Archive for December, 2009

A Cruise to Remember

Monday, December 28th, 2009

Try to imagine the excitement and thrill of finally going on a CRUISE!  You have planned and saved for this day for months and months. You have packed, booked excursions, boarded the pets, and driven to the port.  It is always a thrill to see that beautiful ship tied up at the dock, just waiting for you to board.

And then the rasping rod of reality thumps you over the head as you see THE LINE. You knew this was coming, as the ship has just arrived from a season in the Mediterranean, and it will have to go through a customs inspection. But you didn’t know it would be this long. Folks in the priority boarding line waited 2 1/2 hours. Us “normal” folks waited 3 to 6 hours to get on board.  Even the crew, who had to disembark to go through U.S. immigration, and took several hours to get back on board.

But all that waiting is behind us – we are finally on board, anxious to begin this much needed vacation! Let the party begin! Um, can you see the pier? The Galveston Fog rolled in so thick that folks looking over the rail on deck 12 could not see the big orange lifeboats on deck 5! We weren’t going anywhere for awhile.  Ahh, no problem, “the Galveston Fog always blows off after a couple hours”, the locals assured us.

When we woke up Monday morning, the Fog was still blanketing the channel and the Port of Galveston was still closed. The Captain announced they were predicting the fog to lift by 10:30 or so, which it did around lunchtime for a brief period. They were able to get the Carnival ship out of the channel, but not ours (Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas). Our ship would have to go to the end of the channel to the turning basin, make a 180 degree turn with only 30 meters of clearance, and then proceed out the channel. The Fog began to roll back in, so the decision was made to wait for the fog to lift again.

By 7 pm, the Captain announced that Royal Caribbean would provide a voucher for any ship, any sail date for those who wanted to get off and try it again another day. They would be allowed to leave the ship, but had to do so by 11 pm. After that, there would be no more offers, and no more refunds. So now every passenger on board is debating with every other passenger on board about taking the offer, or sticking it out.  Our group of 4 decided to stay and see it through, come what may.

What came was a departure around 9 a.m. Tuesday morning, the loss of our first port of call, and 5 full days of cruising. Which were very much enjoyed by everyone who remained on board. In case you were wondering, there were 811 folks who departed from an original passenger count of around 3250 people.  So roughly 1/4 of the passengers got off the ship. It was obvious that group included all the folks who had been doing the loudest complaining, because the people who remained on board were the happiest, friendliest, politest folks we have ever cruised with.