We're now getting back to reality now that we are back home.
As Cruise Directors or sometimes Captain's tease at the final Captain's Reception for most of us there is no one who will be picking up that towel from the floor/tub or others pretty much taking care of your every wish.
It was an easy transition though.
All was well at home. Have great neighbors who watch our house when we are away as we do for them and if there is an issue we each take care of them.
Over the years we've learned that one of the many benefits of sending luggage home is that we are not overwhelmed with it upon our return other than whatever pieces we bring home with us. We had Luggage Concierge the luggage we had them ship knowing that we were spending four days post cruise in New York City. They shipped the luggage on Friday, September 23 and we will see it mid-next week. In the meantime, we unpacked the items from carry-ons and the two pieces of luggage we took home with us.
Already took four spin classes at home this past Thursday and Friday and prepared for two classes I'll teach next week.
Back to our just completed adventure.
Words cannot adequately describe our experience. To some extent it is analogous to when we sailed off Antarctica for a couple of days. We usually describe that experience by saying it was surreal and that we felt as if we had been sailing on a different planet or had gone to heaven.
On the Northwest Passage so much of what we saw was absolutely amazing.
We started with that 10 day Alaska Cruise. It was fun and one of the benefits is that we got settled on Serenity before the start of the Northwest Passage Voyage. Weather reminded us of our Symphony sailing in August 2009 when we encountered a lot of rain.
Also those ports in Alaska with each passing year are looking more and more like the Caribbean. The key is to get away from the downtown areas.
We do want to note that Hoonah is a nice addition to the schedule as it is not built up the way places like Juneau and Ketchikan are. Their tourism all comes from Cruise Ships and the town is simple and the area beautiful and the people who work there actually live there year round. It was raining though. But after all this is Alaska. It would not be so green if not for the rain.
Then in that magical instance the weather changed on turnaround day when that cruise ended and the Northwest Passage voyage began. It was a beautiful day in Seward as we walked between the ship and the downtown area. We saw that sun and no rain and everything looked pretty.
Those first ports in Alaska were special. We had been to Kodiak and Dutch Harbor before but what we like about them is they are what they are. No Diamonds International. People who work there live there year round.
Then we visited Nome for the very first time. Very special. Again this is Alaska. The people were very welcoming. People traveled hours to be there for our arrival. After all we are the largest cruise ship that ever visited. The largest before that was The World. Yes, some people came there to partake in selling items and that is perfectly fine. Others came just to see us. The people were very welcoming. It is certainly different than what most of us know from home. Streets are dirt roads. Some of the people such as our tour guide are involved in finding gold in the ocean. The town did a wonderful job as did Crystal in organizing our visit. The mayor was a hoot. He performed many years ago in off broadway theatre in NYC. A wonderful ambassador for this town.
Then the magic occurred as we sailed the Northwest Passage. We had absolutely wonderful weather and each day was spectacular in terms of the scenery. It was absolutely beautiful. We saw ice. We saw polar bears. We met so many nice people when we visited the villages. We walked on land and sailed in water that so few people have ever seen. We learned about those explorers and the challenges they faced. We recognized that life there is not easy but is very special. We remember on one of the unexpected voyages when we visited two islands that are uninhabited. On one of the islands when we were walking around if you looked up at the hill you saw men stationed from the expedition team with rifles watching out for bears.
It is very costly for the people who live in these places as it is for many remote areas in Alaska.
As we sailed the Northwest Passage it reminded us at how beautiful and special Canada is. Keith was fortunate to have visited some beautiful areas of Canada because of work and certainly have seen other areas that are quite nice on other trips with Anne Marie. This country is very special as are the people. We are fortunate to have such great neighbors.
The magic continued as we sailed Greenland. Loved our hike and the beauty of what we saw. Never saw so much ice as we did even though it meant that we couldn't do our tour.
The close of this voyage was nice with ports that we have visited before as it gave us time to wind down and to pack. We were blessed with wonderful weather in Bar Harbor, Boston and New York City. That arrival to New York City was very special. Often you arrive to the city at 5:00 AM when it is dark outside. And while that is special to be out and about as we arrived during daylight was brilliant and we had such terrific weather.
Crystal and the Expedition Team amazed us. The planning that they put into each and every detail showed throughout the voyage. The good news is that there are always things that can be improved so for those going next year you might experience further improvements.
This voyage is also a reminder not to pre-judge things until you see it for yourself or at least see what others experienced.
We remember those articles about this being another Titanic. Really we thought to ourselves do they realize this project was approved when NYK was the owner and NYK is one of the most conservative and slow moving companies out there.
We remember those articles about all of those demonstrations that we would see and how the Inuit people would not be welcoming. Well, we wonder if they realized that representatives from Crystal Cruises and the Expedition Team met with them over a couple of years, multiple times. We wonder if they realized that donations were made to the villages, that some of the Inuit people were trained and hired as guides, that we would purchase items which provide an opportunity for them to sell what they make.
There were those articles that implied that sailing this area would be harmful to the environment and that somehow this sailing was the cause of the warming of the earth. Really? Just thinking out loud but if this is being caused by us we wonder if things such as the millions of automobiles around the world, factory pollution, dumping of items in our water, or even the thousands of vessels that travel the seas play a role. How about all of the roads, the waste, and the list goes on and on.
Our take is that this voyage helped illustrate that there is already an issue out there. It was not that long ago that you couldn't sail this area of the world.
For those who sail Alaska take a look at Glacier Bay. We could see a big change just comparing what we saw on this year's Alaska cruise and what we saw in 2009.
Then there were many people saying that we would flood the villages with guests and overrun them and that we should instead be on an expedition ship because after all how could you see things with so many other people on the ship. Well, as I always say to each their own. There are some people who would never sail a luxury line no matter where it goes while others would only sail a ship half the size of Serenity or two times the size of Serenity. We are all different and that is good as we don't have the same preferences. This is what makes the world go round.
What we can say is that for many of us this voyage had the look and feel of being on an expedition ship with the benefits of being on a luxury ship. We never flooded those town because of how the process was organized. We got into those zodiacs in a way that was more efficient, and orderly than getting on and off a tender.
When we landed on those beaches it was pretty much no different than if we had been on an expedition ship. And when we walked around those places we didn't overwhelm the town and on some of our walks we saw very few people from the ship.
This has been an incredible adventure. We do think a cruise of a lifetime. Unlike some voyages the ship was not the destination. The destination was the itinerary with the added benefit of doing this itinerary with the amenities found on Crystal Cruises ships.
