Jump to content
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips

Our Serenade Story - Review Oct 10 - 22 Med Cruise

Recommended Posts

Inside the Cathedral.



175 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



176 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



179 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr


After our visit to the Cathedral we headed back to the hotel to pack up for the cruise. We got back to the room and gathered our things and checked out about 11:45. We had prepaid this room on Hotels.com so we only had to pay the tourist tax which was a couple of Euro.



217 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr


Not sure what this shop was selling :confused:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We went out to the street to find a taxi and there was one sitting right there! We started loading our bags into the back then I notice the meter was already running. Hmmm....we realized then that someone had called for this cab and we quickly took our things out. We didn't want to pay that extra anyway (if you have the hotel summon your cab for you the meter starts when he gets the call). We only had to wait a couple of minutes for another cab to pass by and we snagged it. Loaded up and headed off to the port.


The cab ride to the port was 15-20 minutes and cost about 24 Euro for the 4 of us. We arrived just after noon. This was a departure from our normal cruise routine where we get to the port as early as we think we can get away with and end up sitting, waiting for them to let us board. We were able to check in within minutes (they did keep our passports which are returned after the stop in Turkey) and walk directly onto the ship. No waiting. It was great. We did stop at the duty free shops after check in and buy two bottles of Cava for about 10 Euro each to carry on board.


Once on board we headed to the Windjammer where we got some lunch and found some family. The rest of the family had been staying in a different hotel in Barcelona and had spent several extra days there so we actually did not see them until we boarded the ship. Then went to the stateroom, which was ready. Our luggage had already been delivered to our room! All 5 pieces! And it was only about 1:30!



221 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Welcome Aboard!



223 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

YAY! Family!



229 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

More Family...



232 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

and more Family...



235 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



234 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Now I will mention the only big disappointment on this cruise, our stateroom. We had originally booked a balcony. Then in an effort to save money dropped down to an ocean view. A few months before the cruise I caught a rate that gave me a balcony guarantee for the same price as my OV so I switched. The rooms were assigned and we got 7154. I found out about the white ship structure that would be just off my balcony, didn't really bother me. We like the balcony just because it's nice to be able to step right outside from the room and not have to go to another deck. But it was the configuration of the 3rd and 4th berths that made this room almost unliveable. When the four beds were out you could not get to the bathroom. We have sailed many times with our kids in the same cabin and until this cruise Carnival held the honor of the worst layout but that has been handed over to this cabin! I know it is not the case for all RCCL ships because we have not had this issue before. But now it is a question Sarah will definitely ask. The balcony was a definite plus though!



239 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr




244 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr


The rest of this day was spent exploring the ship and unpacking. We went to our first dinner in the main dining room. We had early seating and all of our reservations had been linked. They put us as two tables (one for 10, one for 6). This worked fine except it would have been nice if the same server had been working both tables. As it was, the table for 10 was always finished much faster than our table of 6. This made coordinating after dinner activities more difficult. But it wasn't a big problem. After dinner we went to the Welcome Aboard Show featuring Sasha and Luis (Gauchos). In retrospect, I would have gladly skipped this show for some extra sleep. Not good. After the show it was off to bed. We were still feeling the effects of the jet lag and we had to be ready for Cannes, France the next morning!


Now, about Barcelona. We loved it! It is a beautiful city with a rich cultural and historical past, and it is a city with a vision for the future. I can see why it is the third most visited city in the European Union, with Rome being first, and Paris second. I would have to say, though, the city is a bit schizophrenic. With the ancient influences of Rome, the fortifications of the Catalonians, and the bizarre and partly insane designs of Gaudi, there was so much contrast that we had trouble making sense of it. Perhaps being so exhausted, that's the way we interpreted it. But when you are sleep deprived, and then you stand in front of a Gaudi designed building that has the appearance of melted wax, it is hard to keep a firm grasp on reality!


