Time to leave.
Another VERY early morning start! For some reason, we keep having to get up in the wee hours of the morning to start our flights. Bounding out of bed at 3am, we planned to have our transportation arrive at 4am. We were successful. Yea!?! The next thing I noticed was that we were going to cross the Brooklyn Bridge. Whoo-hoo! One more thing off the bucket list. OK, it was never on my list but we can now say we have been across the bridge.
The flight was taking off from Laguardia Airport at 7am minus 30 minutes for the boarding time and two hours for possible security delays or driving issues we arrived at the conclusion that we must arrive by 4:30am. Our driver said under best conditions we should expect the drive from the hotel in the lower business district of “The City” to the airport was about 30 minutes. After all that, it seemed important to leave by 4am.
When we got to Southwest counter, the agent noticed that Shawna was on crutches. She immediately arranged for a wheelchair and changed our tickets to assisted boarding. So we got to board the plane early. The chair arrived and airport personnel pushed her to TSA, then to the plane for boarding. Fantastic!
At the next airport, Dallas, they had a chair waiting for her and took us to bathrooms, a place to get lunch, and to the plane. The same assistance was at the Amarillo airport.
I have only praise for Southwest. They have been wonderful on every flight and have more standard seat room for my long legs than other airlines. On other airlines, I have to pay for upgrades so my knees are not pressing against the seat in front of me. I love Southwest Airlines!
Of course, once we arrived in Amarillo, we still had a 2 hour drive to Logan. To say that we were exhausted is an understatement. Where is our transporter or flying car that I was promised in my childhood?
We arrived early at Battery Park to get our tickets for the ferry. Shawna and I had tickets to walk up to the crown but her injury prevented her from going up.
The park has a community garden and some pretty flowers.
Phyllis and I went up to the top deck to get a few pictures.
It must have been a overwhelming sight when she was first seen by those hoping to make this their new home.
I split with the group to start the climb up before the crowds got there.
It was incredible knowing that the statue was built so long ago and the walk up was narrow and steep. The stairs are a double helix. The down stair wrapped around the up stair. Brilliant, it means there are no delays or passing on the stairs. The interior of the statue is supported by beams and straps.
At the top is a small platform that allows for looking out the windows. They are so small the largest are about a foot wide and two foot tall. The top of the room is the statue's head and I was able to reach up and touch the interior shaped of her hair. The platform is just behind her forehead. The rangers were very informative. The statue is a really strong lighting attractor. He said that when she is struck, it is extremely loud inside. I bet!
The eye and nose as seen from the inside of the statue.
This is the ladder in the arm to the torch. No one goes up the torch except for maintenance.
The fire boats were out as part of the 9/11 marathon to honor Firefighters.
When we got back together at the museum, we were able to walk around the original torch. It had been replaced because previous attempts to light the torch had damaged it. A decision was made to make a duplicate and cover the flame with gold and illuminate from the exterior. The door to get on the one foot wide walkway around the torch was about 4 feet tall. Wow, people actually were coming up and standing on that walkway.
Next was Ellis Island.
As we walk into the building, the first room is the “Baggage room” where immigrants checked bags before processing.
We needed to eat lunch so moved to the remodeled original lunch room. Yes, we sat and ate lunch where all the immigrants ate when coming through the island.
Later we hear from people who commented on their first meal in the US. Most were very poor and had never seen many of the fruits and vegetables that were served them. To them it was a feast instead of a simple meal supplied by the government.
So many came through here that they had to expand the sleeping areas to three bunk tall rooms with little room between rows. Even then these people appreciated what they were given.
We heard the stories of those who worked through the government reviews and tests to see if they were acceptable for entry or would be rejected and sent back home.
The main hall was impressive. Imagining the impression for those who passed through here to be told they could continue or had to return to Europe.
From here they moved out into the rest of the country.
Back to the hotel and dinner at Murphy's Tavern on more time.
Touring New York City.
We started today by having breakfast at the restaurant at the entrance to the hotel and then walked down to Battery Park to get on the Hop on Hop off bus “Big Bus”. It was fun and we did get to see a lot of the city.
The narrator pointed out where famous people own apartments and buildings that have an interesting history. We had earphones to help us hear because the city is ALWAYS loud. Honking! Sirens! …. So loud! He was willing to answer questions when not busy but much of his narration was on wealth. Money is very important in NYC and maybe the most important thing to people who live here.
