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