Day 18 Tues. Nov. 10

53F, Into the harbour


Len, Sunrise and the World Trade Center We woke up again bright and early (ok, not bright, as the sun wasn't due to rise for another 90 mins or so). Of course so did 3/4 of the passengers. We'd slowed down so it wasn't as "breezy", but still just as cold. I think this was the first time we'd seen this many people on deck. Went under the bridge a few minutes before the quoted time even. It was very pretty with the lights coming up in the dark.

Here's where we get the big black mark on the service on the QE2. You would think that with all the times they've arried into New York they would have this down by now. This was the morning that coffee in the Lido was a nightmare, nearly impossible and very badly handled.

QE@ at the New York Dock First of all they set it out later than normal, even though most people get up early to watch the entry. They only started with one 30 cup pot of coffee, even though there were clearly 50 people lined up in front of the table, and another 100 or so lingering about. They eventually brought out another pot, but only after the first ran out. I happened to be one of the lucky 75 people who got a coffee cup. Those farther back in line were left with juice glasses. When the second pot ran out (about 5 mins. after the first) it was another 15 mins before more coffee arrived. Getting a second cup took about 45 mins.

I'd have assumed it was a fluke if the woman behind me hadn't mentioned that this was her third trip into New York on the ship, and everytime the last morning coffee is a zoo. So take a hint: If you want something warm to drink while standing on an icy deck, be first in line or forget about watching the sun rise as you pass the Statue of Liberty. As you're going so much slower coming up the river they opened the foreward deck. It was one seething mass of humanity, but worth the chance to get a quick look anyway. Watching the sunrise was a great moment, but made for really dark pictures of the landmarks. (Which is why we don't have a shot of the Statue) This is my first trip to New York, and what a way to see it!

We docked right about 7am, did a last look thru to be sure everything was out of our cabin, and then sat and did puzzles and needlework for about 90 mins. We had a comfy chair where we could watch the opening of the ship, hear the debarkation announcments and watch people do last minute customs inspections. When it's your turn to debark they call your deck number and you gather your things and head for the center of the ship. Down the gangplank and into the "shed". The luggage is all nicely arranged in rows under big colour-coded signs that correspond to the tags you were given to put on the bags.

We grabbed out bags and headed on out to the curb. From there we quickly found our transfer bus to JFK airport and got a last snap of the ship tied up at dock. The bus ride was pretty standard, though we did pass thru a few interesting areas. We were dropped off at our United terminal, checked the big stuff and found our gate. Our pilot was a "hands on" guy and actually came out to the gate and explained the boarding procedure and greeted each of us. The plane was packed, the trip really bumpy in spots (though not after the storm at sea), and thats where I knew I'd caught a cold somewhere on our trip. We landed about 4:30 at SFO, found the bags, found where the shuttle stops, and were on our way home without much trouble. Got back to the Concord Inn about 6 and Adri picked us up. We almost had a bit of trouble getting all the bags in her car (good thing she remembered to bring her car, and not mine!). Coming home felt very odd after having been gone so long, but it was good to be back.

Now we can't wait to go again! Next trip: more time in England, less time at Disneyland Paris, plan an extra 4 days to get from Ireland to England via ferry, FLY into Dublin (and rent a car, Irish public transport is about on a par with ours), and save the boat for when we retire.)

(Addendum:We're going back!! This time, skip Ireland, pick up Scotland. We had so much fun we're going back late Mar. 2000 for another 3 weeks, this time flyng both ways. Stay tuned for our further adventures sometime in May when we have time to post it all up!)

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