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ravensfan52

Our 24 hour long cruise - not your typical review

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Hi all. This could end up being a long post, just warning you...

 

Background: We are a group of 10 family members celebrating 2 milestones surrounding the number 50 - It is me, my parents, my husband, his parents, his sister and her husband, and his aunt and uncle. My parents were celebrating their 50th anniversary that just happened in Feb, and my SIL just turned 50 in January as well. My mom is 80, currently undergoing treatment for multiple myeloma and is in a wheelchair for most of the time, but her chemo is working well and she was in good spirits. So lots to celebrate!

 

We booked Allure of the Seas for 3/31/19 Sunday departure from Miami and everyone met up the night before in Ft. Lauderdale. My parents drove from Charleston SC down to FLL and met us at the hotel. We stayed at the Red Roof Inn near the airport Saturday night. It was clean, had a pool, and was adequate for one night. There is a restaurant called the Reef that is attached to the hotel, and we ate dinner and breakfast there. Both meals were good, but they seemed to have a lack of waitstaff for dinner. Portions were very big for the money, and everyone liked their food.

 

Sunday morning, we all got ready to head to the port. Since my parents drove their car down, I rode with them to the port so they wouldn't get lost. We had previously booked a shuttle for the 7 other people in our group, which picked them all up at the hotel. The shuttle had to make a few stops along the way, so we got to the port around 10:45 am before the rest of the group. We got to the area of the parking garage where you unload your luggage, and we got my mom set up in her wheelchair. My dad parked the car in the nearest handicap spot and we were ready to go. The porters were very helpful and got us right onto an elevator into the terminal very  quickly. We rode a different elevator up to the top floor of the terminal and right outside the elevator door was a booth where 3 people were just waiting to check-in folks in wheelchairs. Very convenient! We had our pictures taken, got our paperwork in order, and a RCCL employee said he would take us all the way through the maze of people to get on board. Wow, the service was amazing! This young man took us past all the people waiting in line, around to the security checkpoint, through it, and right into the area to board the ship, in about 10 minutes time. We gave him a nice tip for saving us the wait time, as the lines were long! I called my husband to see where they were and they were just getting off the shuttle at the port. Since his mother doesn't walk all that well either, I told him to try and get her a wheelchair too, but they would not let the whole group go along with her.

 

My parents and I boarded the ship and I explained the different neighborhoods, etc as we headed to the Solarium for lunch. They were still setting up and would open at 11:30 am. We looked around at the sights off the side of the ship and my mom enjoyed the sunshine. After about a half hour, the rest of the group arrived at the solarium. By now it was open for lunch so we pushed a few tables together and had lunch. It was a decent, albeit smaller selection, and suited us fine for lunch. My mom and my MIL sat and talked after lunch while we grabbed drinks and looked around the ship some more.

 

We all wanted to get set up with the ship texting in-app function, but none of us could get it to work right. We waited in line in the Promenade area to see a Tech Specialist, who finally, after almost a half hour, got it to work for us. By then it was 1 pm and the rooms were ready. I had brought some decorations to put up in my parents room to surprise them for their anniversary, so I told my dad that I would go get their room cards for them. We were only a couple doors down from them. My husband and I got to our room, found our luggage in the hallway, and I dug out the decorations, scissors and tape. I put up a banner over their bed, hanging thingys from the ceiling and decorated their door as well. We went to get them in the Solarium and took them to the room. They were very happy and surprised and liked the decorations. Some of their bags had arrived so they went into the room to unpack and rest before dinner.

 

We got our room all set up and bags unpacked and enjoyed the views from our balcony. Miami is very pretty from this vantage point, although we were looking down on alot of traffic. Ha ha, not my problem! When it was time for muster, we got my parents and headed to the Amber Theater to watch the brutal safety film. Once that was complete, it was time for sailaway. We took my parents to our room and we all went out on the balcony to wave goodbye and slowly head out to sea. There was a gorgeous sunset that we stopped to admire as well.

 

We had early seating for dinner in the MDR, so we headed to our table for 10 in the far corner of the dining room. They made room for my mom's wheelchair and everyone was very accommodating. Our waiters were very nice, both from India, and they recommended the prime rib, which many of us had. The molten chocolate cake was amazing, and they even boxed one up for my dad to have later.

