Today we boarded the Royal Caribbean Anthem of the Seas that is only 1 ½ years old. After taking a quick walk through of the ship to re-orient us (we had previously been on the Quantum of the Seas the sister ship of the Anthem), we went to our cabin to watch our departure from our balcony.
The captain gave us a real treat and took a spin around the Statue of Liberty on our port departure. This was such a nice sunny day and it was really nice to take some pictures of the Statue of Liberty and downtown Manhattan as we were heading on to Boston. You get a really great vantage point looking at the city from the water side. We could easily see our previous ship, the Caribbean Princess, on the other side of the harbor and remembered our earlier long taxi ride around New York to get to the Anthem’s port in New Jersey. The Staten Island Ferry was cruising next to us for a while as we headed to the statue. The World Trade Center Tower gleamed tall in the sunlight reminding us of past visits to this fun city. This was one of the nicest port departures we have had on a cruise ship with perfect weather, perfect scenery, and a nice relaxing view from our private balcony as we sipped on a few cocktails. Well off to Boston where we had just been two days ago on the Caribbean Princess.
We arrived in Boston early in the morning but took a leisurely breakfast before heading out to explore the city. We had been here 3 days before on the Caribbean Princess but had used the time to get on the internet and catch up on emails. Today we planned to do some walking!
We first did the harbor walk getting a chance to see all the sightseeing and whale watching boats head out filled with passengers visiting this city. On a previous trip we had taken one of these sightseeing tours and had enjoyed getting a good view of Boston from the harbor side. It is also amazing to see all the seafood restaurants lining the wharfs and bars catering to the very relaxed crowd of people. You could also see fishing ships and a few lobster boats as we walked around the harbor. There are some very nice homes lining some of the wharfs that have some great views.
The harbor walk took us to the Freedom Trail where we walked a short distance to Bunker Hill which is really the end of the trail. We watched a brief reenactment of a revolutionary soldier telling us about the war and then we proceeded to walk the 3 mile trail from end to beginning. Shortly after leaving Bunker Hill we visited the old warship Constitution (“Old Ironsides”). Once again in this area there were soldiers and other people dressed in revolutionary attire demonstrating various skills from the past including firing an old musket. Along the trail we also got to see the old North Church and Paul Revere’s house. Although there are many buildings that date back 350 years, it is amazing on how well kept up these buildings are. People line up and pay $12 to $18 each to visit these historic buildings. If you went to each of these historic buildings along the trail it would probably cost you over $100 to enter and view each of these. About half way along the trail is Little Italy where we took a quick break to sample pizza and a little arancini (an Italian rice ball that is filled with white wine risotto, gooey mozzarella and is coated in bread crumbs before it is deep fried) – delicious! It was such a beautiful day to walk through the city and the temperatures were in the high 60s making it perfect walking weather. We stopped at Quincy Hall along the way and had a cannoli to cap off our earlier Italian snack. Quincy Hall is a great place to try some of Boston’s seafood specialties. Around the hall are several shopping areas which we looked at for a while before heading on down the trail. At this point the trail is in the downtown Boston area but you still see many historic buildings and you find several cemeteries with headstones dating back to the 1600s. We eventually completed the trail at its starting point in the park in front of the state capital building.
From the end (or start) of the trail we headed back towards our ship visiting some of the nicer walking and shopping streets in downtown Boston. It was a pleasant walk back to the ship and it seemed that there was a different view at every corner. We really like Boston and would enjoy coming back to the city and getting a chance to experience it at night some time. We enjoyed the walk and although we didn’t break our walking record we still managed to walk 15 miles during the day. Off to Portland, Maine.
This was the first time we had ever been to Portland, Maine. Every other cruise we had previously taken in this area always went to Bar Harbor, Maine where we go tomorrow. As we got off the ship we decided we would take a walk to one of the “nearby” lighthouses. Part of the way there a local suggested we head to Bug Light lighthouse which is the iconic picture of Portland, Maine and was only 4 ½ miles from the ship. As we headed over a tall bridge over the harbor, we were treated to quite a spectacle. There was a jumper surrounded by police and trying to scramble over the bridge railing to jump into the water 100’ below. Fortunately the police were able to stop her before she jumped but it certainly added some intrigue to our morning walk. The walk to the lighthouse was very enjoyable and most of it was on a very nice walking/bike path. The park the lighthouse (Bud Light Park) was on was very nice although the lighthouse was not the most impressive lighthouse we had ever seen. The walk was nice and we had a great view of our ship and city from the park. We walked past the ship on another nice walking path and viewed a nice park and beach area.
On our trip out of the port we sat on our balcony sipping some wine and taking pictures of all the lighthouses. We ended up getting some great pictures of the original lighthouse we had started walking towards. We probably got better pictures from the ship than what we would have gotten if we had walked to this lighthouse. I guess we saved ourselves a few miles and only ended up walked another 15 miles for the day. Off to Bar Harbor.
We had been to Bar Harbor a few times and this trip Greg elected to give Sharon and early Birthday present – a day bike ride through Arcadia National Park. Sharon loves biking while Greg is not as adept to this sport! Arcadia National Park was one of the first national parks created when Rockefeller and some of his rich friends purchased land that they wanted to preserve. Around this park they built carriage roads almost 100 years ago so that the rich could take carriage rides around the park and enjoy all of its natural beauty. Today these carriage roads are closed to cars but are available for walkers, bicycles and horses. After renting two bikes in town, we took the free ride into the park that is provided. This free van ride even provides a trailer to carry your bike into the park.
Just getting to the park and looking around was really amazing. We started off at a lake that was crystal clear. As we biked around the lake we took pictures of all the beautiful sights we saw. The weather was cool and perfect for a nice bike ride through the mountains. Most of the paths were easy to pedal but every now and then you would get to an uphill incline that certainly took some effort to get to the top. As we got half way around the second lake, there was a large building that had snacks and food if you needed some refreshments. Obviously we didn’t need any and kept trucking on. Along the way we passed many bikers and walkers. There were even a few horses we passed along the way. It is nice to see so many people walking out through nature just enjoying the scenery and getting some good exercise. Instead of taking the van ride back to town we elected just to ride the extra 5 miles back. We ended up biking for 25 miles and really enjoyed our day. Sharon certainly enjoyed it more because Greg’s butt and knees were hurting him after the ride!
After the ride we walked around town for a while and Sharon finally got to have her lobster roll (Thirsty Whale) that she had been craving for the last week before taking a tender back to our ship. We have a sea day tomorrow as we head for Halifax in Canada.
Our next blog will feature our stops to Halifax, St. Johns and Bermuda.
Greg & Sharon