Caption.Credit Natalie Quinn
Imagine the scenario you book that dream luxury cruise that you have saved up for, it comes around to sailing and you find yourself on the high seas with no Knickers for two weeks!
Well that’s exactly what could happened to Natalie Quinn from Somerset as she recently boarded the Independence of the Seas at Southampton for her long awaited cruise around the med including stops at Gibraltar, Malaga & Valencia.
Natalie this week told exclusively to the Euro Weekly News how, why & what happened and how friends in Spain came to the rescue of her drawers issue.
Natalie 52 decided to save for a family cruise with her parents 75 year old Jimmy & Jan 78 to fill a memory book of a life time together, of Daughter, loving parents & Grand Daughter . She chose the big one ” Independence Of The Seas” for the big family occasion.
They had lived for many years in Tenerife running a bar with Father Jimmy’s comedy act in tow (Jimmy being a well known comedian in his day) so they desired to spend most of the cruise visiting Spain.
Natalie explained “We were to Sail from Southampton, Dad drove over to my home early in the morning with Mum & Dads many bags and suitcases, we left Dad loading all our bags before setting off, we arrived at Southampton and the concierge opened our car boot and took away all the suitcases saying they would be delivered to our suites, we boarded the ship and headed to the champagne reception.
Dad was super excited as he used to be in the Fleet Air Arm Royal Navy and served on many ships such as HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermes and went to the Falklands war on HMS invincible so going on a large ship was very exciting for him especially as he remarked ” don’t have to work on this one!”
Natalie then described the full horror scenario that was to unfold
“After the reception, with the cruise ship now heading out to the Bay Of Biscay we retired to our suites to have a rest and prepare for the first evenings events on board, I was sharing with my 15 year old Daughter Monet, as we entered our suite I couldn’t see our suitcases so I called reception to report it thinking there must be a delay, I was dumbfounded when they called back to say all suitcases had been delivered! I quickly rang Mum’s suite to see if she had hers and hopefully mine but whilst she had theirs mine were missing, here I was stranded at sea for 2 weeks without any clothes. A girls dream is to cruise in all your favourite frocks and here I was stranded in the clothes on my back, I prayed it was just a mix up and the suit cases had just been mislaid whilst the ships staff double checked.
I was in floods of tears when my Brother text to say he found our cases they were still on my drive at home! I just couldn’t believe it, I sat on the end of my bed distraught as both myself and Monet had dreamed about this cruise for years dancing away and enjoying ourselves in the wonderful dresses we had combined together and here we were without even any knickers!”
Natalie then told the Euro Weekly News about the incredible events that took place.
” I couldn’t leave my suite that evening I was just so upset and shared my distraught emotions on Facebook.
Amongst the 300 lovely heart warming comments left by friends a comment came up asking where we were next docking and suggested a company that could possibly deliver them to the Spanish port of Vigo, the problem though that it was the weekend and their offices didn’t re open to the Monday morning.
I lived in hope they could react on Monday, my hopes were dashed on the Monday morning when they messaged to say we can’t chase cruise ships around the Med!
I again cried and cried really not knowing what to do when I received a private message from someone I hadn’t seen for 40 years since school days.
Stephen Aldridge explained in the message that he lived in La Cala and came up with a plan of rescue, Stephen said I’ve looked at your route and you stop at Gibraltar, I’ve looked at the flights and if you can get your bags to Malaga or Gibraltar airport he would meet me at the port.
I hadn’t seen Stephen for 40 years and he wasn’t even in my friends list, but had seen my post via a mutual friend. With that my bestie Paola Baldassara Keegan called me as she had been offering me love and support over the phone knowing my plight.
I explained to her my predicament and offer from Stephen but how on earth was I going to fly suitcases to Spain as well as the fact as it was a cruise I had packed 15 of them including 33 pairs of shoes?
Paola has two young children but dived in to say if she could get a flight with a straight return back she would re pack for the flight weight limits and put in my favourite frocks as well as a good supply of knickers for Monet & Myself.
I told Stephen and he was ready to collect so Paolo found a flight with a 2 hour return window.
Next morning Paola dashed to Bristol airport for the 6am flight where she flew to Malaga and met Stephen briefly as she literally came out arrivals threw the bags at Stephen with a quick hug and dashed to security at departures for the flight home in time to pick her children up from school”
Natalie then went on to explain to the Euro Weekly News the final mercy dash
” Whilst Stephen had the bags he now had to dash to Gibraltar with them from Malaga and catch us docking for 5 hours otherwise I was going to be off to Mallorca still with no clothing.
It felt a distressing thought you can only so long rinse out your knickers on a ship for so long you know!
Surely though 5 hours should be ok shouldn’t it?
As we docked into Gibraltar I messaged Stephen to see how he was getting on, oh no! he was stuck in traffic just past Marbella as there was a roadside bush fire, I panicked, all these wonderful people were doing all this to help me out and now the plan was starting to fail. In the case of Stephen Aldridge I hadn’t even seen him for 40 years and here he was breaking his neck to my knight in shining armour.
Stephen text 45 minutes after to say he was on the move again which brought me a large sigh of relief, but yet more was to unfold, I really thought I was jinxed.
Stephen text to say he had arrived at the Gibraltar border but there was a long delay, oh no not again I thought!
It seemed so close now but so far as the clock was counting down. It took Stephen 1 hour 30 minutes to get through leaving just an hour spare before we had to re board an hour before sailing.
Stephen text and said he was through the border at last and easiest place to meet him would be the Morrisons supermarket car park as it wasn’t far from the dock, we dashed up there and there he was my knight in shining armour but instead of a shield and sword he had our suitcases! I cried with joy, tears rolled down my face, the emotion of it all just burst out, here I was sobbing into the arms of someone I had not seen or heard from for such a long time and he became my instant hero, my dream cruise was saved!”
The Euro Weekly tracked down Stephen Aldridge in La Cala for his take on the events, he said ” hey it was nothing really, I knew Natalie from school and was always a fan of her Dad Jimmy’s comedy shows, he is a very funny man it was the least I could do really when I saw how upset she was on Facebook, I’m now in her friends list”
Natalie had the last word saying
” We’ve just returned home from eventually having a cruise of a life time, I actually picked up a copy of the Euro Weekly News when we docked in Valencia, hence why I called you to share our story, Dad read your paper back to front and front to back I did warn him he would hopefully be reading about himself in there soon!”