Upload & Sell: On
I'm thinking that any hope Sheila ever had of a cruise, other than one of the Viking River variety, has vanished. I never want to be farther than I can swim from shore. Carnival might as well carve that piece of junk up for scrap. They offered everyone a hotel room in Mobile, or a bus ride to Houston. Now that 9 hour bus ride would be just about as pleasant as the cruise.
The dock at Mobile Bay must be filled to capacity with lawyers. I don't think the $500 in cash and a free cruise is going to pacify those folks.
They just might have done you and Sheila a favour. Personally I couldnt think of any thing worse than being cooped up on a ship with 3998 people just like my neighbours. I know people from down under who have been regulars to the USA and buy a second hand car and work it over region by region, and apart from your amazing scenery, when people hear the accent and ask "Aussie or Limey?" the world opens up for them.
It is the same the world over. People, esp off the beaten track are generous as well as proud of their country. Dont listen to the doomsayers who tell you the world is dangerous. (well maybe Central and Sth America isnt too good these days, or so I hear) but SE Asia is amazing. For a soft landing try Cambodia; Raffles Le Royale in Phnom Penh is where Jacquie Kennedy stayed. Unfortunately you can no longer get a room there for $105 per night because the world has discovered Indo Chine but it is worth the stay just to experience the bath towels. And of course Angkor is on par with the Pyramids
I have a retired friend who manages an aid program there. They make concrete rain water tanks for villagers and schools, which might sound silly but there are high levels of arsenic in many of the underground aquifiers. It might get a little rough (It is on my bucket list) but eight or ten days in the field with there local country manager and you will get to places that are so far out of the tourist circuit you will think you are in heaven.
Just get out there with that big grin of yours and dont expect perfection (Because they and their culture are different) and you will love it
Reckon your clients can spare you for three weeks?? They have to. Go while you are still young