If you read the recap of my Carnival Glory cruise this past September you know we ended up debarking four days later than planned thanks to Hurricane Irma. I’ve been on cruises where ports were missed or changed but never one where we stayed on extra days.
Although I certainly can’t complain about free days at sea, this trip did not only take me to 200 days at sea but also taught me some new tips.
I’m one of those people who figure out how much cash I’ll need for the planned travels and take a small cushion. Well with our ports getting changed, my cushion was definitely too small.
The only reason I didn’t have to resort to ATMs on the ship or in the ports was using credit instead of cash for the ports. At two ports we booked excursions onboard and at the third I paid for both of us on my credit card and Sister T. paid me her share in cash.
This cruise coming up (and the ones after) I’m taking a larger cushion for unexpected events like hurricanes. 🙂
My daily regimen of vitamins, supplements and prescription medications are nicely divided between those I take in the morning and those in the evening and stored in a Lewis N. Clark organizer just like the one in the picture above. I packed just enough pills to cover my travels.
When you end up staying away four extra nights, that’s a problem. Once we knew we weren’t getting home until Monday at the earliest (which turned out to be Wednesday), I knew I needed more prescription medications.
I think I could have found some at the on-board medical center as they’re pretty common generics but at what price? Fortunately the Cozumel port has a pharmacy right there where I found them and bought them for about my copay in the states. I did have to make an adjustment because the dosage wasn’t exactly the same.
Next time, I’m bringing bottles with a week’s worth of extra doses on top of what’s organized into am/pm packs.
Sister T. and I planned all our port stops well in advance but those plans went out the window when the Captain announced the change from Eastern Caribbean to Western. Since Cozumel is a favorite and I always know where to go there, we easily made plans for there.
But without research we didn’t know what we wanted to do at the other three stops. This is why we booked Carnival excursions which made them more money but probably cost us more.
We knew a couple of days in advance we were not going to make the originally scheduled ports. At that point, I should have mapped out alternative plans for a list of potential substitutes.
TIP: If the ship alternates Western/Eastern sailings it looks like Carnival defaults to the opposite sailing when there are hurricanes to avoid on one side.
Last but not least, sailing a Hurricane re-arranged itinerary takes a lot of patience. Not only did we not know where we were going when we boarded, but for a long time we didn’t know what we were going to do after the last port of Cozumel.
The last day would have been torture if we hadn’t been patient waiting to be cleared to pull into Miami. For the most part, we and our fellow passengers were very patient and made the best of it.
In closing, I’ve cruised the first week of September the past two years, on opposite sides of the country, and both times had itinerary changes because of hurricanes. Maybe it’s time to skip September for a while. Even if I don’t, I’ll be more prepared thanks to Irma’s lessons.