By and large the guests were on board for one reason and that was to see the Northwest Passage whether or not they could get off the ship in the actual NWP villages. Although there were only 26 first time Crystal Cruise guests, many cruise Crystal or other cruise lines infrequently. Several we met had not cruised Crystal in 10 to 15 years and many had only sailed Crystal a handful of times if that much. We had people of all ages. Yes, even a small child. Never in all of our Crystal Cruises have we seen a Question and Answer Session where the questions were not about "why are the beds too hard or too soft", or "why no candy on the bed", but rather questions that were about the planning that went into the voyage, and about logistics, or challenges or things that kept people awake at night. We had also never seen a session like this where at the end those on the panel got a standing ovation.
We thank Crystal for creating this cruise. This was unlike anything they have ever done. It had never been done with a ship this size. It was something very new. It required lots of planning. Heck, they had to do a business case to figure out if they would make money from the sailing as the requirements were so different than anything they had ever done before. It required lots of coordination that went way beyond the company including all of the sessions with the Canadian authorities.
We are hoping that the bar that Crystal set will be something that is required of other ships that might choose to sail this passage. It was not a walk in the park. When we sailed that narrow strait that was something very few had done and no ship anywheres close to our size. We do not believe the World sailed that area.
In many ways it would have been much easier for Crystal to not have untaken a project of this magnitude and just gone with the same old stuff instead. Its success has opened a new door and hopefully will lead to sailing to other areas. On this cruise the Northeast Passage was mentioned by guests. Maybe that could be in the future. Time will tell.
We will close by saying that I often mention that one of the benefits from travel is making memories that will last a lifetime and we have made many lifetime memories from this voyage. We will all be able to relive them in our own way. For the two of us it will be from what we remember ourselves, and from the photos we took and from our writings and from the video we will receive from Crystal Cruises in a few weeks.
We are of the belief that the best form of discovery involves seeing things through our own eyes. We realize this is not always possible due to time and financial commitments or other issues such as one health. We are so very thankful that we saw some very unique places in 2010 while we spent close to a month in the Middle East on Serenity visiting some countries that in the foreseeable future very few people from North America will be able to see. Those two segments of the 2010 World Cruise coupled with that entire World Cruise might have been the most special one we had ever taken before we sailed on this Northwest Passage Voyage which was truly amazing.
Until next time we bid adieu. Until next time.
Keith & Anne Marie
We enjoyed our final night in New York City by having dinner with our sister-in-law, nephew, niece and Keith's brother at a restaurant in the Times Square area. The restaurant is called Le Rivage which we all ate at for lunch in 2010. We enjoyed it so much we thought it would be a nice restaurant to have dinner at last night. It was about a 15 minute walk from our hotel. It is located on a street which used to be home to many other French restaurants. Today, there is a wide range of restaurants on both sides of the street that serve many different types of cuisine.
Le Rivage like many of the other restaurants attracts many customers who are attending the theater and come for a pre or post theater dinner. Their menu is extensive and they feature a set menu featuring appetizer, entree and dessert with ten or more choices under each category.
We are including two photos. Our niece arrived a few minutes after we all went inside as she was coming to the restaurant from school as she is in a graduate law program.
Today is pretty much a travel day. We enjoyed breakfast at the hotel and finished packing and then got ready to check out later in the morning from the hotel. We had a private car take us from the hotel to JFK International Airport. Traffic was better than expected.
When we arrived to JFK there was a slowdown as they were randomly pulling vehicles off to the side for inspection. Once we arrived to the terminal we check in at the ticket counter. The terminal was very quiet. When we arrived to the TSA Pre Approv Security line Keith asked the TSA agent where everyone was. He said that it was busy in the morning but has been quiet ever since. We think its been years since we saw an airport this quiet. We were through security in less than a minute. We are at the airline's club lounge and just had lunch. The club is being renovated so Keith went into the terminal and brought back lunch for us. In case you were wondering we each had a salad entree. LOL, but we really did have salads.
The people at the airport have been very friendly. We had stopped by a store to pick up a magazine and the person at the cash register said to Anne Marie "is that your husband"? Anne Marie said yes and then the women said "you both look like you keep in very good shape." How kind of her to say that and we did thank her for her kindness.
We will be here a few more hours before our flight.
In a few days we will post a summary of our trip.
This trip has truly been amazing and we have made memories which will last a lifetime.
Keith & Anne Marie
Our original plan for dinner last evening was to dine out on our way to Madison Square Garden. However, with continued rain in the forecast, we decided to just have a light dinner back at the hotel.
The highlight of the evening was seeing British singer and songwriter Adele perform in concert at Madison Square Garden. We purchased the tickets last December within one hour after their release for purchase. We would have bought them earlier but that is how long the queue was when Keith went on line seconds after sales were opened up via the internet. When sales were available they sold tickets for her entire concert schedule that goes on for months. It is the first time that was done and most of the tickets nationwide sold out the first day. The performances at Madison Square Garden sold out in hours.
One of the nice things about indoor cycling is all of the music that is played throughout each class and that is how Keith first became familiar with Adele and her music.
Adele knows how to connect with the audience. She used two stages so she could get close up to both side of the garden. She brought a young child on board along with her Aunt who both had seats on the lower level. She asked if the child’s Mom was there and she was but on another level and invited her to come down. Between songs she would ask members in the audience where they were from and would add humor such as when she attempted to pronounce Maryland. She poked fun at herself from time and explained why she took time off between releasing 21 and 25 and why she didn’t tour for those years. More importantly she sang a wide range of songs and sung only as Adele can sing. She was accompanied by musicians who some of whom are from the United Kingdom with several from the United States as well as some vocalists. It was a two hour magical performance. She said this was her 80th performance of this tour and that she only missed one performance as she was very ill. As she said, she would have died on stage if she performed that night and she would return to make up the missed concert.
It was wonderful to be able to walk between our hotel and Madison Square Garden. New York City is a city that never sleeps. As we walked back to the hotel, the streets were full with vehicles and the sidewalks were full with pedestrians.
We slept well last evening and awoke fairly early to enjoy our final day in New York City before we go home tomorrow. We had breakfast in the club lounge.
We then took a walk we had planned for yesterday but postponed to today given yesterday's rain.
Our destination was Zabar's. Zabar's is located about forty blocks from our Hotel. When we lived in the New York area neither one of us would visit Zabar's but we have ordered items from them for delivery to our home. They are known for their baked goods including bagels, challah, bread, and their desserts. They also carry a wide range of coffee, cheese, fish, and other food items and they also have a floor dedicated to all types of cookware and bakeware.
As we walked a few blocks from our hotel we saw a large presence of police, including police specializing in anti-terrorism. Some streets were blocked off. We suspect this has to do with where some of the foreign dignitaries are staying as well as President Obama and with the recent explosions the city is clearly on high alert. As we made our way past central park, we walked for quite a while in a residential area. There were lots of stores and grocery stores and restaurants catering to those who live in the area.
