March 02, 2019

March 1, St Martin

The clouds of yesterday are gone, and this morning there is nothing but blue skies. The high for the day is anticipated to be 79, and there is a nice breeze out of the East.

We are the only ship in port today. Yesterday there were 6 ships here, and the day before 5.

Many passengers are headed down the gangway as soon as the ship is cleared at 7:30, I wait until after 10. No crowds, the pier and nearby docks are near empty. 

My plan is to take the water taxi to the downtown beach area, stop at the Lazy Lizard to say hi to Nick, and have an early lunch. Nick is working by himself, with just a few customers. As I approach, he greets me and asks if I want my usual Diet Coke and burger. I say yes to the Diet Coke, but that I need to look at the menu.  Does it mean I come here too often when I am greeted by name and they know what I am likely to order?

As I approach the ship on my return, something I have never seen before. The ship is not moored snugly against the dock, but is moored loosely such that the ship moves about 6 inches away from the dock, and then slams against the pier as she rides the small swells in the harbor. I wouldn't think good for either the ship's hull or the pier. If there were a Captains corner I would ask why.

I'm back on the ship by 2:00, grab my keyboard and head to the Concierge Lounge to write. It is nearly empty except for the germ spreaders. They start coughing before I even sit down, sounding worse than ever.

OK, many of you know I can be out spoken. I am going to be polite, but need to say something to them. Maybe they are not aware there are medical services on the ship. I could be risking physical retribution.

I politely say I have heard them coughing for several days, and suggest that they may want to see the ships doctor.

"I saw a doctor awhile back before I got on the ship."

Regardless, I say, your cough is getting worse, and that is not a good sign. 

"Oh and besides I was a nurse."

I just let it drop and walk away, saying to myself, well then you should know better than most.

After another 10 minutes of uncovered coughing they leave.

The ship has been bunkering since  shortly after we docked. I think it has been three weeks since we took on fuel, and I imagine she is quite thirsty.

When I was headed to my cabin, my cabin steward was in the hallway. He was headed off the ship for a few hours break. A perfect day and perfect location. It is the first time in four months he has been able to go ashore. I tell him to get going and quit talking to me.

Another passenger has shared a change made recently on Carnival ships. The cabin steward only services each cabin once a day instead of the customary twice. The passenger can choose between morning or evening service.  I will predict this cutback in service will soon spread throughout the industry. Personally it wouldn't bother me at all. At home I'm lucky if I make my bed once a week. Don't even think about twice a day.

The word has spread amongst the passengers staying on for the next cruise about a few possible disruptions during our turnaround in Port Everglades. We will not be berthing at the ships  usual pier 18, but at pier 25. This will probably slow the disembarkation process as the setup on each pier is different.

Additionally incoming passengers have been notified by Royal that they are expecting a USCG inspection. If so, this will delay clearance of the ship before passengers can board.

Several years ago, a Royal ship failed such an inspection, and was not allowed to leave port for several days. It was later acknowledged that the ship was chosen and given a more stringent inspection than  usual, primarily to "set an example". The conditions that were cited, had been deemed acceptable on many previous inspections, but no longer.

Many of the passengers that took water excursions today were treated to a special sight. The St Maarten Heineken Regatta is taking place from Feb 28 thru March 3. In addition to the many competing yachts with colorfull spinnakers, several of the largest private yachts in the world are here to watch and partake in the festivities. One reportedly to have cost nearly 800 million dollars, comparable to the cost of the ship I am on.

The lounge is exceptionally quiet tonight, even the coughers are absent.

The headliner entertainer tonight is "Paul Boland, a man of 1000 voices." The title says it all. He was good and appreciated by all. He will do a matinee show on Sunday, and I expect he will be held on the ship for our first headliner show next week.

JJ shares that 60 passengers will be staying over for the next cruise. One passenger is bent out of shape and being quite nasty that she didn't get the back to back notice in her cabin as some other passengers did.

Charles has the night off, and there is no entertainment in the Schooner bar. I retire before 10, and to realize next week I may still be in the dining room at 10. Maybe I will just set my watch to Texas time so I don't think it is so late.

We are headed towards Port Everglades at about 18 knots. The seas are under 6 feet, and there is barely any motion to the ship. How boring.