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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Clearly I will go Sailing no more...

Paul and I got back from our trip earlier this eve. We saw the ocean, gambled in casinos, sat in a tropical orchid garden, ate many nice meals and visited new places. All without ever setting foot on the cruise ship we originally planned to vacation on.

Long story short, there was a mix up with our reservation and we never made it on to the ship's manifest. The Bermudan getaway we were set to embark on was happening on the same ship, port, day, and time in the year 2011. Even though from the start there was zero likelihood that we were going to travel on the boat, we spent 4.5 hours in the terminal being told by employees that we were "all set" and they were just finding a nicer room to upgrade us to. That's 10:30 to 3:00 with no food, spare a piece of cake we snatched from the welcome aboard reception, and little acknowledgment from the crew about what the status of our situation was. Oh, PS- they made us sit that whole time in the area they were holding people to be tested for symptoms of swine flu. Awesome.

We weren't the only ones who were unable to board. Some people were denied vacations for having a hospital birth certificates instead of a state issued one. They offered us their cabins, since they would be allowed to go, but the guest services guy told us that since we weren't on the manifest we wouldn't be allowed on board. Mind you, this was in the fourth hour of us sitting there with luxury upgrades being hinted at. If they had just told us that in the first place, it would have been a lot easier to handle. We wouldn't have wasted our day at the pier, and we could have retrieved our luggage, which sailed away without us.

We were actually very lucky though. Some people, like I mentioned, were barred from boarding, and their luggage was set to sail away with their life-saving medications or their passports in them. One family even had 6 young children let on board with both parents obstructed from entry. And because of the our real reservation was a year away, we were actually able to get a full refund, which nobody else could say, really.

I really did feel like I was in a Randy Newman song though...

So there we were, down in Baltimore with a week of vacation days, one set of clothes each, and a non-refundable two night stay in Washington DC booked for 5 days in the future. Faced with the prospect of trusting Royal Caribbean to ship our bags back (and also the prospect of them charging us a huge fee for the pleasure), and in spite of the strong urge to cut our losses and flee home for a stay-cation, we decided to make our most of our time down in the mid-Atlantic. We wanted to get our bags in person when the boat came back to port.

It made for a very unorthodox and random vacation to places we never would have gone otherwise. It was quite an adventure planning travel without a computer or the internet. And despite the bad beginning, it did turn out to be a pretty fun trip. Like I said, we did all the things that a cruise vacation invokes, just in a different place entirely.

I'll be blogging a little bit of what we ended up doing over the next few days. Like this trip, I ended up not taking pictures. It's strange when that happens.

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