Emerald Princess Day 48

Written by Safarigal
April 21, 2024

Fort Lauderdale Airport

April 20th, 2024

We had to be out of the cabin by 8:00 so that meant an early start.

The Emerald Princess was not alone in the Fort Lauderdale cruise port – there were another 2 Princess ships as well as 2 Royal Caribbean ships keeping us company.

We vacated the cabin and had a leisurely breakfast by the pool before grabbing our carry on luggage and disembarking.

It was such a pleasure arriving in the luggage hall and not having to search for our suitcases and then drag them into the customs and immigration queue. Unencumbered we could just walk straight into the queue. It was all too easy.

The immigration queue was moving quite slowly, but when you think that you have to get almost 3000 passengers, and a whole lot of crew members through the process, it’s a miracle it moved at all.

When we arrived at the front of the queue there was no friendly immigration officer to welcome us back home, instead there was a machine. All you had to do is look briefly at the machine, you didn’t even have to take your glasses off or show your passport, and a green light came on signaling that you were good enough to be back on US soil again.

How cool is that? Hopefully they will have the same system in Brooklyn next time we are there.

We stepped out into the brilliant Florida sunshine and walked to the taxi rank, and were soon in a cab making our way to the airport.

My memories of our arrival at Fort Lauderdale airport when we disembarked from Explora 1 in December were that I felt totally overwhelmed and over stimulated. There were too many people, it was way too noisy, everyone was pushing and shoving, and I just wanted to return to the peace and quiet of the ship.

I didn’t feel that at all this time. Hey, it was just like being in the Piazza on the Emerald Princess after dinner. I could deal with the noise and the crowds, the over stimulation. After 48 days on Princess I was a pro.

Then I thought, is this really a good thing? Yes, it was for the moment, why not?

It was 11:00 AM and the Alaska Airlines check in counter doesn’t open until about 4:00 PM, but as we didn’t have any suitcases and we had our boarding passes we could go thought security right then. Apart from the noise and the crush of people, there was nowhere to sit this side of security, and although my new found tolerance of chaos was useful, I must say the thought of finding a seat away from the crowds was tempting.

Once through security we sat catching up with all the emails we should have dealt with while we were away, and getting up to date with paying bills. It was actually quite nice to have this time to get all of these things done before we get home later tonight.

Finally we were able to board the plane. The plane was absolutely full, and unfortunately we had not been able to get seats together, but we will be together again once we get to Seattle.

There was a lot of turbulence, and it was quite a bumpy ride. I was hoping that our Alaska Airlines 737 Max was up for the stresses and strains of coping with unsettled skies. Unfortunately the babies on board weren’t happy with this either, and a lot of crying went on. I felt so sorry for their parents. I know from experience that trying to soothe a fractious baby on a long flight can be a losing battle.

We still have vivid memories of visiting family in South Africa when our eldest was a baby. There was absolutely no way to calm the poor little chap down, and he cried constantly all the way from Chicago to London, finally falling asleep just as we touched down in London.

We had a full day in London, and try as we may, we could not keep him awake, he was definitely tired out after a long squawk, we dreaded what the next overnight flight to Johannesburg would bring.

We were right to be worried. As the plane took off from London he suddenly woke up and was all cute and perky. We realized that we may not get any sleep, but at least unlike the night before when we had managed to ensure that no one on the whole jumbo jet got any sleep, at least he was quiet.

This did not last. We hit some turbulence, and he was back in full screaming mode. Added to this was that he had an intolerance to British milk it seemed. It was a very messy, smelly, noisy, long flight.

We swore we would never fly with him again.

Tonight, eventually the babies around us settled down, the ride became smooth again, and I was able to lean against the window and fall into a wonderful deep sleep.

I awoke to see the lights of Seattle below us. Only one more short flight and we will reach our destination.

I will miss the motion of the ship gently rocking me to sleep every night, I will miss those beautiful sunsets over the ocean. We have had an amazing cruise – so much to experience in 48 days. And I have absolutely loved it all 

Post Discussion


  1. Chris Brookes

    Thanks again for your entertaining blog. I love the way you both make the best of every trip even when you’re not totally impressed! It’s the only attitude to have. Now comes the worst bit! Laundry and fitting back into normal routine! 🤦‍♀️🤣💕💕💕

    • Safarigal

      Thank you for your kind words. You are so right about laundry and a normal routine – thinking what to cook for dinner is a real challenge!

  2. Cynthia

    I so much enjoyed following along with you on your journey as I will be cruising around SA for 52 days on the QV in January. Where are you off to next?

    • Safarigal

      After QA we will be camping in Botswana in July. Now that will be a change!

  3. Beverley Allen

    I’ve thoroughly enjoyed your repoerts as ever. Look forwatd to your impressions of Queen Anne when you sail on her.
    Have you done any Japan cruises? We have Oceania Tokyo to Singapore booked later this year after QA in June, so I’m on the look out for tips!

    • Safarigal

      We were on QE in Japan in 2018. It was a fantastic trip, we loved almost everything about Japan, I cringed at some of the foods on offer, I am sure you will love Tokyo to Singapore on Oceania. If you have a few days you can spend in Japan before you join the ship – we did a brief tour in 2018 (its in my blog) and it was really worthwhile. Have a fantastic time on QA in June 🙂

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I love to share my adventures with others, and hopefully give them some insight into what to expect on their own exciting travels. I hope reading my blog will be a useful resource, and inspire others to follow their travel dreams. As a travel advisor, I get great pleasure out of being able to help folks fulfill their aspirations by translating my experience in safari adventures and ocean voyages into memorable travel experiences for them.