Larry Cohenís 2014 Holiday Cruise Buttons

Larry Cohenís 2014 Holiday Cruise

Day 12 Friday January 2, 2015
Fort Lauderdale - Home

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The last day of any cruise is weird. It feels like you should be saying goodbye to someone, but the ship is already in port early in the morning, and everyone is concerned with getting home or getting to the next phase of the journey.

Stumpy the pigeon and one of his buddies seemed perfectly at home inside the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.

I awoke at six, and I was not a bit surprised to discover that Sue was still packing. She had often pulled all-nighters both on the night before leaving for a trip and also during the last night of a trip. I turned on the television and learned that Ohio State had won the game against Alabama.

On our way to breakfast Sue and I witnessed the indefatigable Pogo Albig out walking on the jogging track. She certainly was committed to her exercise regimen.

I decided to try the whole wheat pancakes for breakfast. They were OK, but I have yet to find any substitute anywhere that competes with regular pancakes and maple syrup. Sue and I both pigged out at breakfast. It was not clear that we would have a chance for lunch before our flight.

We were using express checkout, which meant that we were bringing our own luggage. We were supposed to be at the gangway between 9:15 and 9:45. Dragging our four large bags through the narrow corridors was not a lot of fun, and I am sure that it was worse for Sue. Her carry-on items were in a bag that she was carrying in her hand. All that I had – in addition to the suitcases – was my backpack.

The line at the Southwest counter was daunting when we arrived.

Checking out, passport control, and customs were all easy. The difficult aspect of the transition back to dry land was transporting the suitcases on the ramps between the ship and the docks. By the time that we reached the pier building Sue was exhausted.

When the formalities were finished, we made a left turn out of the door of the pier building and easily located the taxi stand. It was a relief to get the luggage into the trunk and to seat ourselves in the cab. The short drive to the airport only set me back $15.

Our three-hour flight to Bradley was not scheduled to depart until 2:50. We therefore had more than four hours to wait for the flight. We commandeered the most comfortable seats that we could find, and we arranged our luggage so that we could keep an eye on it. Our temporary campsite was recommended to us by a pair of pigeons that had the run (and the flight) of the ticketing area. One of them had a stump for one leg.

We should have checked in online the previous afternoon, but it did not occur to us to do so. It was too early to check in at the counter, so Sue called Southwest on her cell phone to get us our seating position. Since we were in the dreaded C group, we were resigned to the notion that we were virtually certain to be sitting in middle seats.

The ship was clearly visible from the airport. I drew a red box around it. Can you see it?

Sue was, of course, dead on her seat. She tried to catch a few winks while I wandered around the ticketing area. There was not much to see. I bought a twenty-ounce Diet Coke for $2.75. This would seem like a rip-off to anyone who had not recently disembarked from a cruise ship.

I also wandered around outside for a little while. I was surprised by a few things that I discovered there. In the first place I encountered the only "pet relief station" that I had ever seen. I was surprised to find that when I walked just a few yards from the front door of the airport that I could see Port Everglades. In fact, I was able to take a photo of the Celebrity Equinox from the airport.

The airport offered free wifi, and so I was able to sign on to the Internet and download my e-mail. Nothing was pressing. On the Weather Channel's website I learned that the temperature would probably be in the thirties when we arrived in Hartford. I had dressed in plenty of layers, and both Sue and I had put our jackets in easily accessible locations in our luggage. Sue's sister Karen would be bringing our winter coats to the airport, but we probably would not need them for the short ride home.

This is why I bought the camera with 50 times zoom.

By about noon the lines at the Southwest counter had almost disappeared. We checked our luggage and made it through security with only the usual amount of aggravation.[1] For some reason the TSA people needed to search Sue. I am not sure what necessitated the extra scrutiny.

We found the gate and, because we were still more than two hours early, we carefully selected the most comfortable seats. I bought a chicken sandwich at Sergio's, the Cuban sandwich shop, and ate it with another Diet Coke. When I was finished, Sue bought herself a sandwich at the same establishment. We both thought that the sandwiches were hot and tasty.

I had a suspicion that I might be able to see the ship from one of the gates. I walked down to the end, and, sure enough, the big X on our ship was clearly visible through the windows at the end.

Our flight was full, and we were nearly the last to board. The gate agent had announced that C stood for center. He advised us to take the first empty middle seat that we espied. Nevertheless, when we boarded we found a middle seat and an adjacent aisle seat that were unoccupied. It was difficult to understand why none of the passengers who had boarded before us had claimed them. Sue let me sit on the aisle.

Sue slept nearly all the way home. I listened to Le Nozze di Figaro on my Bose headphones and worked on the two "hard" sudokus in the Southwest magazine. I finished the first one in an hour or so, but I got tired while attempting the second one. I had to start over twice. I was still not finished when we landed, but I had copied the puzzle to my spiral notebook so that I could complete it at home.[2]

I finished both of them.

As soon as we had landed, Sue telephoned her sister. Karen reported that she would be in the pickup area when we came out of baggage claim, and she was there as promised. The route that she took back to Enfield seemed very strange to me, but it could not have cost us more than five or ten minutes.

Our trips were never over until we located our cat Giacomo and verified that he was OK. Karen had been coming to the house every other day to fill Giacomo's tin plate with Purina Cat Chow. She said that she had only glimpsed him once, but she was pretty sure that he was all right because less food remained in his dish every time.

Giacomo had his own door, and after some of our absences he had remained aloof for a short period of time. On this occasion, however, he vaulted into my lap as soon as I sat down. For the rest of the evening he pinned down one of us as if to prevent us from leaving him alone again.

Retrospective: Both of us really enjoyed the vacation. Here were some of the highlights:
My quibbles were few:

I would certainly consider taking another Larry Cohen cruise, but I do not think that I would take this one again. The weather was ideal, but I was disappointed that the weather was not that bad in New England while we were gone. I would prefer either a regional or sectional at sea or a cruise that included destinations in which I had more interest.

[1]  Don't get me started on the subject of airport security.

[2]  I finished it early the next morning.

[3]  Obviously we were not very pleased with our treatment in Belize, but we did get a refund.