December 05, 2021

Dec 3, 2021 Back Home

Running at full speed thru the night we arrive in Port Canaveral just before noon. There is a new procedure in place for Royal that they have been testing for several months and have now decided is going to be standard practice.  Historically they ask everyone to evacuate their cabins as soon as possible, and gather in a public space awaiting customs clearance and disembarkation.

Now passengers are asked to wait in cabins, and when disembarkation time arrives, go directly to the gangway, this works much more smoothly for the passengers, but does eat into the time the crew has to prepare cabins for the next cruise. This turnaround is going to be extremely tough on the crew. The next cruise will be leaving late.

We disembark about 12:30 and are quickly thru customs, to the parking lot, and on our way home. With facial recognition, passengers don't even need to show passports. A process that historically could take hours, now take mere seconds. Some parts of our government do work.

As we are looking forward to disembarkation, we are informed by the captain that the evacuated passenger is stable in the hospital. He reiterates that it was NOT covid related in any way.

A few days to do the laundry and I will be on the Mariner of The Seas December 9th.

Day 4 Nassau

We are one of 5 ships in Nassau today. Us, The anthem of the seas, Virgin Voyages Scarlet Lady, A Carnival ship, and a three masted sailing vessel from Norway, the SS Stratsraad Lehmkuhl. 

The Stratsraad Lehmkuhl is a beautiful ship with graceful lines. Exactly what you would expect of a ship built in 1914. The young sailors on board are partying hard.

Many of the piers are under construction, and the sound of jack hammers fills the air all day long.

The others go into town to do some sight seeing. I elect to remain on board. The ships crew is practicing many safety skills today, launching a number of the lifeboats and responding to a "practice drill fire" somewhere on the lower decks. The ships emergency horn is sounded several times, but as always during the drills passengers are told to ignore them. Probably the entire exercise lasts 2 to 3 hours.

Last night there was a wedding in the Crown Lounge. The couple had met on this ship, planned their wedding for last year but like many events it had to be rescheduled to this year because of covid. The wedding party probably consisted of 10 to 12 guests.

I have lunch in Johnny Rockets today, primarily to spend some of the remaining nonrefundable on board credit. Even though we are in port, it is quite breezy, and keeping track of my paper napkin is a challenge.

At 3:00 it is off to the theater to see the broadway musical Grease. The cast does a good job and recovers quickly from from a scenery change glitch midway through the show.

After the show it is obvious that we did not leave port on time. The captain had announced we were delayed for a medical emergency. I don't know if it was the alpha call at 2:00 or as rumored by some passengers an incident that occured during a shore excursion. Regardless we were not leaving on time.

The captain soon appraised us of the situation again. We were waiting for a medical evacuation plane from the US. and its earliest arrival time would be about 10 PM. Never any details on the passenger other than we were told it was not covid and that the patient was stable.

Dinner in the dining room was again excellent even though we were seated at yet another table. Even though the dining rooms on decks 4 and 5 were often empty, our dining room on deck 3 held the first seating of traditional dining, and it was only after those tables were cleared was there room for any of the my time diners.

The head waiter not only brought the savory bites that are so well enjoyed by everyone, but he brought a special dish, not on the menu, that is a tradition of his home country of the Phillipines. I enjoyed 3 cheeze tortolini, a personal favorite for years.

After dinner the orchestra in the Star Lounge was playing several sets of jazz including Dixieland Jazz and Jazz cabaret. The captain joined part of one set playing the trumpet.

The medical passenger leaves the ship, and we finally are underway about 7 hours late at 10 PM. We will cruise at full throttle, 24 to 25 knots, to get back to Port Canaveral.  We do not know all the circumstances, but knowing how close Nassau is to Miami, the passengers realize the passenger would have been able to get shoreside medical attention much sooner had the ship left on time and just diverted to Miami instead of waiting for a medical evacuation plane.

This incident is exactly why I always strongly suggest that one travel with a passport even when it is possible to travel with just a photo ID and a birth certificate. Without a passport the medical evacuation by plane would have taken much longer, possibly days longer.

The seas are quite calm. There is a light headwind as we travel North, and we also have the ocean currents of the Gulf Stream pushing us back towards our home port. Expected arrival is about noon time.