September 29, 2018

September 28, a Sea Day

After 10 hours of sleep I wake to clear skies and calm seas. Well that is true, but I have to go elsewhere to view that.  One of the advantages of an inside cabin is that once you turn the light off the room is totally dark. No rising sun, or sound of wind or waves to disturb a good nights sleep. There is the steady soothing drone of mechanical equipment heard in the cabin, there are no vibrations or other noises except an occasional loud voice in the hallway.

I find Francisco sitting at his desk doing nothing. I share my thoughts on the pool drain leak and he says he will pass it on to the right people in engineering. It is very unlikely I will ever be in that cabin again when the pool is being drained to find out.

There are many groups on board this week, recognized by a number of guests wearing the same shirts or hats. One group with the initials USDC explains many of the others. "United States Drinking Corps". Enough said.

The top cruisers of last week, David and Charlene, live about 30 minutes from the port. While the rest of us just hung around the ship for the day, they drove home, picked up the mail and spread some roundup on the weeds.  They spend most of the winter on cruise ships, and the summer months in upstate New York.

I spend most of the afternoon reading, or more accurately listening to a book. Nothing too deep, I am on vacation after all.

Fransisco didn't come through with any diet tonic, but Bernadette did. She scrounged five bottles from around the ship and has them safely secured in her locked cabinet. I will ration them over the rest of the cruise, and she will continue to be rewarded with $2 tips, more specifically $2 bills. A few days ago my bank called to inform me that they have a new supply for me.  They have to order them from the Federal Reserve, and sometimes it takes up to six weeks depending on the press schedule and demand.

Tomorrow we arrive in Cozumel for the last time on this cruise. Unlike a few days ago, we are not instructed to change to local time, but we remain on ships time.

The seas remain calm, the skies mostly sunny, and the temperatures a little cooler than at home. Life is good.

Turnaround in Tampa

I am already awake when my alarm sounds at 7:00. I expect to be all packed and out of my room long before the 8:30 requested time.

Out of habit I turn the TV on, it turns itself off within a minute. Strange. I turn it on again, same result. I walk across the carpet and step on a wet spot. Stranger. I look around and water is leaking from above the ceiling!  Fluid is dripping out of the TV chassis, the paperwork on the counter is wet, as is my alarm clock. Fortunately my phone, keyboard, and camera escape harm.

I shower and pack my suitcases. The last items are the safe contents. Yes inside the safe is wet but my passport escapes unscathed. I have to admit that I thought a safe inside a closed cabinet would be, well, "safe". Wrong again.

Nothing I can do, but I attempt to call the front desk. With so many passengers needing to settle their accounts no one answers. I hunt down Ed, my cabin steward. He is not happy, he now has a lot of unexpected cleaning to do on his busiest day. I will check in at the front desk later.

Disembarkation is starting slowly. The first passengers do  not start leaving until after 8:00.

At 9:20 I head towards the Centrum, the designated waiting area for b2b passengers. Guest services is no longer busy so I stop to appraise them of the water leak in my cabin. I am confident Ed will clean the best he can, but informing the front desk stands a better chance of resulting in corrective action by maintenance.

As the ship empties of passengers we check out with our old sea pass cards for the last time, walk down the gangway towards the luggage hall and customs agents.  After a few minutes an officer comes to us. He asks that we hold our passports up, he glances over the group and says OK you may go back aboard. We are back on the ship in about 15 minutes. Easy.

As usual we are being refueled, the dock is busy with forklifts moving stuff. Everything is on pallets, but a few are piled too high to fit thru the doorway in the side of the ship. You would think they could figure out how to pack a pallet so it can be loaded directly aboard. The top rows are manually removed a case at a time and piled on a different pallet.

A tanker truck pulls in. The labeling says "Environmental Services". The truck has the appearance of collecting waste oil. All the fork lifts cease operations, the dock is in gridlock, there is no room to move. The truck can't get to where it needs to connect to the ship. Eventually it backs out of the way, waiting its turn.

Most of the pallets this week are canned goods and beverages. I look for diet tonic, but the labels are too small to read on many of the products. Interestingly no eggs, and no fresh produce to be seen.

Further down the dock is a steel cylinder about 12 inches in diameter and 10 feet long. I recognize it as a component of the system that launches the life boats. A cable is lowered from an onboard jib crane on deck 13. Straps are connected to the eyes on each end of the cylinder.  The cable draws tight, and then no more.  The crane is unable to lift the load aboard.  Several officers confer, I assume the chief engineer being one of them. The effort is abandoned until another day.

By 11:00 the Sky Bar is packed. This is a 4 day weekend cruise after all, more of a party crowd is to be expected.

I locate my cabin on deck 2, it is the first cabin just forward of the Centrum elevators. I would guess there are only about 2
30 or so cabins on deck 2. Most of the deck is provision storage and crew quarters. In all respects this cabin is just like my previous ones except it is left handed. Everything is on the opposite side.

Muster stations change with cabins. This week my station is in the Schooner Bar, how appropriate. The elevators are always very busy after the drill ends, so I walk the four flights of stairs to return to my cabin for a shower and clean clothes for the evening.

The lounge is not busy with guests, but people trying to get in that don't understand that your sea pass card will let them in if the lounge is an area they are supposed to have access to. Many yank on the magnetically latched door trying to open it. No surprise that it is broken.

I hadn't noticed earlier, but the pool was drained and painted the previous night. BINGO! I now know the source of the water in my cabin. A leak in the pipe used when the pool is drained. It all fits, the rust and corrosion, and the relatively clean water. Steel will rust very easily when exposed to water with high levels of chlorine such as from a pool. By the time maintenance would be called, all the water will have evaporated, hiding its source.

Do this several times a year and soon you have lots of corrosion, but no mold or odor. Infrequent enough that no one  recognizes a pattern, so the root cause is never addressed. I will talk to Francisco in the morning when he is not busy.

Skies remain mostly clear, the seas are calm as we head out of Tampa Bay on our way to Cozumel. Yes, for those of you that are counting my third visit in less than two weeks.

Tomorrow is another relaxing sea day. I brought several audio books with me, I better start listening or they will expire.