Day Five on Empress of the Seas – the saddest day!

The last Sea day

We woke up on day five on Empress of the Seas with the sadness that we always have on our last cruise day.  We never want the cruise to end, and we never want to leave the ship. The last day at sea is always the hardest part of the cruise for me.  I know that this will be the last day to visit with new friends, do new things, and relax by the ocean.  I never want to say goodbye.

Breakfast

We had breakfast in the Windjammer again, with the usual cereal, eggs, bacon, and potatoes.  I love French toast, but I also didn’t want to gain weight on this cruise and I definitely had eaten enough.  Behind us I noticed my Minnesota friends from my Facebook group, so I went back to chat with them a bit, and get their picture.  Really nice guys!  They made me feel like a celebrity! On the way out I remarked to the hostess that I wouldn’t get to hear “washy washy” anymore, but she reminded us that she’d see us on embarkation tomorrow morning.  All of the hostesses are sweet!

Packing

We didn’t do much during the day at all except explore.  I spent some time in the morning packing what I could.  He went down to see if he could get a better luggage tag.  We had gotten number 8, but we needed to get off the ship earlier than that so that we could get back to the motel to get our car, and get on the road home.  I always hate driving in Miami, so I was dreading it. 

When we pack our dirty clothes in our luggage for the trip home, we always put them in compression bags and then squeeze the air out of them.  This keeps the dirty clothes away from anything else in our luggage, and also makes more room for souvenirs, etc.  We got our compression bags at Dollar Tree.  So that’s what we did.  

He came back with a number 2 tag which will enable us to get off of the ship really early, so we put them on the luggage and put the luggage aside to finish later.

Gym and walking

I also took time to go to the gym and do my 30 minute circuit on the weight machines.  The gym has been crowded all week, but I did manage to get all of the machines in.  It took a while because some people seemed to think that the machines were places to just sit, but finally I finished up in there.  I then went and walked around the promenade deck for about 30 minutes or so.  I was going to miss walking around the deck watching the ocean.  The seas were definitely rougher on this last sea day.

Lunch

We went to lunch in the Windjammer again.  Pretty much the same selections as all week, but I wanted a hotdog and fries since I love them and don’t have them often. The hot dogs are grilled and pretty good.  My husband said that the hamburgers are not that good.  The Windjammer has been consistently easy to find tables at.  As I was eating lunch I heard some loud music start and the Windjammer crew came marching around the area.  Great crew on the Empress!  And to top it off, a thank you cake from Royal Caribbean!

Lazy rest of the day

And then it was time to relax for a while on the balcony, and then do some shopping.  It was 2 for $20 T-shirt day, so I found two Cuba T-shirts for me, and he found a Cuba T-shirt and cap for him. I got my normal ship ornament.  I collect ship ornaments from each ship I sail on.  I’ve only missed one.  The Carnival Magic didn’t have ornaments when we sailed on her.  While in line at the gift shop, I saw a friend I’d made on the ship, Pat, and we talked for a while.  Very nice lady!

Dinner

Dinner that night was good.  We talked to our wait staff and got pictures with them.  They seemed a lot more hurried than usual, even though there were not more people at their tables.  I felt that maybe they were being watched by their superiors or something.  Dinner was steak and lobster tail.  The lobster tail this night was not nearly as good as the lobster tail we’d had at the Hotel Director’s Table a few nights before though. 

Entertainment

The Royal Caribbean dancers and singers did the show, but I didn’t think it was as good as the first two shows they did.  Maybe it was because we’d seen some really good entertainment since then.  After the show, Elvis, the Cruise Director, came out and then the Captain and the crew came out.  It had been a really good cruise!

Back to the Windjammer

After the show we decided to go to the Windjammer and get a little bit of dessert.  We saw Jorge Pedrosa, the Guest Services Manager, there and talked to him a bit.  We headed back to the cabin and said goodbye to our Steward, Ismail.  He really was a good Steward.  It is refreshing to have your cabin taken care of morning and evening.  I don’t know how they do it and always stay cheerful.  And then it was off to sleep our last night on the Empress. We went to bed early because we had to get an early start in the morning. I always sleep so good on a ship, it rocks me to sleep and the beds and pillows are so comfortable.

