JAXport ahead—a welcome sight!
After two a long time of protecting the cruise trade and greater than a hundred personal sailings, a hurricane lastly caught up to me. As you recognize, Mel and i spent last week on Holland America Line’s Eurodam having fun with the Malt Store Recollections Cruise. Like our fellow passengers, getting there was quite an adventure.
First off, Mel and i set out for Fort Lauderdale a day earlier than planned, which had nothing to do with Hurricane Sandy swirling about within the Caribbean and Atlantic. We needed to keep away from the visitors headed to Jacksonville, Florida on Friday for the Georgia-Florida football game, an annual occasion scheduled for Saturday that is named “the world’s largest cocktail celebration.”
That’s why we arrived at the Hilton Garden Inn close to the Fort Lauderdale airport at about 6pm on Thursday, October 25th, just because the heavy winds and torrential rains of Hurricane Sandy have been at their worst in the realm. After which the power went out. We had a flashlight (courtesy of the hotel manager’s hurricane provide stash) and joined others gathered within the hotel’s lobby where massive home windows made it a bit lighter than our room in the rising dusk. Emergency lights had been on in corridors and the door keycard system also worked because of generator energy.
We’ll know later at the moment or tonight which of those ports will probably be used.
When full power was restored we were able to get dinner at our resort and all appeared nicely till I received an e-mail on my BlackBerry from Leisure Cruise Productions advising us that, “Due to Hurricane Sandy, Holland America has moved our embarkation port from Port Everglades to Port Canaveral on Saturday, Oct. 27.” Coaches would take us from Fort Lauderdale to Port Canaveral. That didn’t seem so dangerous. After an excellent night’s relaxation we received one other update in mid-afternoon on Friday. This one seemed a bit ominous:
“Holland America has informed us that our ship for the Malt Shop Reminiscences Cruise may depart from one in every of three ports: Ft. Lauderdale, Jacksonville, or Port Canaveral. We’ll know later at the moment or tonight which of those ports will probably be used. Holland America has made preparations to transport all of our visitors from Ft. Lauderdale, if required, to whichever port we’ll use. Within the interim, we advise you to head for Ft. Lauderdale, stay involved with us by looking at the website and by calling our office. We are going to make this work!
In our update yesterday, we unnoticed one crucial piece of knowledge. The Malt Store Memories Cruise Pre-Party will proceed as scheduled tonight from 7 to 10pm.”
Again, no worries as we headed to the Friday evening pre-social gathering to take pleasure in music and the corporate of our fellow passengers. At about 8pm the announcement was made that our embarkation port would positively be Jacksonville and a couple hours later we received another electronic mail saying, “Holland America has knowledgeable us that our ship for the Malt Store Memories Cruise will depart from the Port of Jacksonville. Holland America has made preparations to transport all of our friends from the Ft. Lauderdale space as well as Cape Canaveral to the Port of Jacksonville.”
At that time we groaned—we’d simply passed by means of Jacksonville the day before and it’s a 5 hour drive in coaches. We had several options, but we selected the best and parked at Port Everglades after dropping off our luggage, which can be sent to the ship in trucks. Mel and that i have been assigned number 6 tags for the coach ride and have been on the road and headed to Eurodam by 11:15am, together with a convoy of greater than sixty different coaches!
Eurodam, at last
Once on the Jacksonville port we needed to look forward to the Carnival ship on the cruise terminal to depart and we all departed our coaches one by one to undergo port security with the carry-ons we’d introduced with us. Then it was again on the coaches for a short drive to the cargo area of the port the place we truly boarded Eurodam at 6:30pm. On board, examine in was swift and we made ourselves at house with what little we’d brought with us. Regardless of the somewhat nice box lunch we were given to eat on the coach (in line with Florida legislation, the coaches weren’t allowed to cease along the way), we were hungry so we headed for the buffet and then the pool bar—drinks had been complimentary all evening lengthy courtesy of Holland America Line—and moods improved because the night time went along.
Exhausted from the day, Mel and i turned in relatively early so I don’t know precisely what time Eurodam got beneath approach. We have been nonetheless at the dock at midnight on Saturday, but at 4:30am I awoke and we have been at sea. I regarded out in the passageway to see if luggage had arrived. It was there so I rolled it inside and brushed my teeth earlier than going again to sleep. Sure, I’d forgotten to put toothbrushes in the carry-ons—they have been in what we’d meant to take aboard in Fort Lauderdale.
After a ship drill early Sunday morning we learned that Eurodam would not cease in Grand Turk as scheduled on Monday in order to make San Juan in a relatively timely fashion on Tuesday—our arrival there was a couple of hours late. Due to spending more time at sea than originally planned, our Entertainment Cruise Productions hosts made lemonade from lemons and rescheduled the present that was cancelled attributable to our late embarkation on Saturday night time.
It was quite an experience, one which I never dreamed we’d ever go through, however I have to present major kudos to Holland American Line and Entertainment Cruise Productions—they dealt with a very advanced situation beautifully and stored us effectively informed throughout—Holland America Line reps called us and Entertainment Cruise Productions despatched detailed emails. The most superb thing was that solely 24 passengers missed the embarkation and as soon as on board we didn’t hear any complaining in the course of the cruise. Everyone we spoke to in the elevators and around the ship had a wonderful time and nearly 50% of those on board booked the Malt Store Recollections Cruise for 2019!