A VERY NICE 15-DAY CRUISE

London to Boston
by Grant C. Vogel
1997

September 5.
Today at noon the Supershuttle picked us up and took us to the Los Angeles airport to start our trip to London by British Airlines. Our plane was to take off about 3 p.m. We checked in about 1 p.m., were given a coupon to the Silver Lounge (because we were traveling business class) After going through security and having our luggage checked in, we went up to the lounge. They had all kinds of snacks and drinks and we could help ourselves to it. I remembered we had left some milk in the refrigerator at home. In the lounge was a phone I could use so I phoned Mike and asked him to have Donna call Bill so he could get rid of the milk in the refrigerator. About 2:15 we left the lounge to board the plane. We were one of the first to get on; we were on a 747 and had seats up on the top deck. Nice big seats and first class service. This was a nine and a half hour flight to London. Time is 8 hours later in London. At about 8:30 a.m. Saturday we got to London. I slept some on the plane and NJ says she didn't sleep.?

Saturday the 6th.
The day we got into London was also the day of Diana's funeral. After going through customs and getting our luggage we met the person from the Royal Caribbean cruise line. They took care of our luggage and we did not see it again until it was delivered on the cruise ship to our cabin. We had to wait at the airport for a while till all the cruise people were there as there were at least two planes that came in at the same time as ours from Los Angeles and I know one from Philadelphia. Soon we got on a bus for a two and a half hour ride to Harwich U. K. We got to see quite a bit of England country. About 1 p.m. we got to Harwich and got on our ship, the Enchantment of the Seas, a beautiful brand new ship. We were quite tired, rested a little in our cabin, which was quite nice, with a large 4 by 4 foot window, sure a lot nicer than a porthole. About 6 p.m. we went to dinner. What a dining room, two floors. We had a real good dinner. Being tired we went to our room and went to bed early.

Sunday September 7.
At sea all day. Weather is cool, sky overcast most of the day, sun was out for a while this morning. At 8:30 this morning I went to a very simple church service. I think there were over a hundred people in church. Of course we had breakfast and lunch and at 2 p.m. Nancy and I went to a movie. Tonight is the captain's gala dinner so it is dress up night. We did not take in the captain's welcome party before dinner but we did get dressed up and went to dinner, had the waiter take a picture of us sitting at the table. After dinner I took some pictures of the beautiful lobby. It is so big you can't get it all in the picture. We were tired and the show did not sound anything extra so we went to bed early. We had been at sea all day.

Monday, September 8.
Invergordon, Scotland. It was quite windy this morning and the sea was rough. It took a long time to get the ship tied up to the dock, about an hour late. At about nine a.m. we were tied up to the dock and were able to go ashore. Also they announced on the PA that a waitress was missing and if anyone knew where she is or about her to let them know. She was a tall French girl and had worked the first evening serving dinner. By evening they had not located her. Some feared she may have gone overboard. We got off the ship about ten a.m., had to walk across a long bridge perhaps five or six hundred feet long to get into town. The wind was blowing quite hard and it was quite cool. We were dressed quite warm so we were ok. This is a small town, we walked around town into a few stores. There was an old church with a high steeple. NJ took a picture of it with me in the foreground. We went into the church and sat down on the wood benches a while. The pipe organ was in the rear of the church. There was a man playing the organ while we were there. As we were leaving the man at the door gave us each a nice bookmark. From there we went back toward the ship. On our way we walked along a school playground. The kids were playing with large balls about the size of basketballs, in the school yard. It had a high fence but one of the balls flew over the fence and across the road where we were, so I picked up the ball and brought it back to the kids. We got back to the ship and it was time for lunch. We had lunch in the dining room. Most of the time we have our lunch in the Windjammer cafe. At four thirty we were entertained by local entertainers. One man played bagpipes, two young girls danced a Scottish dance, one lady was a good singer and there was a group of about eight who sang also. One man was a good singer. We had dinner at six fifteen. And after dinner we went to bed quite early, about 10 o'clock.

