Milt Abel is a stand-up comedian traveling the world, and places closer.


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Coral Princess 4/3 – 4/8

By Milt Abel | May 18, 2008

| May 18, 2008

To join a ship in Ocho Rios, Jamaica I was flown into Kingston Bay to spend two nights on the island waiting for the Coral Princess to arrive. When it did, I’d join it for the last two nights of its ten-day itinerary, stay through turnaround, then three days aboard the next ten-day cruise.

I have not been lucky with Jamaica. Seven weeks earlier when I was also flying in to join the Coral there were flight delays and cancellations, when I eventually touched down for that previous trip I had one hour and fifteen minutes before the ship left, and I still hadn’t done immigration, customs, or picked up my luggage, let alone taxi to the dock. My bag was the second to last piece unloaded; I was so desperate for it to show I was lifting those hanging black plastic slats they use to keep passengers from looking in: this privacy allows them to toss baggage any distance without the distraction of tears and wailing to throw off their aim. I’ve often wondered how diligent luggage is moved back there, and if those slats are there to brush off the party hats and paper plates before bags are carouseled into view.

For the twenty-minute taxi ride to the ship I had still had twenty-five minutes before the ship sailed; so after a solid twenty-four hours of traveling I had ‘extra’ five minutes to play with, but of course there was stop-and-stop traffic, and rain. I made the ship, passengers on tours were held up in the same traffic so they held the departure time, but I was so tense I couldn’t hear for an hour. My shoulders were covering my ears.

On this recent trip to Jamaica my flight was also delayed. Our departure time was delayed in Miami and then after being boarded it was announced that a passenger had not shown, so his luggage would have to be searched for and removed. You know they don’t alphabetize the bags as they’re placed in the hold, so every piece had to be looked at, name tags read. I was sitting there thinking ‘maybe it’s not such a good idea to sign my name ineligibly.’ Maybe others on the plane were too.

This flight was scheduled to arrive at 7:05pm; we touched down at 11:15pm. My luggage wasn’t second to last to appear this time, but if this had been a race, it would have got that polite applause given to those who simply finish. Outside I met my driver and was informed that there was one more person traveling for Princess that would have to be shuttled to a hotel as well. So we waited. And waited. After thirty-five minutes of standing around like a couple of scalpers a lightening bolt hit me: what if the guy we are waiting for is the same guy that didn’t make the plane and had to have his luggage removed? I’ve never met him and his screw-ups are following me from place to place. Spooky. He eventually showed, but his luggage didn’t, that’s what had taken so long. He’d come from England and gone through a brand new terminal at Heathrow that was making the news because it was eating luggage like Charlie Brown’s tree ate kites.

Topics: comedy, cruise ship, travel | No Comments »