This morning I woke up at 4:40 am for some reason and couldn’t get back to sleep. We went to breakfast at Meridian at 6:30 am. We had been given instructions where to wait to be called for debarkation. Last night we all discussed and agreed that we would carry our own luggage off the ship so we could leave the ship earlier than if we let the porters take our luggage. So after breakfast CSP parked me on deck 5 by Pixels (the photo shop) and brought up the luggage to wait. We had been told that debarkation would begin at 7:45 for Diamond & Platinum passengers and that they would start calling us by our muster stations.
We were seated on deck 5 by 7:30 am, listening for the announcement. 7:45 came and went. Then 8. 8:15. 8:30. 8:45. We are restless and thirsty and ready to go!!! NO announcement. Finally at 9 am they called for Diamond, Platinum, and A4. That’s us! A4! Meanwhile my parents had a different muster station and were camped out elsewhere on the ship. We took the elevator down to deck 3 to debark, but everything was shut off- doors closed. One of the guys in our elevator group opened one of the closed doors and we made our way through a restaurant to the debarkation area on deck 3, hauling all our luggage btw. As soon as we reached the open doors to debark the Carnival peeps shut down one of the debarkation lines! So we all had to file out in one line. And let me tell you, there were a LOT more people in that lobby than just Diamond, Platinum, or A4! It felt like all of humanity was crowded into that lobby!
We made it off the ship, down the gangway, and into the terminal. We took a turn and were just following everyone else when we just stopped. The line halted. No idea why. We couldn’t see anything from where we stood. Just a looooong line ahead of us as well as behind us. We stayed that for over 20 minutes. Then finally, movement! We had to take the elevator downstairs so we had to wait a few minutes in that line. Then we made it to the luggage area. Along with everyone else’s luggage! We were so delayed in our debarkation that we could have had the porters carry off our luggage anyway!!! UGH!!! Instead we’re schlepping our suitcases, CPAP machines, and tote bags like a couple of punks!
Thanks to facial recognition we made it through customs in no time and were outside. CSP said to me “This is different. Where are we??” I stopped an official looking man and asked where was parking deck G, where we had parked- directly across from the terminal 9 days ago?? He took one look at us with all our luggage and said “Oh you’re gonna need an Uber. Parking deck G is a mile and a half that way!” WHAT?!?! We could not believe that Carnival would pick us up at one terminal, causing everyone to park in G, and drop us off at another terminal a mile and a half away!!! Assanine!!!
Meanwhile, my parents were still stuck in the line on the ship. There was an island with benches and giant planters in the middle of the road we were standing on. Keep in mind 4000 people are filing out of the doors behind us and 4000 people are coming straight at us as they were starting to try to board the ship! So CSP parked me and all the luggage next to a planter that I could lean on in the road island and took off on foot to find our car. My parents found me shortly thereafter. At this point it’s just past 9:30 am. Almost 2 hours after we were supposed to start the debarkation process. And we were in the middle of a very busy road with the sun beating down on us. It took CSP an hour and a half (!!!) to get back to us with the car! Everyone that had parked in parking deck G was trying to leave at the same time, so he had to sit through that line, then circle the car back to us. Finally at just past 11 am we drove away from the terminal.
Talk about leaving a sour taste in your mouth at the end of a nice vacation!!! CSP and I decided we will never cruise Carnival again. There was just no communication or order on Carnival’s end and we followed all their rules, so it should have gone more smoothly. It was a logistical nightmare!
On the way out of Miami we spotted the Hard Rock Hotel at Seminole. It’s shaped like a guitar! So cool!
Luckily today was Sunday so we didn’t have much traffic to speak of. We stopped at a great Mexican place for lunch in Rockledge, FL and Buc-ee’s for gas and drinks later. We dropped my father & Mimi off at their house in SC and finally pulled into our driveway at 2 am Monday morning! By this time I’d been awake almost 24 hours and driving for most of it.
Even though the trip ended on a sour note with debarkation, we had a great time and are super grateful to my father and Mimi for treating us! We made wonderful memories together!