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Old 07-02-2013, 06:37 PM   #16
Deb in IA
Knows that KIDS are better than cats
When do we leave for that nice long Hawaii vacation?
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June 27, 2013

Debarkation

Hilton Diagonal

We hear Mickey on the phone for the last time.

We have 8:00 am breakfast at Lumiere's, so we get a 6:45 am wake up call. So hard to get out of bed! Somehow we struggle up, wash up, and pack up our overnight and last minute stuff. A few last checks of the stateroom before we leave our "home" for the last 12 days, and then out the door at 7:50. We say a sad "goodbye" to Aldo, who is already cleaning out rooms on our way down the hall.

We head to Lumiere's, get omelets and eggs benedict, and say goodbye to Valentin and Erwin. After taking some pictures, we gather our things, drop off that survey that they want so much, and head out the atrium where we are scanned off for the last time.

We head over to the luggage claim area, and get our bags, then through security and out to the buses. The Disney folks are out in force, and they direct us to the bus that is loading for the Hilton Diagonal Mar. We head over there, drop off our bags to be stored underneath, and get on.

That's where we met . . . the old lady from hell.

On the bus from the ship to the hotel after the cruise, the 9:00 bus had the audacity to wait until around 9:30 for the last ones off the ship. Old lady from hell was sitting in the front, and as each person came on the bus, happy with the glow of a wonderful cruise, she would bark at them "YOU'RE LATE!!! HURRY UP!! WE ARE ALL WAITING!!!" WTH? Check-in isn't until 3 pm at the Hilton, so what's her rush?

A family tried to be nice to old lady from hell, and asked her, "Did you enjoy your cruise?"
Her response: "Yes, but I wouldn't have, if I ran into people like you."

At the hotel, old lady from hell demands that the Disney hospitality people get her bags off the bus, instead of the porters, so that she doesn't have to tip.

In the check-in line, old lady from hell has someone hold her place, which is unfortunately right behind us. When we are at the desk, old lady from hell comes charging up, throws some Hilton card on the counter, and screams at a trainee, "You don't have any idea what you are doing, do you?" The other desk clerk quickly says, "No, he's in training". My husband, who at this point can't help it, says "He's in training, and YOU have lost your place, so go to the back of the line!!!" Old lady from hell quickly gets back behind us and shuts up, at least for a while.

We get checked in, and were able to get connecting rooms this time! Both are empty, but are not cleaned yet, so we go and wait in the lobby. We also checked in at the Disney Hospitality Desk, and were given a 7:15 am bus for our flight back the next day. Around noon, we check again, and one of the two rooms are ready, so we all head up there. After another couple of hours, we check again, and the other one is ready too, so the kids get their keys, and the luggage is delivered.

Some families planned Barcelona trips to see La Sagrada Familia and Montserrat.
We just crashed. We slept and slept.

We got up for dinner, and decided to eat at the hotel restaurant. It is small but the food was good. We saw several other cruisers there, including a family from West Virginia, Tara (Tozzie), and a mom with two girls. Unfortunately, the old lady from hell was there too! She raises her hand and screams for the wait staff multiple times (for water, bread, where's her food, how much orange is in the orange/chocolate mousse, she wants her check, etc.) She says, "You need more ink in your printer, I can't read this bill. Is the service included? Because the service was terrible!" She is complaining about not having a BUTTER KNIFE . She demands the manager, and says, "The food is good, but the service was terrible, and I won't be coming back here" at which, the entire restaurant, which was all Disney cruisers, immediately erupted in loud cheers and applause.

DD goes and talks to Tozzie for quite a bit - she is such a sweetheart! We vow to NEVER become like that old hag! (I'm sorry if this is coming off as harsh, but she was really something - I truly hope I never see her again!)

We head off to bed after dinner.
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Last edited by Deb in IA; 07-11-2013 at 12:24 PM.
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Old 07-02-2013, 06:38 PM   #17
Deb in IA
Knows that KIDS are better than cats
When do we leave for that nice long Hawaii vacation?
I'm a wimp, and I don't like food that hurts to eat
 
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June 28 - 30, 2013

The long trip home, or how to spend 2 days in Newark and see "COPS"

We are assigned to the 7:15 am bus for our 10:30 am departure from the Barcelona airport. We get up at 6 am and make sure the kids are up and ready to go.

We head out there and the bus is ready and waiting. And guess who we see? The old lady from hell. Right there in the front. DD Jennifer literally does a double take, and mouths the words, "OMG!"

Tozzie and several other families we have gotten to know are also on the same bus. I'm surprised we didn't get yelled at, since we were the last ones to get on - but we were still before the 7:15 am time, so I think that saved us!

