We docked in Aruba at 1000 on Day 7 of the cruise. Most folks were taking off for a day of sun and sightseeing, with many of them going to the beaches or snorkel and dive spots. We’d planned on a snorkel trip and island tour. At 1030 we were picked up by the port agent (one of their agents, they have many). They were very busy as there were five ships in port, the most the port can handle. Ours was a fairly small ship, but the other four were very large. We were taken quickly to the hospital ER and they stayed until we were checked in. The fee for the ER was $267, an amazingly small amount to an American. The hospital was old and worn, but was clean and fairly efficient. They do have a new hospital under construction. The wait was fairly short and we were seen by a female physician who was excellent in all ways. She ordered an X-ray and she confirmed what we had been told on the ship. Surgery might be needed and we couldn’t return to the ship, but Gail was OK to fly home. She gave us a written report for the insurance company. We checked out, paying an extra $100 for the four X-rays, which were given to us on a CD.
The port agent returned to pick us up and took us to her office. She gave us coffee and faxed the medical report off to the trip insurance company. She then arranged a hotel for us for the night and took us to the hotel. We got Gail settled at the hotel and the agent took me back to the ship to finish packing up and to do final departure things with the concierge and the purser. No problems with any of that. At 500 another agent came to pick me up and also the bags that were being shipped back to us (the same ones that had been shipped to Miami for us as part of the cruise package). On the way to the hotel she made a stop at the cruise terminal so I could buy a couple of souvenirs of Aruba. Then, since there was no room service in the hotel she agreed to drive through McDonald’s so that I could get supper for Gail and me. Another exquisite cruise meal. :-) I spent the evening making calls to the travel insurance and by 1100 PM had arranged our departure the next day.
On Day 8 we woke up in the hotel in Aruba and were picked up at 800 by another port agent representative for the trip to the airport. We went in to check in and check two bags. The insurance company had booked us three seats next to each other in coach so Gail could keep her arm free over the middle seat and not have it bumped. They had also arranged for a wheel chair and someone to push it. Fortunately the chair got us to the head of each line, security, US Customs, and security again. If we’d not been able to go to the head of the line we never would have made it to the gate in time. Ten minutes before our pre-boarding time we were at the gate. Our three seats together were near the back of the plane so it was convenient for Gail to get to the bathroom. The two and a half hour flight to Miami was fine.
There was a wheel chair waiting in Miami which took us to our next gate. With a five hour wait we had plenty of time to get some lunch at TGIFridays, our only decent meal of the trip home. Eventually it was time for the five and a half hour flight to Las Vegas. We pre-boarded quickly and got comfortable. Although we’ve taken flights up to 15 hours, this one seemed longer than any of them due to the pain, exhaustion, and emotion involved. It was really hard. To top it all off when we arrived in Las Vegas there was no wheel chair waiting as we left the plane. We finally trudged up the jetway and talked to the gate agent. She was apologetic and said we should have one. Within 15 minutes one arrived and a young man took us to baggage claim and on to the waiting area for the shuttle, which was due to leave in another hour and a quarter. We finally boarded the shuttle and the driver got us home in the advertised two hours. A cab was waiting to take us home. It was 130 AM, so that makes it the story of another day.