Author of a weekly column published each Friday in the Glasgow Daily Times.

The cruise story continues

A day at the beach.

Shore excursions at ports of call can be done from a passenger’s room. I decided that booking in person was a better choice to avoid a technological error; however, I had not expected a human one.

Just to make sure I understood the excursion person (none of the crew spoke Southern), one of the girls went with me. We booked eleven tours for a St. Thomas tour that was to end with shopping.

On the day of the tour, we were told where to meet the guide; so at the appointed time, we gave the guide our tickets and then she handed us our “passes” and said, “You will m eet your guide at dock one.”

At a dock, one would find a boat, but we were not supposed to be on a boat. We were to be in an opened air “taxi” with fringe on the top. We had seen a picture and there was no boat in it.

The taxis were lined up near the dock, so we went from one to another to see if anyone was waiting for us. No one was. When a ferry “boat” pulled into the dock, we discovered that this was, indeed, our tour. However, it was not the tour we booked.

Nothing could be done at this point, so we boarded this pontoon/ferry that held around 60 people. When we pulled away from the dock and the reggae music swallowed the air, I could visualize a beach in our future. We were headed that way.

The ride to this beach took about an hour. The air felt refreshing, blowing our hair in fifteen directions, but I knew what was coming. When we docked and after everyone else got off, I found the captain.

“We have a terrible problem. We thought we had booked an island tour, but we were given a trip to the beach.” He looked at the eleven of us. “Is there any way we can get back to the mainland?”

There wasn’t. “By the time you get back, the day will be over.”

We had two choices. We could sit on the boat for almost two hours or get off, fight the sand to sit a picnic table under a straw covering umbrella, and eat. Some of us chose to do that.

The next day the two of us went back to the exact lady from whom we had booked the tour. I felt so sorry for her when she discovered she had put an “I” in the computer instead of a “1.” Her “boss” wanted to be haughty with me, but he knew we were in the right. “What do you think would be fair?” he asked.

“First of all, I don’t want her to get into trouble. It was an honest mistake. I think to refund half of the tour would be fair.” He agreed.

We missed the tour of St. Thomas and the shopping, but we saw a limbo contest, ate grilled burgers as the sand hid between our toes, and passed the time in the happiness that comes from being near the ocean with good friends.