The Norwegian Dawn is a new ship and has been sailing from Manhattan to Bermuda and the Bahamas since 2002. For our trip, it carried a crew of over 1,000 serving over 2,700 passengers. The ship dwarfs anything around it...even the Statue of Liberty seemed small as we went by. The Dawn is tall; it has eight elevators that carry people to 14 levels/decks. Plus, the length of the ship is probably close to a city block.One of the great event's in the Dawn's career occurred in rough weather on April 16, 2005 off the Georgia coast...a series of three, seventy-foot "rogue-waves" pounded the ship. Four passengers suffered minor injuries and the Dawn's ninth and ten deck reported broken windows. However, the damage was not extensive and service was barely interrupted even though other decks were flooded.
A couple of years ago, the Dawn was in the news again when comedienne Rosie O'Donnell hosted/hostessed? a gay and lesbian cruise aboard ship.
Two months ago on May 11, 2008, a 46 year-old woman "fell' overboard fifty miles northeast of Atlantic City. Although there are contradictory accounts involving suicide and/or murder, the one that made the most sense to me was: SHE WAS DRUNK! More specifically, she was drunk and for whatever reason...she climbed the outside railing of her stateroom's balcony and tried to "jump" across to the next cabin's balcony. Right away you can see this was NOT a good idea.
She slipped and was never seen again. Apparently the captain circled the area a few times in an attempt to rescue her but came up empty. Her family and friends swore that even under the influence...that her personality wouldn't let her do such a thing...maybe her people aren't being realistic because drinking can be like taking a crazy pill.
Our cruise was as close to perfect as you could get. We never experienced sea-sickness, there were no fireworks, no tropical storms and the curse of the Bermuda Triangle only came-up when I made jokes about it.
Interestingly, we docked back in New York City at 8:AM Sunday morning. My fellow shipmates and I were all cleared off the ship by 10:30AM. Like clock-work, the boat is readied for the next batch of cruisers by 1:PM. At 5:PM, the "newbies" were blasting back off to Bermuda.
Three days later on Wednesday July 2nd, the Norwegian Dawn added to its list of accomplishments.
In rough weather, the Dawn gets a distress call from a sail boat off Cape Cod. That boat's operator feared for a man's life when he couldn't care for the victim's shock-like symptoms and dehydration. Three-hours later, the Dawn arrived. The captain expertly maneuvered the huge vessel close to the tiny forty-footer and in stormy seas made the daring rescue look easy.
The Dawn wasn't done...coincidentally, twelve hours later another distress call is received 250 miles off Long Island. in this case, another sail boater needs immediate medical attention. In worse weather conditions, a mast has smashed a man's head and he was losing consciousness. Despite heavy rain, severe gusts and twenty-foot swells, the Dawn races to the scene, puts the giant ship into position and plucks the patient to safety.
The Norwegian Dawn, as well as thousands of other ships, participate on a volunteer basis in a worldwide program that promotes such sea rescues. Service to the passengers was not disrupted and the Dawn arrived in Bermuda on schedule.
I mentioned in my last blog, most people who asked me about the cruise were interested in sea-sickness. Then as I spoke to more people, I found two separate individuals who were afraid to go on cruises. One felt that decadent infidels like Americans were easy terrorist targets. While the other was afraid of being poisoned...apparently there have been rare cases of large groups getting sick on cruises. It should also be pointed out that she is a germophobe and is so paranoid of being slipped a "Mickey" that she insists on opening her own beer when she goes to bars.
My advice to them and to anyone uncertain about vacationing in the lap of luxury...don't live your life like an ostrich hiding its head in the ground. Yes there are risks in anything we do...but if you take it one step further...you'd never leave the house...crap happens a million times a day...when you fly, drive or even take in your mail.
To para-phrase Mini-Phil...once you go on a cruise, you'll never want to vacation any other way. To prove how I feel about that, we are already setting aside money NOW!