Part 1: San Diego to Bayonne, NJ


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The Experience

Our Caribbean cruise was scheduled to depart from Bayonne, NJ.  The plan was to get all trip participants at Mom Jones' home and then going from her place to the cruise ship terminal in Bayonne.  Living in San Diego meant a cross-country flight to JFK and then getting from JFK to her place in Melville, NY.  The plan was to use the AirTrain to get to Jamaica Station then take the Long Island Railroad to Huntington, NY.  From Huntington, we planned to take a cab to her home.  A total of 5 conveyances were required to get us from our door to her door.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

All told, suffering coach seats was not that bad.  But, there was no food sold offered on the plane -- not even peanuts.  The good news was that we brought granola bars and our own water.  The flight actually arrived early and we got from JFK to Jamaica Station with relative ease.  While waiting on the platform for the train we could see the tracks to the east of the station.  Note the waviness of the tracks.

These are manually constructed composite beams consisting of C-channel, bolts and straps.

Later on in the evening after we arrived, I asked the girls to pose for a photo.  I tried hard to get Marguerite to smile, but failed.

After many coordinating cell phone calls and a late night packing by several of the travelers, we succeeded in arriving on-time at the cruise ship dock.  After document checks and check-in, we waited in a large area for our boarding time.

I decided to try again for a smile but got the deer-in-the-headlights look instead.  But, the photo above DID capture the moment.

Due to Marguerite's mobility issues, we were given priority boarding and took the first shuttle to the ship.  The ship is big; 12 decks above the waterline.

These are the life boats and the definition of a good cruise is NOT seeing the inside of a boat except for a run to port.

These large air bladders were used to keep the ship from rubbing on the dock.

Because we were given priority boarding, we ended up without a room until the room service cycle was completed.  So, rather than going to our stateroom, we hiked around the decks and saw what was there.  To the southwest was a large structure that is the club house for a local golf club.

In the distance, we could see the cargo cranes at the port.

From the south side of the deck we got a view of the Verenzanno Narrows Bridge between Long Island and Staten Island.

From the north side of the upper deck, we got a commanding view of southern Manhattan and the Statue of Liberty.  In the photo above, Liberty is visible as well as Freedom Tower (still under construction), the Empire State Building as well as the Chrysler Building.

To the northwest a container ship was being unloaded at the Bayonne docks.

Below us on the port side, a fueling barge was brought along side the ship to top off the fuel tanks.

A zoom lens view clearly shows the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings as well as Liberty.  As a trivial side note, we could see the apartment building we occupied while we were living in NYC.

The upper pool and sundeck were filling up with folks.

Oh yeah, I cannot wait to see this in a bathing suit.

A view of the Brooklyn waterfront.  There is another cruise ship in port there.

The financial district of lower Manhattan are visible as well as tour boats in the river.

The upper deck was very nice and had plenty of lounge chairs.

Security on the boat was quite tight; there were many cameras on the various decks.

Radomes protect sensitive electronics from the harsh marine environment.

To the southeast, there was a monument near the waterfront.  Past the monument was a large barge that carried fuel.

These two were chowing down on hamburgers and french fries in copious quantities.

There w
ere plenty of electronics on the upper decks: radars, satellite phone equipment, weather sensors, etc.

This car carrier finished unloading and headed back out to sea.

The Narrows Br
idge crosses the lower Hudson River and is one of the busiest waterways in North America.  Above, a tug shadows a large container ship on its way to port, presumably in Bayonne.

We finally compl
eted dock-side preparations and got underway.  Once out in the harbor a bit, the views got a bit clearer.

One of the Staten Island Ferries passed us on its way to Batter
y Park.  Look closely, there are plenty of folks on the upper decks.

As the ferry heads to lower Manhattan,
another cruise ship, the Norwegian Gem is getting underway.

Note the exhaust stack superstructure on the rear of the ship.

We are approaching the Narrows Br

Passing underneath, we could see the support structure of the Narrows bridge.  There was not much clearance between the top of the superstructure of our ship and the bottom
of the bridge.

We could see the amusement park at Coney Island on our exit from the Hudson River.

The other cruise ship was racing us out of port and eventually overtook us.

We got a final look at the Narrows Bridge and then headed out to sea.

We got a nice sunset as the sun sank below the hills in New Jersey.

It was a long day but it ended on a happy note.  So far, the seas have been calm, low winds and mild temperatures.  But, we will be out on the open ocean for 4 nights before we hit St. Maartin.  This is tropical storm season, but if our luck holds we will miss that activity.

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Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.