June 4, 2016
This morning we arrived in Baltimore. Around 6:30am we felt the propellers and the engines revving, the anchor dropping and the Grandeur of The Seas getting was docked. Our luggage was picked up throughout the night and all we had left was our carry-ons to manage.
Most everyone hit the Windjammer one last time to enjoy the breakfast buffet filled with everything from waffles to smoked salmon. Whatever you were craving, I assure you, they had it.
Our report time was 8:30am in The South Pacific Lounge as we were part of the "group departures." Everyone arrived and we only had one incident where someone misplaced their ID and insurance cards, but they had their passport. Good thing they did, or they were off to Bermuda with the ship and its new crop of passengers that afternoon!
We should have known that small hiccup was a foreshadowing of events to come...
Next up - disembarkation. We only had to stay together one last time! We were all together, they scanned out Set Sail Cards and then it happened...our group got separated! Joel was off with 12 folks while the other 4 were held on board. Joel was now trying to reason with the dock security asking them to allow us to stand off to the side so we could wait for our group. He was able to fend off the various people screaming "move, move, move!!!" for about 20 minutes and then we were forced to move into the terminal. Luckily as soon as we entered the terminal Christi called Joel to let him know they were all disembarking.
Reunited and it felt so good!
Now, it was about 90 degrees and 400% humidity. This was not the weather we had over the last 10 days. The average was 55 and rain/fog. So folks were getting hot very quickly. We hoped to stay in the terminal as long as possible but we will say - Royal Caribbean gives a less than Royal treatment as you are leaving than when you come! They are rushing you out as quickly as possible in order to get the new group aboard. Once the last person had their luggage, the doors to the terminal were shut and you were outside.
We were able to get a porter to help with all our luggage once we gathered it and had him help us to the pickup zone. As Joel and Christi managed the luggage, the group sought refuge on the benches under the shade.
Question of the morning - where's the bus?
Christi called and they were stuck on 95 as someone had dumped garbage on the highway and caused a huge back up. So they were delayed about 45 minutes, but finally arrived. Well...the first bus did. The luggage car arrived 20 minutes later.
Joel and Christi helped everyone on the bus, loaded the luggage and Joel said goodbye to everyone as he was heading home to Nashville out of BWI. Hugs and kisses ensued, a tear here and there, but Joel left everyone in Christi's very capable hands to get back to IMCC.
Joel headed to BWI and Christi and co. headed to VA.
You would think this was the end of the story as the bus drove off with smiles on everyone's faces after a fabulous trip.
Not so much.
As they were headed down 95, the bus started making a weird noise! Instead of getting stuck on the side of the road, Christi and the driver decided it was best to head back to the port of Baltimore - where they were at least near bathrooms and shade.
As they got back to the port, the bus died! Now they had to arrange for a new bus to come get them from Virginia! Some folks had transportation waiting for them at IMCC, so Christi sent them ahead in the luggage van to get to IMCC where she called Robin who was there waiting for them!
Christi and the rest of the group sat and waited for the new bus to arrive. Finally, after about an hour or so, it arrived!
The group hit the bathrooms one last time (we identified the bathrooms at the port first thing), boarded the bus, waved goodbye to their old bus and hit the road!
Everyone made it back to IMCC and everyone made it home safe and sound (Joel's flight was uneventful)!
Our final lesson of the day - you can plan for most anything, but you cannot plan for everything!
Last breakfast on the boat!
And a few last pictures!
Gathered up the luggage.
Waiting for our bus!
And we’re off!
Or so we thought!
We finally made it home after a great trip!