© 2016 by KAYLEE RANDALL.​

Dealing with Hurricane Matthew During Royal Caribbean Rehearsals

October 8, 2016

So the past 72 hours have been... interesting. But coming out unscathed on the other end of it calls for some reflection.


I've lived in Florida all my life, south Florida to be exact, so hurricanes are nothing new to me. I was a baby during Hurricane Andrew (the worst storm to hit Miami-Dade in my lifetime) and I remember the triple whammy that barreled through Central Florida about a decade ago. I was here for Wilma and I've survived a bunch of crazy rain and winds and being without power for weeks. 


But this time was a little different because for the past month or so I've been living in FIU dorms in Miami and I'm technically in employee housing. So when the campus closed, our studios closed, and we were evacuated. Things were a little more out of my control.


We were in rehearsals for "Invitation to Dance" (p.s. ballroom is hard in case you didn't know) and they announced a 12:15 meeting in the finishing studio. Long story short, we needed to be packed and out of Bay Vista by 2:00. Here we go.


I've never been forced to evacuate and while I was calm in the days leading up to the storm, being evacuated created a little anxiety. But it's fine. We were keeping our cool and we hunkered down in the Marriott more inland. Still directly on the water... but we'll be fine right?


RCCL was awesome and the hotel staff (bless their souls) were as accommodating as they could be. Considering over 200 stressed out singers and dancers just arrived on the premises with very little preparation, I'd say everything went pretty smoothly. A lot of us were waiting for keys downstairs for a few hours but if that's the worst we had to deal with, I'd say things were great. The main goal was to keep up safe and I feel like RCCL held up their end of the bargain in that respect.


From there we were sitting pretty. We had $60 to use for food each day so we were eating at the buffet for every meal and since I'm a Marriott Rewards member the wifi was free and RCCL covered parking since they wanted us to move our cars as well in case of flooding. The hotel stay became a lot of impromptu cast bonding full of Beyonce, swimming in the middle of a windstorm, lots of Netflix, Pinot Noir, and a lot of sitting around doing nothing like the rest of Florida.


So after two nights, the hurricane came and went with nothing more than tropical storm forces in Miami, which was great. It looked like things were supposed to be worse for my parents in Ft. Lauderdale and my boyfriend in Orlando but it seems that only the beaches along the East coast were really affected. A lot of my Orlando friends lost power but other than that they're all ok. But seeing the destruction in Haiti, the Bahamas, Jamaica, Cuba, and along the Floridian coastline, we just have to be grateful that we were only hit with Matthew's outermost bands. 


I'm currently on my hotel room balcony enjoying the view and a little fresh air before we get word on when we can leave for Bay Vista. Curious to see what this means for the rest of our rehearsal process since we lost two and a half days of work. Prepping for some long days and nights but I know we all appreciate RCCL taking every precaution in keeping us safe and taken care of.


Bye Matthew. You were fun, or something like that.


 View from my 16th floor balcony at the Miami Marriott Biscayne Bay.



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