Alas, all good things must come to an end.
Whenever you’re on a cruise, the night before you dock, you’re supposed to pack all of your things (except for the things you’ll need the next morning, like clothes, makeup, etc), and put your bags outside your cabin door. The stewards then take your bags down to cargo, and give you a number. When we dock the next morning, they will unload your bags onto the pier.
We reached New York at 7:30 in the morning, but Kevin and I were up at 6:00 taking showers and getting ready to leave our cabin.
They want everyone out of their cabins by 8:30 so they have time to clean them and prepare them for the next cruise.
We woke the boys up at 7:00 so they could take their showers and Kevin and I went up to the Promenade deck to eat breakfast. When the boys were ready to leave their cabin, they called me and together we went through to make sure they hadn’t left anything behind.
The boys kept their carry on bags, so each of them was responsible for their clothes. I had stuffed our dirty clothes into a plastic bag, and put everything else into my backpack.
This is probably my least favorite part of the cruise experience – departing the ship. It’s quite a process and it takes a long time, everyone has to be patient. (Kevin compares it to being in prison, they won’t allow you to leave and you can’t really go anywhere on the ship other than the Promenade deck to 1. stay out of the way of the people leaving the boat and 2. to stay out of the way of the crew so they can clean).
Everyone has to sit around and wait for their number to be called. This is an efficient way to make sure everyone gets off in an orderly fashion.
Our number was 19.
We ended up leaving the boat about 9:00, which was actually a little sooner than I thought it would be. But the cruise people have this down to a science and as long as people cooperate, it goes pretty quickly.
We left the boat, went through customs, found our bay number, and I unloaded the extra crap from my backpack into our luggage. I was a little stressed because I didn’t have a scale with me, so I had no way of knowing if I was keeping the weight under 50 pounds, but we guesstimated and did the best we could.
Then we walked out onto the sidewalk and waited for a taxi.
Along with about 500 other people.
It was pure chaos. There were no taxis waiting and there were literally hundreds of people needing one. Kevin noticed a woman handing out tickets and though we had no idea what they were for or why we might need one, he took one anyway.
As taxis pulled up, the woman called out the numbers. They set it up this way so people wouldn’t push and shove their way to a taxi whenever one was available (though some people took advantage of the pure chaos and stole someone else’s taxi anyway. Honestly, what is wrong with people?)
I was so focused on trying to hear the woman as she called out the numbers and trying to get her attention so she wouldn’t bypass our number that I nearly forgot one of our bags! Fortunately, I remembered at the last minute and then had trouble locating it, suddenly convinced that someone had stolen it. Luckily, I located it and didn’t have to make the taxi driver wait too long.
Our taxi was a Ford Escape Hybrid. Only, the man already had a huge bag in the back (his own) and I was sure we were going to have to give up that taxi because there simply wasn’t enough room for our four bags, his bag, the walker and all four of us. However, somehow, he got all of our stuff in and the boys and I climbed into the back, while Kevin rode up front with him.
The boys and I had to hold Kevin’s walker in our lap.
When the taxi driver learned that we needed to go to the Newark Airport, he wasn’t too happy about it. But, once we established how much it was going to cost (with tolls), we were on our way.
The traffic was terrible, as you can well imagine. There was a lot of sudden stops, hard gos and jerky turns. By the time we made it to the airport, me and the boys were on the verge of throwing up. It was an uncomfortable and long ride but we made it without incident and checked in. Kevin sailed through security, we located our gate, bought some sandwiches -(which were WAY over priced, of course – what are you going to do? Leave??), and sat down to wait.
(Side note: I miscalculated the weight and had to step aside so I could open our bags and shuffle crap around in order to make the 50 pounds per bag weight limit. That was a little stressful but luckily we got the poundage right the first time and didn’t have to pull the bags off the scales and go through stuff a second time).
When we saw how many people were on the pier waiting for taxis, I had been afraid that we would cut it pretty close as far as making our 2:10 flight, but when we arrived at the airport, we still had three hours to wait, so we purchased WiFi, the boys dug out their DS’s and we settled in to wait.
Our flight time came and went – still no plane. The board said it was delayed about thirty minutes. I started stressing about missing our connecting flight in Chicago.
However, the plane showed up about ten minutes later and we quickly boarded. It was packed – every seat was taken.
I started to relax. Great! We were on our way, we would surely make our connecting flight now. We had to wait a bit on the runway for our turn, but overall, it wasn’t that bad, we were probably in a lot better shape than if we had tried to fly out of LaGuardia.
We made it to Chicago. Luckily, our gate was only a few gates down from where we came into Chicago so we didn’t have far to walk. Even though Kevin was doing well, he was tired and I was afraid our gate would be five miles away.
And it was a good thing our gate was close, because no sooner had we scarfed down the rest of the sandwiches we had bought in Newark when they called to board our plane. If we had been delayed even fifteen more minutes in Newark, we would have missed our connecting flight.
Because a series of thunderstorms had blown through Chicago earlier that day, it caused all of the schedules to be delayed so that by the time they were cleared to take off, there were literally a hundred planes waiting. We had to actually taxi around the airport before we could get in line for takeoff.
One thing about the Chicago airport – there is one section where the planes literally taxi over a bridge over the highway to reach the take off runway. It’s really a bizarre feeling – like we’re in a giant car instead of a plane.
Dude did really well on the flights. He’s NOT a big fan of flying and actually hyperventilated on past flights. And even though he was nervous this go-around, he wasn’t AS nervous and I was really glad to see that – he’s getting more used to flying. This in turn, makes flying a little easier for me for though I would never tell him this, his nervousness makes ME nervous and though I’m not a big fan of flying myself, I’m not scared of it and would like to relax enough so that I can read or something.
At any rate, we got home about thirty minutes after we were scheduled to and as we were walking out of the secure area, we saw Kevin’s older sister waiting for us. She took pictures of us and wanted to know how our trip was. Even though it was really sweet of her to come to the airport, I wish she hadn’t. We were all so tired by then all we wanted to do was get home and go to bed.
And that’s it! That is our 2010 family vacation in a nutshell (HA!). Thanks for bearing with me. I know it was quite a process to reach this point, but I wanted to write all of this stuff down before I forgot it so … now it’s done.
And I’m done. It’s time to focus my energies on bigger and better things.