Once we made it to Zabar's we walked around for awhile and then we walked back and stopped off at a few places including a Trader Joe's. The Trader Joe's was clearly not your typical Trader Joe's as it was huge and carried many products that you find in a full service grocery store. We passed by Lincoln Center, eventually walking by the Ed Sullivan Theatre and into the heart of Broadway.
The weather was gorgeous.
By the time we returned to the hotel we freshened up for lunch.
We met several friends for lunch at Tony's Di Napoli which is an Italian Restaurant that dates back to 1959 located next door to our hotel.
We were met for lunch by:
Allan and Helen who we first met on Crystal Symphony in 2004 through friends Joan and Mac who we met on a pre-cruise tour of the Dover Cliffs before boarding Symphony. It was on that cruise that Alan and Helen booked over half of the 2005 World Cruise and subsequently they booked the 2006 World Cruise and this was a catalyst for us to start to think of taking a World Cruise. Since that time we have sailed with Allan and Helen several times.
Christeen and Carl who we sailed with for the first time on the 2015 World Cruise. Often Keith would get together with Bob and Carl in the afternoons on sea days when they would try to solve world problems. LOL, but true. Christeen was in the indoor cycling classes as Keith was and part of that core group that attended most of the classes.
Peggy. We first sailed with Peggy on the 2012 World Cruise and also sailed with her in 2014 and 2015 and on the Northwest Passage Cruise.
Elaine. We also first met Elaine when we sailed with her on the 2012 World Cruise and then we sailed with her on the 2013, 2014 and 2015 World Cruises. For a couple of the cruises many times Anne Marie would walk with Elaine in the morning.
This is one of the reasons that we enjoy cruising as it does provide a nice opportunity to meet others who share the same passion for travel and for cruising.
It was a great reunion lunch and it was so nice to catch up with everyone.
The restaurant turned out to be very nice. It was an Italian Restaurant and we had a nice round table and we ate family style. We both shared one entree with Peggy and we each had a salad. Allan, Helen and Elaine shared an entree and we think a salad and Karl and Christeen shared an entree.
Afterwards we walked with Elaine and Peggy. We walked Peggy close to where she would pick up the train and we walked Elaine about half way to her residence.
This evening we will be having dinner with family.
Keith & Anne Marie
Rain, rain, go away...Come again some other day.....We want to go outside and play......Come again some other day.... More on rain later.
After we left the theatre last evening, we kept dinner very simple by picking up a salad entree and we took it back to our room. We also had some wine at the club lounge.
We then watched the local and national news to catch up on the news of the day including the explosions in New York City.
We slept well and did not hear any of the police sirens throughout the late night and early morning hours as we did yesterday.
We enjoyed breakfast at the club lounge and got ready for another day in New York City. Our original plan was to walk a very long distance towards Zabar's but with rain in the forecast for the entire day we changed up our plan.
It was raining. At time it was drizzling. Other times it was pouring. We had our rain coats and this worked out well for us.
We walked towards Macy's as a destination. On the way we passed the New York City Public Library. This Library is special for us. Although we knew of each other during our Sophomore year in College, we took the same class in the first Semester of Junior year and formed a study group with one other student. Keith did invite Anne Marie to one of his Fraternity Parties that Fall. Fast forward and over December holiday break with Anne Marie back home in Pelham Manor and Keith back home on Long Island we made arrangements to meet each other in New York City and our meeting point was outside this library. We then walked around (we always liked to walk) the city that day. About thirty days later we began to date and as they say the rest is history.
We also passed by the Empire State Building. When you are close up to this amazing building you cannot see all the way to the top so Keith took a photo tilting the camera to get a photo as high as we could of the building. We also made our way over Madison Square Garden which we will be at later this evening.
We made it over to Macy's. It was very busy since it was raining and many people were looking for things to do inside.
On our way back to the hotel, we took a photo of the outside of the theatre where we saw Beautiful yesterday. We had lunch back at the hotel.
As to the rain, although it would be nice if we didn't have rain, without the rain there would none of us would be here so rain is good and didn't put a damper on our spirits.
We took photos with the waterproof camera so the quality is not ideal but nevertheless we are posting some photos.
This evening we are going to dinner and from there walking to Madison Garden for a concert to see sensational artist Adele perform. It should be a lot of fun and we will post about it tomorrow.
Keith & Anne Marie
Some of you have written to us to ask if we were in or near the area with the explosions last evening. We were not. We did hear police sirens for several hours following the explosion even near our hotel.
We had dinner last evening at Patzeria Family and Friends Italian Restaurant. We had salad, pizza and beer. We realized that we probably shouldn't have had pizza on our last night on board Serenity as our plan was to have pizza on our first night in New York City.
Having grown up in New York we both are particular about pizza. We'd give this one three out of four stars for the pizza but it was good to try a place that we haven't visited before. Service was friendly and the restaurant was quiet. It was definitely New York Pizza. For us a little less crust around the circumference of the pizza would have been preferable. LOL, we still enjoyed it and somehow ate it all.
Our walk back to the hotel took about twenty minutes and we stopped by the club lounge for a glass of wine. Afterwards, we relaxed in our room.
We slept well, woke early and had breakfast at the club lounge. We kept it simple with cereal and a banana. We took a few photos as they were putting the food out. They had other continental breakfast food items including mixed fruit, danish, bagels, and yogurt.
Later in the morning we made our way to a restaurant called Patsy's Italian Restaurant where we had lunch with someone we have known for many years. The person had recommended this restaurant to us in 2007 and we had dinner there before we boarded Crystal Symphony for a New York City to Montreal Cruise. This restaurant has been owned and operated by the Scognamillo Family since 1944.
The food was wonderful as was the service and the family feel of this restaurant.
Afterwards, we walked back to a theatre that coincidentally is just across the street from our hotel. Before we booked the hotel we actually booked theatre tickets to see the Musical called Beautiful about Carole King. For many from our generation, including the two of us, when we think of Carole King it brings us back to 1971 when the album Tapestry was released. We know all of the songs and can visualize the cover of the album. What we didn't know back in the day was that years before the release of Tapestry that in 1958 at the young age of 16 that Carole King is already writing songs and in time teams up with Gerry Goffin and the collaborate writing songs together and become lovers and eventually marry. Many songs that are well known she wrote on her own or with Gerry. We certainly enjoyed this musical. It brought back many wonderful memories for each of us. It is emotional while also uplifting.
We will post again tomorrow.
