Bermuda Cruise

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

We board the ship in New York Harbor


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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.

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

New Camera

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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


 

 

 

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.  :(

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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.

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The Statue of Liberty:

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

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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.

2015

So far this year its been mostly work, snow, ice, work…

I did get to go to a Rare Disease Conference at the NIH last month.  That was just a day trip but it was a good one.  I always like going back to NIH.  I spent so much time there when I was being diagnosed with Cushing’s and post-op that it feels like a second home to me.

We had lunch in the real cafeteria – more memories.  When I was an inpatient, my DH and young son would come visit most nights and we’d have a late dinner there.

Last November 30, my son and I got to play a 2-piano duo in the Steinway Hall Rotunda in NYC.  As it turned out, we were the last ever people to play there before they moved to a new location in Manhattan.

 

Steinway Hall, November 30, 2014

 

Here’s a brief video of him playing his solo and one of us playing 2-pianos:

 

 

 

We are currently getting ready to play a duet (1 piano) at the temporary location for Steinway in early June, 2015 …the same day we leave on a cruise to Bermuda.  Talk about a tight schedule!

After the November recital, we went to see the Intrepid in NY Harbor.  Across the water, a couple berths over I saw a cruise ship departing.  I didn’t know/didn’t care where they were going but I found out.

For Christmas, everyone’s gift was a cruise on the Norwegian Breakaway to Bermuda.  More on that later.

Also, this summer will be a trip to Scotland to see and hear the Edinburgh Tattoo.  This has been on my bucket list for a long time.  My grandfather was in the Black Watch and I just love to hear bagpipes. Even my cellphone ringtone is Scotland, the Brave.

A bit more about him here.

This weekend is a Handbell Festival in Maryland – kind of exciting, too :)

MaryOColorfulButterfly

 

Tuesday, March 4 ~ Panama Canal Cruise

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What a day!  I spent most of the first part being nervous that we would miss the ship.  There were phone calls from employees that weren’t sure what to do while we were gone, emails…

At 11:00 we were supposed to check out and housekeeping came by to check on us and I told her  “soon”.

My sandal broke, the part next to the heel separated from the sole.  <sigh>

Finally, we checked out at noon and set off to find the place to return the rental car that we never really used.  A wrong turn or 2 and we finally got there about 1:00.  Tom called for a taxi.  We waited and waited.  Tom called again.  Finally, the driver got there and we reloaded our luggage.

Fortunately, the port was only about a mile a way but there was a lot of traffic to the port and all cars had to stop and everyone had to show IDs.  That slowed everything up.

Dropped off our luggage and finally got in the terminal building.  It was nearly 2:00.  Tom had been thinking we had until 4:00 to get onboard – I reminded him that this ship sailed at 4:00.  We had to be on by 3:00.

Fort Port Lauderdale Embarkation 

Weather Forecast:  Sunny High 77 / Low 69

Sunrise 6:41 am / Sunset 6:23 pm

From the Navigator: As soon as all the passengers and crew are onboard and all pre-departure checks have been completed, the Captain will give the order to let go our mooring lines.  Once clear from the berth, Coral Princess will make her way out of the harbor before disembarking our pilot and altering our course to starboard.  We will then set southwesterly courses through the Straits of Florida toward the Old Bahama Channel, as we make our way towards Aruba.

A hustling, bustling port – not just cruise ships.  As far as I could tell, we were the only cruise ship there.

A lot of people got there about when we did but the lines moved fairly quickly…until it was time to actually board the ship.  That’s when you swipe your new card and they add your picture to the record for to be sure you’re who you say you are when you come back from port.

We got on the actual ship and were directed to the left.  We followed lots of other folks and ended up at an elevator.  Up to our cabin and our first 2 pieces of luggage were already there.  The third was only a few minutes later.  Very speedy!

I like this ship – Coral Princess!

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The cabin is (or seems) bigger than the one on Norwegian (NCL).  There is a desk instead of a couch (NCL).  The couch wasn’t very practical – the desk really is.

