Historic America Cruisetour - 2014
Rosalee picked up on this one, and we are starting the second half today. It was called the Historic America Cruisetour by Princess Cruise Lines, and consisted of a week touring historical locations as well as modern day locations over a large area of the eastern coast. We were in a large, luxurious coach with a great driver and a superb guide. We all stopped in a hotel each night, and some meals we were on our own while some were arranged. Special ones, like Prime Rib in Colonial Williamsburg. Yum! I'm sure fifty meals are a better price per item than a couple visiting from Des Moines. Several others at historic locations were all planned out with no waiting. That was nice.
Luggage was pretty much a hotel-door-to-hotel-door program. We sat it outside the door early in the morning and went to breakfast. It was packed in the coach ready to go as we got up from breakfast. We got into some locations only because it was planned and we were treated differently. The lines into the Empire State Building alone were over an hour, but we were able to take the VIP line. You can experience the first portion of that land tour if you go to the top of this box and click on where it says to "Return to the...".
The coach brought us right to the pier for this portion of the Cruisetour, and we stepped out of the coach and into a very short line as we were already part of Princess... we have been for a whole week. Our luggage was not seen... it went right in and into our cabin.
The second difference for us is that we are sailing on a newer ship. She is the Royal and is less than a year old. We had heard from others that there were changes in the familiar pattern of Princess ships, and were anxious to not be disappointed. She is a sister ship to the Regal, upon which friends in England were planning on sailing but had to cancel due to family needs. It would have been their first and we are anxious to 'infect' them with the cruise bug. :-)
Check-in was relatively quick, we got our map of the ship and our ever important cruise card, got our image taken and into the computer data system, and we were on board. And we were definitely not at all disappointed in the ship. Our cabin was on Caribe Deck, midship, port side, a short walk from the main lifts/stairs. We entered the cabin, and noticed right away that the lights did not respond to the light switches. No problem, as we have a large glass sliding door to the outside that let all kinds of light in. I felt that maintenance was doing some work and it would be taken care of soon. They have a turn-around time of less than ten hours to repair anything they cannot take care of at sea. Rosalee felt that we needed to call it in. The phone worked fine. I did more snooping and after a while, Rosalee had her hand on the phone cradle to call it in when the lights came on. I had found a slot on the wall next to the light switch that was begging for something to be stuck into it. It had a lit light inside. What would that want? Ha! It is a card reader. Do we have to put a credit card in and pay the light bill? LOL.
When we enter the cabin, we place our cruise card (either one, we each have one) into the slot and that enables power to the lights and the TV. When leaving the cabin, your cruise card is always with you. Now, you know exactly where it is... next to the door as you are leaving. And removing the card turns off all lights and TV after a few minutes so you don't go off with everything on. Electricity on board has to be generated, and that means someone has to buy fuel to turn the generator. Makes sense. Less fuel... economy... eco... all of that stuff... cool. Now we know.
Here she is, Royal Princess, standing at bay in Newport Bay where we stopped on our first full day. It was a Tendering Stop, meaning the ship was not berthed at the dock. They don't have a large enough dock in Newport. That little boat in the water with an orange top matches the ones up on the sides of the ship. They are the lifeboats, or tenders, and they drop some of them down to the water when they need to tender people ashore. Those little things hold something like 180 people inside out of the elements. They are equipped with sizeable engines, one or two screws, emergency rations and supplies, radios, lights... everything. The deck that you can see just below the bottoms of the tenders is the Promenade Deck which on most Princess ships (the larger ones anyway) is deck 7. The deck just short of the top, the one with the bump sticking out directly above the floating tender, is deck 14, which is Lido Deck. It is my favorite deck because it has the Horizon Court which is a buffet. This ship has that plus it has the Horizon Bistro. All KINDS of choices to eat, open almost 24 hours a day.
The widest part of the ship, up front and very prominent, and rightly so, is the Bridge. That is one single room that goes from one side to the other. That is the 'head' or 'brain' that runs the whole ship. This side is the side our cabin was on, about three decks down from that bump on the side.
The 'bump' I mentioned is a new feature on these two ships, and is somewhat unique. Seen from below:
I took this while approaching the ship on the dock, when we were berthed in another port. It has solid glass flooring and when at sea and you have water flowing past, it does give you a bit of a rush to walk out there. My engineer brain had to convince my logical brain that it was secure enough for a crowd of people at one time, so me alone will not be breaking it off. LOL. We can see seven decks in that photo, most of which are passenger cabins. We are seeing the glass rails to the balconies off the cabins. Most cabins on this ship have a private balcony. A benefit to this ship and her twin is that almost all of the balconies are directly above the next one, so you do not lose privacy from people above you, and you get an equal chance of sun light if you are on the sun-lit side. Remember POSH? Port Out, Starboard Home? But that is not always true, of course.
