Today we arrived in beautiful Cartagena on the South Eastern coast of Spain. I was quite excited about this port as out of all our destinations it was the only place I had never in fact visited before. I wasn’t sure what to expect or what the local area would be like so I was pretty excited to disembark as soon as possible.
The day started well, although at first the clouds looked a little daunting it soon brightened up quite nicely and we were off to explore the local marina and city centre.
Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas was also in port today along with SeaDream Yacht Club’s, SeaDream 1 (boy that was a mouth full!) so the main port area was very busy, filled with excited locals and tourists. The atmosphere was great!
We had a pleasant stroll through the city, looking in all the little stores and then coming across two rather amazing churches. They really were beautiful, the architecture and design in these places never ceases to amaze me. Far from the typical church at home, they are gleaming, full of religious statues and you instantly get the feeling you are protected the second you walk through the door.
As the time crept into the afternoon hours we headed back down towards the marina, again by this time my feet were begging me to find a seat for 5 minutes and take the load off but we continued on for another hour or so as we explored the ships in port and some of the lovely yachts. The atmosphere down here was great, it had started to cloud over slightly but it still felt warm and the party atmosphere was even stronger. I imagine a visit here in the summer months would be fantastic. It really was a huge area; there were numerous marina front restaurants and bars, lots of people enjoying themselves and what looked like a party catamaran that you could jump on board for just 10 Euros.
Eventually we gave in and headed back to the pickup point for our coach. As soon as we got back to the ship the heaven’s opened, we really did just avoid getting soaked! I dropped my bags and headed off down to deck 7, little did I know I was about to be bullied into playing shuffleboard, a game I promise I had never played before this day.
There were 5 passengers on the promenade deck wanting to play the game but they needed 6 to make it even so after some persuasion I finally said I would play. Didn’t have a clue what to do but I soon learned. Although I technically didn’t win any points I actually enjoyed the game, the gents seemed to be taking it a little more serious than us ladies though. We were more interested in having a chin wag and moaning about the fact it was raining. We also took great pleasure in being told a day or so before one player had almost knocked the captain overboard after scoring a +10 and getting a little over excited……….see it’s not just the youth of today that can get a bit carried away!
As we got closer to the time we were supposed to sail the weather really took a turn. The wind picked up quite a lot, it was so strong! They tried and then tried again and again to push the ship off the dock but the gusts were just too strong. Eventually they gave in and waited for not one tugboat but four. Finally we were moving, I stood for a few minutes on the promenade deck filming these poor tugboats quite literally being battered by the waves, at one point I thought one of them was sinking it was taking on so much water. After a few more minutes watching all the commotion I headed back inside and down to deck 5 to join my friend for dinner.
We had been sitting in the restaurant for a while now, when I looked to my friend and said I am convinced we are going round in a circle, I have seen the same landmark go past the window about 5 times now! As soon as I got the words out of my mouth the captain made an announcement, explaining why we were going round and round and then round a bit more in a circle. Basically the wind was so strong that the pilot was having serious trouble getting off the ship back onto the pilot boat. They would keep going round for a while longer to see if he could disembark and if not well we would just take him with us to Livorno, this received a few laughs.
Maybe 40 minutes or so later I am assuming he got off as we seemed to once again be going in a straight line, heading back out into the open ocean looking towards a lovely day at sea then our next port of call, Livorno, Italy.
Video 1: Pilot boat and tugs take to the waves
Video 2: Captain Updates passengers on the disembarking of the Pilot