Ed’s Cruise from London to New York on the Silversea Whisper – Part 8

New York, New York – Oct 10

While we were disappointed that we had to leave Boston earlier than planned, what this meant in the end was that we arrived in New York around noon instead of during the night.  Yay…some extra time to discover New York.

Coming into New York, the weather co-operated with sunshine  as we all awaited that iconic welcoming symbol of freedom – the Statue of Liberty!   “The Statue of Liberty Enlightening the World” was a gift of friendship from the people of France to the United States and is recognized as a universal symbol of freedom and democracy. The Statue of Liberty was dedicated on October 28, 1886.  It was designated as a National Monument in 1924.  Employees of the National Park Service have been caring for the colossal copper statue since 1933.

The New York skyline is so impressive as we sail into the Hudson to dock at Pier 88 right in the middle of Midtown, New York.  For all my golfing friends, the area surrounded by green netting is a golf driving range!

The tall tower in this picture is the Freedom Tower or One World Trade Center is the main building of the rebuilt World Trade Center complex in Lower Manhattan, New York City by the 9/11 memorial. One WTC is the tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, and the seventh-tallest in the world.

When we docked, we were right beside the Intrepid Carrier museum.  Launched in 1943, the former aircraft carrier USS Intrepid fought in World War II, surviving five kamikaze attacks and one torpedo strike. The ship later served in the Cold War and the Vietnam War. Intrepid also served as a NASA recovery vessel in the 1960s. It was decommissioned in 1974, and today is berthed on the Hudson River as the centerpiece of the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum.

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Beside the Intrepid is the record-breaking plane—the Concorde Alpha Delta G-BOAD. The fastest Atlantic Ocean crossing by any Concorde occurred on February 7, 1996 and took only 2 hours, 52 minutes and 59 seconds. It looks absolutely tiny next to the carrier.

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Also, beside the Intrepid is the Submarine Growler.  Growler is the only American guided missile submarine open to the public. Growler offers visitors a firsthand look at life aboard a submarine and a close-up inspection of the once “top-secret” missile command center.

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Unfortunately, we don’t have much time in New York, so instead we opted to visit the 9/11 Memorial Museum.   The last time we were in New York, we visited the twin towers, still standing in their glory.  It was a somber experience to go to the site now.

The National September 11 Memorial is a tribute of remembrance and honor to the 2,977 people killed in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 at the World Trade Center site, near Shanksville, Pa., and at the Pentagon, as well as the six people killed in the World Trade Center bombing in February 1993.

The Memorial’s twin reflecting pools are each nearly an acre in size and feature the largest man-made waterfalls in North America. The pools sit within the footprints where the Twin Towers once stood.

The names of every person who died in the 2001 and 1993 attacks are inscribed into bronze panels edging the Memorial pools, a powerful reminder of the largest loss of life resulting from a foreign attack on American soil and the greatest single loss of rescue personnel in American history.

This was an afternoon of filled with grief, tears, anger and emotional exhaustion.  Having said all that, the museum is extremely well done and not only shows the horrific event but honours all those that perished.  It is well worth everyone going to visit it if you have the opportunity.

That’s it for our Silversea experience and blog.  It was a truly wonderful experience and can highly recommend Silversea Cruises.  Given that their pricing includes large staterooms, butler service, fine dining, excellent wine and spirits and gratuities all included, it really is good value.

Thanks for following along.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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Ed’s Cruise from London to New York on the Silversea Whisper – Part 7

Boston – Oct 8/9

Boston is admired for its beautiful harbor, museums, food, Revolutionary history, and sports traditions, including the beloved Red Sox baseball team. Boston is also the cradle of the American Revolution, and sites from early American history are visible all around; a great way to see them and the city itself is by walking the 3-mile Freedom Trail, which winds among tight, Colonial-era street. Not far from the city are Lexington and Concord, where the American Revolution was born with the “shot heard ’round the world.”

We arrived late afternoon on October 8, and since this is our first time in “Beantown”, we were anxious to get off the trip and start exploring.  The ship provided a complimentary shuttle that dropped us off at the Aquarium but only a couple of blocks from where we wanted to go…Faneuil Hall Marketplace.  Four buildings – Faneuil Hall, Quincy Market, North Market and South Market – constitute Faneuil Hall Marketplace, with the oldest being Faneuil Hall. Built in 1742 and now located on the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall has had a long and important history in Massachusetts politics. Samuel Adams once stood here to push for resistance against the British, and abolitionists and suffragists have stood on their soapboxes here. In fact, this is where Jonathan Mayhew famously challenged the Sugar Act of 1764 by proclaiming, “no taxation without representation.” Since Mayhew’s declaration, the marketplace has expanded to include more than 100 shops and restaurants.

