Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cruise-ing "literally"

Well, maybe you haven't heard yet.

TJ and I went on a cruise in December.

We hoped to go to Jamaica.  I hoped to experienced another country and lifestyle for the first time.
Seemed simple enough.

Unfortunately, we basically just cruised the ocean.
So we were cruising.....literally and almost only, completely cruising.

First of all if you know anything about me, you might be amazed that I went.  You should be.  I'm amazed I went.  I'm afraid of boats and water, so I thought this would be horrible.  I thought I would be scared to not be able to see land, and terrified of being on the water for such a long period of time.
Let me tell you, the boat is so HUGE!  You feel like you are in a mall, or hotel.  It's pretty amazing in size and grandeur.  I will definitely not say that you can't tell you are on a boat, like some liars told me, (lol).  But I will say that you are on such a massive device that you can get caught up in all the things there are to do, to not be constantly thinking about the fact that you are on a boat or water.

Our cruise was from Monday night-Saturday morning.  We left around supper time Monday, so besides eating we took that day to go around and find where everything was on the ship.  I was feeling good about about this process so far.  No too bad.  But it was dark and we were sailing through the night.  When we got up on Tuesday we were supposed to be at sea all day and then arrive in Haiti on Wednesday.  We were sailing along Cuba basically.  We could see it  most of the day way in the distance, maybe that helped?  Not sure.  I was still feeling fine.  But then we hit some rough weather.  45-50 mph wind. We were tossing pretty good.  Couldn't walk very straight in the hallways, and just sitting down felt sick to our stomachs a little.  We just wanted it to be night time already so we could go to sleep and wake up to land!  After doing a few activities, and skipping supper because we didn't feel well from the tossing, we went to an ice skating show, then took some seasickness medicine and went to bed.
Wednesday we woke up to find ourselves ported at the "Cruise line owned" part of Haiti.  This was an amazing view!  It was beautiful weather.  We grabbed some breakfast and went down to the dock to get off and sit on the beach.  It was such a nice day there that at that point I was glad, and thought it was worth the seasickness the night before.  Plus, the main reason for getting on the boat was still to come....Jamaica tomorrow!  We had til 3pm to get back on the boat that day, so we headed back and after just having those morning hours on beach and land we soaked up some more sun at the top of the boat.  That night the forecast looked clear.  Should have been smooth sailing.  But they were wrong.  We started to feel the back and forth again, and turned on the tv in the room where it would tell you how far you were and what the weather was like.  The winds were back up to 45-50 mph. Ugh.  At least we get to get off the boat in the morning again.  Right?  We were at a late night show that night 10pm, and heard over the main speaker from the captain that there would be a medical evacuation.  We continued at the show not thinking much else about it.  Then around midnight we went up to the top decks of the boat where the pools are.  We heard the coast guard was going to be rescuing someone off the ship.  So we waiting to watch thinking it would be neat to see.  They had most of the front of the ship blocked off since it would be dangerous to be that close to a landing helicopter.  Remember there are still 50 mph winds blowing and the ship is still sailing on.  The coast guard did not have any lights on and since it was midnight it was hard to see it.  But we could see it slightly in the distance.  They were having a  hard time landing on the helicopter pad on the front of the ship because of the high winds.  They attempted over and over, each time unable to land safely because of the winds and then pulling away from the ship to hover and recalculate or something.  During this process I came to a point where I literally thought it was possible we could be in serious danger.  There are dangerous winds, a helicopter is trying to land on a small pad on the front of a ship that is sailing in dangerous winds.  One wrong move and the helicopter could snap a wire, or snip a part of the boat, or worse.  I'm standing there with everyone else, but cover my eyes and pray that the 4,000 others of us on the ship don't die in the process of trying to save this one other person.  After what feels like forever, the helicopter has to hover over the landing pad, and hoist the people up onto the helicopter since it's not safe or able to land it.  We finally go back to the room, take more seasickness pills and go to bed majorly looking forward to docking and getting off at land in the morning.
I wake up Thursday totally excited.  The main reason I got on this ship, was to go to Jamaica.  I go to my cabin deck door, and look out and all I see is water.  Oh no....this can't be.  I run out of the room, down the hall, cross over to the other side of the ship, hoping that we are docked on the other side, and there is land there.  nope.  So confused.  What is going on?  We go back to the room and turn on the tv back to the same channel that tells you the weather, and show a map of where the boat is.  Not wanting to believe it, the map showed the boat had turned and is going the opposite direction of Jamaica.
What's going on?!  I wanted to get off this boat today!!! AH!
Finally the captain comes on the loud speaker and explains....there were complications with the rescue and weather the night before.  It threw us 7 hours off course.  So there was not enough time in the sailing schedule to go to Jamaica.  So instead....we are going slowly sail through the ocean all day.
OH MY, are you serious?!  I don't know if you can begin to understand how upset and disappointed I was.  Are you kidding me?  This is why I worked up the courage to get on this boat.  This was the leverage my husband used to get me to be ok with going on a cruise. "But we will get to go to Jamaica".
The first few hours of the day were very depressing.  Even though we had nice weather, everyone sitting up on the pool decks were just depressed, in their look and actions.  By mid afternoon I think everyone was finally able to face the realization that we were just going to slowly sail through the ocean for the next two days, there's no where else we can go, and nothing else we can do about it.  So we may as well, find some other activities to do, along with soak up the sun.
We made it through the next two days, but instead of having an awesome time, I was more thinking I can't wait til Saturday.  But really I was wishing they would speed the boat up and get to Florida sooner instead of going slow and keeping the same docking time.

I will only say once in this post, that we sailed with Royal Caribbean.  Even though I do not really want to give them any good publicity because they did not want to offer any sort of compensation for this, I will highlight some things that we had a fun time with.

First even though I don't really count it as a real experience in another country because it was cruise line owned, we had a good time on the beach in Haiti.  Just wish we could have seen what life is really like there and not the nicely put together and almost 'americanized' version of Haiti.
All the workers who helped and served us while on the ship were so pleasant and helpful.  I was very shocked to find them in such good moods considering they are away from family for such long periods, and on a ship 24/7.  Yikes.
The broadway style shows on the ship were very well put together.  I was completely impressed with their professionalism.  I had lower expectations I guess, and they really went above that!

Click here to see another link with very few pictures from the cruise.  (Again I don't want to promote this company, so there will be limited pictures from on the ship.)

Click here to hear more about why I do not wish to promote or support this cruise line.

In the end...
I am alive.
I was able to get away and relax with my husband, and other friends whom we do not see often.
My children survived while we were away. (Thanks to amazing people who stepped in.)
We had warm weather and got to wear shorts in December.  (Not common for us Minnesotans.)
We didn't have things to do, clean or make.  They served and cleaned for us.

Will I do it again?
Maybe....but under certain circumstance.
More stops, closer together.  Again with people we know.  And a few other stipulations. :)


1 comment:

Julie said...

Thanks for sharing your experience Stephanie. I agree with you that their customer service was not satisfactory & they didn't even seem to acknowledge your unhappiness and frustration with the situation. I think they should have given you some sort of compensation.

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