Myrtle Beach Real Estate by Mirela

How I Got Left Behind In St. Martin... Part II (This has nothing to do with Real Estate)

Instead of lamenting about how I got left behind by the Royal Caribbean cruise liner, I will do what I usually do with the rest of my life: concentrate on the lessons learnt.  Here is what I have learnt from the experience of being left behind on the island of St. Martin:

1.  Before disembarking a cruise ship, make sure you understand the exact time you are supposed to return by. 

2.  Whenever leaving the ship, make sure you have your passport, enough cash and at least a couple of credit cards.

3.  Your cell phone may not operate in a foreign land, but at least it contains the important telephone numbers.  Take your cell phone with you!

4.  No matter how short you THINK your visit may be, take a change of clothing.

 5.  Always pray before going to bed and ask for guidance.  You may need it the next day. 

  1. 6.  If you are left behind on a foreign island, and the entire $ 200 you had on you was spent on souvenirs, take the souvenirs back to the street vendors and ask for the cash back.  Look desperate and determined and carefully remove the cash from their clenched fists.  It's a big hassle, I know, but the cash will come in handy when you want a bite to eat and you have no other means to pay for the food.

7.  In St. Martin public phones don't take coins, they work solely with special phone cards.  Domestic phone cards are found everywhere.  International phone cards are a specialty product sold by only a few outfits on the island.  Make sure you understand that, and explain it when asking where to buy the INTERNATIONAL phone card.

8.  Don't burn any bridges!  Maintain a good enough relationship with your ex-husband, so that if you are ever stranded on an island without any money, or viable credit cards, and you can't remember anyone else's phone number because you are solely dependent on your smart phone, which you neglected to take with you on the island, you could still call him up and beg him for a few thousand dollars to get yourself back home.

9.  When on the island of St. Martin and you are expecting money by Western Union from a benevolent ex-husband, make sure you understand which part of the island you are on: the Dutch side, or the other side.  This will keep you from having to travel across the island with no money.

 10.  Don't take "No!" for an answer.  Keep asking the same question many different ways.  Just because an airline representative gives you one answer, don't take that as the final answer.  Go stand in line again and go to another airline representative's window: you might get a different answer.  Note: it may take more than two attempts, but if you are stranded on an island, it really doesn't matter how many times you wait in line, or how long that line is; you've got all the time in the World!

11.  When arriving in Charlotte International Airport on a cold spring night, wearing nothing but your skimpy beach outfit that you've spent the last three days in, expect some looks from the other travelers.

12.  Remember, car rental companies will not rent you a vehicle without a credit card.  Being intrepid helps you avoid hitchhiking or the Greyhound bus, which are the only means of transportation for a girl with nothing but a little cash.   Rounding up a few passengers for the limo ride back to Myrtle Beach, which you negotiated based on the assumption that you could talk several strangers into traveling with you, thus sharing in the cost, is not an easy task, especially when wearing above mentioned outfit.   On the other hand, the outfit may help.

13.  Chances are that if you call a locksmith at 3 o'clock in the morning, the only one you'll be able to reach or convince to break you into your own home is a drunken one.  Chances are that he'll break at least one of your locks and overcharge you by about a hundred bucks.   That's all right, once in your own home, you can write him a check!

14.  Once safe and sound in your own home, you should peel off the skimpy beach outfit, take a hot shower, go to bed and dream of your next vacation...  in Aspen!

Also read part I: How I Got Left Behind In St. Martin... (this has nothing to do with Real Estate)

Your Myrtle Beach Real Estate Connection, Mirela Monte                   

Join us in our own Travel Group:  TravelingRainers!  Post your own stories about your travel adventures! 


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Comment balloon 25 commentsMirela Monte • March 06 2008 11:59PM


As long as you learned a lesson the experience wasn't wasted (just you). Here's a suggestion - blogs are always so much better if there's some graphic content. In this post, for example, some scenes of you in tha bathing suit would have been appropriate and illustrated a whole different perspective of your trials & tribulations. Hope Aspen turned out good. I love Aspen.
Posted by Gene Wunderlich, Realtor & Legislative Liaison (1st Action Real Estate) over 12 years ago

...You mean like this Gene?

...See how well I listen?

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago
Mirela, Aspen would be good as long as the same thing doesn't happen while your in the hot tub. Grin.
Posted by * Rate A Home (Rate A Home) over 12 years ago
Unbelievable! This is everyone's nightmare! You did well and these are great tips! PS can you really do that on roller skates?
Posted by Todd and Danielle Millar, Sixteen years of excellence! (Glenn Simon Inc.) over 12 years ago
Mirela,  Too funny, but I'm sure that it wasn't at the time.  Definitely great traveling tips.
Posted by Marc Grossman, GRI, Greater Orlando Real Estate Broker (Marc It Sold!) over 12 years ago
Mirela - WOW - that would REALLY suck!!! Now I know why I don't do cruises!!! Most of what I hear is negative!!!
Posted by Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional, Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 12 years ago

Todd:  Good question!  I probably could do the can-can on Rollerblades, but NOT on the beach (nothing rolls in the sand, except the ocean waves...).

