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Caribbean Cruise & New York


Matt, Julie, Patty, Craig                      Frank, Patty, Lisa, Frankie, Millie
2010 Caribbean Cruise

New York

This Caribbean cruise was a bit different from others we have taken - it started in New York and visited Bermuda. The port of embarkation allowed Lisa, an old friend of Patty's and her family to join us, along with our daughter Julie and her husband Matt.

Craig & Matt against the NY skyline

We all met at the ship in the Brooklyn Shipyard. The cruise was to be nine days and would be followed by a 4th of July weekend in Manhattan for Craig, Patty, Julie and Matt.

As the ship pulled out from its dock we made sure to take pictures of ourselves with the New York skyline in the background. Matt and Craig of course wore the newly minted LA Lakers 2010 NBA Championship shirts.

Craig & Julie Statue of Liberty

Craig and Julie can be seen here with the Statue of Liberty in the background.

Verrazano-Narrows bridge

The last major landmark passing out of the New York harbor is sailing under the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge.

Matt & Julie in the Skywalker Lounge

One of the really special places to view a sail away is in the Skywalker Lounge, high above the stern of the ship. Here Matt and Julie are enjoying a sail away buffet for experienced Princess cruisers.

2nd nite formal Craig & PattyFirst dinner together

The sail away snack was shortly before we all got together for our first meal. Yes, eating is large part of each and every cruise.

Here we see the entire group: Frank, Matt, Julie, Patty, Craig, Millie, Lisa, and Frankie.

Second night out was a formal night and here we see Craig & Patty outside their cabin, heading for dinner again.

Bermuda

Map of Bermuda

In Bermuda the group split in two with Craig & Patty and Matt & Julie each getting a day pass travel on the ferries or busses for the day we were ashore. We browsed shops, with Patty and Julie purchasing Lili Bermuda fragrances (locally produced perfume) in Hamilton, before boarding a bus to take us to the northern part of the island.Ferry into Hamilton, Bermuda

Entering Hamilton HarborLili Bermuda perfume

The country side was like a tropical England and the bus wound over the spine of the island and up along the eastern coast line, past a spectacular golf course.

Julie at Crystal & Fantasy CavesEntering Crystal Cave

There was a bus stop right in front of the caves we wanted to see. We got off, Julie & Matt grabbed a bite to eat, then we began our journey down into the Crystal Cave.

At the end of the Crystal Cave

This first cave was 99 steps down, after a long sloping walk down into the opening. There was a wooden walkway across the freshwater lake at the bottom of the cave. This was a spectacular walk, with stalactites and stalagmites covering the length of the cave. The growth of these structures is measured in fractions of an inch over thousands of years.

Matt & Julie between cavesAfter about 30 minutes we climbed out of the cave and stopped in a waiting area before heading to the 2nd cave - Fantasy Cave.

Julie Matt Patty at Fantasy entrance

The Fantasy Cave had steep steps directly from the entry area shown. While this cave had a smaller lake, the walking path wound around the edge and into an area of crystals and small bodies of water that were quite different from the Crystal Cave. Julie Patty in Fantasy CaveCraig Patty Julie in Fantasy CaveFantasy Cave

Julie busing to St GeorgeFinally, we climbed out of the 2nd cave, walked back to the bus stop, and boarded a bus headed for the northern city of St. George. This was much more like a medium sized English village. Patty Julie Matt in St. George

However, we didn't have too much time to wander and shop before the last ferry left to take us back to the Royal Navy Dockyard, where our ship was secured.

Before boarding the ship we did visit the Frog and Onion Pub to try a local drink and purchase a Bermuda t-shirt.Waiting for the ferry in St. GeorgeFrog & Onion Pub shirt

Frankie's 9th Birthday Party

Shipboard sale eventWith a day-and-a-half at sea, we had plenty of time for a discount shopping day for Lisa, Patty, and Millie. One of the dining rooms is turned over to selling sale items and clothing from previous cruises during part of the day.

This was also Frankie's 9th birthday and we celebrated it properly at the evening's dinner.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Caribbean Princess in San Juan, Puerto RicoMap of our destinations in Puerto Rico

On our arrival in San Juan, Puerto Rico the group split up into three parts. Matt and Julie took off on their own to investigate the area around the ship and wound up at Castillo San Felipe del Morro; while Lisa, Frankie, Frank and Millie took one bus tour of the El Yunque Rainforest and Craig & Patty took another bus on the same tour.

El Yunque Rainforest

PR191 into rainforestYokahu TowerThe tour traveled up highway PR191 curving up 2000ft in the bus shown here.

Part way up we stopped at the Yokahu Tower and climbed to the top to view the eastern part of Puerto Rico spread out before us.