Most Princess ships we have sailed on had a main central "lobby" that they called the Atrium. Not having an open or a glass ceiling, I wondered if the name was appropriate, but it sounded nice. They have re-named it on these two ships as the Piazza. Still not technically correct since there are multiple decks over the top of it, but it is usually three or four decks tall.
This is an image of the Royal's Piazza:
Ship builders love marble. And glass. No wonder it is so expensive to move these things... they're carrying a load of rocks. The Piazza is an open area where you can freely move from deck 5 to 7 and visit shops, information desk, tour and cruise sales, library, internet cafe, a pizza place, several bars, ...etc., plus it is a nice area where small musical groups such as string quartets set up and play throughout the day. That beautiful marble floor makes a nice dance floor as well. A grand piano usually lives full-time in this area. There are enough on board to keep a piano player busy for sure.
Our cabin is very comfortable, as always. Bags are unpacked and stowed under the bed. Clothes are hung in the closet and shirts, shorts and shoes are placed in their places in the closet shelves. We head down to dinner at 1750 hours (5:30) and tell the lady at the door that we are a party of two and we will sit with others. We had an enjoyable and delicious meal. We catch an evening show and retire for the night.
They have new, larger, flat-screen TVs on the cabin wall where sitting in bed is front row center. It also provides more room in the cabin with the smaller space required for the TV. They have a nice selection of video programs and current-running movies that are free for the clicking of the remote. LOL Free... right.
|Newport, Rhode Island
Our first port of call was Newport, Rhode Island. Looking across the bay we see Rose Island, and at the left side of the island is the Rose Island Light House. We will be touring that light house today. The picture of the island was taken from our balcony, while our ship was anchored in the bay... as the first picture in this set shows.
A closer look at the lighthouse shows that it is a two-story home, with a full basement and the tower which is two floors higher. Built in 1870, it is of wood construction, and has stood for many years. It has taken direct pressure from heavy waves. The long bridge behind it stopped larger ship traffic in the area so they turned the light off in 1970, but re-lit fourteen years later privately, as a help for local smaller boat traffic.
The island is hired for weddings and special events, and they even rent out the lighthouse for living by he week. You do have to do a couple of minor tasks with the facility, however, such as turning the light on and off, or if it rains you have to wait a few minutes for the water to clean the roof and then switch a diverter to put the runoff into a cistern in the basement. Water, obviously, is at a premium with no service to the island. They have a generator, and a small wind generator, and a solar array. That helps. They were carrying things off the island after a large private wedding when we were there. The wedding party spent the week-end in the house. They put up a white tent for the wedding. I asked the guide just what kind of a price is in line for such an adventure, and she said that she heard it was close to Fifty K. A lot of it is transporting stuff to the island, as the shuttle only carries a dozen people or so, and not too much weight. Many trips across the water.
A small island lies near the shore and is named Goat Island. It is well populated... by houses and hotels. This lighthouse is at the north end of the island, and is named Newport Harbor Lighthouse... also known as Goat Island Lighthouse. It is the second lighthouse to stand here, and was built in 1842. Our boat pilot indicated that it is the oldest lighthouse in the US, but if it replaced one in the same place... maybe it is the oldest still standing.
With all of the very expensive and gorgeous boats in the harbor, sitting in the midst of them all was this beauty. The boat pilot said that this fishing boat is a daily working boat. I would be afraid to sail on that bucket of rust.
The boat below is a gorgeous old classic Chris-Craft that was recently restored. She overtook us slowly, and she sounded so sweet and mellow. Pure class.
This is pretty much of a 'normal' scene for a sunny Sunday on the water here in Newport Harbor. That three-master has quite a party aboard. I wonder if that is a private home in the background... or a college. With a number of them in the area I suspect the former is correct.
|Boston, Lexington, and Concord
We were late pulling into Boston this morning. It was nearly 11:00 am before anyone was allowed to disembark the ship. We were told several times before arriving that it would take a long time after tying up before we will be able to leave the ship. We realized people were leaving the ship without an announcement… something we never see. As we walked into the terminal building we were searching for someone with a sign with our excursion number on it so we could check in with them. Nobody! I could see busses outside another door and I walked out there. When I asked a fellow where I might check in with my excursion party he sent us walking down a line of busses to find ours. This is very much NOT Princess style.
We had about forty on the bus and our driver was young, but friendly. Our guide reminded me of Rodney Dangerfield but he was very friendly. And funny! He did a great job. Our driver did a good job as well. Rosalee asked him how he was doing later on in the tour and he told her that he was very tired. He had been going steady all day.
