Thursday, February 19, 2015

Back on Terra Firma!

Our High Seas Adventures continue as we finish the log today.  Many people have asked if we would ever cruise again after this experience.   Yes!  In fact, in the last two years we have been on a couple.  We recently took our "Makeup Cruise", with my brother and his wife, and it was fabulous!  Uneventful, as we like to say!  We had a lot of fun and the crew were aware that we had been on the Triumph and were very good to us.  We love to cruise and, God willing, will never have to experience another one like the Infamous Carnival Cruise of 2013.  

Tuesday, February 12th
0600 - Notice water building up under sinks in both our bathrooms with foul smell; use towels, paper cups and a small glass to clean up and dry areas (yuck); red bags now being replaced by brown bags (seriously); both rooms have foul odor
0900 - Pax advised we travelled 75 nautical miles overnight with a total of 280 to travel; average speed 6 nautical mph; ETA at head of Mobile Channel 2000 Wednesday evening; however, cannot navigate channel in dark so may need to remain in spot until morning then make 5 hour trip to dock; food rationing has begun
1000 - Water continues to seep into bathroom so we clean up again; analysis concludes that waste water holding tanks are filling up on the starboard side of the ship due to listing and power loss; we clean but the problem continues; foul odors continue to get worse
1130 - Lunch is awful and some of us resolve not to eat prepared shipboard food any more due to health concerns and excessive degree of nasty
1300 - Pax advised we have travelled 108 nautical miles but still 280 to go as we have averaged only 4.6 nautical mph today; 2000 ETA Wednesday remains possible; pax increasingly anxious over sanitary and safety conditions as well as transportation arrangements upon arrival in Mobile; ship continues to list approximately 10 degrees starboard
1410 - Jen provides more "brilliant news" that a few public toilets are now operational in the forward part of the ship; mad scramble ensues with pax trying to locate one
1730 - Pax advised gift shop is open for cash purchases; pax rush to shop and quickly form long line numbering more than 200
1815 - Pax advised ETA Mobile Channel too late to travel to dock and trip to dock will now take 10 hours with ETA Mobile late Thursday pm; options once there are 1) bus departing immediately for Houston or Galveston or 2) stay in hotel in either Mobile or New Orleans then take charter flight to Houston then commercial flight to San Antonio sometime Friday
1830 - Wedding party meets to discuss options; we notice crew has begun to wear masks in the cabin areas, however, none have been provided pax
2015 - Decide to try gift shop once again and wait in line to purchase snacks to get us through the next two days; find that Pringles are being rationed one per customer; secure two other customers to each purchase a can for me and gladly give each $10 to buy me a $6 can of Pringles; inflation reigns on the high seas

Day Six Status – Horrible: no power, no comms, no lighting, very limited toilet service, no a/c, cold showers but warm drinks, food borders on inedible (I've stopped eating it except for fruit), waste water continues to rise and has now penetrated beyond bathroom into carpeted area in sleeping room, health concerns rising with another 48 hours to go, ship still listing 10 degrees starboard accentuating waste water problem, reports of sewage leaking down walls in lower decks, rooms stink and I still don't know about Pope or who won at Pebble

Wednesday, February 13th
0545 - Awaken to rain shower which sends some scrambling from tent city; others stay in place allowing rain to pour down on them like God's grace as we head for U S waters anticipating arrival this evening; also note that ship is now listing to the port side which sends the waste water to flood the rest of our bathroom floors
0620 - Pick up my BlackBerry and iPad from 6347 and head to area around ATM machine where a power line is working for some inexplicable reason; pax ingenuity has created some 60 or 70 plug-ins using extension cords found behind TVs in cabins; many available as the crowd has yet to arrive so I plug in both and spend a little over one hour with eight or nine other folks reliving our experience of the last few days; everyone has a different story or two that is their personal highlight - or lowlight - as the case may be
0820 - Need a shower but using our bathroom is akin to showering in a porta-potty; jump in nonetheless and use cold water to freshen and cleanse body to the degree possible; can't escape foul odor no matter where you go in the interior part of ship
0915 - Pax advised that we have now travelled 201 nautical miles with 110 left to go to U S waters and the head of Mobile Channel; ETA is revised to 0900 Thursday, a full 13 hours beyond earlier estimate; expect arrival at cruise dock at 1600 Thursday pm
0920 - Pax advised that supply ship will arrive at 1400 and dispatch helicopter to land on ship's deck to offload food, drinks and other supplies; additionally, the Carnival Elation will make a return visit later in the day with more delicacies
0930 - U S Coast Guard aircraft now circling ship to much jubilation amongst pax
0945 - Pax advised they need to break down tent city by removing the sheets that serve as shade cover and wind breaks so that the helicopter can land safely; groans heard throughout Lido Deck
1010 - Pax asked again to remove sheets from tent city to ensure safe landing of helicopter
1145 - Jen provides weather report and advises that it is colder today; we speculate that she has seen everyone walking around in sweatshirts or wind shirts as she is the master of the obvious; wishes everyone a " brilliant" afternoon
1430 - Cargo ship arrives in area and helicopter begins deliveries; pax crowd upper decks to watch highlight of the day; great anticipation that a special dinner awaits
1500 - I check in with Guest Services and learn that we will disembark ship by deck once at dock; however, bride told that we will be given group priority as an entire wedding party
1750 - Thunderstorm has arrived with a pretty good lightning show but no major downpour thus far; helicopter activity suspended but expected to resume in a couple of hours according to the Captain; another tug expected to arrive shortly to help get us over the hump but no change in ETA
1815 - Pax advised Carnival Elation will not be joining us this evening since cargo ship is providing sufficient provisions
1900 - I scout the dinner offerings and report the situation back at 6347; although the food looks a little more appetizing none of us wants to stand on long line in cold and rainy conditions on Lido Deck so the four of us have dinner by flashlight consisting of Pringles, cashews, and diet cokes.
2145 - As bedtime approaches we hear that media are reporting that conditions on the ship are very good with electricity and other services being provided to pax such that what we are experiencing is an extension of a normal cruise and having a blast; fact is the only power available is that being used to provide emergency lighting, to show movies in a lounge and support a band playing in the casino bar area the last two days, to support a half dozen or so toilets in public areas, provide fresh water, and a single grill on the Lido Deck. If there is any other power available it is not apparent and the only service available in any cabin is running cold water; this is not a pleasure