Compass for Day 1 (Embarkation Day)



CC D001P1 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



CC D001P2 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



CC D001P3 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



CC D001P4 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm about to post our day in Cannes. I wanted to explain before I do that any comments you see in green text are mine (Sarah). Most of the text was written by my husband (Will) at the time of our cruise. I hope this doesn't confuse anyone too much ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I want to add before we get into a description of our day that Cannes is a tender port. This particular port required you to have tender tickets. If you booked a ship-sponsored tour you did not need to stand in line for tender tickets. We had a private tour scheduled and had hoped to be on shore by 9:30. The ship was supposed to dock at 9 so we needed to be on one of the earliest tenders. We got up early and got ready and went to breakfast. Ticket distribution was to commence at 8:30 so about 10 after 8 my dear husband volunteered to leave and go stand in line (only one from the group has to go pick up tickets). He finally came back to breakfast about 8:40 with Tender Tickets #3 in hand. Apparently, the process was completely disorganized and confusing. The compass said that announcements calling tender #'s wouldn't start until 10AM, but we felt like it would be earlier so we waited in the Centrum. At about 9:05 #1,2,3 were called and we headed down. By 9:10 we were on the first tender (except for those with ship tours) and by 9:20 we were on shore ready to go!



005 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr




008 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr




012 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr


Day One; Port One

French Riviera


A side note before I describe this port call. You have several options when it comes to touring the Med (don't I sound sophisticated? The Med! Ha!). Well, you can do anything from wing it once on shore, to organizing an elaborate, fully catered tour. Some tours include wine and a meal. It depends on what you want, and HOW MUCH you want to pay. Ship sponsored excursions are sometimes the most economical and safest bet, as the ship will usually guarantee that you return on board if something goes wrong, but, you spend the day with 30 or 40 other people on a bus. A private tour will provide you a tour guide, comfortable accommodations, and privacy, which is a big deal to us. Plus, a private tour allows you to change your itinerary if you decide to do so. If you wing it, then remember that God give grace to the fool and the drunkard, so good luck! There is another option that is worth discussing. You can book a tour package that includes multiple port calls. Again, this is very similar to a ship sponsored tour in the quality of the tour and accommodations, but IT IS NOT a ship sponsored tour. If something goes wrong the ship doesn't have to wait for you to return. You could be left behind. This rarely happens. Really. Some of our group booked all of their tours through this type of deal. Sarah's parents and sister/brother-in-law booked their Cannes tour through this company, and it worked out okay. (I'll tell you what went wrong a few paragraphs further down.) Sarah and I had decided early on that we wanted to reserve some of the tours for just ourselves and our children. Cannes was one of those tours.


Our first port call was Cannes, France (pronounced can, like a Coke can), and we initially booked a deal for a private tour with one tour company, but later we discovered another private tour group called, Riviera Premium Tours, which was 200 Euros less, and basically offered the same amenities. Our guide met us at the gate as we disembarked. As you exit the port, you will see the guides standing near the gate holding a sign with your name on it. You won't have to search for them. Our guide's name was Ingrid, and she was a pretty, slender blonde with a charming smile, and had a decidedly classy, European look to her. And she occasionally commented, "Ooo la la" whenever something funny was said, or when someone cut her off in traffic. We had a great day with her, as she asked us lots of questions at first, trying to determine if we liked big city shopping or small town explorations. We told her that we wanted to visit Nice (pronounced niece), and explore Eze (pronounced ezz as in Esmerelda), and if we had time we could drive through Monaco and see Monte Carlo. She nodded that she understood what we wanted from her and then we were off. We had a charming drive along the French Riviera coastline, and stopped in Nice for an hour, where Ingrid told us to walk down to the beach, then tour the flower market, and explore the blocks surrounding an old cathedral. We were to meet her at a corner near the flower market.



035 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Our daughter really wanted to see a mime? Not sure she figured out that it was just the photographers from the ship.



We walked two blocks to the beach and were shocked to see that the beach was rocky. Not rocky like the Oregon coastline, but small river rocks and pebbles. And people were laying on them and sun tanning. To me, it looked as comfortable as a bed of nails, but hey, it was the French Riviera, and life is good. We each touched the water and sunbathed for a moment, so we can now cross that off of our bucket list. There were a few women who were sunbathing without tops, but it was not a hot day, so the area was not terribly overrun with sunbathers. We had our kids with us, so I was a little concerned. Well, since we didn't point it out, neither of them noticed the semi-nude sunbathers, all of whom were face down, so we escaped without being traumatized by the audacity of semi-nude sunbathers! At this point, let me tell you that if you intend on swimming in the Med at all, this would be a good opportunity, as the other tours don't really take you to the shore line. You can have the kids wear a bathing suit under their clothes and you can jump in the water and play. But, an hour goes really fast, so you must decide if you want to swim or walk around. Barcelona does have an actual sandy beach, and the water is warm enough to swim. THAT would be your most strategic time to swim. But this tour is about culture. If you want swimming, go to the Caribbean, right?


