Friday, November 19, 2004

(Detours . . .)

Well, just before going into dry dock, the hurricanes hit (and hit, and hit, and hit). On our last cruise, Grand Cayman was out of the question, so we went to Nassau before going to Cozumel (the cruise was supposed to be Grand Cayman and Jamaica). Grand Cayman continued to be out of the question for a couple of months after that. We could have gone to Jamaica, and a group of guests that were supposed to visit people there were really upset that we didn't. However, it was starting to really pour there, so most people would have been miserable. It was full, as cruise ships that weren't able to go out as far as us had stopped there instead of certain other ports. To top it off, most people were so excited when they announced Cozumel over the intercom that I could actually hear the cheering in my office (where I normally don't hear anything over the white noise of the computers).

I didn't get off the boat this time, we were having so many computer problems with the old computers that we were actually starting to replace a couple of servers that literally weren't going to make it another week. However, I do have a couple of pictures, like the cruise ships all lined up. Here is the lighthouse at the end of the island (the path to get into the harbor is TINY, even though it holds a lot of boats once you are in), along with another lighthouse picture with Atlantis in the background. This was an extremely tall-masted sailboat that I had wanted to get a picture of when I was closer . . . but I was working too hard and couldn't make it in time.

The other cool thing about this Cozumel visit was that we were going to be there from early in the morning until midnight. I wasn't able to get off during the day, but James and I did have dinner at a restaurant near the ship (James is the other I/S manager) that the pager would still reach. Their dinners are really good, and at night they have all of these metal stars with pinholes in them. The lights inside shine out through the pinholes, really creating the look of a bunch of stars overhead. At 11 that night, there were more employees off the ship than passengers.

After leaving Cozumel, we couldn't go back to Miami. The port was closed, and would stay that way until the current hurricane was finished. We spent an extra two days driving around in circles between Key West and Cuba. I had convinced James that the captain had said that we would stop in Havana. He is a bit gullible at times, and was teasing me about the fact that he could go in (he's Canadian) and I wouldn't be able to, and he was really excited. After a couple of days I finally pointed out that an American ship with American guests would not be able to pay to port in Cuba. The guests got an extra two days on their cruise, and an iron-clad excuse for work. However, there were those who were still really upset and tried to get their money back, as if we could just drop them off in the hurricane. I don't know if I mentioned it in an earlier entry, but on another cruise we had one pair of guests set their room on fire with candles that they left burning in the bathroom (candles aren't allowed at all). They demanded that we give their money back, as they had paid for a balcony room and now didn't have one. I thought of pointing out that they did still have one, plus a spare room, and they could stay in the burned-out room or maybe pay for both rooms that they were using up . . . but I didn't.

Sometime around our last cruise we had to have a helicopter pick up a guest that was not going to make it to the next port. I still can't say enough about how happy I am with this camera, these were all shot from the other side of a pretty big deck. The chopper was a turbo copter, and instead of us stopping (which is difficult and makes us rock more) they just pulled above us and matched speed. They absolutely looked like they were sitting still on a rope or wire or something. The camera just stopped the blades, which were really going. Here they are lowering a basket, with firemen on hand just in case. They started bringing him up, and had a little swing-arm crane to bring the basket in. They slowly turned to go, going . . . gone.

Next up . . . Dry Dock!!!