Today started at 5:30 AM for us, and we knew it was going to be a long one. We had everything together by 6:15, and by 6:30 we decided to go down and see if we could get a jumpstart on the immigration procedures. Our original time said 7:20, but with this many people, we thought we should go on down. When we arrived there were probably about 50 people already in line, and as the minutes went on, the line grew. From what we learned later, due to port congestion, we were late arriving, therefore the immigration officers were also late. By the time the doors opened, the line almost extended the entire length of the ship. We were through by 7:20 and up in the QG for our last breakfast on board. We both had our favorite omelets, and then said goodbye to Francis and Gavin. I requested a wheelchair for disembarkation, so we had to meet down in the Chart Room.
I did have to take a picture of the gorgeous gingerbread house display they put up in the grand lobby. It was beautiful.
Everything was running late this morning, but by 9:00 they gave us the go ahead to leave the ship. We arrived where the gangway was located and we've never seen such chaos. It didn't seem like there was any rhyme or reason to what was going on. Part of the problem is the line for immigration was still so long that it intersected with the departing guests. Not to mention, they usually go by color/number of your tags, and no one seemed to be following those directions. I truly thought there might be a mutiny! At long last we walked what seemed to be a mile of ramps and trekked through the terminal to claim our luggage. I found 2 pieces very easily, but Mom's seemed to be MIA. After searching through several times I finally had to ask what to do about a lost piece of luggage. There was an area for "tagless bags" and there I found one bag, Moms. Evidently in the collection of our bags it had been ripped off. We were soon aboard the coach to the airport where we were checked in and went right through security. We had some time to wait, but it was better than being rushed. Our flight form LAX was on time, though 100% full. We did have a first time experience on this flight. This younger woman came on board carrying her dog when the flight attendant stopped her (I think any carry on animals are supposed to be in a carrier). Anyway, the young woman informed her that it's an "emotional support dog". I just even know what to say about that, but I've just about seen it all now. The flight attendant did tell us that on another flight she did have another "emotional support animal", but that was a pig. What are people thinking??? Once in Charlotte we had to go all the way from the end of C concourse to the other end of E. They did have a gorgeous tree made out of poinsettias.
Our flight was showing an early arrival in Wilmington, which made us happy. That was short lived. The crew arrived late, we boarded late, and we then found out that due to a noise ordinance in Charlotte, that at 11:00 PM they shut down to only one runway for all arriving and departing flights. We waited while 15 planes took off in front of us and we didn't arrive in Wilmington until after midnight. Dad was very happy to see us even though he'd been waiting at ILM for a long time. I think they had to call some people in to unload the luggage because that took another 30 minutes. By just after 1:00 AM we arrived home, but then had to stay up talking about the trip. It was a very long day, but at least we're home safe and sound.