This tour was scheduled to be a seven-hour tour, getting back late, around 7:00 pm, with a sailing time of 7:30. We don’t like to crowd the schedule that tightly, but this was a Princess-approved tour so we know the ship will not leave before we get back on.
We waited on the bus for about 45 minutes before everyone was able to find us. The ship never announced that it was time to disembark for that tour, which is almost always the case. They usually have us queue up in the Princess Theater or some other public assembly location and take us off as a group. That is much more efficient. This ship is a bit new so perhaps some of the staff are rather new.
We were told that there is a celebration in Boston almost every week, and sometimes only one street celebrates it. It seems that on the Eastern coast in the oldest of towns in the country, everyone has a monument erected in their name or they have a street festival celebrating their achievement or their mere existence.
We parked the bus and walked a few blocks to visit the “Old North Church” where it is told that lanterns were placed to indicate “One if by land, two if by sea”, indicating whether the British soldiers were approaching the city over a land ‘bridge’ from a small landing area, or if they were coming over when the tide was high and they would have to approach with boats.
We also learned that it was NOT Paul Revere that lit and hung those lanterns but two other citizens that did that. They barely escaped from the church by jumping from a window that was a dozen feet above the ground, which now is for some reason bricked up.
With the church steeple in the background, the monument of Paul Revere mounted on his horse stands in the foreground, facing another church which stands across the street behind the camera. A mayor of Boston many years ago who had a rather questionable reputation took offense that when he exited the church that is unseen in the image, he was looking at the back end of Paul Revere’s horse, which was heading toward the Old North Church (also not the church’s real name). So he (the mayor) demanded that the workers turn the monument around so he did not have to look at the horse’s back side.
The seating was in small ‘fenced-in’ pews each containing room for possibly six adults to sit on wood benches. The families were encouraged to do anything they wanted to their pew so it was more comfortable. The entry through the front door was under the balcony that held the organ manual and its pipes. In front of the organ hangs a clock made by amateurs of the days when the church was built, and it was running when we were there. It is said to be the oldest American-made clock.
Above the Stars and Stripes hangs the flag used early when the thirteen stripes signified the original thirteen colonies and the Union Jack signified the fact that they were English colonies. The yellow flag has the snake and the words “Don’t Tread On Me” which we learned about in grade school U. S. History classes.
Walking up hill from the church (Hanover Street) we find what is commonly referred to as the “Spite House” which has rooms that are 9 ½ feet wide. There is a home that is behind this one as well, in which two brothers lived. They parted in anger and one brother built this home in front of the brother’s so that the rear home had no view of the harbor. Ouch. I wonder what they talk about when the families get together for Thanksgiving Dinner.
Across Hanover Street from the Spite House is a “Burial” Ground. It is NOT a Cemetery. There is a difference we are told. None are visible in the yard but there are small square stone boxes which have a stone lid that will lift up and expose a ladder down into a crypt. When Boston was mainly populated by Puritans they believed that when the person died, his or her soul ascended to Heaven (or descended to Hell as the case may be) and the body was nothing more than a worn out container for the soul, unneeded or desired at this time (much as Christians believe today, but we place more ‘respect’ on the body). So the body was placed in a crypt and when full another crypt was opened. After a year, they would go back and re-open the first crypt, gather the bones into a smaller area, and continue filling the crypt with ‘new’ bodies. The individual stones indicate individual burials in later times, or indicate a location of many bodies buried in a common grave.
When they went back to a previously closed crypt, it was found that some of the bodies had moved, not like they fell during an earthquake or anything, but they had actually crawled to the ladder and attempted to climb it. After that, they came up with a device that would pierce the ground into the crypt and carry a string inside a hollow tube that connected to a bell. The burial sites were always attended, night and day, so if a person were to come out of a coma after his burial, he could find the string, pull on it, and the bell would ring. If he could do that, he would be “saved by the bell”. Upon his retrieval he would then be known as a “dead ringer”. Hey, that’s what the guide said. Don’t blame the messenger here.
We stopped at what is referred to as the Quincy Marked, three large buildings that used to be where growers and craftspeople exhibited their produce and their products. Now they house a vast array of food dispensers. Rosalee found some clam chowder and I found a polish hot dog. Don’t go out of your way to eat here. The central building had a centrally located dome under which two levels of tables and chairs were located to partake of your treasures. The Polish dog was 8 times the price of the Costco Polish Dogs we get and they are twice as good.
