I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Outside the port side windows of the buffet restaurant on Deck 15 on Norwegian Cruise Lines’ Epic there was an island. A big island. We seemed to be floating lazily past it.
I blinked. Blinked again. What the…? We were a day out of the Port of Miami, supposedly en route to the Madeira Islands. But they were seven days away. We were on Day 3 of an 11-day TransAtlantic cruise from Miami to Barcelona.
So, where were we?
No, we hadn’t stumbled upon the Lost City of Atlantis. We hadn’t turned back. I finally recognized the unmistakable turquoise waters, coral sand beaches and white plaster rain-catching roofs of Bermuda.
But if we were in Bermuda, we must be hundreds of miles off course.
That was exactly right. We were hundreds of miles off course – but intentionally. The ship had a passenger onboard with a medical emergency. When the passenger’s problems were diagnosed as dire enough to require evacuation, the ship’s captain Frank Juliussen considered his options. We were too far off shore for a medical helicopter to reach us and take the passenger back to land. We couldn’t turn back to a mainland port; our schedule would be ruined.
Bermuda was really our only option. The captain poured on the speed and tried to make up the lost time. We were due in the port of Funchal by Sunday morning. It would take an average speed of something in excess of 22 m.p.h. – blazing speed for a cruise ship – to get there.
Epic was certainly capable of that speed – and more – but it would be asking a lot of captain, crew and ship.
And we were hundreds of miles off course.
That would turn out to be a good thing.
April 24, 2013