Rainforest trailPatty hiking over waterfall in rainforestOur bus stopped at a tourist point well up the mountain to let us explore a trail that crossed a waterfall and meandered down through the rainforest for about mile, ending at La Coca Falls. It was a gorgeous walk, giving us an inkling of the lushness and density existing in a rainforest.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Matt and Julie, meanwhile, were exploring an old Spanish Fort that guarded the San Juan harbor. It was difficult to get into the fort from the land side and really forbidding trying to scale the walls from the seaward side. castle entrancetower and stairsJulie with a sea viewThey explored the cannon mountings, the turrets supporting musket fire, climbed the walls to view the ocean, mounted the narrow staircases soldiers needed to navigate and move around, and peered through the gun turrets.Matt in a guard tower

Dinner at the Dragonfly Cafe

Dragonfly CafeCraig, Patty, Julie, Matt enjoying dinnerCraig, Patty, Matt, and Julie met up in the late afternoon and decided to eat dinner ashore - the ship left at 11:00PM. We chose the Dragonfly Fusion restaurant within walking distance from the ship - highly recommended by one of the ship's crew. It was just about the best dinner any of us has ever had and Patty intends to return on her next Caribbean adventure, in December. The drinks were exotic and the food prepared in a way the best chefs would appreciate.

St. Thomas - American Virgin Islands

B.O.S.S. Underwater Adventure

Craig, Julie, Matt underwaterUnderwater group leaving the area

The next day we were in St Thomas and Craig, Julie, and Matt left on a tour that had them riding undersea jet bikes and snorkeling. The underwater pictures are somewhat fuzzy, but the experience was definitely unique. The bikes were powered by a tank of air and stayed about 8 feet under the surface - held up by floats on 8ft cords. Hand controls allowed us to go left or right, faster or slower, and herded by three scuba divers.

Julie & Matt underwatersea turtlesCraig free diving

When we finished our 30 minute ride, our scuba diver herders took out another group and we got about two hours of snorkeling in about 26 feet of water.

Here we see Craig circling some coral on the sea floor and lots of sea turtles, fish, and anemones.sea life

Grand Turk - Turks & Caicos Islands

Patty on the beachMatt on the dock

Our final stop was Grand Turk and the cruise ship Carnival Miracle again docked along side of us - they had followed us from San Juan, to St. Thomas, and finally here. Grand Turk is a small island that is mainly a place to stop, swim and shop at a bazaar at the end of the long dock securing the two cruise ships.

Craig, Patty, Lisa, Julie, and Matt spent a fair amount of time imbibing sprits at a large Margaritaville containing a dance floor and swimming/wading pool.

Grand Turk beach

Back to New York

Lisa & Patty at afternoon teaLast night's dinnerThe final two days were at sea and we relaxed, taking it easy on the camera - recording only Lisa and Patty's meeting for tea and our last dinner. Finally it was time to say goodbye, the last night being full of shared fun and anxiety that this was going to end for half our group.

 

Manhattan, New York

Arriving back in New YorkThe next morning we sailed into New York, past the Statue of Liberty again. Craig, Patty, Matt, and Julie were going to stay on in Manhattan for the weekend and View from Envoy Club roof they took a limo to their hotel - The Envoy Club - a timeshare on 1st Ave and 33rd St. We could see the Empire State and the Chrysler buildings from the roof. It was equally interesting for Matt and Julie to look down 33rd St leading to the Empire State and down at 34th St at typical New York residences and businesses.

Map of our travels over 4 days in Manhattan

We arrived in New York Friday morning and we were going to leave Monday evening. The map shows our - mostly walking - tours throughout the next four days.

Day One

Entering the Empire State Building

This, our first day in the city, we walked to the Empire State and rode to the 86th floor (the top for tourists).

Patty, Craig, Matt, Julie atop the Empire State Building

Of course we include the obligatory shot of ourselves at the top of the Empire State.

Caribbean Princess with Verrazano-Narrows Bridgeview of lower Manhattan

Our pictures include one showing the Caribbean Princess, with the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge behind her, loading up passengers for the next Caribbean cruise - look between the skyscrapers on the left side of the picture.

Also, here is a photo of the lower end of Manhattan.

Matt, Patty, Craig in Times SquareInglot cosmetics

Our day included walking to Times Square, then visiting the Inglot cosmetic store there. This store is the only one of its kind in the United States - at this time - and a friend of Patty's really wanted some cosmetics from there. Of course both Patty and Julie shopped as well. We crossed the street to the M&M store and the Hershey store in the following block, then walked from Times Square back to our hotel. Matt wanted to take us to dinner at the Plaza Hotel, where he said there was a fabulous new restaurant, The Plaza Food Hall by Todd English. We took a cab there (our feet needed the rest) and the dinner was as good as he had described. Matt & Julie in the M&M storeA very unique place, there were several different cooking stations, with seats and specialties for each. We could order Todd English at the Plaza Hotelanything from any of the specialty places and watch how that specialty place cooked their food. The Plaza is on the south east corner of Central Park (5th Ave & 59th St) and, full and happy, we decided to walk slowly home. First we visited the Apple Store, across the street and underground, and browsed all the new electronic stuff available. Finally we walked down 5th Ave and across 34th St - some 26 blocks.