English troopers hoped to “shock and awe” Bostonians to force them to stop pushing for representation of their colonies to the King in England, and to get them to continue paying their newly levied taxes on tea and other commodities coming in from England. It seems the English King needed finances to fund their losses in a recent war. So having been warned, the Colonists’ intent was to simply stand and appear in front of the troops’ advancement, in the town of Lexington, to show that the British were not at all a surprise to the Bostonians. As one might expect, someone started the skirmish and while not one Bostonian fired his weapon, these seven men fell to the English attack. Bostonian leaders sent their fellow comrades to their individual homes that surrounded this small area. Their intent was never to mount an armed resistance but to present a show of unity and strength. This is a park which stands on the ground where that first skirmish took place.
A few miles further and the English soldiers came to
a river with a bridge, and their assignment at this time was to
search and destroy any weaponry they could find in homes and farms
in the area. They were finding nothing, except by torturing a town
drunk they got him to give up the location of a cannon in a building
in the center of town. The English burned the cannon’s carriage
which was made from creosote-soaked timber and it gives off plumes
of black smoke. Seen from the river crossing, it appeared that the
English were burning the town.
Across the bridge (on the camera side of the bridge in the picture) something close to 400 Colonists (Minutemen) were gathered. They saw the several thousand English soldiers approaching from Lexington (the other side of the bridge) and so they walked down to the bridge. At that time the young, inexperienced leader of the English troops told the men to cross the bridge to save it, but as the Colonists approached closer the British retreated back over the bridge. They decided to rip up the roadbed of the bridge to prevent the Colonists from coming over and the people that owned the farm on the other side were upset because it was their bridge and their way to town. That angered them.
Hearing and seeing the anger, the English fired and killed two of the Colonists on the other side. That was when several Colonists opened fire, the first shots fired in anger by the Colonists. Two English soldiers fell mortally wounded and many others were injured enough to retreat for wound care. The first of those shots fired from the Colonists is known as “The Shot Heard 'round The World”. in Emerson's poem "Concord Hymn" :
By the rude bridge that arched the flood,
The monument across the bridge on the Concord side signifies those local soldiers, with a plow beside him and a musket in his hand. The plaque below the monument describes the skirmish.
Also in the same location is a poignant monument to those first two English men that fell in this Revolutionary War.
Many of the homes in the area… actually just about the whole town… are under very strict regulation as far as modifications are concerned. No additions may be added, and if you paint, you will have to choose a color made at the time of the Revolutionary War. Many paint companies are helping, since most of the colors used back in those days derived their color from vegetation added to the solvent, or minerals, or even the blood of animals. Some homes are owned by the historical society or local interests in preservation, but many are still owned privately. Many of the homes along the road to Concord have been owned at one time or other by the American writers and poets that we all have heard of, and have likely read.
It was foggy when we got back into Boston. This image I took because of the comparison seen by the two buildings, side by side, each from a different generation. Actually a different Century.
We did make it back to the ship in time to board and go down for a late dinner. When sailing with Princess you have a choice of being assigned a dining time (early or late seating) and a dining hall and table number. If you select that (Traditional Dining) you will have the same dining table mates and wait staff. That is good for families and parties traveling together. It is also nice having wait staff always knowing your likes and dislikes.
The other option is called Anytime Dining, and several of the main dining rooms are set up just for that. You basically can go in anytime after 5:30 usually and 9:00 or so and be seated. We enjoy that unless we are traveling with others. If just the two of us, we will tell the Maitre d' "Party of two and we will sit with others". This allows them to seat you at a table that is not quite full. You have a different table each night, and different table mates. Except it is not unusual to have the same people more than once during the cruise.
We very much enjoyed ourselves in Boston, learning so much and experiencing things that we learned about years ago. Things just look so different when you actually have been there.
|Bar Harbor, Maine
We had breakfast with couple from Hemit, CA. She a retired nurse and he a disabled vet (agent orange). They were on this cruise back to back to back. That means they have just stayed on it for three weeks. Our friends the Browns in Hawai'i frequently will sail one way for a two week cruise and stay on the ship... usually the same cabin... and cruise back the reverse cruise. You just pay for two cruises instead of one. No discount if you stay on... you take up room and eat food both ways. LOL.
Our politics were similar and our political feelings were in tune. When that is the case, conversations often get much more interesting.
We went ashore around noon for an excursion on a Lobster and Seal Spotting cruise out into the harbor. The captain was a jolly sort with what appeared to be a stern and gruff manner, a big pot belly, and a beard. He had a deck hand that would take the helm when the captain wanted to talk. The boat seated about 35 passengers on benches with side curtains to roll down during inclement weather, which we had. The weather was overcast with fog rolling in. The temperature was in the fifties.