The drive to the airport was about 30 minutes. Upon arrival, the old lady from hell immediately starts screaming, "What airline is this?"
Doesn't matter, you batty old witch. All international departures leave from the international terminal. Luckily, that is the LAST we see of her!

At the airport, we check in. There are the TSA equivalents there, asking you the luggage questions (Did you pack your bag? Have they been in your control the entire time? Has anyone asked you to bring anything onboard for them?). We get up to check our bags. We were worried about making the 50 pound limit, but our heaviest bag (mine!) weighs in at 47 pounds! Whew! We check them in and off we go through security.

We got to our terminal and there are several other cruisers there, including Tozzie and one of Mark's Club 18*21 friends is on our flight, so we spend some more time together. DD Jennifer goes to the duty-free store to buy some of those huge Toblerone bars - she loves those! Soon, it is time to board our long, trans-Atlantic flight. We are pleased that it is the Boeing 757-200 again, with the video-on-demand screens on the back of the seats again. We settle in for movies - I watched "Amour", "The Identity Thief", "Oz The Great and Powerful" (they were showing this on the ship, but somehow, we never had time for it), and "The Guilt Trip", which made me cry and made Jennifer give her mother funny looks.

We land in Newark, and manage to get our bags and go clear customs pretty easily. Some other cruisers were worried about their 1 1/2 hour connection, but we have 5 hours and are feeling pretty good. Tired, but good. Like, what can happen now? Only one more segment, from Newark to Des Moines, then a 2 hour drive and we'll be in our own beds tonight.

Boy, were we wrong.

We recheck our bags and head over to the gate. We settle in and wait. I fall asleep for a while, until, when it is almost boarding time, DD Jennifer says, "Momma ... you might want to check. The screen says our flight is CANCELED."

No annoucement, nothing.

So, I go to the gate, and the attendant just says (in a most blase manner) "You need to go to that line over there" indicating the Customer Service line.

We wait in the line for 2 hours. And we were near the front!

DH Eric, in the mean time, has gotten on the Reassignment phones. After much unhappiness, he comes back and says that they don't have another Newark-Des Moines flight until Sunday, but that they might have to reroute us through Houston.

We finally get to the counter, and the lady NEVER acknowledges us, never makes eye contact, never says a word to us. She takes our boarding passes and spends the next 15 minutes banging away at her computer and scowling at the screen. Finally, she hands some tickets to us, saying that we fly out tomorrow, connect in Houston. I asked about hotels, and only then does she pull out a list and tells me we have to call them on our own. I asked about meal vouchers - DH is so fed up he is grabbing the tickets and leaving - and the agent says that she can only give us what the computer indicates. Finally, I realize that we don't have our suitcases, so I said, "Can we get our luggage?" Agent looks at me and has the GALL to say, "Why didn't you say something?" to which I shot back, "Because you never ASKED! You never ever spoke to us at all!" She says that her job is just to get us on a flight. She askes us what the piecese looked like and then she said something about going to Carousel #9.

DH just wants to get away from her. We get the kids and head to Carousel #9. We also found the United Luggage Service Desk, and asked them. They were more pleasant and explained that they requested a "retrieval" for our suitcases, but this can take up to 2 hours - someone has to go in there and look for our bags, and they are very understaffed. By now, it is almost 10 pm. I called the hotels and found the Hilton Newark Penn Station that still had a room for $200, and it has a free shuttle. We wait for the luggage, and Eric, Mark and Jennifer all get their bags. We go back to check at the Service Desk, and this time they tell me that they will only check for the retrieval bags until 12:30 am; then they go home and start again at 6 am. So, we wait until 12:30 am - no bag. We head over to P4 and get the Hilton Shuttle - by now, almost 1 am. By the time we check in and settle in, it is well past 2 am. And, I have no clothes (I borrowed one of my husband's t-shirts to sleep in.) Lovely.


The next day, we wake up around 9 am. Upon further review of our tickets, we see that we are supposed to board our flight in Houston at 7:09 pm, BEFORE our incoming flight from Newark even lands (at 7:15 pm). So, clearly, this is not going to work and if we try this, we will then be stuck in Houston! Eric gets on the phone to United and the kids and I go to eat breakfast. At first, they wanted us to go to LaGuardia to catch an American flight, but we only had 1 1/2 hours to get there - not going to work. Finally,they said that they could get us on a flight the next day, Sunday, June 30, leaving Newark at 9, getting to Des Moines at 1 pm, with a 1 hour connection at Chicago-O'Hare. GREAT! We have to go to the airport to pick up our new boarding passes. Now I go to the front desk at the Hilton and tell them that we need another night . . . and they say that they are completely sold out. They give me a list of other nearby hotels.

