01.11.2013 - 07.11.2013
After the Disappointing Disney cruise with my granddaughter in June, we had a fairly peaceful summer. In October we were
starting on another cruise - To Bermuda - a cruise on the Grandeur of the Seas. Bob has decided that he only wants to be gone on trips of a week.
Tuesday October 30
Bob decided to take the big brown suitcase, but he didn't pack way in advance as usual. Lynde came and we packed me in the little red suitcase. We went to the Plaza Azteca (next to the Hampton Inn) for dinner because I had a coupon and it said on it that they had trivia. It was terribly LOUD even before the trivia started. Bob had his usual (#17 - although he got #7 last time) and I had a beef fajita
The trivia lady said there were 10 rounds and would be a total of 100 questions. I did pretty well on the first round 4/7. (I find myself unable to think of words now which I know I knew at one point, so I couldn't think of the metal band around the end of the pencil and 2 other words). Second round was food and drink, and again I got 4 out of 7 - didn't know that Bananas Foster was named after some official in New Orleans and did not know that Earl Grey tea was named after a Prime Minister. Third round was music . Ack. There were 10 selections and you got two points for each if you knew the name of the tune and the artist. I did not know any of them. I didn't even recognize any of the music.
Fourth round was Star Trek. Now I have NEVER EVER watched any Star Trek and am totally not interested in ever watching it. I don't remember if we watched when it was originally broadcast or not. (The same BTW for Harry Potter- I did read some of one of the books that Beth had, but I'm just not really interested in doing any more) I actually got two points here for complete WAG's. Well actually one of the questions was a complete give-away - where was Jean Luc Picard born. (France in case you didn't know)
We left when they got to the round where you identify people's faces. I know from past trivias that I suck at identifying people. I knew Frank Sinatra (as a young man) and I think Gregory Peck. Partly this is that I don't watch TV - I just listen to it. This is not good for identifying photos of people. It was just too noisy. We had finished eating, and Bob didn't really want to be there, and I was tired.
October 31, 2013
Wednesday Bob packed, and I put things in the computer bag. I decided to take the pocketbook my sister gave me and put all my medications in that.
I electronically stopped the mail and the Washington Post. Everything starts back up on Nov 8th - the day we get back. Bob also ordered a leaf blower which should be delivered while we are gone (actually it was shipped by USPS and so it was held until we got home). I forgot the Wall Street Journal though and by the time I remembered it, it was too late to do it by phone and we didn't know our ID number to do it by computer. Thursday morning, when I finally remembered to do that, it was too late to stop it coming on Friday. Bob wanted to print out a map of where the hotel was and he couldn't get his iPad to do it, so I did it from my computer.
We left the house about one o'clock after we had lunch (we both had the salad that Bob made for dinner the previous night.) after Bob put the suitcases in the car and also the new scooter.
We checked into the motel (the Hampton Inn at BWI) but when I got out of the car, I found the lens cap had come off my camera. We couldn't find it anyplace.
It was interesting to see the Baltimore stations instead of the ones from D.C., but they didn't have the HGTV channel and for some reason I could not find the Thursday night football channel.
When I asked, the hotel desk person said that they have limited numbers of DishTV channels and they don't carry football unless it is on one of the Baltimore channels. Bob set the TV to go on and off by itself, but it didn't and he couldn't turn it off afterwards either. I didn't do any computing when I got back after dinner - just went straight to bed.
We have the cruise rate which includes the shuttle to the port. I made a reservation on Weds for the next trip in Feb and got a rate of $70 plus tax, but parking is $5.00 a day. That's still cheaper than the Cruise rate which is about double that.
We went to dinner at the Olive Grove (not the Olive Garden but a separate local restaurant)
Bob had MD crab soup and a half rack
and I had the single crab cake with a pasta side.
It was, as usual, too much for us to eat, so we didn't have dessert.
