Many cruises end rather abruptly. The ship docks and by 7am passengers are strongly encouraged to start leaving. After all the crew has lots to do. All those cabins need to be cleaned so that someone else can sleep in your bed tonight. The luggage needs to be taken off so that the luggage of the new passengers can be put on. Garbage off, fresh food on. The cruise ship crew's work is never done.
The Epic was not cleared for customs until 8am and passengers were able to leave as late as 9:45am according to the schedule. A relaxed schedule from what we have experienced. We got off shortly after 9am and the new passengers were already in line, waiting to get on.
Because our flight home wasn't until late afternoon and we had to get back to Ft. Lauderdale from Miami, we were glad that the ship offered an excursion to the Everglades with an airboat ride and a drop off at the airport. Our luggage was grouped separately and staff was stationed periodically along the route past customs and immigration to guide us to the bus. Well organized and convenient.
However, the weather was not as cooperative. Shortly after we boarded the airboat to ride through the water and saw grass, it began to drizzle and then rain quite hard. Although the temperature was warm, zooming through the swamp at 45mph with rain whipping into our faces was not fun. As we rode we regretted leaving our rain gear in the suitcase which was locked into the hold underneath the tour bus. We were supposed to see alligators, water birds, and various flora, but we could hardly keep our eyes open in the rain. Those that wore glasses had an equally obscured view. Timing is everything.
At the airport we had to open the suitcases, fish out a dry set of clothes down to the skivvies and prepare to deal with the cold temperatures back where we live in reality.