042 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr




041 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From there we walked two blocks back to the flower market and spent another 30 minutes or so walking and exploring a very simple, but beautiful market. We found several artists selling original works in the market, and bought a few pieces for incredibly affordable prices. We bought these two water colors at a price of two for 15.00 Euros. There was a man selling very nice original oils for 30 Euros each, and they were on loose canvas, so they could be rolled and packed away easily. Seth was on a mission to find snow globes at every port, and he found his first one quickly; things were off to a good start for us. Caitie and I stopped and bought a slice of pizza that had anchovies and tomato slices, which was surprisingly tasty. Our hour evaporated must faster than we anticipated. We didn't make it any farther than the end of the flower market before our time ran out, so we returned to our meeting place, and Ingrid drove us along the coastline to the medieval village of Eze.



044 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



045 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



046 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



049 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



051 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



052 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Before I take you into Eze, let me pay homage to a particularly enjoyable and informative review of Serenade and the Med. In preparation for our trip, we read the review posted by a woman who calls herself the Middle Aged Drama Queen, and her review is awesome (check it out here). You should check it out. Well, she refers to the other tourists as barbarians. It's funny, and she includes herself and her family as part of the barbarian hoard that invades Europe. It's all in fun. And now, back to our story...


Eze quickly turned out to be one of our favorite stops. There were few barbarians there, and we had the run of the town without feeling crowded. Eze is loaded with simple shops that sell art and jewelry, and restaurants which sell anything from crepes, to sandwiches, to actual dinners. We meandered along the narrow winding streets until we found ourselves at the very top, where the castle used to stand before one of the many King Louis destroyed it. It is now a garden and we paid 6 Euros each to walk through the garden. The kids were free! It turned out to be more of a cactus garden, which surprised me, but the views of the Mediterranean were inspiring, and worth the money spent to tour the gardens. Several historical markers with explanations in both English and French dotted the pathways, and we enjoyed a casual stroll to the top of the ruins.



059 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Eze keeping watch over the Mediterranean




062 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



068 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Climbing the streets of Eze




071 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr




072 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Above the rooftops



077 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Looking down on the little church

Link to comment
Share on other sites

More pics of Eze



084 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

At the top!




085 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

What's left of the castle walls




091 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr




092 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

The little church




093 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr





095 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

The cemetery next to the church

Link to comment
Share on other sites

From there we had 50 minutes left so we decided to find a place to eat. First we went and sat at a restaurant just outside of the garden entrance, but by then, several score of barbarians arrived and everyone decided to sit at the same restaurant at the same time. So, we found a sandwich shop that sold very tasty chicken and ham sandwiches on baguettes for about 6 Euros each, and a place where we could by some crepes for a great price. We bought 3 for 6 Euros. Sarah went with the kids to the crepe place, and I went to the sandwich shop and picked up a couple of items, along with some wine and cokes (standard American products) and we sat on the terrace at the sandwich shop and enjoyed our last few minutes. And what a tranquil place for us to sit! The wine was so good, and our lunch was very relaxing.



097 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Crepe with Nutella..Yum!




098 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Baguette with chicken...Yum!




099 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Wine, olives, crepe with honey...Yum!




100 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

A serene place to sit and have lunch...



101 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

When we returned to our vehicle, Ingrid asked if we enjoyed our time at Eze, and when we assured her we loved it, she announced that she knew exactly where to take us next. She suggested that we skip Monaco and go St. Paul. It is my firm conviction that you trust your tour guide. If the guide makes a suggestion, then go with it. Don't over think their suggestions; unless it's something you had your heart set on. Ingrid drove us to a hill that overlooked Monaco and we looked down upon it from a half mile or so away. Monaco is the second smallest independent state in the world, the second richest in the world, and it's only commissioned naval vessel is an oil tanker. And from where we stood, we could plainly see a cruise ship in port, and we knew there would be thousands upon thousands (not making those numbers up) of barbarians crowding the streets. We discovered later that we would not be allowed to visit the Monte Carlo Casino without certain attire (the kids couldn't visit it at all), and Grace Kelly's gravesite was closed to tourists. So we didn't feel cheated not to formally visit Monaco.



108 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Monaco Down Below!



103 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Ingrid explained that most of the red roofs were still France the white roofs and tall buildings were Monaco.