We hopped off and transferred to a different bus to go up to see Times Square and Central Park. At Times Square, we hopped off and took pictures along with visiting the M&M store. We were told it was the best place to find a bathroom. We were warned to NEVER go into the subway for a bathroom. The view of Central Park was limited from the bus and being a Sunday there were a lot of people visiting the park.
We passed one of the oldest Fire stations in the city.
At the end of the bus tour, we walked to the 9/11 tower memorial. Along the way we passed several buildings that looked like they were styled after Greek or Roman construction.
We found the 9/11 memorial incredibly moving. We would have taken the museum tour but the wait time was over 2 hours.
The memorial is only a few blocks from our hotel so we walk that direction. Along the way we stopped for lunch. From the restaurant, we could see the memorial so this location was affected when the towers fell. It was interesting walking in the city. Everyone was nice and no one ever bothered us. Of course, being in a big city means being aware of your surroundings but we never felt unsafe.
We decided that for our last meal in NYC we would go to the tavern next door to the hotel. The food was good.
We arrive in New York City.
We awoke this morning already docked in New York City. This is the first time to visit the city for both Shawna and I. Well, it is big that’s for sure. It was sad to disembark the ship but we were looking forward to the adventures we have planned here.
Off to the hotel in Lower Manhattan in the Business district. We arrived at the hotel in the morning to drop off our luggage until our rooms would be ready. Battery Park is only a couple of blocks away so we walked down there to get our first look at the Statue of Liberty. Liberty island is far off in the bay.
After a few pictures, we walked around the park and finally ended up near the “entrance to the Men in Black headquarters”. It is really the Tunnel Ventilation Building but that is no fun. The park has been used in several movies and TV shows.
Part of our reason for visiting the park was to find where to pickup our tickets for our ferry to the Statue. The pickup location is in Castle Clinton which is a battery, hence the name of the park, which was built in 1811 to protect the port. Originally it was surrounded by water but now it is well inland in the park.
Even the Battery entrance to the subway is kind of ornate.
One side of the park is the bay the other the city rises high above the trees.
After the park, we walked by a very old building. It was the Alexander Hamilton US Custom House. The building was completed in 1907 and is incredibly ornate with huge statues sitting at the entrances. The building was used for Customs until 1971 and is now the National Archives at New York City and houses the National Museum of the American Indian. It was incredible.
Back to the hotel to check in and that did not go as smoothly as we hoped. Our room was on the 30th floor. That is the highest floor in a hotel that I have ever stayed It was strange that every time we went up or down in the elevator our ears popped. The view from our window was stunning.
One room was ready but the second one was not and we decided to leave our luggage in the room while we got lunch. Nearby was a place called “Just Salad” which was exactly what they served. It was pretty good. I had always heard that there were restaurants everywhere in NYC and it is true. On our block and the next, there were donut shops, 3 coffee places, a couple of sandwich shops, many restaurants, and one Tavern. I only included those that are accessible from the street level and not any that are up on higher floors of the surrounding buildings. If I had included everyone, it would be at least twice as many as I listed. You can hardly walk a ½ a block in this city without passing a place to eat.
The view at night from our room was so different from the view during the day.
Why are whole floors of lights on in the offices?
I guess the people here do not take saving the environment as seriously as they claim because the evidence shows the opposite. Late in the evening on a Saturday practically every floor of every building in the city has all the lights on all night long. These are all office buildings and no one is seen in any room. Find the OFF switch people!
This was another tendering port so we decided to stay on the ship. If Shawna could have walked off the ship, we would have planned an excursion but we decided not to get off ship in Newport.
To one side of the ship was the fort, hopefully in the future we will drive this way in our RV and see the fort in detail.
There were sailboats looping around the ship. I guess it was fun for them.
This is pictures of the workout area. I really must use this area on the next cruise so I can avoid gaining weight from all the good food.
On our last night, we went to dinner at the Canaletto for a very nice Italian dinner. It was very good and a bit exotic.
The final charm for the cruise. It better be because the bracelet is full.
Off to the Variety Show, performing tonight is William Caulfield, the Irish comedian and Emily Yates, a very good singer. No pictures or video of performances are allowed on the Main Stage.
Final day to visit BB King’s Club. We loved the music.
The hallways are full of luggage which is a sure sign that the cruise it at an end.
This is a picture of our towel animal as promised.
This morning we passed through a huge school of dolphins feeding near the ship. While watching all the jumping and playing, we were able to see moms with babies.
