Our flight to New York had no problems, so all that remained was retrieving the car from the long-term parking where we boarded the Queen Mary 2 two weeks earlier, and then to drive home to Plymouth. It's a hundred-dollar taxi fare from JFK along the Belt Parkway to the ship terminal, and when we got there the gate was locked! Fortunately the cab driver waited with Lorna while I found a security guard and convinced him to let me in to get the car.
I had been surprised at the start of the trip when I learned too late that parking would cost $630 (I'd been told $200) and nobody told me that the place would be locked on my return. If we do such a trip again, I'll park at the airport instead. There will still be the hundred-dollar taxi (and Uber and Lyft were more), but the parking is less, it won't be locked, and we can head straight home from the airport.
Another lesson learned: we won't bother with the formal nights. Melissa likes getting dressed "to the nines" but Lorna and I care less about that and it necessitated a large extra suitcase that crowded the rental car and may have added extra weight to cause those flat tires. More importantly, when we swapped cars in Inverness after the first flat tire, it took some work on their part to find a car big enough for all of our luggage. I had thought about shipping the formalwear home, but the logistics and the expense were prohibitive for something that we were not passionate about in any event.
The drive home was enjoyable because Lorna and I got to reflect back upon the whole adventure. When we do that we always end up stimulating our memories and bringing back details that might have been forgotten. Many people who take the Queen Mary 2 fly to New York, but we are close enough to drive, it was great having my own car for driving around Manhattan before the trip, and the drive home was enjoyable, so that's a strategy that I would keep.