I Rolled the Dice and Lost or Hello, Tommy ? Guess what ?

So, here is the sad tale of our one missed cruise.  It occurred the weekend of Johnny Carson's death.  

Friends of ours were doing a B2B on Royal Caribbean.  Back then, money was tight, but we were going to join the group for the second leg. We had done B2Bs before, and the worst is doing only the first leg.  A friend of ours did this, and she was the only one packing and getting off after the first week. To say she was surly is being kind.  So, we decided to do the 2nd leg and get off with everyone else.

Now, we knew there was a possibility of a storm hitting, and we were tracking it all week. but like I said, money was tight. We looked into changing flights, but the costs associated with that,,coupled with hotel charges in Miami made that prohibitive. But, we did stay at a hotel right across from the airport the night before our flight to avoid driving issues. So, my father in law drops is off at the hotel near Laguardia Airport, just as the snow begins to fall.   Later that night we get the news, Laguardia Airport is closed .   All night long the news is about Carson. Interviews,tributes, etc.  The next morning, some good news......Laguardia is now open for business  .    I grab my wife, and tel the front desk the good news. They tell me the shuttle is running, but.........they offer to hold my room just in case. Just in case ????? Whatever......we jump in the van and head across the street. We get into the airport anxious to grab the first plane to Miami. But we're greeted by.....nothing. No one.  Where is everyone ??????   This is where I learn the term "open for business"  is a very broad term.  I finally find someone and he asks us what are we doing here ( there ) ?   My response;  we heard the airport was open..we have to get to Miami to pick up a ship !!!!!!        His reply;  well, technically the airport is open, but do you see any planes coming or going ?     I'm sure he wanted to add the word MORON to the end of that sentence, but he was being nice.   My heart sank.  We had been planning this all year.  So, back to the hotel we went.  By now, everyone at the desk knew us and our situation. No one said a word other than, here is your room key Mr K-------.  

We get back to the room, have some breakfast, and then.........the call.   I grab my phone and call one of our friends that are on board.   " Hi. Tommy ?  It's B-----------. Guess what ?     Now, I always tease our friends with made up stories that are plausible.   After telling him that we are still in NY, he replies with one word;  BULL$HIT !!!!!    Then he says, you're standing behind me aren't you ? ( that is something I would have done btw ).  I told him to turn around.  He asks me, " where are you ? I don't see you."      "THAT'S BECAUSE I'M IN NY!!!!!!!!!!

Now he finally believes me. I hear him telling the others in the group. They all claim bull!! Someone else gets on the phone......." You are so full of sh--!  Which deck are you on ?   At that point I just handed the phone to my wife.

Now, the funny ( sort of ) part.   At no point during the week, when we were considering our options, did anyone remember that my wife's brother lives in Marrietta,Ga.    We could have flown down there a couple of days early, avoided the hotel charges, and flown to Miami from there !!!!!!!!             I was going to go back to work for the week, but, due to all the stress, several muscles kind of seized up on me.

We had the insurance, and ended up taking the replacement cruise in July out of NJ. Voyageur of The Seas.....worst cruise we have ever taken.      In case you were looking for that happy ending.     

4 Answers

Well that was a bummer for sure.

So sorry that this happened to you. I hope that you enjoy your cruise in July.

Nope. Worst cruise in our career. One woman complained about her swollen ankles. We told her it probably had something to do with all the salt in the food. Everything, and I mean everything, tasted salty. And the Johnny Rockets, which we heard was free, except for drinks obviously, was now charging for the burgers. Of course that didn't matter. It was closed for private parties about a third of the time. I went into the store for a t-shirt....nothing in my size ( at that time I wore a large ). They were well stocked in adult small(s). Maybe a nice hat to commemorate our trip. Nope. Sold out of them last week. Last week ? Don't you get restocked at P.o.E. ? Sometimes. We've had trouble getting inventory. Largest ship at sea and they can't get inventory. They were fairly well stocked with Clinique products. But, we don't use Clinique, so, who cares ? We did enjoy the ice skating show, and the parade down Main Street.

Grrrr... I so feel for you on this one. The wild card for those of us from areas that get snow is the weather. This episode taught us a lesson to always build in a couple days on the front end of the trip. It was just something we started doing after the experience I'm going to share...

Our near miss was due to snow (we live near Boston). We knew the storm was coming and literally called Delta every day, multiple times for the days leading up to the cruise. Finally, they said yes we will change your flight and not charge you a fee. Even though I had not been feeling great for a couple days our early departure meant I had to forego seeing the doctor prior to departure.

So we get to the airport as the snow was starting to fall. Oh, it looked so pretty at first. As we waited at the gate, we had nothing to do but watch as the white stuff began coming down harder... and accumulating. Then started the delays... one, then a second, then a third. We were now 2.5 hours later than scheduled when they called boarding. At that point the snowfall affected visibility, reducing it to the point that we could no longer see very well across the harbor. Oh yeah, the minor sore throat I had was now a constant searing pain, nothing was helping soothe it, and I could barely swallow. I felt like poopstew. When the flight finally lifted off 3.5 hours late, everyone cheered.

Thankfully I slept most of the way down. I was pretty sure I had strep throat by the time we go off the plane, but I just wanted to get to the hotel and lie down to rest. What a joy that was! We got a room, no problem BUT for the thousands of cruise passengers disembarking who could not fly home because the entire east coast air system was shut down, there was no place to go. Too many to count were waiting for a hotel room to open up, anywhere. At our hotel, some people were staying at 3-4x capacity in a single room in order to have access to shower and toilet. I remember one group of 12 adults in a two bed room included a very pregnant woman and a young man who broke his leg while on an excursion - guess who got the beds?

So by 3am, I could not stand another second of pain and my husband was worried that my throat was closing up, so off to the hospital we went via taxi. Anyone been to a hospital in San Juan PR before? Believe me, you don't want to. Instead of just giving me the antibiotic I asked for, I got "a remedy"---> a recommendation to gargle with warm salt water (which I had been doing for the past 48 hours). Oh good lord I could have taken the doctor out with a single right hook at that point.

When we arrived back at the hotel, I crawled back into bed with my warm salt water (the hotel was fabulous in sending up a large package of salt rather than a hundred single serving sizes). We watched the news broadcasting from BOSTON... it was Jim Cantore out in the blizzard talking about snow accumulation at 26 inches and expectation of going over three feet before it was all said and done. We were thankful to not be stuck there because we would not have gotten out for at least 2-3 more days... and it was only a 7 nighter so not worth the effort of catching up in a later port.

Once we boarded the ship, I headed straight to the medical center. I could barely speak due to laryngitis but after explaining I was a nurse and a bit of my medical history, the doc just asked "what do you want"? I got a Z-pak of Zithromycin and felt a whole lot better after the first dose. By the second day, I was 99% recovered and enjoyed my vacation.

That miss was too close for comfort.


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