--An Excellent Eastern Expedition--
(Previously: Day 1)
(Previously: Day 1)
The MS Maasdam arrived in Bar Harbor about 7:30am that Sunday morning. The shipwide announcement about our arrival woke me up, but I lay in bed for another hour or so afterward. Mostly, it had been a restful night, but who doesn't love a good lie-in while on vacation?
Breakfast: 1 banana, 2 "Gingerbread Waffles" (special of the day), coffee, orange juice, and some muesli, which I'd never had before and resembled oatmeal gone wrong.
I ended up leaving the ship about 11:30. By then, there was no line for the tenders (boats) to take us to shore. In fact, I was the only passenger on my boat on the way into Bar Harbor. (Awkward or awesome? Both, really.)
I'd been fortunate in my previous cruises never to have to tender. And today would be the only time on this cruise we've have to do so. In all the other ports, we were able to just walk off at the pier.
My first impression of Bar Harbor was that it was beautiful and pristine.
I started off walking along the shore path.
Soon I meandered toward one of the main streets, where there were many shops, motels, and places to eat.
I stopped in one cafe for coffee & wifi, then proceeded on, using a map app to make sure I didn't get terribly lost.
I came across a cool old church.
I visited a grocery store to pick up some essentials (one of them being a box of Kleenex, as the cruise ship's tissues were awful.)
Then I visited this place to pick up another essential...
With my cup in hand, I made my way back to the pier. The all-aboard time was pretty early that day, like 2:30 or something. Now, with less than an hour left before the all-aboard, I had some competition for the tenders. I had to wait in line for about twenty minutes, and the line behind me kept getting longer and longer.
But the view was nice!
While we waited, a crew member came around and asked to see our key cards and photo IDs. It's easy to forget to bring things ashore at ports of call -- some people forget to bring money, for instance, after they've gotten used to just "charging" things aboard. Equally is it easy to forget to bring ID. As this was our first port of call, I felt that, for everyone's benefit, Holland should've been asking people as they got OFF the ship if they had theirs with them. But alas.
As we waited in line to board the tenders and they were asking for these cards, some people were panicking because they didn't have their IDs. I guess it was all worked out in the end (there are other ways of verifying if you're a passenger), but here's a lesson: When leaving a cruise ship to go into port, bring these things:
*Money and/or credit card
*Small change to give as tips for people running your excursions
I say this, fully admitting that I usually forget at least one of these things.
So, as I mentioned, the tenders were packed full of people as we returned to the ship (although apparently in an emergency, they can hold more? Please no emergencies, thanks.)
After coming aboard, I made my way to the Shore Excursions desk to request tickets for my three upcoming cruise-connected jaunts. In an ordinary situation, these tickets should have already been printed and sent to my stateroom, but as nothing about "getting my stateroom" was normal yesterday... neither, apparently, was getting these tickets.
I also rented a DVD this evening. The staterooms on the Maasdam are equipped with DVD players. To rent a DVD, you first must look through this binder of movie titles and write down the code number of the movie you want. Then you can call from your stateroom phone and request the DVD. They'll go check if it's there and, if it is, they can even bring it to your room... or you can go up and get it yourself. I chose to do the latter.
I just realized this may have been the ONLY time throughout cruise that the shipboard phone services worked the way the good Holland intended. More on that later.
Anyway, when they handed me the receipt for the DVD, guess whose name was on it?
What else can one do but embrace such things?
I AM MYRTLE NOW, I decided.
I went up to the buffet shortly thereafter, where I grabbed a sandwich and a cookie. Then I sat on deck and listened to an audiobook as the ship set sail.
At 5pm, I went to the ship's movie theater to watch some nature movie. Even though I got there three minutes early, it had already started. Odd. There were cute little penguins and stuff so it wasn't a waste of time.
This was some kind of vegetarian baked pasta with ricotta, and it was fantastic.
After dinner I got a decaf coffee from the Explorations Cafe. This area included not only a coffee counter, but shelves of books, tables for games, and lots of places to play said games. You could also "check out" the books. I found one that looked rather interesting and spent the next few days reading it in my stateroom when time allowed.
As this Harry Potter book was in a different language, I didn't read it... but what is up with his glasses?! Also he looks evil.
Back in my stateroom later, I continued watching the movie I'd rented (I'd watched some of it earlier)..
It was getting late, though, and the room steward/host still hadn't come to turn down the bed.
In case you're not familiar with the routine, your stateroom host and/or their helpers come into the room twice a day. Sometime in the morning or early afternoon, they make the bed. They make sure the bathroom is clean and they empty the trash bins. In the evenings, they turn back the covers, clean, and leave goodies for you, including towel animals, chocolate, and brochures and information about the next day's cruise activities.
The fact that they leave chocolate means I like them, but... it's really just awkward. What if I want to go to bed at 9pm but they haven't come yet? Yeah, you can hang out the Please Do Not Disturb sign, but... then you don't get your chocolate! (They'll still slide the brochures under your door.) I don't know. It's just hard to relax when you know that every day you have to be aware that people could be coming into your room and you don't know when.
Anyway, this night it was nearly 9 and my room hadn't been serviced yet, so I left and went up to Deck 6 to check out the views. I saw that they had taken all the cushions off the lounge chairs (I discovered they do this every night around 6pm, which seems ridiculously early.) Then I went up to Deck 12, where it was super windy and cold, but I got a few photos:
Above, you can see the windowed ceiling over the pool area on deck 11. That can actually be slid back on warmer days, but I only recall seeing it done once on this cruise.
When I returned to the room, the room hosts had come at last! My towel animal and chocolate awaited.
I began settling in for the evening, with the book I'd borrowed beside me.
Strangely, somebody was vacuuming the hallway right outside my room. Who vacuums after 9pm?
Tomorrow we'd be docking in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I had a horse & carriage tour planned for the afternoon, but prior to that I figured I'd go to the nearby maritime museum.
What would I end up doing on my first day in Nova Scotia? Find out next time!