25.11.2007 - 28.11.2007
We made our first cruise and our third trip to Bermuda on the NCL Crown. We took another cruise on the NCL Crown in 2005, but it didn't go to Bermuda - it was a re-positioning cruise. In 2006, we took a re-positioning Caribbean cruise on HAL (Holland-American Line) The re-positioning cruises tend to give you more bang for the buck. So in 2007 we did one on Grandeur of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Cruise Line) which stopped off in Bermuda. We will get off in Tampa and visit our grandchildren and then take another cruise out of Miami before we drive out to see grandchildren in Texas. We won't be home again for two months - until January 28th
Saturday November 24th
We picked up the rental car (a Ford Focus) and Bob started putting his luggage in it. He has FIVE bags. He is using my folding rolling cart so that he can take them all at once. I have the little red rolling bag that I used in June, the small black carryon that I used in June, a large yellow duffle (Bob also has a duffle which is red), and the bag I got to hold my new computer.
I used the ATM card at Cedar Point for the first time and got some cash, and also filled my car with diesel, and Bob winterized all of the cars and other rolling stock and took down the flag.
Sunday November 25th
Bob turned off the water and put antifreeze in the toilets, and I unplugged the TV and DirecTV and the modem and detached the phone lines except for the phone with the answering machine.
We left the house a little after nine. I wanted to go across 100 and up New Ridge Rd, but Bob said there weren't any gas stations there (although the mapping software says that there are) so he went around the airport access road and got gas at the Royal Farms station at 1100. The car cost us $20.59 including tax and we went 89 miles altogether. We got the shuttle van to the airport (the driver showed us how to put the luggage on the way we had it strapped together, and Bob tipped him $5.00.
We got a taxi and it cost not quite $27 to get to the cruise ship terminal. However, they had to sniff everyone with a police dog (including all the buses), and the driver had to show a photo ID. It took another $5 worth of waiting time to get through the line to leave our bags. So Bob gave him $40 (which considering that we had 9 bags plus the luggage cart which had to ride in the front wasn't bad).
We gave our luggage to the luggage people (6 bags), and Bob carried on two and I carried on my computer bag. We had to go through security to get into the terminal building - my laptop had to be taken out of the bag etc. Inside, I had done the on-line check-in, entering all our information, and all that worked well. About all he had to do was scan our passports. Then he gave us a Sea and Sail card, and gave us a boarding number of yellow 4. They were at that time calling red boarding numbers.
When they started calling yellow numbers, we went through the line to have our photo taken, and then walked on the ship. It was then about 1255. The signs all said that our rooms wouldn't be ready until 1300 (1:00 pm) but we pushed through the fire door and went to our room which is near the bow right behind the forward elevators on the third deck.
We have a queen bed with a mirror wall headboard, and what appears to be a real curtain so that we can curtain off the bed. There's the usual desk (which has TWO 110 plugs instead of just one), and a little couch. The TV is on a swivel so it comes out of the cabinet and rotates on a turntable toward the bed. The BIG problem (other than very little storage) is that Bob can't get out from his side of the bed with the TV out of the cabinet. Even with the TV in flat to the cabinet, he has to step over the end of the bed. The bathroom is QUITE small, with a round shower.
We dropped our carry on bags off and went up to the buffet on deck 10. It was a zoo. I was not impressed. I got a little bit of pasta,
and a piece of dried out roast beef and some lemonade. I had a momentary brain fart and when the guy came by with the pina coladas, I got a virgin one. It was $5.95!!! Oh well. It was good.
We walked around the ship for a bit and found our table in the dining room and looked at the theatre and then went down and unpacked the suitcases that we had gotten.
Then at 1530, we had the lifeboat drill which is two decks up (no elevators). I took a couple of pictures afterwards.
I wanted to take some photos of the city as we left, but we didn't leave right at the time we were scheduled to leave (someone suggested that it might be because people were having luggage problems with the heavy air travel on the Sunday after Thanksgiving), so by the time we left it was dark.
The Cruise Critic people were going to be up at the Viking lounge (the very top of the ship on deck 11 which you can only get to by the atrium elevators which are glass) for the sail-away. I went up there - Bob said he'd seen enough of that kind of thing. We were supposed to be wearing Carnival beads so that we would know each other, but I hadn't found any. I sat down with some people who proved to be from Dunkirk (the next county to where we live. I did try to take a couple of photos, but it was pretty dark.
We were early seating at dinner at a table of 10. One of the men at the table was in my Towson HS class '55. His name is Bill Fahey. He was in the print shop group - he didn't remember me at all, and I don't remember him, but his name is familiar.
Sunday dinner was OK, but not real special. I had a quiche appetizer,
and a steak with some root vegetables and a baked potato.
Bob had fish. For dessert, he had
and I had something that was called "ivory chocolate fondue with berries and crunchy bits".
