Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Voyage to Bermuda (That Wasn't)

Day One

So, there we were, getting ready to depart on a 6-day cruise to Bermuda. Walk up to the counter; get the Seapass card that “dings” you onto the ship, then grab your first of many meals aboard a luxury liner. What could go wrong? Well, as many Americans found out last week, one thing…one very big, windy, POWERFUL thing. Yes, Hurricane Sandy was coming.

As the time for our departure came and went, our fearless captain took the PA microphone in hand, and delivered the bad news. “Ladies and gentlemen, we will be forced to cancel our call to Bermuda.”

As you’d expect, a murmur began to build. “What? No Bermuda? Will we be going somewhere else?”

All of these questions hung in the air. Soon afterwards, though, we learned that we were to sail south, and drop anchor just inside the Chesapeake Bay at Cape Henry, bobbing merrily while the monstrous storm blew by. Naturally, this did not sit well with a good portion of the guests on board. To Royal Caribbean’s credit, they offered a full credit to anyone that chose to not sail that day, and different incentives to those that did. Half chose the former, and half the latter.

Personally, I was a little disappointed, as sea days are not always the most enjoyable for a professional entertainer with 500 cruises under his belt. But hey, it WAS something different. In all of my 15 years at sea, I’ve never experienced a situation like this one. And…as the employees often say -“You’re still getting paid to play!”

As we made our way down the inlet, the winds and rain were already building…even though Sandy was still several hundred miles to the southeast of us.

Upon dropping anchor, we were informed that several ships had also tried to get permission to stay in the bay to ride out the storm. As it turns out, we were one of only a few who were granted that option. Royal Caribbean must have gotten on the horn REEAAL quick to reserve a slot.  These guys are on the ball. On top of all that, the narrow “bar” of land that separated us from open water had…wait for it…a CELL TOWER! I don’t know if the Captain did that on purpose or not, but I silently thanked him…both for myself, and the guests that would have been foaming at the mouth had it not been there.

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