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2022 - October - Coming Home From Cruise

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie That's amore

More like no amore for this trip. Today the alarm went off in the cabin at 6.45am for the final time. The first thing I did was to check our bags had been taken from outside our door which they had. We made our way to breakfast and had the delicious Eggs Benedict for the last time.

We decided to wait back in our cabin until our departure code and number were called. This was due to be 8.45am but they were running 5 minutes ahead of schedule and at 8.40am the call came for us to disembark the ship for the final time.

Getting off the ship was smooth and we soon found our luggage in the Blue 3 section and were directed to the waiting coaches.

Once outside though it was just like when arrived. A free for all with no one taking charge and people just pushing past us to get on the coaches. There were no coaches marked Blue 3 for some reason and we were told to get on one of the Blue 2 ones instead.

We were both muttering and moaning as we found seats on the coach after I had watched our bags being loaded on. Surely there must be a better way of organising this. Perhaps allocating people to specific buses or even seats?

The drive to Rome airport took almost exactly one hour, meaning we had just the 7 ½ hours to kill before our first flight. We tried to drop our bags but were told to come back in 4 hours time.

Our lounge pass app told me that Rome is one of the few airports that has a lounge before going through security so we decided to try and get into it. After initially wanting to charge us, we were let in. It wasn’t too bad although the food available was all breakfast related.

We passed the time doing holiday admin and reading. The free tea and coffee helped pass the time. Although you were only supposed to be in there for 3 hours, we stretched it out to 3 ½, at which point we went back the KLM baggage drop where we joined a large queue waiting for the desks to open.

Security was very quick and well organised and so we went in search of another Amex lounge. We were let in but almost wished we hadn’t bothered. It was possibly one of the worse we have been in. It was very busy and we struggled to find seats. The food and drink were for whatever reason were served to you from a buffet that was roped off. The queue to get anything from the spartan offerings was long and the speed of the service was mind numbingly slow. I didn't bother.

Just as we were getting prepared to walk to the gate, we got a message from KLM saying our flight was delayed by 40 minutes. We were not happy as that would mean we would only have 1 hour between flights in Amsterdam. I was not confident we would make it and mentally tried to prepare myself for an overnight stay to then hopefully be put on the early flight the next day to Norwich.

At the revised time we went to the gate only to find the plane had still not arrived. By now I was more than fed up and just wanted to get home. Eventually it did arrive but it seemed to take an age to get all the passengers off before they could then start boarding us.

About 20 minutes later than the revised delayed time we finally took off. We were told they would give all connection details just before landing which they did. According to them all connections were just about possible.

We made a swift an exit as possible from the plane after a minor incident of Karen upsetting a guy still sitting by hitting him on his head (gently) with her small rucksack. He told her to be more careful and to put the rucksack on properly. I just quietly pointed out to him that she had one arm in a sling and couldn’t put it on any other way which calmed him down.

Sods Law meant we had arrived at the furthest gate in a very long terminal. We had what seemed like a marathon to walk/run to get to the gate for the Norwich flight. We made it with just 5 minutes to spare. We were both puffing heavily but we had made it, whether our luggage would make it though we would have to wait and see.

The flight home was 30 minutes. As it was dark, I found it amazing that from the air I could easily see the lights of Norfolk and the Dutch coast at the same time.

Pleasingly our bags were on the carousel waiting for us. Annoyingly though there were no taxis available we were told it was a minimum 40-minute wait. So, we phoned Neil who very grumblingly agreed to drive the 2 miles to pick us up. We arranged to meet him outside MacDonalds as there is a £3 charge to pick up someone from outside the airport. I had to drag both large bags and my hand luggage further than I would have liked to get there.

And then we were finally home. The elapsed travel time from the ship in Rome was much longer than it takes to get to Florida and so after a much-needed cuppa we went to bed.

We need more time to think about the whole trip and cruising in particular. There were some bits we really enjoyed. There were some bits we really did not enjoy. The good bits outweighed the bad bits but should there be any bad bits on a holiday? We most definitely not big cruise converts but I believe we will do it again sometime in the future to finally get to see somewhere like Alaska. But for now there’s lots to catch up with at home before we set off in a fortnights time to Florida.

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