We had to set our watches back an hour so that the ship time would match Bermuda which is on Atlantic time.
Monday 26 November 2007
We went up to breakfast in the main dining room about at the end of the time that breakfast was served, and were seated at a table for 10. Service was a bit hit or miss. Bob got V8 juice and I got cranberry. Bob got his oatmeal first and I got my Eggs Benedict last.
I thought the menu was duller than on Holland-American - there were no breakfast specials.
Right after breakfast we went up to Trivia - we had to leave breakfast to get there by 1000, and we had already missed 3 questions. One of the problem questions for me was "What non-aquatic mammal is the only one who can't jump?" Their answer was 'elephant', but I have since wondered about rhinos and Bobs answer was 'sloth'.
It was a little rough, and, although it didn't bother us too much, we saw barf bags stuck into the stairway railings for instant use. We went to lunch in the main dining room also, and I had something they called Panzanella Salad which was topped with two scallops on a skewer and ricotta and
asparagus cannelloni (of which I could only eat one)
and Bob had a burger. He asked them to hold the bun, and they did - they also gave him TWO burgers instead of just one because they were apparently worried that he would not have enough to eat. He had carrot cake and I had apple peach crumble for dessert.
After lunch, we went up to the Viking Crown Lounge for the Meet and Mingle. I went out on deck to take a photo of a freighter that was crossing the ship's path and then came back to the M&M.
Went down to sign on and get email. There was a certain amount of confusion about that. I was told that I would have to sign on with RCI's computers first, so I did that. There were no directions up there, but someone who was there (in ship uniform) told me that I would have to sign on to the wireless section and could not use the RCI computers and that since I had done it wrong, I'd have to go down to the purser's desk. So I signed on to the wireless, and then I went down to the purser's desk and she basically said - no problem. I also bought bus/ferry passes for Bermuda. ($20 @ for two days)
For dinner that evening (which was formal) I had the roast duck which had purple cabbage with it,
and Bob had fish.
For dessert we both had sugar free coconut cake.
Bob went back to the cabin and I went up to the internet cafe with my computer (which I took to dinner) and logged on and sent email etc. There is wireless in the atrium area, but I can't find anyplace to plug the computer in except under the desks in the computer cafe. There's a nice musical group playing in the atrium two decks down, and I can hear them in the computer cafe.
At 9 pm I went to the show. I looked for Bob but didn't see him. Found out later that he was down in the cabin glued to Bill OReilly whom I can't stand. The show was pretty good - it was three black guys in white suits doing Mo-town. I enjoyed it and the theatre was well thought out and had good sight lines and reasonably good lighting and stage effects. The band consisted of a piano/keyboard player, two guitarists, a drummer, two trumpets, a trombone and a sax. The one guitar player would stand with his back to the audience to start the band.
We will be in Bermuda on the 27th and 28th. The webcam TV channel does not show the webcam, and it has all the wrong information. It said that the water temp in Baltimore harbor was 82 deg F (NOT), and that our next port of call was San Juan. It has the wrong route on it.
The TV is a complete loss - it has two cartoon channels, ESPN, two CNNs and some amalgam of CBS, and Fox. We can't hear the announcements in the cabin and there's no way to turn them on.
Tuesday November 27th
Because the intercoms don't work in our room, and they made the announcement that we were coming in to Bermuda while Bob was in the shower, we didn't hear it. So we went up to the WIndjammer Cafe for breakfast, and it was again a disaster. I finally got something to eat. I had to wait for them to fix the machine for cranberry juice which was a viable option in the dining room. I saw that the ship was swinging around, so I went out on deck and took pictures of us coming in.
The markers are on the same side (red on the right coming into the harbor), but the numbers are reversed - odd on red and even on green instead of the other way around.
Bermuda looked beautiful and it was sunny and warm. One of the tugs that came out to the ship was named Powerful.
The water bottles Bob brought from home are too big to fit in either his fanny pack or mine, so I turned the plastic Royal Caribbean bag inside out and we put one into that.
Getting off the ship was a zoo. We followed a crowd down to deck one (which is all for the crew) and then the leader of the group realized that people were following that were NOT on tours, and he made us all go back up the steps to deck 2 and then we had to go back down to one and stand in line while they checked us out with our Sea and Sail card.
We were on the outside of the long dock. There was a shuttle bus to take us around the Dockyard, but we didn't find out about it until the last day.
(Overcrowding in British Prisons led to housing convicts on ships where they were also readily available for labour)
We walked to the ferry dock and I asked about the St. George ferries because Art (at our table) has a scooter and was told that he was told that he could take that ferry. But I didn't think it ran in the latter part of November. It turned out that they went ahead and ran that ferry anyway for the cruise ship, but they did the trip out and turned right around and ran back.
