By Pat Gulley
I’m back! And it all went rather smoothly. Printed out all that paper work and barely got a glance at one piece of paper and didn’t need the rest. As I said before, my waste of paper not theirs.
I really worried about that new 50 pound limit for baggage as when I cruise I pack a ton. And though I didn’t put in my rock garden, kitchen sink and extra 10 pairs of shoes as I normally prefer, I did go out with 38 pounds, not including carry-on, and came back with 46 pounds. Who knew T-shirts could weigh so much? Okay, some books and boxes of candy too. And a bunch of hotel and ship miniature sample bottles. And a jacket. And….hmmm, shocking it was only an additional 8 pounds.
I was actually quite surprised how smoothly everything went. All the flights were on time and my luggage made it and was off the carousel within minutes.
My cruise started in Quebec City, a city I wanted very much to go back to, and it did not disappoint. We booked a pre-cruise hotel night at the Chateau Frontenac, that fabulous looking castle up on the hill. Needless to say we didn’t get one of the front rooms or suites, so if anything, I was just a bit disappointed with the room, though not the hotel. After hoofing around the old city below the chateau, we took a tour out to the island of Orleans. Very delightful, and I wouldn’t mind going back again.
Transferring to the ship went off without a hitch, luggage made to our room, and though in the cabin was in the back of the ship it was very comfortable. I don’t like being forward or in the rear, but a speech from the captain explained that these newer ships are no longer ‘pushed’ along by a screw, but rather are ‘pulled’ by a computer operated engine in the middle of the ship. And the stabilizers are different too, so all was smooth sailing except for one night—between Gaspe and Corner Brook, Newfoundland, when we were a rockin and a rollin pretty badly. We were awakened by a bump that made me feel we either ran over a whale or a submarine. Never did find out what caused it, but someone speculated that they might have been ‘adjusting’ the stabilizers. (????) Anyway, two ambulances awaited us in Corner Brook. After that I saw an ambulance in two other ports. We did have a very senior citizen passenger list, and since the ship was full that meant 2000 passengers. Didn’t feel like it though.
Our routing was Quebec City, Gaspe with a trip to Parse, Corner Brook Newfoundland, Prince Edward Island, St. John’s New Brunswick, Portland Maine, Boston, and Newport RI. We got off in New York City, where we had booked our own transfer to the airport—this was not a normal disembarkation port for the cruise line, so they had nothing to offer—and luckily the van service was willing to come earlier than arranged after a weird little bit of disembarkation. All through the cruise we were told that we could get off at our leisure in the morning but had to take our luggage off ourselves. We intended to have a BIG breakfast so as not to have to buy any of that c—p the airlines want to sell you, and be picked up at 1000A for a 100P airline departure. NOT! We got a letter the night before saying that customs in NYC was like no other and we had to have our luggage ready to go between 6A and 630A, and we had to be off by 745A. UGH! Who eats at 630AM??? Not this kid, but I did anyway, and it felt like I didn’t eat at all. And wouldn’t you know it, even though the move through customs was thorough, we blew through in fifteen minutes. Good thing our transfer was willing to come early. We stood by for an earlier flight to Chicago—went great—and had a chance to run back and forth between two terminals (good time killer, since we were early for our next flight) because they changed the gate on us.
Gosh, nothing to complain about. How weird is that?! Had a great time, and as I sit here I really do miss having 10,000 pounds of food per day to choose from, and never a thought to cooking it or cleaning up after myself. I didn’t gain an ounce, though I ate more that I normally do and had two or three desserts for lunch and dinner. Heavy sigh!