I am awakened by the noise and vibration of the bow thrusters as the ship pulls into dock before sunrise. We are docking at terminal 6 instead of terminal 3 where we departed from. We were informed of this change before boarding last week.
More of an industrial dock than a cruise terminal, the view from the porthole reveals a high wire fence and a handfull of SUVs just behind it in a paved parking area.
Cereal for breakfast and nothing to do but wait.
The ship is cleared, and disembarkation begins about 15 minutes early. Group by group passengers leave. The hazmat team arrives. They want our luggage, not us.
Shortly after 9 there is an announcement for all passengers remaining on the ship to proceed to deck 4. Does that mean me? A call to the front desk. No, that means everyone except you. We will come get you when it is time to leave.
It is now my time. Hazmat arrives and escorts us to the crew exit on deck 3 which leads directly to the dock. Our luggage is just in front of us on a small cart. My sea pass card is scanned to officially indicate I am no longer on the ship. An officer standing back from the door just asks if we have passports. I indicate we do. He takes our word and doesn't want to see them.
As we stand on the dock, a driver approaches and asks our name. We are not who he is looking for, but we are passengers he needs to transport. There is much discussion about someone taking the wrong vehicle earlier, and who was going to go where. In a few minutes we are on our way to the parking garage.
We are dropped off, and are given directions to the elevator. Greatly appreciated. This may not seem like much, but I didn't park the car originally, and I have no idea the layout of the parking facility. Unfortunately we eventually learn that we are at the wrong elevator, in the wrong section of the garage. No big deal, there is an opening in the fence and the car is located on the other side.
The others have made it to their waiting car. I never did see them as we were taken of the ship one party at a time.
We are on our way home. Well almost. I am the first car at the crossing gates, sitting for 20 minutes for a CSX freight train.
The rest of the trip is uneventful. After unpacking, laundry and the normal after trip routines, I make appointments to be retested to verify Omicron has run its course. Until then I will remain isolated, but on my terms not those of the hazmat team.
In summary, I most likely contracted covid several days before I boarded. It was not yet detectable at my preboarding covid testing.
My symptoms were very mild, at most a cough, which was masked by the fact that allergies have been very bad in Florida this season.
Did Royal do what they needed to do? Yes. Could they have done a better job? Yes, especially in communicating to the passenger. They knew exactly what was going to transpire from the moment of the first positive test. That could have been communicated to the passenger but it wasn't.
Will this event stop me from future cruise travel? No. Another cruise was booked while I was on board.