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Old September 18th, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Default Unusual events while cruising

I thought it might be fun to start a new thread about unusual or memorable events you have experienced while onboard.

An eerie one we had was while on the Sun Princess docked in Cozumel. I went out on the balcony to see the beautiful Windjammer, “Phantome”, a 282 foot, 4 master. It was neat to see this old tall ship in port under full rigging. As expected the crew and passengers were having a blast. Except for the tall ship festival in Boston this was the first time ever seeing a tall ship up close and personal. What a beautiful sight!

Sadly, just a week or so later Hurricane Mitch, a Cat 5 hurricane hit the Caribbean. News reports had it that this ship went into port in Belize and unloaded all passengers. The crew was then ordered to take the ship out to sea and “outrun” the hurricane. The last report had it off the coast of Honduras after which it was never heard from again.

We watched a much more pleasant event unfold while on a RCL ship (forget which one) while a few hundred miles off Puerto Rico.

Mid evening the Captain came on to say we were stopping to wait for a Coast Guard helicopter to arrive to take off a crew member with a serious medical problem.
In typical fashion my husband grabbed all of us and made a dash for Viking Crown Lounge to get a front row seat of the action. Within 10 minutes there must have been 200 passengers peering out the glass windows. Shortly after in came the helicopter, lights flashing. After making two or three circles around the ship the pilot brought her in to hover about 30 feet above the pool area. Quite a feat considering all the antennas, the superstructure, and the cable that runs front to back on the ship (the one all the flags usually hang off of).
I’ll bet the rotor blades were no more than 50 feet from the windows we were looking out of. Not very bright of us not to ponder what might have happened if there were a problem and here we all were so close to those deadly blades.
Anyway, within minutes the crew dashed out to the deck, a basket was lowered, and the hurt crew member and a nurse were hoisted up to the helicopter and on their way. Hats off to the Coast Guard.

I have a few more stories to share that I’ll post later.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 01:03 PM
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On the Conquest 2004...While waiting in line to get back on the ship in Cozumel, my bf & I look over & in one of the Riviera deck porthole windows there were 3 little boys about 4 or 5 in age to about 9. They were waving to everyone, then 2 of them leave the window and the youngest sticks out his tongue turns around & then moons EVERYONE! I don't even think the kids parents knew this happened. It definitely gave us a good laugh, as well as everyone in line (there were also people in line for a HA ship that saw this).
SE
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Old September 18th, 2005, 01:19 PM
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Well.. we've had a few odd moments. Most of them created by us
Like the cruisemates at the PJ sailaway party

Or one of our groups flying kites off the stern of the ship

Or one of our groups donning antlers in the dining room for formal night
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Old September 18th, 2005, 01:39 PM
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This should be an interesting thread. Kiddie Mooning? I never heard of that before! "From the mouthes of babes" I've heard of, but....!?

On my very first cruise back in 1978, on a brand new ship (Cunard Princess), we never made it back to our port of origin. Oh, eventually many of the passengers made it back to Port Everglades...but the ship didn't (at least, not when the pax did). The ship developed serious engine problems while in the Carib. and had to limp back to San Juan for repairs. The passengers were disembarked at St. Croix (an unscheduled stop), and were flown to Miami on American Airlines charters. That's right, Miami! The line then offered to bus us to Port Everglades if we needed to pick up our cars, etc. I wonder how many times this has happened to anyone?

But perhaps the strangest thing that happened us on a cruise actually happened after the cruise was over. We sailed on Renaissance's R1 from Barcelona on 9/16/01 on a 12-day cruise. After several stops in Spain, France and Italy we arrived at Civitavecchia on the morning of the 25th. Following a day of touring in Rome, we disembarked on the morning of Sept. 26th and proceeded to the airport for our return flight to N.Y. That was the day that Renaissance filed for bankruptcy, and went out of business! Thousands of their passengers were stranded at ports all over the world. But we were fortunate enough to have completed what turned out to be the "last cruise of Renaissance Cruise Lines".

Jack
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Old September 18th, 2005, 01:49 PM
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My next three stories all happened on the brand new Legend of the Seas on one of its first sailings. This was a 10 day cruise from Vancouver to Hawaii; 5 days crossing the Pacific then 5 around the islands. A fantastic cruise, one of the best we ever experienced.

The first funny thing happened at dinner the first night out. At our table sat down two guys dressed in jeans, blue work shirts, and work boots, not your usual “elegant casual dress”. During the entire dinner they never had a thing to say. We just put that down to a couple of weird guys and were not looking forward to spending 9 more dinners with them.
Well we did not see them the next few nights but getting on an elevator one day here were our missing dinner companions. Turns out this new ship had a lot of little things not completed and there were about fifty workmen onboard to finish things off. Seems that the first night these guys did not know where to go so they just went to the main dining room and simply picked empty seats.

