What’s to be Grateful For?

A Cartagena statue portraying the effects of terrorism. Photo by Ann Williams

For over 10 years I’ve been pushing, pulling, pleading, and praying to get a gig lecturing on cruise ships. With a whole lot of help from some priceless folks, THE day finally arrived. Except, thanks to an ice storm/flight delay, I missed the boat. I stood at the Denver airport customer service desk and watched my dream go Titanic. I couldn’t rebook a ticket to the next port without approval from the cruise line. I couldn’t hold up the crazy-long line while I tried to contact my agent, and she tried to contact her contact. I couldn’t even get my suitcase. It had gone without me. Having gotten up at 3:00 AM, driven 100 miles in freezing drizzle, dragged luggage, jumped through hoops, then waited and waited, I could hardly think. I wandered away, punch-drunk and dialed the phone. It worked! Wow, did it work. My husband told me to get a hotel: “don’t worry how much it costs. Just get a close one. You need to rest.” He reminded me that I had trip insurance. He held my hand–electronically.

cruise ship

The Celebrity “Infinity” harbored in Cartagena, Spain. Photo by Ann Williams

My friends texted concern and encouragement. My daughter bucked me up by telling me how cool it was to even be in such a predicament. The agent sent booking info for a beach hotel in Barcelona and told me I was some kind of trooper.

Between them, and hours more phone work, I caught my ship, the Celebrity Infinity, and found more waves of support. The activities team was welcoming, upbeat, and kind. My room steward was so enthused about providing amenities, I ended up with two bottles of champagne (which I gave as prizes.) Fun friendly, fascinating fellow passengers lurked everywhere and appeared around the dining table each night. The galley offered appealing, well labeled options for my ridiculously restricted diet. And at long last, a cruise ship audience listened, laughed, sang along, and extravagantly appreciated my efforts.

My opening slide cued up in the “Infinity” lounge

Thanksgiving Day?  I’m gonna need at least a month.

About breathtakebyways

Ann Williams’ travel articles have appeared in publications all over the country including The Washington Post, Roads to Adventure, and Jack and Jill. Between researching and writing books, she specializes in creative lectures.