Our Cruise Vacation (and the chain of horrible events)

For those who know me well it’s no secret how much I suffer from wanderlust. On days when I need a quick distraction I surf the Internet for “vacation porn”, shopping for deals, reading reviews and stalking friend’s Facebook pages for travel photos. So naturally I was thrilled our family, including my mother in law and her friend, were taking a cruise on Royal Caribbean. Now, I’m very grateful that we are fortunate enough to even get a chance to go but so many horrible things happened it was beyond comical. I don’t cry when my neuromyelitis optics (NMO) acts up but a bad vacation will actually bring me to my knees.

Thurs prior to leaving – Sophie comes home with yet another sinus infection.
Friday prior to leaving – I catch her infection…again.
Saturday 9am – Mike checks us into our Air Canada flight for Sunday 9:30am flight.
Noon – news reports poor IT shuts all computers down at our airport.
5pm – we double check flight status for the morning. Website states flight is cancelled.
5:01pm – Air Canada site won’t allow rebook, reservation line is busy, travel agent didn’t even get alert it was cancelled. Advised by travel agent to “just get to the airport”. Alert those travelling with us to hurry.
5:15pm – rush out door. Arrange cousin to meet off highway for dog hand off.
6:30pm – Mike begs counter for last flight to Florida, to Ft. Lauderdale, 3 hours from port of call. No room on any flights to Florida tomorrow.
10:15pm – after several delays, flight finally leaves. Sinus infection feels like my head will explode with flight pressure.
Sunday 1:30am – Ft. Lauderdale at car rental. Their computer system is down too! Wait in short line for long time.
2:30am – leave for hotel.
3:30am – Sophie finally settled for the night. I must send work emails, research baby store since we left the stroller in our hurry.
9am – leave hotel for breakfast, buy new stroller, hit drugstore for cold meds, drive 3 hrs to port and return car rental.
Monday (day 2 of cruise) – Sophie projectile vomits at dinner. Super sick. People give mean stares.
Tuesday (day 3) – I am projectile vomiting from both ends.
Wednesday (day 4) – it is obvious we have a virus. Push through St. Maarten port.
Thursday (day 5) – quietly sick in public stall onboard overhear 2 women speaking that their husbands and son have virus with similar symptoms to Sophie and me.
Friday (day 6) – 3rd port of call, Cococay, is cancelled due to rough waters. Sophie is a nightmare as she is clearly miserable.
Sunday 7:30am – get through US customs faster than anticipated disembarking. Car service to airport I ordered not there yet. We stand in cold.
8:50am – car service finally arrives. We are frozen.
10am – we just miss earlier flight to Toronto. Our 1:15pm flight delayed by 1/2 hr.
2:40pm – flight delayed several times before finally leaving Orlando.
Late evening – Mike now sick. It is definitely obvious a virus was onboard.
Monday next morning – all 3 of us are still sick. I work from home. Find out best friend’s Grandpa passed away and other friend’s Dad had heart attack while away.

Despite all that (and more that just isn’t appropriate for a public blog) we did take some nice photos that offer a perception that we had a lovely time. I think it’s safe to say we won’t be travelling any time soon as we’re happy to sleep in our own beds.

This is us on formal night…right before Sophie became horribly ill all over our formal wear.

 We’re both horribly ill here but that didn’t stop us from enjoying the sun and surf.  

Sophie on a nature conservation tour in St. Thomas.

4 Comments

  1. Ashleigh Rawn

    I also just returned from a cruise at the beginning of this month. First cruise since my NMO diagnosis in 2011. We were lucky in not getting sick on our cruise with Royal Carribean (Oasis), but we heard that another ship was full of sick people. So sad to hear that you and your family had to endure this on your vacation. Vacations are supposed to be a time to relax, have fun, and do things you normally don’t get to do.
    My cruise was unsettling as I had troubles with my balance. One of the days I decided to stay in our room for almost the whole day. I was a mess! I think I was most frightened because being off-balance reminds me of becoming sick and trying to recover. Balance is always an issue, but the boat just made it worst. Thankfully our room attendant was a very caring motherly figure, who constantly checked up on me and gave me lots of hugs and reassurance that even she, after 10 years working on a boat, still gets sea-sick and has balance issues herself.
    All in all, I hope you try another cruise. I think if anything, the problems I had this time around are pushing me even more to go for another cruise…and do it better next time!
    Hope you are all feeling much better. xxx

    Comment by Ashleigh Rawn on January 30, 2014 at 4:26 pm

  2. Jenna

    Hi Ashleigh,

    Did you love Oasis? I wanted to do that boat but it didn’t do the ports of call I wanted for the time of year.
    Sorry to hear that your balance was an issue. You’re right, anything that is unsettling reminds me too of when I was trying to recover. I never say anything but yes, I have those moments often, usually daily. Sometimes my vision gets blurry and I have a small panic and calm myself down. Other times the banding feeling pops up again and I have to take a deep breath and poke myself in the stomach to see if I still have feeling. I doubt we’ll do another cruise any time soon. I prefer land and the ability to adapt as I see fit. I also find cruise staterooms rather restrictive and with 3 of us the room is just a bit smaller than we need.

    xoxo
    Jenna

    Comment by Jenna on January 30, 2014 at 4:45 pm

  3. Barb

    My first NMO symptoms appeared when I was on a cruise and I was miserable throughout it. I spent ALOT of time in the state room. I dont’ think I will be ever taking another cruise.

    Comment by Barb on February 3, 2014 at 7:04 pm

  4. Jenna

    Oh no! So sorry to hear Barb. I can sympathize having a bad experience with NMO that triggers an unhappy memory. When i was quite ill we were in Spain for our honeymoon. I could barely walk a block without extreme pain. Even though we had a nice time now every time I think about that trip I always remember how much it hurt to tour a walking city like Barcelona.

    Comment by Jenna on February 7, 2014 at 1:41 am

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