We’re Back! We had a great time on our cruise and can confidently say we will be life long cruisers! Princess Cruise Line was fantastic in so many ways but things got off to a bit of a stressful and rocky (literally) start!
Sunday morning, a week ago, Brett and I woke up at 4:30am and proceeded to get ready for our anniversary celebration cruise! We were staying at my parents house and my wonderful mother woke up with us and prepared coffee, breakfast, and snack for our day of traveling. After setting off to the shuttle service we made our way to the PHL airport–and the world of tipping began (but that’s not super relevant to this story–just a side comment).
Things appeared to be going well up to this point. We boarded our plane and I had a great window seat and my MP3 player to keep me entertained. Just when we started to head to the tarmac the captain received word that Air-force One was flying in the same air space we would be traveling. Since federal regulations prohibits sharing air space with AF1 we had to re route our trip… which meant we had to go BACK to the gate and refuel for the longer trip. Now our flight was officially delayed. We left about 30 minutes late. This wouldn’t have been terribly concerning if we didn’t have a connecting flight that left us a mere 45 minutes between ON TIME flights. So, needless to say we prayed very hard that the flight would arrive at 10:45 (original arrival to Atlanta was 10:15am) in order to make our 11:00am departure to Fort Lauderdale.
Sadly to say, airlines are allowed to leave 10 minutes early and this very flight took advantage of that allowance. We arrived at 10:55am and missed our connection. This still didn’t cause too much concern until we discovered the next flight out to Ft. Lauderdale left at 2:30pm with an arrival at 4:12pm. THIS WAS A HUGE PROBLEM!Check in on the boat ended at 4:00pm and port departure was 5:00pm sharp.
Since we had no choice (and we complained our fair share) we settled for this flight and prayed once more. Upon boarding I told 2 flight attendants, the captain and co-pilot of our situation. They tried their best (and even made an announcement to let cruisers off the plane first!) but we left late and arrived in Florida at 4:30pm. The port is a 15 minute drive and we still had to get our luggage. Panic and general FREAKING OUT consumed me. My ever optimistic husband tried to spin a vacation in FL with a trip to Disney World. How wonderful right??!!
As I stared at the luggage belt, willing it to begin turning out our luggage, I had an epiphany…. catch a taxi and hold the boat. So, I turned to Brett and said “I’m going to stop the boat.” He agreed and off I went.
I caught the very expensive taxi and made it to the port in 15 minutes. I ran as fast as possible and the cruise staff quickly notified the captain of my arrival. The captain said he’d wait 5 minutes past 5pm. Seriously?? I couldn’t believe they weren’t willing to wait for my husband who was (hopefully) only 15 minutes behind me.
The port side security and cruise staff gave me a bit of a hard time with questions like:
How do you know you’re husband will be here shortly?
Why doesn’t he have a cell phone?
Why didn’t you fly in a day early?
How do you know he has the luggage?
I’m officially freaking out when my cell rings and Brett has phoned to say he is in the taxi (borrowed the cabby’s cell) and is 10 minutes away. The cruise staff asked how far away he was and I told a white lie and said 5 minutes away. God forgive me but they were not even happy when I said he was still 5 min. out. At this point all I can do is blame the travel agent who set everything up for us. It was her job to arrange this all and her job to make sure we didn’t end up in this situation. My ever sweet husband did remind me to calm down and I can now take some responsibility in the fact that we didn’t even notice we had a connecting flight until days prior to our holiday.
At about 5:10pm Brett arrived at the ship. His taxi almost crashed as it raced into the port, being flagged down by cruise employee’s. Our luggage was whisked away (literally) and Brett gave the taxi driver a 6 dollar tip for lack of time to receive change. Our total taxi bill just to arrive at the ship ended up at $35.00— but it was a nominal fee as we walked up the crew’s entrance and sailed away.
We sat happily in the crew’s “dungeon” for one hour as they tried to re enter us into the system. We had already been deleted from the computers and it took some effort to get us registered again. We didn’t see the ship leave port nor did we actually see the ship from the out side (until 2.5 days later when we arrived in St. Maarten). Care free we remained however– because we made it!
Coming soon–Part Two: The Vibrating Luggage!