 

After dinner we had booked the Ocean Aria diving show so we found seats that had good views and settled in. We were all SO impressed with the talents and skills of the performers, I can't say enough how much everyone in the group liked the show !! It is truly a don't miss - book on the first night as the chance for calmer seas exists on that night, less chance of cancelling the show. My parents were worn out after that so they went back to their room, while my husband, SIL and BIL went to check out the ship and hit some of the bars - the 4 of us had the unlimited drink pkg, so we put it to use! We had a morning excursion planned, so we went to sleep at a decent hour as the ship moved along towards Nassau Bahamas.

 

Little  did we know we were already halfway done with our cruise at that point...

 

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We woke up around 7 and the ship was just easing into port in Nassau. It was a nice sunny, low humidity morning and we met my dad at Johnny Rockets for breakfast since our waiter from dinner said he'd be working there in the morning. Sure enough he was hosting and we said hi to him. I had an omelette and english muffin while my dad had sausage and eggs and home fries. The food was good and it was not crowded. It was nice to be in a quiet part of the ship, eating outside, and enjoying the views. After breakfast we watched over the side of the ship as she turned around to back into her spot at the end of the dock. We saw a stingray swimming along the edge of the beach, and spotted that run-down house everyone says belongs to Nicholas Cage. We also stopped by the Boardwalk Donuts and grabbed a donut for my mom, but I tried a bite of one and they were not good, FYI. Don't waste the calories!

 

Today we had booked a private boat excursion from 9 am to 1 pm with Capt Carl Blades of Bahama Boat Tours from TripAdvisor. We were going to do some fishing and snorkeling with turtles, and Rose Island beach. My mom was going to stay on the ship, in her room, and read until we got back from our excursion, then we'd all grab lunch. When I went to their room to get my dad for the excursion, she mentioned that she felt disoriented earlier. My dad gave her a non-drowsy sea sick pill since they thought they felt the ship moving. She was sitting on the bed and said she would stay there and read, didn't seem out of the ordinary.

 

So we are now a group of 9 heading off the ship to find our private boat. I had the emails from Capt Carl and us "younger" folks struck out ahead to see where we needed to go, while my in-laws, my dad, and uncle/aunt were all bringing up the rear. As I mentioned, my MIL doesn't walk too well and just going down the pier had her worn out. We ended up having to get her a taxi to go 300 yards down the wharf to where we were picking up the boat. By the time they arrived by taxi, our boat had arrived and we were introduced to Capt. Sean, who works with Carl. We finally got everyone onto the boat and sitting down, and we headed off out of the harbor towards a reef for fishing.

 

As we putted along, Sean gave us some tidbits about the island's history, who lives in which mega mansion, etc. Once we arrived at the reef, he set up 4 poles with fresh squid and we began catching some pretty cool fish! Strawberry grouper, snappers, grunts, all very colorful and fun to reel up. Everyone that wanted to fish caught some fish. After that, we headed to an island that has turtle grass around it. Unfortunately there were already quite a few people in the water and we only saw one turtle who quickly said buh-bye. He then took us to another reef that had much better fish and coral, but by them half the party was getting fatigued. We headed back about a half hour earlier than planned, which  proved to make a huge difference in what happened next...

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I guess this is where I'm spending the rest of my day! Refreshing every minute to find out what happens next!!! 😲

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1 minute ago, Beav1279 said:

I guess this is where I'm spending the rest of my day! Refreshing every minute to find out what happens next!!! 😲

Me too!

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Once we got back to the wharf and somehow managed to get everyone safely back on land, we had to get another taxi for the in laws to get back to the ship. Everyone else walked back and we still beat them. At any rate, the plan was to go back to the rooms, then meet for lunch in the Windjammer. So my husband and I got to our room to change out of bathing suits and into dry clothes for lunch. I walk down to my parents room and my dad pops his head out the door and calls me over. When I went inside, I see my mother laying back on the pillows, unresponsive, making horrible gasping sounds. My dad says he can't wake her up, so I try shaking her, calling to her loudly, opening her blue eyes only to see them staring blankly ahead.

 

Nothing is working. I call 911 on the room phone and the medical team is dispatched.  "Code Alpha Room 8153" goes out over the ship intercom. My heart is sinking as I wonder if I am actually watching my mother die in front of me. At this point my husband comes into the room to see what's going on and he is shocked to see my mom and hear the "death rattle" breathing. He hangs back and assist the medical team in getting to the right room.

