Vero to the Caribbean PART TWO

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The quality of a cruise is supposed to reflect the quality of a cruise line, but that is not always the case. For instance, if you are looking for a low end, bargain-priced trip, there are plenty available, but you may end up floating adrift at sea or washed up on a reef. And as a friend of mine once said about cheap cruise vacations, the passengers look like they had been beamed up by a flying saucer over Walmart and deposited on the ship.

The cruise that my wife and I took for our 30th wedding anniversary was not one of the cheap variety. We arrived at 11:30 a.m. on April 1st and should have known the date was no coincidence.

We left our two suitcases at the portside check-in and proceeded on to the ship. We went to lunch and upon returning to our cabin, my wife’s suitcase had arrived, but not mine. I called guest services and was told they are loading many suitcases right now and be patient. Then we had the standard lifeboat drill where everyone gathers at a specified point on deck. We went back to the room, still no suitcase.

The ship departed about an hour late at 5:00 because one of the radar systems had to be repaired. Not great news, given the recent spate of cruise ship mishaps. We returned to the room after a few cocktails and my suitcase was still not there. I called guest services again and she apologized, saying it should have been delivered by now (since we had already left port!) and she would check, then call back.

No one called after 30 minutes, so I went down to the front desk. Someone went to their office to check and came back to say that my suitcase had been held at check-in because of an illegal item. I said we checked in at 11:30, so why am I just finding out about it? And what was the illegal item?

She told me to go to the office where it was being held. An officer told me the illegal item was a travel iron. Okay, I should have read the fine print and known that irons weren’t allowed in the cabins, but why didn’t anyone tell me about this instead of me calling five times to finally extract the information about my suitcase. The officer became defensive and said he had left a message in my room. I said I saw no message light and he insisted that he left a message. After a curt exchange I opened the suitcase and removed the iron, signed some papers, and finally got my suitcase.

At mixology class I learned the consequence of winning the bar trivia contest -another martini
At mixology class I learned the consequence of winning the bar trivia contest -another martini

The next morning we were ready to finally enjoy our anniversary cruise, but the toilet didn’t work. It was fixed promptly with many apologies. It would happen two more times on the cruise, the last time a gruff plumber came in without saying a word, fixed it and left. Meanwhile we had visions of drifting out to sea with the only non-working toilet on the ship.

Most of the trip went smoothly after that. Food was very good, service excellent, entertainment enjoyable. I took a mixology class on how to make martinis, which I don’t normally drink. We made three different kinds. Then they had a trivia contest, which I won and my prize was yet another kind of martini. I kind of get into the groove though and did two more mixology classes, won another trivia contest and plan to take my next vacation in rehab.
There was one other kind of strange incident on the ship. At breakfast one morning the captain announced there would be a fire drill for crew members only and not to be concerned when the alarm sounded. It sounded a minute later and a woman said over the speaker system this was only a drill for crew, not to be alarmed. A few minutes after that, a voice said there is a fire in the bar on deck 8. This is a drill, so don’t be alarmed. I happened to be getting off the elevator on deck 8 and there were signs all over about a fire on this deck, do not proceed, this is a drill. So which is it?

Later, a voice came on to say the fire has been extinguished and level 8 is back to normal. This is only a drill.

Now, I don’t get too excited about possible problems since many places I travel already have plenty of problems, but considering the number of seniors on this cruise, especially the number requiring canes, walkers, wheelchairs and other means of support, a look of confused apprehension seemed to come over the passengers. When is a drill a drill to keep the crew on their toes and when is it a PR stunt to impress passengers? Or when is it a safety procedure gone wrong? Maybe this was all three.

If anything else exciting or even mildly interesting happens in the next few days, I’ll let you know.

One comment

  1. Our only cruise was an attempt to get our minds off being away from family at holiday time. Everyone else lives outside of Florida. So, our choice of a Christmas week cruise out of Port Canaveral was not exactly the smartest thing we ever did. It was a major family event for just about everyone else onboard. Pictures were taken of family groups in holiday attire and everyone appeared to be so happy. It was the most miserable trip we ever had, although the stop in the Bahamas was ok. Still, the whole trip revolved around going somewhere to shop and to buy. Your “mixology” classes–now, THAT would have added a new dimension to our cruise. Very funny. Enjoyed your article.

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