===Embarkation - November 1===
In the morning, Bob went down to breakfast and brought me back a hard boiled egg and a banana. So I continued using the computer until about 9:30 when I stopped and had a shower.
Bob went and got a luggage cart and we got into the van about 10 (I had said 10:30, but Bob was impatient.). It was raining a little bit
We've always liked going to Baltimore for a cruise because usually it is a pleasant and easy embarkation. But this time our expectations were dashed. I went through on the scooter and someone wanded me, but they did not investigate my pocketbook or coat. OTOH, Bob went through the regular screening and they took two tiny pocket knives away from him (as if there weren't plenty of big steak knives on the boat). Whereas, I could have had 10 knives in my pocketbook and nobody cared. They also made him empty the water out of one the bottles we brought so that we would have water. This made Bob understandably grumpy. You can't hijack a cruise ship with a pocket knife (or really - any knife). It took about half an hour to get through the procedures
After we signed in, we sat in the holding area for about another half an hour and then they let us go on board the ship. I knew that while the wheelchair people go in on deck 1 and take the elevator up so that the wheelchair pushers don't have to go up the ramp, but a motorized scooter or wheelchair has to go up the ramp. He was annoyed when I obeyed the directions to go up the ramp. We did meet someone on the ramp who had one of those back pack oxygen things and they were resting before they went the rest of the way up. But the scooter was really fine with it.
We went up to the Windjammer, but it didn't open until noon. Bob and I sat at a table in a covered location - I took my coat and cane and left them there with Bob and the carry-ons, and went in (they let us in a little early) to get something to eat. Bob thought that the scooter would have trouble with the big gap going into the Windjammer, but it was OK.
I got a plate and found the iconic honey stung chicken. I was able to carry a plate in one hand and maneuver the scooter with the other. But I couldn't see some of the labels as they were eye level with a standing person. So I got a piece of cake, a piece of bread and a little pasta, and then went to get something to drink. I could not carry a plate and a drink
and no one offered to help until I got to the drink lady, who took my plate and a glass of tea and a glass of water for Bob.
Bob got the chicken and some rolls and a cookie. We sat and ate and talked to the people at the table next to us, and then they left and we talked to the man of the next couple that sat down - they were from Montreal and she only spoke French. They did not know that Grandeur had been upgraded (he didn't remember things like the big movie screen
and they didn't know about the fire either). At one, we went down to deck two and very shortly thereafter we were able to get to the room.
But the bed was made up as a double. We could get in with the scooter, but there was no place to park it. I called and asked for the beds to be separated and they said they would do it during the drill (and they did).
The beds are under the window with two nightstands - 2 drawers each We have an ocean-view and since we are on deck 2, we are quite close to the water.
There is a couch and little round table which I wish we could get rid of (I eventually put it in the closet).
There is a flat screen TV instead of the old one, But it was fortunate that we had an ocean view because the bow camera was out of focus for the entire cruise. It took us awhile to find the safe in one of the cabinets over the TV. The desk has 3 wide drawers (one of which doesn't 'glide' at all, and three narrow ones (one of which has the hair dryer. There are closets which also have drawers in one end. There are tiny triangular cupboards on each side of the mirror over the desk, and I ended up putting the mini-bar stuff in there.
The bathroom is really tiny. There is a tiny circular shower. I can sit on the toilet and reach the sink (which I like). The shelves and cabinets on the side are so shallow that you can't put a hairbrush or toothbrush unless it is diagonal.
So the only place we can put our pill boxes is on the shelf under the sink where the bathmat stays. I moved it.
We went down and found our table which the maitre d' said was a table for 6, but it had 10 chairs. We got our bags before the drill and unpacked at least the hanging stuff. But I didn't want to put the stuff in the drawers until the beds were separated.
We had the Drill at 3. We had to listen to the spiel on TV a couple of times and still did not know if we needed to take the life jackets. Eventually the cruise director came on the horn and said that we did not. We took the elevator up to deck 5. The scooter could get out on deck OK.