 

Two nurses came in first and put her on oxygen because her blood oxygen saturation was extremely low. They could not wake her up either. She is on alot of heavy narcotics for her cancer and a fractured vertebrae and we thought she may have overdosed ( my mom is 95 lbs BTW), so they gave her a dose of Narcan. She was still unresponsive and not waking up. The secondary team arrived with a stretcher to take her to the medical center in the bottom of the ship.

 

A RCCL team member escorted my husband and I down to the medical center while my dad was allowed to follow the stretcher with the medical team through the unseen elevators for crew use only. By now, the rest of our group had heard the intercom call and recognized my parents room number.

 

Now the in-app texts start coming fast and furious:  What's going on? Are you coming to lunch? Is everything OK?? NO, dammit, everything is not OK. I am scared to death right now. Only adrenaline is holding back the tears...

 

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When we get to the medical center, the doctors begin taking blood and ordering chest x-rays. They administer a second dose of Narcan.  After that, my mom is slowly coming around but is hallucinating and mumbling gibberish, trying to remove the O2 mask. Within 20 minutes, she becomes more agitated and is trying to get off the gurney now, to the point where we are standing next to her and holding her back when she tries to escape. While I am so thankful that she woke up, now I wonder is her life going to be like this now? Will she be out of it for the rest of her life? My dad is so patient, soothing her and holding her hand as she looks at us with her wide, wild blue eyed stare. We comfort her as the staff take chest x-rays to determine why she was having so much trouble breathing.

Looking at her x-rays I see the plate where she recently had a shoulder replacement, I see the pain she has been through with other forms of cancer, yet she still perseveres and makes it out on top. I wish I could do something to make it better for her, but all I can do right now is hold her hand and keep her on the table with her mask on. Surprisingly, she is very strong for an 80 year old tiny 95 lb woman. No wonder our friends and family call her the Energizer Bunny...

 

OK, guys I have to leave work now, so that is it for today. I will try to continue this weekend. Thanks for reading and for any prayers!

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What??!!!  Surely her employer would have paid a bit of overtime so we could find out what happened!

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If I am reading this correctly, and the ship sailed March 31, this health incident happened April 1.  So the OP knows a lot more about the outcome, or at least what happened between the incident and now, that could have been shared before this work break!! Ravens fan, really?  I like the Ravens too!  Why are you doing this to us?

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Posted (edited)

Did we read a review recently about an alpha call and/or a medical evacuation?   I have read so many reviews at the same time lately that I can’t keep them all straight.

 

Edited to add:  or an ambulance waiting on a pier?

Edited by ZoeyVictoria

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I was on the saiing and heard the Alpha calls. My wife and I also randomly overheard 2 gentlemen in your party talking about the logistics of the Nassau hospital situation a little bit later. I said a quick prayer for your mom, never expecting I’d eventually read the story of what the Alpha call was about. I sincerely hope she made it home ok... 

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There are going to be a lot of upset people if the OP never comes back to finish the story. 😂 Life will go on though. It's like misplacing a good book before you got the chance to finish it.

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It’s a bustle of activity in the medical center now, as people from our group start coming down to see what’s up. At this point, the doctors tell us that my mom has “something” in her lower 1/3 of her left lobe of her lung. Could be a cancer mass, could be liquid, but they are unequipped to do anything more and they said she should go to the hospital in Nassau. The time now is probably around 3 pm, all aboard is 4 pm, and they are sailing at 5. How are we supposed to get everything done in an hour? We make a plan and split up. I go with my dad to their room to get them packed, my husband goes to our room to start packing, and RCCL staff are waiting in the hallway to help us with the luggage. Back in the medical center, they have called the ambulance and are ready to take my mom off the ship, so we have to rush my dad back downstairs so he can go with her. But wait! We have to settle the bills first. We are escorted to the pursers desk and again, 2-3 RCCL staff are devoted to help us get processed quickly. Top notch service from every single person we dealt with. Hmmmm, right next to the guest service desk is cafe promenade, and we never got to eat lunch. I grabbed 2 croissant sandwiches, and oh look, there’s those coconut ranger cookies everyone talks about...gimme 3 of those, to go please. No, we have no carry out boxes. Fine, then your plate is going in the ambulance.

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