It is a sea day so the America's Test Kitchen was teaching some new recipes. This time "Salad for Dinner" and "Serious Tacos". These may make it into our meal choices.
We had a Mariner Lunch. It is something special for people who have sailed several times with the cruise line. It was very nice. This cruise there were more "Mariners" than other passengers.
While Shawna was at the Spa, I stepped in to see what a changing room looks like.
The Captain answers questions. He showed a picture of the most important piece of equipment on the bridge, a coffee machine. Of course, he was joking. It was encouraging knowing that the Captain was so knowledgeable and able to answer all the questions.
At 3pm, we took in the Afternoon Tea.
This was the second Gala Night, so everyone is dressed up for dinner. Here is a look at the food presentation, and our menu.
We end the day with the Dance presentation at the Main Stage.
We have another excursion that Shawna will be able to go on. It is a hop on hop off bus and tour of the city. We did make a mistake in thinking that it was that way starting at the ship terminal/port. No, it was not. The bus from the terminal was a quick tour of the city and THEN everyone changed to a hop on hop off bus. We literally missed the bus.
The people of Boston were great! I know “Big City” people are expected to be rude and unhelpful but we did not have that experience at all. When they found out our problem, they organized for us to get into town and join the 2nd bus. I thought that I needed to buy tickets as it was our mistake but no they would have none of that and refunded the money for the tickets I had purchased.
Things were a bit confusing in the city. We left our bus and had to move down a couple of blocks then cross a VERY busy VERY big street to get where the 2nd bus was stopped.
Here are a few clips from the bus tour we took around Boston.
The bus driver/tour guide was hilarious. We did see many famous and pseudo-famous places like the outside of “Cheers”.
A quick picture at dinner by our Server and tonight's menu. Shawna and I had the quail for our main course.
Tonight, we stopped to listen to the Lincoln Center Stage musicians.
Back in the USA. Before we can go ashore, we have to all be checked by Immigration. Yep, no kidding USCBP came onboard and did a face to face passport check before anyone could leave the ship.
We had an excursion bus tour that took us all over the city and then to the lighthouse. They were very helpful to Shawna. Portland is a pretty neat place with lots of very old buildings.
The last stop on the tour was to one of the most famous lighthouses in the world. It was a pretty lighthouse.
Saint John, New Brunswick
Phyllis and I took off into town to find a farmer's market. It was quite a bit of uphill walking. We were not successful in finding what we were looking for but did get some exercise. Headed back to the ship for lunch.
After dinner, we stopped by the Shoppes to get the daily charm then went to see the Main Stage performer. He was William Caulfield, an Irish Comedian. We had three comedians on this cruise. Too many in my opinion but Caulfield was the best of them.
Later in the evening, we stopped off at Billboard Onboard. This is where two pianos are placed so the players can face each other. They take requests. We enjoyed their music many times on the cruise. Even though there was not really an area designated for dancing that did not stop some for doing so.
Time for bed. I may gather all the towel creatures together in the last post of the cruise.
Halifax, Nova Scotia
We arrive in the harbor for Halifax and this is our view as we were eating breakfast.
When we got ashore, we were greeted by a bagpiper and saw this excursion group leaving for a farm. Hilarious!
We have our own personal tour guide. Phyllis has a friend that lives nearby and met us on shore. She and her daughter toured the boardwalk with us and answered questions about the area.
We spent some time in the craft and food fair. One thing we purchased was from RawThenticChocolate which is handmade raw chocolate bars. The chocolate was fantastic. The shops had some amazing food and an interesting sense of humor.
As we started down the boardwalk, we had a very nice view of the ship.
A couple of young ladies were dancing for donations. I think they were collecting the money for a trip.
Our plan for the walk was to see the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic. They have exhibits on seafaring and a large area dedicated to the sinking of the Titanic. So much information and it was amazing looking at the exhibits of items that were from the ship.
Back to the ship for the sail away. Across from the dock was a small island with a lighthouse. The water traffic was interesting.
Time for dinner and some pretty interesting desserts.
I don’t think I have shown very much of the spa. This is the hydro pool that Shawna liked so much.
We did have a pretty sunset as we moved off to our next port.
Some more music and then off to bed. We have had a long day, but first we are going to the Orange Party. This is a celebration of the House of Orange which is the royal family's heritage in the Netherlands.
We had fun, free horderves, and great music at the Orange Party.
We are a couple who have started on a new adventure...