This will be the last post regarding my cruise. The first part will discuss transportation and my stay at Embassy Suites the Saturday before I boarded. The second part will discuss my final day and leaving the ship.I had to arrive at Burbank Airport at 5:30 AM in order to be ready to board my 7 AM flight. Fortunately, TSA Pre-check allowed me to pass by TSA quickly. They do check bags, if necessary. I was able to walk through the standard scanner, opposed to the full body one. I traveled with Southwest Airlines from BUR, to LAS, to FLL (and back). My first flight was short, and I checked in early enough to get an A position. My cousin Kaitlynn, her husband, her daughter, and I sat in the plane waiting to take off, but we had to get off and wait an hour, due to a fuel indicator problem. After our 4 hour flight to Fort Lauderdale, we immediately took a shuttle to Embassy Suites, where one other family was staying. We had a nice view from our room’s balcony. We ate at the restaurant in the hotel, but it was quite pricey. It was not worth it. Outside, there was a pool and a hot tub. The hot tub was originally dominated by older women chatting among themselves, but they evacuated when my new-found friends and I entered. (On a side note, I made friends with a family who was staying there before they moved to their new house because a family member died and supposedly it was in the news.) The breakfast was nice, too.
Fast forward to the evening of the last day on the Allure of the Seas. I was suffering from a burnt back from two days ago, but I had just finished babysitting my cousins. I tried to go rock climbing, but they closed before I had the chance. My cousin Kaitlynn allowed me to have dinner with my dad’s side that night. The day before, I bought my cousin Gabriel (who was the uncle’s son’s son) a virgin strawberry margarita for his birthday. All 5 kids (not including me) had their usual Shirley Temple waiting for them at the table. I don’t remember what I ate for my main course, but I remember having some shrimp cocktail, pear flavored foam, and cousin Greg’s order of key lime pie. As usual, my beloved cousin Susie had the BBB creme brulee. She was someone I was especially glad I got to know better. Greg, Susie, and I discussed allergies and my future. Greg and his then-fiance Sara remembered they were getting married 3 weeks from then. (Now, they are married.) I was so happy in that moment.
I made a toast. I made a toast to the coincidence. I made a toast to bonding with the family. I made a toast to Sara and her kids, the new additions to the family. I made a toast.
After dinner, I went back to my cabin and retrieve information for the flight the next day. I hung out in Greg and Sara’s room while they packed (and we had quite a few laughs). That was when I found out the stateroom attendants provided them with bottled shampoo and conditioner, something available to my cabin through a built-in shower dispenser. Greg and Sara gave me two Royal Caribbean shot glasses (that survived the flight later). My cousin Jeff came in and announced that he, my uncle, and my aunt were going to Kamikaze Karaoke (and then started singing that name to the tune of “Karma Chameleon”). I had to leave, but I was glad I left Greg and Sara on such a good note.
At On Air, I decided to participate in Kamikaze Karaoke. I won a keychain for earning last place. I did not know how to fake singing “I Left my Heart in San Francisco”, but this other participant did not have to try to reach the next round. Her family sang for her. Oh well, it was still a good memory that I will not share. This was when I ordered a Pina Colada. My family told me they liked the toast I made earlier. Then, we all said good night and left.
I went to Fuel for the goodbye party. I found my friend Britanny and her girlfriend. We walked her girlfriend to her own cabin, and then we ate pizza at Sorrento’s. At Sorrento’s, I am pretty sure I ate cheese pizza. We found Cassidy, so she joined us. We got cookies in Cafe Promenade, and then we walked Britanny to her cabin. I visited Cassidy and her mom at her own cabin (after getting coffee), and then we walked around the ship. We used the restroom, and a fellow passenger told us about the wonders of Virgin Australia’s business class. We walked around the track on deck 5. We went to the Viking Crown Lounge and discussed life matters, and then the staff member talked to us about living on the ship. He said the cabins were smaller than the passengers’ staterooms, and two people were assigned per cabin. The staff eats the same food as the passengers. They must pay for alcohol, but at a lower price. They must work 12 hours a day.
Cassidy and I ventured around the ship again, only to be kicked out by security (it was near curfew, 2 AM). We walked to the sun deck where some couple was getting frisky, but I just looked the other way. I decided that if security were to kick us out again, I would cry and say “WE’RE HAVING A MOMENT HERE”, similar to a scene in Orange is the New Black. Luckily, we did not get kicked off again. I used the restroom right next to the sun deck entrance, and it faintly smelled like piss and horses. We walked back to the Promenade where we got another cup of coffee (and I messed with Antonio somehow… I forgot), then I took her back to her cabin. I came back to my own and used the toilet. It smelled faintly like piss and horses. Then, I fell asleep.
The next morning, my cousin’s family and I had breakfast in Park Cafe. I regretted it. Too healthy food choices. The night before, all of our luggage was set up to be claimed at the terminal. We walked to the Amber Theater to exit the ship and then check out. At the terminal, my luggage was in the lost luggage section. Someone ripped off the tag. The line to exit the terminal was fairly quick. We took a taxi to FLL, did not get TSA Pre-Check, male cousin had a random check, waited two hours, got free milk (courtesy of the airport’s Starbucks), and boarded the Southwest plane. We had B positions prior to the family boarding perk. We stopped in New Orleans (isn’t it pronounced “or-lens”?) for an hour layover, ate an overpriced hot dog, then boarded our Southwest plane to Vegas. In Vegas, I retrieved and rechecked my bags, greatly thanked my cousins and told them farewell, and went through another session of TSA without Pre-Check. This time, I received a full body scan (via scanner). I called my mom in C22 and told her all about my adventure. I boarded the plane right before B group (I originally had B 27, or something like that) thanks to being an unaccompanied passenger under 17. For some reason, I had to tell the staff that I was 16, but that did not change anything.
Finally, I arrived back home at Burbank Airport. I saw my dad at baggage claim, and I cried in his arms as I told him “Happy Father’s Day”. He helped me take my bags to his car and we drove home. My mom bought Chi Chi’s pizza that day.
And that, my friends, was the trip of a lifetime.