Lisbon, the last port of call in the 9-day Mediterranean cruise, was the most inhospitable of all port cities in terms of the weather. It was rainy and blustery with frigid air assaulting us as we disembarked. A fellow passenger commented of how this wasn’t a surprise considering this is Europe, this is Lisbon – her words – while I tried to gather myself inside a suddenly inadequate faux leather jacket.
Not only were we faced with this miserable weather for sightseeing, earlier in the day we were thrown the biggest curve ball you could get when you are traveling overseas when we got our daily newsletter. We found out that the arrival time of the ship in Barcelona was changed. Initially in the original itinerary, the ship would be arriving in Barcelona at 8 am. Our flight out of Barcelona was scheduled at 11 am. Very little breathing room between arrival and departure time we know, but we were hoping luck would be on our side and we’d be able to disembark first, as is the protocol of cruise ships to allow passengers with early flights to leave the boat first. However, the newsletter for that day indicated that the boat would be docking in Barcelona at 12:00 and not the 8 am that was initially indicated when we booked this cruise.
I went into panic mode right away, but only for a short time. We have one day to spend in Lisbon, then one sea day in between, then the return to Barcelona. We cannot miss our flight out of Barcelona, because this was an international flight with one other layover. We must catch that flight and if we stayed in the boat we will not be able to return home on time and we will miss work, etc, so many repercussions.
And so just to be sure we went to check with the cruise line if what was indicated as disembarkation time was indeed correct. Not only was it correct, the front desk clerk who seemed disinterested in customer service (here’s when I miss American style customer service) as a vocation said they were actually being very optimistic in their estimation. She implied most likely it’s 1:00.
Now we were facing a tough situation we know. We have to figure out a solution to this huge problem by 6 pm – the time the boat sails away. Given that it was very early in the day and despite the on and off rain so far, we decided to buy a ticket to the HOHO bus tour. We figured it’s best to be on the move while we sort out our options. The ticket to the HOHO was valid for 48 hours and valid for lines red and blue.
In truth we knew we only had one viable solution. We must keep our flight back home and in order to do that we must leave the boat and stay in Lisbon for two days! Yay!!!!!!
A huge weight was lifted off our shoulders the minute we the hubs and I agreed to stay in Lisbon. We changed bus lines so that we could go to the airport. The HOHO stopped a block or two from the airport and once inside, the husband and I, we were on a divide and conquer mode.
He went to get a flight from Lisbon to Barcelona while I stayed in a coffee shop scouring the internet for accommodations. The time stretched so very long. Despite my relief that a solution was reached earlier in the day and that we again seemed to overcome another hurdle in this trip, I was not completely at peace with the situation. I was naturally concerned about the extra expense that 2 extra flights and 2 nights of hotel would entail. However, this was the only choice if we wanted to go home as planned.
When finally the hubs joined me in the coffee shop I had a list of hotels for him to choose from. The problem with not having enough time to research about the accommodations and the neighborhoods these hotels are located is that you just have no clue if you’re getting what you actually want and need in an accommodation. Once I returned from a trip to the facilities, the husband found a different hotel. I must admit, he’s good at research and I was all for the hotel we chose. We booked online and knew what we needed to do. We took the HOHO bus back to the port, back to the boat we went. I went to pack rapidly; he went to settle our accounts. Before leaving, we decided to get some lunch at the boat and maybe pocket some croissants for us to munch later in the day.
As we got off the boat one last time, I welcomed the cold whip of air on my face and the raindrops on my umbrella. I was excited to stay an extra day here.
The photos were taken from the deck of the cruise ship before we disembarked.
OUR WORLD TUESDAY