Sunday, 27 January 2019

Return to Bayonne

Sunrise January 9, 2019
I don't have many photos from the last few days at sea, because, well there really isn't much to see on those days.  There was no other traffic within viewing distance, so the sights beyond the ship were  the sea and sky.  I'll add a few photos from various days sunrise and sunset.

It may sound odd, but sea days tend to be busy.  The ship's activity cruise director schedules additional activities during the day, so one can be as busy or as lazy as one likes.  This cruise I spent a lot of time at trivia.  It was held a few times a day, more frequently on sea days and I was part of a somewhat nebulous group who came together to play.  Along with L (who I met at the airport), there were Sandy and Jeff, Beth and Tom, Kate and John, and Nora. At one point we said we should call ourselves the "one away" team as we were often one right short.  However, the group did win occasionally, I was there for two of the wins so came home with a highlighter and a key chain.  The latter was won on the sea day, when the category was Captains.  We had finished one trivia and waited for the second an hour later, and brainstormed possible captains.  Many of the questions were in reference to a captain, for example what was the real name of Captain America? - Steve Rogers.  We missed only one question, when was Captain Crunch cereal introduced.  We guess 1962, but it was actually 1963.  

Another sea day, I went to the afternoon matinee of We Will Rock You - a musical play featuring the music of Queen.  It was set in the future; musical instruments no longer exist, and the music is synthesized.  A Queen and her minion are in charge, the young people are near robots, with the exception of two, Galileo and a young woman who wears black and doesn't fit in with the rest of the young women.  The two find each other, and embark on a trip to a place where rock and roll still exists.  After a number of mishaps, they eventually find the one last instrument (a guitar) and rock and roll is reborn.  It was fun to watch, and best of all was the guitar player Joyce Kuo (not one of the actors).  She was truly amazing!

One afternoon I was playing Soduko in 2-70 prior to a presentation the Royal Caribbean cruise line history, when I was joined by Alan and Teresa (from the pre-cruise dinner).  We chatted about cruises we've done and our plans for the future.  Oh, by the way, I did book another cruise while I was on the ship.  I'd been looking for a British Isles cruise for 2020 but the prices were too much for my pocketbook.  RCI was offering significant discounts for booking on-board.  I'd gone down to the Cruise Next desk a few days earlier just to see what the price might be and ended up booking the Brilliance of the Seas for June 12, 2020.  The price differential between what I was seeing and their cost will more than cover my flights and hotel!  The presentation was interesting and I was excited to learn that the Brilliance will be undergoing a refurbishment this year.  Teresa told me, too, that the crew of the Brilliance are very loyal to the ship, and many have been there for years.  

Sunset January 11, 2019
I also spent as much time as I could outdoors, either on my balcony or on deck 5 (promenade deck).  I kept thinking it seemed stuffy in the ship - and then learned that the air conditioning wasn't working in the forward areas of the ship.  Luckily my cabin was in the aft and I wasn't affected.  It took several days for the issue to be resolved and by this point there were many upset passengers.  RCI did provide compensation between $200-500 per cabin but from what I understand many people were not happy with this and that saga goes on.  Of course, by the end of the second sea day we didn't need a/c any longer.

Sadly, we also had a medical emergency and as a result were diverted to Bermuda.  We arrived late one evening, the passenger was removed to a waiting pilot boat and sent to the hospital there.  A nurse from the ship escorted the passenger, so we anchored offshore until she returned.  We were told she had a respiratory issue but beyond that I've heard no further news.  I hope she recovered and is at home by now.  

As a result, the ship was delayed into Bayonne.  Initially the captain had indicated we'd have a two hour delay, but that was later changed to 3 hours. It was abundantly clear that I would be missing my flight.  That took up a fair amount of time, as I had to call the airline and Airmiles to make the changes and was on hold for 45 minutes or more each time. Here too, the cruise line was awesome, I was able to make the calls at no charge, and my change fees are being reimbursed.    