We learned about the local species of seals and sea birds and viewed them on a rock breakwater. Then we went over to the lighthouse that is no longer manned. For the last few decades only one lighthouse in the US is actually manned and that is the one in Boston Harbor, the first lighthouse in the English colonies.
This lighthouse is built of wood, and a man that lived in the lighthouse for years told our captain that during a fierce storm decades ago his entire family spent the night or two wearing life jackets and secured in the tower itself. He said that waves were clearing over the top of the light. He was sure that the lighthouse would not stand throughout the storm. But it clearly did.
The captain is licensed to take lobsters commercially, as research, and as exhibition such as our excursion. He is a published author and lectures at local universities and Marine Science facilities. He brought up a lobster trap with half a dozen lobsters in it and gave us an excellent demonstration and lesson on trapping lobsters, which ones are legal to take, how to tell if they are male or female, the anatomy of the lobster, how they molt annually (bi-annually in warmer waters), and when done with them he released them back to the water.
Every lobster has one claw that has small, sharp ‘teeth’ while the other is larger, stronger, and has blunt and larger ‘teeth’. Just blowing on the one with sharp teeth will make it snap closed immediately. Tiny cilia or ‘hairs’ on the inside of the claw are sensitive to any movement and will catch anything that swims through the open claw. The other claw is the crusher that will crack open a shell or sever whatever critter is destined to be the main course of the lobster’s meal. A larger lobster, one larger than we usually use for a main course, can not only break a finger bone, hand bone, or wrist bone, but it will shatter it. The sharp 'teeth' can be seen in this lobster's left claw.
This is the same lobster, but here you can see the right claw and how it has large, bulky "teeth" for crushing bones or shells. You can see both claws for a comparison.
If a lobster loses a claw, antenna, tail, or any other part of its anatomical pieces, it will generate a new one. Without the tail it does not have the ability to shot backward at 15 mph to escape danger, or without a claw it may be defenseless against an attacker as well as be handicapped in obtaining food. It can, however, live on mud worms, plankton, and just about anything that is in the water that does not get away. The lobster is NOT, however, a scavenger. It is a very picky eater. Lobster meat has no mercury, extremely low cholesterol, many vitamins and minerals, and is an excellent choice of food. By the way, on the American restaurant menu they do not serve Lobster “tails”… they are Lobster abdomens. The tail is like feathers on the tip of the abdomen. But don’t ask the waiter for Lobster Abdomen as he will most likely have no idea what you are talking about.
Lobsters were considered to be junk food and were served to hogs, until during the depression in the twenties and then during WWII when people found out how good they tasted. Today 85 percent of the lobster meat consumed in the US comes from Maine. And this year the lobsters are very plentiful and the harvest is exceptional, while still guarding their perpetuation.
To legally take a lobster it must measure at least 3 ½ inches from the eye socket to the back of the shell on the thorax, just before the first joint of the abdomen… on the back. However… if it is a female and she is carrying eggs clustered under her abdomen, and she is brought up in a trap, a V cut is made in the second tail fin from either side and she is returned to the water. When she laid her eggs, they are fertilized externally of her body, and then she ‘glued’ them to the underside of her abdomen. Thousands of eggs are carried and they will hatch and fall away from her. Less than 2 percent will reach breeding size.
Those notches in her tail will stay with her for up to five years, even though she will molt several times. After the notches are gone, if she is of legal size when caught, even if she is carrying eggs, she can be taken.
If the measurement of the shell is greater than five inches, she cannot be taken. She is basically one if the best breeders at that stage. So with or without eggs, she cannot be taken at that size. Males? They have to be released as well if over five inches, because it takes a large male to mate with a large female.
When lobster fishermen place their traps, they have a line attached to a float so they can be retrieved. There is no reason other fishermen cannot fish in the same location, and the floats and lines all can become tangled. For that reason, they also have to tell them apart. Notice these two floats. They belong to two different fishermen, and their color combination/pattern is registered to them alone. If you pull both up you must return the other's trap unmolested. And taking lobsters from their trap is theft. Rangers may be located on other boats watching to see if anyone is taking the wrong traps. The ranger knows your colors.
With us out on the bay were plenty of pleasure boats as well as working boats. This is the Margaret Todd, tied up at her berth.
Here she is again, later, and this time she is under partial sail. This is during the week. From where did all of these joy riders come? Perhaps it is a college class or something.
Before we left the bay, we noticed this ship anchored off our bow. She is the Seabourne Quest, and is three years old, a little smaller than our Royal, and very luxurious... that reads $$$$.
