Homeward Bound…

After the debacle with Carnival’s “Luggage Express” (which is actually a rather accurate name, since your luggage can get home in a jiffy, but your husband on the other hand cannot), we opted to use self-debarkation. We easily navigated off the ship, through customs, and to the buses for transfer to Miami airport. (Tip: Using Carnival’s Luggage Express is a waste of money and is more trouble than it’s worth. You won’t save any more time, and more than likely, you will end up stressed out and with headache since they apparently still have a lot of kinks in the system…more on that in a minute.)

We arrived at the Miami airport (luggage in tow) within 40 minutes of walking off the ship. We checked in with the lower level airline staff and then proceeded to security. Mind you, Miami ranks high on the list of user un-friendly airports…signage to our gate directed us to the end of an empty hallway. When we finally realized we needed to go upstairs signage directed us to a closed security checkpoint. The information desk was closed. Watching others proceed to the right we followed suit and found another checkpoint, conveniently situated right at the top of our gate (who knew?). We made it through security and to the gate without incident.

It’s worth mentioning here that Delta Airlines had nothing to do with screwing up our flight home. It was Carnival’s system that was screwed up and which caused us all the stress and and anxiety the night before. Again, Carnival’s “Luggage Express” isn’t worth the headache, don’t bother.

Unfortunately for us, our flight was delayed 30 minutes, making the likelihood of missing an already ridiculously tight connection all the more real. Deciding to be proactive, I approached the gate agent to see about possible re-routing…special thanks goes to David Easton of Comair, who directed me to a Delta agent a few gates down…he was able to confirm seats on a later connection should we miss the original flight. Alas, we were guaranteed to get home on Sunday.

We ended up arriving in Cincinnati at 2:56pm. Our connection was leaving at 3:05pm. Mike and I readied ourselves to haul ass off the aircraft, and the other passengers did the same (seems almost all of us were about to miss our connection). Seeing as that we were seated mid-plane, it seemed unlikely we were making our connection. We made peace with ourselves and excepted the inevitable (a midnight arrival home and to work at 7am) …but then the heavens parted and music began to play…

”Would Michael Johnson and Jody Levison-Johnson please proceed to the front of the aircraft to see the customer service agent? She is prepared to escort you to your flight…”

And sure enough, a wonderful woman, boarding passes in hand, met us on the tarmac, ensuring that we made it to our connecting plane to reach home (Mike actually hugged her before we boarded).

Thanks to Delta Airlines and Comair who made getting us home their priority as well as ours. And, well, as for Carnival, you suck…thanks for nothing.

Wondering How I Am Going To Get Home

Carnival printed out our boarding passes for our flight home tomorrow and dropped them off in our cabin. Only one problem, though…my boarding passes weren’t there (but my wife’s were). Apparently Carnival didn’t think it was out of the ordinary that my wife would be traveling back home to Rochester without her husband. Or more likely, they didn’t bother to even look at the documents. I’m glad that we looked at them ahead of time.

So…several trips down to the purser’s desk to get this straightened out but no one can help us. “There’s nothing we can do.”, she repeats over and over. “It’s a problem with our agent” (who remained nameless), she says, and “Maybe it’s a security issue with your husband, they don’t do this for no reason.” We ask if she can call Delta to figure out what’s going on. “No” she says. We ask if she has a terminal to check our confirmation number on Delta’s Web site. “No” she says, “There is nothing we can do”.

The reason I bought a Carnival Cruise ‘Package’ was so that they would take care of these little details…like getting me back home!

I tried to log on to delta.com myself to check the status and get more information, but the WiFi connection on the ship is so bad it won’t even load the site.

Cruise Tip: When booking a cruise, there is a very real possibility that you, or one of your loved ones, will get stranded in an unfamiliar city if the booking was mishandled. Luckily for us, we packed a small overnight bag that I can use for whatever city I may be spending the night in tonight. Also, when considering your vacation budget, tack on a few hundred bucks for a hotel, cabs, tips, and meals in case something goes wrong.