Tuesday, September 9.
Lerwick, Shetland Islands, Scotland. During the night the weather was not good. Quite a bit of wind and lots of whitecaps and swells. When we got to the Shetland Islands, it was windy and big swells. We were to anchor out and take tenders to the shore. The captain decided it would be too dangerous so we waited in the area until about 2:30 p.m. to see if the wind would calm down, but it didn't so off we go to the Faroe Islands. We were scheduled to leave at 6 p.m. We should get to the Faroes early in the morning. We had gone to a movie in the morning, did lots of eating, met a couple (Laura and Andy Anderson, room 7144.) They like to play pinochle and said they would like to change dining tables. I told them we have room at our table. I think they will join us. And they did join us at our table.

September 10. Wednesday.
Thorshaven, Faroe Island, Denmark. The weather was somewhat better than yesterday. Because the ship was so large we could not tie up at the dock so we had to anchor out a short distance and take tenders (small boats) to the shore. The weather was damp and some wind. We walked around town and went to the public library where we could send Email so NJ sent several letters. We could not get mail there. There was no charge for this. This evening had dinner, went to show.

September 11.
At sea all day. We turned our clock back one hour, and went on our way to Akureyrie, Iceland. Should get there early tomorrow morning. Took it easy this afternoon. About 1:30 played pinochle with a couple we met, the Andersons. They knew another couple that joined us so we played with the six of us. The other four had never played pinochle the way we do. The other couple were Frank and Sylvia. Tonight dinner was American dinner. Stars and stripes on the table. The waiters wore straw hats, the orchestra played patriotic songs, Yankee Doodle, America the Beautiful, as all the waiters marched and sang. At about 7 p.m. as we were having dinner we crossed the Arctic Circle. We will be north of the Arctic Circle for about two hours.

Friday September 12.
In Akureyrie I looked out the window about 7 a.m. and the hills and the ground were all white. We were perhaps a quarter mile from shore. I thought this sure looks like snow but it can't be. It wasn't long before the captain announced on the PA system it is cold this morning, temperature 33 degrees, and we had our first snow of the season. There was a little wind, we had to take the tender to the shore, and walk a block to the stores. It was quite cold. We wandered around town, took a few pictures, one of a church and soon we were back on our way to the ship. There are mountains all around for miles, what a sight, all covered with snow, took quite a few pictures.

Saturday September 13.
Reykjavik Iceland. Got here about 10:30 a.m., half an hour late. Sun was out, looks like a nice day, but quite cool about 45 degrees I think. At about noon we took off on a tour around the city. Half an hour late. It was quite nice, we went around and out of town, looks like a very nice clean city and area, most of the homes and businesses are heated by hot water from natural geysers, some that are over 200 degrees. Electricity is made by waterfalls. Electricity and heatng are cheap and air is clean. The tour guide said it never gets colder than zero. Being this far north and the long nights I expected 40 below would be quite common. Near the end of the tour instead of going back to the ship I got off the bus downtown and I wandered around for about an hour. There was quite a large flea market inside a building, lots of people, all kinds of stuff, mostly clothes, some fruit, etc. Stores have lots of woolen goods. I thought the prices were very high. Then I took the shuttle back to the ship, about a five minute ride, 4 dollars. I considered it quite high for such a short ride. On past cruises such shuttle bus rides were free into town. We were docked about a mile from downtown because our ship was so large we could not dock near downtown as other ships do. Sky was clear. I hoped to see the northern lights but no luck. I was told that the past Wednesday evening they were doing their thing.

Sunday Sept. 14.
At sea all day, starting to cross the Atlantic on our way to Halifax. Canada. We will be at sea four days before we get to Halifax. Today sky is overcast and had a little rain. The ship is so big that the ocean can be quite rough and we still get a good ride. Went to church this morning. After lunch we played pinochle with Andy and Laura Anderson.

Sept. 15, 16, 17.
At sea. Eat, eat, walk, go to a movie if it is good, play pinochle with our new friends. Wednesday we played with two other couples, same ones we were with a week ago.

Thursday September 18.
This morning we arrived at Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. The sun was out, weather was great, a little cool just right for walking, which we did. We walked downtown, a fifteen minute walk. Soon we came to the Internet Cafe. There for five dollars U. S. we could use the Internet for one hour. So we checked our Email, two each from David and Donna, sent them letters, and used only about half an hour of the hour we had paid for. After walking for a while we got on a city bus, did not know where it was going. First it went one way to the end of the line, then turned around and went way out to the west end, and back to where we started. Cost a dollar and a half U. S. for both of us. We rode for one and a half hours and saw much of Halifax. Took picture of the ship as we were returning from town, Nancy Jane in front of the ship. At 4 p.m. local talent came on the ship. There were dancers and a bagpipe player. I also took some pictures of them.