We returned to the ship in plenty of time to relax and dress for an early dinner. They seated us with a couple from Texas and three older librarians that were traveling together. It was a good group and discussions were lively and entertaining. The subject of writing books and authors came up and we talked about seeing homes in Lexington that belonged to multiple authors from the past, such as the Allcots and Thorough and half a dozen others. The ‘other’ male mentioned a book that he had read that brought a few tears to him. I mentioned that I had downloaded “Heaven Is For Real” into Rosalee’s Kindle to read it on the five-hour-long flight to Hawai’i last May, and I bawled all the way to Hawai’i. The Texan asked if we had seen the movie of the same title and we told him that we had, in our cabin the night before. It was one of the selections that are on the ship’s AV system, and is available to all cabins. He said that the boy that portrayed the youngster that had reported seeing Heaven and Christ was the son of his cousin. That little boy did such a beautiful job of acting.
Entertainment for tonight was a fellow that advertises himself as “Lightning On Four Strings”. He was backed by the seven-piece Royal Princess Orchestra, and it was a very good show. If I were more ‘chipper’ I would have likely stayed out more and caught one of several of the piano players that were scattered throughout the ship.
|St. John, New Brunswick, Canada
We laid low for this day. We were just worn out from all of our walking and traveling for nearly two weeks. And our colds were really impacting us. We re-evaluated what was supposed to happen on our excursion into St. John and we just decided that we were going to weasel out of it. We were able to cancel it with no penalties.
We found plenty to keep ourselves busy on the ship. We visited in the buffet and at dinner, and read and worked on the computer. We did want to try to do an excursion in Halifax tomorrow, so we are hoping that our colds will be better.
|Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
Here we are, tied up to Pier 21, in the town of Halifax.
The captain of the lobster boat in Bar Harbor recommended that we try to see the Maritime Museum in Halifax, so we braved the cold wind and walked the six blocks to the museum. It had a lot of artifacts from ship and ship wrecks, as well as models of ships (some as large as ten feet long).
This image is of a EOT... Engine Order Telegraph, or "Chadburn". This stood on the bridge of the shiip where the ship's pilot would move the large handle to indicate the desired speed and direction of the ship, and it registered on a similar device in the engine room. The engineer in the engine room would respond by turning his handle that registered on the bridge with the small hand on the bridge EOT. You can see the main handle off the scale on the Astern side and the response indicator pointing at Half Speed Ahead. Some EOTs would have a means of indicating to the engineer rhe RPM or engine speed the pilot wanted for Slow and Dead Slow speeds.
The museum had a display of information from the RMS Titanic, and it had a large display of the ammunition ship that collided with another ship in the harbor, caught fire, and drifted into pier 6 where it continued to burn until it exploded, killing thousands in the town and nearly leveling the city. What didn’t get blown down caught fire when their heaters and stoves fell over and started a fire. This happened about December 7th, 1917.
This lens is in the museum, and used to be in the
lighthouse that stands on a small island in the center of the bay.
It is claimed to be the oldest lighthouse in North America.
It was a long walk back to the ship. That was when I realized that I had left the ship with my cruise card, but left my wallet and ID in the cabin safe. A picture ID is required to re-enter the ship. We are, after all, in a foreign country. Something that I am not used to at all. They had to look me up on the computer and I had to tell them some information that only Kenny Smith should know. The old boy at the gangway, a local and not a Princess employee, said "Well it is my birthday today, and since MY name is Smith as well, I guess I will allow you through". They let me back on board.
After a bit of relaxation we went up to the Horizon Court for a light lunch. We chose to make a couple of tacos.
On our return from Halifax we passed this McNabs Island which sits in the center of the bay. It contains the light house that used to contain the lens we saw in the museum.
We passed Royal Caribbean's Brilliance of the Seas. She is a little smaller than our ship, but is about the same price for passage.
Back in the cabin to rest up for dinner (what an obscene pattern that is) we watched a lecture on the TV that was given on-board the ship earlier entitled “30,000 Years Of Art History In 30 Minutes”. I actually did learn something from it. Then we caught another video, one of the Naming Ceremony of the ship, which was named by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge. Some years before, I’m quite certain she would never have been allowed to even be seen in public in her state of pregnancy. Thank goodness things have changed. A little.
We ran onto Lew and Connie from Tucson, AR at the Photo Gallery just before dinner so we asked if they would join us for dinner. We had a delightful time.
The show in the Princess Theater tonight was a black comedian that we saw briefly on the first night’s show where they give you a sample of 'things to come'. He was great! He had us in stitches talking about how it was when 'we' grew up and compared that to how kids and parents ‘connect’ today. Or should I say DON’T connect.
