A Post-holiday vacation….in all it’s GLORY

As soon as the topic for this week’s Theme Thursday was decided upon and announced, as “My Biggest Vacation Disaster” I immediately knew the story I wanted to share with y’all. It’s an adventure straight out of National Lampoon’s Vacation franchise. That is, if one of their movies was set on a Carnival Cruise ship.

I only wish it had been a trip I TOOK. 

No, I didn’t cheat, and fabricate a story about a disastrous vacation with my family. I didn’t have to. My niece, Ryan Anderson,** and her husband actually had one worthy of an award, and she agreed to let me share it. I mean, why wouldn’t she? After it happened, she sent the following letter to American Express, and the Director of Public Relations called her on the phone, laughing hysterically, saying that everyone in the office now had a copy on their desk and nobody could get any work done because they were all giggling breathlessly. At the end of the phone call, they were discussing the possibility of making it into a commercial. Seriously.  Intrigued? Read on….

Dear American Express, 

Sitting around the house late one night after Christmas, my husband Hank and I, childless and full of adventure, poured some cocktails and spontaneously decided to take a Carnival Cruise over New Years. He spent the next hour or so online looking for an available cabin, and I truly believe we booked the last one….in the world. We rented a car that Friday morning, and headed down to Cape Canaveral, Florida, where we stayed the night at the Radisson Hotel. We boarded the cruise ship Glory the following Saturday morning. Our itinerary was 2 days at sea, a day in Cozumel (boring), a day in Belize City (not what I had expected), a day in Costa Maya (LOVED IT), then on to Nassau, Bahamas after a couple of days at sea.  We arrived at the port in Nassau at about 10:00 a.m. The night before, Hank read the daily schedule for the next day, and saw that we were due to leave Nassau at 16:00 hours, giving us plenty of time to enjoy the day before we got back on the ship. So, excited about Nassau, we disembarked in our bathing suits (mine was a skimpy little two piece thing), grabbed a taxi, and headed over to the Atlantis Resort where we purchased a day pass and spent the day relaxing on the beach. It was absolutely beautiful!!! The water was so clear, and the waves were perfect!!! After we got tired of the beach, we headed back to the main part of the resort, toured the stunning aquariums, then walked outside to shop some more and check out all the beautiful yachts docked at the piers. It was truly an awesome day. Around 3 p.m., we decided to head back to the ship so we could leisurely check back in before everyone else, pack, and get ready to enjoy the last night of our vacation. On the way back, we took a wonderful water ferry taxi, then walked through the local craft markets at the dock where I purchased a very cool pair of leather handmade flip-flops. Still can’t wait to wear them!!!

Tired, sandy and a little burnt, we left the craft market and walked towards the Glory. All of the big ships were there as well, so I asked Hank if he would take my picture with all the cruise ships behind me, before we boarded. He said yes, of course, so I immediately tried to pump up my wet hair and make myself look cute for the picture. I was standing there smiling with my head and hip slightly cocked to one side, like the ultimate dork tourist in my skimpy bikini, posing for my picture…Hank raised the camera to his face…I give him a big smile…and then, I watched all the color slowly drain out of his face. I was still smiling (my cheeks were beginning to quiver) as he slowly lowered the camera back down. With jaws dropped, he pointed to our ship behind me and in a weak voice Hank said…”Baby! The boat is moving! Our ship is leaving the port!”

Irritated at his lame attempt at humor I rolled my eyes, exercised my cheeks for another smile and reposed for the picture because I didn’t believe him….for those of you who know us really well, you know that Hank messes with me all the time. He is the ultimate smart ass.

I decided to give him what he wanted….you know, haha, joke’s on me, and turned around. My jaw dropped too….especially when I looked up to the top of the ship and saw everyone on the deck yelling and waving good-bye to Nassau.

With arms flailing we start running towards the ship like idiots, to no avail. It wasn’t stopping…I whipped out the camera and videotaped our ship sailing off into the sunset while we ran at break neck speed to another Carnival ship in port for help. They basically, in a short direct way let us know that we were S.O.L. Yes, my friends, we “missed the boat”. We were stranded in the Bahamas in wet bathing suits watching our ship sail off without us.