Keith & Anne Marie
The Northwest Passage Cruise is officially over. It has far exceeded our expectations and we have made memories which will last a lifetime.
We sailed from Seward, Alaska to New York City, New York. Total distance was 7,656 nautical miles or 8,805 land miles. This does not include the miles we sailed on the previous voyage from Vancouver, Canada to Seward, Alaska.
This journey has been truly amazing and far exceeded our expectations. Keith took part in several media interviews during this voyage including print, radio and television. Several questions were similar across all the interviews. One of them was why did you want to sail this voyage. My answer is that you can read books and articles on the Northwest Passage, watch specials shown on television but there is something very special about seeing things through your own very eyes and this is an example of that. As much research as we did, we saw so much more through our own eyes and we learned so much through the one-on-one interactions we had with the Inuit people and with the expedition team and from all of those lectures that were given on the ship. To sail and to walk on land where so few people have ever gone was an experience that we will remember for the rest of our lives.
We cannot say enough about the planning that went into this cruise by Crystal Cruises as well as the execution of all of the plans. Crystal Cruises was able to take a Cruise Line Ship and create a true expedition environment yet also offer amenities that you would not find on an expedition ship. The way they utilized the zodiacs and were able to get passenger’s on and off the ship in both a safe, orderly and efficient manner is amazing. On our visit to the first Northwest Village if you count the number of times that someone use a zodiac to visit Ulukhaktok there were over 1,000 round trip visits that day. Everything was like clockwork but done the Crystal way with so many crew in place to make this an easy process even for those who needed extra hands and assistance to get them in and out of zodiacs. At the same time there were some people who were unable to get off the ship in those ports and they were able to enjoy nice views from the ship with the assistance of the camera that was set up to show views on each stateroom television and on large monitors that were installed in the Palm Court public room and we also able to utilize the high powered binoculars and telescopes plus binoculars that were placed in each persons room. There was also scenery to just enjoy from the ship without the use of any of these devices and there was the opportunity to meet the Inuit people who came on board the ship including those who performed on board. Already there is talk about expanding this for next year.
We were blessed with excellent weather. We were fortunate that in port it didn’t rain and when it snowed it either took place before our arrival such as in Cambridge Bay or when we were at sea. The only place that there was any type of impact was with all of the ice that prevented many tours from running in one of the ports in Greenland. At the same time it did provide some wonderful views from the ship as we’ve never seen so much ice at any one time.
We’ve been asked to compare our experience on this voyage with a voyage of South America that includes Antarctica. We have sailed South America several times but only off Antarctica one time. Overall, we enjoyed this voyage a great deal more and that is because sailing off of Antarctica takes place over two to three days whereas this voyage involved so many more days in the actual Northwest Passage and provided lots more scenery and the scenery changed from day to day and this voyage provided the opportunity for us to get off the ship and land by zodiac. At the same time while we sailed off Antarctica it was one of our top experiences at sea and we felt that we were on another planet. Sometimes I felt that we were in heaven. Both are wonderful experiences but for us the Northwest Passage voyage was in total our most unique sailing ever. For different reasons we would say that this voyage along with sailing the Middle East portion on World Cruise 2010 are the two most unique voyages we were have sailed as in 2010 we stopped at various ports of calls that for the time-being cruise ships are not visiting and we had the opportunity to see those places through our own eyes.
The Northwest Voyage has truly been a cruise of a lifetime and what we and many say has been an epic and historical cruise. I do think that in spite of the controversies about a cruise ship the size of Serenity sailing this area of the world there were lots of benefits to this. It has provided attention to this area of the world. It has provided some financial assistance to the Inuit people. It has set the bar when it comes to safety and planning that other cruise lines should follow should they undertake this sailing. Finally, it has allowed for a discussion to take place about global warming. Regardless of what the cause (man-made or a change in weather) it has allowed there to be more of an awareness and a discussion that there is global warming because it was not many years ago that a cruise ship of the size of Serenity could not sail the Northwest Passage. We could see first hand the effects of Global Warming and that includes the size of Glacier Bay which we saw on the first of the two voyages which looked quite a lot smaller to us than only four years earlier.
We believe that one of the benefits of travel is discovery and we certainly have learned so very much from this amazing voyage.
We wanted to begin with a photo that was taken of Serenity as we were making our way to New York City. If you look closely you could actually see us. LOL, but yes we are on the bow.
Some photos from our verandah of Intrepid plus the New York City Skyline.
We decided to have our last dinner in our room. We have done this the last couple of years. We find that it's very relaxing.
We had salads and pizza. We didn't make it a movie night but we enjoyed some news, spoke with our children and enjoyed the views from our ship.
Rao, who has been our butler the last several years returned to Serenity yesterday to begin work today. We were happy to get a chance to see him.
We slept well even though there was no gentle rocking of the ship. After all the walking we did we were tired by the time we went to sleep. It was relatively quiet outside as well given where we are docked. Our routine this morning was unlike the other day. No early visit to the Fitness Center by Keith. We had an early breakfast to allow for us to freshen up and to put last minute items in our carry on luggage. We thanked butler Jijo for all he has done during our 42 days on board Serenity.
As JiJo was setting the table for breakfast, we saw the Carnival Cruise Ship Sunshine arrive. The sun was not shining but there was a full moon above the ship.
We arranged for a private car with the Crystal Cruises Concierge. Although you pay a little more than you would on your own it just makes it very orderly to get off the ship. It can be a challenge to find your private car if you make arrangements on your own given port security and even getting a taxi can be a challenge with two ships in ports as was the case today.
As is customarily done we received a letter from the concierges the other day noting that our car would be ready at 9:00 AM and asking that we arrive to the Crystal Cove just opposite the concierge desk at 8:45 AM. The letter noted that once the car was in close proximity of the cruise ship terminal for pickup the concierge would meet us at the Crystal Cove.
While we were waiting at the Crystal Cove several members from the ship and from Los Angeles stopped by to say hello. This included Douglas Scott, entertainment manager who is involved with the booking of entertainers and lecturers, Keith Cox, Vice President of Entertainment, and Christian Sauleau, Senior Vice President of Operations and Guest Satisfaction and Hotel Director Hubert, Head Waiter Augusto and a few other members of the Serenity Crew.
As has been our experience doing this the last few cruises everything worked like clockwork. We waited in the Crystal Cove, and once the car was ready the Concierge came to assist us off the ship.