Debarkation Morning

We woke up early, got dressed, and ran down to the Windjammer to get our last breakfast on the ship.  This was a sad morning for us.  We saw the new friend that we had met, Pat, and took pictures with her.  After that we heard one last “washy washy”, then finished up and went back to the cabin to get our things.  Debarkation for us was supposed to be off of the ship at around 8:15 am, but it was 8:15 and they were still working on the Self-disembark group.  We asked where to wait, and were shown to the Schooner Lounge, but Andie Asorio guided us to the self-disembark line, so we got in that. 

It was a very slow moving line to get off of the ship.  Not nearly as efficient as embarking had been.   The line went down through the theater and out the other side, and then finally out the door. We saw our friend, Pat, again and she took a selfie of all of  us together.  We ran into her a lot!  She’s a very nice lady, wish we lived closer to her.  We have made some very good friends while cruising over the years. 

Terminal at Port of Miami

Once we got into the terminal, the line didn’t get any faster.  It was a bit confusing because we were in the self-disembark line, but a different door said “baggage retrieval”.  We tried going that way, but there was nothing there, so we got back in line even further back than we were before.

Our luggage

Waiting even longer, we finally we got to the escalator, and went down to the luggage area.  Normally you’d find your luggage in a partitioned off area with your luggage number on a tall sign at the partition.  But this was different, it was on a luggage carousel, such as you’d find at an airport.  An agent guided us to the correct carousel for number 2.  I had gotten smart this time and added bright red pompoms to our luggage handles.  My luggage was found immediately.  And it didn’t take long to find his luggage either.  It’s always a good idea to make your luggage stand out somehow, because so many people have the same type and color of luggage. 

Customs

We then went into the line for Customs.  It took about 5 minutes in line.  Once we were there, the agent asked us what we were declaring.  We hadn’t bought much so we told him 2 liters of rum and under $100 in souvenirs.  And that was it.  He told us to have a nice day, and we left the terminal.

My thoughts on my Empress of the Seas cruise

You never know what you’re going to get when you go on a cruise.  We’ve had wonderful moments on ships, we’ve had moments we’d rather forget.  I can safely say that this cruise on Royal Caribbean Empress of the Seas was one of the wonderful ones, with surprises around every corner.  The crew was wonderful, always remembered our names, and always treated us with respect.  We got to meet some of the management this cruise, and they were the best.  The ship and cabins are small but we loved the little seating areas in nooks and crannies around the ship.  I never felt that the ship was too crowded.  The food was good, not spectacular, but we enjoyed it.   And we met some wonderful people. 

We loved our Classic car tour in Cuba, but not so much the walking tour.  Cuba was a very interesting country to visit, I’m glad that we went, but don’t really care to go back.  I felt that they assume that all American’s are rich and ripe to take advantage of.  Can’t say that I blame them, but that’s not my cup of tea.  Click HERE to see my extensive blog on our adventures in Cuba.

And back to Red Roof Plus

We asked a porter which terminal we were at,  it was Terminal E, and we were guided to where to stand to wait for a ride.  This was my first time using Lyft.  I thought that maybe it would be a better alternative than waiting for a shuttle, and then waiting for the shuttle to drop off everyone else before dropping us off.  I used the app and it was so easy.  Our driver was Arnaldo, it took him maybe 8 minutes to get to us after we requested a ride because of the traffic.  There were a lot of cars coming into the terminal to pick people up. The ride was smooth, and it was so much faster than waiting for the shuttle.  And it was cheaper.  If you check online you can find a coupon for your first Lyft ride.  We had a $5 coupon.  We tipped him an extra $5.  I hate driving in Miami, so I appreciated someone else getting us through that mess. 

After we got back to Red Roof Plus and our car, we took off into that crazy Miami traffic.  We had discovered this time that the toll roads were the way to go.  Way less crazy than I-95.  We did manage to get lost trying to find the toll road, but we finally got back onto the Dolphin Expressway and headed towards our long drive home.  And now it’s time to dream of our next cruise on the MSC Meraviglia in November!

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