114 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

The building with the green roof is the Casino


That hill side offered a double bonus, not only could we see Monaco, but we could also see Italy clearly from that vantage. Three countries from one place. Not too shabby! Then Ingrid told Seth to stand in the middle of the star diagram on the patio in front of us, and she instructed him to start talking. He spoke and then he immediately recoiled in surprise. Seeing his reaction, I tried it next. That particular place on the patio offered a rather strange echo that could only be heard by the person standing in the middle of the star. Each of us tried it and all agreed that was a very fun surprise.



115 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

The land stretching out into the water in the distance is Italy, and down below is Monaco and we are in France, of course!



117 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Our lovely guide, Ingrid.



118 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Seth trying out the special effects of the spot in the center!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Having seen Monaco from the hill side, we then journeyed further inland and visited the town of St. Paul, another medieval village. This town was remarkable in every aspect. It was similar to Eze, but it was much larger. The entire town was within walls built by the King during the 13th or 14th century. He ordered 700 homes to be demolished and used those stones to build the walls and fortifications. They stand to this day. St. Paul is a charming and comfortable village to visit, and its shops are just as charming. If you're into gelato (and who isn't, right?) you will discover a gelato store as you enter the village and look to the left. I've tried gelato in many European cities, and I can say with all confidence that the gelato in St. Paul is the best I've encountered, and is only rivaled by Fargii in Barcelona.



125 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



131 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

The walls of St Paul de Vence




134 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

It says drinkable...




135 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

This is where my love affair with straciatella gelato began..






137 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



136 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We spent an hour and a half walking the streets. If you like narrow, quaint, charming, and inviting, you will find St. Paul to be the quintessential French medieval village. The streets are too narrow for cars, so you will see a few scooters and many push carts moving throughout the shops. We stopped at a candy store named Le Cure Gourmande and bought some incredibly rich caramels and sampled several varieties of chocolate covered nuts. And, if you like art and wine, this is your next favorite haunt. Every other shop was either wine or art, and the quality of these products is unparalleled. The clerks were friendly and inviting, and seemed to appreciate our interest in their products.



139 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Le Cure Gourmande



141 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr




142 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



144 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr


If you walk to the end of the city, which is where the city wall forces you to turn to the left or right, you will see a commanding view of the sea and the rolling hills of the French Riviera. And you will also find a cemetery, where Chagall is buried. Another interesting point about St. Paul is the lack of bright colors you would notice in Nice or Cannes. The drab stone colors are more consistent with the traditional French look. I can tell you without a doubt that an hour and a half is insufficient amount of time for a visit to St. Paul.



147 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



150 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That night we had a formal night on the cruise. We made it back to the ship in time to get ready, but if you have formal attire that is a little less formal, this would be a good night for it. If you require more than an hour to make your grand presentation, then you might be pressed for time if you have the first seating. That evening we heard the horror stories of our family members who were on that group tour I mentioned earlier, not the ship sponsored one. They had a family group in their tour that was left behind in Monte Carlo because they simply disappeared. The guide waited for them until the last possible moment, but eventually had to get the other cruisers back to the ship (Our family made it back on the last tender…Whew). That couple had to take a cab from Monaco to Cannes. I'll wager that was an expensive ride. Barbarians! Private tours are worth the expense...


Tonight was formal night and it was also the captain's reception. We made it back onboard with enough time to get dressed up but my parents were so exhausted and stressed from their trying to make it back to the ship before the last tender that they skipped the formal dinner. My husband and I were exhausted and just grabbed some champagne from the reception and headed back to the room and to bed. My daughter wanted to see the show so she went with my sister and her husband. They said the show was great (a singer performing Celine Dion songs). Many of the shows on this cruise were one show only at 10:15 which if your getting up to see a port the next morning is tough to do. So we skipped many of them.



154 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr


Cruise Compass Day 2 (Cannes, France)


CC D002P1 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



CC D002P2 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



CC D002P3 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr



CC D002P4 by inmanfamily4, on Flickr

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again Sarah and Will for doing this review! Our group on CC all followed Sherri's review and it is nice to have a more recent perspective for this itinerary. A couple of questions regarding the tendering in Cannes. We have several couples in 3 groups of 8 who will be on a private tour and would like to tender together. Does each couple need to get their own tender tickets or will they give them to say one person from each group of 8? Do they scan your sea pass to get them? Greatly appreciate your thoughts on this and thanks again for the wonderful review thus far!