We spent our evening strolling through the market’s halls where we found various cuisines served in Quincy Market and a variety of souvenir shops surrounding the halls.

That night, upon returning to the ship, we were advised that we would be cutting our visit to Boston short given that the weather necessitated us leaving at 1PM instead of 5PM.  A number of people were disappointed as the tours they signed up for were cancelled.  However, we had opted for a Freedom Trail Walking Tour that finished by 12:30, so we were not affected.

Stretching 2½ miles, the Freedom Trail weaves past 16 of the city’s most historic sites, including Faneuil Hall Marketplace, the Paul Revere House and Old North Church. Taking in only some of the trail’s attractions requires our half a day (and some comfortable walking shoes) but with the guide’s commentary, we learned a lot of American history on the tour.

The following map might give you some idea of what we saw.

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We started at Boston Common and the State House.  The grounds of Boston Common started as a cow pasture in the mid-1600s. After a few years, overgrazing became a problem and the area was transformed into a British camp. After the Revolutionary War, the park became a popular locale for public speeches and rallies. Now, the Common is best known because of its status as the oldest public park in the country. You’ll also find a variety of activities and events, including theater and musical performances, hosted here throughout the year.  Right across the street was the State House.

Next stop was the Old Granary Burying Ground.  Established in 1660, this is the resting place for some of America’s revolutionary heroes including John Hancock, Samuel Adams and of course, the most famous, Paul Revere!

While there were several other historical stops along the way, some of the most interesting were the site of the “Boston Massacre”.  The Boston Massacre was a deadly riot that occurred on March 5, 1770, on King Street in Boston. It began as a street brawl between American colonists and a lone British soldier, but quickly escalated to a chaotic, bloody slaughter. The conflict energized anti-British sentiment and paved the way for the American Revolution.

When you think of Boston history, for me, two incidents come to mind…the Boston Tea Party and Paul Revere’s ride.  While we only saw the location of the Boston Tea Party from the bus, we did get to sea a couple of Paul Revere sites, including his house which still stands.  The house dating back to the late 1700’s gives you a glimpse of how houses looked in his time.

In the background of the Paul Revere statue, you can see the Old North Church.  Most people who know anything about American history have heard of Paul Revere’s famous midnight ride, when he rode through town to warn people about the arrival of British troops. Before heading off to Lexington, Revere gave orders at Old North Church. Robert Newman – the church’s sexton – and Captain John Pulling Jr. – the church’s vestryman – then climbed the steeple and held two lanterns as a signal (from Revere) that the British Regulars were indeed coming, but by sea.

The church itself, which is officially named Christ Church, is filled with beautiful relics from the past, including North America’s oldest set of change ringing bells and chandeliers brought in from England in the early 1700s. The pews have a long history as well; Pew No. 54 was reserved for the Revere family.

Along our way, there were some very old and famous pubs.  Check out the dates on some of these pictures…

Final stop before heading back to the ship…Mike’s Pastry.  Founded in 1946, Mike’s Pastry is located in Boston’s historic North End on Hanover Street. Michael Mercogliano (the “Mike” behind the famed Mike’s Pastry) created the one-of-a-kind cannoli that keeps loyal Bostonians and tourists coming from around the world to enjoy. Going to Mike’s has become a Boston tradition and we are told that even JFK would send for some of the famous cannoli when in town.  We sure enjoyed ours!

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Next stop is New York.  Since we had to leave Boston early, this means that we will arrive in New York early which will give us time to see some of the sights there too!  That’s a bonus.  Thanks for reading along, next and last blog will be about our short stay in New York.

Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 6

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We are on the last leg of our trip back through the Inside Passage.  It is a beautiful day meant to sit on the verandah and watch the scenery.  We have seen so much wildlife throughout the cruise and have been able to visit Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan.  My favorite of course was Ketchikan.  It had the beautiful walking trail, totem poles and I think the best shopping and probably the only place that we seen Haida art.

The cruise has been great and we have loved the staff on the Westerdam.  I think it is one of the things that set Holland America apart from other cruises.  If you ever get the opportunity to cruise on the Westerdam, look out for Randy in the billboard lounge and I hope that you are lucky enough to have Zam and Moe as your room stewards.   As always there is the endless food and much time spent in the gym trying to work it off.  We really enjoyed the dueling pianos in the billboard lounge with 3 shows every night and BB Kings.  We will dock tomorrow in Vancouver and we are already thinking about coming back to Alaska.  Thank You Holland America for an awesome holiday. 

