Bermuda Cruise

Our cruise has a very simple itinerary, very like a palindrome.

We board the ship in New York Harbor


breakaway-nycharbor

We sail and sail…At sea

On Wednesday morning we reach…

Bermuda

Perched amid the blue-green waters of the Atlantic Ocean, Bermuda is unlike any other island destination.

Lush, tropical surroundings, splendid and unusual pink-hued beaches, and a selection of cultural attractions and sporting options are all excellent reasons for visiting these islands. Furthermore, Bermuda has a distinct air of British propriety and a unique European flavor. Visitors will cherish memories of the islands’ pastel-toned homes, ubiquitous flower gardens, charming winding streets, and gracious, friendly people.

Bermuda consists of 150 tiny islands located about 570 miles off the coast of North Carolina. Collectively, these islands encompass only 21 square miles of land. Bermuda was discovered by the Spanish in the 16th century, and became an English colony during the 17th century. Today, afternoon tea and conservative British values rule. Both Bermudans and tourists zip around on mopeds, as cars are not available for rent on this island. Public bus and ferry services are readily available. Bermuda’s vacation facilities and activities include restaurants, tennis courts, and golf courses as well as marinas and beaches.

Friday night we’re back…

At sea

Then, on Sunday morning, back to Pier 88, New York harbor.

breakaway2

Hopefully, there will be more interesting stuff to post in between all that!

New Camera

xp80

 

 

So, I bought a new camera for our upcoming cruise to Bermuda and land trip to Scotland.  It needs to be waterproof for snorkeling in Bermuda and because it rains a lot in Scotland.

I have been very happy with my underwater Fuji camera (XP50) that I had for many years.  Somewhere along the way, I’d lost the charging cable but I had an external battery charger.  This meant I had to open up the side compartment – very carefully – to remove the SD card and download the images to my computer and to charge the battery.

To preserve the waterproofness, the side compartment was always a pain for me.  There were a couple switches that needed to be closed just so and sometimes I messed that up and had to start again.  Naturally, I needed to get a picture NOW and managed to flub the closing of the 2 switches.

I was looking at getting an EyeFi card so I wouldn’t have to take the SD card out to get the pictures out and those cost $$.  A 32 GB EyeFi card is $99 on amazon.  AACCKKK!

While I was looking around on amazon, I noticed that my camera had been upgraded. Amazon had an XP70/75 which looked interesting – and had WiFi built in!

Then, along came a Costco catalog with an XP80 for the same price as the Amazon plus it came with some extras I didn’t need.

As it turns out, I can use my phone as a remote control for this camera.  I can see where that might come in handy!

Here’s a comparison of the old one and the newer one: http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/compare/index.html?m=FinePix%20XP50&m=FinePix%20XP80

Hopefully, there will be some wonderful underwater/under-rain pictures – later!


Some info I may need later –

I am able to import to iPhoto. Just put the usb (you need to disconnect from the power cord) into your computer and iPhoto will open. You need to turn the camera on.

WiFI Connection

Step One:  Turn on WIFI on camera.

Step Two:  Connect WIFI on device to WIFI on camera.

Step Three:  Open app and connect to camera.

 

Online Manual


 

 

 

Barbados: ‘Yes, everyone is that friendly’

Part of an article from the Toronto Star.

After two days at the Royal Westmoreland, I was off to the southeast coast of the island for the serene yet beautiful and historic Crane Resort.

It is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the Caribbean and marries old world charm with modern amenities. My one bedroom ocean view luxury condo includes a plunge pool on the balcony, mahogany furnishings, a full kitchen and a whirlpool tub. I am starting to feel spoiled again. I am also feeling hungry.

Fortunately, there are several restaurants right on site, my personal favorite being the Asian-inspired Zen which offers traditional Tatami rooms, a sushi bar and booths for private dining.

In the afternoon, I breathe in the fresh air and relax on the world famous Crane beach while listening to the roaring waves.

Feeling the need to explore the area beyond the resort, I eventually take a walk to a deli across the street called Cutters where they feature live music on Sundays courtesy of local entertainer Jerry Roberts.

Shortly after I arrive, people begin to show up, most coming from the Crane and all with stories to tell.