Day Two

front view of the UN building

Sphere Within SphereFor day two we started out walking to the United Nations on 1st Ave and 49th St. Here we went through the public part of the building and took a photo in front of a famous sculpture called Sphere Within Sphere - we had seen another copy of this in Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland on a previous cruise.

Matt just couldn't avoid posing with the gun on the grounds.

Matt with gun statue Chrysler Building Grand Central Station

This view of the Chrysler Building is from in front of the U.N.

We then walked back to 42nd St and turned west past the Chrysler Building and on to Grand Central Station. We went to a downstairs location where Matt and Julie said people could stand against an arched wall, quite a distance apart, and hear each other whisper. It's true -- you can hear each other whisper. The only problem is that our picture of this location didn't come out enough to include here.

Matt & Julie at the 6th Ave Farmar's Market

We were walking to meet Lisa for lunch at Mars 2012 - a restaurant at 51st St and Broadway - but as we walked by 6th Ave Matt and Julie got sidetracked by the Farmers' Market there and it was quite a sight seeing all the local produce among the Manhattan skyscrapers.

Craig, Julie, Matt in parkThe four of us met up again on 6th Ave - thank goodness for cell phones - and took the subway south to 14th St; starting our walk through Greenwich Village. Walking down 6th Ave to 9th St, we came upon a beautiful local park.

Sand painting in Washington ParkA couple of blocks east and a couple of blocks south we got to Washington Park and found a crowd gathered around a contortionist who finally managed to enclose himself in an 18 inch box. As we left his show we wandered near the famous Washington Park Arch - scene of many movie shots - and discovered the sand painter Joe Mangrum. His work was spectacularly detailed and Matt got a number of shots of him and his work. We have only included a couple here, but Matt has information on how to contact him later.

From there we walked south, down Thompson Street and came across a Chess Shop. Since Craig had never seen a store almost exclusively devoted to chess equipment and playing chess, he had to stop in to ask questions. Of course he asked about any Go equipment and found they did have some nice stones and a couple of simple boards. Check out Go here, if you are interested.

Chess ShopThai restaurantWe walked past a Thai restaurant that Julie seemed to like. Since we were walking to Little Italy, about 12 blocks away, we didn't stop. Our mistake -- Little Italy turned out to be somewhere we really didn't want to stop, so we returned to the Thai restaurant on Thompson Street. There was no front to the restaurant; therefore our picture was shot from the sidewalk.

After dinner we walked directly east to 1st Ave and took a cab to our hotel. Phew, were we tired.

Day Three - 4th of July

Life, Liberty, Happiness The next morning Patty and Julie modeled their Life Liberty Happiness tank tops. Patty at the Metropolitan Museum of Art

We decided to meet later in Central Park, taking taxis there. We realized this was going to be a long 4th of July Sunday and we didn't want to push things early on. Craig and Patty walked up the east side of Central Park to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and spent the morning wandering through the exhibits. The first was on the evolution of the American Woman, but no photography was allowed - you will just have to visit it yourself.

The picture of Patty in the American Art section is on the north side of the museum.

Central Park Great LawnMatt & Julie met up with Craig & Patty at the 84th St and 5th Ave entrance to Central Park and they Patty & Craig at the Reservoirwalked past The Great Lawn to the west side of The Reservoir. The path south led to the Belvedere Castle, where Matt, Julie, and Craig climbed to the very top, while Patty remained in the shade, overlooking Frog Pond.Matt & Julie on Belvedere Castle

Julie & Matt in front of Bethesda Fountain

Patty in front of the Boat HouseDog day afternoon in Central ParkWalking south and east we passed the Loeb Boathouse and circled around to the Bethesda Fountain. It was a dog day afternoon, as shown in the views of people - and a dog - with their feet in the lake. Patty is one of those people and you can see the Loeb Boathouse in the background, another favorite movie shot.

Julie & Matt at the southern end of Central ParkJulie in front of Radio CityWe continued to the southern end of the park and stopped at a pizza place on 58th street for dinner. Our walk home included passing Radio City Music Hall and passing through Rockefeller Center - all the flags and "I Love NY" apples. Rockerfeller CenterWe Love NY apples

Empire State with fireworksEmpire State & Chrysler at start of fireworksWe arrived home in time for refreshments and to await the 9:00PM fireworks over the Hudson River. Since we were next to the East River, we didn't know how much of New York's famous fireworks we would see this 4th of July. Nevertheless we marched up to our roof and joined other guests in waiting what ever would arrive. While we couldn't see anything but the highest bursts, these pictures show that it was a unique view of the city.

Day Four

Chelsea MarketWe had walked a great distance, taken cabs, boarded the NY subway, and seen quite a few places over the previous three days. We were leaving on Monday afternoon, so Matt took us to Chelsea in the morning - he had a business meeting - and Patty, Julie, and Craig walked around the Meatpacking District and ended up in the Chelsea Market, a New York style mall - lots of unique corners and odd shops, taking up almost an entire block at the corner of 9th Ave and 14th St.

With our cab ride back, we were ready to say goodbye to New York and end our Caribbean vacation.