October 12, 2016

Will Hurricane Matthew Blow Away My Cruise Plan

For several days I have been hearing about the pending arrival of Hurricane Matthew. He is expected to make landfall near Port Canaveral, my scheduled departure port for a week on the Freedom of the Seas, to the Western Caribbean.

At home I am prepared with all the hurricane supplies, food, water, ice, etc. Luckily as the storm approaches it veers slightly North and the eye stays out in the Atlantic. The storm damage is relatively minor in our part of the state. I think there were two twigs on the lawn in the back yard.

As my departure day approaches I receive a steady flow of updates from Royal Caribbean. At one point boarding times have been extended by five hours, and departure by 6 hours. I decide to make a later arrival than usual at the port. As I travel East I rejoice at a surprise gift from the governor of Florida. The collection of tolls has been suspended. I expect to see storm damage as I get closer to the coast. It doesn't materialize. A couple of billboards blown over and a few store signs dislodged.

The parking lot has no damage, and has power but they don't have internet so the only customers they are accepting are those that have prepaid. After a brief wait for the shuttle to load we drive to the ship. For the first time in several years there are enough baggage handlers that they have all the unloading areas open. No wait, we just drive up and begin to unload. I don't even have to pause as I pass thru the entire process of security, check-in and boarding. For the first time in several years I don't even set off the metal detectors! Maybe there was damage by Matthew but TSA doesn't know it.

Ultimately I learn that our ships arrival in the morning was a little late, not because of the storm but because of a medical emergency that diverted her to San Juan. We are finally underway about 6:30.