Ship ahoy

You don’t always get what you want. 

Late in my career and dare I say, my age, too,  I had wanted one last kick at the barrel. 

I did have a terrific life with a few interruptions, but a husband who encouraged me from fashion writing to travel.

But this trip in particular always topped the list.  However, this entire episode became my Number One worst-ever experience.  It proved I have the chutzpah and moved on.

I have been to 104 countries, no small feat.  I loved the luxury of many of the trips but was able to overcome with pity by the poverty that comes with some territories. I see these adventures as a learning experience and get involved in a charity when I return.

I booked my Trans Atlantic-only, non-stop trip, got a suite in the Princess section (nothing but the best on this long-awaited trip) to the Southampton UK docks leaving from the docks in New Jersey.

One must be at the Toronto Pearson Airport 3 hours before leaving although New York is only 1 ½ hours by plane..  I’m an early riser and compulsive organizer, so my limo to the terminal was waiting at 6 am. With little traffic at that time, I  was there in 20 minutes from downtown Toronto where to live.  I was assured that someone from the Queen M would be there to get me to the ship.

toronto pearson airport, airplane

Unfortunately, New York City had had a violent rainstorm the night before, therefore there were many backups, delays and cancellations.  Finally, I could see that my flight was not going anywhere so I quickly rushed to another airline counter going to NYC.  I bought the last ticket. And again soon there were delays but no cancellations. “Ah, that was a good omen,” I thought. Although the flight had been delayed, I still had the chance of being able to board re. the time schedule.

I was hungry so I sat at a counter and guess what, my credit cards were declined and I only had cash. That’s the start of another episode.

Enter the new world of a CASHLESS SOCIETY – CREDIT CARDS ONLY. 

My bank had seen funny activity, three, $5000 was asked by the scammers.  There was no way the bank could contact me or may not even have tried.

What to do now?   Choices – I could be home in a few hours, but that didn’t feel right. I decided to stay overnight at a nearby hotel, and phoned my London-based daughter with the great news that I was coming a week earlier. 

Then more difficulty.  It was also a Civil Holiday in the US so all nearby and less expensive hotels were filled.  With luck, I had a taxi driver, Marlon, who took me to various other hotels (probably 10) and all were overflowing.

We finally found a fine hotel with only one room to fill, not inexpensive. I may add since we were getting closer to the city.  “Pay now, please.”‘ And they didn’t take cash.   Marlon, paid for the room. some food, and his trip.  I paid him in cash.  

For the first time in my travel experiences, I was terrified,  I called my credit card for help, they couldn’t help.  Someone was trying to get into my credit cards.  “What were my passwords? “There was one password I didn’t recall ever needing or using. The others were all being declined.

I located a currency converter, purchased an available ticket. In cash. 

The end of this horror story is that I will never pass a street-walking, homeless woman without giving her cash, I will never forgive my bank with whom I have worked for over 50 years.

No credit card, no food, no entry into the lounge and where would I sleep tonight?  

Some people have those concerns every day.  I am fortunate to know that isn’t my situation.

THE END.  …. AND AN ADD ON.…I had a marvellous time in London with a side trip by Barbara by rail for the day, to see a museum and eat a grand meal.


Always travel with two different bank credit cards.

Take a few deep breaths and then make your decision.

Take a list of all your passwords…most important.