Back to our cabin and we are feeling some roughness in our travel. I suppose that is not unexpected… we are 750 nautical miles from where Titanic went down nearly a century ago. The North Atlantic is not known to be smooth. This is our first time in the area. And we hear there are storms in New York, our intended destination in 36 hours.
The night went well. Rosalee had a little trouble sleeping but I slept well with little coughing. Still inflammation in my windpipe that I can hear if I lie flat on the bed, so I sleep with several pillows.
Seas are still as rough as they were last evening when we set sail for New York. In daylight now, we can see the rolling of the sea. Even with the tonnage we are carrying, we are but a cork on the surface of a churning sea. But it is gentle. We are ok with it. I don't mean to scare you from sailing if you are not accustomed to it. Rosalee usually carries some bracelets that go on her wrist three fingers from her hand, with a pressure button on the underside of her wrist, and if she places them on her before she starts the voyage she is not subject to the movement of the ship. She forgot to bring them this time but she is doing well.
I do not usually have a problem with sea sickness. I have found that the reason I feel seasickness is because my body does not know which way to move to counter-balance the pitching (front to back) or rolling (side to side) of the ship. The reason for that is that our inner ear senses changes to gravity and knows when we are tipping, but our eyes see the walls and relate to them. People are used to seeing their walls as stationary, always vertical surfaces, but on a ship the walls and the gravity do not agree, so we are constantly trying to ‘align’ ourselves with both, and that cannot be done.
My solution is two-fold. First is the horizon. Look at the horizon, and that will never change. The highest waves cannot change where the horizon lies. That will always be right. So if you see the horizon, your body knows that the walls and floor (umm… bulkheads and deck) are not right, so you remain vertical even though one foot may be lower than the other. My favorite location on the ship is the buffet, and that is not so much because there is food available almost always. It is because you have full glass all around you, and you can see the horizon from anywhere in that area. Perhaps that is why Princess calls it the “Horizon Court”?!
The second ‘trick’ that I use is that I do not try to resist the movement of the ship, other than to prevent my falling over. Stand or walk near a bulkhead or rail. All corridors have some type of a rail on at least one side. When standing keep your feet a bit more separated than normal, and stand so that your widest stance is in the direction of the ship’s movement. Or stand where you can touch a bulkhead so your brain does not switch from your inner ear signals to your eye signals freely. Give yourself a ‘grounding’ that is a third signal that assures that you are not falling. Your brain may think that when it is untrue.
Roll with the movement. I believe that by exerting pressures by muscles in the abdomen that normally don’t get used except in exercise classes, it makes your stomach upset and causes seasickness. If you can watch the horizon, you can easily make counter-moves to stay vertical before the ship moves too far. And relax. It really helps.
There actually is a third item to consider. Don’t have an empty stomach. Eat normally. Don’t fill up on rich foods that you normally do not eat. It is tough to avoid the temptations that are sat before you (and to resist ‘sampling’ a bit of everything laid out) but eat your normal faire and then top it off with a taste of the exotic. Nibble several times in the day and don’t get hungry (as if you could ever get hungry on a cruise ship).
If you are not a seasoned sailor, choose an ‘outside’ cabin that is in the center third of the ship. Either a window or a balcony (both a little more expensive than an inside cabin) where you can see the horizon and get real sunlight usually helps. I believe that will help keep your body’s natural rhythm going. And with a balcony you can easily step outside to get some fresh air. Remember, each cabin is provided ‘fresh’ air, but it has been filtered and heated (or cooled) but it is not the same as good old fresh, sea air. And opening the door can cool down a warm stateroom quite quickly.
On the fishing boat it really helped if I took the helm. That always cleared it up. I don't think that Princess would allow me to do that, however. LOL
We went up to the Horizon Court a little late (10:00 am) but sat next to a lovely couple of ladies from Minnesota. There were Dianne and… Dianne. They belonged to a travel group. One was a Junior High School teacher and counselor before she retired. She was very pleasant to speak to. The second Dianne joined us and she did not mention her background but she fit into our conversations well. We visited more than an hour. We solved many World Problems together.
We will disembark tomorrow morning in New York. So that means we need to pack our bags tonight and set them outside our door when we head to dinner. They will be gone when we return from dinner, so anything we need to disembark tomorrow will have to be hand-carried as we walk off. I wish that could be different. We could keep all our bags until in the morning… IF… we wanted to do what they call an “early walk-off” which we have done sometimes, but we are staying in New York so there is no rush to get off. And you have to schlep all of your own luggage down the lifts and the gangways and all yourself, with no help, so it is physically easier to do it the ‘old fashioned’ way.
