Cooking, Baking & Cocktail Shaking

Slice of Life Saturday’s: The Vacation from Hell!

Happy Saturday, guys!

Did you see the amazing Tiffany & Co. $500 gift card giveaway going on? You should totally get in on this one. If it wasn’t considered cheating, I would totally sign up. I love me some Tiffany’s jewelry.

I arrived home from vacation last Saturday, and I’m slowly trying to get back into my daily routine. I’m not going to lie, it’s a bit difficult. A week of no internet connection or contact with the “real world” left me a bit spoiled. I’ve been doing a combination of cooking and vegging out in front of my computer monitor watching Mad Men.


Are you familiar with Mad Men? I just discovered the series on Netflix. I know…I live under a rock. I’m the least trendy person you’ll ever meet, which is why there’s a lack of themed posts on this site. Kale chips? You won’t find a recipe for those here. I’m sure their delicious, but, um, no. Cake balls? Not even worth the effort. I made them for a baby shower and will never attempt them again–so time consuming.

I digress.

Back to Mad Men. You guys, I’m in love. The characters. The dresses. The cocktails, all day, every day (even at work). Drinking at work really needs to make a come back. My tolerance level would jump up a few notches if I could guzzle cosmos while dealing with my patients. I’ve been watching a few episodes every night. Such promiscuity–I love it!

I’ve also been busy trying to perfect old-fashioned fudge for Love & Olive Oil‘s Old-Fashioned Fudge Kitchen Challenge. I was all like, “Psht, I’m a player when it comes to fudge. I got this in the bag.”

My first batch of fudge completely debunked any confidence I originally had. Who knew making fudge the old-fashioned way would be so dang hard. The end result was a hard, gritty brick. Back to the drawing board. Squirrel found the fudge and began chowing down. Mouth full, he asked, “What’s this? Whatever it is, it’s good.” Folks, right there is why I’m the head taste tester. That man. At least it didn’t go to waste.


Are you dying to hear about my vacation given the title of this post? On with it…

Mind you, I never wanted to get on the Boat of Doom. You remember me stating that last week, right? Right. This is all Squirrel’s fault.

Like the good airport patrons we are, the Phaneuf family (pronounced fan-off. That’s my last name–ewww, right?) arrived at the airport at the recommended 3 hours prior to departure time. We were excited (and by “we,” I mean them. I was just going with the flow), we were ready to start our week of fun on the Boat of Doom (again, by “we,” I mean them), and, most of all, we were ready to relax. Everything was dandy. We checked our bags and proceeded to the security line.

There must have been 10 hundred people in the security line. Okay, I’m exaggerating, but there were a ton of freakin’ people in that line. All those people and only 2 agents. What? Does that make sense? Of course it doesn’t. We’re talking about the airport here, people. The hours passed and we were still not through the winding line of people. Meanwhile, our flight was scheduled to take off in 30 minutes. We started getting anxious and babbling about how we were going to miss the flight, and if we missed the flight, how we were also going to miss the Boat of Doom (smile).

I proceeded to flag down a TSA agent and asked him if he could expedite us through the line, as our flight was about to depart. I was shot down. The rules state that they’re not allowed to expedite people through security. Basically, sorry for your luck. Ugh!

TSA guy informed me to ask a Southwest agent for help. Squirrel’s dad got out of line to hunt down a Southwest agent. While he did that, I flagged down a second TSA agent just in case TSA guy was a newb and didn’t know what he was talking about. Come to find out, TSA guy was right. TSA guy #2 said that the only thing we could do was ask every single person in line in front of us if we could move ahead of them. Uh, yeah, that was short lived. Only two people were nice enough to let us move up. Squirrel’s dad was shot down by Southwest, so we were stuck.

When we finally made it out of the line, we ran to our gate. We arrived 5 minutes prior to our scheduled departure to find out that our seats had been sold to stand-by patrons. A surreal fog came over all of us. I remember thinking, This isn’t happening. Only problem was, it did happen. We were early for our flight and they sold our tickets. The disappointment on my husband’s face made my heart hurt. He was really looking forward to getting on that cruise.

After arguing, pleading, and convincing a whole lot of people to let us on the ship, we were on a flight to Cancun, then a taxi to Playa del Carmen, then a ferry to Cozumel, then a taxi to our temporary hotel to catch up with the ship. We missed two days of our vacation before we boarded the ship in Cozumel. Hence the tag Vacation from Hell.

By the time we boarded the ship, we were exhausted. From all of the extra traveling, my luggage had a gigantic hole in the top and was missing a wheel. Try lugging that around Mexico. I thought, One step on that boat, and someone better put a drink in my hand.

The Boat of Doom was okay once we made it to our room and got settled. Would I travel via cruise ship again? I might consider an adults-only cruise…maybe.

Due to all the drama, I barely took out my camera during the cruise. I apologize in advance. Here are the few shots I was able to mustered up:


Beautiful sunset I captured leaving Cancun on the ferry at Playa del Carmen.