Four days into the cruise while about 400 miles from land my husband said “something is up, the ship is turning around”. A few minutes later the Captain came on to tell us we were turning back to help a boat in distress. A half hour or so later we approached this little bitty sail boat with just one guy onboard. Alongside we came.

The ships crew opened the hatch on the side (where they load and unload cargo) and started to toss provisions to the sailor. We later found out this guy was sailing single-handed from San Diego to Hawaii and had run into bad weather. He had planned for a trip much shorter in duration and had run out of food and water.

At first here we were with the sail boat banging against the side of our ship, parts of the sailboat breaking off as he smacked against our side, and all the provision we were tossing to him bouncing off and floating away. An ocean covered with oranges and cantaloupes! (so much for “Save the Waves”)

And here is this guy all alone not wearing either a life jacket or a safety line. Oh well.
To shorten the story the ships crew finally put across a cargo net and loaded this lucky guy with food, water and jerry jugs of diesel fuel. Off he and we went. The Captain later came on to say he had called the sailors family on the mainland to let them know their son was ok.

Weird happenings on this cruise were not over with. When we got to Maui the ship docked for the first time ever at the commercial dock on the opposite side of the island from Lahaina.

While we were driving down from the top of Haleakala my husband noticed a ship going out to sea and kidded us that our ship was sailing away without us.
Little did he know that was true. When we got to Lahaina to board busses to return to the ship we were told it was sailing to us. Before long into sight she came and dropped anchor in the harbor.

It seems a strong wind came up while the ship was docked; strong enough to snap all the forward lines off the ship.
The crew on the bridge was able to order the starboard anchor dropped and full thrust on the forward thruster which saved the ship from crashing against rocks only a few feet away. Tugs then got her out to sea.
A funny aside; here are about 1000 passengers standing on shore waiting for tenders to take us back to the ship. Many were %**&&%^%# and complaining about being stuck on shore. We later heard that the people on ship were upset that they were stuck there. Guess no one is ever happy. Heck, I can think of 1000 places worse than being either onshore in Maui or “stuck” on ship.
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Old September 18th, 2005, 02:38 PM
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In 1985 we went to Europe for the 1st time and took a cruise on the then Sun Line cruise ship Stella Maris visiting the Greek Islands. All my family and friends knew was that we were on a cruise in Europe.

On the way home, we had to change plans and fly on Swiss Air via Geneva rather then come straight home on Olympic Airlines. We were stuck in Geneva for 4 days due to another airlilne strike.

What we did not know at that time was that while we were cruising in Greece, the Achilees Lauro was high jacked. Because we were late getting back, my family,friends and job thought we were on the that ship instead of the Stella Maris.

Needless to say, the lesson I learned was to leave exact information with at least one person so if anything happens they know where to start. Of course today, with e-mail, that is not a problem
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Old September 18th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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We were nearing the end of our cruise on R-1 of Renaisance cruises. While in Kusadosa (sp) Turkey there came up a very strong wind. I was on the dock waiting to reboard. The wind came from the Starboard side and blew the ship away from it moorings. It broke the forward lines and went out into the harbor for about 50 ft before the bridge watch got her under control. The gangway naturally dropped down along side of the ship. The ship under control of the bridge watch powered her back to the dock with the gangway dangling along side. It continued to come along side with the gangway still along side. The gangway was crushed and the beautifuly wooden railings began to fly towards us. We retreated very rapidly and no one was hurt. Picked up a piece of the wooden railing and brought it onboard. Offered to auction it off but no taker. sssh.

We stood on the dock until the ship's crew could launch another gangway further to aft. All this made a lot of conversations among the passengers
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Old September 18th, 2005, 04:37 PM
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I've relayed this story before, so you may have already seen it,,,however, we were sailing the Century, I don't even know what port, but we were tied up to a pier with a Carnival ship on the opposite side of the pier. The lovely Mrs. Jones and I were at dinner in the beautiful dining room, when we began to back away. The usual crowd of young men were aboard the Carnival ship, and just as we were underway for sure, they all turned around, mooned us, and everyone else sitting on that side of the dining room. A giant OOOOHHHH rang through the ship as word spread about the "sighting", then a roar of laughter as more realized what had just happened. It was a sight that I won't soon forget!
See you aboard,
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Old September 19th, 2005, 07:20 PM
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Since this started with a hurricane Mitch story I'll continue in that same time frame. We boarded Horizon one day after Mitch had circled back through the Gulf and hit Florida on a very unusual west to east coast direction.
We were a bit late sailing as effects of Mitch were still impacting flights into Ft Lauderdale. About 2 and a half hours out to sea the cruise director announced we were returning to Ft Lauderdale for a medical emergency. Sure enough, around we went and just as we were finishing late seating dinner we landed back in port. Off a small ramp extended from the lower deck came a family, all their belongings and a stretcher with a body bag.
An elderly gentleman had secumbed to the heat and stress of travel with a massive heart attack, it happens and is very sad. We were off and sailing in less than 5 minutes.
Two days later we came to out first port. St Martin. While we boarded the public tenders that serviced St Martin in those days, a small boat pulled alongside. Off came a family , their belongings and a stretcher with a body bag(to be met at the dock with a hearse). A young man, 28, had a severe allergic reaction to peanuts he consumed at the bar. he died before help could be summoned.
Last stop on the cruise was St Thomas. We docked at the sub base, not Havensight. As we exited the ship we were held back to clear the gangplank. Off rolled an elderly gent in a wheel chair. Hooked to iv's and followed by his family. He was picked up by a waiting ambulance and whisked away. After a long day on the island we arrived back at the ship and were once again held aside from boarding. Here came the ambulance once again and off came another elderly passenger in a wheel chair.
We later found out that both these passengers had suffered heart attacks
or strokes and neither survived.
It was a very somber group that cruised back to Ft Lauderdale for the next two days. Rumors abounded and stories that there were other "victoms" on the ship were all over.
Very eerie, but explainable by the very elderly crowd, the extreme heat and the stresses of travel.
Our Captain, on Windjammer Flying Cloud, Captain Adrian, had been Captain of Fantome for several years and he gave a detailed account of his understanding of her final days late one night.
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Old September 20th, 2005, 04:32 PM
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I have some dead and dying stories but, jeez, lets lighten things up a bit.