Friday September 19.
St. John, New Brunswick. Today we took a tour, it was quite foggy so we could not see a long way, and they took us up to the fort, the highest spot in St. John. This would have been a very good view except for the fog. Then we went to the Bay of Fundy, tide was going out so it looked like a regular river with small falls. Had a good tour of the city including the Irving enterprises. Irving seems to own half of the city, oil, manufacturing, etc. A half-hour stop downtown and back to the ship about 2 p.m. in time to eat. Then we played pinochle with Andy and Laura for the last time as they leave the ship in the morning. 6:15 dinner and said goodbye to all except Francis and Norma Cheatham as they also stay over for the next cruise.

Saturday September 20.
Boston, end of the first cruise, so most of the passengers were leaving the ship. The ship gave us a three and a half hour tour of the city, starting at 10 a.m. After much confusion we started at 10:30, a very nice tour all around, including Harvard, North Church, the Constitution, and old mansions of Tories. They were Loyalists and fled back to England or Canada. All of their homes were confiscated except for one old man who was allowed to stay. When we got back to the ship there was a mixup and they would not let us back on the ship for about half fn hour. They finally decided we could get back. There was a line about a block long of travel agents and guests coming aboard for a free night cruise to show off the new ship. It was quite a happy group, everything on the house, including the drinks. About 5 p.m. the ship took off for nowhere and returned the next morning. Had dinner and went to bed about 10 p.m.

September 21, Sunday.
First day of the second cruise. Today we have to change cabins, another mixup. but they tell us they'll give us $200 shipboard credit because we have to move. So it doesn't hurt very much. We moved to another cabin about ten doors to the back of the ship, on the same deck and the cabin was like the first one so when we got moved it seemed like home and it was a very easy move just down the hall. As always we had our lifeboat drill as required on the first day of any cruise.

Monday September 22.
Bar Harbor Maine. (Ba Habah, the way they pronounce it.) We took a nice two and a half hour tour of the island, (Desert Island) but it is not a desert, is nice and green. We went to a high point over a thousand feet, took a picture of the ship. Did not look very large at that distance. When we got back to the ship for lunch, I went back and walked around the small town. Tonight was the Captain's welcome and a dressup night, had our picture taken with the Captain and also just the two of us.

Tuesday September 23.
Halifax. Ship docked about nine a.m. After breakfast NJ and I walked into town, ship was docked nearer downtown than it was last week. We went back to the Internet cafe to use up the time we had left from last week. Had quite a bit of trouble getting on the Internet. When we got on, sent a letter to David and Donna, tried to get our mail, had lots of problems, did read one from Roberta, David and a very short one from Donna. Other ones from David and Donna we just gave up. Came back to the ship, had lunch, took picture of NJ in the cabin showing lighthouse in the distance,

Wednesday September 24.
Sydney, Nova Scotia. Windy and quite cold. Because of the wind and tide we did not tie up at the dock until nine a.m. We were near the dock at 8, the time we were scheduled to dock. About nine thirty we walked downtown only a few blocks from the ship. We went to the library and sent some Email to the kids. We tried but could not get our mail. I had lost my umbrella, I think in Boston, I left it on a tour bus. This is the first stop where prices seem reasonable. I had looked at umbrellas in stores in previous shops but they always wanted 15 to 20 dollars, here in Sydney I got a real nice one for 4.50. Weather was quite cold and changed, the sun would come out and then you'd see a dark cloud and five minutes later you'd get a cold rain for five to ten minutes. We went back to the ship. It was raining, but with a new umbrella we were dry except for our pants; because of the wind, they were quite wet. I put on another pair of pants and went to lunch. After lunch I went into town again, NJ did not go. The weather was somewhat better, not raining but still quite cold and windy. I went back to the bargain store, I wanted some gloves as I had forgotten to take any with me when we left home. The same store as where I bought the umbrellas. I looked for gloves at previous stops and always the prices were high. 20 dollars or more for wool knitted gloves, ones that I didn't care for. At this store I bought a good pair of insulated gloves for about 3.50. I don't think you could do as well in L.A. After dinner we looked at the photo gallery and bought a picture they took of us in Halifax as we were leaving the ship. We went to the show, it was just so so, went to bed around ten p.m.

