Carnival Freedom, Part 7
Thursday May 28, 09
Our 6th day onboard the Carnival Freedom got off to a rather unusual start, at the ungodly hour of 5 a.m.
Long before we docked in Tortola, we were rudely awakened by the "bing-bong" message broadcast in the hallway and cabin, regarding a missing person.
One of those messages that you usually hear just before sailing from a port, when perhaps one or more passengers haven't returned to the ship on time, but this time, it was 5 a.m. and sounded very serious.
This missing person was asked to contact the Main Desk immediately, and the pleas continued about every 15 or 20 minutes all morning.
As we left our cabin for breakfast that morning, Security was visible in the hallways, and all room stewards were being handed a sheet of paper with the photo and vital statistics of the missing person.
In the Lido restaurant, there were more security officers, handing out fliers to all staff members, from those serving behind the counters, to the wait staff and bus boys.
I managed to catch a glimpse of one of the fliers, to see a white, 39 year old woman with dark hair.
Of course, the worst case scenarios go through your head when something like this happens; suicide, accidentally falling overboard, or even murder. I could just imagine the press having a field day with this news - another passenger missing from a cruise ship!
All staff members, and especially the security staff, looked very grim, and we knew this was a very serious situation.
Around 7:30 a.m., our usually bright and chipper Cruise Director made an announcement that was anything but bright and chipper.
In a very serious tone verging on panic, he informed us that they were investigating a missing person case, and would all passengers please co-operate with ship security as they conducted a cabin-to-cabin search!
Sure enough, when we returned to our cabin to collect our things for our shore excursion, room stewards and security staff were going door-to-door, waking people up and asking to search their cabins.
Clearance for disembarking in Tortola was slightly delayed, and I was actually surprised they let anyone off the ship, given the seriousness of the situation.
We had to be on the pier by 8 a.m. for our tour, "The Best of Tortola, Beach & Lunch Tour", but our concern about this missing woman clouded most of our day.....
Our tour began on an open-air bus, taking us through the town and up, up, up the very steep winding hills and hairpin curves of the island. It was very scary, but the views from each vantage point were amazing!
Our bus driver was an affable fellow who's "real" job was as an island police officer. He drove tour buses in his spare time, and his wife also worked in the tourism industry.
Eventually, our hair-raising ride ended at Cane Garden Bay, a gorgeous beach featuring clean, clear, calm water, pretty sailboats, no loud music, and very friendly and helpful staff.
Again at this beach, vendors were confined to a seperate tented area, and not allowed on the beach.
The tents were full and business looked to be doing quite well!
Lunch was included with this tour, and we were directed to an enclosed area with tables, chairs and tablecloths, and in a very orderly fashion, each table was invited up to the buffet to be served a feast of ribs, chicken, fish, rice, potatoes, stir-fry vegetables, salad and bread. Staff members circulated amongst the tables serving fruit punch as well.
Our meal was excellent, service was pleasant, and we even found Bushwackers at the bar for a mere $5!
A wonderful beach excursion, and highly recommended!
While waiting for the bus back, we heard through the grapevine that the missing woman had been found, but there were no details whatsoever.
It wasn't until 2 days later, while speaking to a staff member on the ship, that we found out the story behind the disappearing woman.
Apparently, she was found in a cabin with "another man", which was bad enough, but the woman was on her honeymoon! When her husband found out, he promptly left the ship, and presumably, his marriage......
Despite the scandalous outcome of this incident, I must say I was very impressed with Carnival's handling of the situation. They were prompt, serious, efficient and thorough, and we were relieved that the whole thing had a somewhat happy ending (she was found alive and well).
After our lovely morning on the beach, we were able to relax on the ship for the afternoon, mostly by the aft pool, but I also spent a little time by the main pool, checking out the movie playing on the Seaside Theatre.
Unfotunately we just never got around to seeing an evening movie under the stars, because there didn't seem to be very interesting choices of movies available that week.
On this evening, the real Repeat Passenger party was held in the Victoriana Lounge at 5:15.
There was a large turnout, and real (strong) drinks, delicious h'or d'oeuvres, live music, dancing and door prizes.
The usual Carnival video was screened, and everyone cheered for each ship they had sailed. Funship Freddie made an appearance, and all the entertainment staff as well as the Captain were on hand.
It was a very nice time, and we were impressed with Carnival's customer appreciation.
Dinner this evening was another outstanding meal. We just could not get over how wonderful the main dining room meals were on the Freedom!
I had a delightful California Spring Mixed Salad, and one of my favourites, Tom Turkey. James had his nightly order of Tiger Shrimp, which he loved, as well as Mushroom Soup and a Filet Mignon that was better than the one he'd had in the specialty restaurant the night before - at least it was well-cooked!
Dessert for us both was a delightful Chocolate-Raspberry Vanilla Cream Cake with Raspberry Sorbet, that proved that the pastry chefs were as good as the meal chefs onboard!
The evening's entertainment was a comedian by the unusual name of Happy Cole.
We attended his show, which was hilariously funny, especially for me, when he imitated spoiled demanding children whining gibberish at their parents. I was laughing so hard I was choking!
Once again, after the show, we were too tired to do anything else, so headed off to bed, hoping there would be no more rude awakenings at 5 a.m.!
Goodnight Mr. Dinosaur! See you tomorrow at sea.....