Tuesday, February 27, 2024

When things start downhill it is hard to right the ship


My wife was anxious to get away, so we booked a cruise out of Galveston, which would take us to ports of call in Mexico. My newspaper staff was very supportive of my decision and wished me a happy week of relaxation and fun.

My wife and I enjoy cruising. It is relaxing, and we both love the sound of the ocean. Cruising seemed like the solution to all that ailed me, but little did I know what adventures I had coming.

We took off for Galveston on Friday, stopping in Houston at Captain Bennie’s, one of our favorite places to eat. My wife and her family have been going to the restaurant for years, so whenever we are in Houston, we look forward to dining there. We made it to Galveston with no issues. The hotel room was fine, and next morning the breakfast at the Sunflower Café was tremendous. We parked our car and checked in at the ship about 1 pm. and were ready for the ship to launch and start enjoying our vacation.

Unfortunately, it seems that during the previous night, while crossing the Caribbean and on its way back to Galveston, our ship had encountered tumultuous weather. Evidently, the ship passed through a storm so severe and unexpected it caused the ship to list severely. The sea became so rough even the water in the swimming pool was cast out! There was hail and high waves that crashed into the ship from multiple directions. We saw a video on YouTube showing people wearing their life jackets, with furniture and glassware falling from shelves. In conversing with some of the ship’s crew, they made it clear there were some issues with the ship because of the storm.

When we arrived at our room, we found the carpet wet and some of the furniture damp. We were on the eighth floor, so the only explanation I can imagine is the wind blew so hard it forced rain under the balcony door. As we visited with other guests, it was apparent other travelers faced similar challenges with their staterooms.

At this point we received an email from the cruise line, explaining the problems they were encountering and assuring us the cruise was not canceled but making everyone aware they had options. Guests could stay on board and receive a $1,000 onboard credit, or they could leave the boat and receive a full refund, plus receive a free trip on a future cruise. We had our hearts set on making this trip and getting away, but at the same time, tried to be practical. We talked and decided perhaps it would be best to disembark. Who knew what issues the ship might have? Who wanted to be at sea and find out the toilets did not work, or the kitchen was shut down?

Let me be clear, I do not blame the cruise line at all. They were very kind, so much so I felt bad that an act of nature was going to cause them so much expense and trouble. This was simply bad luck all around.

We disembarked the ship and were giggling and joking about our situation, thinking about how there was no reason to be upset. It was just a little bad luck. We could get back in the car and drive over to San Antonio or Fredericksburg and spend two or three nights and have a very good time. We would get our money back from the cruise and in the future, get a free cruise to boot! We were good troopers and determined to make the best of a bad situation.

Then the other shoe dropped. The cruise line could not find our luggage. With over 8,000 pieces of luggage to sort through, they could not find our two bags prior to the ship departing. We were in Galveston with none of our belongings.

Our hearts sank. With no clothes, toiletries, or my CPAP machine, we would have no choice but to drive home. There would be no cruise, there would be no fun in San Antonio, there would be no “making the best of a bad situation.” We simply got in the car and drove home.

I would like to tell you the rest of the week went well but I can’t. A fraudulent bank transaction was uncovered, and I spent a portion of my time getting that issue resolved. I fell down a stairway, but fortunately was not injured other than a few bruises and a blow to my pride. We did decide to go the stock show but got called back home because my beloved Miss Jayne had been taken to the hospital. Fortunately, she is back in her residence and doing fine. Perhaps the highlight of the week was cleaning out the garage. Now, that is some vacation!

Right now, I am thinking that going back to work seems relaxing.

Thought for the day: Write your bad luck on the sand of a beach, chisel your blessings on a piece of granite stone.

Until next time…I will keep ridin’ the storm out!