Ok, it is disembarkation day. Not our favorite time, but, we are at least happy to be in a port. We bring down the luggage to the atrium where I tag a chair and Mary goes to breakfast. I don't really care for this breakfast as it's mostly made up in advance and it is mediocre at best, so I am happy to skip it and wait out in the atrium to observe how this is going to unfold.
It went VERY smoothly, I must admit. They staggered the breakfasts a bit, offering a continental one early to anyone who had to catch a flight up at the deck 9 buffet. So they came down first, mostly in a group, and were ushered off the ship in short order as soon as we were cleared. Then they called the next tag, but it became evident quickly that they had stopped checking groups, since they had gotten the one time critical group off already. So by this time Mary's done with breakfast and we disembark. Which happens very smoothly. We go off all our luggage in tow, walk thru the terminal building where people are looking for theirs and get in line for a PC bus.
My strategy of keeping our luggage does help us some in getting to a bus sooner, but the DCL crew put in an extra effort to not only group the luggage by section but even by stateroom number as best they can, something they usually don't do, so friends who did have to stop to claim theirs didn't have all that long to look to find theirs from what we saw. I'm still glad we kept ours, I always worry ours is going to get mixed up somehow.
The bus situation was run very orderly and efficiently, they boarded only as many people as the bus would hold luggage for, so everyone went with theirs. On boarding, there were also boxed snacks and water waiting for us.
So this 3 1/2 hour ride wasn't going to be all that bad after all. We wern't on a DCL bus, but heard from others who were that they even got to watch movies on the ride back. We at least had a driver who had a good taste in music. And they included a halfway stop at a rest area for everyone to use restrooms, walk, and pick up anything else from the concessions if they wanted to.
All in all a pleasant ride back, we were unloaded under the canopy where you normally drop off luggage, gathered our things, got in our car and drove over to WDW for a few more days there before heading home. About halfway to there the rain had stopped, and the sun was even trying to make a showing. This is one focused storm.
Now this is normally where such a trip report would end, but no, it just keeps on going. We get back to Boardwalk, check in, and relax for a bit. Then have a nice dinner at Teppanyaki in Epcot Japan with Robin and Mike. It's one of those Bennihana type places where the chef comes to your table and cooks to order right in front of you. Fun show and excellent meal. Fits right in with the cruise we just came off of. We spend the rest of the evening in a very lightly attended park with the two of them, even almost walking on to Soarin'.
Friday is our last day of the Florida part of the vacation, and we spend the early part of the day in an equally empty Magic Kingdom! Walk on to rides that normally have huge lines. And we didn't even go over there early. The weather has been for the most part cooperative, mid 80's, cloudy, and a few easily avoidable short passing showers. Not even too bad on the humidity.
We made a stop for lunch at one of my other favorite eateries, the Kona Cafe in the Polynesian. Can't go by without one of their beef teriyaki salads. And, yet again, wind up having another fun unplanned mini meet! We run into KarenNY and Kath/nativetxn who we were hoping to meet up with back at the precruise meet before the cruise, but missed them. They had come off the repo cruise before the Member Cruise. Didn't miss them now, and had a very happy reunion before dining.
We at some point today need to catch up with Cindy and company to take a box back home for her as well. This winds up happening as we are in our room talking over what to do for dinner. When we get a cellphone call saying they're downstairs where are we? They tell us they're going for dinner to Cape May Buffet, one of the two places we were debating to go to ourselves. So of course we ask if we can come along.
This turns into another post cruise mini meet as we wind up running into Stitch#1 & Grumpy clan, both before and during dinner. And the cruise meal experience still carries forward as our dinner server tells us while we are doing the buffet part of the dinner they are doing a crab leg special and Cindy gets this very generous plate of them. We wind up not finishing dinner until about 10 pm we were having such a good time.
So, we do finally part ways with our Dis cruiser friends at this point, Mary and I having a 2 day road trip still ahead of us before we return home. We stopped at Lookout Mountain, something we had never done together, Mary never, myself when I was little, and it was fun and I do recommend it as a nice travel stop for anyone who wants to drive down.