When we left Port Canaveral last night, about 3 hours late due to the computer problems caused by the power failure, the Captain said that they would be able to go faster during the night to still arrive at Fort Lauderdale on time at 7 AM.
I woke up about 6 AM and figured that I would be seeing the lights of Fort Lauderdale in the distance. No lights – still dark and nothing but sea as far as I could see. I opened my cabin door to see if my final bill was delivered – it wasn’t – but what I found in its place was a long letter from the Captain explaining that they had some engine troubles during the night and couldn’t go as fast as they had planned. Consequently, we would arrive 90 minutes late at 8:30 AM. The letter went on to explain that people who booked air thru HAL would have their flights automatically rebooked if there was a risk of them missing their flights. We planned to stay in Florida visiting our friend from the 2016 World Cruise so we weren’t worried about our arrival time. In fact, we always plan on leaving the ship as late as possible to avoid the lines and the crowds in the cruise terminal, so this delay had zero effect on our plans.
The letter also explained that people would get free internet if they needed to rebook their flights on their own.
About 7 AM the Captain made an announcement that repeated most of what was in the letter we had received at 6AM.
We had requested our room service breakfast be delivered at 8 am and sure enough, exactly on time, there was the knock on our door followed by the ever pleasant room service waiter delivering our food. Having a full room service breakfast delivered on disembarkation day is not offered on many cruise lines – Holland America is the only one that offers this that I am aware of, but there may be another one out there somewhere.
We arrived right at 8:30 AM and the ship started its disembarkation soon there after. While we were waiting, we watched this large container ship come pretty close to us as it made its turn in the channel before heading out to sea.
The other wonderful feature of Holland America is that there is no requirement to leave your cabin by 8:30 and then wander about the ship or wait in a common area until your scheduled disembarkation time. Some may think that this delays the availability of cabins for those waiting to start there cruise, but it doesn’t – cabins are typically available by 11:30 am. This is possible because most people choose to leave their cabins early, which gives the cabin stewards plenty of work until the late people leave around 10. After everyone is gone, they only have a few cabins left and the stewards can knock these out quickly.
We left the ship about 10 am and found our bags quickly in the now largely empty cruise terminal baggage claim area. We found a porter to help us with our bags and then headed off to the line for Customs and Immigration. Fort Lauderdale has a separate line for those people in the Global Entry Program. Unlike using Global Entry at airports, you must have your Global Entry ID card on hand in order to gain access to the line. We probably saved 30 minutes by being members of the Global Entry Program.
Right outside the cruise terminal plenty of taxis were queued up. We grabbed one to take us to the Avis Car Rental Agency located in the Hyatt Pier 66 Hotel very near the cruise port. After we arrived at the Avis agency, we discovered that Avis has a shuttle bus that picks up people from the cruise ship piers.
We were soon on our way up north to the Port San Lucie area where we would spend a lovely weekend visiting Susan, one of our tablemates from the 2016 World Cruise.
This wraps up our 12 day cruise on the ms Zuiderdam and we had a wonderful time. Holland America continues to be our favorite cruise line primarily because of the friendly crewmembers and consistent service. We are planning on going on the 2018 World Cruise and will probably take one or two more cruises before then.
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