Thursday September 25.
At sea and on our way to Quebec. We have been gone for three weeks, and a week from today we are scheduled to fly home.

Friday September 26.
Quebec City. Quite cold and windy this morning. We went on a city tour starting about nine-thirty of the old and new city. Quebec is the only walled city in North America. a very interesting tour. One of the stops was at the large old hotel up quite high from the harbor, quite a sight and landmark of the city, the world renowned Chateau Frontenac. After the tour, back to the ship for lunch. After lunch I went out again and walked around the city near the harbor. Went to a large farmers' market, all indoors. They had real nice vegetables and fruit, lots of nice apples, prices seemed quite reasonable. Big heads of very nice cauliflower, I think they weighed 4 to 5 pounds, for one dollar Canadian or about 73 cents U.S. money.

Saturday September 27.
Nice clear cool day, cruising all day. Leaving Quebec in the Lawrence river, started up the Saguenay River, called the Saguenay fiord. Most of the time the shore was rock and would go just about straight up perhaps a hundred feet and often more. In most places the river was just as deep and the ship could sometimes cruise close to the shore. One place the ship would sound a loud horn and you could hear the echo from the mountains and after a short time you'd hear a second echo. I think we went up the river about thirty miles when we came to a large statue of the Virgin Mary up high on the side of the mountains. I had taken a few pictures of the area and also the statue. On the public address they told a true story about the statue, way out here away from any civilization, was because of three miracles. The statue was put up there about 118 years ago by a traveling salesman that used the river as a road. In the winter he could not go by boat as there were no roads along here and the river was frozen, he would go up the river on horseback. One April the ice broke under him and he and his horse broke into the icy river. This did happen every so often, and if no one was around they could not get out. But this man prayed to Mary for help, he had a family and did manage to get back on the ice and also get his horse out of the river. Of course he was just about frozen, he did start back down the river and came to some homes. They took him to the hospital but he had pneumonia and the doctor was sure he would die. Again he prayed to Mary asking for a miracle to recover so he could take care of his family of eight children. And he vowed that if he recovered he would erect a spectacular monument of her. He recovered, this was the second miracle. So he worked hard to support his family and started saving and planning for the statue near the spot where he went through the ice. When they were making plans to build the statue, they had trouble deciding whether to make it out of copper or wood. They decided to make it out of wood. As they were taking it up the river it fell off of the barge into the river. Because it was made of wood it did not sink. If it had been made of metal it would have been lost. This was the third miracle, that they had decided to make it out of wood. When they got to the place to locate the statue, it was still too heavy to get up the side of the mountain, so they had to cut it in pieces. They got it up there and reassembled it and it stood there for over a hundred years. If it had been made of copper, even if they would have got it to the shore, they could not have got it to the site of the mountains because it would have been too heavy. At that time it cost many thousands of dollars, perhaps close to ten thousand. The ship turned around next to the statue and we went back to the St. Lawrence River and out into the Atlantic on our way to Corner Brook Newfoundland. Nice cruise, saw quite a few whales, could see land most of the time and most of the time mountains would come up close to the shore, but it seemed there were always homes and small towns along the way. This being so far north and a clear sky I stayed up late and about ten thirty the northern lights started doing their thing, so I called NJ to come up to the tenth floor. She came up and we watched for about an hour. They did not get real spectacular, to cover the whole sky with lights, but they did cover the horizon like a large rainbow, quite light, with a slight blue shade or tint. I stayed up until about 12:30 and it didn't get any better so went to bed. We were sure glad to get to see it even though we would have liked to see it bright and colorful.

