2017 Evacuation Cruise Pictures and Videos

 

Evacuation Cruise Logo

 

We were originally on Back-to-backs (B2B) starting from Miami on Enchantment of the Seas on 3 Sept 2017. With Hurricane Irma approaching, we stayed in Nassau overnight.  We avoided CocoCay and Key West as they were in a direct path.  RCCL decided to cut short the first cruise and cancel the second. 

From RCCL:

About your upcoming travels

Royal Caribbean Update: Due to the potential severe impact of Hurricane Irma, we unfortunately have to cancel your cruise scheduled for Friday, September 8, 2017.

We are very sorry for the impact this storm has had on your vacation, and please know that we made the decision with your safety in mind. Your cruise fare and fees will be 100% refunded to the original form of payment, and we are also offering you a 25% future cruise credit, based on your cruise fare, if you choose to book another cruise in the next 30 days. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to call 1-800-256-6649.

Please stay safe during the storm.

We docked on Thursday, a day ahead of the original cruise.  The Captain let anyone who wanted to stay on board overnight, to stay on and depart in the morning because of travel arrangement chaos.  About 500 choose to do so.  We found out that on Friday, 8 Sept 2017, Royal Caribbean was evacuating their employees and families.  Each employee could reserve two rooms.  We asked our Concierge, Laura Bernard, if we could stay on due to no power and no transportation to get home.  Whether it was the Captain or Michael Bayley, we were allowed to stay on. Others were as well.  On Thursday evening, we had to pack all belongings and go through customs, and reboard.  Melissa (Guest Services) handled this superbly and we did a quick off and on.  We were given keys to the same room so all was good.  Others had to move as they were packing families into the larger rooms.

When we got on, we didn't unpack "just in case".   All the RCCL employees and families were herded on to be assigned rooms later.  It was a mass exodus from Miami.  The RCCL staff were doing all they could and everyone finally boarded and the doors were closed and he hi-diddle-diddled out of Dodge (uh Miami).

On Friday morning all consecutive cruisers were called to guest services to verify rooms.  This is because we had to leave by 11:30 on Friday to avoid the storm and the unassignment of rooms for RCCL employees/families.  We kept our same room.

The theater, Spotlight Lounge, Schooner, and any other public area was strewn with large luggage.  The employees/families were called down in small groups to get rooms.  Lines were extremely long and lasted well into the wee hours.  Guest Services were overwhelmed and only had 5 terminals to do keys and assign rooms.  Those are the real heroes of this adventure.  Hats off to them for perservering.

We stayed on and Michael Bayley and James Van Fleet (Meteorologist) set up in the Staff Captain's conference room.  Van Fleet gave us updates on the hurricane and where we were going and what we would do.  Our course sent us southwest between Cozumel and Cuba, and we sheltered under Cuba, using their mountain ranges as cover from the storm.

We watched as Irma made it's way up through the Florida Keys and onto mainland.  Michael Bayley kept us informed and RCCL was sending the Adventure of the Seas to decimated St. Maarten.  Empress, once returned and provisioned, would go to Key West.  Majesty of the Seas would go to the eastern Caribbean to assist in evacuating people.

Michael Bayley, James Van Fleet, and the Captain held Captain's Corner and answered many questions.  I captured some below.  I did ask why the reduced deposits were squealched and he answered.  Turn up the volume on VLC to about 200% to hear it.  He is looking forward(?) to feedback during the President's Cruise starting 17 Sept on the Freedom.

On 11 Sept 2017, we were informed that we would be docking in Miami on Tuesday, 12 Sept 2017.  From a broadcast announcement, we heard that if we wanted to stay on for the next cruise, pricing was attractive.  We ran down to Next Cruise and found out that insides were $99, Balconies and JS were $199, and GS were $249.  We opted to stay in our JS and not move.  Total was $398 for two.  BUT WAIT!!!!

We were then told later, that we could receive complimentary transportation to the Harmony of the Seas in Fort Lauderdale, and take a 4 night cruise, in the same room category, with no additional charges!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Whoa!  Sign me up, skipper.  We again packed our trash, and were going to dinner.  A broadcast came over that we were to meet in Boleros at 7:30 on Tuesday evening to disembark, so we ran back to our cabin and went to Boleros.  Again, Melissa took control and got about 58 ready and we were first off and northbound on a bus.

The Everglades terminal was not ready for us so it took a while to get us boarding passes (no keys).

We got on Harmony and had to do 3 times at guest services but finally got keys and off to the room.  Yay!

Rooms were excellent, new NEW NEW and clean.  Electronic keys.  There were only 1900 guests on board.  Empty ship.  No lines, except at guest services.  We did get our amenities, which was nice.

Saw Columbus (what a hoot), Grease - much better than Independence's Grease, Ice show (1887) which I really didn't understand (kinda like Cats), and a fantastic aqua show.  These were far better than the ones on Oasis or Allure, except for Mamma Mia on Allure.  That was superb.

So, on Saturday, we learned Tri-Rail was running and free (did I say free?).  We got a cab to the station ($25), a free ride up north, and a $15 cab ride home.  Thrifty wanted $100 for a small rental car from FLL to PBIA, which normally costs $40.  Price gouging at it's finest.

Anyway, were home with only food spoilage, 6 banana trees down, and a lot of leaves in the pool.  We again avoided disaster.

Many thanks to Michael Bayley, RCCL, and the staff and Officer's on Enchantment of the Seas for making a disaster into an adventure.

 

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Videos

bayley-talk-cococay-keywest.mp4   (57k)

gratuities_x264.mp4   (2.5k)

michael-bayley-boarding-issues_x264.mp4   (10.2k)

reduced-deposits_x264.mp4   (14.2k)

disembarking_x264.mp4   (14.3k)