They put me back against the wall, and scanned our room keys to log us in. Of course with people standing in front of me, I could not see (if I had needed to see) the life jacket demonstrations. The captain said he would be leaving port in 15 minutes. So I stayed on deck.
I took some photos including of a police helicopter
They had the bow blocked off for embarkation so I couldn't go all the way around.
I took some photos and then it didn't look like we were actually going to get underway in 15 minutes and my back hurt so I lay down on a lounger. When we did get underway,
I took photos of the usual suspects (Lazarette Lighthouse,
and the FSK buoy where the boat was that Francis Scott Key was on during the bombardment of Ft McHenry
and Fort Carroll).
I also got a photo of the Natty Boh sign,
the Bromo Seltzer tower,
a marina that was on the other side of Ft. McHenry (name unknown),
two guys in a bass boat,
the statue on Ft. McHenry,
the Domino sign from the back,
and the WBAL and the Channel 13 (WJZ) helicopters.
I had trouble getting back over the threshold to get back into the ship - I could get out on deck OK, but the scooter hung up on the ramp going the other way.
By now it was almost 5 and our dinner was at 5:30 so I went down to the room and retrieved Bob and we went up to the dining room. They were going to show us to our table, but Bob was already halfway down the dining room (since we had been that afternoon and already knew where it was). We put the scooter next to the window. but after this I usually left it at the dining room entrance.
Eventually there were 10 of us. Two of them at the other end of the table I didn't get their names. She came in a wheelchair which they parked behind Bob. Next to me were Jan and Del and I don't think they've been together long. Next to Bob were Robert and Melba - they are from Highlandtown/Camden and they are doing a B2B to the Bahamas. At the other end are Skip and Dara - they came last but they talked loud enough so I could hear their names.
I got the spinach salad
and Bob got two starters - shrimp and they gave him horseradish to add to the cocktail sauce,
and the watermelon raspberry soup.
Then he had the salmon
and I had prime rib.
I really couldn't eat that much because my back was really hurting. Then we both had the blueberry peach crumble for dessert,
but I didn't eat much of that either. I took photos of the bay bridge at sunset from the table.
We came back to the room and basically went to bed. I couldn't do anything but lie there and try to get my back comfortable. It didn't hurt to move. It just hurt.
I woke up again about midnight, and wanted to go to the bathroom. I saw a red light and wanted to know what it was - it turned out to be the TV and I could do it with a touch screen. The other light turned out to be the peephole to the corridor.
I decided as long as I was awake, I would download and edit my photos. So I found my glasses and got the computer out of the drawer where I put it, but I didn't want to have it directly on the bed, so I thought I would put it on a book like I did on Disney. But the information books were soft cover. So I took the tray that was under the sodas and water that you have to pay if you use, and I used that. I had 174 photos (that I kept - I deleted some).
Then I went back to sleep
November 2 - Sea Day
Things that we have forgotten - Bob forgot to bring a laundry bag and the scrubbies. He almost forgot his dark glasses which live in the car. The room steward gave us a really big chock that will work in the door so I don't have to run over Bob's feet each time. She also gave me an extra glass
I waked up about 7:50 and Bob was in the shower. Eventually I was able to get into the bathroom too. We went down to breakfast about 8:30 and were seated at a table for four, but no one else came so we ate alone. I must say that the dining room staff do NOT know how to organize seating people efficiently. There were long lines for the dining room at both lunch and dinner, and this is in spite of the fact that the seas are very rough and a lot of people are remaining in their rooms.
Bob went and got himself cereal and said it was not well organized and he would just get things himself from now on. He also got scrambled eggs.
I got the onion and bacon quiche - there wasn't a lot of bacon in it. It came with hash browns and a tomato. The tomato was on the menu but the hash browns were not.
Apparently it it mandatory to have hash browns and a tomato with whatever you have for breakfast. I also got tea.