Sunday September 29.
Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Nice sunny day cool but not cold, expect to get here about noon, went to church service at 8:30 this morning. Ship docked about noon, so we had lunch early and soon after twelve we got on the shuttle and took it to the base of the ski lift at Marble Mountain. We did not stay long, got on the shuttle back to the ship. I asked the driver to let us off in the small shopping center near the ship. This being Sunday most of the stores were closed. It was a nice walk to the ship and got there about two p.m. We were to take a city tour at 3. This was a nice tour including the high place with the Captain Cook monument, had a real good stop there. A view of the river and harbor was great. I finished the second roll of film there showing the ship in the harbor, also a sawmill in the foreground, and the area. After a few more stops went back to the ship on very nice roads. Everything is very clean. sky very blue. At 5 p.m. the ship left the dock on its way to St. John, New Brunswick. We'll be at sea all day tomorrow and get to St. John Tuesday morning, our last stop before Boston, the end of our cruise.

Monday September 29.
At sea all day on our way to St. John. New Brunswick. Weather is bad, cold, overcast, some rain all day, windy, the sea is quite rough. enjoying the ride. Went a mile on the treadmill, eat and then eat again, went to show after dinner. It was not very good, just a man that was trying to be funny and we didn't think he was very funny.

Tuesday September 30.
St. John, New Brunswick. At the dock before nine a.m. Looks like a very nice day, sun is bright and not very much wind, temperature about 56 this morning. We were here about two weeks ago and it was very foggy. We took a tour then, so today we plan to take the shuttle into town for a while. Ship leaves for Boston at 2 p.m. This is our last day on the cruise. I went into town by shuttle, three dollars round trip. It was very windy, not very cold. Looked around town, then about 11 a.m. I went into the bank and changed Canadian money back into U. S. Back on the ship, had lunch, the ship left at 2 p.m. on the way to Boston. Should be there in the morning. At 3:30 went to a disembarking meeting, having been on several cruises before did not learn much. Tonight we have to pack and get our suitcases out by midnight. Dinner at six, had a nice dinner and said goodbye to the waiters and our table partners as we have our breakfast in the Windjammer cafe. After the show we fniished packing, set our luggage in the hallway and went to bed.

Wednesday October 1.
In Boston. Have to get off; it's the end of the line for us. Had a big breakfast, back to our room, packed our hand luggage, and about 9:30 the first passengers were leaving, so we left the room and about 10 something we got off the ship. Found our luggage and got on a Greyhound bus to the airport. American air terminal. Rented a car from National car rental, took a shuttle to their lot, they told us to pick any car we wanted, so we took a nice Pontiac 4 door V6, checked out at the gate. It was now about 11:30, and it was easy to get on the road we wanted, just go through the tunnel, stay to the left and be on 93 north, as we wanted to go to Methuen, about 30 miles NW of Boston. Had no trouble finding Methuen. First stop was the library, in a large old building that was quite interesting. Then we drove around for a long time, a very interesting old city, lots of old big three-story homes, some newer also. Stopped in at the home of the lady Nancy Jane had contacted on the Internet, but she was not home. About three thirty we decided we'd better get a place to stay for the night. There was a Days Inn hotel along the freeway so we went there and rented a room, took our hand luggage in, left our suitcases in the car overnight. After a while we decided to find a place to eat dinner, so we drove around some to see the color trees, went back to Methuen and soon found a small friendly cafe. Went in, the people were nice, we had a very nice good dinner, left there, did some more driving around, stopped at two old large cemeteries, one gravestone for Isaac Cross, died 1817, perhaps a relative of NJ. Back to the hotel for the night.

Thursday October 2.
Today we go home, our plane leaves about 3 p.m.. The hotel furnished a nice continental breakfast, we had coffee, orange juice, milk, cereal and several kinds of rolls and muffins. Then we drove around the country again just to see more of the colors. At about nine a.m. we went back to the hotel and checked out, and soon we were back on the road for Boston. When we got near to Boston the traffic was very slow but we had plenty of time. When we got to the airport there was lots of construction and not very good signs. We went round and round several times before we located the place to return the car. Back to the airport by shuttle, still had about three hours before we could get on the plane, so we waited, walked, had some lunch. At last we got on the plane, a 547, and it was only about a third full so there were lots of empty seats. Quite a bit of the time we each had three seats. Soon we were served coffee, etc. Later we had a nice dinner. I had visited with the flight attendants and they gave us each a set of headsets so we watched the movie and got to LAX soon after six p.m. Got our luggage, went out to the curb and soon caught a shuttle to Seal Beach. got home about 7 p.m.

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