Archive for May, 2011

2011
31
May
17:30

travel log completed

   Posted by: arcanai    in on the road again

i can’t believe i got it up that quickly but, for those interested, our anniversary cruise is posted here.

2011
10
May
20:02

my husband tris harder than yours!

   Posted by: arcanai    in love my husband, pix

hubby is now half of an iron man!  he completed his first 70.3 event this past weekend and i couldn’t be more proud of him.  for those not in the know, a half iron distance triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, and 13.1 mile (half marathon) run.  below is a short storyboard of his journey but the rest of the photos can be found here.

diving in (red wetsuit)

diving in (red wetsuit)

smiling after 1.2 miles in the gulf

smiling after 1.2 miles in the gulf

a nice wave to the wife on his way out to the bike course

a nice wave to the wife on his way out to the bike course

back after 56 miles of pedalling

back after 56 miles of pedalling

looking good at the start of the run

looking good at the start of the run

that is 100% awesomeness crossing the finish line after a 13.1 mile run!

that is 100% awesomeness crossing the finish line after a 13.1 mile run!

"1.2 swim, 56 bike, 13.1 run... and your hair still looks great!!!"

"1.2 swim, 56 bike, 13.1 run... and your hair still looks great!!!"

2011
10
May
16:24

total stroke of luck

   Posted by: arcanai    in Nuthin' Special

so after hubby spent several hours on the phone yesterday evening trying to figure out what had happened with our cruise and trying to correct it, things looked pretty dismal.  i even went ahead and let my boss know that i would probably be working next week after all.  the cruise we were supposed to do was now full and the cruise line informed us that they would put us on a wait-list but that there was only a 5% chance of us getting on, which was what the travel agent had told us as well. 

 in an effort to turn his wife’s frown upside down, hubby spent his lunch break today trying to find an alternate cruise for this weekend.  pretty much everything is booked.  i think he found a cabin on a different cruise line out of new orleans but it was single bunk beds.  yeh, not for our anniversary.  then he tried one on the cruise line we were supposed to be going with out of tampa but they only had a super swanky cabin for something like $2k more than the cruise we lost.  nope. 

BUT… as hubby was getting ready to hang up, they told him that he should try the cruise out of mobile.  WAIT A SECOND!  that’s the cruise we were supposed to be on that was fully booked and we were wait-listed!  it was more expensive than when we had originally booked and hubby hung up with the cruise line and called the travel agent to give them a chance to make things right for us.  they were able to book the cabin for us at the higher rate and then reluctantly offered some onboard credit to make up for some of it – of course that was after hubby kept reminding him that we wouldn’t be going through all this if he had done things correctly the first time around.  i still don’t think they’ve done enough to fix things but hubby is in charge of that.  and i’ll definitely be posting some reviews of their agency when we return.  like i’ve said, i have no problem with someone or a business making a mistake but they sure as heck ought to take responsibility and make it right. 

in any case, out of a pure stroke of right time/right place, my husband managed to get us on the fully booked cruise that we thought we were going to be on to begin with.  i immediately started the online check-in process and it appears that we’re good to go.  i’m not going to get overly excited until we’re on the ship, in our room, and pulling away from port.  right now, i’m still fairly irked that they managed to make the most relaxing possible vacation into a huge stress, but i’m cautiously optimistic that we will be at sea and sipping champagne for our anniversary.

*UPDATE – 24may2011*
so i got a call from the agent’s boss the day after this post.  he wanted to be sure that we had been able to do the online check-in with the cruise line and that everything had worked out right.  he also asked for our mailing address and stated that he wanted to send us a token of apology.  i thanked him for his effort and calmly mentioned that i was just relieved that our vacation hadn’t been spoiled by such a frustrating experience.  i stated that i was still disappointed that we not only had to go through all the stress but that we also ended up paying a good bit more than we thought we were spending when we originally booked this weeks ago.  i was not confrontational and i was not emotional, i simply stated my feelings quietly and courteously.  at that point, the man stated that he was going to send us a check for the difference.  that’s it.  that’s all that they had to do… you made a mistake = you make it right.  i expressed to him our sincere appreciation for stepping up and correcting the problem.  of course, they are lucky that hubby’s diligence got us back on the cruise because i don’t think there would have been any making it right if we had lost our vacation altogether.  in any case, i just wanted to tell the rest of the story and let you all know that it was rectified.  when we got home and i finally checked the mail several days later, i found a check as well as a box of gourmet brownies with a card of apology.  i will not be providing any negative reviews of this agency.

