December 3, 2017
I arrived at Charlotte ahead of schedule and Mom and Gary were already there. We had several hours to chill in the terminal before our next flight so we grabbed a quick bite to eat and snoozed. Our next flight was on the same aircraft I arrived on and American kept up their hard sell on upgrades. When I checked in it was all about priority boarding and seats, onboard the flight was all about pitching the AAdvantage credit card. At least this flight attendant was smart enough to say they only had Sierra Mist so I got water instead. I finally was able to get more sleep and the flight was smooth so overall a good experience.
As we approached landing in San Juan, most of the city looked the same but if you were paying attention the devastation from Hurricane Maria was real on the island. Tarps were everywhere trying to protect people and their homes. Inside the airport was not much better. On the surface they were doing their best to have a normal operation, but you can see water damage and structural damage throughout the airport. There was a bit of a wait to get the bus transfer to the cruise ship, but we were able to finally head to the ship. Along the way, you could see the damage up close. Missing roofs, signage, and tarps were everywhere.
While the city still looked mostly the same, but worse for the wear, the cruise ship terminal looked like it had really been beat up. There was no working AC in the terminal and most of the check-ins were on temporary terminals. The gangways leading to the ship all were missing their roofs as well. I have to give credit to the Norwegian crew for making the best out of a bad situation.
Once aboard the ship we found our room. The three of us are sharing a cabin since its a smaller ship and they were fully booked due to some discounts that had been given out to entice people to take the cruise. It’s a tight fit and my bed basically filled the entire space between the main bed and the balcony door. I wasn’t worried too much about the space issue since we won’t be in the room a lot and there is plenty of spaces to roam on the ship.
Our first activity on the ship was the muster drill where we found our emergency stations. It was a lot less scary than I thought it would be. After the drill, the whole ship decided to get food so we ended up at the buffeteria. I was super hungry so loaded up on the food. We then relaxed and took a nap before heading out to explore the ship. The ship finally departed San Juan and slowly headed out. The rest of the evening we spent relaxing in the 24 hour bar called O’Sheehan’s (I’m pretty sure that’s an Ocean pun name for and Irish bar..) and later randomly wandering the decks and getting a late night snack. By 11pm, we were all back in the room and conked out after a full day of travel.