Scary night aboard ship!…


View as we sailed away from the Panama Canal area with numerous ships awaiting beyond the breakwater for their upcoming transit through the canal.

Most likely, cruising is one of the safest modes of travel. 

We haven’t given our safety a second thought until last night during dinner as the ship was literally rolling back and forth, our glasses tinkling at our dining table nearly splashing out their contents. 

Tom and I glanced at each other with a look of uncertainty. We shrugged, returning to yet another enjoyable evening, again sitting next to a new couple engaging in lively animated conversation.  They had cruised many times and had traveled the world extensively.  It was reassuring to hear they’d been to and loved many of the places we plan to visit in the near future.

A discussion ensued concerning our upcoming
cruise to Dubai in May 2013 which they had the pleasure of experiencing a few years ago. This particular cruise offers several excursions in which we’ll surely partake: the Great Pyramids; the Sphinx and Giza.  They advised against paying additional fees to actually venture inside the Great Pyramids, saying that it was a waste of money with the space too small, too commercialized, and outrageously hot.  We take their advice seriously.

We welcome any advice from our readers worldwide as we share places we’ve yet to visit or while we’re staying in a particular area.  Please suggest restaurants, markets, local foods, places to visit and people to see.  Also, if you have knowledge of medical resources/doctors in the area, let us know.  We can’t be too prepared.  Please comment at the end of each daily post to which we’ll respond within 24 hours, once we’re able to get online.

We find ourselves suspicious and cautious of commercialized offerings that make one feel like cattle herded along to awaiting salespeople barking to “buy, buy, buy” which is often the scenario at most ports of call. 

Most of the excursions offered by the ship present the ultimate goal to place the passenger into a “buying” mood.  Most outings end up in some form of a retail area. We’ve recently discovered that most of the
excursions are owned by the cruise lines. Certainly, they are entitled to their profits. But then again, we are entitled to keep our money for our chosen future plans, not trinkets, artwork, local clothing, or jewelry. 

After yet another elegant dinner and the 9 PM show in the Celebrity Theatre, a nightly event we’ve only missed twice (the first night aboard ship and the Panama Canal night after which I was too exhausted with only two
hours sleep), we headed to our cabin as the ship continued its wild thrashing about in the strong winds.

Tom, bless his heart, can go on and on into the night but then again, he is five years younger than I.  Oh, it’s “hell to get old.” How we used to be able to manage the next day on so little sleep! 

Walking down the long hallway to our cabin, we faltered back and forth between the narrow walls as
the ship continued to sway. I had a particularly difficult time walking in 3″ heels weaving as if I were drunk (I don’t drink).

Once inside our cabin, we turned on the TV to the ship’s GPS station, showing our exact location, wind speed, etc. After checking our email, we decided to try to get some sleep as the ship raced toward our next destination, Cartagena, Columbia, (expected time of arrival at 8:30 am today). We were asleep by 11:30.

At 1:30 am I was startled awake by the sound of something falling off of a shelf in our cabin as the ship
flailed wildly in the sea. Twice, I got out of bed stumbling over our shoes and power cords scattered on the floor to witness the high white waves splashing up the sides of the ship.  On the 8th deck, the floor of our balcony was
covered with water.  I was a bit scared, to say the least.

Tossing and turning for hours unable to fall back to sleep, the sounds escalated around
4 am.  I wanted to wake up Tom during that period.  I couldn’t believe he was sleeping through it all. Finally, I turned toward him and in a whispered tone, I asked, “Are you awake?”

Mumbling, he said, “No, not really.” 

Hesitant to awaken him further I said, “Do you feel the rollin’?”  Hard of hearing after 42 years on the railroad, he said “Did you say “rollin’…rollin’?”

“Yes,” I answered in a louder voice, “rollin’!”

“On the river?” he asked.

“No,”  I laughed aloud, “on the sea!”

Leave it to my guy to make me laugh when I’m scared.  He has a magical way of comforting me with his non-stop sense of humor.  It was 4:00 am. Cuddling up we both wandered off to sleep.

At 7:15 am we were awakened by the loud roar of the ship’s side thrusters.  We were finally approaching Cartagena, Columbia. Bolting out of bed at exactly the same moment we threw back the balcony door drapes, opened the heavy sliding door and this is what we saw.

Downtown Cartagena Columbia.  All the buildings are white.

Again, tonight we’ll dine in the Grand Restaurant to later attend the live show “Groove,” an interactive 60’s party in the Grand Foyer, and then off to the Celebrity Theatre for their last live show of the evening.  Quite fun! We’re having the time of our lives!  Our new lives couldn’t be more fun, rolling seas or not.

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