Ok, so, we are standing there speechless and helpless on the pier of a foreign country. Our wallets are on board, cell phone, keys, clothes…EVERYTHING, except thank God, our passports and our American Express card. Yep, that’s it…that’s all we had besides our camera. After making a second attempt to try to recompose ourselves in front of all the tourists who had now caught onto what had just happened to us, we ran back to the security station and contacted the ministry of tourism, with the hope of maybe getting ferried out the Glory. No such luck…the ship could not be stopped.

Ok, so, let’s back up to the day before (well, really the night before….in the casino on the ship…after cocktails…), Hank saw on the daily schedule that we were scheduled to leave Nassau the next day at 16:00 hours, which, of course, is 4pm….apparently, the “six” in “sixteen” stuck in his head, so all day long we thought the ship was leaving at 6:00. Yes, I just threw my husband under the bus.

We left the port authorities and grabbed a taxi after being assured that we could fly back to Cape Canaveral within the next hour, then get back on the ship the next morning to retrieve our belongings. Oh, if it had only been that easy!

We finally arrived at the Nassau Airport, and booked the last flight (7:30pm) to Orlando through BAHAMA AIR…ok, who has even heard of this airline? My thoughts exactly! We purchased the tickets, and proceeded through the airport to American customs. Of course, everyone in front of us have luggage, bags, purses, cute little souvenirs from their vacation in Nassau….Us? Nothing. We stepped up to our customs booth, and the officer slowly looked us over, cleared his throat and finally asks, “Uhmm, where are your bags? And how long have you been in the country?”
Hank and I looked at each other, looked back at him and said, “Everything we own is on the Carnival Glory, and we have been here for 6 hours.” He laughed out loud at us…I mean, who wouldn’t? Here we are getting ready to board a flight in semi-wet bathing suits, our legs and feet still have sand from the beach all over them, we have no luggage, and at this point we are beginning to smell.

Then, if that’s not enough, they walk us out onto the tarmac up to a little prop plane! At this point, I was scared to death and freezing my butt off. The flight didn’t even have beverages. I told the attendant that I was thirsty and she went to the bathroom and handed me a cup of tap water. Hank and I spent the entire flight huddled up together to fight off hypothermia. At every bump and drop in the air we professed our love for each other, wondering if it was our last moment together on Earth.

Thank God, we made it back to the States alive. We left the airport after I hurriedly purchased a sweat shirt and hailed a taxi back to Cape Canaveral to the Radisson hotel, the same hotel we stayed at the night before we departed. The taxi ride cost $100….we didn’t care, we just needed sleep, food, and warmth. Oh, and by the way, let me give you a visual of what I looked like. By this time, my inner thighs were so chaffed from the salt water and running around Nassau in a wet bathing suit, that I thought they were going to bleed, so I am gingerly walking around like I rode a bull for 8 hours, with my legs spread apart so my thighs don’t rub together. It wasn’t pretty and it hurt like hell. Also, to add to the visual, I have really curly frizzy hair that must be maintained with products and a hairdryer to look presentable. Mix that hair with sand, salt water, and give it a windblown effect…and you can imagine what I looked like. I was a dead ringer for the Bride of Frankenstein. My lips were also burnt and slightly peeled back, drawn taut from dried salt that I got tired of licking at some point on the plane.

We finally got to the hotel. Ahhhh, sweet peace. The first thing I did was run a hot bath while Hank went to the front lobby to get glasses and any free toiletries the hotel could offer. In the meantime, while soaking my thighs in hot water, I picked up the phone and tried to dial 411 to get my mother’s new phone number because she had just moved. I am no good with numbers, and I don’t have to be since all the numbers are programmed into my cell phone. HA! Where is the cell phone? Exactly…so, I dial 9 to get an outside line, then 411 for information….Can you imagine what happened next?

“911, what is your emergency?” I was horrified and apologized for inconveniencing them, that I just dialed the wrong number (apparently my finger didn’t push the 4 down all the way). I hang up, and completely exhausted, just give up and sink down into the tub. Hank comes back and I told him about the phone call and asked him if he would get Mom’s number for me. He did. 5 minutes later, the Brevard County police show up banging on the hotel door with flashlights. Hank goes to the door, opens it to find 2 officers on either side of the door with their hands on their guns. They weren’t playing around either. He assures them it was a mistake, but they insist on seeing me to make sure that I am not a bloodied and bruised up wife. So, there I am in the bath tub, trying to keep my boobs under the water line with one hand and the other hand struggling to cover up my hoo-hoo with any soap suds floating around in the water while they looked me over. My God….did it end there?