Day Seven Status - Slightly improved but far from good; no power, no comms, no lighting, very limited toilet service, no a/c or heat, cold showers but warm drinks, food a little better but it still doesn't stimulate many appetites, waste water subsided in cabin but carpets still damp, residue in bathrooms and odors prevail throughout; health concerns remain and I still don't know about Pope or Pebble

Thursday, February 14th
0400 - Try cell phone but still no service but believe we have entered U S waters
0630 - Head to 6347 and find girls awake; we sing Happy Birthday to Hannah (2 years old today); Hannah has taken ill and we are most concerned about her
1000 - Pax advised that we have yet to reach the Mobile channel due to winds and currents overnight; new ETA 1230 with arrival at the dock somewhere between 8 and 11 tonight; rental car option appears to be gone due to arrival after close of rental car operation
1030 - Brain trust gathers for discussion and decides bus to New Orleans makes no sense since it will mean middle of the night arrival; 11 of us opt for bus to Houston overnight and meet up there with our shuttle bus from San Antonio
1100 - We pack our bags in hopes that we be able to get off the ship as soon as we hit the dock; I believe I have become a “germaphobe” as I have been washing my hands every 20 or 30 minutes, using Purell whenever I pass a dispenser, refusing to eat food that has been prepared under suspect conditions, and now have thrown away my sandals because of the contaminated places they have stepped; some of my clothes may never see the light of day either
1300 - Captain advises pax that our power tugboat has broken down and will have to be replaced so we are once again adrift with smaller tugs trying to hold us in place; no estimate on how long delay will be; customs people have come on board and we are currently being processed
1430 - Arrival time set for 2200 as new tug has arrived and we are moving once again; many news helicopters now circling overhead and comms starting to work so reports coming in as to what the media is saying; after an absence of 104 hours, and for no particular reason at all, our toilet flushes all by itself
2200 - Arrive at Mobile having observed many well-wishers along the channel as we proceed toward the dock; approximately 60 media personnel observed at the dock in a cordoned off area; Jen promises a swift and easy disembarkation process by deck and we proceed to the stairwell to await call for Deck 6; option for priority offload as a wedding party seems to have dropped from the plan to our dismay
2330 - So much for quick and easy as our call finally comes after a 90 minute wait; proceed through terminal to transportation area and major chaos ensues as a mass gaggle of pax are rushing off ship and milling around looking for the bus they want; while there are guides available they are invisible in the crowds; our small group of 11 has been separated during the mass exodus from Deck 6 and only four of us emerge from the pack together; I locate a bus to Houston with 20 seats available but we are missing 7 from our group; the bus waits awhile but still no sight of our buds so off it goes; 5 minutes later the group emerges from the terminal having gotten hung up when part of their luggage was left on Deck 5 by the crew members who were designated to carry it downstairs
0055 - Another bus is finally designated for Houston and we all wearily make our way to our seats and settle in for the start of our homeward journey

Day Eight Status - Once we stepped on dry land we all gave a rousing cheer and thanked our God for answering the many prayers offered by so many friends and family; despite the ordeal we feel blessed that the fire was contained and we did not have to jump in a lifeboat and don our life preservers; all in all the crew provided exceptional support, the pax kept their spirits high, and we survived what was one of the toughest experiences most had ever endured; oh, and I finally learned that the Pope is resigning and that my boy Sneds won at Pebble

Friday, February 15th
0815 - We arrive at the Doubletree Hotel at Hobby Airport in Houston after a smooth bus ride and meet our shuttle to San Antonio; son Chip who lives nearby graciously makes the trek to the hotel to greet us and love on us and we are most grateful; our entire group wants a McDonald's fix so Chip leads the shuttle to the nearest location and we all rush in; our driver tells the manager that we are fresh off the Carnival Triumph and she declares breakfast on the house
0900 - After getting our fill we are off to San Antonio and as we approach the city the kids in the group plead for a Whataburger lunch so we stop at The Rim to satisfy their craving (and ours as well!); once again when the manager learns of who we are free meals are provided and a group photo is taken for the company magazine
1345 - We proceed to the bride and groom's home where our cars are parked, offload the bus, load our vehicles and head home; communication from Stephanie indicates that she and Hannah will arrive in Kansas City at 1600
1425 - We pull into our driveway with great relief and observe the excitement and joy of KK, one of our two pooches, who is jumping up and down at the gate to the back yard. Waiting for us on the front door was a Welcome Home sign, provided by a caring family from our church.

Day Nine Status - Life is all good once again!

Terri's Tidbit for Today: If you live in and around San Antonio, you will want to follow the TX-DOT Blog. It has lots of great information on road closures, project progress and future projects. There is so much construction going on right now. This might help you avoid some of the areas most affected. Click here for that blog.

1 comment:

sage said...

Your dad had told me this story--I can't image what this must have been like. btw, this is a 2nd cousin posting from his "semi-anonymous" blog