First day back from the cruise, which easily was one of the best vacations I've ever been on. A random bunch of co-workers, friends, family. Long weekend through the Bahamas. Lots of sunshine, beverages flowing, no drama, and a non-stop laugh riot.
And then the boat got back to Miami.
That's where the fall of "Best Trip Ever" began and brought it down a couple notches. My woes can be divided into three chapters: "The Bill", "Zero-Count", and "The Apology". Read on, dear friend.
Best thing about a cruise, most of the time they try and shield your eyes from the cost. So you can enjoy yourself and thus spend more. With the airfare and cruisefare and the pre-paid all-you-can-down-wine-package all paid up, I only had to worry about incidentals, like additional non-wine drinks and the like. (I planned on letting my short skirts pick up the rest of my drinking tab).
To further ensure that no stupid spending would ensue on the boat's casino or in the shops, I left most of my cash and all of my credit cards at home and told my brother (who was also onboard with his buddies) to include me on his account, and to forget the money he owed me from the holidays.
Get ready to head out with our suitcases and find a BILL taped to my door. A BILL to be settled in cash.
I call the front desk (busy, as expected) then run down there before trying to grab breakfast. Apparently my room wasn't linked to the bro's account.
When we set this up online before the trip... when I verified this with the Ricky Martin wannabe at the check-in desk... when I went to the desk on Day 2 to ask why my swipe card was suddenly not working... when I went the next day to let them know my swipe card was suddenly not working again...
... none of those times did I have any idea that my account was not billing correctly!!!! The phrase, "My account is connected to my brother's room" must've have come out of my mouth in a thought bubble, because not once did any cruise employee say to me, "Ma'am, it's not linked to another account, you'll have to pay in cash at the end of the trip."
What gets me is that you can use cash to settle your cruise accounts, but ONLY when you set it up with a credit card. And see, the point is, I DIDN'T BRING A CREDIT CARD!!!! How the heck did that happen?
... which is exactly what I asked the guy at the front desk. "How did you guys let me rack up a $300 bill when there was no credit card on file????"
OF COURSE, no one had a suffiicient answer to pacify me.
In the meantime, unsettled accounts cannot be allowed to leave the boat. The bro was already off the boat, as were our friends, and here I am at the front desk.... THE LAST PERSON ON THE SHIP trying to explain for the hundredth time that I don't have money!!! Finally they decide that the bro + credit card need to get back on the boat. Millions of security between land and sea get involved in the obtaining the credit card to bring it on the boat (apparently they couldn't actually let the bro on the boat, but they were glad to take his credit card).
Staff is lined up at the door ready to leave, and then I realize, NO STAFF OR CREW IS ALLOWED OFF THE BOAT UNTIL THE LAST GUEST IS OFF THE BOAT.
And that would be me.
Finally settle it, and trying to conjure up my best Alexis Carrington face, spin around like a snooty bitch and marched outta there. Not sure if I said thank you. Ooh, hard core meanie.
Don't you worry, you can count on Toni Ryan, self-appointed Ambassador of Good Customer Service, already thinking through the sternly-worded letter that will be coming from my camp within the next few days.
So I'm out of the boat, on the gangway, and getting in life for customs. A long line. A long, slow line. I message my friends outside, "They set me free! I'm coming home!" Seriously, I felt overjoyed and ready to cry at the same time, like some cruise-line hostage freshly released by my captors. I imagined the press and crying family outside, while I emerge, unwashed and super-skinny. (Hah!)
So, customs line does NOT move. Like no movement. Nada. Meanwhile, security is rushing back and forth past the line screaming, "Zero count!" "Zero count?!" "I don't get it, we've got zero count!"
Finally, after much serious discussion amongst the cluster of concerned security, they look up at the line I'm in, and announce, "Is there anyone standing in this line that is a passenger?"
I raised my hand.
Of course the entire line standing at customs would only be STAFF. All the other passengers had disembarked HOURS ago, and were long gone.
They waved me forward, and as I went to the head of the line, it occurs to me that "zero-count" was code for "everyone's off the boat", but it didn't jive with the number of people that went through customs. They must've been freaking out that a single human being had just POOF! disappeared somewhere between the boat and the dock. I felt like The Amazing Kreskin, but also felt like a major tool.
Before I hit customs, I turned around to all the perturbed faces of the staff and crew and just smiled and said, "Sorry everybody. You've now got your Zero Count - have a nice day!"
Smiling, yes. Pissed, hell yeah.
The flight home was uneventful, other than the fact we arrived forty minutes early. Forty, yes. I guess there's no such thing in the airline world as EARLY, let alone forty minutes. It must've rocked the airline world on its axis because our luggage dissappeared. All of it.
After fifteen minutes of silent but tense crowding around the carousel, the buzz began.
They lost our luggage.
All of it.
They don't know where it is.
Was it even on the plane?
Maybe that's why we got here so quickly!
Because none of the baggage was even on the plane!
Why did I just pay $50 to check-in two pieces of luggage, it's not even on this freaking plane!
It's not even anywhere on planet earth!
And then it came. The world's best announcement ever. And not 'coz the news was great or anything, but only because the announcement was even made at all that completely impressed me.
[Speaker comes on. In the background is heard, "I'm supposed to say this??", then:]
"Passengers of flight 123, we'd like to apologize for our lack of knowledge on the whereabouts of your luggage. "
Who knows what else they even said bc I was doubled-over in laughter.
Apologize for our lack of knowledge! What a damned hoot!!!
Long story short, luggage eventually arrived, but by that point I didn't care, because I was just so blown away that they even admitted they had NO IDEA where our luggage was. You've gotta admit that takes a set of youknowwhat.
Apologize for our lack of knowledge. Love it.
Fancy way for saying, Uhhhh... I dunno.
Feel free to use it.
* * *
And so, that was my trip.
Fun, fun, sun, fun, etc. Then the junk at the end.