Wednesday, 21 September 2016



We were up early this morning, went for breakfast, and left the ship by 8:20. It only took us about fifteen minutes to pick up our luggage and wend our way through US customs. The place was a zoo as another large ship had docked and was disembarking at the same time. But procedures were organized and we found ourselves outside the terminal in no time. Here the picture changed into one of disorganized chaos. We were told that we had to cross the street, we couldn't stand there. We ran into Jim as we were being herded across the street. Since we had no idea of where our driver would be, Jim located his cell phone and I called the company. They were not open on Saturday. Norma guarded the luggage as I walked back and forth for three blocks at a time searching for a car with my name in the window. Our pickup time of 9:30 passed, then 9:45, then 10:00. Our faces must have reflected our panic as we walked up and down on the street searching. Luckily, another company's Limo driver noticed us and used his cellphones to reach the dispatch centre. He found that our driver was waiting for us across the street. He had the dispatch centre put him in touch with our driver so that he knew exactly where we were waiting. It took until 10:30 for him to get across the street to pick us up - a combination of construction and heavy traffic held him up.
I asked if we had time to visit the World Trade Center Memorial and be at the airport before noon. We did. We arranged a pickup place and he dropped us off for a 20-minute visit. It was well worth it - very moving - in fact it was difficult to hold back tears and I must admit, we both succumbed. I should mention that our rescuer was named Mohammed.
We were at the airport just before noon, actually approached the correct counter, no lineup. Our baggage tags and boarding passes were printed, our luggage was weighed and mine was 4 pounds overweight. I was told to open the large one and remove 4 pounds and put it in my carry-on. I removed 3.5 pounds of the paper information I had collected and was forgiven the extra half pound. Security was a breeze - didn't have to remove the iPad or take off my shoes and watch. Again, there was no lineup. Here we are sitting in the lounge with our parkas at 12:15 looking like crazy Americans who think Canada is a land of ice and snow all year round.

We are both home! Had a very smooth flight, called Akira after we got through customs, went outside to wait and there he was. He and Blue drove me home while Norma took her car from their place. Thank you so much for the taxi service. Norma just called to say she arrived safely. Lots to do in the next while - loads of laundry, mail to sort, groceries to get. Where is that "clean-up button?
P.S. I am three days behind in sending the latest photos as my iPad is almost out of memory. If you want to see them, check in again in about a week.

View from our Balcony at Night

Another View from our Balcony

On the Riverwalk, NYC

This divided walkway for bikes and pedestrians ran all along the Hudson River.  If you look closely, you can see Norma and I reflected in the sculpture.

Another Example of Unusual Architecture

View from the Highline, NYC

Promises, Promises

The closest we came was a realistic sculpture of a man in tighty-whities.

View from the Highline, NYC

View from our Balcony in NYC

We were docked beside the Intrepid Military Museum

An Interesting Skyscraper

The Empire State and Chrysler Buildings

Skyline with World Trade Centre

taken as we entered the Hudson River

Sailing by the Statue of Liberty

Sunrise on Our Approach to New York City

Saturday, 17 September 2016



We were up at 6:15 as we didn't want to miss sailing past the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of NYC. We waved at the NBC helicopter that did a flyby as we entered the Hudson River. Don't know if we made the news. We docked by 8:00 and were lucky enough to be on the side that faced the Intrepid Military Museum with view of Midtown Manhattan and the Hudson River rather than the dock side with no view and noise of trucks coming and going.
After breakfast we headed out for the Highline about a mile away on a divided bikeway and pedestrian path along the Hudson. This abandoned streetcar line is being restored as a walkway with plantings of wild flowers, grasses, and trees. Unfortunately, this area is undergoing a boom in construction so it was terribly noisy. It is also incredibly popular so was very crowded. Many school groups and meandering pedestrians made the walking slow. We did, however, walk its full length twice - there and back. Once back at the ship we took a bit of a break for a bite to eat before heading out again.
This time we took the divided bike/pedestrian path in the opposite direction before heading up to Central Park. We entered the Park at the John Lennon Memorial, strolled by the lake, before heading to explore the Upper West Side neighbourhood. Central Park was very crowded but the noise of the city was more muted here. From there, we headed back down to the pathway back to the ship. This lovely walk runs right along an elevated freeway so you can imagine the noise.
We were exhausted by the time we got back. We figure we walked over ten miles? I tried to print our boarding passes but was unsuccessful as we need our passports scanned and that has to wait until we get to the airport. We sat on our balcony with a much needed glass of wine enjoying the warm weather and the view, tried to nap but minds were spinning so started to pack. By the time we finished, we were too tired to go to the dining room so ordered from room service.
Tomorrow is hurry-up-and-wait day. Hope all goes smoothly.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Are We Having Any Fun?

Jim and his Girlfriends

The Last Supper

Hugh and I are the ones standing.  Norma is sitting between Phil and Jim.  We are drinking our desserts - Brandy Alexanders at the Tastes Restaurant.

Another of Perry and Us

Our Favourite Entertainer, Perry Grant and Us

Taken in the Saloon

Weeping Beech

Look at the size of this tree!

Side View of the Breakers

The Breakers' Kitchen

Note the huge black stove and all that copper.

A Daughter's Bedroom

We couldn't get over how small the beds were compared to the king/queen-sized ones we are so used to now.

Cornelius Vanderbilt's Bath

The tub has four faucets for hot and cold sea water and fresh water

Gold Leaf Ceiling in the Library

Sitting Area in the Music Room

Platinum Walls!