Dolfans from Miami

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sarah & Will!! Linda turned me on to your review - I didn't know you were doing one! I'm re-living our cruise thru your eyes and words! Will - you know I love your quick wit (I swear I'm not sucking up for any reason - lol) And your Annabelle story is classic. It was great meeting you and the kids!

Can't wait for the rest! You have to post the link up on our FB group, I'm sure the others would love to read this!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks again Sarah and Will for doing this review! Our group on CC all followed Sherri's review and it is nice to have a more recent perspective for this itinerary. A couple of questions regarding the tendering in Cannes. We have several couples in 3 groups of 8 who will be on a private tour and would like to tender together. Does each couple need to get their own tender tickets or will they give them to say one person from each group of 8? Do they scan your sea pass to get them? Greatly appreciate your thoughts on this and thanks again for the wonderful review thus far!



Dolfans from Miami


Here is what Will told me about getting tender tickets. He said no one was taking any seapass info. You just ask for the number you need when its your turn. So presumably, one person from each group could go and get 8 tickets. Another observation was that no one actually looked at our tickets when we boarded the tender :rolleyes:. I still have them in my pile of paperwork.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sarah & Will!! Linda turned me on to your review - I didn't know you were doing one! I'm re-living our cruise thru your eyes and words! Will - you know I love your quick wit (I swear I'm not sucking up for any reason - lol) And your Annabelle story is classic. It was great meeting you and the kids!

Can't wait for the rest! You have to post the link up on our FB group, I'm sure the others would love to read this!



Hey Staci!


Yes, Will made such great notes and comments that I thought I would share them! Link on the FB group...good idea!

Link to comment
Share on other sites



There is a post missing from early on in the review. It contained a lot of backstory about our struggles with actually making it to the cruise. Not sure if it got removed by some higher power or what but I'm going to post it again and see what happens :p


This should have been post #4 (after the picture of the cruise binder)


Well, as one might rightly conclude, getting from Northern Idaho to Barcelona is not so simple unless you have a genie in your closet. And I'm fresh out of genies. Remember, we had to move our third child into the closet after that kidney donation? Kidding! Bad joke. Not true! We never actually had her in the closet, it's more like a bonus room in the attic.


Well, we began setting money aside for our airline tickets, as that was almost as much as our cruise tickets. Sarah spent countless hours planning and comparing, and she finally found what seemed to offer the best choice for our family of four. And the tickets were only about 1200.00 each. Not too bad for 18 hours of flying, right? I mean, that's less than a hundred dollars an hour. We knew once we bought those tickets, we were committed, and I mean totally committed, bottom dollar, sink or swim, ride 'em cowboy, Oregon or bust! Committed. We fully intended on making this trip. And the longer we waited to buy airline tickets, the more expensive it was going to be. So, we pulled the trigger. We were on our way! The trip was actually going to happen!


And then it happened. Of course, you saw it coming. I mean, after all, who builds this much suspense if nothing is going to happen, right? Well, I'm certain most of you will recognize the following word: sequestration.


I don't normally discuss my work, but at that time I was a federal employee when President Obama began talking about shutting down the government in his battle with the Republican's over his non-existing budget. I can still hear the words the President spoke when he said, "The American people need to experience pain..." We got notice that I was going to be furloughed just a few weeks after we bought the airline tickets. Tickets, by the way, that have to be used within one year of purchase, or they are forfeited. Initially, I was told that I would be furloughed for up to 25 days, which ultimately would result in about 40% drop in my income. That's a pretty tough hit, no matter what your income is, and I was about to find out just how tough it was going to be. We notified our family that there was no way we could afford the cruise with my pay cut so severely, and we pulled out of the trip. We decided we were just going to lose the money for the flights. There was no way around it.


It was so sad to tell the kids that we were cancelling the trip, and it really hit home when Sarah stopped researching because she couldn't bring herself to make plans for a trip that was not going to happen. We had already paid for a few tours, and we, after planning each port call carefully, even generously extended our tours to the family in order to bring the price down. And now we were pulling out, which was going to leave everyone else in a lurch.


Well, the American conservatives began to make phone calls and write letters to Congress, and my pay was reinstated -- almost. I still suffered a 5% income loss, but that was multitudes better than the 40% I was about to lose. So, our trip was back on!


