Ultimate World Cruise passenger missed his ship due to a promise to his late husband
Antoine McWilliams, a 54-year-old retired healthcare project coordinator, wanted to travel to Brazil. To that end, he signed up for Royal Caribbean's Ultimate World Cruise as a solo traveler.
He dreamed of traveling in memory of his late husband Michael, who died of cancer in 2018. Before he died, Michael made him promise to travel, Business Insider writes.
"He said: "Travel will be your mind, travel will be your salvation." And that's exactly what I've been doing for the last five years-traveling the world," McWilliams said. He said that in Brazil, during the cruise, he wanted to visit friends and some special places he and Michael had visited in the past.
So he asked officials for permission to leave when the ship stopped at the port and then rejoin elsewhere. According to Royal Caribbean's official policy, guests are allowed to disembark at one port and transfer to another. This is called a "downline" and must be booked in advance (because, among other things, cruise ships keep passports of passengers while on board).
However, the tourist did not take into account the fact that each country has its own policy on passenger transfers. Royal Caribbean also informed him that Brazil would not allow him to disembark in one port and then return to another.
Instead, McWilliams said he disembarked in Grenada, skipping his planned port in French Guyana, and plans to board when it docks in Montevideo, Uruguay. "Brazil is my favorite place to visit. I love it here. It's so picturesque. Again, my first time in Brazil was in 2007 - my husband Michael brought me here," he said.
McWilliams decided to disembark in Grenada because flights to Rio de Janeiro were about $1,000 cheaper than from French Guyana. But it turned out that the ship was still unable to dock in French Guyana due to bad weather.
Although he won't be able to get back on the ship for about a week due to the current circumstances, McWilliams plans to meet up with his Ultimate World Cruise friends for a tour of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro. McWilliams said he is enjoying his time, no matter what.
"I'd like to believe I've figured life out, but I've been able to make this journey because of my husband," he said. "The older we get, the less mobile we become, and I want to do it now. I want to be able to make those moves and see the world when I can really enjoy it in my body and in my spirit," the traveler added.