Ever been on a ship when "man overboard" sounds? We have, once.


I have to admit, I was pretty impressed with the Princess readiness and response. It was on the Royal Princess, just south of Greenland in late September, lots of chop and white caps, moderate wind and moderate swell.


Quite a "fright". One morning  around 10:00 AM, the Captain suddenly came on in all the cabin's PA's and announced "Man Overboard", starboard side. Wow, and it was no drill either. All our years on the high seas and never experienced one of those before.


I was in our cabin, grabbed the binoculars and ran out onto our balcony, we were on the starboard. The ship had just started to make a relatively tight circle to the starboard (The Royal is over 1000 feet long and was cruising close to 20 MPH) as the captain had immediately threw the vessel into the turn. The crew had thrown a buoy smoke flare overboard at first notice. Sort of sent chills up my spine to see the flare burning in our wake and the chop but no person could I spot. The ship has two small, heavy duty, rescue boats, one each side. I no more than hit our balcony than that boat, with a fully outfitted crew of three or four, was already swung out and on its way down to the sea.


As it turned out, the person who had sounded the alarm had spotted a loose red lobster pot float and thought it was a life jacket. Anyway, it all took about an hour and a half as all had to return to their staterooms in order to get a head count. A big Carnival came up to assist in the search during all this. This all gave me confidence and made me feel good.