The next set back occurred three and a half weeks before the trip. I was visiting a friend of mine who was remodeling her house. She removed the banisters from around her staircase, leaving the staircase well wide open, like a black hole. I was taking the nickel tour at her behest and, while inspecting her crown molding, I stepped backward into that staircase well. And when I say backwards, I mean I took the Nestea plunge. My friend described it as one of those falls you take when at a team/confidence building conference where you fall backwards and your buddies are supposed to catch you. But in my instance, there was no one, just empty space and a wooden staircase waiting for me. I fell 12 feet backwards and the first thing that hit was my head, and then my back slammed into the stairs, and then I slid down to the bottom, my head hitting every step on the way.


I was addled, but fully conscious. I wasn't sure what happened, but I knew something horrible happened. I've had major surgeries in my life, and I relate that state of distortion to the sensation of coming out of surgery and not remembering that you went under the knife. The air was knocked out of me, and I spent several hours trying to breathe again. Well, it was probably only a minute, but it felt like an eternity. Once I caught my breath, I was able to stand, and to walk, and talk. I was lucky just to be alive.


I went home an hour or two later and broke to news to my wife, who was slightly perturbed at me for falling backwards down a staircase, as if I wasn't already feeling bad about the whole matter. I went to bed that night wondering what my world would look like in the morning.


I take blood thinners due to a heart condition I have, and I was extremely worried that I was suffering from internal bleeding, plus the high probability that I could have an aneurysm in my brain. The back of my head was swollen to the point that I looked as though I had a rump roast under my hair. Not only that, I really felt bad.


Time would prove that the only significant injury sustained in the fall was the three broken ribs on my left side. I slept in the recliner for the rest of my time before leaving on our dearly needed vacation. Our vacation? Who was I kidding? I had already missed a full week of work, 9 days, to be specific, and I couldn't walk without taking Valium to keep my back muscles from spasming, causing me devastating, debilitating, disabling pain in my broken ribs.


Sarah was watching her vacation evaporate before her eyes, but I boldly declared to her that I would not let this minor setback ruin her trip. I just needed some time to recover. I still had roughly 12 more days before we had to leave. I just needed to sit in my recliner and not die.


Guess what happened next? October the First. That's what happened next. And what happened on the first day of October, you might be asking? Well, I'll tell you. The Federal government shut down. The words that echoed the loudest was FURLOUGH all non essential government workers, and CANCEL all leave (vacation time, for you civilians) until the government passes a budget. This included sick leave, emergency leave, vacation, etc... Well. As Chester Riley used to say, "Ain't this a revolting development?"


It turns out that I was an essential employee, so I was granted the honor of working without the promise of pay while President Obama continually repeated his determination not to negotiate with the Republicans.


I went to my boss, who was aware of my pending vacation in less than 8 days, and he said he would grant me a waiver because I was so heavily invested in the trip. This is a good place to insert a plug for TRIP INSURANCE. Don't leave home without it, especially if you are planning a 20,000 dollar European vacation. And now, back to the story... My boss told me that I could still go, but I would forfeit any back pay for my vacation time. Well, this day just keeps getting better, eh?


Sarah and I discussed the situation over an empty box of Kleenexes and made a hard decision. We did have trip insurance, but it was limited. It only covered a portion of the money we had already invested. I could forfeit my pay or I could forfeit what I had already spent money on for the last year. It was all sunshine and lollypops at my house that day! Then, the rumor surfaced that Congress was going to pass an emergency relief bill to pay the furloughed employees, so we decided that we would roll the dice and hope for the best. As I write these words, I am on a Delta flight and looking down at Lake Erie (I can type without looking at my fingers). As of today, the bill hasn't passed, and I still don't know if I'm bankrupt. I'll find out soon enough. But let's get back to the trip before I digress any further. Before I don't digress, let me take a moment and tell you that eventually congress and the President got together and agreed to create a continuing resolution, which paid all Federal employees for the time we were furloughed. Just thought I'd get that out of the way. And now I continue my review...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now

  • Forum Jump
    • Categories
      • Welcome to Cruise Critic
      • Write a Review
      • Hurricane Zone
      • New Cruisers
      • Cruise Lines “A – O”
      • Cruise Lines “P – Z”
      • River Cruising
      • ROLL CALLS
      • Cruise Critic News & Features
      • Digital Photography & Cruise Technology
      • Special Interest Cruising
      • Cruise Discussion Topics
      • UK Cruising
      • Australia & New Zealand Cruisers
      • Canadian Cruisers
      • North American Homeports
      • Ports of Call
      • Cruise Conversations


  • Create New...