We are a bit bummed, and all sit at the restaurant for a while. Here, a wonderful thing happens - the front desk clerk, Teresa, comes over to the restaurant, and motions for me. She says that they had a guest leave early today and now, they have a room for us! Whoo Hoo!!

So then the kids head back to the room and Eric and I take the shuttle back to Newark Liberty to try to find my bag that is still missing, and to get our new tickets. We go back to Carousel #9 - no bag. I go to the same Serivce Desk and ask again - and again, they tell me they don't have enough manpower, but that I am still on the list and they are still looking. So, go and get our new tickets, which went fairly smoothly. And then we come back and wait.

We met a nice lady from Cameroon, who was going back to see her family. She got her retrieval bag and left.

We also met a lovely couple from Manchester, UK, who were also there last night and had lost bags. While we were talking to them, a burly man with an accent came by, followed by an airport police officer. The officer was telling the man that he had to leave, and the man was not listening. He says he has to go to the bathroom, and the cop says "OK, but then you leave". He goes to the bathroom with the officer still following him. After a while, they came back out, the officer still telling him that he had to leave or he would be "locked up". The man is becoming increasingly belligerant - he says why was he going to be locked up, and the officer says "for disorderly conduct". The man now starts to head toward a news stand, and the cop says "OK, I'm done playing games" and starts to cuff the guy, but the man starts resisting and shoving the cop back. The cop grabs the guys head and wrestles him to the floor, pinning him to the ground with his knee in the guy's back - I'm thinking, "Wow, this is just like COPS!" DH thinks about going to help the guy, but he is calling for back up and more cops arrive in about 2 minutes. They subdue the guy, finally cuff him and haul him away. About 15 minutes later, another cop comes back and asks us if we saw what happened. We talked to him and told him we thought the cop was very patient, very professional and gave the guy lots of chances. The second cop explains that they have had a lot of trouble with this guy, that he is there to try to steal cab fares from legitimate cabbies, and that this is a big problem there. He asks for our names and contact information, but we have not heard back from them.

Oh, yeah, the bags. Well, after that, I go back to the Service Desk and they check again. Well, now my case says "closed", which usually means they found the bag. Obviously, they didn't. The agent calls down to the luggage dock, and they can't find it. They have no idea where it is. She even called Des Moines to see if it somehow got there - nope. So, there is nothing else to be done except to file a missing bag report AFTER we get to our final destination. Lovely.

We head back for the shuttle for the hotel. We go to the hotel restaurant and eat dinner, then watch some TV and go to bed - what else is there to do when you are stuck in a hotel room?

The next morning, we wake up at 5:45. We make sure we get on the 7 am shuttle to the airport. We get on our 9 am flight - and FINALLY leave Newark! We land in Chicago - O'Hare, and we are pleased to see that our planes are right next to each other - we arrived in C29, and our outbound flight is at C31! And we have an hour layover - very doable. No cancellations today, and we are finally on our way back to Iowa.

We land on time in Des Moines. We go to baggage claim, and I filed my report on my missing bag. They still can't find it and it is not looking good. Meanwhile, the family is waiting to get their bags. Only Eric's and Jennifer's comes. Now Mark's bag is missing. So, back to the counter and the guy is able to find Mark's bag - it is still in Chicago! He says we should have that bag in a day or so. We head back, and luckily are able to get our pets (a chocolate Labrador and a cat) before the vet closes.

The next day, I go to United.com to see if I can track our bags. I can't get anywhere, so I call them, and they tell me that BOTH bags are on their way to being delivered that night!

So finally, we all got back, after quite an ordeal! Now I know how Ulysses felt in The Odyssey!
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- Herbert Hoover, 31st President, native of West Branch, Iowa

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Old 07-02-2013, 07:17 PM   #18
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Looking forward to your report! We leave next week!
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:53 PM   #19
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Deb, I really appreciated your response to my question about your Rome excursion (from my question on the other thread). I am now anxiously and happily following your trip report, especially as we are interested in how Disney handled their excursions in general, and in the Diagonal Mar hotel as well.
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:55 PM   #20
Deb in IA
Knows that KIDS are better than cats
When do we leave for that nice long Hawaii vacation?
I'm a wimp, and I don't like food that hurts to eat
 
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Thanks, gotta take a break now and go fix dinner.

Will try to get back to this soon.
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Old 07-04-2013, 01:15 PM   #21
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Hi Deb, following along!

Love your TR and your pictures Can't wait to read more!

