Without further ado, Cruise vacation, Day 1.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Starting point: Fox Lake, IL
Destination: Fort Lauderdale, FL
Saturday I awoke like anyone would do when they are going on vacation- full of anticipation and excitement. I checked my “list” of all of the things I needed to remember to pack or do before I left. My list included miscellaneous items that had nothing to do with my vacation whatsoever (like rearranging my kitchen cabinets). I decided to pass on that and sat back on my couch to wait.
Making it TO the airport was no problem. The trip was fast, easy. Even once AT the airport everything with smoothly. Then, my family and I saunter up to our gate, with several hours to spare, to collect our boarding passes, and wait. Problem. I had no boarding pass. I had been waitlisted. “Oh, sorry Stephanie. You are on our list. You don’t have a seat on the plane. We overbooked. So, you’ll have to wait and see if something opens up.” Just what every traveler with a destination in mind, and a definite departure time loves to hear. I decided to remain calm. I sat down, read my book, played a game, did a puzzle or two. My dad commenced his pacing at that moment. My brother started to panic. I just looked at John and said, “It’s okay bud, I’m going.” He sighed, “Oh, okay.” He was fine then, and went back to playing his game and waiting. I didn't feel QUITE as confident that I'd be on the plane, but I knew I would make it to the boat.
We were to be boarded and taxi-ing the run way at 4:15. That did not happen. The plane did not arrive until after 3:30. The attendants working the gate continued to ask for volunteers to give up their seat. Any passengers doing so would, of course, be reimbursed, receive a travel voucher and a hotel stay. There was always that option. As long as they got me to the boat on time, I had decided it might not be such a bad thing. I’d be flown to Nashville, and then to Fort Lauderdale, and then whisked to the ship. I continued to wait. It was around 3:45 when my name was called. I had a boarding pass. My family all breathed a collective sigh. I was on the plane.
We were in the air. The flight attendants reviewed their standard warning instructions, and how to operate oxygen masks and life jackets. “Fasten the oxygen mask around your face. The bag may not inflate, but you will.” Yes, he said that. The ride was rather bumpy. I slept, and dreamed of warm weather.
At the airport we collected our luggage rather quickly. Except for my dad. He stood watching the luggage go around and around, until the belt stopped. He had no suitcase. I decided, just to be safe, to check all the bags remaining on the belt. I walked up to the first one, read the name and pulled it off. “That’s not my bag,” my dad yelled across to me.
“Well,” I said, “it’s got your name on it.”
“No it doesn’t...Does it?”
He had been watching the same bag go around three or four times and each time never realized it was his.
We then had to get to the hotel. My mom had called for the shuttle to come and pick us up. She was told where to go wait. We hiked to the area and waited. We weren’t there long when someone from Holiday Inn pulled up with a rather large van and a trailer attached to the back. My dad walked up to him and asked him, “Holiday Inn Express, hotel airport?” The driver said, “No,” then, “Yes,” almost immediately, and grabbed my dad’s suitcase and tossed it in the trailer. His hesitation should have been a sign. We arrived at a lovely Holiday Inn. My dad stood in line waiting to check in to the hotel. A moment later he walked away from the desk. “This isn’t our hotel.” It wasn’t.
We waited for around thirty minutes for another van driver to come back and pick us up. We were then driven to the CORRECT hotel. In the completely opposite direction from the first hotel. (While we were waiting, I was dancing and skipping through the p arking lot at the hotel. It was warm, there were palm trees, and I needed to stay awake until I got to the hotel!)
(While we were waiting, I was dancing and skipping through the p
arking lot at the hotel. It was warm, there were palm trees, and I needed to stay awake until I got to the hotel!)
We were checked in rather quickly. We hauled our belongings up to the room on a cart. My dad tried the key. It didn’t work. He tried the other key. That one didn’t work either. I ran them downstairs and had them reprogrammed, and finally we were in.
The view outside my apartment the morning I left.
My luggage waiting!
Next up, Day 2.