Live from MSC Lirica, Day 8

You know, I always advise friends and clients that to truly be a traveler, you have to roll with the punches, go with the flow, don't let stupid stuff ruin your vacation, etc, etc, ad naseum....I am having a hard time taking that advice....

I am so p....ed off right now at MSC I can't really find the words....Somehow a day has been cut off our stay in San Juan...and pretty much everyone on board is as surprised as our group that we are sailing off tonite, rather than have another day in PR. I am telling you, if you go to MSC's website it says we are in port until 2am Friday...if you look at the roll call here for this cruise, you will see there was considerable discussion of this very point and that more than one person called MSC or their TA's to get clarification. And let me tell you, they could have cancelled any port on this cruise, and I would have been okay with it....all those little Caribbean islands are pretty much the same after a while, but Puerto Rico was THE reason I am on this boat. I have planned for months to bring my brother here, where we lived as kids, and see certain places and things that he remembers like it was yesterday, and talks about frequently. And bright and early this morning all that went out the window, and I had to scramble to re-assemble my whole vacation...the fact is there is nothing they could do at this point to make it okay...If MSC right now, refunded my entire cruise fare, I still wouldn't feel anything but cheated, lied to and ripped off.

Those of you who have been following this thread would probably agree I have been fair and even handed with MSC...I am reporting the few problems honestly, and giving praise where it is deserved, but I can tell you right now I will never book a client with MSC under any circumstance, period.

So, enough of that rant, because even this is not enough to knock me off my stride.

After digesting the news of our change of plans, (well and cussing for a few minutes), I ran over to the Hertz office down the street and arranged for a car...I prefer to do this sort of thing on the spot, when I can see the actual car, and know that it will work for us, rather than book in advance, because I always seem to get the "or similar" model, which is typically a Yugo.

So I got us a nice Dodge Caliber, room enough for the four of us, and with the station wagon thing in the back to make loading and unloading the chair easier, and off we went, to terrify the little old ladies...Those of you who consider white water rafting or zip lines to be "adventure travel" really need to get a car in San Juan THAT"S adventure....my poor mother and old aunt from Wichita, Kansas were white knuckling it the whole way thru town. I have driven here before, many times, and kinda like it...it speaks to my "inner F1 driver". Anyway we made it thru town and out to El Yunque, the rain forest, where my dear aunt just had to wonder if "it rains here all the time, because the last time I was here, it was raining too"....-Um...Duh? What part of RAIN Forest is tripping you up? So after an hour or so of oohing and ahhing at plants, flowers and rain, we went to Luquillo Beach, which is not only one of the most beatiful beaches around (and also where me and my brother were baptized a hundred or so years ago), but also has a "Sea without Barriers" Wheelchair Accessible beach, one of only a handful in the world, and it was AWESOME...my brother has not been in the ocean in I don't know how long, it was worth the 2000 miles in the air and 1000 miles more at sea to see it. We have a pool and jacuzzi, with hoists, so he get in the water often, but there is just something about soaking in the ocean.

So, after that we got changed and back in the car and back to town, where I real quick drove thru Bayamon to look at our first home here, and decided to skip Rio Piedras, where we lived for a lot longer, because I was not entirely sure where that house is (I think the neighborhood may have been torn down to expand the University there...I am certain I remember what street we lived on, and have not been able to find it on any map, paper or virtual), and it was getting dark, so we just came on back to the ship, tired, hungry, but happy.

Of course I then had to drive all the way to the airport to drop the car off, because the local office doesn't do after hours drops, and this is just one of the added complications of not being here in the morning, so I could drop it off a hundred yards from the boat where I got it. And avoid a $20 cab ride, as well.

Anyway, I really am tired, and still a little miffed, so I am going to stop now, get some sleep, and tomorrow enjoy a sea day, and hopefully put the bad feelings away, and just remember the good parts of today....

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