Fifteen years ago Geoff Munn gave his new bride Karen a unique wedding gift – a one-week ownership at the Crane.

They are back each year and this time excited about the plans they have made for the week.

“We love Barbados and the Crane so much we are renewing our vows here,” beams Karen Munn.

Whether it was the rum punch or the excitement of the moment, she insisted I come to the ceremony. Sadly, I would be on a plane by then.

The words “time share” have always made me grimace as I envision high-pressure sales people buzzing around but as I soon learned there are many options and new approaches that changed my thinking.

Irene and Robert Linder of Wales, who were also enjoying a Sunday afternoon beverage at Cutters, say they were drawn to Barbados because of the warmth of the locals. But it was the sales approach of the Crane that sealed the deal.

“There was no pressure – it was the easiest transaction we ever made. They just let us make our decision.”

More importantly, they add, is that the cost was so reasonable they saw it as a “no brainer.”

It’s hard to think of the Crane without thinking of the resort owner and developer Paul Doyle.

His hands on approach, passion and vision are hard to ignore. He doesn’t believe the resort needs an aggressive sales and marketing team chasing buyers. Instead, he prefers potential guests to walk in the door and see for themselves.

“We always give a fixed price, invite comparison shopping and never haggle,” he added.

He is building on his success with a new development about 10 minutes from the Crane. Right now, there is one model home but I was ready to move in. The Beach House is definitely remote but the kind of place you can imagine celebrities seeking out with its stunning views, floor to ceiling glass windows, contemporary architecture and ultra-privacy.

Most significantly, Doyle says you don’t have to be a celebrity to afford an ownership at the Crane or the Beach House.

via Barbados: ‘Yes, everyone is that friendly’ | Toronto Star.

Note to Self – Cabin 9918 Aft

Cabin:  I splurged and spent an extra $400 for the Aft Balcony on the 9th floor, room 9918. It was a great investment. Our balcony was 150 SF, almost as large as our 170 SF room! We ate room service breakfast out there almost every day, and the sunrise views and sunset views took my breath away! The rocking sensation in the cabin made my bed feel like a crib, and I slept like a baby. My one complaint, I found the room to be noisy the last night when we were sailing into NYC and don’t know why it was so noisy that night but not the previous 6 nights. It sounded like grinding of equipment.

Great 150 SF balcony, that had room for 2 chaise lounge chairs, two tables and two chairs. The 170 SF room was well-appointed with plenty of shelves and storage areas. The beds were heavenly! We had a problem with our TV one day, but called for a repair and it was fine when we returned to the cabin 2 hours later. Our room steward, Christian, from Costa Rica was so nice and helpful. He got me an extra table on the balcony so we could have breakfast out there and have enough room to put out all the plates and coffee. He also got us down pillows. My only complaint was the room above us that seemed to move their balcony furniture often.

 

O’Sheehan’s is a great place to go for breakfast, the omelettes are great and the service is speedy. We ate there on the days we were going off the ship and unsure when we would be able to eat lunch. Garden Cafe was a madhouse, with not a single table available the one time I tried to go there for breakfast at 9am.

From http://www.cruisecritic.com/memberreviews/memberreview.cfm?EntryID=222879


 

huge balcony-almost size of cabin
3/4 sheltered ideal for weather protection
front 1/4 open to sun

if no sun loungers already there you can request them-there is more than enough room!

we loved that aft balcony


 

Norwegian Breakaway Cabin # 9918
Category B1 – Aft-Facing Balcony Stateroom

Norwegian Breakaway - Category B1 - Cabin # 9918
Stateroom #: 9918
Category: Category B1 – Aft-Facing Balcony Stateroom
Description: Balcony staterooms feature a private aft-facing balcony with amazing views, and include a king-size bed, bathroom with shower, spacious wardrobe, sitting area with sofa and vanity, and extra bedding that accomodates one.
Deck: Deck 9
Occupancy: Can accommodate up to 3 guests in this particular cabin
Accessible? No
Connecting? No
Window Type: Balcony
Stateroom Size:

226 sq ft sq ft*
*Square footage is not specific to this cabin, but rather as an average in this category type.

NYC Weekend

This is a real surprise.  I had wanted to see Aladdin for some time but they were always sold out when we were in NYC.