There was no cranberry juice so we got apple. After the first morning, I brought my cranberry juice to the table. (We brought a bottle of it with us)
By the time we got done eating it was almost 10 am (the dining room is not very quick either). I went up to the camera shop to see if they had a lens cap, but they did not.
Bob went down to the room to get his Cruise Critic's invitation but I had mine with me already.
It was rainy and windy so when we got up to deck 10 and needed to get to deck 11 for the meeting we couldn't go out and around on deck 10 because they had it closed. and the pool almost had white caps when we saw it.
They gave us the little neck pocket things and also name tags to put in them. Then they had a raffle for some T-shirts and wine. What they did NOT do - which they should have done IMHO - is have us introduce ourselves to the group. After that they had a line dancing class
and so we left and went down to have lunch. The chandeliers in the main atrium were swinging like pendulums.
We were too early for lunch and there was a sushi demonstration in the atrium.
I got into a conversation with a lady who was using another kind of scooter and I got Bob to show her how it folded up. I found that the dinner menus were no longer paper ones posted in a display case - they are now on touch screens. But they only have the dinner menu for the main dining room on the touch screens.
For lunch I had the Royal Beefburger (which was a cheese burger with mushrooms)
and Bob had the pan seared salmon with a fennel orange salad. For dessert I had two scoops of coffee ice cream and Bob had a sundae.
We were possibly going to trivia at 2, but we went down to the room and I got involved with writing up the previous day, so we didn't go. It was formal night, but not with lobster (although you could pay extra and have lobster. I had the shrimp cocktail and then a dish of shaved cantaloupe and honeydew melon with yogurt.
Bob had the shrimp cocktail
and chilled banana rum soup.
For the main course I had shrimp ravioli with spinach
and Bob had salmon.
The salmon looked very good, but he started having a swallowing problem and didn't eat it all. I had what was billed as Sky High Lemon Meringue Pie. But what it really was, was a small lemon tart with meringue.
November 3 - almost to Bermuda
I got a call on the phone this morning - room service wanted to make a delivery. WHAT? I didn't order room service. He said it was room 058 (which is us) but he also said that there was coffee and we don't drink coffee. Someone is going to be mad that their room service hasn't come.
For breakfast, I decided to have Eggs Benedict without the ham which tends to be too salty. I prefer Eggs Florentine (with spinach). When it came, it was bitter. I thought they had put mustard in it but the man across the table said that he thought it was Tabasco sauce. I ate the eggs out from under it.
Probably should have gotten the orange pancakes
Bob went and got his cereal and figs - I really object to having to go to a buffet in the dining room - I think it is a cop-out. But service is so slow that may be the only way to get something reasonably quickly. Anyway they had some really good raisin bread this morning. Bob got scrambled eggs and bacon also but he couldn't get them to leave off the obligatory. hash browns and the tomato
They came and asked if it was good, and since they asked, I said no it wasn't. (Otherwise I wouldn't have said anything - it is probably not a good idea to ask me if I am satisfied as I usually able to find something that could be improved.) They were all apologetic, but I didn't need that. It was OK - I just didn't like it.
The ocean has a lot less motion to it this morning. At lunch some of the people went to the buffet salad bar, but there again they are making you wait on yourself. I had the roast beef (which was good)
and Bob had a chicken slider and his vanilla ice cream with chocolate sauce,
and had a praline crunch bar. It had what looked like an oreo bottom, and then a very hard crunchy middle (which I couldn't cut with a spoon so eventually I picked it up to eat), and the top was a kind of chocolate mousse with a chocolate icing top
We could see Bermuda from the window at lunch and then it disappeared around to the other side of the ship. So when we left the dining room, I took the scooter up to deck 5 (the promenade deck) to take photos of the arrival. I got some photos of St. David's lighthouse and Fort St. Catherine.and the pink sand beach next to it.
The excursion I had booked for this afternoon was a horse and carriage ride of about a hour
which took us all around the Dockyard area. Bob parked the scooter
including a slow passage along the walls where all the ships painted their logos.
