Tag Archives: cruising

Storms of Life

It has been a long time since I have posted anything. I had made a resolution once before to post every month but life gets in the way. Once I finished my memoir I spent time resting, then enjoying the summer life on the island.

Finishing a major project that had been years in the making was amazing. It made me not want to take on any major project anytime soon. I took on teaching some personal development classes. Mostly I reacquainted myself with the beach, the ocean, my friends and my community.

My sister and I were overdue for a Sisters Travel Adventure. Even planning that became a logistical adventure in and of itself. Finally we decided on a cruise to Cuba.

The cruise itself was wonderful. Experiencing Cuba amazing!  I spent a great deal of it following in Hemingway’s footsteps. The writer in me couldn’t resist. In doing so I was able to experience Cuban culture and experience the openness of the people. I discovered that they had a love affair with Hemingway way beyond my interest in seeing the places he spent his time writing and drinking! (That’s another blog in and of itself that I still haven’t taken the time to write)

And while on that cruise my life began to take a turn I didn’t see coming. As we explored Cozumel, I heard rumblings of a major hurricane heading for the east coast- the Carolina’s to be exact. The next day on the ship I heard people talking anxiously about this hurricane.

I met people who lived around me concerned about getting home and what they would do when they got there. I still wasn’t concerned but I was alert. Then I met a women who lived not far from where I lived, she had talked to family back home and she was  very alarmed about what they had told her.

I finally tuned in – when I am on a trip I unplug from my phone, the news etc. I watched the news and saw this massive storm heading straight for where I lived. So I went from vacation to evacuation.

The month of September just went by. It seemed forever before I was able to return home. And when I did life was off kilter as every one tried to pick up the pieces.I was lucky as the damage in my life was contained and manageable but it shook me up.

It sent me looking for my next step-my next project. I craved a new direction. So in the midst of clean up I made a decision to step into a new direction with my career.

That has kept me out of circulation as I restructure and rearrange my thoughts, my development, my directions and my projects. I am excited about this new avenue. I am trying to interweave and blend this new project into my life.

I actually came on here to see about making changes and restructuring my website and blog(s). And instead I find myself writing to you- here. I am not sure how it is all going to come together yet, it is still a work in progress.

I am good at turning corners, in fact  I crave the adventure of change, new learning, new possibilities, new discoveries, exploring new places and meeting new people. I guess that is why I love travel so much! And it is another travel component that is the new path I am adding to my projects.

One of the Amazing things about traveling is through discovering other places, cultures and meeting new people I have discovered and uncovered so much more about myself,  who I am and who I am capable of being. Stepping out of my comfort zone, reaching out and connecting into the world has taught me more about what lies within me.

I have seen my passion of travel be reignited several years ago and wanderlust has taken me by the storm! And more that just sharing my love of travel through my series Sisters Travel Adventures- it is time to take that a step further and help you Discover the World and Yourself through this amazing world of cruising and traveling!

It is time for you to Come Along on These Amazing Cruise Adventures or to Have one of Your Own!!

So are you ready to take to the Ocean of Possibilities and Set Sail to Discover the World!

 

Our First Cruise: Cruising in a Hurricane

Before I get into our current Sisters Adventures, I thought I would do a little reminiscing on how we came to love cruising the ocean blue. Ships and far off places were introduced to me by my dad, Jack. He was a custom broker in Boston. He often was going to the port to pick up paperwork from a container ship or going with custom inspectors to inspect incoming cargo. It was here that I first fell in love with ships. They were container ships and I learned about the process of importing rugs, furniture, lace, fabric and other items into the United States. I was fascinated about where these items came from and the countries and the customs and people of these far off places. He talked about taking me on one of these freighter ships on a trip.

And then Carnival Cruise Lines brought its first ships into the port of Boston. He saw these wonderful ocean liners and decided we were going on them. Our introduction to the ocean cruise ship was on a trip on the Carnival Mardi Gras from Boston to Bermuda. Bermuda was someplace we were familiar with because it was where we would go for a short vacation when our parents could afford it.Dad thought that this was a wonderful opportunity and he convinced mom to agree to this trip.We excitedly anticipated our very first cruise.

I had two friends and my sister had a friend who wanted to go and so we booked a quad cabin that was a small room with two sets of bunks. My parents booked a cabin for themselves and my sister.  All five of us girls actually stayed in our quad cabin with a cot in the middle between the bunks.

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We set sail in September from Boston. The memories that are strong are just pieces of the time we spent on the ship. The feeling of being on the ocean and my connection to it as well as to the friends I was with and the people we met are what has remained strongly imbedded in my being.

We left Boston on slightly rough seas. As the night progressed the seas got more turbulent. By morning I knew we were in for a wild ride. The ships staff were battening down the hatches. Decks were cleared. Doors were locked. We were informed by the Captain that we were in for rough seas as a hurricane had developed in the Atlantic Ocean. The ship was lunging and lurching. Walking down the halls straight was impossible.

I was excited! This was a wonderful opportunity to actually experience a hurricane. The Captain, officers and staff were on high alert. Yet I knew that none of them were afraid or worried. They went on about their duties with diligence. Safety of the ship and passengers was their high priority. Their confidence that all would be fine and that the ship would ride out the storm assured me that I had nothing to fear. So I went on enjoying myself, the cruise ship and even the storm.

I can’t day the same for many of the other passengers. The officers and staff encouraged the passengers to stay in the main larger areas of the ship, maintain food in their stomachs at all times and to only drink enough water to stay hydrated and not to drink too much otherwise. Many passengers didn’t follow the advice. They went to their cabins and were sick and unhappy. Many complained about not being able to enjoy the cruise.

