Saturday, January 14, 2012
This is the ship on which we crossed, starting Wednesday, finishing Thursday, from Barcelona to Civitavecchia, the port for Rome.
We had a few adventures. First, although we were booked on the ship, it appeared that our car was not. As we are on our way to New Zealand (r what will be largely a walking holiday) and will not be back until the end of April, we could hardly leave it at the port. We sorted that out eventually. Fortunately, the same computer system that had forgotten about our car booking could not now be persuaded to charge us, so the car travelled free.
Then we were woken up three times after we had gone to bed because the same computer system was showing us twice on the ship's manifest, once without car and again with the car.
Mid-morning on Thursday (this was a 20-hour ferry) came the "abandon ship" incident. I have been on ships many times, used to work on them, but this is the first time I have ever heard the words "Abandon Ship" broadcast over the tannoys. It was preceded by "This is a drill", but not very clearly. In fact, most of the passengers had not even understood that there would be an emergency drill, despite it having been trailed at 60 minutes, 30 minutes, 20 minutes, 10 minutes and "now". They just sat there watching the 4 tvs which were running in the bar.
They didn't even use the words "abandon ship" or even "emergency" when I was on a ship which ran straight onto a reef in the Sulu Sea, then reversed straight off again without checking for what turned out to be a 35-foot hole in the hull below the waterline. That was quite exciting.
The above (about ship's boat drill) may all seem very amusing, but this very morning, safe ashore, I have switched on the computer to find that a cruise ship has run aground on the coast of Italy. 4.200 people have had to abandon ship and lives have been lost. Evacuating so many people via the boats takes some organising, and some practice. Those passengers on our ship really should pay more attention to the boat drills. They are for a reason. Stuff happens!
The cruise ship left only yesterday from Civitavecchia, the port where we arrived on Thursday. We may even have been parked next to her.
By the way, there was no mention of lifejackets in our drill - or any sight of them, except those the crew were wearing.