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Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 5

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We were already docked in Ketchikan when we woke up this morning and like every other port; we had the best place on the pier, right across from the main street.  The weather is great as we walk across to the Tourist Information and picked up a map with a really great walking tour and away we go.  Ketchikan is by far my favorite port.  Everywhere you look there are totem poles.  We make our way to Creek Street with its old buildings on stilts that look over the water.  This area used to be the red light district back in 1902.   All the buildings are now converted into small stores with all the usual tourist items but what draws us to the area is all the seals that are swimming in the water. They are there because of the salmon.  There are so many salmon swimming around that they don’t have to work for their lunch; it’s more like a buffet.  We leave here and walked up to the Totem Heritage Center which is the highlight for me.  This houses a collection of 19th century totem poles retrieved in 1970 from the Tlingit and Haida villages that were abandoned when the inhabitants moved into Ketchikan and other towns.  There is a small charge to get in but worth it.  We spend quite a bit of time here and decide to walk back to town.

There was a free shuttle if you did not want to walk.  I am so glad that we walked as we were able to see all the salmon as they were coming up the falls.  There is so many of them it looks like pit of snakes.  As we continue to walk down into town, we are following the water fall.  There is a great path that takes us back into Creek Street.  It has been a great day and we walk to the Sourdough Bar for an Alaskan beer before we head back to the ship.

 

Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 4

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Today was the best day so far! We went to the Dawes glacier on Endicott arm. When we woke up at 8:00am we could already see bergy bits which were the first signs of the glacier.

We were travelling down a fjord with high mountain walls on each side. There were so many waterfalls that I stopped taking photos. It took a couple of hours but we got within 1 mile of the iceberg before we had to stop.  The iceberg is such a pretty colour of blue and so many larger pieces are just floating out in front. Here is another reason we are happy to have a balcony as we alternate between being outside on the veranda and then back inside to warm up.

It is really something to see. We are told that this is much nicer than Glacier Bay and we are the only ship out there. We sat for about an hour and a half to watch the iceberg. The ship swings around in 360 so all the balconies can see the glacier.  HAL serves up hot pea soup to those of use outside along with coffee and Baileys. We grabbed a bowl and then returned to our balcony to take in the sites. It’s great to have a warm blanket.   At the end of the day we left the fjord and headed down to Ketchikan; our next stop.

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Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 3

We have been on sailing for a couple of days now and are really enjoying our trip.  So far we have been to both Juneau and Skagway.

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At both places Holland America has had the closest berth to town. Basically, we got off of the ship and in less than 5 mins we are in the towns. Both are like small mining towns with a lot of shopping and restaurants. The beauty of being the last cruise of the season is that everything is on SALE!  Some of the jewelry is at 50 – 70 % off and clothing the same.  In talking to people on the ship the best tour in Juneau was the whale watching and in Skagway it was the train. When in Juneau check out the Alaskan Bar and the Alaskan brewing company. They have a tour to the brewery that we took and it was great. In Skagway we spent the day shopping.

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Next up we’re off to see some glaciers!

Loving what you’re reading?  Take advantage of our exclusive Holland America sale on now to October 3rd, 2019.

Colleen’s Holland America Holiday To Alaska – Part 2

It is our first day at sea and we have spent time last night deciding what to do.  HAL has the navigator app which I downloaded before I left home and now that I’m on the ship I can’t get the app to work. Has that ever happened to you?  Zam to the rescue again!  He sends me down to the internet desk where they have two people to help me get my app sorted and on my way. Another excellent service here on Holland America’s ship. Usually you have to figure it out on your own or just forget about it.  Having such great room stewards is like having friends that have been to a destination a hundred times and tell you all the things you need to know.  We spend part of the day exploring the ship and it is beautiful.  I can’t get over the attention to detail and the art on every deck.  The entertainment is great.  There is dueling pianos, BB Kings and the Lincoln Arts Center when you are in need of a little classical.  They also have nightly shows and for you late birds they have a casino.  We have also rooted out the vast salad bar on the Lido deck.  Well not so much rooted as Zam told us about it.   It is now our lunch of choice.  There is so much to do we have little down time and are looking forward to our first port Juneau.

If a Holland America cruise sounds like your idea of a great time check out our exclusive sale – on until October 3rd, 2019.

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