Summer Vacations can be full of fun; exciting experiences. For many reasons people look forward to the summer. School’s closed, the weather’s amazing and the beaches are booming with people craving sun tans and the cool water. Some people prefer to stay in their home town and spend time with close relatives and friends while others, like me, prefer to travel with family and experience new things different from what their used to. But what happens when you’re nearly left ashore by a Cruise line without a passport or any type of identification. That can be a problem.
A year ago, my family and I excitedly boarded the Caribbean Cruise with high hopes of having a great time on our first cruise. We really enjoy unique places, so the idea of visiting islands, such as St Thomas and St. Martin , was a great way to bond as well as experience different cultures and traditions. My father is the biggest fan of traveling. He is daring, adventurous and believes there’s no harm in trying something at least once in your lifetime so it didn’t surprise me when he accepted a timeshare invitation for a hotel in St. Martin . The idea was we would receive a free tour at their hotel in return for a free stay next visit. I initially thought it was a terrible idea because timeshares always seemed artificial and we had to be back on the cruise ship by a specific time. I doubted we would be able to get back on time but because my father believed it was a beneficial opportunity, I trusted my father’s judgment and didn’t think more of it.
Time quickly passed by as we received the free tour. Before we knew it we were quickly searching for, at this point, any means of transportation that would take us back to the cruise. The terrifying thought of being stuck on a foreign island I didn’t know anything about motivated me to help flag down a taxi and get my family back on the ship. Minutes, which seemed like hours, flew by before my father was finally able to find a taxi man that agreed to take us to the port where the Caribbean Cruise had docked.
On our way there, the taxi driver entertained us with stories of people who were left by cruise ships. To him it was a normal thing. He went on to tell my father if we were left, because we didn’t have our passports or any official identification, we would have to stay in St. Martin for a few months until we received our passports. Only then would we be able to travel back home to New York . The idea of living in St. Martin for months without seeing my close family or friends nearly drove me to tears and also made me frustrated with my father. As soon as we drove up to the dock, my sister and I started running towards the entrance of the ship. It seemed so far away but I was determined to get back on that cruise. By then we were so late the boardwalk was completely empty apart from the crew members. What made it worse was a man on the boat saw us running and commented by saying “…you’re not going to make it.”. I was so angry but I was too focused to acknowledge him. I later learned my mother was offered a ride by a cruise member on a golf cart to the front of the boat. Lucky her!
Luckily, we did make it. To this day I still believe it was pure luck that got us on the ship. Although we were all shaken up about everything that happened that day, we couldn’t have been happier to be safe on the cruise, especially me. This trip taught me numerous of lessons. Firstly it taught me to always be on time. The world doesn’t wait for anyone, so being prompt is very important. Furthermore, it taught me to always have my passport or an official document on me, especially when I travel outside of the United States . If we had missed the cruise, without a passport we wouldn’t have been able to leave St.Martin until we received them. Lastly, this trip taught me to always say something. Simply speaking your mind when it’s appropriate can make a difference. If I had told my father I didn’t think it was a smart decision to do the timeshare, maybe he would have reconsidered. Thus, my family vacation wasn’t entirely bad. I learned about different cultures, traditions, and valuable life lessons. In addition I bonded with my family on and off the Caribbean Cruise. I guess the saying “You learn from your experiences” is true after all.
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