The last day of the cruise was spent at sea which meant that there were a lot of activities on board. One of the main focuses of the newsletter that day was the disembarkation procedures which you don’t think about when you get on the ship, but it can make a great deal of difference at the end of the cruise when you have to make your flight connection and find your luggage. We found the disembarkation procedure on this cruise was very efficient. Each cabin received luggage tags of a certain color. Each color was assigned a place to go (to the lounge or theater or wherever) to wait to disembark the ship. Marjorie was leaving early so she had special colored tags. She was allowed to get off the ship early and her luggage was the first unloaded from the ship. Since Carol and I had a late flight the next day we weren’t very worried about that, but we had previously experienced before the pain of trying to find luggage once it was offloaded. On a previous cruise it was put in the luggage area in no certain order, but we were to find out the next day that Royal Carribean was very organized. The luggage came out on the same kind of baggage carrousels as at the airport. It was offloaded corresponding to the time you got off the ship. You put your luggage outside the door by (depending on the cruise line) 11:00 p.m., midnight or 1:00 a.m. It’s always late in the evening, so you have to be thinking about what things you can leave for your carry-on and what clothes you want to wear, otherwise all your stuff will be gone. Since you know that you’re going to be reunited with the luggage once you get off the ship, it doesn’t matter if you keep your toiletries overnight because you can put them back in your suitcase when you get off the ship. It’s the same thing with pjs. You just need a carry-on bag that is big enough to hold everything until you get off the ship and get reunited with your luggage. Since it was a day at sea we looked forward to relaxing. We fortunately had started packing earlier, a couple of days before the end of the cruise, knowing what it was like to try to get it all done at the last minute. I digress.

In preparation for returning to the real world, we all spent time checking e-mail, but afterwards we were determined to have one last relaxing day before we had to return to reality. I made my last walk around the Promenade Deck looking at the ocean and being very grateful for the opportunity to have had such a wonderful experience. We ate breakfast in the formal dining room as you might have guessed. There were a number of activities that day. Let me give you a sampling of them. There was a fitness class, rock climbing, miniature golf, tai chi, a caricaturist, a belly dance class, a beginner’s karate class, beginning piano lessons, an historical lecture on artists and musicians of Catalan, Barcelona, and a towel folding demonstration. Let me explain that last one. Every day in the room the towels would be folded in the shape of various animals. The towel folding demonstration was to explain how to do that, which was not very exciting to us. There was also a dollar origami class, Argentine tango dance class, and beginner Spanish class. That gives you an idea of some of the activities on board that last day of the cruise.

We spent most of the day relaxing in deck chairs on the quiet Promenade Deck and looking out at the ocean and catching up on pleasure reading. It was wonderful. There was no rush to do anything, just a leisurely pace to the day, a relaxing way to say goodbye to our wonderful cruise. That evening the show was entitled “Jean Claude and Gabby.” They are aerial acrobats and their show was truly amazing, particularly when you consider the fact that they were performing on a stage on a ship that was swaying. Many of the feats they performed were very reminiscent of Cirque Du Soleil. We thought their show was a lot of fun. The last activity we participated in that evening was the karaoke superstar finals. I think I mentioned before that we would go to the various karaoke competitions, well these were the folks who were the best of all those and they were great. It was really a good time. I can’t imagine how much courage it took to get up and sing in front of all the people and there were a lot of people there even though it was late, about 10:45 at night. Many of the singers were very talented.

After that we went back to our room to do a last minute sweep and to make certain that we had gathered everything together for our departure the next day. Marjorie said goodbye to Carol and I because her flight left so early that we would probably still be sleeping when she left. We all agreed it had been truly a fabulous cruise, rich in experiences and a wonderful friendship building trip.

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