Monday, December 5, 2011

Table for 6

So, all settled on the Pacific Princess.  One nice thing about traveling with a Virgo is that if you leave the cabin to wander around, the luggage gets unpacked in your absence and neatly stowed.  Since the Pacific Princess in one of the 'small ships' it does not take long to do a tour.
With the next port only a short sail, and the fact that Venice requires a connection, the ship does not depart until late.  This would allow anyone arriving on departure day to get a quick tour of the city.  Since we had been in the city for two days, we just remained on the ship.
On all of out past cruises, we have always opted for the traditional seating option.  All of out table mates have been friendly and interesting.  This would elevate INTERESTING to a whole new level.  Upon our arrival to out assigned table at appointed time, there was already a couple sitting there.  They were from Pennsylvania and decided to take a last minute vacation.  After the usual first night chat, we ordered our meals before the remaining two people arrived.  An action that would be repeated each night of the cruise.
Sometime during the second course, the last two people made an entrance.  Two women from the Los Angeles area, and polar opposites.  Introductions are made and the first night questions are repeated.  Then comes the first hint of their personalities and how dinner would be for 11 more nights.
They had only been friends for about 6 months and had only traveled once to Hawaii together.  This was a last minute trip which they booked through a travel agent.  With last minute flights expensive, they had a double connection in Dallas and in London before arriving in Venice, which is not unusual.  BUT.....
They missed their connection at London Heathrow.  One of the companions had gone to the ladies room while the other remained with the carry-on luggage and waited for the gate to be announced.  The bathroom trip resulted in getting lost.  Once the gate was posted, the other took only HER carry-on luggage and went looking for her travel partner.  After a search of the nearest facilities, she heard her name paged and went to the departure gate.  There the duo was re-united.  It was last call for boarding, BUT one passport was in the abandoned carry-on so they were denied boarding since there was no time to retrieve it and make the flight.
The lonely luggage was retrieved and so began the process of re-booking the flight.
Here is where it gets interesting.  I had by now tuned out the story, but a certain word piqued my interesting.  Now being in the travel industry, I know that if you miss your flight because of your fault, the airline really does not have to do anything, but most will want to keep a customer satisfied.  Well, I guess the 'luggage watcher' was not getting satisfactory service, and when the gate agent walked away, out came the ONE word that if you call a female, they will NEVER, EVER speak to you again.  The other agent heard it and that was it.  Excuse used....she was walking away and I needed something from her, I did not call it to her face.
Books closed on this help from the airline.  You missed the flight, it was your fault, get your own way to Venice.  This involved a transfer to Gatwick and purchasing a new flight.  But to a point this is good, since while waiting at their new flight, they borrowed another traveler's iPad to book a hotel room in  Venice.  I know, most people do fly to Europe and book hotel stays in the airport while waiting for a connection.
I got a little confused here.  Since the hotel booked for two nights, but they missed the first night, not sure where that lost night went or where they stayed.  Maybe it was just a premonition that would play out....Don't ask for details!!!
They did eventually make it to Venice, had a discussion about the missed night at the now sold out hotel which gave away their reservation as a No Show.  We were told they stayed at a nice place convenient to a 'riverwalk' and was the best place to stay.  Biggest drawback to me about the hotel, it was on the MAINLAND!.  Stupid me for booking a 400 year old hotel located walking distance to San Marco.  I find it amazing they found the ship on time, but more on this in a subsequent post.
The best way to book a trip is to rely on a travel professional, whether local or on line.  Travel Themes and Dreams specializes in cruise packages with hotel stays to extend the cruise.

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