Saturday, June 11
The last morning of a cruise is always bittersweet. But that just means that it was a good cruise if you are not ready for it to be over. And this one had definitely been good.
We woke up earlier than the previous mornings. But not as early as the crew, it appeared, because we were already docked at Port Canaveral when we woke up. We went out on our verandah to check out the view, and my parents were already out there, too. Across the way was another ship, the Carnival Freedom, so that we were not the only early bird arrivals in the port.
Good morning, other ship! That would be the Carnival Freedom, missing the standard Carnival wings from its main funnel.
Way off in the distance, NASA buildings at Kennedy Space Center. Just a reminder that cruise ships are not the only things that leave from around here.
Another reminder: those two white boats in the foreground are SpaceX boats!
One good thing about putting our suitcases out in the hall the night before to be taken away was that there was not much to pack up as we were getting ready to leave. Laura had already made sure to consolidate all our purchases into as few bags as possible, and then we each had a bag for our clothes. And I also had my camera bag, of course.
One more photo of Laura on the verandah…
…and Jaylin on the verandah, too.
We met my parents and the Luttrells out in the hallway so that we could all go to breakfast together one last time. On the way there, we found Reeda in one of the rooms down the hall, so that we could tell her how much we had enjoyed her service in our rooms over the last week. She had kept everything in top shape, and we were thankful. She wished us well and hoped to see us again soon.
Our breakfast assignment was once again in Royal Court, so we headed there with all of our stuff. We found our way to our table, and Randy and Yuni once again served us cheerfully. I had a pastry and some orange juice, which was plenty for me. Randy and Yuni asked us about our plans. We were all going in different directions. Laura, Jaylin, and I were going home. My parents were going to Atlanta to visit my sister and her family. And the Luttrells were going to South Alabama to drop Kyle and Jennifer off at a church mission trip. Randy and Yuni also wished us well and hoped to see us again soon. On our way out, we saw Nolan one last time, and also thanked him for his great service throughout the week. He had been the hardest working head server that we ever had on our cruises, and that did not go unnoticed.
One new procedure for this cruise was that you were assigned a time to leave based on the color of the luggage tags that they gave you the night before. Those tags would also help you find what area your luggage was in once you reached the terminal. We had Orange Goofy tags. But by the time we had finished breakfast, all tag colors were able to leave the ship. So once we got out into the Atrium Lobby, there was actually a line of people leaving the ship. After making one last quick restroom stop, we had to walk quite a way to find the end of the line. That had never happened before. Maybe it isn’t that way with every cruise, but it seemed to me like that was one Covid change that they could do without.
We wound our way through the line, which moved for a while, but sometimes slowly. Once we got off the ship and into the terminal building, the line stopped for a while. I don’t think any of the Covid changes were meant for you to be in a large group of people like that. Not that we were worried about it or anything, but it was different from before when we had moved quickly when getting off the ship.
The line eventually did start moving again. We got to the luggage area and were able to find all of our luggage pieces easily, even if they were not all right together. We got in line for customs and got separated from the rest of our group, which was not a big deal. The line moved relatively quickly. When we got to the customs agent, he only briefly looked at our passports and then told us to have a nice day. They used to take much longer and do some computer things, but I am not complaining about the quicker entry at all.
We did find the Luttrells and my parents one last time, but separately, and they all left ahead of us. It did not take us that long to get our car loaded up, and then we headed out, too. On our way out, we noticed that things had been moved around already, since new passengers coming in had to self-test for Covid instead of everyone being tested at the port before boarding. In some ways, I was glad that they took care of the testing for us, even if it did slow us down a little getting on the ship.
On the drive home, we got into some pretty heavy traffic on Florida’s Turnpike and I-75 going north, but the traffic was much better by the time we turned on I-10. We made a few stops, including lunch and supper that we ate in the car. The map on the car display had shown heavy traffic around Birmingham, Alabama, for most of the day, but it had cleared out by the time we got there, which was nice.
We got home a little after 11:00 PM. It had been a long drive, which always makes you feel tired even though you are just sitting all day. But it had been a wonderful trip with some wonderful people, and we were glad to have had the opportunity to go. What a fun time!
After three years of planning, waiting, planning some more, waiting some more, and a little more planning, it was great to finally be able to go on our cruise! There had been some tense moments leading up to the cruise, culminating in that last Covid test before we could board, and the tropical storm that arrived as we were boarding. But after that, everything turned out just fine. Better than just fine, actually. It was all great.
I have done my best to document some of the changes from our previous cruises. Most of them ended up being positive changes, like the faster check-in and the almost nonexistent safety drill before sailing away. Some were understandable but not quite as good, such as the lack of character interactions, but fortunately, that is about to change back to the old way, too. And I would like to think that the long line to leave the ship was just a glitch of some sort instead of a normal occurrence.
But for the most part, everything felt pretty much normal. Others on earlier cruises had talked about smaller crowds, but this cruise felt like the same number of people as our other cruises. We could serve ourselves at the buffet. Masks were not required, except for in the shops on Castaway Cay and the library in George Town, Grand Cayman. We saw a few passengers wearing masks here and there, and of course, the crew members were required to wear them, too. But we were thankful not to be wearing them.
As I stated in the early parts of this trip report, this was a different cruise itinerary than what we had been on before. This was our first seven-night cruise. And now that we have been on one, it might be difficult to go back to a four-night cruise. I remember on the fourth morning thinking, “On all those other cruises we would be leaving now, and we still have three more days to go!” I enjoyed the more leisurely pace of having more time on the ship on this cruise.
We also got to go places we had not been to before. We visited a total of four countries, not including our own: Mexico, Cayman Islands, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. All within a week! While it is true that Laura and I had already been to all but one of those countries (Hello, Cayman Islands!), we went places in Mexico and Jamaica that we had not been to before. And we enjoyed each one of the ports. My favorite was probably Cozumel, because I like the Mexican/Yucatan culture and was happy to see more of it, but they were all good.
The company was good, too. We had been on one other cruise with my parents, and it was great to have them along with us again. And it was great fun to go with the Luttrells, too. We all did lots together, and we all did our own things, too. Which was all good. There is plenty on a Disney Cruise to keep everyone as busy as they want to be. And it was nice that we are all adults and could let the kids (who probably don’t like being called kids anymore) go and do their own thing sometimes, too.
And I know that they cannot control the weather. But except for that little tropical storm at the beginning, which really was not bad at all for us, the weather was perfect. Warm and sunny, but just right for pools and beaches and Aqua Duck rides. The nights were nice and cool. And we had a perfect weather day at Castaway Cay, something that has not happened for us on a summer cruise since our first cruise in 2003! The cruises with rain have not been bad cruises, but nice weather makes it all even better.
So yes, for us at least, Disney Cruises are still very much worth it if you can go on one. Cruises are not for everyone, but we had a great time. The level of service was off the charts once again, and we appreciated everyone who worked hard to make everything go well.
We had a great time with some great people, and we are already looking forward to the next one, whenever it might be!
But wait, there’s more! While this trip report contained lots of photos, I still have lots to post, too. Check out the 2022 Disney Cruise page from time to time to see what is there!