One of many Sitting Rooms

The Dining Room in the Breakers

All the chandeliers are Baccarat crystal

The Grand Hall, Breakers

Front View of The Breakers

The Cottage Behind the Sign

An Interesting No Trespassing Sign

This Cottage is Privately Owned

Another "Cottage" in Newport, Rhode Island

This one is no longer privately owned.  It was deeded to the University in Newport

The Breakers - a 70 Room Cottage



Newport is a world-famous yachting centre with a tradition of wealth and elegance. Some of the buildings date to the 1600s. The most impressive were built during the Gilded Age which lasted until the Income Tax Act was enacted in 1913. These opulent "cottages" were used for only two months of the year - July and August. They were built by the industrial tycoons, the Morgan's, Astors, and Vanderbilts, who fashioned them after the palaces of Europe each trying to outdo the others.
Our tour took us along the Cliff Walk - a public access walkway that borders the shore line and boasts views of some of the "cottages". We toured The Breakers, the 70-room mansion built by Cornelius Vanderbilt II. If it were to be built today, it would cost $335 million. We were handed sets for an audio tour which was excellent. It even included excerpts from the family explaining what life was like at their "cottage" as well as some of the servants. There were 20 bathrooms in the house and the tubs had 4 faucets - two for fresh water and two for sea water. The wealthy women would change outfits up to 7 or 8 times a day! It was an excellent, informative shore excursion that we both really enjoyed.
On our return, we attended the Art Show and picked up our creations. My polar bear was a big hit apparently.
Tonight we are meeting the gang for dinner at Tastes. There is a big celebration party that we will walk through - these are noisy crowded affairs and most probably will end up in the Saloon.
Tomorrow, we arrive in New York to some fanfare at 6:45 a.m. We may be shown on one of the American morning shows - NBC I think. We plan to head out by ourselves to walk the High Line and maybe get to Central Park. Hard to believe it will be our last night.
One last thing, on my return home, I plan to look into having a button placed at the front door like the one we have in our room on board ship. I push it in the morning when we leave for breakfast, and again in the evening when we go for dinner. It says "Clean Up" and miraculously, on my return, the room is spotless!



There are 45,000 on-street parking permits issued for the Beacon Hill area and only 8,000 parking spots. The solution was to build condos for cars. The first condo sold out. The initial asking price was $4,500 for a parking spot which was quickly bid up to $8,500. Some wise individuals bought more than one. Now they sell for - wait for it - $450,000 each! Our guide said: "worth more than their homes, in some cases".

Wednesday, 14 September 2016



Boston is a university town, it doesn't mean all its residents are knowledgeable. The bartender at Cheers, when informed that we had just completed the NW Passage in the largest ship to have made the voyage said: "Oh yeah, that's the river that goes through Canada. Just thought I'd share that with you. It sort of explains how Trump won the Republican nomination.

George Washington and the Boston Skyline

The Servants' Staircase

in the former mansion that houses the Cheers bar

Chandelier in the Former Mansion

that houses the Cheers Bar

At the Cheers Bar

Sipping Ginger Beer at Cheers

More Art Studios for Wealthy Children

dabbling in art

Wealthy Families Added Art Studios

to their mansions, so their artistic children wouldn't have to live in a garret.

The Most Photographed Street in America

According to our guide, the craftsmen who built the mansions, built smaller replicas for themselves.

John Kerry's Mansion

Is the one with the American Flag outside.

Louisburg Square

Pronounced 'Lewisburg' and is a private park for the residents who live in the mansions around the Square.

This Entire Brick Building is a Single Family Home

Many Mansions are Undergoing Expensive Upkeep

The outside of the mansions cannot be altered but some of them have been gutted and lost much of their inside character.

Row-House Mansions

These are the only ones we saw with a front garden.

Massachusetts State House

With its million-dollar gold-leafed dome.



'Bahston' is a city packed with history and education. Close to half of the population is made up of college and university students. Harvard University is the richest, oldest, and highest rated in the country. The shore excursion we chose was a walk through Beacon Hill, the most upscale neighbourhood, in Boston. It boasts narrow streets, brick sidewalks and Federal-style row houses. It also holds many mansions - many complete with ballrooms. John Kerry, the Secretary of State, owns one of them.
We saw Boston Common, walked through the botanical garden, to the Back Bay Area. Back Bay also has many beautiful mansions - most now converted into million-dollar condos. We went for a ginger beer at the bar that inspired the set of Cheers (a tourist trap) for a much needed break. The temperature under cloudless skies reached 32 degrees.
We returned to the ship where I learned that my credit card had been refused. Turns out Crystal had entered the incorrect expiration code. We had a bite to eat and took the shuttle bus into the city centre. We finally found the Freedom Trail (a jovial security guard helped us) and walked a bit of it passing Paul Revere's house; the Old North Church, the oldest in Boston; and Copps Hill Burial Ground - some of the stones date back to the early 1700s; before ending at the waterfront. (The trail is marked by red bricks set into the sidewalk or we would never have found our way. There is no rhyme nor reason to the street layouts). We then wended our way back to the shuttle stop, boarded the bus just before a torrential rain storm. The temperature dropped from 86 degrees to 75 degrees in about 10 minutes. Luckily it was over by the time we got to the terminal.
After a wonderful nap, I decided to update our day. As I write this, I'm sitting on our balcony in my PJs as we slowly sail out of Boston harbour, the sun is setting, and the temperature is balmy.
We plan our usual evening, Perry, dining, maybe dancing, and bed.
Tomorrow we explore the 'Cottages" at Newport.

Norma and I Atop Mount Gorham