Then he took us outside the dockyard area and told us about the cost of living in Bermuda
We got back to the dock
I stopped on the way back to the ship and took a photo of the (real) watergate.
We got back just about in time for dinner. Bob had three starters - shrimp cocktail, mango pineapple soup (which I had also and which was very good),
and clam chowder (and I had that too). He tried the salmon again and this time was able to eat it all. I had a beef sliders.
Then I had the strawberry kiwi pavlova,
and a chocolate praline finger which I thought would be like what I had in the afternoon
but this one was soft.
And Bob had his usual
When we got back to the room, we had a sting ray towel animal. We could see the end of the afternoon game (NE and Pittsburgh) and then I watched (or listened to) the Sunday night football.
Today I had booked a private guide through the internet (Lewis Foggo).
Our goal was to do some cemetery documentation on Bermuda. Lewis took us to several cemeteries. We had, of course seen the Bermuda Royal Navy Cemetery
But we were able to find Watford Cemeterymemorial marker]
And the Somerset Military Cemetery which was sort of around the corner
And we also visited the Somerset Methodist Church Cemetery (the second oldest in the West End, having been established in 1861)
and we also visited St. Josephs - which was yellow when I saw in in 2011, but had been re-painted salmon
then we went to Hamilton -
Where the policeman was in the Bird Cage.
We had lunch at the Lobster Pot in Hamilton.
The sign at the entrance said 2-3 lb lobster whole boiled $79.00 We didn't have lobster.
I had complained to Lewis that the fish chowder I had before did not taste like fish, it tasted like beef. But Lewis said that the Bermuda fish chowder was a dark soup so I had the fish chowder $7.00,
and it did taste like fish this time. Bob had,the Lobster Bisque $7.50. Then he had a lobster seafood slider $13.75
and I had Peach Melba $7.50.
After that we went through Black Watch Pass out to St. George.
I asked Lewis where Durnford House was, and he didn't know, so he called the Historical Society, and she told him. It is a historic house but it is privately owned and not open to the public.
We stopped at
And then went to the St. George Military Cemetery.
and the Parish Cemeteries which were out in the same area
We just barely made it back for dinner. Service was so slow that we did not have a chance to see the Cirque de Soliel type show in the atrium. We had mixed berry and yogurt frappe,
Brie and asparagus quiche,
and I had Chocolate Sensation for dessert
We were to leave Bermuda at 5 and to be back to the ship at 3:30. We were meeting Lewis at 9:30. It was blowing really hard and also raining a bit. We met Lewis (our guide) at 9:30. Lewis took us to the Moonlight Church (aka Cobb's Hill) which was built by slaves at night (sometimes by moonlight) in 1827.
So today we mostly looked at the cemeteries around Hamilton - St. John's and the Methodist parish cemetery next to it
Then we found Calvary Cemetery which had an iron gate that you could walk through, so we took the scooter and passed it through the gate and I got to take some photos too.
Our last stop was at the Convict Cemetery
Then it was 12:35 and I thought we might stop for lunch but Bob said we had to be back on the ship by 2:30. So we went back to the ship.
We got back by two.
After we checked in, we had to go to the Windjammer for lunch. Again no one offered to help.
We went back to the cabin
With some effort, the ship pulled away from dock about 4 - churning up the water. We took naps and just woke up in time for dinner.
I had scallops au gratin and the cold fruit soup,
and then the tiger shrimp and sticky bread pudding.
Bob had the same soup, and tiger shrimp
and then strawberries and ice cream.
November 6 - Sea Day
We went to breakfast early and I tried the eggs Benedict again and they were bitter, but not as much.
For lunch I got the salad on the buffet for the first time. Someone did help me here
I had the corn chowder which was OK
and then Turkey Scallopine
which was supposed to have asparagus and had spinach instead. I didn't like it. Then I had the Raspberry Chocolate Ganache Tart and that was good.