I believe I had a stalker. Squirrel was sneaking around the atrium of the hotel the morning we were waiting to catch the ship in Cozumel.


Cozumel was gorgeous. The water was stunning, and there were divers as far as the eye could see. I wish we had more time in Cozumel, because it was my favorite island out of the four we visited.


That water…


Belize was hot and there was bird shit everywhere. I don’t think we’ll be going back.


More of Belize.


The beaches of Costa Maya were gorgeous. The surrounding area, not so much.



What I’ve learned from this experience:

  1. When it comes to the airport, we’re all just cattle. The airlines make the rules and we follow them. They don’t give two craps if you miss your flight and your vacation is ruined.
  2. TSA will never work faster than a snail’s pace. They’re not flying, so who gives a damn.
  3. When catching the Boat of Doom, always fly to the designated port the evening before departure.
  4. All parenting ceases once aboard the ship, and kids are in charge of themselves. Next cruise is adults-only.
  5. People cruise to eat…nonstop. I love food, but damn!
  6. Fly to an all-inclusive resort with hot cabana boys and skip the boat ride all together.

28 Responses to “Slice of Life Saturday’s: The Vacation from Hell!”

  1. #
    Mimi — February 1, 2014 at 11:09 am

    And if you piss them off, they will make you pay.


  2. #
    Kayle (The Cooking Actress) — February 1, 2014 at 11:15 am

    omgosh you poor thing!!!! That sounds HORRIBLE!

    and, as a person who’s been on a cruise (as a child) I can say this: Yepp. We ran all over the place. And also-yepp. We always arrived like the night before departure.

    People keep telling me Michael and I should do a cruise for our honeymoon and, while I like cruises, Michael’s never been on one and I don’t wanna risk him getting all queasy or something lol. All inclusive resort it’ll prob be :P


    • Jennie replied February 4th, 2014 at 10:18 am

      I think you guys would enjoy an all-inclusive resort more than a cruise. It’s all about relaxation and there’s no need to take your wallet out. Maybe do a cruise another time.


  3. #
    [email protected] — February 1, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    OMG, I am dying of laughter here!!! So sorry it happened though. BTW, my friends went on a cruise with their parents once – same thing happened. Missed the flight, had to travel to catch the boat. Disaster. Thanks for sharing, Jennie!


    • Jennie replied February 4th, 2014 at 10:17 am

      No worries. I wanted to shed a little humor on the hellish situation.


  4. #
    Nancy @ gottagetbaked — February 1, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Even though I’ve already resigned myself to never going on a cruise, this post seals the deal! What a horrible ordeal, Jennie! I was cringing just reading your words. Those extra two days of traveling would’ve killed me. I already hate layovers and connecting flights so that sounds terrible. I don’t blame you at all for not wanting to take photos once you got on your way. You deserved to totally veg out and do nothing! Glad to hear you’re back and good luck with the fudge. I know you’ll nail it!


    • Jennie replied February 4th, 2014 at 10:17 am

      Veg out, I did. I was so lazy once I stepped foot on that boat. I had no desire to get off and visit the islands.


  5. #
    Laura Dembowski — February 1, 2014 at 9:30 pm

    So sorry your vacation was so terrible! You plan and spend all that money and for it to turn out like that is horrible. Cruises would not be for me, especially with all the issues and illnesses lately.

    But kale chips are the bomb! You should check out the recipe on my site – easy to make. I’ve also successfully made fudge on my blog a few times. Some involve only the microwave as a cooking tool but are still most definitely real fudge.


    • Jennie replied February 4th, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Thanks, Laura! I’ll have to check out your recipe for kale chips and fudge.


  6. #
    Carla — February 1, 2014 at 11:08 pm

    What a nightmare! That’s one of my biggest anxieties – missing an important flight. I’ve come close to missing bus and train departures. I can’t even imagine trying to catch a cruise ship. Glad you got to enjoy some of it at least!


    • Jennie replied February 4th, 2014 at 10:15 am

      Thanks, Carla. It was a bit stressful.


  7. #
    Susan — February 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Okay seriously can Southwest really sell your seats if you’ve already checked in? Are they actually allowed to do that? No wonder they have the reputation they do! I’ve almost missed a flight on another airline due to security woes but they held my seat. What a nightmare. Also no adult only pool? Despite the horrible food on my cruise there was at least a no-kid zone.


    • Jennie replied February 4th, 2014 at 10:14 am

      Apparently, they make the rules. I didn’t think they could, but it happened. Holding our seats would have been the nice thing to do. A no-kid zone would have been delightful.


  8. #
    Liz — February 3, 2014 at 10:11 pm

    Ugh! Maybe this is why the hubby refuses to go on a cruise. I think he may be right! I hope they had some darn good cocktails :)


    • Jennie replied February 4th, 2014 at 10:12 am

      I had some cocktails, but they were way over priced. I’d say stay away from the cruise and just do an all-inclusive resort.