We finished off the night with some much-needed cocktails, and, naked from lack of clean dry clothing, ate hot wings delivered by a local restaurant who took American Express. Outside, our rental car sat gleaming in the moonlight, locked, in the weekly paid for parking lot with things we could have used, LIKE CLOTHES….but, oh yeah, the keys were on the  ship.

We woke up hours later, took a taxi to the port, and what do you know? Security would not allow us back on the ship to get our things. We had to sit on a metal rod bench (that must have been constructed by the same companies who make the furnishings for death row cells) still in our bathing suits, with minimal clothing, from 7:30am to 10:30am until the ship’s purser finally brought our things to us, which had been METICULOUSLY packed and inventoried on sheets of paper. On the papers each item was listed as “found” and then “placed” wherever, in whatever bag they had chosen. I mean, seriously…these people were thorough!  For example, I had a partly used roll of stamps in my purse, and whoever the unfortunate soul was who had the task of packing our things, actually had to count out each stamp and inventory how many= 92…seriously, you should see the inventory papers. EVERY single item that was in our room was listed, which we had to go over one by one with the purser so he could mark it off the list. With my heart pounding and my face full of shame, I silently poured over the contents until I finally found what I was looking for. There it was, in all its glory, my hot pink dildo. I have never been so embarrassed in my entire life. With impressive professionalism, he quickly checked it off after I nodded my head and moved on to the next item, which was not as bad but I am sure caught them by surprise…the two boxes of “decorative teeth” with fake diamonds embedded in them. Yes, the grills…the ones I had laughed so hard about that Christmas as I stood in line at the mall for an hour waiting to purchase them for our stockings. We actually wore them one night to the disco on the ship, and no doubt laughed by ourselves at how funny we were as we tried to dance to rap music.

So, we finally got our belongings, took a taxi back to the Radisson so we could load up our rental car and get the hell out of Brevard County, and I will be DAMNED….at some point while we were on the cruise, a drunken guest of the hotel had vomited all over the passenger door handle and door. It was pink and chunky and absolutely just not fair! The hot Florida sun had hardened it, and I couldn’t open the car door without tissues…it was beyond disgusting.

So, there you have it. The story is priceless, and I can’t believe all of it happened in less than 24 hours.  I simply had to share it, because if we hadn’t had our American Express card with us, I can’t fathom how horrible this experience could have been. Thank you American Express, I’m so glad we didn’t leave home without you!!!!!


Hank and Ryan Anderson

**Not only is Ryan my niece, she is also the talented author behind the novels in The Detective Hank Jordan Series, and you can order her books here.

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  1. I REALLY want to know what they called the dildo on the inventory list. Was it “marital aid”?

  2. I died laughing. Hot pink dildo!

  3. That’s horrible. Cocktails never fail though, right? And you guys didn’t have kids yet. Imagine how that would have been…

    • calibamamom says

      Well, it was actually my niece and her husband whom this happened to, not The Man and Me. But you are absolutely right. Thank goodness it was without little ones!

  4. running mama says

    Wow, would make a great commercial

  5. okay…so she wins—beat my tale all to hell

    • Lol. I think her story beats EVERYBODY’S. If it hadn’t happened to one of my family members, I don’t think I would believe it:-)

  6. OMG that is my biggest fear with taking a cruise – I’m sure I would just NEVER get off the ship! WHY do they have to use stupid 16:00 instead of 4:00pm? It’s not like anyone would assume it meant the ship would leave a 4 AM!!

    • Exactly, Lori! I have no interest in going on a cruise either, but that could be because I get very seasick and my idea of a vacation does not involve vomiting constantly…lol.

  7. Ok, I agree, this is the worst ever, but your niece has an awesome sense of humor.

  8. That is the best story ever. Thanks for making me laugh as I hide in my bed, sick for the past ten days. I needed that! Guess it proves not just families with young kids have vacation disasters!

  9. That.Is.Awesome!

  10. wow. I am-uh-glad I’m not you guys, ha ha! Although, my hubs is a tugboat capt and maybe he could have chartered another boat to help you guys get to your cruise ship and then you wouldn’t have had such a great story to share!


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