I don’t remember anyone in our group having any difficulties or being sick. We enjoyed ourselves. One of my favorite things to do was to go out into the glassed in Promenade and watch the waves going up over the ship and feel the ship going down under and then back up again and lurching side to side. I also would go up to the room where the navigator was where they were tracking the storm and steering course and ask questions and watched the storm’s path and listen to the officers deciding the ship’s direction. It was here, either going in or coming out, that I would cross paths with my father. Another of our common interests.

 

We had five teenage girls in our cabin. Our cabin was situated aft off a small corridor off the main port side hallway. There was one other cabin at the end of the corridor. One evening as we were getting ready for dinner, my friend Rose said, “We have to find out who is in the cabin so we can find out if we are disturbing them.” So she opened the cabin door and left it open.

We heard someone coming down the hall. Rose jumped out of the room, and startled the women. Rose introduced herself and told her we were sorry if we had been making too much noise or bothering her. She said she didn’t know if anyone was in that cabin because she hadn’t seen or heard anything. She looked inside the cabin and exclaimed. “You aren’t all staying in this little cabin?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, my!” she said, “You are welcome to use my bathroom it must be hard for all of you to get ready in here.”

Her name was Hilda and we became fast friends. Not only did we stay in touch with her, we would visit her at her spending many weekends at her house. Rose and I even went on another cruise with her and my great Aunt Dot.

As much as the ship’s captain and officers did their best to avoid the hurricane it was impossible. The hurricane zigged and we zagged and the hurricane zagged and we zigged. It was a game of sorts but a serious one. As we approached Bermuda we were out of the circulation of the storm but it was still meandering about. We were finally allowed out on to the decks. The ship was being guided by helicopters, a navy ship and even a submarine!

Mardi Gras submarine (800x600) (800x600)

The ship did not pull into port but laid anchor in the harbor. The ship offered the option of returning back to Boston by air. Many of those who were sick or were unhappy did. The captain informed us that if we chose to leave the ship to explore Bermuda we risked getting left behind. If the hurricane turned again and headed towards Bermuda he would immediately pull up anchor and head back out into open seas. If he did there would be a representative from the cruise line at the port to help make arrangements to fly back to Boston.

We had friends staying in Bermuda, at the hotel we always stayed at and so we took the risk. We tendered off the ship and went to the Sonesta Hotel to spend the day. We spent the day sunbathing, swimming and snorkeling having a wonderful day with our friends. Every once in a while my mom would say go see if the ship is still out there. So us kids would climb the nearby cliff and walk out to the point and look. Each time the Mardi Gras was still sitting there in the harbor.

At the end of the day, we returned to the ship. The seas on the way home were not the seas of the hurricane but were still rough. The ship was no longer full of passengers. Those of us who remained had the trip of a lifetime. The shows were spectacular! The food was amazing from breakfast to the mid-night buffet. The music and dancing the night away.

 

The Captain provide us with a map that detailed both the path of the hurricane and our path as a souvenir. Many of the passengers never wanted to take another cruise again. Instead it excited us and ignited a passion for the ocean and cruise liners in us that endures strong today. And so after a hiatus of raising children, Susan and I have returned to the sea and to the Cruising Adventures we have held in our hearts for all these years.

It is not only a love for each of us individually but it is our connection to each other and our family. And for me especially it is where I carry my dad’s love for me in my heart and soul. The ocean is home and family and me.

Susan and I began our cruise adventures on the very first Carnival Ship, the Mardi Gras and then cruised on the Carnival Ship itself. Several years later we sailed on our first maiden voyage of the Carnival Festival. Later this year we will be cruising on the newest Carnival Cruise Ship the Carnival Vista.

More Sisters Travel Adventures

 

Introduction to Sisters Travel Adventures

My sister, Susan and I began taking cruises when we were teenagers. Our dad spent time working at the port and loved the ocean and ships. When his business was doing well Carnival Cruise lines began cruises out of the port of Boston. He was so excited for us to take a cruise.

Our first cruise on the original Carnival ship, the Mardi Gras was an adventure at sea. We encountered a hurricane roaming erratically in the Atlantic. Several cruises later we embarked on a maiden voyage of a new ship. Eventually our cruise days dwindled and real life, marriage and children took precedent. But I was ever so great for the opportunity to be at sea and go on so many wonderful cruises. The memories sustained me and I always knew one day I would return to the sea and traveling.

Several years ago when our mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, my sister and I decided to revive our family tradition and began taking yearly cruises together. It has become a wonderful way to get together and spend time with each other. My sister still lives in Massachusetts not far from where we grew up but I now live in North Carolina. The ocean has become a central aspect of my life. The ocean is a connection between us and our childhood. It is a bond that continues to thrive.

We ventured out slowly, first taking a short five day voyage out of Miami. The next year we missed taking a cruise because mom was in the end stages of Alzheimer’s. After she passed away early the next year we planned our next cruise. To usher in a new chapter in our life, we planned a longer cruise, a nine day cruise out of New York City ending in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This cruise was our first big epic adventure together and our revived tradition became solidified.

Here I am going to document our travel adventures. This will be an ongoing series. At present we have been going on one cruise every year. Our goal is to not only continue that adventure but to eventually begin spending the winter months living in places we have always wanted to live. Our focus is mostly the Caribbean islands as we love island life and warm weather but sometimes we plan to take other adventures to places we haven’t been. Each trip is not an exploration of a new destination but an exploration of ourselves and our being. Not only are we learning about the places, culture and people we visit but we are learning about our self, our relationship to each other, our past, to the environment, to others and to the world at large resulting in our own personal growth and development. It is about stretching ourselves, stepping out of our comfort zones and growing deeper into our own deeper authentic self.

Welcome to our journey.

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