We went up to the Horizon Court for lunch around 1:30 for a light lunch. Kelly and Janice from Portland, Oregon (they were on the bus excursion before the cruise) stopped me as we walked by and said that he had not had a chance to talk shop with me, so I told him we would get food and come back. We spent over an hour talking with them. He taught high school and retired the same year I did, and was also a referee for the ’68 Olympics and a later one as well. He likes to build clocks for gifts for family and friends. His favorite is a battery-operated movement in about a square foot of polished wood on which he places the recipients’ own Olympic pins for the numerals and one more in each corner. That allows the one that gathered the pins to have them displayed for ‘bragging rights’ rather than stuck in a drawer somewhere.
Back to the cabin to pack. We plan to spend another two days in New York after we disembark, so we want to have the right clothes packed into one suitcase so we don’t have to get into all three bags while in New York.
Before we went down to dinner, we sat out our three bags. They ask for them that early so the processing of the possibly 5,000 suitcases will be grouped by their tag number and color, and after we dock in Brooklyn, they will take them off the ship in the order they will release the passengers. We get a list with an approximate time that we will be called to leave the ship, as well as where we may gather to wait for our color/number to be called. Because we have to vacate our cabin by 8:00 am, we have to find some other place to wait it out. With our Platinum status we are invited to wait in the Vista Lounge, which is better than looking for a place to sit somewhere on the ship. RHIP in this case, for sure. One of the perks for cruising with the same cruise line frequently. Another perk is our time on the internet, which we did not completely use up. Partly because I could not use my computer as it died before we got onto the ship.
I like to use ‘down time’ on a cruise to work on one of my websites, and I had several that needed attention, but without my computer, I could do very little. We had Rosalee’s computer, but it has none of the photo editing or website software needed to work the websites. I’m not sure we had that much time this cruise to do that work. We were quite busy all of the time.
The evening show was nice, with a lot of singing and dancing with various themes. The lighting was rather spectacular with the LED backdrop on the stage and the lit walls in the auditorium changing colors and intensities. Rather explosive.
Disembarkation, New York (Brooklyn)
Docking went rather smoothly at Brooklyn, before we arose for the day, and our bags are gone, so we just have to wait for our luggage tag color/number to be called. We are Yellow 3. We could be called earlier for disembarkation and start our land-based day earlier if we wanted to choose to do what they call “Early Walk-off”. They started that some years ago and we have done it, when needed, but it has pluses and minuses. You keep all of your luggage in your cabin until disembarkation and then you schlep it all off the ship yourself. Getting lifts to go down to deck six or five or wherever they have the gangway set to get off can be somewhat un-daunting.
Waiting in Vista Lounge we heard our luggage tag color/number called and a few dozen of us headed for the gangway. Once off the ship we were herded through fenced walkways that directed us through Customs and then we were directed to the area with the Yellow 3 tagged luggage. We found all three of our bags right off.
Rosalee had elected to accept the bus ride from the ship terminal to LaGuardia Airport, and then grab a cab from LaGuardia to our hotel in Midtown Manhattan. Of course, it was raining today. Something that we would love to have at home in California, for sure. We rode to the Departure section of the airport but most taxi cabs are secured near the Arrival area, which can be a thousand yards away and we have a ton of luggage. I asked the bus driver and he said “Oh, man, you shoulda’ caught a cab at the ship… it would have been easier.” Lesson learned. “Grab one’a d'ese cabs people are gettin’ outta and take it!” So that is what I attempted. These guys are not interested in picking up here… they are headed to the arrival area.
I did get one stopped and asked if he could take us to Manhattan and he said he could, so we got our ride to the Strand Hotel, 37 W 37th St., Manhattan, New York, New York. Right in the center of the Garment District, and a couple of blocks from the Theater District.
The cabbie dumps us off at the corner of 37th St. and 5th Avenue. Thirty-seventh was blocked off, for no known reason. We walked west on 37th looking for the address “37”, but all the doors and businesses on 37th have Fifth Avenue addresses. What Gives?
It seems that a Fifth Avenue address has more prestige than a 37th St. address. If they have a tiny door entering onto Fifth Avenue that is their address, but their wider, grandiose entry may be around the corner on 37th. Pretty complex for these old country bumpkins. Ma & Pa Kettle Gone To New Yawk. LOL
At the top of this cruise page is a link that says "Return To The Historic America Land Tour". If you would like to follow our adventure from this point, click on that link (at the top of the page) and when you get to the Land Tour page, scroll down about 2/3 to the part that is titled New York, Day Seventeen.
I would definitely recommend this cruisetour to anyone that wanted to know more about early American History. It is fantastic.