Travels in New Orleans and the Caribbean:
October 1995

My grandmother has been a travel agent for many years, and her main reason for doing this is so she can travel as much as she does (and I know she has fun organizing trips and all, of course). The end result is that she's never home! In 1995, she had won a free cruise, so she offered to take me with her...and of course, I accepted. Since I had to worry about when I could have vacation time, and the summer months were already booked with other employees' vacations, she suggested October, since she had gone before in October and had beautiful weather. Little did we know that the hurricane season was the longest they've ever had that year! Read on...

Commodore Cruise Lines

Commodore Cruise Lines sailed the ship the Enchanted Isle out of New Orleans, down the Mississippi River, and to the Caribbean Isles, including Jamaica. It sounded like a good trip to me, especially since we sailed out of New Orleans - the birthplace of jazz!

Bon Voyage!

Here is my grandmother waving "bon voyage" to those on shore seeing us off. In addition to my grandmother, there were two friends of my grandmother and one of their daughters, but that made me the youngest in our little group by still about half...and one of the youngest on the ship, too...but I did find some passengers my own age to hang out with...well, actually, they found me...!

Two Ships

Here is our ship (the "little" one) docked in Cozumel next to the Carnival cruise ship that was going the same route as us. Believe it or not, since our ship was originally built for the rougher northern Atlantic Ocean, we had more water displacement than the larger Carnival ship. Lucky for us, as you'll see in a moment...

Caribbean Me

Here I am in the Caribbean on the shores of Cozumel, which is a flat little island off the coast of Mexico. The water is beautiful, especially considering what was going to happen in the next twenty-four hours...


I really don't know what happened here when my grandmother tried to take a picture of me, but I think it looks like something out of the X-Files. Maybe Scully and Mulder should investigate? It could be some kind of astral photography perhaps...? ;)

Evidence of Hurricane Roxanne
Well, of course you should expect a large ship like this to pitch and yaw a bit, but not usually twenty-foot swells that crash over the bow of the ship! By dinnertime after leaving Cozumel, the waves had gotten up to about five to six feet, and my stomach didn't like it. Yes, I did throw up, but I made it into my little bag and I was already on my way back to my room, so it wasn't an embarassing scene. As the storm was getting worse, my grandmother and one of her friends wanted to go out on deck and look at the waves! I couldn't believe them!

If you haven't figured out yet why I took this picture, take a look at the angle of the water in my bottle, as well as the curtains hanging outward from the wall. That is because the waves were still so large the whole day that I almost slid off my bed each time it went back and forth!

What we were supposed to do...What we really did...'s what really happened: The first map is what the original route was supposed to be, but the second is what really happened. The purple arrow is our ship, the red arrow is the Carnival ship, and the white spiral with the arrow is Hurricane Roxanne. When we left Cozumel, Roxanne was still just a tropical storm, and according to the weather reports, she was heading due north. Our captain decided intsead of heading due east as our course dictated, we should head more southeasterly to avoid the worst of the storm if at all possible. The Carnival ship decided to head due south to avoid the storm more quickly. Well, a couple hours later, as the storm was upgraded to hurricane status, it changed course due east, straight into poor little Cozumel and the Carnival ship. We were on the edge and still running away from the storm, but since we had been going southeast, we were able to keep going. We had to skip the Grand Caymans, spending the whole day at sea, since we had to go so slowly with the storm at our heels. We did finally make it to Montego Bay, Jamaica, on time the next day to finish our "vacations"...but the poor Carnival ship was stuck out in the middle of the hurricane for two whole days! Can you imagine how much that ship must have rocked being so tall and having even less displacement than we did?

Duns River Falls, Jamaica

Eager for "dry" land after spending an entire day on a rough sea, we took the bus around the island to the Duns River Falls, which are famous for the guided climbing tours up the waterfalls. Of course, the falls are beautiful, and you get quite a different perspective being in them...

Climbing the fallsWaving while climbing the falls

Yes, here I am climbing the falls and posing for the cameras. At the most picturesque spots, the guide would take our cameras for us and take our pictures posing in the falls. It was actually quite a climb, but it was fun...!

End of the cruise

This is my luggage tag for disembarking back in New Orleans...Quite a trip, and happy to be on dry land for good this time, but all day long we felt like we were still rocking with the waves! Oh, by the way, by the time the seas had calmed back down to only five-to-six-foot swells again, no one on the ship had any problems...I guess we got our sea legs during those twenty-foot swells!

Bourbon Street

Of course you can see that this is the world-famous Bourbon Street! Even though we were there on a normal Saturday night, with no special occasion like Mardi Gras, it was still quite packed with people partying up a storm! I wish I could have stayed around longer, especially to hear some more jazz, but since I wasn't with anyone my age and I definitely wasn't going back out there by myself, I went back to the hotel with the rest of the group and listened to the partying out my window...

French Quarter, New OrleansMore French Quarter, New Orleans

Yes, New Orleans really does look like this, but only in the Old French Quarter...Definitely unique architecture, since it was a combination of French and Spanish, with some local elements included as well, but I love all the cast-iron railings everywhere!
By the way, we did drive past Anne Rice's house on our bus tour, but we drove by too fast for me to get a picture...

Grandma and Betty under the Spanish Moss

My grandmother and her friend Betty posing underneath the Spanish Moss hanging from the tree...I had to get pictures of the Spanish Moss, since I'd only seen it at Disneyland before on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride - never in real life!

The city of New Orleans actually is below sea level, since it was filled-in marshland. Well, when the first settlers tried to bury their dead loved ones, they got a horrible surprise, since the high water level made the coffins float up to the surface and pop open! Obviously, burial required a different plan, so they built above-ground crypts instead. If your family didn't have enough money to build you your own proper family crypt, you got shoved into the drawers in the wall surrounding the cemetary. If you were unlucky enough to die the same year as another family member who was already put into your crypt, you would have to go into the wall as well to wait for when the family crypt could be safely opened and the other person's remains swept back into the hole in the back of the crypt. Gruesome you say? Just another way of dealing with the end of life...

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