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Hurricane Irma turns metro family’s Florida cruise into a lengthy road trip home

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- By now, most people who wanted to evacuate from Florida have. That includes a Kansas City family. What was supposed to be a celebratory cruise, Hurricane Irma turned into a massive southeast road trip.

For the first time in a long time, the Petrowsky family is happy to empty the dishwasher. Or really -- do anything at home.

A week ago, the Petrowsky family was on a Disney cruise. By Thursday, they were back in Tampa, two days early due to the impending Irma with no way to fly home.

"Couldn't find any flights to Kansas City through Southwest until Saturday evening," said Andy Petrowsky on Sunday.

That prompted the Petrowskys to turn their cruise trip to a road trip and join the others fleeing Florida.

"We were stressed, we were frustrated," said Petrowsky. "We were hoping and praying that we didn't get stuck in the middle of Florida, with a Hurricane bearing down on us with no gas."

Andy drove while his wife Meaghan navigated the backroads of the South. They used social media to both figure out alternative routes and document their alternative vacation.

"We just kept reminding ourselves," he said, "that there are hundreds of thousands of people down there that were not only in the same boat we were in -- but had to worry about not having a house when they came back."

Petrowsky is a bit perturbed that his vacation ended early, and included 30 extra hours of driving. But he realizes that his troubles are tiny compared to those down in tampa right now.

"I'm really happy the cruise ship decided to come in early," said Petrowsky as he stood in his home in Shawnee. "I'm thrilled that Meaghan thought to rent a car, rather than get a flight. I'm thrilled that we had friends telling us to go up 95 rather than 75 and we didn't get stuck. And I"m so thankful that we didn't have to worry about our house getting destroyed by this."

He's also thrilled that he had travel insurance. But he's not sure he's ready to book another cruise - yet.