I’m famished. We’re having dinner at the hotel. We’re the only ones sitting at a table rather than the bar, so we’ll be eating really soon. We watch two other, large parties arrive, be seated, order, and actually receive their food before ours arrives. Apparently I was mistaken.
This is how empty the restaurant was when we got there for dinner.
Well, this gives us time to catch up on the Keystone Cops version of our vacation so far. (And we’re not even on the ship yet.) I ask if my phone’s going to be reactivated soon, since it’s still not working. Wayne’s not sure, because, when he’d been on hold with Xfinity for an hour at the airport while waiting for the shuttle, he accidentally bumped his phone and cut off the call. There wasn’t time to start over in the lengthy phone queue. So, still no phone for me. But we’re now together, and we have his phone, and there’s not usually phone service out in the middle of the ocean anyway. I’m not concerned. Yet.
We discuss our stateroom upgrade to a suite. We’ll have more closet space (which we never need). We’ll also have a larger balcony (which only I use), with three deck chairs (there are only two of us), plus a full whirlpool tub (which neither of us is going to use), and VIP check-in so we don’t have to snake through the line with 2,000+ other people. Okay, now you’re speaking my language!
The only negative I can see (for now), besides the added cost (which is on his credit card, not mine), is that all those travel documents and luggage tags I’d printed for our original stateroom are no good. I check the hotel’s website on my phone (which is still a tiny internet device, at least) and see that they do have a business center. No problem. I’ll simply get the PDF from Wayne onto my laptop and head down there in the morning to print out new documents. I’ve brought a small roll of tape to tape the tags to our suitcases. I’m proud of myself that I’ve thought of everything.
Only I haven’t really thought of everything. Why have I chosen now to stop running worst-case scenarios? They’re everywhere.
With the VIP check-in, we’re allowed to board the ship earlier than the unwashed masses, so we get up early and repack the few things we’ve taken out of our suitcases. I haven’t taken anything out of mine since I cleverly packed the carry-on with things I’d need before getting on the ship. I’m proud of myself that I really have thought of everything. Yeah. Right.
As Wayne’s stuffing things back into his oversized duffel bag, including his massive winter coat since we’re in Florida now, I grab my small laptop and head downstairs to the business center. We’re hoping to make the 11 a.m. shuttle to the port, but it won’t take long to print out two luggage tags and then tape them to the suitcase handles. In theory.
Wayne takes an earlier shuttle an hour and a half before we have to leave, going to a Walgreen’s nearby where he buys two sleeves of Diet Coke to take onto the ship with us, plus an Ace bandage for my wrist. I’ve slept on it wrong and can barely move it. This is going to make dealing with luggage so much more pleasant. (/sarcasm)
I carefully wheel my luggage onto the elevator and head down to the lobby. I find the business center and see there is no one there. What luck! Then I understand why no one is there. A sheet of paper taped to the printer reads: “Printer Out of Order. We hope to have it working soon.” The ironic thing is that the sign was clearly printed with a printer.
Unsure what they mean by “soon,” I dash to the front desk to ask about the printer. No problem, they say. They can print it for me in the office. But they can only do it if I email it to them. They tell me the email address and I scoot off to a chair in the lobby and email it.
Wayne shows up with the soda and the Ace bandage and heads back upstairs for his luggage. I wrap my wrist and then check with the front desk. They haven’t received my email. I’m suddenly glad I have a half million email addresses, and I re-send the attachment from a different email address. Wayne shows up in the lobby with all his luggage just as the front desk tells me they still have not gotten the email. I sit back down and try a third email address, as Wayne is telling me the shuttle has arrived. No pressure, Linda!
Imagine a bajillion people scurrying around, hoping to get on the shuttle, and me off in the corner with my laptop re-sending the same attachment a bajillion times.
As I’m sending the attachment from a fourth email address—and wondering if my old AOL email address from the 1990s might still work—Wayne tells me he’s called Carnival and that they say it’s no problem to have no luggage tags. We can simply tell the porter at the, uh, port (Where else would a porter be? That’s a rhetorical question, so don’t start commenting with other places a porter might be) what our ship name and new stateroom number are and he can make up tags for us right there.
All this time, Wayne has been begging the shuttle driver to hang on, we’ll be right there.
No pressure, Linda! I’m now shutting down my laptop and trying to stuff it back into the carry-on so the irritated folks already on the shuttle will not lynch us on the way to the port.
I sit on the overcrowded shuttle (about ten or twelve passengers in a short bus, each with a week’s worth of luggage—you do the math, I’m feeling too claustrophobic at the moment), trying to remember my Lamaze breathing techniques to slow my heart rate and lower my blood pressure. I’m pretty sure it’s not working.
The shuttle arrives safely at the port and we all stand up to get off … only to find out the driver has parked in the wrong spot. We all sit back down and watch patiently as she maneuvers the shuttle around and then backs it into a different spot a little farther away from the port. Everything is unloaded and we track down a porter,
bribe him—I mean, tip him—heavily, and he makes up two luggage tags for us on the spot.
Now we can relax and enjoy our vacation. We bypass the lengthening line of regular cruise-goers and head for the VIP check-in … along with a million other people. Clearly they have redefined “VIP check-in” since the last time we were blessed with it. We just keep rolling our carry-ons wherever people are pointing, hoping that we’ll eventually see a really big boat and get on it.
This is what we’d hoped the terminal would look like for VIP check-in…
I keep reminding myself we’re on vacation. The worst is behind us.
Next installment: Rub-a-dub dub, three rings ’round the tub…