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Old April 28th, 2011, 05:17 PM
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Default Ever forget your Passport?

We were booked on the Grand Princess to leave 2/2/08 from Ft. Lauderdale traveling with our adult children and their spouses. The plan was to leave Chicago on Friday, 2/1/08 and stay overnight one night pre-cruise to allow for any weather delays. This was prophetic as it started snowing on Thursday and continued for 24 hours and continuing on Friday, dumping about a foot of snow in Chicago. O’Hare airport cancelled 600 flights on Thursday. Lucky for us, we were flying United which has its hub in Chicago and we not only had an aircraft at our gate but our flight was on time. The anxiety over the weather had overshadowed everything else on our minds.

As we winged our way to Ft. Lauderdale, I turned to my DH and asked if he had brought the passports as they had been sitting on his dresser. The horrified look that he gave me confirmed my fears. We weren't going to land for another 2 hours and we frantically discussed this with the kids.

The girl sitting next to me suggested that we have someone go to the house and FEDEX them to us. The problem was that no one else had a key to the house. She suggested that we get a friend to get a locksmith to open the house and then send the passports. This sounded like a good idea to me but DH felt that there were too many parts to the plan that could go wrong and his plan was to fly immediately back to Chicago and come back the next day.

We called Donna, our trusty travel agent for advice and she called Princess to confirm that we needed passports or a certified copy of your birth certificate which you could get from a national data base here in the States. The fly in the ointment for that idea was that DH was not born in the USA.

She started checking flights from Ft. Lauderdale when I mentioned the locksmith idea. She became very excited and said that she had a good friend who was a locksmith and she would call him and ask if he would do this for her. While we went down to baggage claim, we also talked to the Princess rep who met us for the bus transfer to the hotel and told her that DH might not be coming with us.

Donna called back and said that while the locksmith would open the house, he would not go in it because of the liability. His best friend however was Donna's ex-boyfriend and he agreed to go along and get the documents off DH's dresser and take them to a FEDEX-KINKOS for next day delivery.

We boarded the bus to the hotel and Donna called us about 10 minutes later and conferenced us in with the locksmith who was having trouble opening the lock and he said that he had to make a key to open the lock. Did my original key have a number on it? It did have a serial number and he was able to open the door. We gave Donna the hotel address and she called us later to confirm that the package was on the way and should be delivered by noon, guaranteed.

Our SIL asked us to get the tracking number and he would check it for us the next day. Donna called us back that evening with it and we all breathed a sigh of relief. We were so grateful to her for going above and beyond for us; we could not thank her enough! You would not get someone to do this for you from an online agency. She charged the locksmith fee, about $100 and the FEDEX fee about $44 to our credit card. This was a small price to pay for our stupidity.

The next day, Jeremy checked the tracking number and said it was in Pompano Beach which was the next town away. It was actually in the same state! We went in for breakfast anticipating that it would be there shortly. By eleven it was still not there and I asked him to check it again and it came up with an "exception". I called 1-800-GOFEDEX and they told me that the address was incorrect! But the package was on the truck and I could pick it up at the facility when the driver came back and they were open until 7:00 PM. Small comfort when the ship was sailing @ 5:00! The person at FEDEX could hear the panic in my voice. She asked for the correct address and said that they would leave a message for the driver.

The hotel had given us a letter telling us to meet downstairs @ 11:30-12:00 for "pre-check-in". We sent the kids down and checked out of our room and anxiously awaited a call back from FEDEX. Unbeknownst to us, Donna had also noticed the incorrect address that morning and was also frantically calling FEDEX trying to get the correct address on the envelope.

I tried FEDEX again around 12:15 and got the same response, that they would send a message to the driver. In the meantime, we pulled our luggage out of the Princess pile so it wouldn't get on the ship without us and waited while the Holland America reps boarded about 12 buses for their cruise.

We discussed our problem with the hotel manager and he assured us that the FEDEX depot was only 10 minutes away and most Saturday deliveries were over by 1:00 so we should have no problem getting there to get our package and making it to the ship on time. He even said that he would arrange a Lincoln Town car for us that would be the same cost as a cab and would wait for us. So we had an alternate plan. Meanwhile, DH was waiting outside looking for any FEDEX truck that came by so he could throw his body in its path just in case it was the one with our passports.

We tried to call again @ 12:50 and the FEDEX person noticed a message that said that the driver would be there in 15 minutes! As soon as I hung up, Donna was calling us with the same news. She was feeling responsible since it was her friend who had put down the wrong address!

