We'll never forget the time we ended a cruise in Manhattan. Cruise ships try to get rid of you as early in the morning as they can, because they are anxious to get cleaned up and restocked for the next batch of passengers who want to board for lunch. We knew that Manhattan is a busy place, so we didn't schedule our flight home from La Guardia until mid afternoon. Two other ships came in that day as well and there was no organizational plan in place for the taxis and friends and family that arrived in the area to pick up passengers. Cruisers do not travel light and there are always some in wheel chairs and walkers that cannot carry their own bags. The volume of taxis did not match the number of passengers who needed one and the crowd of angry passengers and bulging luggage were in total gridlock. No one was there to line people it and that vacation glow vanished quickly as people fought with one another for the few taxis that did pass by. After waiting for about two hours, we schlepped all our stuff into mid town Manhattan and caught a taxi there, wondering the whole time if we would miss the flight home. New York being New York, that flight was late too and it all ended well, but we do appreciate a well organized port.
Tampa is no Manhattan. We got off about an hour before we anticipated and the luggage was organized in such a way that moving it through customs was a snap. Many of our fellow passengers that flew home today had the option of checking their bags through to their home city on the airlines. They put their luggage in the hall last night and won't see it again until they arrive in their home city's baggage carousel. We haven't seen this choice before and wonder how Homeland Security feels about this lack of control. Remember when you would be asked if you packed your own bag and if it was in your possession the whole time? It also seems like an easy way to evade customs. This choice probably removed much of the luggage from the congestion equation and made getting off the ship a pleasant experience.
And then we saw the smiling faces of dear old friends. There's something about being with people who knew you before you had gray hair and wrinkles. We spend the day catching up on what's new, enjoying their pool and our last day in the warm.