This one was a bit more complicated given the distances involved and the process. The Chief Concierge, Ervin who just returned from Holiday met us at the Crystal Cove and walked us through the process. He walked us all the way to the terminal building. From there we were met by one of the officers who took us to where the luggage was waiting. Once we identified three of the six pieces he got a porter for us. Once we had all the pieces he walked with us and once we got near customs Concierge Hayley was there. She stood with us until we got to customs and waited for us on the other side. As Keith handed the Customs Official our Passports he realized he had the tip for the porter in the same hand and thought to himself oops. The Customs Official said jokingly "I don't accept tips." He was very friendly and said how was the Panama Canal Cruise? We laughed. Once though customs we walked with Hayley and the porter to Luggage Concierge where we hand dover four of the six pieces we are sending home and then we walked with them until we got outside the terminal area. We hugged Hayley and then were then escorted with two other couples across the street to where lots of private vehicles were waiting and then the escort with the help of the porter found our car. Let us say that often people criticize porters but this porter was a gem. He really worked hard and he did not leave until he put not only our luggage in the trunk but our carry ons in the vehicle.
We were driven to our hotel. We are staying at the Casablanca Hotel. This is our first time staying there although we have stayed at a sister property a few other times called Hotel Elysee. These hotels are part of the Library Hotel Collection group of hotels which consists of seven hotels located in New York City (4 properties), Prague, Budapest and Toronto. A friend stayed at the Casablanca Hotel and recommended it.
We arrived at 9:45 AM and had coffee and water in their club lounge and the good news is by 10:00 AM our room was ready.
Once settled we went out on the first of a couple of walks. We walked to where we will be meeting someone for lunch tomorrow to get a sense of location, checked out where will will eat this evening and also stopped off to pick up some salad to bring back to the room.
When we are in London sometimes we will get take out salad to bring back to the room at Pret A Manger who has lots of locations around London. We knew before our trip that they also have several locations in New York City so we went to one of them on our way back to the hotel.
After having lunch we went out for several hours and walked to several areas including Fifth Avenue and Central Park. The weather was terrific. We could not get over the crowds wherever we walked. Of course this is New York City; the city that never sleeps.
All in all it's been a wonderful day.
Keith & Anne Marie
We arrived to New York City, New York this morning. The arrival was spectacular which is a fitting ending to this historic and epic voyage.
As we were watching the views, we spoke with a married couple. The husband arrived to this country 50 years ago as an immigrant on board the Queen Mary. They mentioned this as we were getting close to the Statue Of Liberty and to Ellis Island.
Last evening we enjoyed another pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon. It was fairly quiet so there was more time to talk with the those who work in this lounge. Keith even changed it up and had a Belvedere Gimlet while Anne Marie had a half glass of wine. John and Linda....We were thinking of you both.
Afterwards we were back at the Crystal Dining Room.
Dinner was fabulous and it was like a Black Tie Optional Night. Yes, the menu also included Caviar and Lobster. Keith had predicted the other day that we might see Lobster on the menu given that we have just been to Bar Harbor and Boson and user enough it was there. Aside from the food the dining room also had a Black Tie Optional feel to it in terms of the number of people dining. We are not sure if the draw was the lobster or because this evening we have the overnight in New York City and some people have visitors arriving to the ship or some guest are dining off the ship. Whatever the reason as they say it was a full house.
We toasted to the trip with a bottle of champagne we sent down to the dining room. This was the bottle of champagne that was in our room on the day we first boarded and we were saving it for a special evening in the dining room.
We wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the outstanding wait-staff team who has taken care of us throughout these voyage. This includes:
Senior Waiter Lylian. We first met Lylian a couple of years ago between an occasional lunch in the dining room and also when she would work the Lido Cafe during lunch. She is warm and friendly and also is confident, efficient and very thoughtful. These are terrific traits to have.
Waiter Aleksandar. Often you will not see a lot of your waiter as one of their major responsibilities is to collect all of the food items for each course from the galley and to bring them out to the waiter station so that they can be served to each person. In our case this includes not only our table but a couple of other two person tables plus a large table that in the first seating on special nights is hosted usually by someone from the front office such as the Chief Accountant and in late seating by the Hotel Director. Aleksander was very efficient as the orders were complete and the time between courses was never too short nor too long and we would see him at various times throughout the meal. We see him becoming Senior Waiter overtime and he is very much service oriented and just an all around nice person.
Sommelier Ricardo. He has a very long history in wine and has been a Sommelier on other cruise lines as well. He knows his wine and provides a great explanation on each wine. To us he is very professional, has a great demeanor, has a passion for his profession and a genuine interest in the guest.
Head Waiter Augusto. We have had the pleasure of knowing Augusto for quite sometime. He knows what we enjoy and what we might not care for and can give us good recommendations if we are in doubt about a particular item. He makes some wonderful items from time to time. Anne Marie is half Italian and Augusto was born in Italy so they share a bond. Augusto's Italian comes out when it comes to portion size. If we should ask for a little more of something Augusto is always concerned that Keith is not eating enough so the additional item might come out "super" large. You can see that in the Tuna Tartare and also if we should ask for some extra fish much more than just a little extra fish seems to make an appearance. LOL.
Maitre d' Leo. We have sailed with Leo for close to ten years. He is a consummate Maitre d'. Just as you wonder how a magician pulls a rabbit out of their hat, sometimes the challenge for Leo is how to pull a two-person table at a window out of his hat when more people desire this location versus availability. Leo certainly does his best to work magic in the dining room with the preference of the guest in mind.
In short, we describe the waitstaff team as the "dream" team and thank them for making our dining class experience a "first" class experience.
We have attended several balloon drops over the years. The has included drops at the end of each World Cruise we have sailed, on New Years Eve at 12:00 midnight on two Holiday Cruises and even one on a Crystal Society sailing. It seems that with each succeeding sailing the number of balloons that is dropped increases. We think that they have just about max'd out the number of balloons that can be part of these balloon drops but we don't doubt for a minute that someone is figuring out how to drop ever more balloons in the future.
Rather than calling this a end of cruise balloon drop, they referred to it as A New York City Soiree with the New York City skyline part of the decorations. This Soiree included dancing with the Ambassador Hosts along with live music.
There was also entertainment before and after the balloon drop. Two concerts were performed by Tian Jiang an internationally acclaimed pianist. Musical Theatre Star Simon Bowman perfumed one late night show at 10:30 PM in the Galaxy Lounge.
When we arrived back to our room there were two identical Northwest Passage Maps showing each and every place we visit. There were also six patches each for all of the original destinations on the Northwest Passage that we visited. Very special.
We slept well as we sailed towards New York City, our final destination of this historic trip. Keith was up early and enjoyed a final workout at the Fitness Center as well as getting our laundry done. Anne Marie woke up early for our early arrival to New York City.
We enjoyed breakfast in our room as we have done throughout this cruise, as we got ready to visit New York City for the first time since 2010. It is hard to believe it's been that long.
