Monday, August 16, 2004

(Late Night, Early Morning)

This entry is about three days, technically. I will start with the 14th, which is when we were in Freeport. Since I had gotten off in Nassau, it was James who was to get off in Freeport. As luck would have it, another I/S manager was on vacation there, and had a car. He picked James up in the morning, and I had a bit of a hectic work day.

I will reiterate here that this ship only has a couple of weeks left before it goes to a dry dock for maintenance. At that time, all of the computers and servers will be replaced, lots of new wiring will be run, and many things on the ship will be re-modeled or re-built. (It is a good thing too, as you will see a bit later in this entry). The problem is, these computers (which are STILL Windows 95) and servers are in such bad shape that many won't even last another three weeks. Since most of the servers are already on board, I have already replaced two servers and performed the upgrades while still in production. We have actually had to replace or rebuild computers with spare parts because they literally won't last another two weeks. It has been really crazy.

James was originally hesitant to even go ashore, complaining that Freeport had nothing in it. I convinced him that wasn't the case, and with a car they were able to take in the whole island. They had a great day, and he has definitely changed his mind about Freeport (which is good, as will become evident later). As I mentioned in the last entry, we were leaving at 5, for reasons that I am unaware of. I got a couple decent pictures, one of the dry dock that we will be using next month, one of a really nice tugboat (I love tugboats, for some reason), and one of a building that would be my dream house. I would love a house right out over the water like that.

We spent all night and the next day going VERY slowly back to Miami. Sunday night I ended up working all night, as we had several things go down including our e-mail server. I got it back up early in the morning, and went out on deck to watch us pull into Miami just after 5 am.

I took a number of pictures, nighttime is my favorite time to take pictures. In fact, I really wish that I could get my hands on an old-fashioned 35mm camera with no electronics, just to take long-exposure pictures with. Here is the upper deck of the Imagination, you can see the waterslide and such. This is Miami as we are pulling in, as well as this picture. This picture and this one are both of the ship with the city and port behind as we are coming down the port canal. Here is the road running next to the canal (being this close and seeing the ant-like cars is one of the few times I really feel the scale of the ship).

The last three pictures are of the Fascination. It is identical to the Imagination, it is just a bit newer. I can't (obviously) get a picture of our boat at night, so this is as close as it gets.

For those who don't know, a dry dock is basically what it sounds like. They pull the boat up next to it, tie it up REALLY well, and then lift the entire boat out of the water. This way they can paint and repair the hull, drive vehicles up to and around it, etc. It is the ONLY time that they can work on it without guests, so they can renovate, tear apart, and rebuild things. The reason that I say that it is good that James liked Freeport is that, as it turns out, he and I will be on the boat during dry dock.

I was at the same time equally hoping and dreading that I would be here for the dry dock. On one hand, it will be cool to see and a good experience. I will have complete free run of the ship with no worries about guests or wearing a uniform (although from what I understand, we still have to wear a coverall). However, it means that large portions of the ship will have no A/C (as they replace things), there will be WAY fewer chefs and such, and lots of inconveniences. It is also a LOT of work from what I understand.

It is a good thing that it is going in now, as when we were loading passengers on Monday, there was a bit of a power flicker. We stayed in port for an extra couple of hours, and they told the guests that they were just checking it out to make sure that it was fine. As it turns out, we were lucky to have left at all. I don't know if you remember me mentioning that the engines that move the ship are electric, but THAT'S where the problem was. The engines were broken in some way, and we were going to have two wait up to two days to have them fixed. Luckily, the main engine guy is really good, and figured out a solution to make them work and leave Miami just a few hours late (we drive slow enough to conserve gas that we can make up quite a bit of time), and still got to Grand Cayman on time.

I am going to postpone writing about the rest of the week until I get my underwater pictures back (which will be tomorrow after I post this), and because it is nearly 4 am.