Sunset January 25, 2019
On the final sea day, I met Alan and Teresa, Angelina and Marcel, at Jamie's for lunch.  This is a franchise of Jamie Oliver, the food is fresh made and so very delicious.  We had a lovely lunch with lots of laughter and way too much food.  I even ordered the small order of the entree, penne carbonara and it was too much.  I left before dessert to meet L at the Cruise next desk - we'd met for dinner a few nights earlier and she mentioned she had also booked another cruise. It turned to be the same one I'd booked!  We thought we'd look into the cost of booking a balcony room to share, as I'm in a studio and she is in a virtual balcony (it's basically a video screen of the wake of the ship).  However, we discovered the cost was too significant to make the change.  But we both would like to spend some time in London prior to the cruise, so will plan to travel together.  We'll likely meet in Toronto and fly from there...lots of time to figure all that out!

On Friday morning, we docked in Bayonne shortly after 9 a.m.  My original flight had been scheduled for 10:30; the ship had to clear customs before we could disembark and the airport was about 25 minutes away so there was no way I could have made that flight.  Fortunately while this was happening I was on the telephone finalizing my changes with the airline and I was able to change to a 3:15 flight out of Newark.  I was scheduled to take first shuttle from the port to the airport, so had only a short wait until I was off the ship and through customs.  (I don't they really care in the U.S. when one is transiting to Canada - I basically walked straight through).  We did have a wait on the shuttle for about 20 minutes waiting for the bus to fill.  

When I got through security (very brief - hooray for TSA prechek) and into the gate areas, I decided to grab some lunch.  There was a cafe a short distance beyond security, I looked in and who should I see but L.  We sat and enjoyed another meal together before heading to our gates, which were side by each.  She was scheduled to leave shortly after 2 but due to weather my flight actually left prior to hers, even with a delay of 20 minutes.  Then it was off to Calgary, and finally back to Regina.  We arrived shortly before midnight and I was in bed by 1 p.m., tired but glad to be home.

It truly was the best cruise ever!  I loved the ship, the itinerary, and met some absolutely wonderful people.  The entertainment on the ship was fantastic, my favorite was "The Gift" - an original RCI muscial production, sharing the story of a family devastated by the loss of their mother - in an artful dream sequence.  It was odd, but beautiful, especially as the gift is revealed at the end.  I can't recall the actual words, but the message was that love lives on beyond death.  I'm an odd ball because I liked it, most people I talked to did not.   The weather was fantastic, though I suspect I would have not enjoyed it as much had I lost the a/c in my cabin.  Even with the delay returning to Bayonne, RCi made what would have been a stressful time much easier.  As the captain stated in his messages, the passengers are their priority.  

Thanks for sharing in my latest journey.  I'm home now for a couple of months before I head out again.  I expect my posts will be more sporadic, as it is time to start prepping the house for sale, and doing some sorting and clearing out of stuff. But I'll be around! 

Have a great day!


  1. That was a wonderful fabulous time~! I wish I could do that but I haven't the sustained energy. I do well in bursts of several hours..sit a bit and do a lot again. But I can enjoy through you. By the way, as far as I am concerned the pics of the sunrise and sunset makes it all worth while! I am a cloud maven after all. Beautiful.

  2. The sky photos are truly magnificent. Wow. You could have all your best cruise photos printed out, popped into store-bought frames and presto! gallery your next home.

    Good luck starting the process of selling the house. I was't sure if you were doing that this year, or maybe next, and even if you mentioned it in a previous post, I didn't remember a timeline.

    You're next adventure is around the corner! :-)

  3. So glad you enjoyed this cruise! It was so hot in Zihuatanejo we would have been dying without AC (30-32 every day)

  4. What a great cruise; thanks for bringing us along. It was great to end with that stunning photograph of the sunset, on January 11th. That could have been taken by a professional, but then so many of your photos are of tremendous quality. I hope the woman removed from the ship was all right after.

    Now the fun of selling the house. I don't envy you, but it's the start of another adventure. Will you be going on your next cruise regardless of selling the house or not?


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