We have a walk-in closet which is really nice.  We haven’t even filled it halfway up (yet).  It’s at a right angle to the sleeping area which makes it seem like a separate room.

The bathroom is small.  I think the shower is smaller than NCL’s but I don’t spend that much time in there.

The end tables by the bed have actual drawers instead of open shelves.

The chairs on the balcony recline.  They’re fixed on NCL.

No coffeemaker, though.  NCL had one in the cabin.

We have a TV guide telling us what is on for the whole trip.  The new Hobbit movie will be on later.  Glad we didn’t see it in the movies.

Pool/Beach towels are in the closet.  We return them to the cabin and the steward brings us new ones.  We didn’t have to check them out and return them to the pool each day.  Hooray!

This ship has a self-service laundry on each deck.  I’ve never seen that on another ship.

We went off for muster  Here, we had to take our lifejackets and put them on at one point.  NCL, we didn’t take them.  They showed us how to jump off the side, if necessary.  Um, no.

I noted for future reference that many women on here wear white long pants.  Not likely!

Tom went off to a meeting, I did some church work – uploading Sunday’s sermons.

I took a little video of the sail away and some regular pictures.

http://youtu.be/snOVmXcPO-0

 

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The sheriff’s boat, acting as pilot

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Tom came back and wrote some emails.  I think I napped.  I didn’t feel like getting dressed for dinner so we went to the buffet.  It seemed smaller than NCL but then I realized that they didn’t have the pizza and burgers mixed in.  The buffet was all real food.  Among other things, I had prime rib.  Yummy!!!   We got to sit right ”up front” in the center of the stern.  Very impressive!

We walked around a bit, trying to get our bearings.  This ship has a lot of wood on it, more “real” than the mostly metal ones I usually see.  Teak tables, wooden doors.

I understand that this ship line used to be P&O from England before they became Princess.  There are British hints all over, from the afternoon Tea Time, to the huge selection of teas at dinner.  There are also pictures from the P&O line on the walls and 2 grenadiers guarding the casino.  Tom thinks that P&O might have stood for Pacific and Orient – I’ll look that up when we get home.  (Note – it is Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company)

I had wanted to go to the 7:45 Welcome Aboard show but there was some email to be sent.  I think I rested my eyes.

Then, we went out and walked around some more – by Movies Under the Stars (MUTS) which seems to mostly be showing a variety of things.  There are 2 movies later this week that I’d like to see.  They put cushions on the deck chairs and give out blankets, popcorn,  cookies and milk.  It’s also right by the ice cream, pizza and grill so not too much chance of hunger.

We walked all around a couple of decks.  It seems like we’re nearly alone on this cruise.  Except for embarking, we’ve seen very few other people.

At 9:30, we did see  the show.  I thought that they would do snippets from upcoming shows but the singers/dancers did a “welcome to Princess” type song and dance and the comedian told some jokes.  The cruise director, Susan Rawlings,  told us a bit about what was coming up.

Walking around some more.  We decided to get some pizza but they were just closing up.  Back to the buffet – Horizon Court – and I had some fruit (and another egg roll)

There was a note on our bed after dinner that they would be happy to deliver whatever fruit we wanted to our cabin.  Nice touch.  Also, a Princess tote bag.

We had chocolates on our pillow!

Just a bit of church work, should have taken about 2 minutes, tops, but it took 11, thanks to this s-l-o-w internet connection.

I think I fell asleep almost immediately.  If anything, I read one paragraph in my book.

Early Tuesday

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We’re having breakfast and will be getting repacked and ready to leave soon.

I’m getting a bit antsy since we have a rental car to return, then a taxi from the rental place to the port.  Things like this make me nervous with all the “what-ifs”.

I’ve posted a couple links on FB if anyone wants to follow along or I want to look again later.

Webcam from the bow of the Coral Princess

Current position M/S Coral Princess

I also took several screenshots of the current cruise heading into port but I’ll wait until we get back and pretend that it’s us heading home :)

Beach Buddies
MaryO