Most of the time we stayed in the room and Bob watched and I listened to TV. The TV is basically useless - has only CNN international news and weather and nothing from the US, (not even the D.C. temperatures). And some old movies and stuff from RCCI, plus re-runs of Seinfeld, Thirty Rock, The Big Bang Theory and Whose Line is it Anyway.
It was formal night and we had the peach soup,
and then the Royal seafood salad (which had a big king crab claw and then a mishmash of other seafood).
The lobster was called Fisherman's plate and had a lobster tail but I told them to leave the garlic shrimp off. As usual the vegetables were some kind of root vegetables. I didn't eat them.
We had Baked Alaska for dessert.
When we got back to the room, the room steward used Bob's sunglasses on the towel animal.
They had the checkout procedures on the TV but failed to mention what time we have to vacate the cabin, or how they decide when we disembark.
November 7 - Sea Day and Disembarkation
We got our luggage tags (green 5, but only the number matters as all of the tags are green) and the customs form and the form to evaluate the ship after lunch yesterday. They gave us two customs forms but only one evaluation form. Bob wanted his own form and he went up to the desk and they made him sign for it. Green 5 is supposed to debark at 8:10 and wait for the announcement on deck 6. Dining room opens at 6 am. Nothing anywhere said when we had to be out of our room. The customs form was easy to fill out as the only thing we bought in Bermuda was lunch, and the only other money we spent was for the guide.
On my form I said that I loved going to Bermuda but Grandeur of the Seas was my least favorite way of doing it. They also gave us three WOW envelopes (for good service), and Bob gave one to each of the dining stewards and one to the room steward.
After dinner I tried to use up the internet that I bought (it was about 25 hours total at 25 cents a minute but we got a 15% refund on the price because of our RCCI status) and I was just too sleepy. I was too sleepy even to watch the game.
I woke up at about 4:30 and finished up the internet that I had left. After about 45 minutes the website stops calculating the price and goes to "you have used 231576628 minutes for $N.00" If I really want to know how much I've used, I have to sign off (and the sign off page does NOT give you the amount left OR the amount used) and then sign on again at which point it tells me how much I have left.
I also got the final bill which was stuck in the door. Since we prepaid the one excursion and also prepaid the tips,and we didn't buy anything on the ship, or go to the casino and gamble or drink, the only thing on it was the internet.
Bob got up at 6 and after he finished in the bathroom I had a shower and we went up to breakfast at 6. Well we TRIED to go up to breakfast - had trouble getting an elevator. Finally got up to the dining room
Shuffled in and Bob went to get his cereal and I ordered us scrambled eggs. When we were finished breakfast, Bob said for me to go up to 6 and he would go down to 2 and get the bags. I had a hard time getting an elevator, and when I did get one, it opened and shut the doors about five times before it went up the two floors. Bob said the same thing was happening and he walked up the last floor.
Then we had the same problem getting down. The wheelchair people got off on deck one - everyone else on deck 4. So I thought we should get off on deck 4 and that's what we did. When I went to hand the man my card for the final scan, I accidentally goosed the scooter and dropped the card which the scooter then ran over it.
Bob retrieved his pen knives (they had a note on his record when he signed out). and he left the carry-ons with me and went and got our bags. He strapped the big brown bag and my smaller red bag together so he could pull all of them.
We got outside and sat on a bench in the sun and called the shuttle driver.
He came and picked us up (after getting yelled at by the police for picking us up in the "wrong" place)
We were back at the car and loaded up and on the road before 10.
We got down here about 11:30
Stopped for lunch in town just before we got home
There was a funeral for a firefighter next to the fast food place
I'm mostly unpacked and Bob has reset the clocks. Crunch has thoroughly inspected all the luggage and the scooter.
My next visit to Bermuda was also on Grandeur of the Seas with my sister in 2018, The Beginning
Our next trip was February 2014 for a week in St Croix, USVI