Our son got tickets for Aladdin for this weekend, in addition to The 39 Steps!  He had sent calendar invitations.  My DH had accepted and forgot we were going and I never got my invitation.  :(

~~~~~~

Backing up to Friday.  This weekend was supposedly so that my son and I could practice for our next Steinway Hall event.  This time, we’re playing the duet Capriol by Peter Warlock.

The day that we do this, we’re also heading out for a cruise to Bermuda.  Busy day!

The train ride to NYC was uneventful, if late.  We have a timeshare in NYC but it’s always full so we can never go :(  We had a favorite alternative that we really liked but they converted into a long-term stay hotel.

So, we went to a new hotel for this weekend.  I kept it in the same neighborhood so I’d know my way around a bit and we could eat at our favorite restaurants :)

We got to our new place and Michael was waiting for us.  Hooray!  After checking in, the next order of business was getting something to eat.  We decided to Uber over to Union Square to be close to The 39 Steps show at the Union Square Theater.

Lots of places to eat but we decided on getting a snack at the Barnes and Noble and having a real meal later.

The show was wonderful!  Very clever with only 4 actors doing all the parts with just a few props.

Different actors but you’ll get the idea:

After the show, we walked around a bit and ended up at Paul & Jimmy’s for dinner.  It was a good Italian dinner.  We didn’t have a refrigerator at our hotel, so I sent my leftovers home with Michael.

Saturday

Up early the next morning to go to breakfast at our old favorite – Scotty’s Diner on Lexington.

Michael had been to a place called The Cloisters and thought we might like to go so we Ubered (spell check doesn’t think that’s a word) north of Manhattan up the Henry Hudson Parkway.

The Cloisters museum and gardens is so peaceful and beautiful.  You almost feel like you’re back in the middle ages.  We had headsets as a guide and they used period music to help get in the mood.  The Cloisters is a branch of The Metropolitan Museum of Art which is  devoted to the art and architecture of medieval Europe, was assembled from architectural elements, both domestic and religious, that largely date from the twelfth through the fifteenth century.

Tom got a ton of pictures.  I just got this one, in the garden:

cloisters

After the briefest stop at our hotel and a too-short nap, we went to Michael’s to actually practice some.  We had a snack at Ramen.co.  I had a bento box and the others had burgers.  The interesting thing about the burgers was that the bun was made of ramen noodles pressed together.

We then walked up past South Street Seaport, although there was a lot of construction going on so we couldn’t go in. We’d been there before, in January 2010 and took lots of pictures so it was ok that we couldn’t go again.  When we were there in 2010 it was way colder and I’d had to buy a new hat and mittens.

After that, we walked along the bike/pedestrian path for quite a ways and it was very nice, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, even though we were walking next to it, and under an overpass!  There was one poor guy out in a rubber canoe or kayak having trouble paddling in the current.

Back to the hotel to get ready for Aladdin!  That was playing at the New Amsterdam Theater.  Both the hotel and theater were on 42nd street so we walked – and made it on time!  What a beautiful old theater, built in 1903.

Aladdin was fantastic!  What can I say?

aladdin

 

 

 

 

 

After the show, we stopped at Cafe Metro for some take-home food, then we hiked back to our hotel to eat that and for much needed sleep.

Sunday!

We made a change in our traditions and stopped at the Pershing Square Café for breakfast.  We’d seen it while we were walking by the night before.  Quite $$ for breakfast. Pershing Square is also on 42nd Street, directly across from New York’s famous Grand Central Terminal’s main entrance and underneath the Park Avenue Viaduct.

Our next stop was Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises for a partial sightseeing trip since we were short of time.  We were 1 pier over from the one where our cruise ship for June 7, the Norwegian Breakaway, was docked.

breakaway2

The Statue of Liberty:

statue-liberty

And, most importantly, Michael’s office next to the Staten Island Ferry

office

A bit of lunch (we eat a lot!) at Mr. Biggs in Hell’s Kitchen then over to Michael’s for more practice – the reason for this trip.

We took the subway back to Grand Central, then our hotel to pick up our bags.  We took a cab back to Penn Station to catch the Acela and head home.

I think that’s it – we did about as much as anyone could do in 48 hours.