On Sunday, December 9th, 2012 I boarded the Carnival Freedom ship in Fort Lauderdale, FL for a 6 night Western Caribbean cruise. I had been researching cruises and cruise lines for months in preparation because I eventually wanted to take a cruise for my 30th birthday. I'm sure I don't have to tell you that planning your first anything is extremely exciting and the anticipation itself is a lot of the fun. Most of my friends and family told me that I should take Royal Caribbean and that Carnival was the lower end cruise line. When I stumbled upon an amazing deal to take the above mentioned cruise, I just couldn't pass it up and figured it would be a good chance to try out Carnival since I was planning on becoming an avid cruiser now that I lived in Florida.
The cruise was going to the Cayman Islands as one of its ports and since my boyfriend and I are scuba certified, that alone was reason enough to jump on this deal and take this cruise. Sadly, what happened once we boarded this cruise ship was something I could never have imagined let alone pondered as an actual possibility.
Our room was horrid. The room was located directly above the engines and shook as though an earthquake was constantly occurring throughout the entire day and night. We complained for 3 days before we actually got moved. The funny part is come our second complaint when a crew member actually came to our room and agreed to our legitimate claim to be moved but then handed us earplugs instead of actually moving us. Earplugs. Now this alone could ruin someone's cruise but our debacle is far from over.
When I say that I thought I was going to die on this cruise I do not exaggerate. We were on the ship 2 days when I started feeling ill. It was about mid day on Tuesday and the hot flashes and cold sweats started. Then what followed is something I can only explain because I lived through it (thankfully). My entire body started shaking and convulsing as I puked and messed myself over and over. (The embarrassment has come and gone as you will learn further on so I do not mind now admitting that yes I messed myself, several times.) My boyfriend not knowing what to do, called the medical emergency number and they told him to bring me down. He did exactly that and upon arrival the nurse immediately tells him it must be the norovirus. I have since looked this up and as I expected, I did not have what she claimed. I was laid out, given a shot of phenergan and told that I was extremely contagious but at the exact same time, also told that I did not have a fever. My boyfriend kept trying to explain that I had food poisoning and it must have been the honey mustard sauce because it was the only thing he did not eat that I did. She would not listen and kept instructing me to make sure I wash my hands. Two things: I am completely delirious at this point in the night so telling me anything was pointless. She kept my boyfriend out in the waiting area instead of talking to him and continued to talk to me when I couldn't keep down my own saliva. (I know this because I left a lot of it in the medical center). Secondly, I am a germaphobe and wash my hands about fifty times a day as is and was on high alert upon boarding a cruise ship of thousands of people. Nothing I touched came in contact with my face and was quickly killed with soap and antibac. Either way, I was given more phenergan and loperamide to take throughout the next day and was told to report back in 24 hours. Until then, I was placed on quarantine. Here is where my complaint peaks. I was placed on quarantine for a virus I didn't have, in a room that shook like an earthquake, for 24 hours which was through the exact day we were supposed to be scuba diving in the Cayman Islands. Let me also add that when I left the medical center it was by wheelchair because I had no strength to lift my own legs. The wheelchair had a bum wheel which forced us to go so slow that by the time we made it back to my room I puked on the floor at least three times and messed myself in public. This is where I experienced the most mortified moment of my life. Have you ever messed yourself in public? I cannot even begin to explain what that feels like. And the food poisoning didn't give for another 6 hours so that I had been puking with diarrhea for 12 straight hours. Finally my body gave way to sleep and that is all I did for an entire day. I was eventually let off quarantine but at that point it didn't matter because I didn't have any strength to do anything anyway. My entire body is still sore from the quake it went through. It took 4 days before my chest wasn't bruised any longer. It took every bit of nerve I had to trust anything to eat on that ship again and everything I ate I checked thoroughly. I also made sure to only eat room service or at a sit down. If I hadn't been stuck on your ship I wouldn't have eaten anything you had to offer but I knew to get my strength back I had to eat. I am home now and I couldn't be more thankful. I believe that it is extremely sad that my very first cruise turned out to be the absolute worst time in my entire life. The sickness my body was put through would have easily killed any of the older cruisers. When I say I feel lucky I am home, I mean it.