This morning we have done our immigration clearance.....we can get back into Britain with the minimum of fuss!
We do of course understand the need for the checks. Since nine eleven it has become clear that international terrorism poses a real threat in all countries.....some care has to be taken. Drug smuggling is another problem....which is why the sniffer dogs are in evidence in every country during the disembarkation process.
Different countries tackle this problem in different ways. Sometimes if possible the immigration officials come on board and travel with us though without dogs!
In all the countries we've visited we have had to show our passports. Often our bags have been searched for any food we might be carrying!
The immigration officers haven always been polite whilst doing their very necessary job which made what happened in Fort Lauderdale entirely unacceptable.
We had been warned by the people on the ship that this was the most stringent port but in the event it was worse than anything described.
Everyone on board had to be checked...including the crew! This totals several thousand people. Just four immigration officials were set up in a huge hall to do the checks...we were supposed to be taking a bus to the shopping mall. The time for going to be checked got longer....we were still in our rooms at midday....shopping had to postphoned.
Eventually we went down to join a huge queue......the very old, the frail, the people in wheel chairs simply queued for well over an hour....
After we'd passed our check we were free to go.....we decided to stay after all that queuing we were tired.
In a large hall nearbye were about a thousand people....we could not go back on board till every person on it was checked! At least there were seats in Lala land. After another fairly bad tempered hour we then joined another queue to get back on board! Tempers were decidedly frayed!
Today a pleasant young man looked at our passports, looked at us, nodded and said we were free to go!
David and I will never take another trip involving Fort Lauderdale!