Am almost ready to wrap up the series of blog posts about my recent Mediterranean cruise.
But there were too many weird incidents to not mention them…
- My luggage was lost – forever. Not at the end of the trip, but at the beginning. Ten days wearing the same two outfits.
- Both my friend M and I had to shell out nearly $200 for new cameras on the cruise. (Was it just a coincidence that the $104 digital camera advertised in the camera department was out of stock, but the $199 one was available?) I had to buy one because, while I had my camera in my purse, the extra battery (an unusual type, which, of course they didn’t sell on the ship) and charger were in my lost luggage. M had to buy one because she lost hers before we’d even set sail. (Happy ending to M’s story: the cruise ship found her camera and sent it back to her a month after the cruise ended!)
- The first day’s cruise newsletter said that we’d be docking in Croatia. (We were a bit alarmed because Croatia was NOT one of the destinations on our cruise. ) Guess it was just a typo — Montenegro is almost spelled the same as Croatia???
- I had to buy a new piece of luggage in Venice to bring home souvenirs, since my original luggage never arrived. It was only 25 euros, which seemed good — except I discovered why when I was pulling it through four different airports on the way home and the wheels whirled madly in all directions making it nearly impossible to pull in a straight line…
- We couldn’t figure out how to work the shower in the $847 a night hotel on our extra night in Venice at the end of the cruise. Had to call a surly maintenance man to turn it on for us.
- Using sign language, we discovered (from the surly man) that they don’t use wash cloths in Italy.
- Despite the four-star luxury status of the Venice hotel, we witnessed one woman screaming at another in the hallway, saying, “You don’t own the hotel!” We quickly moved away from them.
- The whole trip I wished I’d brought along the navy blue lightweight blanket provided on the flight overseas. With my nifty sewing kit (obtained from the concierge), could’ve fashioned it into: a sarong beach wrap (to compensate for the one lost in my luggage), a sleeveless top, a scarf, a shawl, and any number of other useful pieces of clothing.
- Every cruise ship shore excursion we took had an unexpected surprise. (We firmly believed whoever wrote the excursion descriptions had never taken any of them, but then — maybe the same person wrote that we were visiting Croatia — see #3 above.) Two of them provided lunch (which the write-ups about them didn’t mention), so we ended up eating two lunches a couple of days, since we ate before we left the ship. (Can’t pass up a free lunch.) The other didn’t mention that you had to swim about 50 yards to get to the volcanic springs (without a life jacket); I sat that one out.
- The cruise ship people were evidently a little confused who was in our cabin. We got invitations slipped under our door to Mr. and Mrs. XX (my last name) several times.
- When M inquired at the customer relations desk about her lost camera, the clerk insisted on called her “Mrs. Westerfield.” That’s nowhere near what her name is… so I had to call her that the rest of the trip.
- Went to a pilates class in the ship’s spa because I’d never done one before. The woman next to me (a large woman walking slowly and using a cane) was talked into taking the class by her two daughters, who called her “Mum.” (I assume they were from England or Australia?) Anyway, Mum moaned and groaned — really loudly — during the whole class. She really didn’t sound like she was having fun. And the male instructor had to strain to lift her from the floor when we were finished (it was a big production).
- We learned that talismans to ward against the “evil eye” are really big in Greece. Couldn’t resist buying quite a few of the pretty blue stones for myself and friends. (Who wants the evil eye — yikes!)
- M and I were both using my cell phone for urgent messages from home. When we were on a shore excursion one day, M’s twenty-something son sent me a text message and asked me to have his mom call him right away. Of course, M thought it was an emergency and called right away at the expensive international rate, but her son just said, “Hi mom. Are you taking pictures?” (I guess he just wanted to hear her voice.)
- Due to lost luggage, I had to resort to carrying the black vinyl toiletry kit the ship’s concierge gave me on formal night (with black capris and a new black tee shirt). It was stunning.
- We never really understood the dollar-to-euro conversion thing the whole trip, and at times resorted to holding out our money and letting the clerk pick the right amount (like we were three years old.)
- Those room stewards are sure sharp on cruise ships! One time, we walked down the hall the wrong way trying to get to our room, and the steward said, “You’re going the wrong direction.” (He didn’t snicker out loud, but he was right — and he wasn’t even our cabin guy!)
- We had a gelato cone every day and loved that when the bill came, it said our purchases were from the Gelateria!
- We attended a presentation about a cruise to the Galapagos Islands (a glorified sales pitch) and when we went into the office afterwards to hear the price (we’d made bets with each other what we thought it would be) it was $24,000!!! We were so proud of ourselves for biting our lips and not laughing out loud. Sure, we could afford that…if we sold our houses.
- We loved the statue of a fat, naked woman near the adults-only pool, so when nobody was around, we each posed next to it in the same position and took a few photos.
- We laughed at the sign in the cruise ship’s casual dining restaurant that said “No bathrobes,” thinking surely nobody would wear one of the fuzzy white bathrobes provided outside their cabin on a nice cruise ship. Then, we saw two different people actually do that. One guy had on the fuzzy white slippers to match. ???
- You know how there are dollar stores in the United States? Who knew there were one euro stores in Venice? We shopped in one.
- I had to sit for eight hours in the middle of the row on the flight from Venice to Newark on the way home. Discovered that you just can’t eat without spreading your elbows; it was like having dinner with your arms tied to your sides.
- On the same flight — after dinner, a flight attendant held out a hot towel with tongs, which I only saw in the corner of my eye since I was reading. It startled me, and I jumped up and my diet coke glass and ice flew in the air, spilled out and landed on the floor. Very smooth.
It was a really fun vacation — and Mrs. Westerfield and I will have a lot of fond memories of it for years to come!