Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Day 1: Boarding the American Spirit

Saturday, September 20, 2008: Boarding the Ship; Cruising from Providence to New Bedford, MA

Our Comfort Inn shuttle brought us to Providence Piers for boarding around 9:30 a.m. The embarking process lasted until noon, to allow ample time for all passengers to arrive as well as to complete the disembarking of passengers and luggage from the previous cruise. The captain and crew greeted us warmly, and we settled in our stateroom.

Now for the little wrinkle in Comfort Inn pricing for the “complimentary” shuttle: At the $91 Senior rate we were paying for our room, we learned, the shuttle was not free. This amenity was only included in the American Cruises Special Rate of $112. They would have charged us $20 per person each way for the ride. After negotiation with management, we agreed to pay for one night’s stay at the higher American Cruises Special Rate. This solved the problem.

The cruise got underway as we sat down for our first lunch in the Dining Salon. The meal was a great introduction to the cuisine capabilities of the galley. The day was sparkling clear and warm, and we were treated to magnificent views of lighthouses and natural preserves along Narragansett Bay. Pomham Rocks Lighthouse, located near East Providence, was a typical example. Also typical of the human landscape were the weathered shingled houses similar to the one in the photograph below.

The leisurely pace of this afternoon’s cruise enabled us to become acquainted with many of the passengers and explore the ship. We found another couple, Dale and Rhoda, who shared our interest in bridge, so we had several bridge sessions during lulls in the routine during the cruise. Other times, we were content to just curl up with a book or magazine in one of the lounges.

We pulled into New Bedford Harbor that evening. Sandy Balla gave us a rundown of tomorrow’s activities and sights. We were looking forward to Sunday, our first chance to explore a port of call!

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