On the day the Ocean Princess was to sail at 5:30 p.m. from Vancouver, we appeared at Tucson airport to discover that our flight would be delayed. This led to a missed connection in Denver and the following comment from the rescheduling clerk: “I hope your trip insurance covers missed boats.”
The next Vancouver flight would not touch down until 4:45, leaving us on the wrong side of customs and immigration and on the opposite side of the city from the ship’s gangway -- through TGIF traffic. (We were actually still aloft over the state of Washington when the first “All Ashore!” sounded.
Then came the miracle. The cruise line had arranged for us to escape the airliner the minute its door popped in Vancouver, with fellow travelers courteously keeping their seats and cheering us mightily. The cruise line had stationed their fastest person on the jetway with a wheelchair (which we refused but piled out luggage on it). Outside the airport at 5 p.m. a taxi was waiting.
To calm our nerves we counted the Oriental restaurants scattered the length of Vancouver while the cruise representative passed on a comforting thought: “We’ve arranged for the taxi to drive right up to the gangway.”
Ah, but like all movie chases, there’s a hitch.
At 5:29 as lift straps were being attached to the gangway and dockworkers standing by to cast off, a portside guard who hadn’t gotten the word blocked our taxi. After frantic negotiations, he finally relented.
So we raced up the gangway at 5:29.59 to the soothing sounds of chamber music filling the ship’s magnificent atrium.
But we raced through the atrium -- and headed straight for the bar.