Saturday, December 11, 2010

Disembarkation Day Azamara Journey

Caught on Deck of Azamara Journey in Port of Miami
Watching a pod of dolphins playing near the ship
Today is the dreaded final day of our back to back cruises.   Seventeen days ago we left the cold of Chicago behind and headed to sunny Florida for our pre-inaugural cruise on Royal Caribbean's Allure of the Seas which was followed by one day in Miami and this 12NT West Indies cruise on Azamara Journey.

Both cruises were amazing in their own way.   As usual, my ever vigilent husband somehow managed to capture most of the highlights of our cruises.   In this photo, he caught two of our companions and I out on deck 5 of the Journey watching a pod of dolphins playing near the ship.   We had spotted them through the cafe window as we were having breakfast.  Our friends hadn't seen them, so we told them to go out on deck to see if they were still around.   Low and behold, they were still there, thrilling anyone that was fortunate enough to be gazing out at Miami's skyline in the background.

Sailing into Miami is always a treat early in the morning.   The sun glistens off the tall buildings and reflects in the water.   I'll post some more Miami skyline pictures on my Facebook Fan Page when I get a chance.   I think you'll enjoy them.   This portion of Miami's skyline has been made famous by the CSI Miami television series.

Azamara Journey Port Everglades
We booked late flights (around 5 PM) for our return home.   It is always a good idea to book flights after noon of disembarkation day because you never know how long it will take to clear the ship.   Before anyone can disembark, non-US Citizens must clear through immigration on board the vessel.    Sometimes, the staff needs to make repeated announcements for guests to be cleared.

Passengers disembarking
The thought of hanging around MIA airport for 6 hours or more didn't thrill us, despite it being a nice airport.   We booked a post-cruise tour through the shore excursion desk.    We were given luggage tags, Lavender 1, which meant we'd be one of the first groups off the ship.   Basically, only people with early flights disembarked prior to us.

Once off the ship, we claimed our luggage, which was quite easy to find in the small number of passengers which were on the bus tour along with us.   We didn't need a porter this time, so we proceeded directly to Customs, gave them our passports and form and were on our way outside to one of the waiting buses.

Onboard bus to Gator Park and then MIA airport
The shore excursion we selected was a visit to Gator Park where we would have the chance to take a 45 minute air boat tour through the Everglades and then an interactive show which included the opportunity to hold an alligator if you liked.

We've been to Gator Park before, but this is one of those places where you can visit more than once and enjoy yourself.   Whenever you are dealing with nature, you can guarantee you'll have a different experience - you never know what you'll see.

I'll feature Gator Park in another post and also post pictures on our Facebook Fan Page.   This is a fabulous tour which is perfect for occupying a few hours before you return flight.

Arriving at MIA
Our bus pulled into Miami International Airport around 12:30 PM or so.   The driver made two stops at each of the main terminal locations, unloaded the bags, and sent us on our way.

As you can see, we still had several hours to kill at the airport, but at least we'd had a fun experience speeding through the everglades in an airboat and watching the amazing wildlife that inhabits the Florida Everglades.

There was also a city highlights tour that we could have selected.  Some of the passengers picked that excursion but regardless, both tours ended at the airport about the same time.

Sadly, this ends our current cruise adventure.    We've had a wonderful time on both cruises and will be posting additional blog articles and more pictures.   There is just so much to share with my readers, it was hard to select a sample to get started. I hope you come back often to see what other stories I have for you.   If you have questions, feel free to contact us.

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