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Extraordinary Cruise – Vacation Day Four

What a glorious day! We woke up and opened the drapes and there before us was the Queen Mary! This historic ship was docked just a few feet from ours. Our plans for the day began to form immediately. Of course they could not fully form until we all met on deck for a breakfast pow-wow to see what everyone was in the mood to do.

At breakfast with our plates loaded from the buffet, we discussed our options. Gloria and Beth decided they were still a bit exhausted from the day before and they preferred to stay on board and take advantage of all the activities. Chris, Bruce, Joyce and Stephanie all wanted to go ashore and see a bit of Long Beach. Our first discovery was that none of the planned excursions were wheelchair accessible, so this limited us a bit. Even the tour of the Queen Mary was not a trip available to us (just as well we heard it was haunted!). We all made the decision to take a cab to Shoreline Village where we were promised we would find shops and restaurants to enjoy.

The cab ride was short and there were indeed many fun shops and a great view of our ship and the Queen Mary so it was a place ripe with photo opportunities. We even found a great little Irish Mexican Pub (yes that’s right, not a typo we said Irish Mexican), where we enjoyed a beverage and $1.50 tacos for lunch. We relaxed and enjoyed all of the scenery.

When it was too hot for us and our feet were tired, serendipity stepped in when we found out there was a free shuttle back to the Grand Princess. We all ran to catch it but just missed it. Only ten minutes until the next one so we waited. Just after boarding the next shuttle we were told that this was the “loop” shuttle and it would be doing a full 45 min loop of the city before returning here and then finally going back too the ship…hmmmmmm, oh well we were already sitting and decided we would rather sit in the shuttle than get off and back on again, so a tour of the city it was! We enjoyed all of the sites and the relaxing air conditioning of the shuttle. We were not in a big hurry, The Bon Jovi Concert being shown on the big pool screen was more than an hour away, plenty of breathing room.

We were dropped off  just one block from the giant dome of our port and so we made our way back to the ship. Before entering the ship we had to go through the port authority metal detectors (just like at the airport). This perfectly normal act ended up taking about half an hour even though there was almost no one in line.

It went like this Stephanie (Yes that’s me the leader of our group) puts her purse on the conveyer belt. She sees the man operating the machine stop and examine the picture. He looks concerned. Stephanie says “Oh it’s just a bottle of hot sauce, I’ll show you” (thinking there may be a new rule about liquids that I didn’t know about). The examiner was undeterred. He called another worker to examine the picture, she looks at me and I again say “hot sauce?” she replies “ Ma’am do you have a, bullet, in your bag?”  Me-“What no, I , um, wait, Oh my gosh, I DO have a bullet in my bag!”

Now before you start thinking this is something strange I do all the time let me explain (as I explained to the very kind people at Port Authority). Last March my father passed away, he was a hunter and a gun collector. Recently, I was cleaning out his art studio and amongst the many decades of art supplies I found a few bullets. I knew I couldn’t throw them in the trash and so I decided to keep one as a memory of my father; who I am certain on this day was looking down from heaven with a huge belly laugh as he watched me try to explain all this to the authorities.

Luckily these people are great at their jobs and very patient. The first thing the woman did was get on her walkie talkie to tell her supervisor what had occurred “Sir we have a 510”. Supervisors response “Oh ha ha, no you don’t”. Woman “No, really we do”. Supervisor “Well that’s a first!” The Supervisor came down and told us that while there are some other cruise lines (that we will not mention here) where this is more or less a regular occurrence, this has NEVER happened on Princess before. Well we here at Watermark like for people to remember us! The supervisor was extremely nice and brought us all water and chatted with us while we waited for paperwork to be completed (he even offered to have the bullet sent back after the trip. He explained that he was a recent cancer survivor and had learned to not take anything in life too seriously. We all enjoyed meeting him and making fun of Stephanie!

Darn it though, we missed the Bon Jovi Concert (our seniors were crushed…ok not really).

Dinner that night was an Italian feast that we could smell in the halls before we even entered the dining room. It was Pasta and Eggplant and Ravioli and V tiramisu all coming out our ears. A lovely lovely meal.

After dinner a few of us went to the piano bar to listen to the song stylings of A Girl Named Jake. She sang for almost two hours without a break and we were all glued to her amazing voice. At one point we noticed Christ shed a tear as Jake sang an old Sinatra standard that as it turned out was Chris’s late husband’s favorite song. This was a special night.

Tomorrow we will be in beautiful San Diego, better get some sleep.

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