Monday, February 25, 2013

Hold the Boat...We Are Coming!

Well, it is official. I developed a fine pair of sea legs over winter break. Several of my co-workers and I were bitten by the notorious travel bug and decided to take a short cruise from New Orleans to Cozumel. Since this was my first one, I was a bit worried about getting seasick. Thankfully, all went well in that department.

The trip did get off to a rocky start, but we finally managed to get underway. We left early Saturday morning for a six hour drive south so we could arrive in New Orleans in plenty of time to go through security and check in.  One would think arriving in the Crescent City two hours ahead of departure would be plenty of time to find the port and board the ship. Not necessarily so. We missed the exit to the Port of New Orleans, managed to get lost and then were accidentally given directions to the wrong port. By this point, our two-hour window had dwindled down to about eighteen minutes. So we shed our small-town driving mode, shifted into speedy city driving and hauled it back across town as we frantically called our cruise line and begged them to hold the ship.

Thanks to my eleven year old who is a fantastic map reader, I managed to get to the cruise terminal first. Unfortunately, my co-workers, who were traveling in a different vehicle, did not have my little navigator with them so they somehow took another wrong turn and ended up on Bourbon Street where they nearly side-swiped a horse and carriage. Yikes!

After hauling my two pieces of luggage, my carry on bag and three pieces of my co-workers' luggage (I had been carrying some of theirs in my car since I had more room) into the terminal, my son and I flew through security and assured the nice ladies at the check in counter that the rest of our group was on their way. By this point everyone else had boarded the ship and they were getting ready to close the door. I couldn't board since I still had luggage that didn't belong to me, but finally at the last possible minute the rest of my party arrived, out of breath and frazzled, but they made it. Needless to say we were the last seven to board the ship.

Finally, we were on our way. The cruise itself was fantastic! We enjoyed fabulous weather, plenty of great food, including the famous Carnival warm-melting cake, and on board activities that kept us busy for days. Our port of call, Cozumel, was a wonderful little island full of friendly people, beautiful beaches with jewel blue water and the awesome flavor of the Mexican culture. For our excursion, my son and I decided to swim with the Stingrays at Stingray Beach. We were lucky our water excursion wasn't canceled since the red flags were out on all the beaches in Cozumel during our stay due to very choppy water and dangerous waves. After getting in the water with the stingrays, I could see why. The waves were strong and several were so big they went over our heads and knocked us back several feet, but we still had a great time. We discovered the stingrays are soft gentle creatures that simply want to be fed and petted. A lot. Of course, their barbs had been removed so the experience was quite safe. My son loved it! After he got used to them that is.

We only had a few hours of very rough seas where the boat rocked more than usual, but for the most part it was smooth sailing to and from Cozumel.

Our last night on the ship was a bit traumatic, but once again we managed. We had placed our luggage outside our stateroom door as instructed so the porters could take the bags off the ship where we would collect them the next morning in the terminal. Unfortunately, I made the decision to sleep in the clothes we would wear home the next day so we wouldn't have to lug anything extra around as we waited to debark. This proved to be a poor decision on my part since we had a medical emergency which required more clothing. Of course, by this time our luggage was gone, so at nearly one in the morning, instead of resting for the long drive home, my son and I are out looking for the Laundromat on the ship so he would have something clean to wear home the next day. After taking care of the laundry, we finally went to bed to get the much needed rest.

Though this was  a short four day cruise, I learned a few things along the way. Pack light, be sure to have an extra change of clothes with you at all times and relax and have a great time! In spite of the rocky start and bumpy ending, I am ready to sail again. Bon voyage anyone?

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