I didn't even know how good cruising could be until 2005. I always believed I was reincarnated from the Titanic and didn't want to sail again. However my youngest daughter was graduating from the University of Southern California with her Master's Degree and we thought this would be a nice graduation gift for her. My oldest daughter and her friend had sailed before so when they were in the midst of making arrangements for this cruise we jumped aboard. This was our first cruise liner.
What a Sight!
Needless to say this was quite an adventure. The day we flew out of Philadelphia to Ft. Lauderdale Hurricane Dennis was aiming for Florida. My oldest daughter and her friend were going to fly down the next day but when they learned our flight was delayed an hour because of the weather, hopped on the next outbound flight that night. My youngest daughter in CA had no choice but to fly in the next morning when Dennis was supposed to hit.
We had a wild night at the hotel too. The winds picked up and the ominous clouds moved in. About 3:00 am the fire alarm went off and we all had to evacuate our rooms. Good thing we were on vacation as I did have nice night clothes and a robe. As we all sat in the lobby until the all clear was given, my husband and I were discussing how we were going to go fetch our youngest if her plane couldn't land. Yep, we were willing to rent a car and go find her, sail or no sail that day.
We finally went back to our rooms but neither of us slept as the wind blew harder. Then around 5:00 am in walked our youngest. Turns out she had some adventure herself. The plane evidently tried to land when it went into a deep dive. She flew Jet Blue which had some type of monitor that showed the plane's position etc. When the pilots regained control they let everyone know that they were going to try to land one more time in Ft. Lauderdale but if something similar happened again they would move on. All's well that ends well.
Dennis hadn't made landfall yet so of course we had to go out in it. Something about a hurricane that dares people to challenge the Gods. It was pretty windy but no rain. Shortly after our outing we boarded a bus for Miami.
You cannot even begin to imagine my excitement. Remember I've never cruised before therefore I took no chances and put a patch behind my ear. We easily went through the formalities of having our pictures taken and sharing greetings as we were warmly welcomed aboard the ship. It was enormous.
I couldn't take pictures fast enough. The horn finally sounded and we were off sailing on the Valor.
Those of you who have sailed before know that the lifeboat drill occurs within the first half hour or so out. The alarm sounded and by the time I figured out, with some help from my husband, how to get the life jacket on, I was determined I'd never take it off. We maneuvered into the mob of passengers headed to their posts. How do they know where to go? I don't know. We just followed.
Eventually we found the deck and were told to move down to a section and stand as far back to the wall as we could. Past cruisers stop laughing. It was bad enough that I had a fear of sailing but I'm claustrophobic as well and not that tall. I'm glad the man that was squishing me against the wall had showered and had deodorant on.
We were packed in there like sardines with at least 7 rows of bodies in front of us. After the drill I told my family not to wait for me at the lifeboats. I've seen Titanic enough to know that I'm either going down with the ship or jumping with my life jacket in hand. I'll figure out how to put it on in the water. Then they reminded me that we would be in warm waters where sharks live. Yep, I have a fear of sharks too.
Fortunately the ship was so gorgeous and full of so many activities that the thought of sinking quickly disappeared from my mind. Our cabin was really cool. We had a balcony and sat out there many times. I couldn't lean over the railing or really get to close to it. Never had a fear of heights until my husband took me on a company trip to the Canary Islands. That's another story.
We had four ports of call on our itinerary. The first was Belize. I couldn't help but take this picture, global warming you know.
Yep, it was a real challenge and if you check out the guide, he's laughing. When we first went in the caves, we were told to turn our headlights off so we could get a true effect of the total darkness. Oops, I had my glow in the dark watch on and Wow did it glow. So much for total darkness.
When we finished spelunking we made our way back through the jungle, ok so it wasn't a real one but hey there was a lot of thick ground cover and everything else, to our vehicles, and then to resting place where they served the best Rum Punch I've ever had . Believe me we all needed and enjoyed it.
Once they had us all relaxed from this very strenuous adventure, we boarded a cigarette boat for our voyage down the Wallace River to our ship. By the way Rum Punch was in abundance throughout that voyage. What a great time!
Well this is getting too long for me too. Time to sign off for now. Maybe I'll finish it on my Firecrackinmama.com and then maybe not. Maybe I'll come back here and tell you the rest of this adventure. It's by no means done.
Have a Firecrackin Good Day!