We got on the ferry to Hamilton and I was going to look for the CSY that we'd seen before, so I wanted to go out on deck. Bob said I couldn't do that, but I did anyway. However in doing that I missed seeing the CSY, and Bob saw it but failed to take a photo of it.
When we asked the man at the ferry dock window where the Information Center was, he said it was the first pink shack. But we walked around and never did find it.
Eventually we walked up Queen St
past the gardens that were started by Perot
and stopped in the Perot post office. Perot was the person who made the first Bermuda postage stamp. I had never been inside, so we went in and I took some photos.
Then we went next door to the Historical Society Museum which is in the library. The reason I wanted to visit the information office was to find out whether Camden House would be open.
The man at the historical society phoned for me. I activated my phone, but did not make many calls, as it said it was Cingular and I was afraid of high charges. I later found that I had about $6.00 worth of charges from Bermuda
We looked around the museum, and I saw a post card which I thought I would send to my granddaughter, but I didn't remember the zip code. So I took it thinking I'd send it later.
We walked up to the City Hall
and got a bus map from the bus station and took the Route 1 bus to the Botanical Garden.
It turned out that we got off at a stop that was a LONG way from the
We had lunch at the snack bar there - Bob bought a tuna salad sandwich and I had egg salad, and a drink and a cookie.
Then we walked over the Camden House, and went inside. The man explained that it was built c 1716 by a man from Camden in the UK, and that he had died in 1789 (or thereabouts) and was buried right between the front stairs. There's a hibiscus bush there now. He also said that the brochure was misleading because hurricane Fabian caused a bunch of leaks and they had to redo the furnishings, so the pictures that are in the brochure don't match what you see. They did allow me to take pictures.
Then we walked down a different way and got the Route 1 bus again going out to St. Georges.
We passed Spittal Pond, and two golf courses - one of them was Tucker's Point.
We saw the sign for Crystal Caves,
but didn't get off.
We got off at the end of the line just outside St. George,
and waited right there at the bus stop because I didn't feel like walking the extra distance in to town. I told Bob that we'd take any bus except 1 or 3 (because those would be a repeat of where we'd just been).
The first one that came was a 6, which went out to St. Davids, where we'd never been before. We picked up many of the school children (with the bus driver lecturing them all the way) and circled around the lighthouse.
I have never actually been able to visit the lighthouse - the best I have been able to do is to take a photo from the bus. St. Davids is one of two main lighthouses on Bermuda. It is the one most visible when you come in on a cruise ship. It is still active. Finished after three years in 1879. the tower also carries flashing red and green lights that cover nearby shoals. It is an octagonal limestone tower with lantern and double gallery; It has a 2nd order Fresnel lens. Formerly all white, the lighthouse is now painted white with a broad red band in the center. it acts as the finishing line for such major yacht races as the Newport Bermuda. The keeper's house is occupied by resident caretakers. The lighthouse is located on a hilltop on St. David's Island, in St. George Parish, near the northeastern tip of the islands. Open daily from 7:30am to 4pm between May and September. Admission is free. Sometimes it remains closed for maintenance. There are some 85 odd steps and the climb is relatively easy. This is a great place to see groups of humpback whales that pass through Bermuda waters in April and May.
We got to Kindley Field Recreational Facility (right next to the airport), and got off there and transferred to a number 11 back to Hamilton
The bus to Hamilton was crowded when we got on. They are repairing the bridge to the airport so traffic goes on the temporary bridges.
I got to talking to three couples - one from Middletown DE and the other two from Sharpburg MD - all living in communities with covenants which I absolutely don't agree with. I mean - no clothesline?? How eco friendly is that??
We walked to the ferry, and there wasn't one to the Dockyard until 5:30,
and it didn't get there until after 6 and it was almost too dark to take pictures of the boat on the way back.
They did tie up right next to the ship (on the other side of the wharf from it instead of our having to walk all the way around from the regular ferry dock which would REALLY have been too late. First we had to check in with security showing our sail pass and a photo ID (I used my PADI card). Then we had to take off hats (so they could see we didn't have anything concealed or so they could see our faces better to compare with our sail pass card) and go through ship security, and then put everything onto the belt to go through the magnetometer or whatever it is. A number of people have had knee replacements and the metal in their knees makes the beeper go off.
Even though Bob said it was too late to eat in the dining room, I went directly to the dining room and had dinner, and Bob went back to the room and then up to the Windjammer buffet which he said wasn't so bad when there weren't any people up there. I had a cold pepper soup, a lettuce wedge and a curry thing with asparagus on it in a puff pastry shell.
I didn't like the curry so I just ate the shell and the asparagus. For dessert I had Chocolate Marquise which was a chocolate cream pudding with a hard chocolate crust. Very good.
