Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cruising the Mediterranean Part 2 - Five Windows

We've never been on a cruise before and were excited to see what all the fuss was about. 

Before we set sail from Barcelona, we'd heard the sea might be a little rough our first night. And it was. But being first time cruisers, we had no idea how rough it actually was. Turns out, it was pretty rough.

Throughout the night we could feel the boat and we moved in bed - both Kerry and I slid an inch or two down the bed and back again, more than once. I got up a few times to make sure the kids were ok in their bunk beds, and hadn't been moved to the brink of falling off. They were ok every time I checked.

Around 4:30am, we all woke up to a big bang. As I'm telling Meaghan that everything is ok, we hear this woman yelling "It's ok; you're going to live." I told Meaghan that see, even that woman knew things were ok.

Then in the hallway we heard an announcement of "Alpha Alpha Alpha [something else]" and then "Bravo Bravo Bravo [something else]".

Hmmm. Maybe something was up.

Kerry went to investigate and within a moment, he announced the floor was wet. He opened the door and water was gushing down the hallway. A kid's sock floated into our room.

Fortunately, the kids and I never saw the member of the crew running down the hallway with an axe. Meaghan was scared enough to hear there was water. Those of you who know Meaghan, know that she isn't shy about expressing her emotions. Eamon was shivery, but I have no idea what was going on in his mind.

There were no other announcements or alarms, so I figured it couldn't be that bad. Kerry though, had seen the axe, and believed the situation to be much more dire than I did. We were told to leave our room and move up to a higher floor.

Surprisingly, Dad and Sharla, who were right next door, slept through all of this. Kerry knocked on their door and told them we should leave. So they got ready.

It's funny what happens when you need to leave in a hurry. We all got dressed, put on our flip flops because the floor was wet, and moved everything up off the floor. So far, so good.

Bags off the floor. The rest are on the bed.
We were so lucky that we didn't get around to unpacking on that first day.

But what to take with us. 

We took the bare minimum: our ship ID cards, passports and cell phones. We left behind the life jackets (no one told us to take them and I figured if we fell out of the life boat we'd be dead soon enough with or without the life jacket). We didn't take any money or credit cards. Kerry thought about taking his heavy backpack filled with electronics, but we decided against it. I figured if we needed to get off the ship and into a lifeboat, they wouldn't let us take it with us, so why drag it around now. At least if we left it in the room, we'd know where it all was.

I think we did ok, but we should have taken at least a credit card, and one of our external hard drives with all our photos on it.

Hanging out without a room at 5am.

But we did better than most. More than one person spent the day wheeling around their suitcases. A handful of people were in their housecoats. One couple walked around with their life vests -- with the emergency light flashing.

Eamon's little bed the morning of the evacuation. He was mighty tired.

Turns out, five windows popped out letting in a whole lot of water. The people in those five rooms had their rooms flooded with cold sea water in the dark. At least one room had so much water they couldn't open their door and had to yell for help. Fortunately, we were a few rooms down from the true disaster.

Also fortunately, we could go get back into our rooms for some real shoes and money so that we could go ashore once we landed in Corsica. They also gave us a new room that we got by 8pm.

Water damage is tough to see, but here's a shot of the start of the clean up.

Others were not so lucky - they left the cruise. Sharla and Dad waited until almost midnight for their replacement room. But at least we all got new rooms. We knew of one person who returned to his room with his very wet carpet. Travelling with kids and the elderly has its advantages because you seem to get onto some magic priority list.

We also had the good fortune of getting our cruise refunded, and a credit for a cruise to use within the year (guess what we're doing next spring break). 

Because Dad and Sharla got their room so very late at night, they also got a free drinks package (unlimited drinks of any kind). And it gets better, we got the same benefit because we were travelling with them!

Even though the kids were a bit freaked out by the whole thing, and sleep has been disrupted as a result, the kids were mighty happy with their virgin strawberry daiquiris they drank every day. And I fully appreciated each and every margarita I consumed. 

Eamon and Meaghan were out with friends. Kerry and I decided to go for a drink before we all met up again. Little did we know we'd run into our 8-year-old at the bar as he ordered himself a virgin strawberry daiquiri. 

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