The dark clouds that brought rain showers had been ominous. This has been quite a challenging cruise. Norwegian Epic left Port Canaveral on the 9th of February with high hopes of seeing Tortola, St. Thomas, and the private island Great Stirrup Cay in the Bahamas. For some reasons, everything went completely wrong.
On our second day at sea, our captain made an unexpected announcement. This was a day after a small fire started in one area of the ship. Early on, we could sense that something was not right. We obviously slowed down. There was no storm, but the waves were splashing like crazy tossing our ship mercilessly from side to side. It was scary. The tension heightened when the captain broke the bad news. We cannot make it to the first port. There was a minor problem with the engine and we are cancelling Road Town. Instead of going to Tortola, we are heading for Puerto Rico to have the engine fixed.
The many hours of waiting was a complete drag. We reached the port the following day, 7 o’clock at night. And in the terminal when we’re about to stop, the ship crashed into the pier. The incident left two big dents on the ship’s side.
My friend and I waited patiently to go out. We rushed to the gangway once we’re told that crew members can now go for shore leave. Just an hour of strolling around, hoping to see something beautiful. We bought fridge magnets which has been a seafarer’s tradition. Collecting small pieces of mementos to remind us of memories made in foreign lands. I wish we stayed longer. I wish I was not IPM the next day. But then I only had that one special hour to spare. Who knows? Maybe next time we’ll come back here again.
We had to stay longer in Puerto Rico because the engine was not fixed yet. Because we started sailing late, the second port was also canceled. Goodbye St. Thomas! Welcome to two crazy days at sea before we arrive at the last and final port. GSC! Wait for us. You’re the only port the guests would see based on the original itinerary.
Complaints were heard everywhere. Nasty words about the ship and the company were blatantly spoken. We can’t blame them. It’s supposed to be their holiday. Due to unforeseen turn of events, their plans were ruined.
It would have been so nice if we reach the private island in the Bahamas. It would have been some sort of consolation. We would have been given the chance to somehow control the damage, pacify the guests, and leave them with nothing but the best on the last day. Something they can take home with them. Something to coat the bad with the good in the end.
To our dismay, the captain made another announcement. Although a lot of people already speculated that the last port will also be cancelled, we held on to that tiny piece of hope that we’ll make it. But I guess this cruise is just meant to be “epic.” Unfortunately, in a very frustrating way. To make things worse, we won’t arrive in Port Canaveral on time tomorrow. Instead of reaching the home port in the morning, we’ll arrive at approximately 8 in the evening.
The guests were fuming. And that’s quite understandable. This delay means cancelled flights, changes in schedules, and late returns to home. In an effort to lighten their agony, they were offered free flights to go home and huge discounts in their ship purchases including future cruises. They were given the option to stay for one more night if they wish to fly the next day. A lot of fun stuff were also happening just to keep them busy and entertained. Crew internet was shut down to keep the guests’ signal high and so they can easily go online.
Worse/ Glorious Day???
Two opposing reactions surfaced in this unlikely event. Others willingly accepted their fate and resigned to the idea that maybe this trip is not meant for them. Instead of casting judgment, they would rather enjoy the moment. Some remained angry and chose to wallow in all the negativity. They look for people to blame. They won’t stop beefing.
Here I am immersed in this series of unfortunate events that do not seem to end. I also had some plans for this cruise, but obviously they didn’t happen. Even the activities I wish to do the cruise after have to wait as we’re not even sure when we’ll sail again. I guess I won’t be able to go to Cayman Islands and swim with sting rays. Now I regret skipping the tour thinking we’ll go back there a few more times before my contract ends. Surprisingly, I don’t feel hysterical. I delight myself in the anticipation of other good things to come. Thank You I feel a little down, but You gave me the grace to stay calm.
This past week has taught me important lessons. In life, whether you’re on ships or not, detours and delays abound. Instead of looking at them as walls that prevent us from reaching our destination, they are meant to bridge the gap between where we are right now to where we want to go. And if we look with fresh and positive eyes, they can add colors to our adventures.
I have three terrific takeaways from this cruise. When threatened by delays and overwhelmed by detours consider these lessons.
By this I mean to take things as they are rather than forcing them to change. Practice less if not zero resistance and learn to accept your current circumstance. No matter how powerful we think we are, there are things we cannot control. it is always best practice to plan ahead of time. But keep in mind that there is still no guarantee it will roll out fine. We have little power on the outside but we can be the master of our insides. We can control our thoughts, our expectations and our reactions. Acceptance of things and situation as they unfold no matter how bad they are and not as how we want them to be has its own reward. Acceptance gives us peace.
Now this one is harder than the first. Why give thanks when the waiting and disappointment caused by delays is unbearable? And the detours we come face to face lead to long and winding roads? It’s insane. But upon contemplation, one will realize that it is perhaps the most sensible thing to do. Because despite all the troubles, there are still so many things to be thankful for. If we have the right perspective, the good no matter how little can outweigh the giant bad. Also giving thanks kills the negativity in one’s system. If you’re grateful for things no matter how small they are, you find more and more things to be thankful for. You feel blessed. You become a magnet and attract more blessings. Before you know it, you’re up and happy again. Giving thanks gives us joy.
This one is the most exciting of all. And with this, I encourage you to think not of your own thoughts but of His. For His thoughts are supreme and reigns over all. Thinking of His thoughts will lead us to trust Him more. To trust is not easy. It can be a little scary. It requires surrendering one’s plans and the humility to bow down. Think of all His thoughts and believe that wonderful things will come. Put your trust in the Master Creator who is busy orchestrating events, maneuvering every move, lining up the right people, and preparing the best surprise. Trusting requires “giving in” which may temporarily rob us of peace and joy but leave us with hope for brighter tomorrows.
His Faultless Timing
I lie on my bed pondering about the things and events of this cruise and the last 12 weeks I spent on this ship. There were plans that didn’t happen and times when I failed. I think about places I’ve never seen, phone that didn’t ring, invitation I should have taken. All those kind words I should have said, questions left unanswered, help I could have offered. I reflect on “what ifs” and “could have beens” which made my “waiting” in certain areas of my life even longer.
Yet despite all these I choose to stay on top of things by closing my eyes, feeling my heart and saying a short prayer. When anxiety attempts to wedge its way into my thoughts to create fear, the safest place to be is in His will. In God’s loving hands nothing gets wasted. Even the pain brought by detours, delays, changes or staying in the same place. He knows what He’s doing.
Have you met your “ship” yet? That goes for the real ship you wish to board and the many other things you’ve been waiting and praying for. Don’t lose hope. You’re getting closer and closer.
Follow your dreams.