September 04, 2018

Friday August 31 - Kralendijk, Bonaire

We approach port before 7:00 but are unable to dock as our berth is occupied by a Dutch naval vessel. After a short delay the ship is secured and quickly cleared by local authorities. Again we are the only cruise ship in port, there being berths for two, we are at the south pier. Passengers begin disembarkation by 8:15.

This is not a port for shopping, but offers some of the best snorkeling and diving in the world. There are not a lot of divers amongst the passengers and with little opportunity for shopping, more passengers than usual remain on board.

I spend about an hour ashore, more than enough. Our pier is in pretty rough shape with much of the concrete crumbling. Work crews and divers are busy at work making repairs.

Most often bunkering is accomplished by pumping fuel from a barge that pulls alongside while we are in port. Yesterday in Curacao the process was a little different. There are oil pipes that run out on the pier to a pumping station. Hoses are then connected to pump fuel into the ships tanks. I can only guess the pipes originate at one or more of the nearby refineries.  The same equipment and pier is probably used to fill and empty oil tankers when there are no cruise ships in port.

I need to correct a statement I made last week. This vessel is powered with four diesel engines not turbine engines as I stated. The celebrity Millenium and other ships I have sailed are turbine powered. 

The skies  are mostly cloudy first thing in the morning. As the day progresses the clouds give way to more and more sun. The temperatures remain in the mid 80's with less of a breeze than yesterday, making it feel much hotter.

The crew practices emergency procedures all the time. Today it is a fire drill which lasts about an hour. Yesterday it was a life boat drill with about half of the life boats being launched and driven about by the crew.

By 3:00 there are still a few passengers heading back to the ship.  All aboard is 3:30. Captain Kate has been very clear that she has never left a passenger behind when leaving port. Now there have been occasions when passengers chose not to return to the ship on time.

Today was one of those days. The Captain blew the ships horn several times in warning of our pending departure. Two passengers were paged to contact guest relations. No response. As 4:00 PM approaches the dock workers are posed to undo the lines.

A young couple appear on the pier. They fumble to find sea pass cards, once past security they make a mad dash to the ship, receiving a loud applause from all the passengers lining the rail in anticipation of our departure. It was their lucky day, another two minutes and they would have watched us sail into the sunset.

A different group of passengers have been invited to the helipad for our sail away this afternoon. An honor arranged by Hester, the Captain's Club host.

No free cocktail hour today, instead there is an officers reception at 7:30 for all levels of the Captain's Club. The Sky Lounge is packed, but for the regulars at the bar, seating is not as issue. The bartenders have our favorite beverages already poured and waiting thus saving our seats. The staff recognize their best customers.

The 7:30 timing is intentional as the Sky Lounge is no where large enough for all invited passengers.  The early show is still taking place in the theater, and many passengers with early dining are still finishing desert. Both activities cutting back on the number of guests that can participate. Have I mentioned that I prefer the flexibility of grabbing a quick bite in the Oceanview instead of spending two or more hours in the dining room?

The next two days are sea days, and in a little over 60 hours we should be pulling into the port of Miami. As near as I can tell, with all of our passengers still onboard.

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