Sunday, March 05, 2006

Ten Day Cruise on Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas to Hawaii, April 18, 2003

I took my son on this cruise on our way to visit some friends in Honolulu before they moved to Guam.

We left Ensenada, Mexico on April 18 and spent the next five days at sea, before expecting to have the next five days in different ports.

During our sea days, we spent our time watching the Hawaiian dancers perform...

...hangin' out by the pool...

>...learning to do different Hawaiian dances...

... learning how to tie a sari...

(somehow I didn't get any pics of the women, but I did manage to get some of these nice looking guys...)

...or playing some mini-golf...

...visiting old friends...

On the night of the last sea day, which was the 2nd formal night, (here I am with our waiter, Ignatius and assistant waiter, Julius)
a crew member found two threatening notes in a ladies' restroom.

We were supposed to get up early the following morning to go through immigration (since we had been in Mexico and were to be re-entering the US in Hilo.) But instead of being docked (or anchored, I'm not sure which since I never saw Hilo), we were still sailing toward Honolulu, which was supposed to be our last port, five days later. (Port of Debarkation.)

The Captain came on the intercom and announced that we would be missing Hilo and were continuing toward Honolulu due to "two notes of a threatening nature" that were found and needed to be investigated for our safety. He didn't go into too much detail, I'm assumming to keep things from getting out of control, either with angry passengers who were missing their excursions in Hilo, or panicky passengers afraid the ship was going to sink. (Luckily those passengers were so few that I, personally, never once came across even one!) But I thought he said all that he could say without upsetting anyone, not to mention that the FBI was in charge of the investigation; not the Captain. He really wasn't allowed to say anything or it would interfere in their investigation.

When we got to Honolulu we anchored about a mile off the coast, (a beautiful view),

and sat there for several hours while the Coast Guard made several trips with small boats to bring about 120 FBI and Homeland Security people onboard with about 50 bomb/chemical sniffing dogs.

I've read reports on how terrifying it was on the ship.

(Now really, how scared does he look?)
All I can say is that my son, who was 5 at the time, and I were sitting by the pool with lots of other parents watching our kids splash around and discussing the rumors that we had each heard, eating ice cream... playing shuffleboard...

and here is the daily "walk around the ship" exercise group, right on schedule.

And of course, there were tons of people leaning over the side of the ship with cameras snapping away at all the "guys with guns" coming into the ship. I only took these two, and neither of them was of the FBI boarding.

Almost everyone I talked to thought it was a teenager playing a prank. The kids' program was closed and parents were asked to keep their kids with them, so that everyone was accounted for. And in order to search the public areas, we were eventually asked to go to our staterooms. When they finished searching the public areas and didn't find anything, they obviously had to search the staterooms. We then were asked to go to our muster stations and do a sort of "roll call", again to make sure everyone was accounted for. We were asked not to bring any kind of purse, diaper bag, or any type of bag, and no cameras. Then since we all had to clear immigration anyway, they called everyone who had early seating for dinner to go straight to dinner. And the "late seating" people were to go straight to the Anchors Away Lounge to check in for immigration. Those in the dining room were not allowed to leave, except with an armed escort. I've heard that some people thought that was scary, but I myself say hey, if the guys with the guns are on our side, I'll stick with them! (We had two couples with babies at our table who needed diaper changes during this time, so they had to ask the guards to help them back to their staterooms. It was no problem for them.)

As the group in the lounge finished, they were taken down a hallway going to the dining room, while those of us in the dining room were taken down a different hallway going to the lounge. For processing about 1800 passengers, it was a fairly smooth transition. During the immigration check, we did the normal thing, showing passports (or birth certificates and photo ID, which I'm not sure they still allow), but at the end, an FBI agent was sitting there and asked each person, "Do you have any information about the notes that were found?" I think only a couple of people said yes and were asked a few other questions. But for almost all of us, we answered "No" and were told "Thank you; you can go." (That was it for the supposed "interrogation" that some people reported (complained) to the news that we were going through.)

Getting ready for bed that night, we were just fine, unscathed by the interruption.

And the next day, we were back on schedule and were able to get off at the next scheduled port, which was Kona. (I didn't get off the ship there, so I didn't get any pictures of it.)

I'm obviously going to have to go to take this cruise again someday!

Here is one of the tenders taking a group over to the shore.

And one of my son while we were in the tender. (A bumpy ride after the smooth sailing on the ship! My son loved it!)
We had two days in Lahaina, Maui. My son and I went to the beach and got a few pics. I should have taken more!! (That's our ship in the background.)

My son liked to splash a little but was afraid of the waves. So he asked me to bury him in the sand, which got in his eyes and made him cry...

The kids' room was back in business and they had a "pajama party."

And here he is with a couple other kids playing video games with one of the cruise kids' staff.

Here are some people singing in the Schooner Bar.

The last port before debarkation was Nawiliwili. (I didn't get off the ship there, either!! I can hardly believe it now, but at the time it really didn't matter.)

What was I thinking?? I took these as we sat at the dinner table while we were sailing away.

The last day is always depressing, even though the sight of the city of Honolulu was beautiful!

Do I have to get off the ship?