  9. #
    Monet — February 4, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    Ugh! I’m so sorry. I went on a cruise once and I don’t know if we’ll do it again. And mad men? Yes please. I’m in love with that show too! Can’t wait for the new season to start!


  10. #
    Stacy | Wicked Good Kitchen — February 4, 2014 at 11:58 pm

    Girlfriend, I feel so bad! So sorry your vacation was (way!) less than stellar. I have been warned about those cruise ships (kids running wild), so I have never gone. If Squirrel ever wants to go cruising with you again, he needs to do some research on ‘private charter cruises’ to see what will suit your lifestyles and expectations as well as ports of call. If not, sounds like Cozumel next time? The photos there look incredible! As for Mad Men, I’ve been hooked from the first ep and can’t wait for next season. Love. It. From the look of my blog, one would guess I’m just a tad bit obsessed with mid-century design. Thanks for sharing with us. You have our sincere empathy! xo


  11. #
    Stephanie — February 5, 2014 at 1:37 am

    This definitely qualifies for the “crappy vacation” category.

    I flew from New Mexico to South Korea (round trip) last month. The lines were insane, but at least coming back into the U.S. in DFW, immigration would expedite anyone that had a flight they would otherwise miss if they had to stay in line. But security is not concerned with your/my/our problems. Customs and immigrations seems to be nicer.

    I’m booking a cruise this week to Glacier Bay for my honeymoon in June. I’m super stressed because we have to be in Seattle no later than 4 pm, and I’ve had the worst luck with delays flying to/from Seattle. I’m giving us about 11 hours to get there, but still, lots of stress. It’s my first cruise, so at least that is exciting!


    • Jennie replied February 5th, 2014 at 11:42 am

      Customs is much nicer than TSA. Once you get on the boat, your stress will melt away and you’ll have an amazing time. Have fun!


  12. #
    Erin @ Texanerin Baking — February 5, 2014 at 9:17 am

    Lol. Your hated for this vacation is so sad. It does sound really sucky but at least you got out of town! Isn’t that something? ;) I guess that doesn’t mean anything if you actually like the city you live in. And um, I HATE the travelling part of travelling. Hate hate hate it. So I sympathize.


    • Jennie replied February 5th, 2014 at 11:44 am

      I was thankful for the little bit of time that we were able to relax, but honestly, it wasn’t worth the extra money and time it took us to catch the boat. Baltimore is okay, but I’d much rather be in Paris, Italy, or Ireland. Traveling is the pits. I’m waiting for time travel to be invented.


  13. #
    Jen @ It's a Food Fetish — February 5, 2014 at 11:59 am

    I can completely relate. We went on a 7 day cruise for Christmas and I suppose I had high expectations. I had never cruised before and I will never cruise again! You can’t take a breath without someone trying to sell you something. The port stops were too short, not enough time to really experience the culture of the islands. Not to mention that getting off and on the ship was pure hell. You are guaranteed to be standing in lines for everything the entire duration of the cruise… I agree that an all inclusive resort it the way to go. We plan to do that for our next vacation.


  14. #
    Nicole~Cooking for Keeps — February 5, 2014 at 8:43 pm

    Ummm wow, I can’t believe you had such a terrible experience, I mean my jaw is wide open at the way they treated you at the airport. That’s literally my worst nightmare! So sorry! You have some good karma comin’ your way girl!


  15. #
    Laura (Blogging Over Thyme) — February 5, 2014 at 10:31 pm

    Oh no….that sounds awful!! I’m glad you finally boarded the boat (even though it was the boat of doom, HA) and got to at least hang out at some pretty beaches.

    I wish I could transport myself there now!


  16. #
    shannon — February 7, 2014 at 9:17 am

    this is why we all decided, many years ago, to never go on a cruise. no offense to those who do, b/c i know lots of people who love them, some of whom make it an annual thing, and they’ve never had any issues. But seriously: Jennie, i’m just happy you’re on solid ground again, girl. yikes. I’m with you: if want to go see a place, i want to fly to the place and SEE IT. like not from a boat.


  17. #
    Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. — February 8, 2014 at 1:38 am

    Aw, I’m sorry to hear about your vacation. I hate flying anywhere these days. They make it such a nightmare. As for the cruise, we did a Princess cruise to Alaska for our honeymoon a few years ago and it was amazing, but my favorite days were sea days where we didn’t “have to” get off the boat and do stuff.


  18. #
    Rachel — February 15, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    Yikes. I’ve had my share of travel nightmares, but have yet to experience a cruise. My husband wants to do an Icelandic cruise at some point, so I suppose I’ll have to give it a go. He hates flying now (thank you TSA), so on our last trek to visit my family in Ohio, we took Amtrak, and I have to say, it was a lot more pleasant than any flight we’ve been on in the last 10 years! At least you have a somewhat funny story to share now! :)


  19. #
    superiorsoysauce — August 25, 2016 at 3:29 am

    Wow ,beautiful scene ,where are you ? Paradise


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