On the Sensation out of Galveston two years ago we had a group of 30 cross dressers who really livened up the cruise. They were certainly a sight to behold as they posed on the grand staircase for their formal shot.
Several bikini-clad guys posed pool side for photos and they delighted in leading the pool party dancing each evening. It was a cruise to remember.

On that same trip there was a ballroom dance group of about 100 Vietnamese members onboard. They were delightful to watch on the dance floor but between them and our crossdresser friends you couldn't get a foot on the floor and who could possibly compete with the fabulous dresses of either group!
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Old September 20th, 2005, 05:01 PM
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In May 2001 we were on the Elation out of Los Angelos on a Mexican Riviera run - one day out to see and what do we see but another Carnival ship - the then brand new Spirit on her ignogrial voyage. Well we were listening to the bridge traffic and they were having fun - "We will get you!" and they turned the Spirit ship toward our broadside and it really looked like it would ram us - it turned and we got some great pictures of the beautiful ship! It was really funny - obviously these guys like to have fun too.

Seen some medical evacs too - one was funny only in the sense that it was 3 days into the 5 days at sea back to Vancover from Hawaii and it was cold with not much to do so everyone got out on deck in the cold weather bringing trays of hot chocolate - you would think we were all about to watch a movie! It was awesome though to watch the coast guard. One really funny thing about it too was we were in our cabin on the back of the ship and all of a sudden the whole thing just shakes uncontrollably - so bad that my towel monkey hanging from my vanity did some shaking of its own and finally fell apart - very funny to watch! They had put on the brakes so to speak to stop the ship for the evac.

We actually get a kick out of things that are said by people on the ship that we meet - we are still repeating many of them and some of our friends must think we are nuts when we say something out of the blue and start laughing! "Do you eat bananas with brown spots?" "There are WHALES in the Port of Houston!" and so many more! "Granny and Cabana Boy" These two were making a new meaning to the term dirty dancing! If they were younger - she was about 80 and he was about 50-60 and he was about 2 feet shorter than her - there would have been some things said but as it was I think we were all in shock - and soo soooooo funny! I hope I'm like that at 80! haha He looked like Cheat and Chong cabana boy... Too many stories and saying - that is what we so love about cruising and life! Great thread! Debbie
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Old September 20th, 2005, 05:16 PM
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For PapaBill: Do you recall any of the story that the former captain of the Fantome told you about it's demise?
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Old September 20th, 2005, 05:34 PM
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I recall the whole story, too long to relate here . A book has been written about it, I'll try and find the name.
The bottom line was that Mitch was a very destructive and very unpredictable storm. She came across the gulf and into Honduras with a vengence. She was predicted to turn north and go towards Mexico. Fantome unloaded her passengers and based on best predicted path she headed in the opposite direction (south and west) for the shelter of a southern Caribbean Island. Mitch hooked south and overtook Fantome at sea. Contact was lost with the crew and days later only minor wreckage of this beautiful ship and her wonderful crew were located. I believe thirty something lives were lost. Mitch continued a big hook through the Caribbean and eventually passed back over southern Florida on a west to east path. The storm then basically headed north and east out into the open Atlantic.
Captain Adrian was known as a story teller. He kept us enthralled with his stories of Fantome and other Windjammers which he crewed or captained over his long career. Another story he related was about being forced to come close to shore near the island of Viequez (off Puerto Rico ). Viequez is known recently because US Navy used it for bombing and naval excercise. He was trying to arrange to get a passenger emergency evacuated by the US coast guard while at the same time was arguing with the US Navy by radio for sailing in restricted waters. The way he spun the tale it would have made a great movie for TV.
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