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Checking in from Samana Bay, Dominican Republic, aboard the M/S Regatta

It seems that a lot of Apple-related events happen while I'm on cruise ships. Back in 1998, for example, I was aboard a cruise ship when I read the headline that Apple had decided to drop the Newton MessagePad. Before we went on this trip, I knew that Apple would start taking iPad pre-orders and reservations on March 12, so I expected that I'd just be able to pull up the Apple website early in the morning, pop in my reservation, and then go on with my vacation. Little did I know that it was going to take me until 4 PM local time (3 PM ET) on March 12th to get my reservation into the system.

Just before I went to sleep the evening of March 11th, I saw a post here on TUAW that outlined when the Apple Online Store would open for pre-orders and reservations. Doing a quick time calculation in my head, I determined that I'd be able to pop in at 9:30 AM local time and make my order... no, wait a second. At 8:30 AM, I was going to be taking a ship's tender over to shore. Dang.

We were scheduled for the proverbial "three hour tour" in this beautiful tropical location, so I decided to be patient and wait until I got back to the ship at about 11:30 AM local time. Of course, when we were on the other side of the Samana peninsula at 12 PM local time and still hadn't left, I realized that I was going to really have to put the order on hold for a while.

The weather started getting rough, the tiny ship was tossed... well, at least the tender going back to the ship was getting bounced around pretty good. We finally headed back towards the ship when they announced that we'd have to go to Cayo Levantado, a small resort island in the midst of the bay, to transfer to a larger tender before returning to the ship.

Eventually, at about 2 PM, we were back aboard the ship and I was ready to run to our stateroom, fire up the MacBook Air, and make my order. However, "she who must be obeyed" was starving (as was I), so we stopped at the ship's poolside grill for a quick bite to eat. Everyone else who had been on a shore excursion was thinking the same thing, so the line for a quick bite was moving slowly.

Finally, after talking with some fellow passengers, having a beer, and finishing our lunch, we made our way down to the stateroom where I fired up the computer, hooked into the horribly expensive and ridiculously slow shipboard Wi-Fi, and started the reservation process at about 3:15 PM local time.

How expensive? Can you say US$0.60 per minute? Of course you can! How slow? I think the 300-baud modem that I had with my original Commodore VIC-20 was faster! The total reservation process, which would probably take about 5 minutes on my office Internet connection, took about 45 minutes to complete. Thank God we had a bottle of wine to open and drink while waiting....

Well, all is done and I've reserved a 64GB iPad for pickup on April 3rd. I'll also have some great and funny memories of this day every time I turn on that iPad.

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