We started the week out with total excitment of the adventures that lay ahead: a bustling cruise ship, entertainment galore, all the food we could dream of, and best of all, MEXICO!
Here is my husband and I when we first got on the boat, before we had pulled away from the dock:
We spent the first few hours on the boat with anticipation building for the fun week to come. We went to dinner at The Black Pearl Restaurant the first night. Here is a picture of our Shrimp cocktail appetizer! It was delicious, as was the rest of our dinner.
We headed to bed around 1:00 AM that first day, exhausted and ready to sleep, so that we would have plenty of energy for the next full day that laid ahead... little did we know.
Around 6:00 AM that next morning, we were all awoken to a call over the loud speakers that went something like this: "Alpha Team 0 Alpha Team 0 to the engine room. Alpha Team 0". I though this was some kind of mistake, and got up to use the restroom and go right back to sleep. While I was in the restroom, the boat started shaking violently and then there was another announcement over the loud speaker that was clearly directed at the crew.
About 10 minutes later, the boat's Cruise Director, John, came over the speaker to let the boat know that large amounts of smoke were filling the engine room, and that is why the crew was being called. He let us know not to panic that everything was under control. At this time, my friends and I congregated out in the hall and were all talking nervously about what was happening. During this time, all the lights in our room went off, and the toilets stopped flushing. There were emergency lights in the hall ways.
Around 7:00 AM were all asked to leave our rooms and move to the outside decks as the smoke smell was now strong through the entire boat. We all threw on what we could find and headed up to the top deck (as a side note, the elevators had stopped working, as well as the boats stabilizers to keep the boat from rocking as much as it should) Here is a picture of us with the smoke stack behind us, billowing black smoke:
We spent most of the day Monday getting constant updates regarding the enginen room "Flameless" fire. We were all still thinking the issue would be resolved and we would be back on the way to Mexico in no time. We spent the first day mostly out on the deck with the rest of the boat, as our rooms were pitch black and the boat smelled of smoke.
As evening drawed near, we decided to retreat back down to our "hallway" to play some cards and hang out where it was warm. We were lucky that our rooms were in the front of the boat and that the fire happened in the back of the boat. This meant that our rooms were free of smoke before anyone elses.
As we were sitting in the hall, John, the Cruise Director came back on the loud speaker and made the announcment that changed the trip and our perspective. He annoucned that the trip would be terminated and that we were currently awaiting some tugboats that would pull us back to land. Immediately tears came to the girls eyes as we realized our vacation was over. We all shed some tears, and then decided to make the most of the rest of our vacation, at least we were all together.
Monday night's dinner was supposed to be "formal night" and lobster tail night. As a group we decided to not let the bad news get the best of our spirits. We decided to dress up for formal night and to go to dinner all decked out, even though we knew that we would be eating sandwiches and fruit for dinner.
As we suspected, we were eating hot dog buns stuffed with tuna fish, salad, and fruit for dinner. Not exactly the lobster fair we had been anticipating.
Even the sandwiches were hard to swallow, among the worst sandwiches were: Cheese and tomato, ham and large chucks of butter, "sausage" (I was trying to eat the meat inside the sandwiches for some protein and this "sausage" did not taste like sausage) on hamburger buns with mustard and mayo, and the jelly and butter sandwiches they served for breakfast.
Due to my allergies I survived the next four days on chickpeas, kidney beans, and salad. I was incredibly thankful for all of the above, as it could have easily turned into a bad situation if they ran out of any of these items.
Here are some pictures of the food and us enjoying our wonderful cruise cuisine:
We spent the next 3 or 4 days were spent enjoying each others company, laying in the on and off again sun, playing cards and getting to know the other passengers on our cruise. During this time, all elevators were down, there was only emergency lights on, all entertainment was off, there was no heat, no air conditioning, no pools, no hot tubs, no hot food, and no the boat reaked of garbage.
We did get to see a lot of cool ships! Carnival had an Aircraft carrier, the US Coast Guard, the Mexican Coast Guard, helicopters and tugboats following us the whole way. Here are some pictures of these vessels:
|US Coast Guard Helicopter flying in supplies|
|The USS Ronald Regan that was sent out|
|The Chihuahua tugboat that pulled us to San Diego|
|Last day on the boat, in our bathrobes, with the Carnival Splendor life ring.|
|Our rooms were too dark to see anything, so we took our comforters to the top decks and read our books during the day|
|Finding the humor in a bad situation: Our group in our life jackets!|
We had never been so glad to be on dry land. Here are my girlfriends and I in front of the Carnival Splendor:
The one thing I do have to mention is that Carnival is taking great care of everyone who was on the ship. Here is a list of everything they are doing for us/did for us:
- Total Reimbursment of our cruise
- Total Reimbursment of all our travel to get to the cruise (airline tickets, cabs, rental cars, ect)
- Free Minibar access while on the cruise
- 100% Reimbursment of any thing purchased on the ship the first day
- Open bar access while on the ship
- We were offered free copies of the pictures that Carnival had taken before the fire
- We were put up in hotels once back on land
- They arranged our travel back home after the flight
- They paid for all food once on land until we left for the airport
- Another free cruise of equal value, to be booked by 2012.
We were informed 100% of the time of what was going on with the ship, the fire and our return to land, the crew on the boat went ABOVE and BEYOND the call of duty and never complained once. They were amazing! Each cruiser was well taken care of and to that we are all so thankful!
I truly believe that God's hand was over this trip in a huge way. We have no way of knowing what dangers laid ahead in Mexico, or with the rest of the trip that could have been much worse than what we had to go through. The waters were very calm, no one was injured and for the most part, people's spirits were high. It was easy to see the power of God working in this situation and all glory and thanks be to HIM for getting us home safely and in one piece.
Our group decided to make the best of the situation and head to Disneyland and Six Flags with the few days left in our vacation. Here are just a few photos from this time we spent together:
|Disneyland - the first day with the Christmas decor up!|
|Mike and I in front of Cinderella's Castle, all decked out for Christmas!|
|Pirates of the Carribean ride!|
|At Six Flags, waiting in line for one of the rides|
As I mentioned in my last post, I would be more than happy to answer any questions anyone has that weren't discussed here!