Day 137

The good-byes continued this morning. It has been a two-week run of final dinners together, final drinks, final games, final everything. Reality is upon us. This is the last full day before we have to scat tomorrow morning, as soon as the ship is cleared for disembarkation. Our Delta flight leaves at 11:40am. We are supposed to be the first departure group #1, hopefully by 7:45am, to allow time for driving to LAX, luggage handling, and check-in.

Pat woke up early with the promise that she would do our laundry from yesterday because we missed the time deadline for submission of the last laundry service. I had to accompany her so I could get a picture.

This morning Regent asked all world cruisers to be in the theater at 10:00am for a special Farewell Show. There were videos of passengers making statements about their cruise experiences and memories, interspersed with live performances by the show cast. As it neared the end, tears were flowing and hugs were plentiful among passengers and cast members. Jamie announced that the world cruisers would find in their suites a 4-hour dvd of this world cruise. We will have to wait till we get home to see this.

After recuperating from the goodbyes, Terry was asked to do one more special lecture. I didn’t take written notes, but he spoke on the Klondike Gold Rush of 1897. It was not clear what this related to for us other than the California connection as a hub for the trip to Skagway and the gold fields. He described the hardships of getting to the gold areas and the requirement that each person needed one ton of supplies or the Mounties would turn them back. He then went to Cornwall England and mentioned two locals by name who heard news stories and went to seek their fortune. They returned with enough wealth to buy a farm or a cottage and start to raise a family. They each had a child. Over time, the grown children met and fell in love. As the two fathers got together to begin planning their children’s wedding, stories about their backgrounds were exchanged. It was then that they realized they had both been to the Klondike about the same time but never met or knew each other. Terry went on to show old pictures of the engaged couple. Then he wrapped it up by showing a picture of his wife, Julie, who had been on the voyage up until Cape Town, and returned to England for family celebrations of her father’s birthday. He said that the two men from Cornwall that went to the Klondike gold fields and returned were her great-grandfathers.

We went to our suite to continue packing the last few things before meeting Lisa and her dad, Morry, for lunch at La Veranda. We stayed there as we sailed into San Diego harbor. I called my brother to let him know our situation and he said he was at the stop light at the end of the pier. I quickly ran to our balcony and waved frantically at all the cars at the distant stop light, hoping that he might see a crazy person waving his arms over the railing. We finally got through immigration and off the ship after 3:15pm. Our sneaky plan to get them on our shore excursion, with extra tickets, fell through. The Destination Manager at check-in explained the legal and insurance issues prohibiting non-passengers from the excursion. We didn’t push it and met Harry and Diane down near the gate.

The four of us walked over to the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum, next door, but discovered that the closing time was one hour away and decided that going aboard was out of the question. We got into their car and picked out a scenic place nearby, that they had not been to. We chose the San Diego Mission de Alcala, established in 1769. It is still an active church. They had a small museum on the history of the mission with photos and diagrams and artifacts from the very early years. We strolled around the grounds and buildings. We were the only people there. It was really quite nice.

We looked at the map and put our finger on a strip of land at the harbor entrance, Loma Point. We found our way there but the national monument site at lands end had closed for the day. We found a naval cemetery, Fort Rosencrans National Cemetery, that provided excellent views of San Diego and its harbor. It was still daylight, so we checked the map and decided to drive up the coast to Mission Beach, keeping in the mission theme of our activities. That place reminded us of the old Revere Beach of our youth, with honky-tonk arcades and a wooden rollercoaster. We felt in the mood for a good pizza and found the right place. It’s been more than 137 days since we had a real hometown pizza. It was delicious; just what we needed. Harry and Diane brought us back to the pier and they agreed to take a box from us to mail home with overflow stuff. I retrieved the box from our suite and brought it back to their car. We said our goodbyes, with hugs.

Back onboard, we did the final stuffing of little odds and ends into the suitcases and placed all eight outside our door for late-night pick-up. There was a scheduled gathering at the Galileo Lounge on deck 11 for final farewells, so we made an appearance. There were only a handful of people there. We sat with Gwen and Dean, had a drink, chatted and left an hour later after some more hugs. At the bar, I saw one of our noontime game members, Sandy, and had to say goodbye to her once more, with hugs. In our suite now, writing today’s events and filling out a room service breakfast request for 6:30am.

Yours in travel,

Pat & Mac