Traveled via Amtrak from Boston to Baltimore. Bright sunny day to match our hopes. Some stunning views from the train during our seven hour trip. Arrived at Penn Station right on time. A short $7 taxi ride to the Holiday Inn Express on North Gay St. Gorgeous, brightly lit lobby with stately corinthian columns leading to the desk. Check in went smoothly. Staff were friendly. Room was more than adequate and clean. The laundry facility was appreciated after our lengthy train trip.
With the morning came the snow. It accumulated slowly but accumulate it did, up to three inches by the time we boarded the Grandeur. The hotel comp breakfast had good variety and the seating was in a wing of the lobby which allowed us to appreciate again its stateliness.
The hotel van took us and a second couple directly to the cruise port. Tip was expected since this was beyond the one mile range of its regular service. The check-in went smoothly enough, though we had to walk back into the cold to board the ship. First impressions weren't good. The ship was cold and no effort was made to remove snow from the decks. The Windjammer cafeteria was packed so we had to eat our lunch on the cold deck - we ate quickly.