All guests were invited to celebrate our arrival to the Big Apple and to be out and about on the open decks by around 6:45 AM until we docked in Manhattan. Mimosa's were served and we had a spectacular arrival between seeing the Statue Of Liberty, The New York City skyline, an NBC News Helicopter above us. Origianlly a fireship was going to welcome us but it encountered maintenance issues.
We first went up to Deck 13 which is the highest deck on Serenity but after awhile it got very crowded. Keith thought for a moment and we went to another location which turned out to provide exceptional views with far fewer people around.
At one point we heard a knock coming from right above us and after a few seconds Keith turned around and looked up and it was Captain Birger who waved to us.
The weather was picture perfect. This voyage has had terrific weather. Often when one arrives to New York City it is at the end of a cruise when the ship arrives around 5:30 AM while it is still dark out. That was not the case today so we enjoyed wonderful views all around us. This has truly been an epic voyage including. We feel very blessed.
We each have an affection of New York City. After all, Anne Marie was born in The Bronx. She lived only a couple of blocks from Yankee Stadium and the Bronx Courthouse where here Dad worked as an Assistant District Attorney. If Leukemia did not take him away at such a young age he would have gone on to become a Judge. After his passing, Anne Marie, along with her Mother, Sister and Brother moved to Pelham Manor.
Keith grew up on Long Island and always enjoyed visits to New York City. While we were both home from University for the December holidays we both met in New York City one day and only a couple months later started to date. As they say the rest is history.
We enjoyed staying in New York City on various family trips with our own children some of which included sailing in and out of New York City. There is so much to do in the city and we have enjoyed many special walks around the city, going to the theatre, seeing the New York Yankees play, going to museums, visiting parks such as Central Park, visiting various neighborhoods in the city, visiting Ellis Island, the New York Stock Exchange, the Empire State Building, the United Nations as well as so many other areas and attractions. This is an amazing city and one that has so many wonderful memories for us.
Thinking about it for a moment we realize that if you were going to select a city to end such an epic and historical voyage that we would be on, New York City was the right pick.
As we waited for the ship to be cleared we saw Captain Giske arrive from vacation and we spoke with him for a minute. He will be taking Captain Birger's spot at the helm of the bridge for the next voyage as Captain Birger goes on a well deserved holiday.
Once the ship was cleared, we walked right off. We decided to walk rather than take Uber or a Taxi to the 9/11 memorial. The walk turned out to be terrific as we walked along the West Side Linear Parkway and Path. We took in nice views as we walked along the Hudson River. We saw walked by the USS Intrepid, passed several ferries and other ships and the Chelsea Piers Sports Complex. Eventually the pathway became West Street. We also walked near the Whitney Museum of American Art and Battery Park City. The area has been nicely done between small parks and even some basketball and tennis courts. Shortly before crossing the street we past by Public School 89 where we saw children playing outside. There was a sign that said that children playing in the school yard on that fateful day witnessed this horrific act of terrorism.
Upon our arrival to the National 9/11 Memorial and Museum we spent time waking each of the two fluid pools which are set in the original footprint of the Twin Tours. We read some of the names that are inscribed and said some prayers for each of them, and their loved one.
We proceeded to the Museum which we walked on our own before also going on a tour. Words cannot adequately describe our emotions as we listened to some of the recordings, read the various write ups and looked at items that have been placed in the museum such as a stairway which allowed some of the people to survive. At one point there are photos of victims lining the walls. It is all very emotional.
Once we completed out tour, we decided to walk rather than take a Taxi or Uber. It gave us more time to talk about what we had just seen and to reflect on that horrific day. It also reenforces our views of life and that is that to not let little things bother us because in the scheme of things they are trivial. To us life is a book and no one knows when that last chapter will be written.
As we returned to the ship we saw many members of the crew going off for their break. They were smiling and we wished them a wonderful time.
After we arrived back to the ship, we had lunch. We had it in our room since we were unsure what time we would arrive to the ship.
We are spending the rest of the day taking care of things on the ship and also finishing packing. Some guests have left the ship to go home rather than staying until tomorrow.
We will continue to post while we are in New York City.
Keith & Anne Marie
Before dinner last evening we had our usual pre-dinner drink that the Avenue Saloon. We also made a stop to the store that featured the Alaska items from the night before which were on-sale. Other items were also marked down including a sweater that we purchased for Anne Marie.
Afterwards, we had dinner with dear friends Bob and Glo at the Prego Italian Specialty Restaurant. It has been wonderful to be on this special voyage with the two of them. We first met Bob and Glo on the 2008 World Cruise and since that time have sailed with them many times.
Prego was quite busy when we arrived. We are used to getting there at 6:00 PM when people are seated every 15 minutes or so. We arrived at 7:00 PM many people were already seated.
This was our last dinner at Prego for this voyage. Waiter Costa took excellent care of us as did Sommelier Jiri.
We added a couple of photos from the Avenue Saloon.
Food was delicious and the best part of the meal was being with dear friends and enjoying a wonderful discussion.
We all ordered some of our favorite dishes and all four of us had appetizers, salads, and entrees and three of us had fruit for dessert.
First two photos are from the Avenue Saloon.
Third photo is one of the Italian wines we had at Prego.
Following dinner was the showing of My Life: The Music of Bill Joel. This is a very uplifting show and it takes you through so many memorable songs of the Billy Joel era.
We slept well as we were sailing to our next port of call in Newport, Rhode Island. Although it didn't keep us from sleeping, one up we could hear the howling of the wind from outside.
We followed our normal morning routine which you have come to know well. This included an early workout for Keith followed by breakfast and a one hour walk for Anne Marie. Keith also went to the salon for a haircut. While Keith was in the salon, Anne Marie was packing and that continued even after Keith returned. Keith spent some time in the Crystal Cove reading and writing and speaking with fellow guests and members of the crew. There was some change of crew in Boston as for some it is an easier city to bring on board some crew and for others to go home. Keith saw for the first time Bar Manager Florent as Bar Manager Ross just went home for a well-deserved holiday. While Keith was in the Cove, Senior Vice President of Operations and Guest Relations, Christian Sauleau, stopped by to say hello to Keith. Christian joined Crystal four months ago with 25 years of experience in the luxury industry. We met him at the beginning of the cruise and he just returned in Boston.
We anchored off of Newport, Rhode Island by 10:00 AM. We have visited Newport many times in the past starting in 2004.
Newport has a city population of close to 25,000 residents. It is well known for being a yachting center. It was the home for America's Cup for a century and a half.
Newport has many beautiful and historic buildings with some dating back to the 1600's. With that said it is the very large mansions which sets this city aside from many other similar sized locations. It has many opulent mansions which were built in the early 1900's.
