At the start of this year, I left for The United States of America, to board the Koningsdam in Fort Lauderdale. Florida. I was excited! It was the first holiday without my parents present, and I was going far, far away. When I boarded the ship, I was flabbergasted. It was HUGE. And beautiful. In a couple of minutes I felt a sensation that I never ever sensed before. I felt like: this is where I belong. These are my shipping roots, this is my destiny. Alongside with that, I felt a safe feeling. It was good, I was safe. Also, I never experienced that before!
We were setting sail to Half Moon Cay, the first stop of the cruise. Half Moon Cay is a tendering port, so I was a little worried how to get ashore with my wheelchair. It was not a problem at all. Staff helped me gently on to the tender.
After a busy day Snorkeling at Half Moon Cay, it was time to set sail again, on to the next port of call: Grand Turk! When I was at breakfast, the cruise director made an announcement. The Carnival ship, that should be with us in Grand Turk today, is not going to make it, due to strong winds. I looked out of the port side window, and I saw a Carnival ship, heading in the opposite direction! The captain of the Koningsdam, Capt Bowland, was thinking we could make it in to the port of Grand Turk. The captain was right, and just with a slight delay we entered the port of Grand Turk. Then It was the time that I first experienced getting lost on the ship. We must go to A deck, forward. I lost my travel mate along the way, but ship security was quick in finding him, and sending him to A deck Forward, were I was waiting. The tram tour on Grand Turk was amazing, there are so many donkeys there! When Evening falls, it was time to set sail to our next port of call: Amber Cove! Amber cove was the port of disaster for me. After a tour through the beautiful city of Puerto Plata, I discovered that I had a flat tire on my wheelchair. I panicked, how should I continue my cruise? I went to the front desk, and told the receptionist my problem. My travel mate had a new tire with him, which I could use. But... I was not able to change the tire myself, nor did my travel mate! An enigineer collected my chair, repaired him overnight, and the following morning my chair was returned to me by the cabin steward, who had a great smile on his face when he said: "wheelchair delivery!" So, I could enjoy the sea day, and the mariners lunch with Capt Bowland. (my travel mate was a one star mariner) Shout out to the receptionist, and the engineering department of the Koningsdam, for getting me on my feet again!
So next up, Bonaire. For me , as a Dutchman, it was so special to visit the Caribbean part of our kingdom. Being able to speak Dutch with the tourguides, and with people in town. It was an amazing experience, on all of the 3 ABC islands.
After the ABC islands it was time for 2 sea days back to Fort Lauderdale. My cruise adventure was over. But the love for cruising, and knowing where I belong? That is something I will keep with me forever.
Thank you Koningsdam, for learning me such important lessons about life.
The cabin was wonderfull. It was a cabin, made for people with wheelchairs. The cabin was spacious enough for 2 ambulatory wheelchair users
An grand Island experience!