March 05, 2017

Cozumel and A Day at Sea

We are the first ship to arrive in Cozumel at the downtown port and the ship is cleared by 7:00 am. The winds are very light, and the humidity near 100% as the sun breaks through the clouds.

At the last minute last night I decided to do an excursion on the Atlantis submarine. This not only required me to be off the ship by 7:15, but to set an alarm.

While we are gathering on shore to depart for our journey The Harmony of The Seas pulls into the International pier several miles south.

There are 15 guests taking the tour and we are shuttled to the proper dock in several taxi cabs. Once at the Atlantis dock we are given a safety briefing and have our pictures taken in hopes of a later sale. It is about a 30 minute ride to the sub which remains on location over the reef we will be viewing.

Once we are seated and the hatch is closed we submerge to begin our nearly hour long dive. There are only 19 people on the sub including the crew, and it is capable of carrying 48 passengers plus crew so we have plenty of room. In fact we are directed to spread out along the length of the vessel to keep her balanced. We submerge to depths over 100 feet. Obviously we see lots of coral, and many small fish, but also some lobsters, barracuda, sting rays, larger grouper, and scuba divers. We also viewed an old Mexican naval vessel that was sunk on the reef for both the fish and divers. In many ways this was better than scuba diving. No gear, no work, and I stayed dry and comfortable in our climate controlled submarine. I took pictures, but they do not do justice to what I actually saw.

After about 3 hours I am back to our pier. I had planned to go to Senor Frogs again for some popcorn and lunch, but with no breeze it is quite warm and uncomfortable so I just return to the ship.

An ambulance is on the pier next to the gangway. We hear that someone was hurt on shore and the ambulance brought them back to the ship. That sounds a little unusual, as the cruise line usually likes to have anyone that needs medical attention beyond first aid taken to a shore facility whenever possible.

I spend the afternoon in the Concierge Lounge sorting through the hundreds of pictures to find the few worth posting for others to see.

After our dinner in the Windjammer I catch some of the entertainment in the Centrum – dancing with the stars – where guests are paired with some of the professional dancers for a dance competition, the winner determined by audience applause.

Being awakened at an ungodly hour by an alarm clock, I make it a short night.

Friday is a day at sea. As we leave Cozumel and head North, the winds and seas gradually grow. By mid morning the seas are 10 to 15 feet, the winds across the deck about 35 to 40 mph, and the skies heavily overcast. Not very many people out on the deck, and little chance of sunburn today. The stabilizers are out to minimize any roll, but they do not help control the pitch of the ship which many passengers are complaining about. A few sea sickness bags are hung about the ship just in case. I wish they would tell us exactly how much pitch and roll we were experiencing, but a captain rarely does. Probably there is a phone app that would tell me, I have never looked. If not, maybe that is an opportunity – for someone else.

Alyssa will pick me up at the port Saturday morning. Guessing what time I will clear customs is nearly impossible. Last week the process was very slow, some of the last passengers were probably not cleared until noon. I am scheduled to be in the first group of passengers off the ship at 8:30, after those that are carrying all their own luggage. I tell Alyssa I should be ready by 9:30 which will get me home by 11:00. The rest of the day I will be helping her move into her new home.

Well with all my calculated planning, I guess wrong. I exit the ship 15 minutes early at about 8:15, walk directly to my luggage and right thru customs without a delay. By 8:30 I am outside on the sidewalk with many others waiting for my ride that won't arrive for another hour.

The hour isn't wasted though. You may have heard that The Majesty of the Seas was recently held in Port Canaveral for an extra day as a result of a less than stellar ratings during a Coast Guard inspection. According to a source I consider creditable, the reality is that every ship in Port Canaveral in recent weeks had scored poorly during regular inspections. To make the point that the CG meant business, The Majesty was denied sailing to set an example for all the cruise lines. The Majesty was chosen not because her violations were more severe or more frequent, but because she was the smallest ship and the delayed sailing would effect the fewest passengers.

I think my next cruise will be on The Empress of the Seas in May, if not I have cruises booked for October, and December this year, and March 2018. I will continue to post any ship travels here. As usual pictures will follow in a few days.