DH, DS, DIL, SIL all waited outside for the FEDEX truck to make an appearance while DD stayed with me calming my frazzled nerves. A few minutes later, FEDEX pulled up and DH ran to him to claim our envelope. The driver questioned him because our name was spelled incorrectly but DH pulled out his driver’s license to prove it was him and then tipped the guy.

And yes, inside were the passports, the bill for the locksmith and the key he had made to get into the house. Princess was still boarding buses and had not yet called our color. Our luggage went back into the pile and we were finally on our way!

Had we ever discussed our passports before leaving? Yes, a few days earlier I had asked where they were thinking that if they were in the bank vault, I would have to go get them. But DH had assured me that they were on his dresser. And we then promptly forgot about them with all the anxiety over the weather. From now on, they will be the first thing on my list! Donna saved us from having to make another flight back home and saved our vacation with our children.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 06:27 PM
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That was an expensive lesson, but not as bad as it could have been! Your travel agent sounds like a real gem!

My husband carries his passport with him (in his briefcase) at all times. He can be sent overseas for work at anytime. So, a few days before we leave I always give him mine and the kids (if they are going) to put in the little case he has his in. Then I can relax, and we never have to be one of those people pulled out of line at the port because they forgot their docs!!

Terri
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Old April 28th, 2011, 06:35 PM
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Wow, what a story and with a happy ending. I too live in the subs of Chicago and will always try not to fly out of ORD until March, especially going on a cruise. You were so smart to get down there a day early, I always try, but sometimes it just is impossible...We did have a few days this winter where they clsoed the airport, due to bad weather...

So glad, it worked out for you, but what a headache....Also, get travel insureance, a must IMHO.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 06:40 PM
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I was biting my nails during your story. For me, not until I am sitting in the terminal, do I breathe easy...I am leaving for Europe tomorrow, and I already have gone through my paperwork once,and will do it again. I swear it's a ream at least!
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Old April 28th, 2011, 08:34 PM
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No but my passport has yet to be stamped
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Old April 28th, 2011, 08:38 PM
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Wow! What a great story . I'm so glad everything worked out for you! This is another reason cruiser's should always go into the departure port a day early, if at all possible. Also, everyone should have a trusted friend/family member with a key to your house.

On our last cruise we went in a day early, but my DH's luggage came to the hotel after 8:00 PM ! If we'd been sailing at 4:00 that day, who knows when it would have shown up (if at all!).

(Trip, all you need is your Passport, boarding pass, and credit card. All the rest is just paper! (Although it would be nice to have, you don't NEED it!)).
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Old April 28th, 2011, 08:49 PM
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Henry, our's haven't been stamped either !
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Old April 28th, 2011, 09:00 PM
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Fern, there is lots of Carniavl stuff I need to take..my Iberia ticket alone is like 5 pages and says to print it all...I always do what I am told!
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Old April 28th, 2011, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trip View Post
Fern, there is lots of Carniavl stuff I need to take..my Iberia ticket alone is like 5 pages and says to print it all...I always do what I am told!
I know you'll have everything you need (and more )! (BTW, shouldn't you be packing instead of answering post's???)
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Old April 28th, 2011, 09:56 PM
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Just waiting to weigh my big suitcase....when we printed out my boarding pass, it said I was allowed THREE bags....and her I am stuffing like crazy..but realistically, all I can handle is the one,and my carry on.
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Old April 28th, 2011, 11:19 PM
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Angry Forgotten passports

