2.04.2016

Unexpected Day at Sea

I would like to be able to report that some unfortunate explosion in the engine room of the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Deborah and I are traveling on is responsible for us not making landfall in Costa Maya, Mexico, as we were scheduled to do this morning. The life boats on this ship intrigue me and a legitimate, albeit non-life threatening, reason to use them would be thrilling fodder for future non-fictional storytelling. Alas, the tale is far less sordid.

We awoke about 7 AM, back in Eastern Standard Time after briefly venturing into the Central Standard Time off the Belizean coast yesterday. Our massive floating city churned through windy ocean swells up the Yucatan Peninsula coast toward Costa Maya during the night. When my smart phone alarm chimed, the lovely Deborah beside me sprung from the bed that spans most of the width of our Deck 3 stateroom and started prepping for the day in the petite restroom. I was slower to regain full consciousness.

"So what's our plan again?" I called out from the bed.

"Workout," Deborah replied back.

"Then breakfast?" I needed coffee. "Then showers?"

"Sure," Deborah said. "Are you gonna get up?"

"Yes, but I have to pee," I replied. "Can I get in there?"

She stepped out of the aptly named water closet and I rolled lethargically out of the bed and shuffled across the room in my boxer shorts to micturate.

Voided, I returned to sit on the foot of the bed and force my uncaffeinated mind to make useful decisions. It was difficult.

Did I have any shorts to work out in? I pulled open the drawer of the dresser by the bed that held some of my clothes for the duration of our weeklong Caribbean cruise. I reached in at random and my fingers caressed the cool Spandex of my bike shorts. That'll do, I thought and pulled them out to place them next to me on the bed. I remembered that I had a semi used blue shirt on the bedside table. I could wear that to work out, rather than soiling a clean shirt with sweat.

Still feeling too lazy to change, I opened the stateroom safe and pulled out the envelope that contained our prepaid shore excursion tickets. I found the pair for today's bike and kayak trip and examined them.

"Deborah, I think we might have a slight problem," I said.

"What?" she asked.

"Well, these tickets say we are supposed to meet on the pier at 8:15 AM," I replied.

"Really?" she said. "I thought it was 11."

"Not according to these tickets," I said. "I think we need to haul ass to make this in time."

My brain was working a little better, now fueled with adrenalin. Our copy of the shore excursions itinerary that we'd printed at home before the trip was on the countertop. It clearly showed 11 AM as out meeting time for the excursion.

"Look in the excursions booklet and see what it says," Deborah advised and started putting on makeup, in case we really did have to hustle. I found the pamphlet on her bedside table and flipped to the section for Costa Maya. I scanned the listings until I found the one we had signed up for.

"It looks like there are two times for this one," I said to Deborah. "8:30 and 11:30. I guess we are in the earlier one."

"That's not what we signed up for though," Deborah said. "Not according to our sheet."

Deborah picked up the phone receiver and dialed zero (0) for customer service. Someone answered and Deborah explained the discrepancy to them better than I would have. They conversed for a few seconds and then Deborah hung up.

"She said she'll call back," Deborah said. "They're looking into it."

"I guess maybe I should go score us some breakfast," I said, pulling on my regular shorts.

"Can you get me some fruit?" Deborah asked.

"Yeah, that's what I was gonna get," I replied. "I'll just score a big plate of fruit."

I pulled on the blue tee shirt and made for the stateroom door, grabbing the room keycard as I crossed the tiny room. I pulled open the heavy stateroom door and stepped into the hallway.

"Be back soon," I said before letting the door thud shut.

I had not gone more than two or three paces down the narrow hallway when the ships PA system chimed, indicating an announcement. A moment later the ship Captain's voice came over the speakers.

"Good morning everyone...this is your Captain speaking...Captain Michaels...with an important announcement...I am sorry to inform you that due to rough weather, we will not be able to dock in Costa Maya today...there are high winds and eight foot waves that are making it too dangerous to approach the port...several of our sister ships have also been turned away...in the interests of passenger safety, therefore, we will not be stopping in Costa Maya today...for those who had shore excursions scheduled, there is no reason to go to the Shore Excursions desk, as you money will be fully refunded...again, we do apologize for this...I will speak to you again soon with further updates."

I inserted my key card into the slot on our stateroom door and pushed it open.

"Did you catch that?" I asked Deborah.

"Not really," she replied. "The room speaker still doesn't work."

"The Captain said Costa Maya is canceled due to weather," I informed her.

The phone rang. It was customer service calling back. Deborah answered.

"I guess it doesn't matter now," Deborah said to the person on the phone and hung up shortly thereafter.

"So do you still want to work out?" I asked. Deborah pondered. "Nah, let's just go to breakfast," I executively decided, meeting no resistance from Deborah.

It was an enjoyable day at sea, notwithstanding the rocking boat. The thrashing sea put on a good show. The water in the pool on Deck 9 of the ship was sloshing this way and that, occasionally surmounting the pools boundary walls and flooding the deck, to the excitement of those reclining on deck chairs. Deborah and I had a couple of ridiculous fruity cocktails and chillaxed. I wrote in my journal and she read a book.

In the late afternoon, I power walked a 5k on the track that circumnavigates Deck 10 where I saw some crew members doing some work in the engine room. I don't know what they were doing, but a strong ozone smell reached my nostrils as I passed by on each lap of my power walk. Due to the undulations of the boat, it was a fun walk. At times, the massive boat would heave upwards as an ocean swell passed us, and I felt artificially heavy, as if gravity had increased in strength. Then the ship would drop into the next trough between swells and it felt as if I were floating upwards. Combined with the high winds coming across the deck that I had to fight, I think I got a solid workout in. When I finished, I jumped into the sloshing pool to cool off before heading back to our stateroom to clean up for dinner.

As I write this, I'm about to go to bed. Tomorrow, weather permitting, we should dock in Cozumel, Mexico, where we are scheduled to pet some dolphins and chillax on a beach for a few hours. After that, we spend another day at sea, en route back to Tampa FL, the terminus of this, my first cruise experience. Thus far it gets fairly high marks, though I don't know that I would be that eager to do it again. Not that it wasn't fun...I just think I prefer other ways to travel and see places.

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