Friday, July 20, 2012


Cozumel, Mexico.

Still Cozumel. Not Ocho Rios, Jamaica.

My first cruise took place not too long ago, in fact, it was last week. The idea of a cruise is unique. One hotel room, many different locations. One of the first days on the ship, I was deeply confused at the sun's ability to be in a completely different position at the same time that I had been outside the day before with respect to my stationary lounge chair. Then I remembered the concept of movement and the fact that I was on a ship, which moved. What can I say? It was the beginning. 

Hollywood has not made it easy to believe that a ship is the safest mode of travel. I haven't seen many of these cinematographic jewels, Titanic is basically the only one I have seen. And despite modern safety regulations and maritime law, Celine Dion was perpetually playing in the back of my head for a week. The first day of the cruise, there was a mandatory the-ship-is-sinking-drill. I thought I was going to skip it, but I was sorely mistaken. Thanks to the ship's rules and workers, I was calmly herded to my muster station by foreigners with nice accents and matching polos. I felt a bit like cattle, and certainly enjoyed standing in the back of several rows for an extended period of time to realize that life jackets are meant to inflate. Thank you, American cruise line. What enlightenment.

Using this opportunity to use some new vocabulary I learned onboard the vessel, we had three "ports of call", the third of which was meant to be Ocho Rios, Jamaica. From what I could tell, the other travelers on the ship seemed excited about this fact; there were dreads and Rastafarian colors in abundance. Our first two ports went without hitches, and lovely times were had.

Our first two "ports of call" went perfectly, first Key West, FL and then onto Grand Cayman Island. 

One of the islands, Tank Island. Should you choose to read the Wikipedia link, you'll find that it was created by the U.S. Navy. Cheaters.  Also, parasailors in the background. Pretend it's me, as I have no pictures of me actually doing it. But I did. 

Soon before we left Grand Cayman. Before we knew about the ship's faultiness, what I like to call our naive period.

Having spent two nice days in two great places, we were all back on the boat and ready to set said (well, maybe, I'm sure somewhere within 3,000 passengers the ship left without someone). Things on my mind at this point were extensive: "I would like to sleep. Or swim. When do we eat?"

Due to my heavily concentrated state of mind, you can imagine my confusion when the very serious sounding Italian captain came over the ship's PA system. He started out by apologizing, which is always a good sign. He then went on to explain that one of the ship's generators had broken, which was used to power one of the engines. Therefore, with one less engine, the cruising speed of the ship was affected, and we wouldn't be able to make it to Jamaica and back to our original port on the last day in the same time frame. This was fine with me, but surely many people had planned their travel plans to go back home in accordance with what time the ship was supposed to dock, and if we came in later their other plans would be messed up. I wonder how many of the disappointed people I saw considered this before becoming disappointed with the cruise line. It was the lesser of two evils, really for them at this point. The good news was that Italian Captain then informed us that they "had secured another port of call" in Cozumel in exchange for Jamaica.

At this point, I was sitting outside my cabin wearing a life jacket, making eye contact with anyone who came down the hall, looking for any amount of fear or concern in their eyes. I saw no one, apparently these people were not concerned for their safety, or they trusted when el Capit├ín told us everything was safe. I was taking no chances.

True to what was announced the day prior, the ship docked at noon the next day in Cozumel, Mexico. Having only been to Mexico for a total of less than 20 minutes when we walked across the border a number of years ago and quickly after walked back across the border, hoping that the man following us wouldn't follow us back into the U.S., I was very pleased to be going to Mexico.

It did not disappoint.

Some very entertaining and friendly Mexicans. Their sign (not shown) informed me that they take tips in forms of cash, American Express & MasterCard, and beer.

And while I was happy to go anywhere, because honestly, snorkeling is more or less the same regardless of location within the Caribbean, I was excited and not at all disappointed to be redirected during the cruise. I had been looking forward to Jamaica, but knew that being angry wouldn't have done anything. And maybe this ties into my last post, but I don't see why someone should be so set in plans that when something like this happens the only thing there is anger. Being excited about something is one thing, but I can't imagine it's healthy to not have that sense of flexibility to realize that things change and to be okay with that. 

Because really, the Caribbean is the Caribbean. And in life, I think you can look at situations as either a Jamaica or a Cozumel: that which was supposed to happen, or that which did happen. 

Either way, is there really a reason to complain?

1 comment:

  1. Aloha Laura!

    I wanted to say thanks again for submitting this article to the Byteful Travel Blog Carnival, and also congratulations! This article has been highlighted in the 14th BT Blog Carnival, which was published today. I especially loved the picture of the colorful buildings of Cozumel. Practically pops right off of the page! It’s too bad you weren’t able to get any pictures parasailing, but at least you got the one above Tank Island. :)

    If you could retweet, stumble, or "Like" the blog carnival, I would really appreciate it. It would also help people discover your article, too; especially since your article is one of only 3 that I highlighted.

    Thanks! Looking forward to your submissions next time! :)