On the way to the airport by livery service I asked Parrot Pop who had been sick sick that day with what we thought was food poisoning if he had he passports...HE DIDN'T (first time in 30 years of traveling).. The livery driver was NOT allowed to turn back and we continued to one more pick up at Harvard.. We called our friend who stopped into our home and in the middle of Mass. Turnpike at 5:00 p.m. heavy traffic picked up the passports and drove them to the airport. The passports arrived after 7:00 p.m. and we had a 9:00 pm flight. Needless to say that Parrot Pop was in the dog house and he "owed me"... but good, We also keep a secret set of keys outside our home in a metal container and that has come in handy too, especially when you arrive home at Midnight and your keys are still in Rome..(don't ask--it was the fault of the airlines that trip)
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Old April 29th, 2011, 09:53 AM
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A few years ago, I was going on a girls cruise out of Miami. We live in SW Florida and I was driving to the pier. As we left home, I asked my passengers if everyone had their docs. Of course, they all said yes. We get to the pier to check-in and, lo and behold, I don't have my passport, just a photocopy! We managed to cajole the NCL staff into accepting the photocopy and my driver's license. At least I had a cooperative person. So, where was my passport? In the copy machine at home! As a joke, I called my husband to tell him of my predicament and told him he'd have to deliver the passport to me before we sailed. He was not amused. Now, I'm extremely careful to have all my docs and check it once or twice, at least, before we leave.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Parrot Mom View Post
On the way to the airport by livery service I asked Parrot Pop who had been sick sick that day with what we thought was food poisoning if he had he passports...HE DIDN'T (first time in 30 years of traveling).. The livery driver was NOT allowed to turn back and we continued to one more pick up at Harvard.. We called our friend who stopped into our home and in the middle of Mass. Turnpike at 5:00 p.m. heavy traffic picked up the passports and drove them to the airport. The passports arrived after 7:00 p.m. and we had a 9:00 pm flight. Needless to say that Parrot Pop was in the dog house and he "owed me"... but good, We also keep a secret set of keys outside our home in a metal container and that has come in handy too, especially when you arrive home at Midnight and your keys are still in Rome..(don't ask--it was the fault of the airlines that trip)
When I travel, my keys are always on a clip inside of my carry on. If I am taking my big rig camera, I have a Lowepro for the camera and laptop and its got a a clip in the non electronic section. If no big camera, I have a nice Swissgear that I use for school as well, and its got the clip in the section where pens and the like would go. As soon as I lock my car door, the keys immediately get clipped in there.
Last cruise tho I left from a friend's house where my car was parked. I left my keys on his dining room table.
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Old April 30th, 2011, 01:20 PM
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OMG, I'm having an anxiety attack just reading your experience! I hope you had a good stiff drink when you finally boarded the ship!!!

I always have a fear of forgetting our passports. Now I just keep them in a pouch that is clipped to the inside of the carry-on I always use when we fly or cruise. Takes the anxiety out of trying to remember where I last placed them.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 02:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fern View Post
Wow! What a great story . I'm so glad everything worked out for you! This is another reason cruiser's should always go into the departure port a day early, if at all possible. Also, everyone should have a trusted friend/family member with a key to your house.

On our last cruise we went in a day early, but my DH's luggage came to the hotel after 8:00 PM ! If we'd been sailing at 4:00 that day, who knows when it would have shown up (if at all!).

(Trip, all you need is your Passport, boarding pass, and credit card. All the rest is just paper! (Although it would be nice to have, you don't NEED it!)).
We now have given our key to a trusted friend. That lesson has been seared into our brains!
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Old May 4th, 2011, 02:37 PM
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OMG, I'm having an anxiety attack just reading your experience! I hope you had a good stiff drink when you finally boarded the ship!!!

I always have a fear of forgetting our passports. Now I just keep them in a pouch that is clipped to the inside of the carry-on I always use when we fly or cruise. Takes the anxiety out of trying to remember where I last placed them.
I was shaking on the bus all the way to the pier from the anxiety let-down. As soon as we got on the ship, we went up to the buffet and I bought a drink to calm my nerves. I rarely drink alcohol at all but there wasn't any Valium to be had! .
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Old May 4th, 2011, 02:40 PM
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Originally Posted by fourxbusymom View Post
That was an expensive lesson, but not as bad as it could have been! Your travel agent sounds like a real gem!

My husband carries his passport with him (in his briefcase) at all times. He can be sent overseas for work at anytime. So, a few days before we leave I always give him mine and the kids (if they are going) to put in the little case he has his in. Then I can relax, and we never have to be one of those people pulled out of line at the port because they forgot their docs!!

Terri
When we returned, we sent Donna, our TA, flowers, a thank you card and a gift card. It was still cheaper than having DH fly home and back again. With the weather in Chicago, we couldn't be sure he would even get back to FL again.
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Old May 4th, 2011, 08:26 PM
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I was shaking on the bus all the way to the pier from the anxiety let-down. As soon as we got on the ship, we went up to the buffet and I bought a drink to calm my nerves. I rarely drink alcohol at all but there wasn't any Valium to be had! .
I think I would have to have more than one drink ! I'm just so happy everything turned out okay and you have a wonderful story to tell when the family gets together :-D:-D !
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Old May 4th, 2011, 09:24 PM
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Do you still use Donna? I see it's been a few years.
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Old May 6th, 2011, 10:42 AM
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Yes, we recommend Donna to everyone. Our dentist and his wife booked a land/sea trip to Alaska through her and were thrilled with her service.

It has been a few years, sigh! DD got married in 2008 so there was a wedding to pay for. My dad died right after the wedding so there was a funeral to help pay for. In 2009, we traded in both of our 1998 vehicles for new ones. In 2010 DS got married and there was another wedding out of our pockets. So the financials have not been so kind to include another cruise. However, I am retiring in July so we are actively researching a cruise for either this fall or next winter. Finally!
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