2011
9
May
17:14

all that excitement dashed in 15 seconds

   Posted by: arcanai    in rantings

so two and a half weeks ago, we decided that a vacation was in order in celebration of our anniversary and hubby’s 70.3 completion.  i was super excited when i found a good deal on a cruise leaving out of the nearest port and going to new-to-us destinations.  i booked the cruise through a travel agency and have been bubbling over with excitement ever since.  yeh, we’ve cruised before but it’s been a while and i truly missed not doing one last year.  i was so looking forward to being unplugged and getting away from the stresses of work and having some quality time with my husband after so many months of training separation.  we need it, we really do. 

the day that i booked the cruise, i received my invoice from the travel agent and a cabin confirmation from the cruise line and then i didn’t think any more of it because, as far as i was concerned, it was all set and we had a lot going on still.  last week, i finally had the time to look into why i wasn’t having any luck getting into my booking on the cruise line’s website.  i emailed their support and they responded the next day saying that they couldn’t work with me because i booked through a travel agent.  i found this ludicrous since i had a confirmation from them and have done this before.  once i get that confirmation, i should be able to go to the cruise line’s website and get into my booking to check in, print docs, book excursions, and get my boarding passes.  appalled at the email support, i tried calling their support center where i got the same answer.  ridiculous.  so, i called the travel agent but got his voice mail so i followed up with an email explaining the situation and asking for some assistance.  he called me back a couple hours later but it was while we were out on the bridge running and by the time i got the message, it was too late to call him again.  i didn’t get to get back to him friday either because we were running around like crazy trying to get hubby ready for his half iron race and, frankly, i wasn’t that concerned because i figured it was just a typo in my name or DOB or reservation number or something like that and the agent would fix it and all would be fine. 

now that the race is over, i had every intention of getting it all settled today so that  i could commence my vacation shopping and preparations without stress.  i called my agent this morning and he called the cruise line to get it straightened out for me.  by the time i went to lunch, i still hadn’t heard back from him but i figured i’d follow up on it after lunch if i still hadn’t gotten anything.  while i was at lunch, i missed a call from another person at the agency, which i took to be a not good sign.  i called him back when i returned from lunch but got his voice mail.  he called back just a short while later and he had my agent on the phone as well… not good when they’re teaming up to call you.  he explained that he was my agent’s boss and that the two of them have been working exclusively on my situation since i first called this morning.  apparently, somehow or other, the cruise line never received my payment that agency says they sent and so they cancelled my cruise.  to make matters more frustrating, the cruise is now full so they can’t make me a new reservation.  this is the part where my eyes start welling up as the two of them try in earnest to explain how hard they’ve worked on this and that my only real option now was to sail another date.  it took everything i had to stay friendly (i work in support, i don’t like when people go off on me for something that’s not my fault and at this point, i honestly don’t know where the fault lies) as i tell them that my vacation time has been approved for next week, not another week and my anniversary isn’t another weekend.  i told them that i would have to discuss it with my husband and got off the phone as quickly as possible because the tears were coming. 

mistakes happen, i understand that, but nobody offered to make things right.  if you’re going to suggest other cruises, what are you going to do to make up for the price difference and the flight (expensive last minute airfare) to get there?  and mostly i’m just heartbroken.  i was ebullient about this trip and, just like that, it’s gone.  i already sent my boss an email saying that i’ll be working next week after all and i really just want to eat a bag of cheetos and cry some more to indulge my extreme disappointment.  hubby, being the much more diplomatic and less emotional one, has been trying his best to sort it all out but it doesn’t look like anyone is going to step up to claim responsibility and make it right.  my eyes keep welling up.

2011
3
May
12:58

barbara!

   Posted by: arcanai    in creatures in the backyard, pix

hubby stood up a few minutes ago, looked out the window, and yelled MANATEE!  quickly, i grabbed the camera and followed him outside.  it’s only the third we’ve seen here so it’s very exciting :-D   i know the pix aren’t great but considering we’re on the 23rd floor and the surf is up today so focus was shifting a lot… i’m pretty pleased. 

man_2955

distinctive shape in the water

man_2959

taking a breather

man_2957

going back down

man_2962

a little tail