I believe Deneval is from Jamaica.
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Old 07-05-2013, 04:58 PM   #22
Deb in IA
Knows that KIDS are better than cats
When do we leave for that nice long Hawaii vacation?
I'm a wimp, and I don't like food that hurts to eat
 
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Location: Iowa City, IA (that's IOWA, not Idaho or Ohio)
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Thanks, lilpooh!!
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Old 07-05-2013, 07:17 PM   #23
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What an amazing trip and great pictures! Looking forward to your next update.
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Old 07-05-2013, 08:42 PM   #24
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I am really enjoying your report. My DH has also read it and commented on how similar our plans are for this trip, from staying at the Diagonal Mar, to the majority of your excursions! Except of course that we can't do the adults only version yet . We really appreciate the time you are taking to do this.

Yvonne
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Old 07-08-2013, 02:53 PM   #25
Deb in IA
Knows that KIDS are better than cats
When do we leave for that nice long Hawaii vacation?
I'm a wimp, and I don't like food that hurts to eat
 
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Thanks!

Another day done!
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Old 07-08-2013, 04:13 PM   #26
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Great trip report so far, thank you! Looking forward to reading more
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Old 07-08-2013, 05:17 PM   #27
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Still happily enjoying your trip report and looking especially forward to your comments on your Delos excursion and your Blue Grotto and Fishing Village excursion, since we also have both of those excursions booked.

I was intrigued to see the pictures and read your comments about Ephesus and the Waterpark since we have chosen an excursion that includes both as our kids are teenagers.

Could you tell me where the photo from Pisa that included all three buildings, from the Baptistery to the Leaning tower of Pisa was taken?

Many thanks

Yvonne
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Old 07-08-2013, 07:40 PM   #28
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Hi Deb!

Love your write up and pics of Turkey and Mykonos. We've always wanted to tour Ephesus (sp?) Thanks for the photo tour

BTW, I prevent the alcohol flush by taking a Prevacid 1 hour before drinking. It's not because I'm a lush, but because I used to do a lot of corporate cocktail things (firm weekends, firm parties, mixers) and it's embarrassing to look drunk around colleagues when you're not. Anyway, take a Prevacid (or generic) 1 hour before, and you'll only get a slight flush. Watch the alcohol consumption though. It decreases your alcohol metabolism so if you have 2-3 drinks, it sort of sneaks up on you. Random OT
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Old 07-09-2013, 03:18 PM   #29
Deb in IA
Knows that KIDS are better than cats
When do we leave for that nice long Hawaii vacation?
I'm a wimp, and I don't like food that hurts to eat
 
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Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Iowa City, IA (that's IOWA, not Idaho or Ohio)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scraptographer View Post
Still happily enjoying your trip report and looking especially forward to your comments on your Delos excursion and your Blue Grotto and Fishing Village excursion, since we also have both of those excursions booked.

I was intrigued to see the pictures and read your comments about Ephesus and the Waterpark since we have chosen an excursion that includes both as our kids are teenagers.

Could you tell me where the photo from Pisa that included all three buildings, from the Baptistery to the Leaning tower of Pisa was taken?

Many thanks

Yvonne
Sad confession - I've been using stock photos from Google. Our home computer died and I haven't been able to download my pics from the vacation yet. But as soon as it is fixed, I will go back and replace these with our own pictures.


Quote:
Originally Posted by lilpooh108 View Post
Hi Deb!

Love your write up and pics of Turkey and Mykonos. We've always wanted to tour Ephesus (sp?) Thanks for the photo tour

BTW, I prevent the alcohol flush by taking a Prevacid 1 hour before drinking. It's not because I'm a lush, but because I used to do a lot of corporate cocktail things (firm weekends, firm parties, mixers) and it's embarrassing to look drunk around colleagues when you're not. Anyway, take a Prevacid (or generic) 1 hour before, and you'll only get a slight flush. Watch the alcohol consumption though. It decreases your alcohol metabolism so if you have 2-3 drinks, it sort of sneaks up on you. Random OT
I've never tried that before! Thanks for the tip!

The alcohol flush runs in my family, but my cousin has it a lot worse. She can't drink at all. Her husband was a big shot banker, and once, at a fancy holiday party, cousin decided that she was going to drink the "big girl champagne" and not the bubbly water or ginger ale. Not long after drinking a single champagne flute, she was in the bathroom, violently barfing up hors d'oeuves.

She's never tried any more alcohol after that.
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Old 07-09-2013, 04:00 PM   #30
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Colour me impressed that you have been doing so much extra work to find photos when yours are not available in order to enhance our reading and viewing pleasure . And sorry to hear about your computer. From my perspective it is better to lose a computer than your trip photos!
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