What I Did On My Summer Vacation:

Leading Up To The Cruise

Hey, allow me. I never got a chance to do one of these cornball reports in school. So, you’re elected to read it. I did bring you some cool pictures though!

We had to get up at a ridiculous hour to get to the airport for the first flight of the day. Who does this? Are they hoping most terrorists will want to sleep in? Can you imagine Osama Bin Laden hitting the snooze button over and over?
If not for this purpose, then why are we to get up at four for an 8 a.m. flight?
We flew Air Canada and found the nicest ticket issuers, flight attendants, and [from what I could tell], pilots work at that company. What a help to kick off the day.
Boarding the flight to Toronto we waited for two hours (really an hour plus check in time) and met up with my best buddy, Amity. She drove up from Borden to see us. Sweet. We gabbed, did a hectic lunch and toodled around looking for the bathrooms.

An hour later we headed toward our plane only to be stopped by Shrek, the over-anxious security guard. And he was an ogre. He decided to pat down Larry. He also acted as if -somehow – Larry had to be bringing in something. Shrek told me to remove Larry’s cowboy boots, in stilted English.
“Alright but he’s going to spasm!” Those boots do more than look good, they keep his feet on the footrest of his wheelchair where they belong, away from my banged-up shins. Shrek, the ogre must have realized that this was a lot of hassle and went back to patting Larry down. We’re talking thorough here! Later, the airport escort with us started to talk to her co-worker at our plane.
“You know security’s getting silly now,” she said. “With all the wheelchairs I take through here, why pick on him?” True, Larry’s a scrawny redhead and, literally, could not pull the trigger on a gun if it was his last chance at life.
The friend chimed in, “Which check in did you go through?”
“OH! Them!” Apparently Shrek was getting a reputation!
We made it to Miami and Carnival representatives were right there. We sweltered waiting for the VERY late hotel bus. It’s a humid state. The reps were very apologetic — insisting this would go on their report. We were impressed as they chatted to us and gave us plenty of how-to’s, etc. We were also the hit of the ship, cruise personnel and airport being able to pack our belongings into one bag. Time after time people said, “Look at her! One bag!!”
My response was always the same; “I learned my lesson last time.” I had packed enough “what-ifs” to look like Zsa Zsa Gabor in an old movie.
It began to rain as we boarded the bus.
After check in at the hotel we decided on a bite to eat before bed. We were staying at the Wyndham Hotel in Miami — right at the end of the airport. We found our only beef with the hotel:high dining prices. But for those of us who are eternal cheapskates, I recommend going to the hotel souvenir shop. Bags of trail mix and crackers with cheese abound. For eight bucks U.S. we feasted for dinner and had the rest for breakfast. It beat the four dollars for a bowl of cereal and two-dollar delivery charge”?don’t ask about dinner prices.
The hotel was great in other ways. The room was set up for wheelchair people! Also, surprisingly, the planes flying over didn’t keep me awake. We must have had a king size bed. I had to roll over twice to kiss Larry goodnight!
The representatives at the airport had told us to talk to our Carnival representative, Maria, first thing in the morning. We were told we were “pre-checked” for the cruise but didn’t understand the full implications until arriving at the ship.
We blasted off in the adapted van at noon then sat staring at the rest of the trucks waiting to get through the insane security everywhere.
A half an hour later we went into Carnival’s building. OH MAN! A line up the size of a small country faced us and I began to sweat. We had our bags and the size of the line went on and on – larger than any airport. The building is HUMUNGOUS. Incredibly quickly a Carnival Security representative appeared. I clutched our pre-authorized card in my hand, it’s green dot letting us cut line faster than Tom Hanks at Universal Studios!! Pow! Security guards got us through :everywhere. We left lines of people behind. How? No the wheelchair wasn’t the reason. It’s because we spent the night at the travel agent’s pre-designated hotel and did the simple paperwork. If you cruise:choose this option!
Up to the correct floor on the elevator we saw the size of the ship. It’s still a thrill to see these massive vessels. On the ship, the crew met us right away and were very polite. What a difference all this efficiency was!
We were guided where to go and how to get there by Carnival’s ample personnel. It’s evident they don’t like people looking lost and frustrated. They do take care of you. After a blissfully quick check-in, we went to our room. A list of today’s activities on the ship’s paper awaited us in our clean, small cabin.

NEXT WEEK: The Cruise Itself

photo credits: Laura Seymour

Laura Seymour first published herself, at age 8. She has since gone on to publish a cookbook for the medical condition of Candida. She is working toward her B.A. (Psyc).