by Nina Sabin - Travel Blog
Today we arrived in San Diego, our last port of call. All we can say: Wow! It is hard to believe our 50-day French Polynesian cruise has come to an end. If you have been following along with us on our journey you know this has been a whirlwind trip of seeing islands we never even heard of and others which we have dreamed about visiting The challenges on this trip only made us more flexible and strengthened our endurance.
The Zuiderdam brought us to 19 ports of call. San Diego was visited twice and missed two that were planned due to weather and waves: Dravuni Island, Fiji and Rarotonga, Cook Islands. We had 26 sea days. It was listed as 51-Day cruise because they included our last port of call - San Diego (which we already visited early on our itinerary).
If you have never had to wait to disembark off a cruise ship it takes some time once you arrive at port. First the ship has to clear customs, then you have to wait for your tag number and color for your luggage.
Last night, before we went to sleep, we put our luggage outside our cabin next to the wall for the stewards to collect. We pick those up once we disembark. It made an interesting picture of the army of suitcases.
We had our last breakfast in the dining room with our Canadian friends, Monica and Paul. What was nice is that wasn’t goodbye yet; we were meeting them later in the afternoon in Old Town San Diego.
As we walked down the gangway for the last time and said goodbye to Ian, the cruiser director, and Henk, the hotel manger; both John and I were a bit choked-up. We had to say goodbye to the Zuiderdam, our floating home for the past 50 days.
Once we cleared customs with our passports (no more stamps as everything is electronic), we collected our luggage from the blue tag group, and left the port to walk to our hotel. The Best Western of San Diego was about a 10 minute walk from the port in Little Italy.
We felt so blessed when we could check in early and relax before meeting up with Monica and Paul.
Having high speed internet was such a joy! We could catch up photos, YouTube videos, blogs, email, voicemail, and messages with ease. It is amazing how limited or no internet really disrupts our life.
Around 3:30 pm we took the MTS (the local public transportation) to Old Town Market. We saw many old, quaint shops and fun merchandise to look at and buy. Too bad there was no more room in our luggage.
We caught up with our friends in an old fashioned pipe, cigar, and tobacco shop. Some antique and unique pipes were on display.
The whole market area was already decorated for Christmas. Being gone for over 50 days and it is already almost Christmas… unbelievable!
The Old Town Main Square closed at 5 pm. After waking around and exploring the area we had a bite at Miguel’s Cantina. Our friends were there 10 years ago and were really looking forward to the seafood soup. It was happy hour which included $6 drinks and appetizers. I enjoyed a classic margarita and some carne asada street tacos; John had beef tostadas and decided since his drink package was over it is time to abstain from alcohol for awhile and let his liver recover.
It was sad to say goodbye at the end of dinner. We have met with Monica and Paul almost every day during our cruise. I know we have become lifelong friends and our paths will cross again. After giving hugs, we went our separate ways back to our hotels.
Tomorrow we have a 9:50 am flight. We plan to be at the airport by 8:00 am. They said we can order a taxi in the morning. In 24 plus hours we will be home in our own bed and with our kitties.