Barbara-Jo:  I never received money back or an apology from Royal Caribbean on their failure (my story does not reveal the inadequacy of their Agent in St. Martin, a culprit to my being left behind there - such details I'd like to forget...).  In spite of that, I still like Royal Caribbean and have gone on other cruises with them since.  You really should try it, it's awesome!  Being in the middle of the ocean is such an amazing feeling, unlike anything I've ever experienced.  I love it!

Marc:  Thank you, and yes, you are right: it wasn't funny at the time!

Duane:  Yes, being left behind in the hot tub would be perilous, wouldn't it?   Don't laugh, don't you remember that couple in California that died in the hot tub due to "hot tub overexposure"?


Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago
Mirela, you hear that every once in awhile, sad case.
Posted by * Rate A Home (Rate A Home) over 12 years ago
Much mo betta. Once word of this gets out the views and comments will start piling up.
Posted by Gene Wunderlich, Realtor & Legislative Liaison (1st Action Real Estate) over 12 years ago

Sorry, but that is HILARIOUS!  What a nice ex-husband you have, I maintain a good relationship with my ex as well.  Maybe you need to invest in one of those Hide-a-key rocks!     Just kidding.  I can only imagine the drunk locksmith breaking you into your own home- funny!

PS- you are smokin' HOT!   

Posted by Michelle Pine, ABR, GRI, Hampton Roads Real Estate (Kris Weaver Real Estate Team) over 12 years ago

Mirela - I love cruises myself but can not imagine the panic that must have set in when you found out you were stranded. YIKES!

P.S Bikini easy on eyes :)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 12 years ago

WOW, I bet you did get some stares!  Thats funny.  Hope you had a good time while it lasted! 

You should have a lockbox on your house.  I have one on the side of my garage, it's saved my wife a couple of times. 

Posted by Chad Baird (Re/Max Spirit) over 12 years ago

WOW, what an adventure! The little things you never think of on Vacation and I'm surprised no one noticed you were gone! But, hopefully your warning will help save someone else from the embarrassment of being in a North Carolina airport in a skimpy beach outfit.

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) over 12 years ago
Oh, they noticed all right!  They just didn't care...  Royal Caribbean is famous for that.  Hey, weren't all those people who vanished on cruises traveling with Royal Caribbean?  They may not all be dead; they may be stuck on an island somewhere...
Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago
Chad, thank you for the lockbox idea!  I'll implement it pronto.
Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago

Mirela...I have a question.  If you received a few thousand dollars why did you waste it on airfare to come home.  Now we're getting into real estate...your home was not going to go anywhere! 

Why didn't you buy some clothes and an extra bathing suit for yourself and your daughter, two toothbrushes and one tube of toothpaste.  You could have hung around St. Martins until another Royal Caribbean ship came along...or the next one...or the next one...



Posted by Kate Elim, Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a (Dockside Realty) over 12 years ago

Kathleen, it sounds like you need a vacation. 

Don't forget that our time in St.Martin was spent on the very tight budget of the cash we convinced the souvenir peddlers to return.  The entire time there we were just trying to get the special token to make that international call to get the money.  Reaching the correct Western Union was an adventure in itself... 

I couldn't wait to get home and take a shower! 

Did you join our travel club?  I hope so!

Thank you for your comments!

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago

Thank you for all the comments!

I'm so glad to be home in Paradise, Myrtle Beach, that is!


Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 12 years ago
Well at least it was warm. I'm thinking about a cruise myself. I will take your suggestions too.
Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( about 12 years ago

Robert:  I hope you won't need to use them... 

I'm taking a cruise to Alaska this summer.  My daughter is tired of the Caribbean.  "HOW CAN YOU BE TIRED OF CRUISING THE CARIBBEAN?" I ask.   ...She's a teenager...  That explains it!

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) about 12 years ago

Here is part two.  Yes, go ahead and laugh.  I'm laughing NOW too...

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 11 years ago

Mirela,  Sorry about your unhappy adventure, but it was an adventure and a learning lesson.  I always tell friends that go on cruises, to pay special attention to the times. ~ When the ship says they are leaving port at a stated time, you can believe it.  They can't afford the fines imposed and neither can you.

Posted by Bob Cumiskey, US Army Retired, Your Sun City Center, Florida ~ Realtor (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Bob, sometimes I still wake up in a sweat hearing those fog horns...  I've been reluctant to go on cruises again, especially with Royal Caribbean.  The story has been simplified, but Royal Caribbean was very poorly serviced by the local representative.  The boat was actually still docked when I got there, but the representative was missing and I was not allowed on the pier because of that.  He was out having a beer instead of trying to find us and get us through pier security.

I will try Celebrity next time; I've heard nothing but good things about them.

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 11 years ago

Sharon:  ...And here is part II.  The outfit you see in the top picture is what I had on when I arrived at the Charlotte airport in the middle of winter.  FUN!!! 

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 11 years ago

Ths is now finally a fun memory.   It only took a few years to get here...

Posted by Mirela Monte, Myrtle Beach Real Estate (Buyers' Choice Realty) over 11 years ago