Thursday, August 31, 2006

My Secret Cruise Ship Sport

It’s time to sail. All passengers were warned to be aboard 29 minutes ago. The gangplank has been run in and mooring lines are let go. The Captain and another white-shirted officer watch from the pier side bridge wing. He turns towards the helm position and gives an order to an unseen person. A long, earsplitting blast sounds from the ship’s whistle while the thrusters whirl to life and push the ship away from the pier.

Passengers are watching from the rail on the top deck, savoring the end of a day in port before heading to their cabin for a shower before dinner. A few, including myself, are focused intently on the street at the end of the pier; waiting for the inevitable drama. I raise my binoculars in time to see a taxi screech to a halt by the security gate. Three young women emerge waving their arms at the ship. They run, camera bags and backpacks flopping in every direction, down the thousand foot long pier. I can see by their expressions that they realize that a 962 foot long ship doesn’t stop for late passengers once it’s underway.

I’ve seen this happen on every Caribbean cruise I’ve been on – especially in ports with lots of bars. It never seems to happen in Oslo or Ketchikan, I guess because those ports don’t have a Señor Frog’s. If you miss the boat, you can rejoin at the next port – at your own expense.

This particular story has a happy ending, though. The girls are pretty and the gallant men of the Cozumel harbor patrol agree to ferry them out on the Pilot boat. So let this be a lesson for you: don’t miss the boat -- or, the next time you’re on a cruise, bring your binoculars out on deck when you sail away – that’s where I’ll be.

Photo Credit: Christopher Gould

1 comment:

Jessica said...

hah!!! i never thought to watch! i will definately do that next time i go!

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