A Caribbean Vacation of a Different Kind
Hello everyone! I am back from vacation in the Caribbean!
It was a good time with a twist!
My immediate family and some friends went along. This was my second cruise to these islands but who's counting right? We started our adventure in New Orleans' French Quarter with shopping, food and lots of walking. Did I mention beignets? You can find the best ones at Cafe Du Monde! And then there was the flooding on Sunday, August 6th. I had never seen water rise so fast! I was informed this was quite normal. Apparently that is what it means to live below sea level. At least I got to practice my French!
Our first two days at sea were fabulous with lots of lounging, sunning and swimming. Our first port, Montego Bay Jamaica was amazing! We did a rain forest excursion and visited Good Hope Estate in the mountains. Good Hope was an old sugar cane plantation complete with an aviary and a 14,000 square foot swimming pool and a 300 foot water slide. Yes I went down that water slide! I also got to feed some beautiful tropical birds and eat some yummy jerk chicken! Our entire cruise travel party enjoyed this excursion!
Our second port, Grand Caymen, is already hands down my favorite! Beautiful water, beautiful beaches and dolphins!
We did the Dolphin Discovery excursion in Grand Caymen. The dolphin you see in this blog profile picture is named Darwin. He is a 400 lb bottle-nosed dolphin rescued from off the coast of Mexico. We got to swim with Darwin and play and as you can see, he even posed for the camera. He was super intelligent, playful and loved being petted!
Our third port was supposed to be Cozumel where I was looking forward to Isla Pasion (Passion Island) and a Catamarran ride along the coast. And this is where the twist comes in.
The evening before we were to port in Cozumel, our ship, the Carnival Dream, stopped in the open ocean. No one knew why and we were not told why. Most of the ship went on to bed and no one thought anything of it. The next day, we didn't see Cozumel or the Yucatan peninsula in sight. My brother informs me we were stopped for 3 hours the night before. We are then informed around 9 am that our ship will not be going to Cozumel because of engine trouble but instead will be returning to New Orleans. I will admit that was disappointing but it wasn't until I noticed how slow we were going that I really started wondering how bad this engine trouble really was. I also noticed we only had one wake and one engine stack emitting exhaust. We were running on one engine. We all decided to make the best of our day at sea and be lazy.
About 1 pm that day, Friday August 11th we came to another dead stop and they informed us they were doing engine tests. This dead stop lasted 3 and a half hours in the tropical heat of the gulf. We did have power, water, AC and the pools so that did help. I actually called my boss from the ship, which probably cost me an arm and a leg, and told him I wasn't sure I'd be back on time at this rate. We started moving again, slowly, about 4:30 pm and were told the tests had gone well. I honestly thought no more of it after that.
However, the next day, our last day at sea, we woke up to very little to no water pressure. My public health brain kicked in and I knew if it stayed that way, this would be a very different sea day indeed. The water came back on an hour later. I was assured that the water problem was fixed. We had water for the rest of the trip. We were still on one engine and moving slowly. The ship continued its limp home, thankfully. That evening, after returning from a Dive In movie, we learned that part of the ship was out of AC. I told myself, "This just keeps getting better and better. What next?" I learned the next morning that AC had been restored.
We arrived before time in New Orleans for our debarkation on Sunday August 13th. The ship's captain had been very apologetic during this time and the crew had really tried to make it up to us, towel animals and all. I can't fault these people. You can't when plan engine trouble, water outage or AC outage will occur. I explained this in my survey as well. This is the only ship I have ever been on with Carnival that had so many problems. Of course, the Carnival Triumph is still fresh in our minds and I was hoping and praying those two days we didn't have a repeat of that scenario.
I learned tonight from a Facebook feed that one of their dancers fell last night during a show number and broke her leg. She had to be flown away from the ship for medical treatment. I stopped and prayed for that ship tonight and its crew. No more mishaps, no more troubles.
I am thankful we made it back and made it back on time. I am thankful it was not worse and I am thankful for the great staff we encountered during that time and all week. I was thankful to be reimbursed for port fees and excursions as well. I have booked another cruise with Carnival and will sail on the Valor next May for 5 days to Cozumel and Progresso. I plan to have a good time!
The truth is we take a risk every time we get into our car, get on a ship or fly on a plane that something could happen, for good or bad. Let's not let that stop us from living life!
Sail on my readers and friends, sail on!
Until next time,