It was April of 2008, and my husband and I were excitedly awaiting the dream vacation we had planned with his family. His parents were celebrating their 50th anniversary, and a family group of six couples were all going to celebrate it together on the Mexican Riviera at a beautiful five-star resort. Unfortunately, another guest arrived before we did, and changed our entire vacation. The uninvited guest was the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as the swine flu. It was the week before our dream vacation, and the Mexican border was closed to tourists.
Two of my sisters-in-law worked furiously for the next several days to reschedule our vacation. With the swine flu in Mexico, we were among thousands of tourists trying to reschedule vacations on extremely short notice. My husband and I were thrilled to find out that his sisters had been able to secure resort and flight reservations for all 12 of us. Our new destination was another all inclusive resort in Nassau, Bahamas. We were still pretty excited, because we had all been to the Bahamas before, and knew it was a beautiful place. We temporarily forgot about the thousands of other people.
We were soon reminded, though. When we got to the resort, we learned that they were overbooked because of the swine flu in Mexico. They were taking volunteers to stay at a Sheraton Hotel a few blocks away. These people could enjoy all of the included amenities of the resort, and would receive a voucher for a free week at the resort at a later date. One couple in our party took the offer, while the rest of us opted to stay at the resort.
What a disaster that week turned out to be. The resort was so crowded because of the overbooking that it took on more of a spring break atmosphere than a resort. The resort staff did the best they could, but they just could not keep up with the overcrowded conditions. We waited in long lines for drinks. We scrambled to get beach chairs together every morning. It was nearly impossible to seat all 12 of us together for meals, so we had to break into smaller groups for dining. Then, the buffets were always out of food, and we had to wait in line for that. No matter what time we arrived to sign up for the excursions, they were already full.
By the end of the week, all twelve of us were ready to get out of there and get home. Interestingly enough, the couple that stayed at the Sheraton was the least stressed of all of us. They returned to the resort several months later to claim their free compensation trip, and had a wonderful time. According to them, the resort really measured up to expectations when not under the stresses of overcrowding brought on by a pandemic virus.