Major attractions include:
The Breakers. This is one of those beautiful mansions. It was built as a summer house and served as the home of Cornelius Vanderbilt. We visited this mansion in 2004.
City Walk. This area includes 3.5 miles of public access that borders the shoreline. It offers stunning views and we have walked this several times starting with our 2004 visit to Newport.
Art Museum. This museum was founded in 1912. It has housed many works including art by William post Richards and Catherine Morris Wright.
Touro Synagogue. This is the oldest Jewish synagogue building in all of North America.
Kingscote House & Bellevue Avenue Mansions. This is a National Historic landmark which is owned by the Preservation Society of Newport Country.
Beechwood Mansion. This mansion was built in 1851 for New York merchant Daniel Parrish and is operated as Newport's only living history museum.
We spent a portion of the day packing. We had various reminders that disembarkation day is getting closer. Yesterday afternoon we received our shipping labels for the items we are sending home via the Luggage Concierge Service. This morning we received information related to disembarkation day including confirming time for the private vehicle that we had the concierge book for us to take us from the ship to the hotel we will be staying at along with our disembarkation tags.
We decided that we would stay on the ship and not get off in Newport. As we mentioned we have visited here numerous times. We just decided to enjoy the ship instead.
After having an early lunch in the Lido Cafe (the Cafe opened at 11:30 AM since tender service did not begin until around 10:30 AM and there were tours in the early afternoon).
Anne Marie walked for another hour in the afternoon on the promenade deck as the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Keith read and wrote also met up later in the afternoon with friend Bob.
Some photos that we took from the ship.
Some photos from the Lido Cafe.
This evening we will be dining at the Crystal Dining Room for the final time of this cruise.
Keith & Anne Marie
We had our usual pre-dinner drink in the Avenue Saloon and then we went to the Crystal Dining Room for dinner. We each had two courses so that we could make it to the showing of the Northwest Passage Video. More on that in a moment.
We each had salads and Keith had the fresh Salmon Entree and Anne Marie had Scallops.
The highlight from last evening was the showing of the Northwest Passage Video. It was shown two times and is a tremendous keepsake from this voyage. In two weeks we will be receiving the video via thumb drives that will be sent to our home.
We have received videos from the World Cruises but this one was quite different. Its major emphasis was on the places we visited, the history, and included comments from some guests with many comments from people from the expedition team, some of the locals and others such as Project Manager John Stoll. We would say this is one that could be shown on National Geographic. An amazing video. Also adding to making this a special viewing was that President and Chief Executive Officer of Crystal Cruises, Edie Rodriquez came on board Crystal Serenity yesterday afternoon and spoke at the showing of the video.
They made it funny by having the Captain speak and say he was in the highest ranking member of Crystal Cruises on-board the ship. All of a sudden you hear a voice saying that it not the case and then Edie walks up the aisle to applause from everyone.
Edie spoke before and after the video.
After the showing we spoke briefly with Edie.
There was a sale on all Alaska merchandise in one of the shops and we have never seen it as crowded as it was. It seemed like a department store with an after holiday sale.
Guess what the three Grandchildren are going to get. The irony is that the night before the sale we inquired about getting three additional bears for them. As luck had it whatever they had left was in the storage room (if bears were not available there was a moose and one other type of animal) so when we picked up the stuffed animals we were not only fortunate that they had our first choice but these where the last three available and we got them at a substantial discount.
The evening continued with dancing in the Crystal Cove as part of the 50s & 60s Rockin' in the Cove. Crystal Cruises Ambassador Hosts were on hand for the dancing.
Later in the evening the Liars Club was held featuring Comedic Liar Steve Stevens, Rabbinical Liar Rabbi Horseman, Stand-Up Liar John Joseph and Biblical Liar Monsignor Kidney. Liar's Club is only held on selected cruises and you need the right participants to make it a success as was the case last evening.
By the time we got back to the room, it was easy to fall asleep as we began our day early in the morning. Seas were relatively calm. We began today with Keith getting in his morning workout at the Fitness Center. We had an early breakfast in our room. We were meeting friends Dave and Gary at 11:00 AM at the gangway to bring them on board Serenity for the day so we didn't have a lot of time to be off the ship. We have visited Boston a few times in the past for pleasure and during his career Keith spent a lot of time in Boston. We would like to return as part of time on land that we are looking at for the fall of 2017.
Unlike many of the places we have visited on this journey most of you know a great deal about Boston. Some of you live here or have resided here in the past. There is certainly a rich history in Boston.
The city population (downtown area not suburbs) is close to 700,000 residents.
Major attractions include:
Quincy Market which is an historic building of the market which was constructed between 1824 and 1826. It was named in honor of Mayor Josiah Quincy. The market contains over 50 shops and not only 14 restaurants but 40 food courts.
Freedom Trail which we walked as part of a Crystal Tour several years ago is a 2.5 mile long path through the downtown Boston area. It passes 16 historic sites. To make is easy to see, it is marked with a red line and it runs from Boston Common to the USS Constitution in Charlestown. One of the sites we remember seeing is the Paul Revere home.
Beacon Hill is a very upscale areas in Boston which is known for its narrow streets, federal style row-houses and its brick sidewalks. This hill was originally owned by William Blaxton. He was the first European settler of Boston.
Museum of Fine Arts. This museum open in 1876 and contains over 450,000 works of art.
Boston Common. This area dates back to 1634 and is one of the oldest city parks within the USA. This area is also known for where the British Forces were encamped during their occupation of 1775 to 1776.
Museum of Science. The Museum includes over 500 exhibits, and also includes the Charles Hayden Planetarium and the Mugar Omni IMAX Theater.
There is so much else to see in Boston. This includes the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library which we also visited a few years ago. Of course there are sports stadiums with the most historical one being Fenway Park. We also took a tour of Fenway Park a few years ago. We never made it to the old Boston Garden. As a child, Keith was a Boston Celtics Fan and remembers the eras of Bill Russell, John Havlicek, Dave Cowens, Larry Bird, and most recently Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce. While also a Dallas Mavericks fan Keith still is a big Boston Celtics fan. As to baseball, Keith has always been an avid New York Yankees fan and Anne Marie lived only a couple of blocks from Yankee Stadium. Let us not forget the universities including Harvard. One could spend weeks upon weeks here and still have more to see.
Rather than wait until 9:00 AM for the shuttle, we took a taxi from the Port into Boston at around 8:00 AM. We had the driver drop us off near the beginning of the Freedom Trail. We began our walk near the King’s Chapel and Burying Ground and we walked all the way to Copp’s Hill Burying Ground. That is right before the Charlestown Bridge. As such we didn’t see the USS Constitution of Bunker Hill. We retraced our steps on our way back and walked past where we began our walk to the Boston Common. We stopped off at several places along the way including several churches. The weather was gorgeous and there is so much history to the trail. We also walked inside two of the Cemeteries.
