Today we sail from the Manhattan Cruise Terminal in New York City aboard the Azamara Journey. We are doing a transatlantic crossing, a fourth crossing for Boris and I. If you don’t like sea days and fear rough waters, this option might not be your best bet. However, these repositioning cruises often offer a cheaper option for a long cruise-like 12 or 14 days for the price of a week cruise. I used to think this was due to less entertainment, but it has to due with the fact that there are fewer port fees, a major expense for the cruise line.
Our day started a bit rough. Since it was Easter weekend, we decided to spend as much time at home with family as possible and to just fly into New York on departure day. We have had problems and often fly in early. Sometimes luggage doesn’t make it-one trip are luggage was late but luckily made it the next day before the ship departed. Another time, while Rocky and Boris got their bags, mine didn’t show up until 5 days into the cruise and several ports later. (After that we started packing some of each of our things into all the bags). Emma actually missed a ship due to a delayed flight and only caught up with it several days and several flights later.
We called early for an UBER, but after waiting 20 minutes and noting the car hadn’t moved. I called. Said he would be there in 12 minutes. 8 minutes later he called me to say he was having car trouble and I need to cancel the ride and rebook with another driver. Boris began to panic. We did two things-tried to get another driver and woke up Rocky and told him we needed a ride. Luckily a the second driver made it. We got to the departure gate one minute after the time it was scheduled to close.
Fortunately for us the flight had been delayed, so we didn’t have to beg to be let on the plane. Unfortunately that also meant a later arrival into New York. We landed in Newark an hour late. Boris was unhappy again. My original plan was to take the train from the airport to Penn Station in NYC and then take a cab to the cruise terminal. Between the heavy bags and the delay, Boris nixed that idea. I wasn’t sure about UBER in the city and whether that cruise terminal with its specific entry was familiar to most UBER drivers, so we elected to go with a cab.
At $90, it was still cheaper and faster that the cruise ship transfers for both of us. The cabbie knew just what to do at the Manhattan Cruise terminal, so we were quickly inside and checking in. This terminal has seen better days. I am not sure how often it is used. One terminal over was an NCL ship that leaves from this port weekly. Our terminal is at pier 90, berth 4; it looked pretty worn. The terminal on the opposite side appeared to be abandoned.
The Azamara Journey has been updated since we were last on board, but the cabin was familiar, as was the ship’s layout. At our muster drill, where we were seated in the dining room and not standing on the deck in the sun, the captain informed us that we had rough seas ahead. After we cleared the Harbor, he anticipated the next 18 hours would challenge us a bit as we headed straight into the tall waves.
Just before dinner, we were able to participate in Easter Mass aboard ship. Father Scott will be saying mass most days of our voyage. He told us that sister lines Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, and Azamara usually have a priest on board for the religious holidays, lent, and advent.
Transatlantic crossings often offer lectures by 1-3 experts. I was disappointed to learn that we only had one lecturer on board, a specialist in music. I went to his first presentation on the music of Bermuda our first day at sea, the day after our departure. We will arrive in Bermuda tomorrow. Although I slept well, the day hours proved a little more challenging in the rough water. It was hard to walk around the room or stand in the shower without using the walls for balance. At the lecture in the Cabaret at the front of the ship, I worried that the lecturer would not be able to remain standing; it was distracting. He did tell us that a destination lecturer had been booked, but didn’t make the ship. We can only speculate as to why.
Cabin selection is always an option when booking a cruise. If you are prone to sea sickness, are doing a crossing, or going through known rough waters (like when we went around Cape Horn (southern end of South America) or the Cape of Good Hope (southern end of Africa), I recommend selecting a cabin in the center of the ship which means less movement. If you don’t want to spring for these more expensive rooms, opt for the back rather than the front of the ship. This might also be the time to save some money and not book that room at the upper level. Lower rooms also are generally less rocky.
We met a couple who were actually disappointed that they got upgraded from a window room on level 4 to a balcony on level 6 due to the rough weather. Hopefully they will enjoy the room the latter part of the cruise. The captain told us that we should have good weather the rest of the crossing. I retreated to the cabin to sleep where the rocking was an advantage. I never got sick, just hated the out of control feeling related to balance.
Azamara did a special buffet for Easter Monday, complete with decorations. The food has been wonderful and the brunch with huge boiled shrimp and crab legs did not disappoint a seafood lover like myself. The Jazz Band played throughout, even getting into the Easter spirit.
After this day at sea, we will be on board the ship in the morning before docking in Hamilton, Bermuda in the afternoon. We will overnight in Hamilton, before continuing our crossing. After four staight days at sea we will reach the Azores, considered part of Portugal. Our final cruise designation is Lisbon.
Natasha is heading out across the Atlantic…