no Internet. I reset the router. No better, the router is actually working. I call my provider. Unable to get past the "your next in line..." when I get disconnected.

Ok, deal with it later.

Finally at 9:30 PM I get to talk to a person. Sorry, everyone is gone for the day. Can I have someone call you when they come in?  Yes! Even if it is 4:30, the phone call will awake me.

Of course I never get a call, but I do call them again at 7:00. He tells me that he is unable to reset or do anything from his end, a serviceman will have to come to my house. Fine. When will that be?  The earliest is Thursday morning.

I didn't think that I would ever be writing to say that internet on a ship or most foreign countries is better than at home.

Unfortunately cell service in my home is almost non existant, and as a result I use the internet connection for my cell service also.

Thus the long delay in posting these last few days.

The laundry has been  washed and hung up all ready for my next trip. Until then, Any day at sea is a good day. Certainly true this trip.

Fri Dec 13, 14 At Sea

I am not one to be concerned about a Friday the 13th, but... We have left our last port of call, OK just a sad thing, not bad.

My son and I have been working on some simple software for a project I am working on for the train club. It  works fine in short term tests, but randomly fails long term testing unexpectdly. It must be the date. Scott acknowledges he gets a kick out of being to say that he was writing software while on a cruise ship. I actually doubt many of his coworkers can make that claim. I appreciate the help, he can accomplish in 30 minutes what would take me 2 days.

During the day on Friday, the seas slowly subside, the skies are blue and the sun bright.

The ship is properly decorated for the holidays with a large, maybe 25 or 30 foot, Christmas tree at one end of the promenade. At the other end is a 6 foot ginger bread house or more accurately, village. Great photo backdrops for the ship photographers.

I am happy to see that as the older ships are being renovated, sinks for handwashing are being added to the buffet entrance. Much more effective than hand sanitizer. The sinks here also have air hand dryers built into them, the first I have seen, very effective. Water, soap, wash and then dry without moving your feet and dripping water all over the floor.

I now have a better understanding of the extra perks for having attained Pinnacle status.

20 cans of soft drinks, some I have consumed, some shared, a few I will take home. This could have been 3 bottles of wine, but even though I drink wine, I can not drink that much, especially with an open bar in the lounge from 4:30 until 8:00.

A fruit basket, given to my cabin attendant.

A chocolate covered strawberry, yes 1, and other dessert snacks delivered on 3 days. Mostly consumed.

Internet service for the entire cruise. I shared with the rest of the family. Sometimes it works well, but not always. T Mobile cell service in most ports is better.

Pinnacle breakfast every morning. I never attended.

Meal with the officers in Giovanni's, excellent lunch even if everyone felt their steak was overcooked . No possible way I can have dinner after the lunch.

Early disembarkation, and priority access to customs agent line. I take advantage of this, and Raphael is kind enough to extend this benefit to everyone in my party. The only "extra" benefit I asked for.  We will be in the first group of passengers to disembark the ship after those that carry their own luggage. A task I do not care to do.

Access to "Suite Lounge". Very plush compared to older Concierge Lounge and Diamond Lounges. Never over crowded, well not on this cruise anyway, we will see if this holds for the future. The Diamond lounge is a different story, was severly over crowded. Drinks, food, etc are the same in both lounges. the ratio of servers to customers is much higher in the Suite Lounge

Other perks like free laundry, photos, reservations, and reserved seating for shows remains the same.

While talking about Pinnacle, there is a lady on the ship, with 88 years of maturity I was told, that was one of the first passengers to attain Pinnacle status. At the time celebrated with a party at the home of Royal's CEO. My understanding is that there are about 10,000 Pinnacle members today. What I don't know is if they are still all active. I tend to think not and that the given number represents all those that ever attained pinnacle status even if they have now been deceased for 10 years. How would Royal ever know?

Saturday finds a cool breeze across the deck with temperatures in the low to mid 70's. There is barely a ripple on the water. The pools remain very busy.

I watch the kids in the pool, surf the waverider, and climb the rock wall. All activities that I am too mature for.

I am just not motivated to pack, and don't until after 9:00 PM. It only takes about 30 minutes. Save out clean clothes for the trip home, everything else will be washed when I get home regardeless of whether it was worn. That just makes life easier.

I have yet been to the Schooner Bar except to watch the kids play Trivia. I don't think I shared that. The topic was Disney songs. They added up the accumlative years of Disney employment amongst them, I think the total was 74! Yes they were the only team to get a perfect score, and several key chains. I think there would have been a mutiny of trivia players if the others had known who the competition was.

The piano player was OK, but very loud. He had a handful of guests, but no where near the following that Kelley would have.

I return to the cabin, set the alarm for 7:00. Another cruise is concluded except for the trip home.