And so the Fantasia sailed back into Genoa and the cruise ended.
After more than three weeks of hauling ass around the Mediterranean in a gigantic ocean-going luxury hotel, eating and drinking and glaring at eurobogans, the Admiral and I were delivered back to where we started and politely told to get the hell off the ship.
But the cruise line had two little going away presents for me.
The first was the news that I had won the disembarkation prize: a handsome piece of vanity publishing called Cruising in Style. Which was a lovely surprise, even if a large, heavy object isn't exactly the best thing to give someone who is about to test the luggage weight limits of an international airline.
The second was a somewhat less lovely surprise, which I discovered when I picked up my main suitcase in the terminal. The cruise line requires passengers to surrender all but their carry-on bags the night before disembarkation, so that the gangplanks aren't congested on the day by thousands of 80 year olds attempting to haul six bags that each weigh more than they do. Unfortunately mine had said something terrible about a baggage handler's mother; it's is the only possible explanation for it arriving in the collection hall dirty and scarred, with its straps torn off, the handles and feet shattered, and one of the telescoping trolley arms snapped off at the base.
I was assured that the cruise line would pay for it via my travel insurance company, but it still spoiled the day, and also became a huge nuisance as it progressively fell more and more apart as I dragged it around Genoa.
Fortunately we were doing little more than making our way home. Today, leaving Genoa. Tomorrow, leaving Milan. The day after, arriving back in Australia.