One of the Cemeteries included a memorial to Benjamin Franklin's parents. The writeup noted that Benjamin Franklin only had two years of formal eduction. When you think of all of his accomplishments, that is truly amazing.
Our friends Dave and Gary picked us up at the Omni Parker House Hotel and from there we drove back to the Cruise Ship Terminal and boarded Serenity
A little after Noon the four of us were joined in the Crystal Dining Room for lunch by Cruise Director Rick Spath. Dave and Gary started to sail Crystal Cruises many years before we did and cruise on Crystal most years.
First photos is Anne Marie with Dave.
We will spend the rest of the day on-board Crystal Serenity enjoying the ship.
Keith & Anne Marie
Breaking News - We arrived back to the United States of America and this was the first time in twenty-seven days that we went ashore without wearing boots or hiking shoes and our red Northwest Passage Jacket.
We began last evening as we normally do with a pre-dinner drink at the Avenue Saloon. We chatted with Dancer Curtis for a few minutes and it was very nice to catch up with him. It has been a pleasure watching Curtis and Natalie perform.
Afterwards, we enjoyed dinner at the Prego Italian Specialty Restaurant. We were joined for dinner by Cruise Director Rick Spath. We enjoyed the superb cuisine, wonderful service and the ambience of the dining venue. Costa was our waiter and took wonderful care of us as did Head Waiter Mario and Specialty Restaurant Maitre d' Antonio. We also enjoyed lots of laughs with Rick as well as with Costa, Antonio and Mario and Sommelier Jiri.
For those of you who have followed our travels, given the amount of time we have spent on Serenity these several years the on-board feeling we have is as if we are in a small community or as they say in other parts of the world a small village. When you sail with people year after year bonds develop as you share so many good times and experiences. This takes place with fellow guests but also with the members of the crew who we do adore. Some of them are the ages of our children so we have enjoyed watching many start in one area and overtime move to other areas either as lateral moves and/or promotions. Also some of them have went on to marry and start families and again we get joy from all of this as we do from our very own family. It's not easy to put this into words.
The first two photos are from the Avenue Saloon with the second one including Martin. Every night shortly after we arrive someone comes around with two trays with one type of canapé on each tray and on certain nights such as Black Tie Optional the one tray will include several types of canapés. Even though they know we pass on the canapés they still offer them to us and we always say thank you but we will pass on them since we are going to dinner.
Third photo with Cruise Director Rick and next to photos with Sommelier Jiri. Jiri is someone that like our own children we have enjoyed seeing him progress over the years. He not only has a great knowledge of wines but he has both humor and passion. Jiri married last year and is married to another member of the crew who has progressed from the wait staff to being the first female butler on Serenity. Next photo is Costa. We have known him for years and enjoy many laughs with him. He is a consummate professional in all he does.
We couldn't stop without taking a couple of food photos. We both had the additional entree (pasta with crabmeat) as a small appetizer and Keith had the sea bass.
All in all a wonderful dinner with Cruise Director Rick who is very special to us.
After dinner we attended the Captain's Farewell Reception. It was the most attended end of cruise reception that we have been to in several years. When you go to the receptions you can either wait on line for a photo with the captain or you can go in the door on the other side to be seated right away. We go in on the door to see the Captain. The photo is not the reason. Rather we wanted to thank him again for his leadership on this voyage. Likewise, we wanted to thank Hotel Director Hubert for all that he and his team does. Cruise Director Rick was also there as was Crystal Society Hostess Jaque.
The featured entertainment was a special show that was first performed on World Cruise 2016; Elvis. The show was really enjoyable.
We slept well as we sailed to Bar Harbor, Maine. The seas were relatively calm.
Keith was up early and worked out at the Fitness Center. Afterwards, we enjoyed breakfast in our room.
Before we could go ashore in Bar Habor, we went through USA immigration.
We have visited Bar Harbor several times on both Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony. Most recently we were in Bar Harbor in August of 2014 as part of a crossing from Southhampton to Boston on Serenity.
The town is relatively small with a city population of less than 5,500 residents. The waterfront is within 100 yards of the tender drop-off pier.
Bar Harbor is located off the coast of Maine. Last century it was the summer retreat to millionaires as was another place that we will be visiting in a couple of days; Newport, Rhode Island. It was home to many estate homes until thy were completely destroyed a the fire of 1947.
The island's beauty comes from its emerald-green forests and rugged valleys.
One of the highlights of this area is visiting Acadia National Park. We have done this in the past. Crystal Cruises offers many opportunities in the way one tours the park including by bicycle, limousine, bus or open vehicle.
The town includes several streets with many stores and restaurants and other businesses and is a fun place to was around.
Other attractions include:
Main Street Art Galleries. There are streets lines with galleries selling many one-of-a-kind items.
Abbe Museum. This museum is all about Native American culture and its history in Maine.
Historical Society Museum. This museum features an exhibit showing the town's history through photos and pamphlets.
St. Savior's Episcopal Church. The church was constructed in phases from 1877 to 1938 and is built using stone and wood. A couple of photos of nearby islands as we were getting closer to Bar Harbor.
Today was amazing. The weather was even better than the forecast. We could have worn shorts. On our previous visits this time of year we had to wear jackets and it was overcast. We had full sun with no clouds.
We took the tender over to Bar Harbor. It is a very short tender drive. When we got off the tender, a man called out our name and it was Jonathan. He knew what we looked at from our blogs and he is a contributor on Cruise Critic and it was a pleasure meeting him. It was so nice for him to come by to welcome us to Maine.
We walked for a few hours and just enjoyed being outside and we took in lots of scenery. We passed by many beautiful homes, some the size of mansions. Some of the former mansions are now Hotels, or used for Bed & Breakfast while some are museums and others are still used as residences. We passed by more moderate size homes which were charming. We love the New England look of the homes with their colorful colors and styling of the outside of the homes. After a couple of hours we walked the downtown area with its shops and restaurants. They were quite busy with some of the people being from the ship.
We were going to go to a restaurant to eat off the ship which Jonathan had recommended to us from others who had eaten there. In the end we decided to keep walking and then get a bite on the ship. Keith also played Paddle Tennis (in shorts) and Anne Marie walked and worked on packing.
As we walked we talked about possibly coming to Maine and spending a week or so here. It would be a delight.
In the afternoon from our verandah we saw this sailboat and could hear all of the children on-board happily singing.