Meanwhile, we had saved the bottles that we bought our drinks in and washed them out and refilled them. They are small enough to fit one of them in my waist pack.
Wednesday November 28
We went up to the dining room for breakfast and I had a half grapefruit, cranberry juice, cream of wheat, yogurt and a roll. Bob had V8 and shredded wheat. The waiter told him they were out of skim milk, and also out of whole milk. He was joking. Sometimes the waiters open your milk cartons for you.
There was a young couple, and an older couple opposite us and a much older couple on our side of the table. The older couple opposite us said they were from West Point VA.
She had a white beehive bouffant type hairdo and chandelier dangly earrings. She said she was born in 1938. Hey - she's a year younger than I am. She looks like an old lady to me.
We walked off the ship and took the ferry back to Hamilton so that I could take pictures of the CSY (a boat like ours) that we saw anchored from the ferry.
When we were here in 2004 Smiths and Trimminghams were one big store because Trimminghams bought out Smith's. Then it closed completely. I really liked Triminghams and was sorry to see it close. Even Coopers had greatly downsized.
I looked in the linen shop thinking I'd get something for someone for Xmas, but tablecloths were $300, and everything else was similarly priced
I had written the card to my granddaughter who collects stamps, but hadn't brought it with me, so I didn't get a stamp or get it mailed, so we took the ferry back.
Then I walked around the craft market
and we went for lunch at the Frog and Onion which was next door.
Bob had a bunless burger and I had Shepherd's pie (or Cottage Pie)
With tip this was $35.00.
I forgot my cane when I got up to go, and it had started to rain. We went across to a bus that was at the bus stop and find out that there was a shuttle bus to the ship so that all this time, we wouldn't have had to walk!!! Anyway when I started to get on the bus, I remembered that I had forgotten my cane, and so Bob gave me the bags with what we'd bought and went back for it. They had it at the front desk when he got there.
We were to leave at 3:00 and I thought I'd go up and take photos but I stopped (with my computer) at the internet cafe first, and when I looked out the window, it looked rainy and overcast. So I did the internet until I ran out of time.
There's no person in charge of the internet cafe to help people. I talked to a guy who was cleaning desks and he says half of the keyboards don't work because he's wiping them down with cleaning solution, but they have to do that. I also have heard that the internet is very slow on their computers.
There was a travel agent there who had a group of 20 people who flew from Manchester to Heathrow to the US to get on this cruise, and 18 of them did not get their luggage in Baltimore. Every day when we were coming back to the ship, we've seen luggage coming aboard so maybe that explains that. He said 16 of the people had gotten their luggage but two people had not.
I went down to dinner - almost none of our table mates had gotten off the ship today. Bob had soup and tilapia
and vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce for dinner, and I had
I find the decor of the ship vaguely depressing
Thursday November 29th - Sea Day - Bob got up and left this morning before I was out of bed. I went up to the dining room, but the line was so long that I decided to turn the tipping sheet authorization in at the purser's desk first. They said that if I turned in the sheet, the people would get their tips regardless of what we did. I also complained about the lack of a bow camera. By the time I was finished, the dining room service was finished for the day (9:05) so I went on up to the Windjammer and got a glass of water, a donut and a fried potato thing. There was a silly sign which said "In the interest of Public Health, the filling of water bottles is not permitted"
Bob had gone up and walked around deck 5 until he had done a mile, and then he sat and read a book. I went up and did trivia with a pick-up team, and we got 14 correct, but two other teams had 17 right and had a sudden death face-off. One of the questions which I knew was what ROM meant, and I also got correct the name of the oldest Beetle (Ringo) but the team decided that it was John Lennon.
We met up at lunch and I had a wrap
and a banana caramel split. We sat with a couple from California who said they liked lighthouses. She also said that her husband had been sick for four days in Baltimore, and now she had it.
Dinner was surf and turf (lobster) which we got. I had cream of potato soup and Bob had Manhatten clam chowder. We couldn't decide on dessert, so I had sugar-free rice pudding and strawberries and ice cream- they were supposed to be Grand Mariner marinated strawberries, but I didn't notice any difference from regular strawberries. Bob had the Boston cream pie and the strawberries.
After dinner, I stayed in the internet cafe and also went to part of the show in the theatre until after 10 pm before I came back to the room. I looked up the size of the Crown, the Maasdam and this ship, and this ship carries about 1000 more passengers, which is IMHO too many. The steward had made a sting ray towel animal, and Bob had eaten one of his eyes (the chocolates that they put on our pillow each night).
They had the Dallas/Green Bay game on the TV so we watched (well I watched and Bob went to sleep) until the last 2 minutes or the fourth quarter with the score 34 Dallas to 27 Green Bay, and then the satellite cut off and never came on again.
Tomorrow we will be in St. Maartin
Our next visit to Bermuda was in 2011 Carnival Pride